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

Sunday 26 December 2021

Five Things We Learned From Corrie's Christmas

Joy to the world.  2021 has been rubbish.  If 2020: The Pandemic was an enormous blockbuster, 2021 was a cheap SyFy channel knock off version, using many of the same story beats but with much worse writing and cheaper special effects.  2021 was just miserable, as we all dipped in and out of lockdowns and mask-wearing and lateral flow tests while the government faffed about, and chucking in a last minute surprise villain in the form of Omicron didn't make the previous eleven months any better.

Thank goodness then for Christmas Day Corrie, which delivered an hour of nothing but entertainment, laughs and happiness.  Nobody wants to see a gun rampage in Weatherfield on Christmas Day; we want jolliness, bounciness, a sense that life is worth persisting with, this year more than any.  Damon Alexis-Rochefort - always one of Corrie's top writers - turned out a gem of a show where stuff happened that felt good.  Nobody was murdered, nobody was raped, nobody got into a drunken state and tried to run someone over - instead characters chatted to one another and had the odd petty row and made us smile.  It wasn't perfect, for the simple reason that it was Billy who lead the final singalong rather than Rita in a spangly chiffon frock, but it was pretty damn good.  More of this please.

A cigar is not just a cigar.  The simmering jealousy between Tyrone and Phill finally erupted into violence and both men chose their weapon.  Tyrone picked an inflatable unicorn, with a large prominent horn; Phill went with an inflatable hammer and sword.  You don't have to be Freud to see what's going on here.  The two men then battered one another with their faux-phalluses in a feast of homoeroticism that was basically the wrestling scene from Women in Love in Christmas jumpers.  They had to fight this way because as, we discovered during any scene where the two of them were close, Phill is about eight feet tall, and he could simply tuck Tyrone under his armpit and hold him there with no problem.  Instead they had to fight symbolically, using rubber devices.  You know what else is a rubber device?  A condom.  This is absolutely not a coincidence.

The fight came about because Tyrone finally acted on Fiz's fluttering eyelashes and wistful sighs and tried to snog her over the Christmas table while Phill was off hiding from a pigeon.  (This is a sentence that could only have been written about an episode of Coronation Street, which is another reason why this was a top drawer show).  She rejected his advances, because while Phill may be a mother loving ornithobe, he is also kind and committed and hasn't once snogged a Romanian nail technician.  This was a relief for everyone except the people at What's On TV magazine, who'd chosen Fiz and Tyrone to accompany their annual Together at Christmas strapline, and must wish they'd picked a couple from EastEnders instead.

When empires clash, the whole world quakes.  Halfway through last night's Corrie something occurred to me: between them, Gail and Ken have over a hundred years of appearances on the show under their belt.  They've been in more shows than any other two characters.  And yet, when do they ever talk to one another?  They're obviously on nodding terms and have occasionally crossed paths but I'm not sure they've ever had a proper storyline together in forty-six years.  I'm not advocating for a Gail/Ken love story - I would like to repeat I am very much not advocating for a Gail/Ken love story - but when she offered to buy him a pint in the Rovers towards the end of the show it felt like a first.

This was the conclusion to the Barlow-Platt Christmas dinner, the biggest collision of two superpowers since the Reykjavik summit of 1986.  Right from the off, half the guests refused to show up; Daniel decided to spend the day with Beth and Kirk, instantly rendering all the hand wringing of the last couple of weeks pointless.  Sarah-Lou and Adam's stresses about how to bring d√©tente between Max and Daniel would have been instantly neutralised if he'd said "actually folks, I'm spending the day in the kebab shop flat, so it doesn't really matter if Max hates me, I won't be there to stink up the atmosphere."  Tracy and Amy couldn't be bothered going, but Steve did, which felt weird - he's a McDonald, not a Barlow, so he could have legitimately pulled out, while poor Simon apparently decided not to spend the day with either of his parents, so God knows what he was up to.  Trapped in a porn cycle with a half-eaten Domino's and a can of cider, probably.

