Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Gorden Kaye passes away, age 75

Gorden Kaye, the actor best known for his role in BBC sitcom 'Allo 'Allo!, has died at the age of  75.

The Bafta-nominated star's former agent told BBC News he passed away at a care home on Monday morning.

Gorden appeared in Coronation Street as Elsie Tanner's nephew Bernard Butler from 1969 to 1970. He appeared in the show a total of 37 times.

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Monday, 23 January 2017

Corrie Canada Weekly Awards for Jan 16 - 20

And the Gold Star of the Week goes to Malcom Hebden. I may not like Norris but the actor portraying him knocked it out of the park on New Year's Day.

Timing Isn't Everything award: Would you really be signed out and released from the hospital around midnight on New Year's Eve? Why not a bit earlier or the next morning?

Contrivation Street: Kevin had to be out rescuing Johnny so Phelan could rescue Anna. Kevin mentioned the new tow truck and the paperwork within arms' reach where Phelan could overhear.

Old Habits Die Hard award: Brian grilling Simon on why he's not in school. (Bank holiday) Shona paid Billy for his kindness and help by stealing from the resource centre woman!

Secrets and Lies: We found out Daniel's secret. I think Adam has one too. Why is a solicitor's bank card being declined?

"That's you told, Ladeh" award: When you've been told off by Rita, you really know you've been told off!

Deja Vu award: Maria slept with Toyah's boyfriend years ago so Toyah badmouthed her to Eva. Little does Eva know that Maria's been sleeping with *her* boyfriend.

Spiteful award: Jenny made the wrong conclusion and thought Aidan's affair was with Alya and she told Eva. I don't fault her for telling Eva but she was going on assumptions with no proof and she told her out of spite towards Aidan.

Lines of the week:
Todd to Billy "Rebel without a closet?"
Rita to Johnny "Happiness can be a very slippery fish" (that, it can)
Jenny about Rita "I think I'm nicer to her than most daughters are to their mums" (maybe *now* you are but you haven't been in the past!)
Brian to Simon "Why aren't you in school?" (none of your damn business. You aren't the school head anymore)
Sally "You don't scare me, Bradley"
Eva "We've established that your hair hasn't always been that long but have you always been a bitch?" (she's had her moments)
Adam to Daniel "My present's in the post. It's a card" (you live together. Why post it?)
Gemma "He was fit as...anything. I wish I could remember his name!"

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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Sunday Comments January 22

We start the week where we left off last episode with Anna at the bottom of the stairs, the sounds of fireworks going off outside at midnight and celebrations going on in the pub. Kevin is out with the breakdown truck rescuing Johnny who was delivering an order on New Year's Eve, a very silly contrivance. Phelan found Jack out on the street and discovered that Anna had fallen and can't get up. I'm surprised Jack didn't go knocking on doors or go into the pub for help but he is only 6 after all and scared. The door must have been on the latch because it locked behind him so Phelan had to break in the back way. Anna freaked out to see Phelan standing over her when she came to.

Kevin freaked out to find Phelan there as well, fixing the back door. Oh and more contrivance. Phelan conveniently overheard Kevin talk about delivery of a new tow truck and the paperwork in his jacket pocket which was equally conveniently laying over a kitchen chair near where he was fixing the door. It looks like he's going to nick Kevin's new tow truck, using a new throwaway phone as well. Kevin still doesn't have any warm and fuzzy feeling towards Phelan and nor should he! Phelan really should leave well enough alone and stay clear but there was a method to his madness, he stole Kevin's mobile phone to aid in his plan and his stooge, Andy, will be the one to pretend to be Kevin and take possession of the truck.

Steph is alone in the Bistro and wondering where Andy is while watching Luke and Tracy playing tonsil hockey. I can't blame her for looking a bit put off. They can't keep their hands and lips off each other. Steph decided to go looking for Andy and saw Phelan. I forgot he got home from the hospital earlier in the day. She found Andy just about ready to leave the flat and they had it out. Poor lad doesn't seem to know which way is up these days. He didn't leave in the end so I guess that means he'll continue to be Pat's puppet for awhile longer until he breaks because Phelan is making threats about Steph's safety though I don't think he'd actually do anything to her. Andy believes him, that's all that matters.

