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

Sunday 28 February 2021

Corrie Comicals week ending 26 February 2021

At the end of last week Steve got Peter into doing a jigsaw.  Anyone would think that they had finally decided to reflect the lockdown with only Peter being forced to do a jigsaw!  Faced with the above comment from Peter I rather think that Carla's face demonstrates her affinity for jigsaws!

There was much competition between Steve and Tim as to who should become the hearse driver (hearses were in favour in soaps this week as Faith Dingle returned to Emmerdale with a stolen hearse).  Tim said that Steve had a large head and Steve responded by asking if Tim was calling him a fat head - to which Tim responded with the space hoppers line above!

The Ollie story was no place for a gurning Steve but now he is the gatekeeper to mad lockdown jigsaw fancier Peter the gurns are back - especially when discussing Carla's possible sex life (above).  Of course Carla has not sealed the deal; she has a hangover from hell and all she did was sniff the cork because now she doesn't drink it has a huge impact on her whilst Jenny can be up and about doing her pilates in the back room at the Rovers which had apparently grown by about 10ft overnight - or perhaps I was seeing things through wine enhanced spectacles (so much more becoming than beer goggles I find).

Mary assures Dev that she will be Mummy Cool as Nina and Asha come in the cafe.  Which lasts about two seconds as she welcomes them!  She is almost as excited as Boney M were about "Daddy Cool".

And of course with more comebacks than Frank Sinatra Geoff dropped in to wear the same clothes as the bank manager claiming that they regularly heard stories like Yasmeen's and they don't believe in coercive control so she will still have to pay up for the debts for which she signed because no-one would ever do something like that to a woman would they?  Whilst I hope it never affects me I thought banks were a little more sympathetic these days, although the concept of actually having a meeting with a manager seems a little last century to me - a robotic voice in an automated call centre is more my experience!  By way of explanation Mr Sinatra was famous for retiring more often than he went to bed, then having another farewell tour.

Covid crisis alert!!  Ryan I hope you do realise that you and Alya popping out for some "fun" probably involves a nightclub or a restaurant or the cinema or a theatre or almost anything which is currently closed.  There are some dates when it is threatened that normality will return but in reality all BoJo announced at the start of the week was a further extension of lockdown until June - I hope you got the message like the rest of us?  And why aren't Rita, Roy, Ken, Evelyn, Yasmeen, Elaine, Audrey, Gail, Debbie and Kev talking about their jabs?  It is about the only subject of conversation for those over 50 these days!

"Mummy Cool" praises Nina's dress - above "You look like a princess" but then adds "Of, you know, the dead."  Which somehow Nina accepts as a compliment and makes Asha look as though she is about to throw up.  Dev moves swiftly on!

I made mention of this last week.  In the clip above Eileen is at the opening of the new ginnel which is on the other side of Victoria Street from Trim Up North.  She takes four or five steps walking in front of the wooden erection which probably extends the width of the pavement and covers over the previously permanently closed entrance to the council information point.  So not a figment of my imagination.  And curious to know what is going on as there have been no hints that it would be used since Cathy and Brian were in competition with someone else to use as a shop - all of which came to nothing.  

Factory at Work

In the middle of Lucas meeting Peter who should pop up in the background - Dirk, holding the legendary clipboard in his left hand, diligently ticking things off - I wonder if he gets paid by the ticks on the sheet?

Written by: Sam Holdsworth & Julie Jones (Monday); Cameron McAllister & David Isaac (Wednesday); Owen Lloyd-Fox (Friday)
Directed by: Pip Short (Monday & Wednesday); Duncan Foster (Friday)


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Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street, has died

Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin in Coronation Street, has sadly passed away at the age of 85.

His family said he died peacefully after "a long illness, with family by his side" and asked for privacy to "remember the wonderful times we had".

Briggs was made a MBE in the New Year's Honours in 2006, the year his character was killed off from ITV soap.

Baldwin's affair with Deidre Barlow and his feud with her husband, Ken, were a long-running ratings hit for the show.

