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Monday 9 December 2019


Here we go again.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

Bells jingling across the cobbles.

Tipsy punters belting out Yuletide carols in the Rovers.

And like all good Corrie Christmases…Rita Tanner is in some sort of distress. 


The Blog spoke to producer Iain MacLeod recently at a Christmas press-event and he shared with us his plans for the Corrie favourite over the Christmas period and beyond. We already know there’s some high drama involved for Gary Windass, but it would appear dear Rita is in for a tough time too:

“There’s a small storyline for Rita which is quite small and domestic but heartbreaking – it showcases Barbara Knox’s undoubtable talent. Ultimately she will be okay physically but Christmas will have far reaching consequences in terms of the perception of her own life role in the world and on the Street.”

So we shouldn’t expect to find Rita in a crumpled, lifeless pile on Christmas day then?

“It will play off into next year culminating into February. But no, I won’t expect you to tune in on Christmas and watch Rita’s demise – that is something that I’d never do! Barbara really nails it whenever she's given something big to do. It’s subtle and poignant and she has embraced it with the gusto you’d expect.”

We spoke to Iain when he first started on Corrie and it’s clear he’s a Rita fan. Which is a bloody good job because so am I and in my opinion she needs protecting at all costs. Rita is my Corrie Queen.

In fact my heart sank a bit when I heard the rumours of Rita’s Christmas troubles and when I caught a glimpse of her in the cheeky previews we were treated to at the press conference. The last time Rita was at the centre of her own, big, emotional storyline was when she had the brain tumour scare back in 2017. It was a strange little plot that left me feeling a bit confused by the end of it. However any story that revolves around Rita is a bonus for me, I think Barbara Knox is a treasure on screen and brings the very warmth and familiarity I watch the show for in the first place. And there were some genuinely heartbreaking moments like the time sang at the piano in the hospital and Jenny broke down out of concern for Rita, the closest thing she has to a mother. And every episode had it’s own poignancy but by the end of the story, I was left thinking, what was the point in that? It was too isolated as a story, and once it was over it was over.

Before that, in one of my favourite weeks ever on Corrie (and I may be in a minority in this), Rita was famously involved in the tram crash of 2010 – Corrie’s 50th birthday. Buried beneath the wreckage of the Kabin and a kilo of bonbons, Rita was left in serious danger and fans genuinely thought that was the end of her. But she bounced back, as she always does, and has been one of the Street’s most loved matriarchs ever since.

Concern for Rita grows back in 2017
So when I heard she was going to be the centre of “heartbreak” over Christmas and into the New Year, I was worried that it was going to be a cop-out. A kind of ‘lets put the little old lady in a bit of danger of Christmas to add some festive jeopardy’ - but over the past week I’m encouraged why what I’ve seen, as this story starts to play out.

On Friday Rita struggled to find someone to look after Mrs McIlroy’s cat. It became clear, after several attempts to recruit a friend or relative to help out, that everyone was busy, had other priorities, and that Rita wasn’t at the top of their list. There was one scene, I think Rita was standing at the bar in the Rovers, and she looked so small and insignificant as she struggled to sort out her predicament. I don’t mind admitting it’s things like that that make me cry. And as the story has only just started going I’ll have no chance keeping it together if what Iain MacLeod said is to be believed!

These things get me in real life. Loneliness in older people who have no family to visit them at Christmas or otherwise. It’s heartbreaking. So if this is where Corrie is going with this, I’m all for it. We all should do more for our neighbours and older family members, all year round and Corrie raising awareness of this is a good thing in my opinion.

This stuff is what’s kept me coming back to Corrie several times a week for years. Much loved characters, great acting, writing that isn’t matched in any other soap (no-offence Eastenders & Emmerdale) and gentle raising of awareness for important issues. So I’m not as concerned about the direction of Rita’s story as I was having seen the start of something last week.

Tissues at the ready.

I’m on Twitter: @StevieDawson

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

1 comment:

Louby said...

I just don't want to see Rita having a difficult time, at Christmas or any other time. We have issues all year round, and I could do with something to make me feel happy in my favourite soap. Won't we be getting all the drama we need from Gary?


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