Mary and Norris watch the fireworks while trying to discuss difficult subjects. Norris and Mary are both emotional you can tell. She wants him to visit or at least "video call" but he seems to be finding excuses. When Jude joins her, he really seems to be genuine, not wanting to put any pressure on her. I hope he really is that genuine. She does deserve a family of her own without drama and tragedy. Norris couldn't face seeing Mary leave in that taxi so said goodbye in the pub. You might not like Norris, I certainly don't, but I don't think anyone could watch these scenes without a lump of sympathy in their throats. I may not like Norris but I do think Malcom Hebden is a very good actor and he knocked it out of the park. He doesn't get the chance to really get his teeth into something like this very often.

All the rest of Mary's friends saw her off with a song. It's a difficult thing, leaving like that, even if you know it's what you really, really want to do. Starting a new life is scary but often worth it. In the end, Mary couldn't go and came back to Norris. Is there more there than best friendship? I don't know.

Roy and Cathy looked awkward in the pub on New year's eve, didn't they? Roy's still trying to sell up as well but I really don't think he will in the end. He's got a person coming to view and Brian has a plan to scupper the deal. He tried to get Cathy to talk to Roy but she says she keeping out of Roy's business. She must have reconsidered because she went to the cafe anyway and told Roy that Alex managed to get his own flat in an assisted living facility. Now Roy feels guilty about "breaking up the family" when living on his own is probably the thing Alex is most happy about!

The cash buyer for the cafe was awfully pretentious but Brian had another aspect to his plan. He reeled Sally in. Sally parroted to Roy everything that Brian apparently poured into her ear, which we could tell from him listening and nodding slightly to her words. Then she dug herself in a hole in the pub and Roy realized it was a set up and he was furious at the pair of them. I'm very glad he shot Brian down for interfering.

Brian has a lot of sucking up to do but Roy is a man of little impression when it comes to that. Deeds not words, mate. At least, not sucking up words. Cathy doesn't really want him to sell up, I think she realizes she shouldn't expect him to give up his life. She wants to stay friends and I think they can manage that.

Shona's popped up again and Sean has brought her to Todd and Billy in the Bistro and then they brought her home tipsy. Todd did a bit of investigating and found David's wallet with Kylie's picture. Hmmm. Did Shona realize that David lived right across the street from the Grimshaws? She does know and is going to do a runner. But Todd confronted her about finding David's wallet and laid a guilt trip on her. He doesn't want anything to do with her and I don't blame him for being suspicious. Billy took her to a resource centre but guess what? She stole from the woman running the place. I don't care if she stole the money to refill David's wallet before she returned it. Billy really should either call the police or at least wash his hands of her.

Billy headed back to the bar where Shona likes to hang out when he heard David got his wallet back. Sure enough, she came back to the bar. The criminal often returns to the scene of the crime. Billy offered her a place to stay at Eileen's, without asking Eileen of course and Todd blew a gasket. Why on earth did Billy sleep in a bus shelter with Shona? He's back in the church, doesn't he have access to the vestry? Maybe he doesn't, maybe the new vicar has moved in there. *has* Billy actually taken the church back or has that not actually become official yet? It's only been since Christmas he decided. It doesn't matter now. Todd has offered to persuade Eileen to let Shona stay there, against his better judgement. Eileen is a soft touch so of course she says yes and Shona reluctantly agrees as well.

At least Peter and Toyah both came clean to Simon and they cleared up the mix up. They really did lie and tell him Leanne was at Janice's when she was in hospital. Stupid, really, they keep treating him like a little kid. Good thing they told him when they did because Nick brought Leanne home from the hospital just then. After midnight on New Year's Eve. yes, that makes so much sense. And they decided to tell him the truth after all that. Simon didn't reveal what he knows for his mother's sake but he really doesn't like keeping the secret. I wonder what excuse Toyah made to Leanne to leave when Peter did or if she waited until Leanne went to bed.

There's still competition no matter how cool and collected Peter seems to be. One hint from Nick about a grand holiday and Peter needs to do something similar. He went for the adventure instead of the Caribbean cruise. Turns out Toyah's a drug counsellor but she wants to get some bar work to tide her over? Surely that's a skill in high demand. Apparently her bar experience is in demand, too because Liz is going to give her a shift or two after all.

Johnny seems ready for a life change. I wonder if having Jenny move in was part of that? Back at the flat, Jenny is hosting the party for quite a number of non speaking extras. They must be Underworld clients! Rita arrives. After midnight which seems odd though she was in the pub for the ringing in of the New Year, I suppose. Aidan played host with the clients instead of Johnny. Jenny was in her element, schmoozing with the clients and enjoying the anticipation of the perkes of being Johnny's partner from the sounds of it. Yachts in the Caribbean? Eva didn't look too thrilled at Jenny's gushing and playing Lady Muck.