The Platts took charge - yes, I know they've all got different surnames, but if you expect me to try and keep track of everyone's new names you underestimate how stuck in my ways I am - with each member of the family taking on a particular role.  David became the chef, which is great, because nothing pleases me more than seeing a former wild child pinned under the drudgery of domesticity.  Audrey tended bar, by which I mean she worked her way through the top shelf of optics; Debbie must've opened up the Bistro Boxing Day morning and found Aud lying on the floor with the last few trickles of brandy spilling from her mouth.  She also took it upon herself to test whether it really was possible to lock yourself in the Bistro fridge and concluded you'd have to be an idiot - absolutely right Audrey, and finally someone has said it.  Sarah-Lou took it upon herself to be the organisational brain and you can imagine how well that went.  And Gail sat at the back with a glass of prosecco and told them all to sort themselves out because she'd done it herself for decades and it was about time someone else took up the slack.  This realisation hits all mothers at some point, that they've reached the stage where they don't have to fuss all over their chicks any more, that they simply turn up and passive-aggressively point out that the stuffing is a little dry but that's ok, if you drown it in gravy it's fine, and is that Bisto or homemade?  Oh Bisto?  Well it's so much easier than the real stuff isn't it, and you look so frazzled, you clearly need all the help you can get.  Good luck trying to get Gail to resume the cooking next year.  She'll press a copy of Nigella's Christmas into Shona's hand and then head to the Rovers until the Queen's speech.

They're back back back back back again.  Look, nobody really thought Roy had gone forever.  When David Neilson finally retires Roy will get a full half-hour farewell clip show where they'll get Julie Hesmondhalgh back and everyone will cry.  So his return to the show wasn't really a surprise, but it was a pleasure.  The brevity of his absence sort of implied he went all the way to Venezuela just for a haircut - I know inflation is a constant worry Roy but David adding a quid to the price of a short back and sides doesn't mean you have to flee the country.  Hopefully now he's back he can stop Nina having those black and white panic attacks that sort of imply she's receiving some kind of message from another dimension.

Also making an unexpected return were The Twins, whose names I've forgotten so I'm going to call them Topsy and Tim.  Abi was filled with absolute joy at their return and managed to whip out suitable presents for them; given they appeared unexpectedly on Christmas Eve, when all the shops were shut, I'm assuming she took some of Jack's and handed them over to The Twins.  Topsy is wondering why she got a Wethy County football kit and Tim can't understand why he has an electric razor.  Thankfully this meant Abi was happy, and not on yet another Hulk Smash rampage through the Street, although she is going to have to send those kids back to Australia at some point so get ready for another dose of despair in the ginnel.

Sing if you're winning.  Daisy managed to organise an impromptu street party for the residents which impressed Jenny with its wonderful sense of community.  Yeah, amazing how there's a wonderful sense of community whenever someone's handing out free booze.  What started as a skive for Gemma and Emma ended up as a full-on sing-song, like they'd all been bombed out of their houses during the Blitz or something, and it was lovely.  Highlights included Bernie and Dev getting it on again, Mary descending on the scene like a Christmas fairy, and Billy once again tempering his West End pipes to pretend he was just a regular old singer.  (Meanwhile, at Weatherfield Parish Church, the Christmas Evensong was cancelled because the Archbishop was getting lathered in the Street).  There was a thrilling moment when Jenny stepped up to the piano and burst into song; tragically it wasn't her signature tune What I Did For Love but I will none the less repost that high point of Western civilisation here because I never need an excuse.

It was all lovely.  Lovely lovely lovely.  I'm sorry I'm not my usual cynical self; clearly the season of goodwill has filled my body, or at the very least, an awful lot of Baileys.  By the end of the show I half expected Sam to stand up on his chair and finally speak, calling out "God bless us every one!" and to be honest by that point I'd have welcomed it.

The author is absolutely hammered while he writes this so if Charlie de Melo wants to slide into his DMs over on Twitter @merseytart this is exactly the time to do it.

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Charles said...

The Christmas Day episode was a joy to watch and this was a joy to read.

If Corrie could be like this more often I'd be a happy man.

Sharon boothroyd said...

Yes, it was brilliant - I was crying at the end! We need more- feel good moments.
Fab post Scott but I didn't spot any homo eroticism between Ty and Phil.
They are both straight and are vying for Fizz's affections. It was a silly tussle, a comic bit of nonsense that made us smile - no more, no less!
It was good to see Roy and Evelyn back and yes, where was Simon? A lot of the cast were involved in the singalong, but some were off the scene. I too, wondered where Abbie found prezzies for the twins at the very last moment.
I loved the disastrous Xmas lunch at The Bistro!
On the boxing day episodes, it looked like the hair and make up artists are back at work, as Roy and Dev had fresh haircuts, and Kelly and Leeanne's hair looked lovely.

Anonymous said...

One thing that puzzled me with regards to the Platt\Barlow Christmas dinner,if it was Sarah's idea why was David doing all the cooking?
It seemed to me that Sarah took off from her own Christmas dinner when she should have been cooking it!

Tashacat said...

Kelly’s hair was always lovely. Even when she was homeless!

Rapunzel said...

Thanks Scotty Tart, you speak for me too


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