Sunday, 30 June 2013

Sunday Comments - July 31

Tina  should have revealed her news before Izzy got to  hold the baby. It made it that much worse. And why do they always end up with these big confrontations and arguments in the maternity ward in the hallway? I can understand how Tina feels but morally, I have to say she's wrong on this one. I do notice now, that Izzy's done an about face and is thinking Tina did try to encourage Gary's affections. And as angry as Izzy and Gary and Owen are? I'd be more afraid of Anna!

Oh here comes Rita. Time for another row in public. Just because they share a few genes doesn't make the baby theirs? Um yes it does. He doesn't have any of Tina's genes. Looks like there is going to be a court case over it and rightly so.  All this with Tina has really brought the cow out in Anna, I must say though she's probably justified to some extent. She's got a really nasty side to her when she's riled while Izzy is quietly determined and consulting lawyers. I guess Anna's forgotten all about Faye. Has anyone told her about the baby? Rita is supporting Tina on the surface but doesn't really think she's doing the right thing but there's no telling her. I don't think two old aged pensioners are really going to be much help with Tina and the baby.

Now, Izzy is determined to destroy Tina's reputation and she's started on Tommy's insecurities already, implying that Tina's just using him. That's really going to make her look like an upstanding citizen isn't, I don't think. Izzy is afraid she might have another miscarraige if she tried for a baby, but she might not, too. In the meantime, Owen has evicted Tina from the flat. She was living there rent free so maybe she doesn't have any rights as a tennant. Tina and Tommy both now staying with Rita and Dennis until they bring the baby home. All these tiny flats seem to have so much room!

Now the outbursts have moved from the hospital corridors to the street and other public places which gives the neighbours free reign on the gossip mill.  *sigh* That's going to get old really quickly. But Gary is latching on to Tommy's doubts even though he insists he's going to support Tina. To combat Tina,  Gary and Izzy are back together but it's going to look like they did it just to get the baby back. Rita and Tommy are trying to question Tina's real motives and she's feeling like they're all against her.

Tina decides she isn't going to pay Owen back after all because she'll need the money to pay for the court case they're throwing at her. Tommy is sticking by her but still points out that she's doing the wrong thing. I feel for her but this is what she agreed and biologically, Jake isn't hers and it's unfair to back out of the deal now. I wonder how long we'll have to suffer everyone shouting in the pub and on the street corners? With any luck, Tina will see the light. It'll still be hard for her to live there and see the baby but it's worse for Izzy and Gary watching Tina bring up their biological child. Well if she does give the baby back to them in the end, at least she can keep the money!

Leanne is still choking on having to have Karl as a step father. Talk about an awkward social drink.  Tracy has a job and it's cold calling and trying to sell toilets no matter what she pretends it is. And she's rubbish at it, as you would expect.  Rob says he's found a job, too, but there's no job title. Asset management, debt recovery... Repo man and kneecap cruncher from the sounds of it. Then Maria is her own worst enemy, isn't she? I cheered when Audrey accused Maria of being annoying, fussing over the same old same old when she really has nothing to worry about. She's so right! Marcus really tried to make things right with a nice dinner and pressie. It worked. That leisure suit/onesie thing Paul was wearing today? Sean was wearing the exact same one a week or so ago. Who was borrowing whose clothes?

Now there's news of a big fire and Eileen is freaking out again. That's the last thing she needed to hear even though it ended up that Paul was ok. Finally, it's out in the open and Paul knows she's not coping. Paul lied to Eileen that he wasn't near the fire but the child he saved came to thank him. Busted. Paul thought there might be a kid inside because of the bicycle in the yard. Do you think the screaming mother might have been a clue?

Would you think that the fire department might have family resources for partners of the fire fighters having to deal with the worry? Well they do but it took an awful long time for someone to mention it! Maybe this is the catalyst that lets them move forward and she can find a way to deal with it all because Paul doesn't seem to know how to help which I find baffling considering he was married to Lesley for all those years. Surely she worried?

