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Saturday 16 October 2021

Corrie Hell: Jenny Bradley Down A Well

Are we all girding our metaphorical loins in readiness for next week's 'Weatherfield Goes To Hell In A Handcart'? I have to say, I'm quite looking forward to it. It's something different and while we thank ITV effusively for keeping Corrie on the screens, there are only so many scenes featuring an empty Rovers and loving couples stood six feet apart from each other that anyone can stand.

As the UK basks in oddly mild temperatures next week, a micro climate is about to descend on t'cobbles. Will this biblical storm cleanse the Street clean? Will Sean finally be swept out into the Manchester Ship Canal, lips pursed in preparation for a valedictory one-liner? Sadly not. Will be treated to Nick squinting into the middle distance, Leanne donning her emergency M & S mac for a stomp down the soggy cobbles (can cobbles get soggy?) or Mary reminiscing about how she once built an Ark during an earlier tempest? We can but hope. However, we do get to see the box of delights known as Jenny Bradley down a well. This is, presumably, divine retribution for her rendition of 'What I Did For Love' in the Rovers around 400 years ago. 

They won't kill Jenny. They had better not kill Jenny. Back in the 1980s she was an irritating presence. Mardy, as we say up north. Whether she was lamenting her lost love (and yes, Patrice got a mention this week) or accusing Reet of overreacting to having been smothered by a pillow, Jenny's disdainful face blighted half a decade. We'll draw a veil over that brief return in 1993 when she turned up with a Dulux dog. Twenty first century Jenny is an absolute joy. Letting her loose behind the bar of the Rovers was a masterstroke. As different a landlady to Annie and Bet as there could be but so in keeping with Street humour. There are always characters who you look forward to seeing in action - or rather the actors that portray them. Sally Dyvenor, Sally Carman, Sue Nicholls; all at the top of their game. As is Sally-Ann Matthews. There's the knowledge that the scriptwriters can hurl any situation at these actors, safe in the knowledge that the final result will be a success. 

My tiny brain is slightly addled the moment, having watched a pile of 1999 episodes alongside the current stuff. It can be a little bizarre. The 1999 Kevin and Sally are, generally, nasty pieces of work. Conversely, Sharon Gaskell is a bright and cheery presence at the Kabin as opposed the the 60-a-day gravel-voiced pantomime baddy who turned up this year. 1999 Toyah is feisty and opinionated. There's no sign of a tie-necked blouse. 1999 Nick is a curtain-haired weeping wuss. 1999 Gail is a business owner and busy mother. 2021 Gail is one episode away from running up and down the cobbles with a bladder on a stick shouting 'hey nonny nonny'. Evolution, some may say. However, these twenty-odd year old episodes have helped me to appreciate the show anew. I am forever indebted to Fred Elliott, Natalie Barnes and Nita Desai . . . well, maybe not Nita.

I have to confess that I did fall a little out of love with Corrie, hence the reason I haven't posted on here for so long. It wasn't a case of loathing the show or going into one of those dreary social media rants. You know the ones. 'It hasn't been the same since Elsie was in it. The Battersbys ruined the show forever! I don't watch it because it doesn't feature flat caps and bacon slicers!' No, it was more about me failing to engage with characters who I didn't really care about. It happens. Then you suddenly find your interest reignited by compelling performances. We're back to those enigmatic female leads - Sally, Abi, Jenny, Nina and those historically feckless Weatherfield men. Yes Imran and Tyrone - we're looking at you.

Here's to a week of underwater shenanigans then. Exploding cars, collapsing sinkholes, escaped madmen and the odd spot of rain. Someone buy Jenny a brolly.

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