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The Week In Classic Corrie

MONDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 27th and 29th October 1997

Liz was feeling her age as her 40th birthday loomed.  Jim suggested that she come round to for dinner with him and the twins and they started talking about the old times.  Of course they ended up kissing.  Mike told Angie they'd got the deal with the pervy buyer so there was no need for her to leave Underworld.  She stuck to her guns - though she was pleased he wanted her around.  Les won on the horses, but couldn't find the slip.  He realised he must have left it at Emily's and let himself in through the attic to retrieve it.  However, Emily came back with Ken, and he pursued Les into the roof, only to end up falling through the ceiling into number 5 - and right on top of a snogging Leanne and Nicky.  Les accused Ken of being a peeping tom and soon spread it round the neighbours, though Ken retaliated by telling everyone about his habit of letting himself in through the loft.  Janice, meanwhile, disgusted that he'd scared her with all the talk about a ghost, claimed the winnings to repair the roof.  Perhaps the most significant part of all this was we got our first gratuitous shot of Adam Rickitt shirtless.  He was brought in to attract teenage girls and soon he'd find it difficult to wear a shirt onscreen at all.  I'm therefore introducing a new recurring feature: the Nicky Tilsley Shirtless Count, or NTSC.  Let's count it together!

TUESDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 31st October and 2nd November 1997

Deirdre and Jon planned their new life together.  They'd been looking at huge detached houses and she worried about where the money was going to come from.  He said that he would pay the mortgage and all the bills and she wouldn't have to worry about it at all.  Oh dear.  Deirdre got a shock when she saw Liz and Jim kissing on the doorstep, but Fiona, watching from across the road, was thrilled, because it meant Jim would get off her back.  Chris and Sally went out for dinner together and he admitted he found her attractive.  He thought he should tell Kevin but she urged him to keep it a secret.  Meanwhile Kev and Natalie were having much less fun, with him going out on a breakdown to avoid going to dinner with her and her friends.  Elsewhere, Gail was horrified to learn Nicky and Leanne were still seeing one another, Alec and Jack decided to let Betty go from the Rovers, and Angie adjusted Fiona's wedding dress to accomodate her growing pregnancy belly.  When Alan came home unexpectedly, Maxine refused to let him into the hairdresser flat because it was bad luck - making him react angrily, convinced that Fi was actually with another man.  His fury frightened Maxine.

WEDNESDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 3rd and 5th November 1997

Betty didn't turn up for work so they couldn't sack her.  Alec wrote her a letter and got the Duckworths to co-sign it then stuck it through her letterbox.  However, Betty called in, upset; Billy had died of a heart attack.  Fortunately Alec managed to retrieve the letter before she saw it.  He said they'd give her time to get over her loss... and then they'd sack her.  Heart of flint, that man, and we love him for it.  At the funeral, though, Vera told Betty she had a job at the Rovers for life (which turned out to be true).  Deirdre gave Jon some money for their house deposit, only for him to say they'd lost the house.  He said he'd keep the money in his account while they carried on looking, but his wife saw the deposit, and he had to pretend it was a bonus.  Liz turned 40 and the boys gave her some cash; Steve joked about getting her a facelift but she said that wasn't her kind of thing.  Ahem.  She threw herself into her new relationship with Jim but he seemed less keen.  Natalie invited Chris round to meet her niece Lorraine, but he stayed aloof because he had Sally on the go.  Lorraine chucked herself at him though because apparently all the Horrocks women have very loose knicker elastic.  Fiona and Alan had their hen and stag dos, with his policeman mates making racist comments about her brother Lee.  Steve and Jim were both upset about her wedding, and Jim confessed that he'd slept with her.  Steve was understandably nauseated.  But the best news was Alf was back.  In real life Brian Moseley had suffered a heart attack so he'd been out of the show for months.  He'd lost a lot of weight (which Gail obliquely referred to in the episode - he claimed to be dieting), and he would be sickly for the remainder of his time on the programme, but it was good to see him and his trilby again.

THURSDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 7th and 9th November 1997

Steve stormed into Fiona's and demanded to know if what his dad said was true.  He couldn't believe it any more than the rest of us.  He turned up at the church, making her worry he was going to make a scene, but it turned out she was fretting about the wrong McDonald.  As they said their vows Jim drunkenly stormed down the aisle and demanded she tell him the truth.  In the vestry, Fiona confessed to Alan about their night together.  Alan was disgusted and confused and he announced that they wouldn't be marrying.  His dad said he was best off out of it, not least because Fiona was black, and Alan turned on him, reminding him of his abusive childhood.  (Incidentally, it's great the way the show is actually dealing with the issues around race in this way - it feels like something Corrie wouldn't do today).  Alan arrived at the hairdresser flat as Maxine was telling Fiona she was better off without him.  He said that he still loved her and they could still get married... but first they'd have a blood test and make sure it was his baby.  He said if it turned out to be Jim's they'd get an abortion.  Fiona was disturbed that he was so casual about getting rid of the child and said it was her child and her decision.  He became angry and went to punch her - proving that he was a horrible person.  He left, saying his dad was right - no kid of hers could ever be a kid of his.  It was all very well done and acted and brilliant to watch.

FRIDAY - Episodes originally broadcast 10th and 12th November 1997

Fred was desperate to get his hands on the Corner Shop.  He'd sent in a mate to put in a ridiculous offer so that his bid of eight grand under the asking price would seem attractive.  Maud was still unconvinced.  When the estate agents sent round another viewer Fred managed to get in there and put him off, so Maud decided to sell it to him.  Fred should've been keeping an eye on the vacant number 4, because Leanne and Nicky realised it was unlocked and decided to use it for illicit rendezvous.  Alan collected his stuff from the flat and handed over his keys.  On his way out he bumped into Liz, who was frustrated that nobody would tell her why Jim interrupted the wedding, and he told her that Fiona was having Jim's baby.  She went to Jim and he confessed that he loved Fiona; Liz was incredibly hurt, unsurprisingly.  She announced what he'd done to everyone in the Rovers.  Andy was embarrassed by her breakdown, and by his dad, and by generally everyone in his family.  He apologised to Fiona on their behalf then packed his bags; he was off to Spain forever.  And there went another couple of Brian Park's victims, part of his plan to cull the dead wood in the cast.  Don't feel too sorry for them.  Glenn Hugill (Alan) went on to be a producer and the voice of the Banker on Deal or No Deal, which made him a millionaire, while Nick Cochrane would continue to nip back whenever Steve or Liz got married again.  

As I was writing this the news came through that Johnny Briggs, who played Mike Baldwin for thirty years, had passed away.  Mike was a legend of the Street, a bastard and a rogue, but always full of sparkle and charm.  He could be a villain and a hero and every degree inbetween.  Luckily we've still got another decade of him on Classic Corrie to enjoy.  Join me on Twitter @merseytart to raise a glass of single malt to his memory.

Classic Corrie is on ITV3 weekday afternoons and is also on the ITV Hub.

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Saturday 27 February 2021

Five Things We Learned In Corrie This Week

If you love something, let it go.  In Monday's episode, Yasmeen proudly announced that she was feeling a lot better.  She felt happy, confident, able to take whatever was thrown at her; under Soap Opera Law this obviously meant her life was about to collapse horribly.  And so it did, with the combination of a magician hunting customer, a pair of bailiffs and Geoff's will sending her into another tailspin that saw her hiding in her house and getting emotional over menu changes.  The only solution to her debt problems, it seemed, was to flog Jamila House.  Yasmeen couldn't bring herself to do this, however, because it provided such a valuable community resource.  Erm... since when?  It spent much of 2019 being used as a makeshift sweatshop, and has seemingly been closed for 2020 while Yas has been in prison.  I found this picture of it from the 60th anniversary episode:

Does that look like the heart of the neighbourhood to you?  Jamila House has always been a weird part of the set anyway.  Before its current incarnation it was Eliot & Son butchers, and I've never been convinced that there's enough space to hold any decent events.  Imagine trying to do Zumba in there; any more than half a dozen participants and they'd have to dance in shifts.  Plus how many privately owned community centres are there?  Isn't this something the Council should be doing?  Flog it off, Yasmeen; apparently there's loads of interest from buyers, which seems unlikely in a pandemic, but it'd be nice to get a new shop in there.  Maybe Debbie can devote the ground floor of Nuttall's Brewery to a new community space as penance for trying to knock the street down; there is at least plenty of room there, and she's got to do something with the building now there's not going to be a skyscraper built.