Johnny's decision was more than Jenny moving in. He's decided to retire! Nobody really believes it but Aidan is quite pleased to be given full control of the factory. How long will it last? Anyone's guess. Jenny's looking forward to moving in with Johnny and Gemma is set to nab the spare room in Rita's flat before the sheets even get cold! She's not however, keen on Johnny retiring. Maybe she loses the power in the factory of being the boss's girlfriend? Yep, looks like it. Sally sure touched a nerve when she suggested it. She even tried to get Aidan to persuade Johnny not to retire. I think Adam might have done the job for her. At least temporarily.

Now Adam decides he's out for a bit of revenge and Peter's going to help him. Peter regrets giving back his 50% of Underworld that Carla gave him. No, he didn't get any money for it but then he didn't pay for it in the first place. Adam whines about getting ripped off the share of Underworld he inherited from Mike but he couldn't be bothered with learning how to run the place and took the low offer he was given from the Connors just to get rid of it. They're going to gang up on the Connors to get back the money they should have had and Adam just wants to scare them out of a settlement. Good luck with that. He doesn't even want an interest in the factory so he's clearly still not interested, just greedy.

I'm a bit surprised Aidan confided in Alya about Adam and Peter's threats. We don't see her for weeks on end and yes, ok, she's got a stake in the factory, being an assistant manager and now with the bespoke orders, a financial stake as well. It would make more sense if we actually saw her interact with the upper management now and then. Everyone is in a bad mood the next day and Johnny's back on the payroll.

In the meantime, Eva is determined to visit Maria and Aidan can't really get out of going with her except Eva ended up diverted by a broken down bus so Aidan went in on his own to see her. Maria called him out on breaking all his promises. He didn't tell Eva about them and didn't come to the court with her, either. Aidan insists he meant what he said when he said he loved her, but here's the rub, he loves Eva, too. Funny, though, I feel absolutely no sympathy for Aidan. He wants it both ways and Maria isn't going to be used. He also got in a few suggestions to head Maria off at the pass, so to speak. Telling Eva that Maria is angry and saying strange things might cover him if Maria decides to tell Eva she loves Aidan and he loves her.

Now, Jenny overheard a vague reference that Johnny made about Aidan and other women and she zeroed in on it, extracting from Johnny an admission that Aidan is having a fling but not with whom so Jenny leaped to the wrong conclusion and suspects the other woman is Alya. She doesn't know Alya very well, does she? She really put her foot in it, though, and told Eva that Aidan and Alya were having an affair. They were at the flat but they were having an innocent business meeting. Jenny really only told Eva about the affair out of spite to get back at Aidan for being stern with her and putting her in her place but in reality, I'd want to know if my fella was playing away. I would just want the accusation to have some proof behind it which Jenny's didn't.

So Alya got embarassed and Eva mortified and Aidan enraged when he found out it was coming from Jenny. There's a confrontation in the factory office but it didn't get too far because Adam has sent the police with a complaint that Aidan harassed him. He got off with a warning but it's fuel for the fire, isn't it? All the aggro proves to Johnny that he can't retire just yet and boy, Aidan isn't very happy with that. So much so that he is threatening to start up a rival factory with no money and no plan. That'll work, then. Sounds more like he's just having a hissy fit. He got over it. Hot and cold, that Aidan.

And Jenny's actions, telling Eva about Alya, backfired on her. She's going to have to move back out days after she moved in! Johnny's not ready to forgive her, so Gemma, who overheard their conversation, decided to "help". She pretended to be a client over the phone to get Jenny and Johnny in the Bistro to give them a chance to talk. She did it for the right reasons but neither Jenny nor Johnny was happy with her interference. Jenny went to talk to him anyway but he made a wrong assumption that she did the fake client thing and sacked her. Thing is, he does love her. At least Gemma confessed and Johnny discovered the truth.

He's a good man is Johnny, certainly willing to admit when he's wrong but did he have to propose? That's going a bit beyond the call of duty, isn't it? Actually, I like them as a couple. It's a soap, they may not get very far but I hope they do.

