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

Sunday 31 October 2021

Five Things We Learned In Corrie This Week

Another one bites the dust.  Of course Natasha died.  Of COURSE.  First of all, she's a sparky, funny woman, young and attractive, with a good business brain, played by a charming and talented actress.  That can't be allowed to continue.  For some reason Corrie absolutely hates that kind of woman, and so she must be culled for the good of the nation.  What a waste of an interesting character.  (As @yeahfuego pointed out on Twitter, this is yet another in a long line of Corrie parents dying and leaving their children alone).  And what a horrible way to die, alone in hospital, from a bullet wound that wasn't even intended for her.  Didn't Natasha have any parents, siblings, friends?  Did she bring up Sam in a bunker, like Brie Larson in Room, and they only emerged in the last year?

And of course she had to die, because they wanted to get Sam in the show properly.  I hate it when you can see the contrivances, the joins, as the scriptwriters beat the story into shape for a desired outcome rather than letting it happen naturally.  Sam could've carried on visiting his dad, no problem.  Maybe Nick could've got joint custody, so he stayed in Victoria Court a few days a week.  Maybe Natasha could've got a job offer in That London, but didn't want to disrupt Sam's schooling, so she left him with his dad in Manchester.  Maybe there could've been a nice, charming storyline, something that makes us all happy.  But no: this way, Sam gets to be emotionally traumatised, Nicky gets horrific flashbacks to his own father's murder, and Leanne gets to revisit the horror of her son's death and her fear of mothering again.  Wonderful.

Incidentally, and they've constantly skipped over this, but Nicky never actually got real confirmation that Sam's his son.  When Natasha first left the show, as far as everyone was concerned, she wasn't pregnant; then she turned up with a child ten years later and said it was his.  I think the experience of Michael over the road has taught us all to say "that's lovely and everything, but how about we have a quick DNA test before things get serious?"  It'd be sort of hilarious if some other bloke turned up, said "I'm Sam's real dad", and snatched him off to Marbella.  

Have you seen this man?  During the first Friday episode in "Horrornation Week", Imran left everybody in the Bistro to go to Victoria Court in search of Nicky Tilsley.  He also said he'd check up on that little girl they'd fostered a week before and had already abandoned to babysitters so they could get drunk at a Hallowe'en attraction.  He walked out and... vanished.  We've not seen or heard from him since.  Is he ok?  Did he fall down one of the sinkholes and nobody's noticed?  Admittedly, there is a space-time aberration between Viaduct Street and Victoria Street.  We know this for a fact, because in the same episode, Leanne set off for Victoria Court, but Nicky was able to visit the Bistro, chat to Toyah, walk over to his flat and then discover Natasha's wounded body all before Leanne actually turned up.  Has Imran fallen into a wormhole?  Is he in another dimension?  Or maybe he got sick and tired of all these whining Battersby women and got a cab into town and stayed there.  I wouldn't blame him.

Sean is actually even worse than we previously knew.  Long term readers of this blog or followers of my Twitter feed will know that I was obsessed with Carol, Sean's homeless pal.  To recap: Sean was temporarily homeless, and Carol took him under her wing, helped him get food and shelter, and protected him from violence.  Then Sean got a roof over his head and he wandered off and left her to rot on the streets.  Carol reappeared earlier this year, and Sean repaid her kindness by getting her in debt to his pyramid scheme and causing her to take a drug overdose.  In short, Sean is the worst.

But wait!  It turns out he has new depths to plummet to!  Because Asha and Nina were looking for a particular homeless person, because of an unbelievably daft twist in the Corey saga that left me sighing in pain.  Sean offered to contact someone he knew in the homeless community, and I think we were all expecting Carol to turn up.  And then, Dudley walked through the door.  Who?, I hear you ask.  Well, exactly.  It seems that Carol wasn't Sean's only pal during his time as a gentleman of the road.  There was this Dudley too, meaning he's blanked multiple people now he's got a job and a home, and so is even more unpleasant than we thought.  Ever feel like giving something back, Sean?  Helping Billy out with the soup kitchen, something like that?  Didn't think so.

Incidentally, isn't it lovely to get some location filming again?  I know a tent city round the back of a viaduct isn't exactly the Maldives but it was great to see somewhere other than the set and Salford Quays.  The directors have done their best over the past eighteen months but I don't think there's a single square centimetre that hasn't been used multiple times.  It also means that Billy's soup kitchen no longer has to set up in the loading bay of Victoria Court, which I'm sure will delight all the residents.