Dev's theory is that Sunita heard the fire alarm and came to see if there was anything she could do. Good theory. Wrong. Stella keeps having doubts which doesn't sit well with Karl so he had to work on Dev a little more and the more he does, the more likely Dev is going to get suspicious, I think. Dev really does have that air of obsession doesn't he? He is right, of course, but it's taking over his life. Lists, timelines, notes, it's all going around in his mind over and over and Karl is getting more and more worried. Dev has discovered that there were keys when Sunita got to hospital but he's not dropping the quest. Mind you, she didn't have a purse or handbag with her so they must have been in her pocket.

Karl's really freaking out because he knows Dev is onto something with the keys so he's going to be Dev's new best friend. Karl nearly beaned him with Aadi's golf trophe before that, though. It's wonderful watching him squirm and freak out. He was wearing gloves, Dev noticed and Karl made a very lame excuse that will be very easy to flush out. Mistake!!! He came very close and Beth and Craig saw him tossing his cookies in the ginnel. Gloria can see something is wrong with Karl but it's nothing she can imagine. She gave him the excuse he can use, flashbacks to the fire but he was so close to confessing there for a few minutes.

Gloria might be part owner of the Rovers but she doesn't exactly pull her own weight in the bar. She loves playing Lady Muck! Stella is still suffering post-traumatic stress and Karl thinks it has to do with all the upset Dev is causing. Mary really told Dev a few hard truths. From her perspective, those kids are being bullied at school and if Dev settles down, moves on and helps the children through their grief, maybe they will settle down, too. Between that and Karl managing to talk him down, it looks like maybe he's going to give it a rest. Karl is still going round looking like he's about to have a panic attack and it doesn't help that Dev is now singing his praises for helping him see his quest to find out about Sunita's last hours is hopeless and was driving him mad. That, and him nearly bonking Dev on the head, really have seemed to put Karl even further into anxiety.

Kylie wants to do something nice for David, and Nick is helping her. But David has seen them from a distance with their heads together, and Kylie is hiding papers and making excuses, and lying and his suspicions are aroused. David is getting more and more wound up when he realizes that Nick, Gail and Audrey all know that Kylie's keeping a secret from him and they know what it is. Nick does admit she's planning a surprise and he'll like it (it's a night away) but in a completely contrived scene, he overhears Kylie and Gail explain the whole *real* secret, about the one night stand with Nick and how the baby might not be his. David's heart cracks wide open. Now what? It won't be pretty.

Strange things are happening in the cafe. Condiments in proper order. Roy has found the front door open first thing in the morning and has no idea what or who might be involved. Is it a poltergeist? Is if fairies? Is someone playing a trick on him? Is it Roy? That's my guess. I think he's sleepwalking from the stress. However, his theory about the keys was spot on and gave Dev a new lease on his quest. Beth pretended she could detect ectoplasm via a smartphone app. Poor Roy feels like the continual butt of the joke. Sylvia and Hayley don't know but they're concerned about Roy's state of mind.

Ryan is really getting that trapped deer-in-the-headlights feeling with Katy wishing them to be one big or small happy family. Now she's trying to set them up in Owen's empty flat and he looks like he's about to run for the hills!

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Give it a rest, Rita!

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

Well, aren't we all having a lovely time with the surrogacy storyline? It has certainly engendered one or two comments and has made us re-assess one or two of the characters.

The cobbles' very own 'everymum' Anna Windass is now a shrewish old trout. We once felt sorry for Izzy but of late she's morphed into some gimlet-eyed harridan. Okay, she has her reasons, but enough already. Gary has gone from being moody to creepy and as for Tina, well it's a case of 'me me me'.

