(This post was originally posted by Rebecca on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2012.)
So Steve went and got Owen to build a wall in the front hall of Number 13, and not only was Owen the fastest builder in the West, he managed to plaster and paper the wall as well! All before Tracy had cottoned on and returned home, all thoughts of reconciliation forgotten once she clocked the home improvements and realised she and Amy were banished to the upstairs.
It was a welcome respite from the awful trial, Carla's upset, Leanne leaving, that terrible story about Sylvia and Norris battling each other, and the myriad other dreary things happening in Weatherfield this week. It was an inspired bit of comedy - inspired possibly by the famous Steptoe & Son episode where they fall out over redecorating the house, so Harold builds a wall down the middle, leading to hilarious consequences where, for example, he can't see half of the football match or indeed turn the TV on as Albert has the buttons on his side of the wall.
But, it didn't seem to make much sense on a few levels. Firstly, where was Steve going to go to the loo? Wee in the kitchen sink? The yard? Run up to the Rovers each time? I hope he's got an old tin bath stored somewhere because he'll need it in front of the fire when he needs a bath. Tracy and Amy are alright - they've got the bathroom, although they did need to borrow some plates for their chips. But why didn't Steve get Owen to put a doorway in the wall so that they could have both used the door off the street, rather than Steve having to use the door off the yard as his front door?
This whole thing also got me thinking - you never see the front rooms in a lot of houses on Coronation Street. They're traditional two-up-two-down terraced houses, only a lot have been extended with kitchens and sometimes even bathrooms on the back. Traditionally (and probably when Corrie first started) the back room would have had the range and would have been the family room, with the front room being used only on special occasions. My mother-in-law still keeps her front room for best: At Christmas we were invited in, only for my husband's stepfather to remark "You can't go in there, man! No one's died!" (My husband's family are from Durham...)
In some houses it makes sense that we don't see this room, because it must be a bedroom. For instance at No. 1, it was Blanche's room. In Eileen's house, it must be someone's bedroom, although confusingly everyone always seems to come from upstairs in the mornings. This is the same in Tyrone's house, although I think sometimes it seems like Tina comes from here so maybe it's hers?
In some, the entire downstairs seems to have been made into one room. I hope they got a decent RSJ in to keep the upstairs up. For example, in Fiz's house, we come straight off the street into a fairly big room. In Maria's old house, where I think the Alahan's are currently living, it seems the same - the room comes straight off the street and the stairs come down into it. This house always seemed to have more delineated spaces for living and dining, too.
But in Emily and Norris', and where Steve and Tracy are currently living, there's clearly a front room that no one ever goes in. Well, not that I can remember the last time we saw into No. 3, and where is Emily anyway? I do hope Eileen Derbyshire is okay. I'm guessing that Steve's wall means that he gets this room - but he'll probably still never use it.
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