Save Aadi!  Aadi is a delight.  (I'm talking about the Adam Hussein version of course, what with the previous versions basically being animated props).  He's smiley and cheery and fun.  But now he's full of angst and it must not stand.  I know having it confirmed that your dad likes your awful sister more than you will be a bit upsetting, but cheer up!  I don't want Aadi being depressed.  I want him trying to boss Evelyn about and suffering under her withering tongue.  I want him making sarcastic comments from the sidelines as Asha has another disastrous relationship.  There was a moment this week where he went from this:

To this once Dev's back was turned:

...and it just about broke my heart.  I blame Dev, of course, because he didn't seem to want to spend any time with his broken son, and he certainly doesn't seem to think he's done anything wrong.  Never mind spurious job titles, give Aadi all the posh crisps from the cupboard then cuddle up with him on the sofa to watch a trashy film while you make Asha do the washing up.  Show him he's a treasure so we can have the happy joyful boy back again.

Put the blame where it's due.  Carla and Jenny lost their minds with fury when they discovered that the sinkhole wouldn't have got bigger if David had got it fixed earlier.  They immediately blamed him for Johnny's death.  Now I don't want to start victim blaming here, but let's run over what happened, shall we?  Leo was in David's back garden looking at the hole.  Jenny went there - of her own free will, onto private property, and against the express advice of the homeowners - looking for Leo.  She fell in the hole.  Johnny went into the same back garden - again, not his property, and again, he was warned off - and physically climbed down into the hole.  He didn't drop down into the underworld, he, a grown adult man, made a conscious decision to go down there, even though he had mobility issues and absolutely no plan about what to do once he was there.  So frankly I think he deserved everything he got and Jenny and Carla should shut their traps.  

You know who should be livid with David and his sinkhole?  Yasmeen.  Because she's living next door to a hellmouth that's growing and her house and garden could be its next victim.  Apparently she has no opinion on this matter, however, which doesn't really make sense, but does any of this?  David mentioned that the water board had come round and pumped concrete under the house to stabilise it; so does that mean it's the water board's responsibility after all?  All the holes that opened up seemed to drop people into sewers so it certainly seems so, but now he's got a huge bill to pay for it, so apparently not?  But then again he agreed with Debbie that it was all Ray's fault for creating it in the first place, and we've still not had it explained to us exactly how you manage to deliberately create a sinkhole in a suburban back garden without anyone noticing.  My conclusion is that the sinkhole is actually sentient, like the Sarlacc from Return of the Jedi.  Ray employed it to wreck David's garden, then got arrested before he could hand over the cash, so the sinkhole is sticking around until it gets paid.  This would also explain how it knew to open up smaller sinkholes only at moments of maximum drama rather than, say, simply collapsing under the weight of the big tent or David's house.  And let's be honest, after the nonsense of the last couple of weeks, a living, breathing sinkhole wouldn't be much more of a stretch of credibility.  Give it a couple of years and Steve McDonald will be marrying it.

The author is tired of telling Toyah Battersby to stop working at the factory because everyone keeps turning to her for counselling advice so she's obviously quite good at it.  If you'd like to take over this role please contact me via Twitter @merseytart.

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Saturday 30 October 2021

Weatherfield's tram network

7th January 2002. Not much happened in the real world (I checked), but we can always rely on the residents of Weatherfield to bring us a bit of entertainment.

For a start, we get to see Les Battersby looking uncharacteristically smart in his best funeral attire, despite not bothering to brush his hair. Meanwhile, Dev and Deirdre have a conversation about their, well… transgression – something I’ve tried erasing from my memory, but which still haunts me to this day.

Fortunately for us, that’s not what this post is about. Instead, let’s rewind to the start of the episode – specifically, the opening titles. They’re new, shiny and widescreen. Not only that, but it’s the first time we see a tram running over the viaduct on Viaduct Street.

You can tell they were chuffed with it, as the tram features again less than ten minutes in!

Now call me na├»ve, but I truly believed that this was a real tram on a real track. Even though my excuse is that I was a child at the time, it’s actually really well done and way ahead of its time (EastEnders followed suit eight years later!).

As an inquisitive kid, it did make me wonder where the tram went. I remember thinking that one day, I’d figure it out and take a ride over Coronation Street. If I was lucky, maybe I’d even get to see them filming.

This stayed in my mind for the years to come, and in 2011, I found myself living in Manchester where I soon remembered my childhood dream. So, with my camera at the ready for some snaps out of the tram window, I headed towards the studios to figure out exactly where the Metrolink runs past the set.

Only, there was no line… not even a viaduct. I’d been conned.