The Connor ladies are cheap dates.  Once again Jenny got absolutely smashed in the back room of the Rovers, which is always worth seeing.  This time though, we got a good look at how much it takes to get her going, and it was something of a shock.  At the start of the evening, Daisy poured out a glass each and the girls began to chat:

By the time Jenny was refusing to go out with Jon Hamm because he has a meaty surname, the bottle was barely any emptier:

And by the time they finally emptied it, all three ladies were absolutely paralytic:

Admittedly Carla has a dodgy kidney so perhaps her tolerance is lowered but come on: it's Carla Connor.  She's been swigging shiraz since the age of fourteen and you can't tell me any different.  She could have a bottle of white wine as a mid-afternoon tipple and it wouldn't even touch the sides.  

Death is hilarious, apparently.  I'm fascinated by the thought process that went on in the writer's room for this week's episodes.  "So we're in the middle of a global pandemic, death rates are astronomical, people are locked up in their homes unable to see their families.  You know what we need?  A comedy funeral involving the father of one of our most beloved characters!"  It meant Ted's death was completely overshadowed by Tim and Steve acting like four year olds (why were the owners of StreetCars so utterly uninterested in getting a potentially lucrative driving contract with the funeral parlour?) and Eileen being even more shouty and rude than usual.  Poor Gail and Audrey were blubbing off to one side, Ted's partner didn't even get to appear onscreen, but no, what we really wanted to see was a load of nonsense about ghosts and Tim using his chauffer hat for kinky sex games with Sally.  George seems to have reignited the Gail/Eileen feud, which has been played out so many times it's become predictable and tedious.  I liked the cessation in hostilities that happened after Pat was revealed to be a murderer, when the two women bonded over accidentally marrying a serial killer.  We've had Eileen and Gail fight over a man before, with both that giant Scottish reflexologist and Les Dennis, and George was involved in a love triangle with Eileen and another woman about six months ago.  Something new would be nice.

Literally the only funny part of the whole storyline was seeing chats between Eileen, Tim and Steve in the cafe rather than in the StreetCars office.  Someone had clearly been out with the tape measure and realised there was no way to film three people in that tiny set without breaking the social distancing rules so the scenes were all relocated to Roy's.

See you on the other side.  With Simon busy smoking the biggest onscreen spliff since the Camberwell Carrot, Leanne was free to invite a mystic into her home to provide her with a link to Oliver in the spirit world.  Surprisingly, Toyah let her.  I know she has her hippy-dippy side but I can't believe Toyah would happily let her sister hand over a wad of cash to an obvious fraud.  Leanne has been in desperate need of counselling for months and Toyah - an actual trained counsellor - has apparently been doing something far more interesting.  She might not want to do it herself, fair enough - I'm sure there are ethical issues about working with your family - but she'll know techniques to help Leanne, and she can probably recommend someone to help her properly.  Instead she sat around while a man in a polo neck did some cold reading on her sister in her front room.  (Why do mediums always wear polo necks, by the way?  Is it a uniform?)

I'm sure this isn't the last we've seen of the psychic; from the look of him, if they don't bring him back as Chesney's long-lost dad, they're missing a trick.

Here's to the ladies who love.  Dev and Mary's continued campaign to show just how cool they are with Asha's new relationship reached delightful heights on Friday with a cauliflower wellington and Portrait of a Lady on Fire.  I could've watched a Gogglebox-style commentary from the four of them as they watched the film instead of almost everything else in this week's Corrie; in fact, add in Aadi at the back making smart remarks and that's a perfect evening for me.  Sadly I don't think our two young lovers will be together much longer.  There's only a couple of years difference between them but that feels like a chasm; Asha sulked and blushed like a little girl while Nina remained effortlessly mature and cool, to the extent that even if they split up I can see her popping round to watch French cinema with Mary and Dev for years to come.  Nina is listening to spoken verse about women's identity and resistance and Asha is struggling to get her hair in a plait.  

Special mention to Aadi for rightly objecting to Dev giving the house to the girls so they can get intimate with one another, and to Dev for pointing out he might do the same for him if Aadi ever actually got a girlfriend.  Bless him and his lovely floppy hair.

This week's Five Things is shorter than usual because the author is writing a report for Social Services after Sam was seemingly left loitering in the street on his own for hours.  If you have any additional evidence please send it to me via Twitter @merseytart.

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