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Saturday 30 November 2019

Review: Corrie's Ali Briggs in My Mother Said I Never Should

Crucible Studio Theatre, Sheffield, Thursday 21st of November 2019

Standing in the theatre lobby of Sheffield's world-famous Crucible Theatre, I gaze at an interior wall I hadn't noticed before, which showcases the works of Harold Pinter. The playwright has a poem written on the wall (he liked Sheffield a lot). It's fevered prose from a writer I've admired for years, and it's put me in the right mindset for this evening's entertainment!

It's a Thursday night in a blustery winter-ish Sheffield, and I'm waiting to meet writer Charlotte Keatley, to watch her multi-award-winning play 'My Mother Said I Never Should'.

Well, what's this got to with Coronation Street, you may ask? Well, this is an adaptation of a play which debuted in Manchester in 1987, so that's one connection, and this version produced by fingersmiths, features a cast of d/Deaf and BSL speaking actors, one of which is Corrie's Ali Briggs (aka Freda Burgess) in the role of 'Doris'.

This all-female cast play ( a company of four) is a story that spans generations, a story of strong northern women who we watch grow up, against a backdrop of political and social change from the 1940s to the 1980s, all set in working-class Manchester. A family led by matriarch 'Doris' (played with pathos and comic timing by Ali Briggs) we also introduced to rebellious and wayward 'Jackie' (played by EJ Raymond) straight-laced 'Margaret' (Jude Mahon) and illicit child Rosie (stage debut of Lisa Kelly)

The studio stage is small and sparsely designed, which helps the dialogue flow with great intimacy; it really does feel as though you're a 'fly on the wall' in this family saga. The writing is incredibly strong and only made stronger by the audio captioning, presentation of British sign language, and the passionately intense relationship of the plays four characters. A multi-talented cast tells this story with fierce believability, and even though I was sat next to the writer of the show, I couldn't help but become immersed in the action. A strange feeling actually, I kept wanting to tap her on the shoulder to discuss how this was written. I didn't, as I was far too engaged in this original adaptation.

The story weaves its way through 4 decades, non-linear, flashing back and forth through the families history. The story itself could be quite dark if it wasn't for the superb comedic performance of Doris (Ali Briggs) and the raw energy of stage debutante and youthful Rosie (Lisa Kelly). Ably supported by Jude Mahon as Margaret ( a sad twist in the character's story), EJ Raymond as 'Jackie' was the part that resonated with me the most.

Although written in 1987, this play has not lost anything in terms of socio and political themes and is issue-led, not unlike 2019's Coronation Street.

As someone with limited hearing myself (these hearing aids are a benefit, I promise), it was fascinating to watch the cast, who all have varying degrees of d/deaf, making this performance unique and utterly unmissable. I was also treated to a drink with the cast after the show!.

Massive thanks go to Charlotte Keatley, Jeni Draper, and the talented company of MMSINS for the hospitality! I also had a great chat with Ali Briggs post-show about her character Freda Burgress, and working alongside Malcolm Hebden (Norris Cole) and Eileen Derbyshire (Emily Bishop) What an honour!

Leaving the Crucible Studio, I felt enlightened and inspired having seen this play. I can certainly recommend it.

MMSINS tours the UK in 2020 and you can check out those dates here, which includes The Lowry Studio, at Salford Quays!

@rybazoxo is your cobbles connoisseur & Wednesday night episode review writer.
Follow me on twitter if  #Corrie is your thing ( I don't tweet politics either, which I think is a bonus) cheers!

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Coronation Street weekly update – November 30 2019

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I love it when Coronation Street and ITV keep a spoiler to themselves. No secrets leaked to the press. No teasers given to the soap sites. Just a shock unfolding on screen in front of fans. This week was one of those weeks. Jade the nanny at Fiz and Tyrone’s house turns out to be John Stape’s daughter, therefore half-sister to Hope.  We find this out when she goes to lay some flowers at John’s grave but not before she causes mayhem at Fiz and Tyrone’s house first. There’s a fire in the backyard and Hope gets the blame – but it’s all Jade’s doing. Jade encourages Hope to act up in front of Fiz and causes all kinds of problems for the family. But when a letter arrives from Bessie Street School to say Hope can return, there’s no need for Jade to stay. She leaves Hope alone on the sofa as she creeps out into the night, but gives Hope a phone and tells her it’s their secret. So although Jade has gone, the secret sisters have their secret phones. I wonder if this means she’ll be back?