Jenny and Johnny's breakfast lasted from 9 o'clock to noon, judging from the clock on the wall that we saw at the start of one episode and then later on, when they were still just leaving and Brian came in, the clock was on 12! Apparently, where they filmed Aidan for being in front of the prison? That was the ITV studio gates! Steph got her job back. Steph has a friend! She's going to set her up with Robert who is reluctant to say the least. How was Toyah going to make the tea when Leanne said there was nothing in the flat and she was going out to do the shopping. Meanwhile, Kevin is dipping into the garage tax account to pay the American medical bills. Tyrone is not best pleased.

Michelle is hanging out with Robert these days. He still is banned from driving remember. Michelle seems to be keen to spend time with him, just hanging out like mates but it's pretty clear that he's making puppy dog eyes at her. The newlyweds seem to be having a few teething pains both sharing the bed and dealing with Mother Nazir's supportive efforts towards grandchildren. She even gave Rana ovulation kits. I think Rana's going to have to speak up. It's Daniel's birthday and Ken has actually bought him a tablet or ereader, Ken who is dedicated to the printed word on paper! Wow! Daniel wants to go back to university.

Seems Michelle wants to call the baby an Irish name and Steve isn't keen. Her hormones are raging and poor Steve feels a bit at sea as to how to cheer her up. Amy suggested a baby shower so you know it will be organized and sorted within days as is usual on a soap. Meanwhile, Eva feels left out with Leanne spending time with Toyah and Sean suggests a baby shower. I feel a conflict coming on.

Eva and Toyah are awkward with each other and it wasn't helped when Toyah told Eva about Maria stealing her boyfriend years ago and had nothing good to say about her. I don't blame her, with that experience in her past but Eva wasn't too pleased with Toyah badmouthing her friend and warning her to watch her back. Just wait until she finds out Maria's got her claws into her boyfriend. Deja-flaming-vu! More conflict, Eva was going to organize the baby shower and didn't know Toyah was doing it as well, as a surprise. Now they have to work together. And Liz has contributed to the bucket of conflict by making Toyah realize that Eva hadn't told her about the shift Liz wanted her to work. It's going to be handbags at 40 paces which doesn't help Leanne's stress. At Robert's suggestion, Michelle offered Leanne a truce, too, and a shared baby shower. Looks like that's what's going ahead.

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Saturday, 21 January 2017

Cathy and Brian - Yay or Nay?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Last night on Coronation Street there was a moment, just a flicker of a moment between Cathy and Brian. Or am I imaginging things?

After Roy had taken down the For Sale board from Roy's Rolls and Brian caught Cathy on the street, that's when it happened.

"You must care about him very much," Brian said to Cathy and she agreed that she did.

While Roy and Cathy will probably remain friends, I can't see a way back for them romantically. But could there be something between Cathy and Brian, I wonder, in the future?

What would you say to Brian and Cathy getting together - Yay or Nay? I say Yay.

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Friday, 20 January 2017

Got a Phelan about 2017 on Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Coronation Street's Executive Producer, Kieran Roberts, told a crowd of Corrie fans this week that we'll be seeing a lot more of Pat Phelan in 2017.

Kieran was addressing the audience at an event to mark Granada's 60th birthday celebrations this week. It was held at HOME Manchester and you can read our full review by Tommy Cowell here.

Connor McIntyre, who plays bad-boy Phelan, was at the event and told the audience: “I was only there for three scenes originally, for the Owen storyline. And now look!”

He remembered his first scene with Sally Dynevor (Sally Metcalfe) who was also at the event. Connor said to Sally: “I sat opposite you and I said, I can’t tell you how amazing this is. And then I had my first scenes with Rita, and Norris, and in a couple of weeks I get to film with Bill (Roache, Ken Barlow).”

But then he stopped talking, cautious of spoilers....

Run, Ken, run! Sounds like Phelan's out to get you next!

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Review: Coronation Street event at HOME Manchester

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Guest blog post from Tommy Cowell.  
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Just last week pictures of the abandoned Coronation Street set on Quay Street were revealed. The cobbles are gone.The houses are windowless. The Street, derelict. It’s eerie; despite the fact the cast and crew moved to a shiny new set, just two miles away, you can’t help feeling a little gutted seeing this historic site in such bad condition.

But good news! ITV, partnered with Manchester’s wonderful HOME theatre, organised a discussion with many of the talented people that played a role in Corrie over the years, celebrating Granada’s 60th Birthday. Actors, writers and producers all came along to talk to Matt Charlton (who was an excellent host for the evening) about their time at the famous Studios.