The ‘viaduct’ from behind (photo of the set being demolished in April 2018). If you look closely, you can see where they removed the wall for the placement of the mock tram that was built for the tram crash scenes.

Over the past decade, I’ve eventually come to terms with the fact that I’d been well and truly Lewis Archer’d by CGI. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of my heartbreaking discovery, I’m now trying to make sense of Weatherfield’s illusive tram network, known as ‘Politanlink’.

If you’re into this sort of thing, do also have a read of Scott Willison’s write-up that does an excellent job of explaining the whole Politanlink/Metrolink/‘City Tram’ saga.

Let’s start with what we know. Weatherfield North tram station is on Victoria Street – sandwiched between Tattoo'll Do Nicely and the new EE shop. If you look closely at the picture in this press release, you’ll notice that the sign tells us that trams from here go to ‘Manchester’ and Weatherfield South:

That gives us a grand total of two, maybe three, stops – plus Manchester East which we catch a very brief glimpse of in 2011 when Izzy is mugged. Unfortunately, the destination board isn’t readable in the episode, but I stumbled across a high-resolution publicity photo from the same scene where you can make out the stop names!

On top of this, I managed to dig out a photo I’d taken at some point of a Transport for Greater Manchester map in the bus shelter on Rosamund Street. The pieces of the puzzle were there; now all that was left to do was put them together, so I popped on my geek goggles and did just that:

There are of course a few disclaimers attached to this map. Firstly, every stop shown has been acknowledged by the programme in some way at some point, except for Bentham Parkway (thanks Corriepedia) which I’ve included based on the fact that characters occasionally take the tram to visit prisoners (how novel). I added a curve here as a couple of semi-official old and new maps show the viaduct bending to the west, along with HMP Highfield shown in the general vicinity.

Obviously I’ve had to use a bit of artistic licence. For example, I have absolutely no evidence to support that Weatherfield Quays has a water taxi (although the real-life Salford Quays briefly did) – I just liked the idea of it.

The placement of some of the other stops, like Hill Bank for example, is an educated guess at best. That said, there is some method to my madness with the junction at this point, as we can see from the 2010 part-CGI shots that the track does verge off at Nuttall's Brewery:

Speaking of verges, I threw in Manchester Verge as it was the only remaining fictional one from the 2011 sign that I figured made sense. The others I left off as I felt it would have been too much of a stretch to try and logically fit them in.

As for Manchester East, this one did throw me off a bit. People only ever went there to shop, party, gamble, lapdance or have affairs with a sleazy car salesman. So why would they travel from Weatherfield, which we know is to the west of Manchester, to the east? They’d be bypassing Manchester city centre and therefore missing out on what would surely be a more diverse and fulfilling shopping/partying/gambling/lapdancing/affair experience – right?

Anyway, I plonked it by Liverpool Road (also not a real tram stop, although it is actually the world’s oldest surviving passenger railway station) because it’s pretty close to where the Manchester East aka ‘Viaduct Shopping Centre’/‘Precinct’(?) set was once located at the back of Granada.

Incidentally, the arches that formed this set also formed the very first outdoor Coronation Street set:

Behind the original set (c.1970s) – one arch in background

April 2014; shortly after ITV vacated the site

I could go on, but I won’t. If you made it this far, you should hit up Roy for a brew and a chat about my findings. Then again, I don’t know if trams are even his thing but I’m sure he’d appreciate a Politanlink map all the same.

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Conversation Street Podcast Episode #494

On the latest Conversation Street, we chat about all things Corrie from the week of the 25th to the 29th October (Episodes #10464 - 10469)

It's the calm after the storm in Weatherfield, and this week, the residents are all facing the consequences of Harvey and the Horror Nation Hurricane. While Jenny's drowning her sorrows and looking for someone to blame (looks like, unlike Natasha, the Platts have dodged a bullet there!), the Alahan clan has been torn apart after last week's car crash. Top of the tragedies this week, though, is Natasha's death. People are saying that Johnny's untimely demise was a little heavily telegraphed in the episodes leading up to Super Soap Week, but seriously - have we not all seen this coming for Natasha since the minute she set foot back on the cobbles last year with a new son for Nick? Also this week, Nina and Asha go searching for more clues to incriminate Corey, and it looks like by the end of Friday's episode, it could well be in the bag!

Up next on the podcast, we take a trip to The Kabin to find out what's been going on in the news this past fortnight, and we end the show with some of your thoughts about last week's epic episodes.

Street Talk - 00:03:55
The Kabin - 02:06:20
Feedback - 02:16:58

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


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