Sorry everyone, I'm back to that old chestnut - my loathing of Stella Price, Landlady of The Rovers Return. Better known to us on the blog as St Ella of the Back Room. I know she (the character) has received a fair dose of criticism during her short spell on the cobbles, but really, I think it is time for her to go.
Being honest, I have never liked the character of Stella. She has never fitted in, despite repeated attempts by the powers that be to force her down the viewers' collective throat at every cut and turn. Thankfully these days we see a little less of her interference in the lives of characters she has absolutely nothing to do with, but without a doubt she is the weak link in the chain at the Rovers. Let me tell you why I think this.
First of all, and maybe most importantly, she does not make a convincing Rovers Landlady. No, I don't just mean the accent, or the lack of one. She just does not have that brassy, commanding presence of a Bet Lynch, or the grande dame authority of an Annie Walker. Tough acts to follow I know, but that's the kind of character Corrie should be aiming for. The Rovers boss is a pivotal role in the programme and what we have now is just beige, beige, beige. Also, we love our strong women to have a vulnerable, emotional side. Even when her world is collapsing around her, I don't feel sympathy for Stella. The tears just never seem to come from her, and therefore not from me either.
A Rovers Return Landlady should have the power to match Bet and Annie in their prime. I'm thinking of Bet's relationship with Alec Gilroy, her caring friendship with Raquel and her bitchiness with Tanya Pooley. And could Stella pull off any of Annie Walker's stories? The class of Annie's relationship with Jack, with Nellie Harvey? Her battles with Hilda Ogden or delusions of grandeur - who can forget the Bingo Hall carpet in her living room? No, I'm not saying I want a carbon copy of past greats, just a worthy successor.
I also don't enjoy Stella's relationship with her family. The love triangle with Sunita and Karl was just dreadful from the start. Never believable, Stella and Karl's existence on the cobbles led to a complete about turn for Sunita, previously a delightful, caring, warm character. It seems such characteristics are in short supply today. Reading the spoilers about what's to come between Karl and Stella doesn't give me much hope either.
The garish Gloria has also failed to liven up the Price family. I just don't believe in them as mother and daughter. It almost reeks of the powers that be drafting in an actress of Sue Johnston's considerable talent and experience to try and salvage something from the wreckage. I loved the arrival of Eric, but the scenes following his sad demise were bordering on distasteful. Stella showed no emotion at Eric's passing and all Gloria is concerned with is the contents of his will. How can we find sympathy for these characters? Yes, I know it's a fictitious soap opera. I know it's meant as entertainment. However, once upon a time Coronation Street had a strong moral compass - it ran through the streets of Weatherfield like Blackpool rock. In days gone by, Gloria would have learned her lesson after the Lewis scam, but no - on she goes like that never happened.
I also really disliked the way Stella treated her daughter Eva the other night. I have softened in my feelings towards Eva recently as she has shown a more vulnerable, human side. Indeed, she is the only Price I'd save. I watched scene after scene where Stella just didn't listen to a word her daughter said - another awful example of St Ella always being right. I didn't blame Eva at all for considering the option of running away with Eric. I'd have done exactly the same!
Putting Stella with Jason Grimshaw has also upped the "gag" factor in our house. I have nothing against age gap relationships - look at Ken and Deirdre; Roy and Hayley. Stella and Jason though is just ridiculous. As with most things these days, it all seemed to happen over night and since they got it together, we have seen precious little story development. It's just another example of St Ella being queen bee. I like the character of Jason but for me this really doesn't do him any favours.
So, I want to hear your thoughts on the Price family. Do you agree with me or are you shocked at my harsh streak? Love them or loathe them, by the looks of Stuart Blackburn's recent comments, they are here to stay for the foreseeable future. And I for one am not happy.
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