“Back in those days the viewers believed that Hilda and Stanley were real people and they felt sorry for them because they were so poor,” revealed John Stevenson, a writer from the classic era of the show. “They sent in crumpled one pound notes to help them out!”

Sally Dynevor (Sally Metcalfe) worked with Jean Alexander (Hilda Ogden) when she started on the show. She agreed with John, that Jean was professional, always on time and didn’t suffer fools gladly. “She was a great influence to Michael (Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster) and I.” She recalled one Christmas party – and the one rare occasion when Jean lost her temper. “We were at the Bonded Warehouse and someone had the idea of releasing a flock of birds, as part of a display- ”
“Oh, yes!” John chuckled, recalling the memory.
“ - and she was furious. She didn’t like the cruelty to the birds. But she was always so easy to get on with, never angry.”

Naturally, Jean and Tony Warren - two giant icons of the show - were brought up in conversation. It was only this year that they both passed away. Kieran Roberts, the executive producer of the show, shared his memories of Tony. “He was charming and would often phone me up with his opinions on how the show was going. If he didn’t like something, he wasn’t afraid to say it!” When asked about the responsibility of keeping Tony’s vision alive for the future, Kieran said, “Tony, at twenty-three years old, created that world, fully formed. The warmth, the comedy, the drama. We must keep sight of that.”

A special “minisode” from the 90s, once thought to be lost, was screened for the first time in years. It was dug from the ITV archives and sadly isn’t available on YouTube. The clip, which featured the return of Hilda Ogden, was pure brilliance. She returned to the Rovers, now rich,bragging about how her Doctor friend asked her to marry him. “Has he gone senile?” quips Alec. Hilda demands Alec’s best port. Alec: “We have ‘the Grimsby”. Hilda: “Why’s it called that?” Alec: “It’s some old British Port.” The audience loved it – laughing at the gags and even shedding a tear or two towards the end, when Hilda visits Stan’s grave. She looks to the next grave, which is in a sorry state, and tells her Husband, “see Stanley, it’s like I always told ya. No matter how bad things are, there’s always someone worse off than you.”

One of the current writers of the show, Debbie Oates, was on stage. She gave an insight into what it’s like in the Coronation Street story conference. “It’s forty people in a room, arguing about people who aren’t real. It’s the least lonely writing job in the world – usually a writer sits at home in their pyjamas, but once every four weeks you have to put your conference clothes on.”

John admits that working for the show was “like a drug”. He was assigned to work on the show in the early 70s, a time when nobody wanted to write for it. Coronation Street was viewed as a little stale. But he loved itand ended up writing there for thirty years. “I wanted to control what happened next!”

Debbie remembers her first episode, broadcast in 2002. “We went to a pub to watch it. And when my words came out of Barbara Knox’s mouth, it was like, ‘wow!’”

In fact, everyone on stage just seemed grateful to be working there. Even Sally, now in her thirtieth year of working on the show. “I still pinch myself,” she admits. “I thought I’d only be there for four weeks.” In fact, she had a question for John. “Was it just a coincidence that my name and the character’s name are the same?!”

John said, “I honestly can’t remember who did the casting for that. But they did an all right job!” The room erupts with applause. Everyone loves Sally.

Sally continues: “I’m married to a Tim in real life, and everyone thinks I’m the same in real life as I am on the show,” and then she says, laughing, “which I am!”

Another person who can’t quite believe that they’re acting on the show is Connor McIntyre, who plays bad-boy Phelan. “I was only there for three scenes originally, for the Owen storyline. And now look!” He remembered his first scene with Sally, “I sat opposite you and I said, I can’t tell you how amazing this is. And then I had my first scenes with Rita, and Norris, and in a couple of weeks I get to film with Bill (Roache, Ken Barlow).” But then he stops talking, cautious of spoilers.

Kieran reveals that we’ll be seeing a lot more of Phelan in 2017. Hooray! Also: boo, hiss!

The audience were treated to three clips from the Christmas Day 2016 episode. Here are a few teasers... (potential SPOILER WARNING)

Eva and Toyah
It looks like Leanne may have her two sisters at war with each other. Toyah’s not a fan of ditsy Eva!
As well as Toyah, there’s a new addition to the family. One that may come as a nasty surprise to Aidan!

