Cosy crimes and gritty sagas by Corrie Blog editor Glenda, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Tuesday 9 June 2020

Continuity Street

Well, there I was, slumped in my lockdown haze, free for a while from yet another Teams meeting. Escaping from the world of virtual drinks nights and never-ending Zoom quiz evenings. Time to sit back and catch up with Corrie. Not the current stuff. One thing I've found to be refreshing over the last three months is only having to deal with three episodes a week. It's manageable and means that I don't have to sit, bleary-eyed at 5.30 am, trying to cram in another half hour before work.

No, the catch up involved the Classic Corrie episodes on ITV3. Again, they hurl about seventy episodes a day at us so it can take a while to reach 1995. I finally reached those dizzy heights though and was able to marvel at the sheer majesty of Bet, the dreadful Don and the 'oh this character hasn't aged well' Reg. Suddenly the viewer was presented with images of some grim block of flats, presided over by Deirdre Rachmaninov (thanks for that one Vera). Out of the shadows in this dank looking establishment emerged Roy Cropper. There he was - or rather wasn't, for although he looked like the kindly patrician and cafe owner, character-wise he was something else. Confident, creepy and wandering around with a bottle of whisky. This was odd. Then Pretend Roy started babbling on about looking after his sister's kids. STOP! Say that again? Roy's sister?

As seasoned viewers, we should be used to this kind of thing. Moments when continuity collapses faster than Rita's 'posh' voice. Obviously Roy saw so little of his sister and her kids that at some point in 1996, they ceased to exist altogether. Gone and never mentioned again. It's a side of Corrie that is both perplexing and fun. The show's sixty year history is peppered with such loveliness.

Possibly topping the charts, thanks to Victoria Wood's pithy re-enactment of Ena Sharples, are the Barlow children, 'their Peter and their Susan'. Not only did the two regenerate more times than Doctor Who but they also conveniently changed accents. 1970s Peter was wiry, freckled and Scottish. Susan was bubbly and Scottish. By the eighties, the latter was wooden and sporting some bizarre vocal that she must have found abandoned on the Albion Market set. When she eventually returned to be killed off, Susan was a brunette with a bad perm. Early 1980s Peter was a little chunkier and  sandy. By the time we met him again, he was darker and flattening his vowels. Well, it all adds to the jollity.

Forgetting your family is also pretty commonplace on t'cobbles. Remember Sylvia and Tony Ogden? Stan and Hilda didn't. Following their 1964 debut, the Oggies conveniently misremembered having two extra kids. Originally in care, we can only assume that they are there to this day, eagerly awaiting the arrival of curlers and cigarette smoke. It won't be happening. Quite why the extra Ogdens were ditched remains a mystery, particularly when the decision was taken to retain the awful Trevor.

It's easy to forget though. 1970s Gail happily rattled on about her 'mam and dad' so it came as a surprise when Audrey finally appeared, 'sans Mr Potter'. Gail was obviously mistaken into thinking she had a dad. When she eventually did get one several decades later, she then decided to spend the following ten years never mentioning him again. What do you have to say about that then Audrey? Hmm?

We can only imagine that the Corrie team were on the cooking sherry every time it came to hauling Ivy out for an appearance. Long before she was cackling about 'them babbies', she was Ivy Tyldesley. Presumably she had no idea how to pronounce her own name so they dropped a few letters. They also dropped her husband . . . Wilf. A further husband, Jack, also was forgotten along the way. Sadly, according to Ivy, they were never blessed with kids. We can only assume that she'd kept quiet about Our Brian with his Farrah Fawcett hairdo and yet another husband, the laconic Bert. There she was then. Holier than thou Ivy with a string of abandoned spouses.

Some characters end up with multiple families. Others, bizarrely, don't warrant anyone. Take old Rio Rita for example. It's staggering to believe that in almost half a century on the cobbles, Rita has only had one family member. Just the one. No parents. No siblings. No cousins. Plus in an age of social media and DNA tracing, not a single person on Planet Earth has bothered tracking her down. Is there some dark, evil backstory concerning everyone's favourite clapped out cabaret act? Or did she just emerge one day, fully formed in a tie-neck blouse, wagging her finger and bellowing 'now then lady . . .' We will probably never know.

Nowadays Corrie is a much more well-oiled machine and it's unlikely that Izzy and Gary would ever forget about . . . err, thingy or Sean would fail to mention his son, what's his name. Eeh - them poor babbies.

By Clinkers to Riddle.

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


Louby said...

Brilliant read, thanks! I did notice Roy's comment about his sister :D

Add to the list, Robert Preston. I'm sure that when he married Tracy, back when Dawn Acton played her, they were about the same age. Yet last year, when Tracy was 42, he celebrated his 50th birthday!

Rapunzel said...

This is a fabulous piece.

dhvinyl said...

You don’t get this in The Archers....they seem to have employed someone since year dot to ensure family trees are kept slick and span. I’d apply for the job if I were you...would make for some fascinating future episodes !

Sarah H said...

This was a great read, thank you! I'd seen that early Roy Cropper appearance a few years back and thought the same thing. I hadn't realized that this sort of thing happened quite so often. Another one that always irritated me was the initial appearance of Richard Hillman. As I recall, he first showed up at Alma's funeral, claiming to be her cousin. Was he really her cousin? If so, why was that not mentioned again when he became involved with Gail or later in the context of him being a serial killer? And if he wasn't her cousin... why did he pretend? What was he planning?

Sharon Boothroyd said...

Great post. I've always wondered why Marion shows no interest in Sara's Harry even though like Max, he is also her grandson? Plus, why doesn't Izzy show any interest in Chesney's Joseph ? He is her nephew, after all.

Wim said...

Great article about one of my pet peeves... I get that by their very nature, long-running soaps are bound to experience the odd continuity error, but while I can forgive those errors in back story in the case of an initially minor character becoming a permanent cast member later (e.g. Roy Cropper), you see the same type of errors when it comes to main characters.

In EastEnders, there was the mysterious case of arch matriarch Lou Beale, mother to no fewer than NINE children that got mentioned by name in the early years, only 4 of which were ever seen, and of those, only 2 (Peter Beale and Pauline Fowler) were characters of significance... the others were not even referenced more than once or twice. They probably weren't even told their mother and their youngest siblings had died.

More recently, in 2017, Neighbours saw the arrival of a recast Shane Rebecchi together with his wife and two of their three children. Their son Jay, they explained, was in boarding school. He's been there ever since, without as much as a mention, a phone call or a post card, let alone a skype call or a visit. For a couple that's all about 'faaaaamly' (as Peggy Mitchell would say), completely ignoring their eldest child is jarring to say the least.

Louby said...

I think he wasn't really her cousin. I think it was all part of the financial fraud thing, to turn up and pretend to be a long lost relative, while looking for the people who were likely to inherit. However, this could be my interpretation and not accurate! It would have been a bit unlikely that given all the time Alma and Gail spent working together that they would not have ever discussed family!

Anonymous said...

Watching Classic Corrie, why does Steve McDonald have a totally different personality? He's nothing at all like the idiot like character he plays today with the silly voice. He and Roy have had total personality transplants.

GEO said...

Roy had personality transplant around 1999/2000 to a much more reclusive serious character.


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