In other news this week was a heartbreaking scene with Paul facing up to the abuse he’d received as a young boy from his mam’s fella, Kel. The storyline redeems the horrible Bernie of course, when she shows how protective she is towards Paul and Gemma too. With Billy’s help and support, Paul agrees to see a counsellor and the next step is to make a statement to the police. Will Paul be strong enough to see it all the way through?

Elsewhere, Roy visits his brother as often as he can. Richard is dying and has a carer coming to visit him. Roy is appalled that the carer spends so little time with Richard (has Roy not seen the Ken Loach film ‘Sorry We Missed You’ yet?) and Roy complains to social services. Nina’s angry at Roy for getting involved as social services say they’ll come out to do a review, which Nina is concerned might mean they’ll be even worse off than they were before.

Over at Underworld, Sally waxes lyrical about pants after the workers demand a slide and a Google-type play zone in the factory. I’m not really sure what’s going on to be honest at the factory. Nick seems to be in a strop, Sarah wants to be in charge meanwhile Gary seems to hold something of the balance of power and I’m really not sure what it is any more.

Likewise with the Michelle and Robert story, I gave up on that long ago. Michelle tells Carla she wants the wedding to go ahead so she can take Robert for everything he’s got. If anything else happened in this story this week, please let me know. I deliberately record Corrie these days just so I can fast forward through every single one of these scenes.

And finally this week, at Roy’s Rolls Mary puts up fairy lights and tinsel much to Roy’s disdain. It’s too early, he says (it is) and it’s a health and safety risk in the café (he’s right) but still she marches on. There’s a light-up reindeer installed on the wall outside of the café but when the lights fizzle out and Adam walks by there’s a glorious line from Mary.  “I wouldn’t mind giving your fuse box the once over,” she leers. Wonderful stuff.

And that’s just about that for this week.

Remember, you can sign up to get these Corrie weekly updates by email at

This week’s writers were Jonathan Harvey (Monday); Martin Allen and Mark Wadlow (Wednesday), Damon Alexis-Rochefort (Friday). Find out all about the Coronation Street writing team at Coronation Street Blog: Exclusive: All Current Corrie writers online


Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
Facebook: GlendaYoungAuthor
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Conversation Street Podcast Episode 392

On our latest podcast, we discuss the episodes of Coronation Street broadcast in the UK between the 25th and the 29th November.

Whaddaya know? Corrie IS still capable of dropping some surprise reveals on us that haven't been spoiled in the press beforehand! This week, we find out a big secret about Jade that puts a new spin on the character, and Michael certainly had a strong initial reaction to it, but was it good or bad? Also this week, Kel gets feels the full force of a protective mother after Bernie shops him to the cops, and Nick has a revelation about the sustainability of the archaic Underworld business model, but can he convince the factory girls to see sense?

Next up on the podcast, we share our thoughts on two of your listener questions: first, in the light of Robert and Michelle's upcoming nuptials, we discuss some of our favourite weddings from Corrie past. That's followed by an unashamedly nerdy discussion on the subject of Corrie crossed with Pokémon: if characters were gym leaders, what type would be their speciality?

After that, we pop over to The Kabin for an update on Andy Whyment in the jungle, and after a spot of listener feedback, we finish off the episode with a spoilery discussion on some recently revealed cast news.

Street Talk - 00:07:28
Listener Questions - 01:56:11
The Kabin - 02:47:01
Feedback - 02:54:00
Kabin Extra - 03:03:52

You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, stream all our old episodes on our own site here, or click the play button above to give it a listen from the comfort of this very blog!

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

Coronation Street spoiler: Fun character returns as Santa Claus

It’s getting close to Christmas which means that the previews are in super early from ITV for Coronation Street beginning December 9th and it’s the return of Big Garth to the show. Yay!

Grace calls at No.3 with Tianna. Michael, Grace and Tianna arrive at Big Garth’s Winter Wonderland but they’re hugely underwhelmed by what they find. When Grace smells alcohol on Santa’s breath, she picks up Tianna and storms out.

Michael returns to the Winter Wonderland and suggests that for 50% of the profits, he could turn it into a goldmine. Big Garth and Michael shake hands on the deal. 

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
Facebook: GlendaYoungAuthor
Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here!  

Read more Corrie news, interviews, gossip and spoilers  

Follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License


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