Nick vs. Peter
It’s all gonna kick off on Christmas Day. There’s even a street brawl between the pair, but it’s Sally who steals the show.
The fight has consequences – we’re forced to wave a tragic goodbye to a character because of it…

Mary and Norris
Norris and Mary fall out on Christmas Day
And it’s all Norris’ fault. He does something unforgivable…

2017 also sees the show go from five episodes a week to six. John laments the higher episode count. “When it got to four episodes, it became too much. You had more time to change lines before that happened, you could hear a line in the rehearsal, realise it wasn’t working and tell the Director to change it. Those days are gone.”

Sally is positive about the extra weekly slice of Corrie action, “It’s amazing how you adapt. You go from two episodes, to three to five, and now six next year… We can play more stories, play them longer. Hopefully we’ll get longer scenes, like they did in the old days, because at the minute everything is so fast paced. In fact, I was just speaking to our new producer (Kate Oates) about having longer scenes…” So does that mean more Sally in 2017? Hopefully!

Other topics that were brought up include Hayley’s exit storyline. “When an actress like Julie decides to leave, we have to make that storyline spectacular. It’s hard to watch, but we’re so proud of it,” Kieran said.
“It’s sad when an actor decides to leave, but it’s a great opportunity as a writer to write some great stuff,” adds Debbie. She also reminisced about the 2015 live episode, which she wrote, featuring the death of Callum Logan. “It was like a military operation. And the after-party was brilliant. It was so well produced, no mistakes, which is a little disappointing.”

Kieran recalled a scene from the episode, in a kebab shop, which featured a sound issue. “The sound department were GUTTED. But I told them I was relieved that the mistake happened, because it proved it was a live episode!”

Sally had some great memories of the “quirky” actors she played opposite many years ago, including actress Jill Summers (Phyllis). “She went to the loo and came back with toilet roll on her skirt!” she also had fond memories of the tech runs, where the actors would rehearse each episode in front of the camera and lights. “All the older actors would turn up and play their scenes in their own clothes, because it was just a tech run. All these actors, in character, but wearing their own fur coats and top hats!”

Sadly, after two and a half hours, the evening was over. But I got to see Connor downstairs, and managed to grab a cheeky photo.

The old set may be deserted, rotting away and ready to be demolished after years of faithful service. But with actors like Sally and Connor, and people like Debbie and Kieran behind the scenes carrying the torch, Coronation Street is still very much alive and kicking, and will be for many years to come.

Thanks to Tommy Cowell.  
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Thursday, 19 January 2017

Corrie Canada sneak previews Jan. 23 - 27

Without further ado here is a brief sneak preview of what you'll see on  next week's Corrie in Canada.

Simon tells Eva a secret. Eva blackmails Peter. Robert's in love. Tragedy strikes Michelle and Steve. Billy helps Shona get a job. Rana confesses to Zeedan. The gym is visited by the bailiffs. Andy takes delivery of Kevin's truck. Sinead and Chesney are growing apart and Sinead makes friends with Daniel. Bethany falls for Nathan's flattery.

For more detail and photos check out the Moosejaw Mercury at Corrie.net.

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Canadian Corrie fans annual pilgrimage to Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Lucky Coronation Street fans in Canada are able to visit the Coronation Street set once again in 2017.  Yes, The World of Coronation Street Tour is now open for bookings.

The tour takes place in June 2017 with Kemptville Travel.  It's definitely worth having a look at the website, even if you're not Canadian or able to go on the tour. 

There are some great photos from previous years visits on the site, showing lucky Corrie fans from Canada meeting and greeting members of the Corrie cast.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

State of the Street December 2016

We reach the end of another month and the end of another year.  I think Corrie is on the upswing and I'm enjoying a lot more of it these days. (whisper...I don't even mind the incidental music!) December was a pretty good month overall with surprises and new beginnings.

Roy and Cathy almost got married but didn't and I think that's a good thing. Maria almost got sent down for Caz's murder, a murder where there was no body or sound evidence, but didn't but she did get sent down for immigration fraud. Doesn't seem fair when Beth only got community service for bigamy. Mary found the son she was forced to give up and may be starting a new life with him in South Africa.

Pat Phelan took advantage of Andy's anger and grief over Michael's death which caused him to attack and try to kill Pat not once, but twice and he's playing him like a fiddle now. Ken Barlow is recovering from his stroke but it may take a lot more for Leanne to recover from the discovery that her ex-husband and her sister are having an affair! Bethany's crush on Gary came raging out of the closet and nearly did her in. Let's hope that cures her of the diet pill addiction and her new friend Nathan can help her find her self confidence (oh. wait...)

2017 will bring many ups and downs to the neighbours of Coronation Street. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Read a lot more detail here on State of the Street.

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Conversation Street Podcast 233 - The Awards

This podcast features Gemma and Michael's yearly awards show. In the past few weeks, fans have been able to vote for such awards as "Top Lad", "Top Lass", "Wrong'un", and "Flamin' Nora". The awards are fun and celebrate the best and quirkiest of Coronation Street.

You voted for them, now the winners are revealed here.  After the awards, Michael and Gemma speculate on what might happen in 2017 and review their predictions from last year.

Remember, you can also listen to Conversation Street on iTunes (leave a fab review if you do!)

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Corrie's year of two halves

(This post was originally posted by David (Clinkers) on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Here we are then, that awkward in between bit. Christmas is over but the decorations remain in place in order that we can toast a New Year. We're down to the last slices of festive fowl ("turkey soup anyone? Was that a 'no' ?"), the tree is looking a bit dog-eared and everyone but everyone is foisting their '2016 lists' upon us. 'My Top Ten Favourite Country Crossover Hits 2016', 'My Top Five Dictators of 2016' - that kind of thing.

Well, now it's my turn. Before you start hurling leftover mince pies and relatives at the screen, fear not. I'm not about to arduously offer a week-by-week reportage of all things cobble-based. It's simply a reflection of how I feel at the end of the year. Feel free to disagree. Seriously - let me know what you think! The great thing about this blog is hearing the opinions of other viewers because quite often, there are views about the show that I've never considered.

Admittedly, I am enjoying Corrie at the moment. Whereas it seemed a little leaden last winter, the storylines now seem to bounce along. Yes, they may be dashing past our eyes a little too quickly. The tale of 'Mary and Son' seems to have been introduced and completed within a matter of hours:

Mary: I've got a son that I've never mentioned before. I wonder where he is? Here he is! I'm off to South Africa now to live with him forvever so goodbye.

Or something like that. Likewise there have been a few continuity errors such as Liz spending Christmas in Spain but being back behind the bar a few hours later. Or Andy suddenly becoming Mr Malevolence overnight. All a bit jarring.

I never thought I'd hear myself saying that the Platts were probably one of the biggest joys of 2016 but ... err, the Platts were one of the biggest joys of 2016. There has been a wealth of fine acting from Tina O'Brien, Jack P. Shepherd and Lucy Fallon. Let's not forget Paula Lane and that achingly sad death scene. Nick seems to have taken the bus to Idiot Street. When he's not squinting and whining, he's doddering along, getting it wrong. Gail, thankfully, seems to have shrugged off her own personal cloak of idiocy and we can only hope for normal (well, as normal as it gets for Gail) service to be resumed as soon as possible.

At the other end of the scale we have the very unlovely Eileen. This one-woman joy-sapping machine is a megaphone of misery and bile. Okay, she was never exactly the laughing fairy of Weatherfield but she's festered into something quite unpleasant. Oh and stupid. I found myself willing Pat 'soft lad' Phelan to bleed her dry but then realised that we would be left with some bellowing, hollowed out husk, bemoaning her lot for eternity. She needs to lighten up or jog on.

Rita's been great this year. I've enjoyed her and that hasn't always been the case. I'm one of the small number who has never warmed to her sanctimoniousness and feared the worst when poor old Gemma appeared on the Rita Radar. Would the cheque book and 'now listen here lady' homilies be finding a new home? Not at all. Rita's been warm and supportive to a girl who is trying her hardest to shrug off her unsavoury past. The mistakes she made with Tina don't appear to be on the cards again so thank you Corrie storyliners.

The big disappointment of the year, for me anyway, was the departure of Carla Connor. This should have been something special, a glittering finale to a decade of wine, men and knickers. Carla's swan song could have been dynamite - old scores settled, friendships cemented and suchlike. Instead she was married off to Old Father Time in yet another joyless Bistro wedding (they certainly get their money's worth out of that set and it's lovely VISA sign. Did you see it over there on the door, the bar, tattooed across Andy's brow?) Carla shuffled off to live in a tea room in Looe or something. It was rubbish and the character was badly served with this wet story.

The other nays for me included the Kirk/Beth bigamy shenanigans. Although well-acted, it was another of those 'grafted on' stories that felt uncomfortable. Cathy didn't really work too well either as she's portrayed as being both brittle and needy. Hooking her up with Roy felt wrong but we can now all rest assured that the relationship is over. Can't we?The potential Audrey & Ken hook-up was a bit of a mess too but thankfully Dame Kate of Oates seems to have tossed that story into the Corrie Cupboard.

Big hurrahs then for the seamless dispatching of Sharif Nazir, another character who suffered from an overnight personality change. Hopefully this has freed up Yasmeen for greater things. She deserves it. Let's hear it too for Erica, a character that has had to take on both Dev and his sly children. In an ideal world, she would buy the Corner Shop and run it on her own. Erica doesn't need the encumbrance of the Alahans. The fresh lease of life for the Barlows has also been, to date, a joy. Adam and Daniel seem to be positive additions to the clan and Peter's always good fun.

Thumbs up for Leanne, if not for her bizarre pregnancy waddle. Presumably the M & S mac is acting as a restraint. Let's hear it for Gemma, Eva, the underused and soon to depart Steph, wily Jenny and the superb Tim 'n' Sal. Bouquets for one and all.

What are you wishing for 2017 then? For me, a phasing out or revamp of Maria would be welcome, a new direction for Chesney and Sinead (or a Weatherfield Wayfarer out of the Street altogether), the option not to take the obvious route re David and Shona (how old is she anyway?), Eileen to be buried in a landfill site somewhere on the outskirts of Rhyl, Gail to get married before Easter, at least one scene to show that Nozzer is sharing a house with the Odd Couple, Kevin to marry Anna if only so that we can chortle at Sally's outrage . . . the list goes on. And on.

I'll leave it with you then. What was hot and not in your Corrie world in 2016 and what is on your wish list for 2017? Play nicely!
David, twitter: @bridglondon

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The cobbles without Mary? Unthinkable!

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2017, reposted with permission.)

I can no longer imagine Weatherfield without Mary Taylor. As she and Norris sit in the outside space behind The Rovers Return, the pair are a little awkward together. Mary’s impending departure to South Africa, with her newly discovered son, Jude, is causing the difficulty between them.

‘I do love a firework display – very dramatic. A fitting backdrop to my Weatherfield departure,’ states Mary. She asks Norris if he’ll visit and assures him, over his worries about high temperatures, that the air-conditioning is very good. But, apparently, his sinuses wouldn’t allow such a trip.

When Jude arrives, Norris excuses himself and Jude makes it clear that he has no wish to pressurise his newly found mum, into doing something she doesn’t really want to do. To the viewer, her denial rings a little hollow. She tells him, ‘You’re not pressuring me. This is the start of a whole new chapter of my life.’

Time to go now and in The Rovers most of Mary’s friends are gathered and ready to wave Mary on her way. In the background, The Supremes are singing Where did our Love Go? Is this song significant? To whom does it relate? Or is it purely coincidental?

Hugging Norris, she tells him, ‘I’m just a phone call away.’

‘Right – bye everyone,’ says Mary.

Outside The Rovers Erica kicks off with, We’ll Meet Again, as others join in. The taxi leaves with a very upset looking Mary inside.

We then see Norris, sitting on his stairs, distraught. It seems he had under estimated the strength of his friendship with Mary, who has succeeded in making Norris a more likeable person.

And then – there is a loud hammering on Norris’s door. It is Mary. She couldn’t go through with it. ‘This is my home, everyone I love is here.’ She is back. Jude understands. And I, for one am mightily relieved.

As Rita said to Johnny, ‘Happiness is a slippery fish – grab it with both hands.’ There’s a lesson for all of us there.

Ruth, twitter: @Ruth1722

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Incidental music on Coronation Street - Yay or Nay?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I'm hating the increasing use of incidental music in Coronation Street and I want it to stop right now. 

But if Corrie are going to continue using it, then do it right - make it appropriate. 

Play The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba every time Liz walks from the back room into the bar at the Rovers Return.

Play Sisters by The Beverley Sisters every time we see Toyah and Leanne together, with a repeat of the refrain: "...god help the mister who gets between me and my sister and god help the sister, who gets between me and my man." 

Play This Charming Man by The Smiths when Roy Cropper's buttering the bacon barms in Roy's Rolls.

Play Lovely Rita The Beatles every time the big red one marks up the papers in The Kabin.

Our blogger Emma ran a poll on twitter on Christmas Eve with the majority of those voting objecting to the use of incidential music...

What do you think? Incidental music on Coronation Street - Yay or Nay?

And can you suggest any more relevant songs for your favourite Corrie characters?

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