Unfortunately there is someone else who has begun to rattle my cage of late. It's a controversial one too as the person who I am pointing at is Rita. Dear old Reet. We've travelled down the years with her and watched from a distance as she settled into her village wise-woman persona, dispensing advice and cheques with abandon. For others though, she may simply be a meddlesome old ratbag, buying her way into the affections of others and peddling her sanctimonious views from the moral high ground.

Of course, Rita has mellowed with the years but look back to her golden years in the 1970s. She wasn't much to shout about - a second-rate cabaret singer, living over t'brush and with a line of spite often aimed at her dithering assistant Mavis. We remember Reet and Mave, quite rightly, as one of the Street's classic double acts but Rita could be nasty to her at times.

Fair play to Mrs Littlewood-Bates(kind of)-Fairclough-Sullivan-Tanner though. She worked long hours in the Kabin and managed to drag husband Len up and out of his squalid existence at number nine. Rita is no stranger to sadness and maybe this has sharpened her edges and gives her the confidence to dispense tough love where needed. With Dennis Tanner she seems to have found, we hope, lasting happiness. As we watch her moral compass wobbling all over the place, thanks to the confused and misguided Tina, Dennis will be there to steady the ship.

A bit of advice though Rita. Put that cheque book away, ditch the young fogies (imagine waking up to see Tommy's face every morning - it must be like finding an Easter Island statue parked up in your front room) and show the likes of Gloria that being in your golden years does not mean you have to become an unpleasant baggage.

In Rita we trust . . .

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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Do you ever stray from Corrie?

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

That's not meant to sound as sordid as it may first appear. It is a genuine question though. We Corrie fans are quite full on about our favourite soap, so passionate about when it gets it right (or wrong) that I wondered if we have room for any other television soap operas, or continuing dramas, if we're giving them their Sunday name.

Although obviously Coronation Street is the very best option in this category, and the programme on which all the others are based, I'm interested to hear from Corrie viewers and blog contributors on what else, if anything, regularly appears on their goggle box.

Personally, I've never been able to tolerate EastEnders, even in short bursts. There are worrying moments when Corrie competes and nearly wins out in the complete, abject misery stakes, but for me, there is nothing more awful than the London based soap. I've never been tempted by Emmerdale either. I always imagine it being all cows bottoms and men with mutton chops, but apparently these days it's all bed hopping and raciness. The transformation doesn't quite work for me. 

Then there is Hollyoaks. Enough said. I loved Brookside back in the day (before it went a bit bonkers with crashing helicopters and mystery viruses). Looking back, I see Brookie as the main rival to Corrie's crown at the time. It's a pity it all went wrong and disappeared. If only Sue Johnston could channel a bit more Sheila Grant and a bit less old crone in her current role as Gloria.

There are also the imported Australian soaps. I never know whether to include these with our own as they just aren't as dark, as gritty or as controversial as the British soap operas. I do have a soft spot for Neighbours (Susan Kennedy is a bit of a legend, and in my view, the only character in Ramsay Street ever to indulge in a bit of the other). Maybe it's just the sunshine and outdoor lifestyle that grabs me, I don't know. It generally isn't the acting talent on display...

I don't know much about the American soap operas, so I'd love to hear from readers in that part of the world on how Corrie compares. 

Anyway, it will always be Corrie first and foremost for me. What about you though? Do you limit yourself solely to Coronation Street, or do other soaps often take your fancy? Are they all pale imitations or do any seriously rival the Street?

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Coronation Street at Wimbledon

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

This great picture came in to @CoroStreetBlog on twitter from @iflicks who said "Great to see Coronation Street represented at #Wimbledon this year. "

And then they tweeted: "J. Duckworth's gone from two sets down to two sets all. He's made a real comeback - or, as I like to call it, a Rovers Return." 

Brilliant stuff.

The J. Duckworth in question is tennis player James Duckworth.

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Tina's moral choice

(This post was originally posted by me on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

The surrogacy story has reached the twist that pretty much everyone knew was coming. Tina can't bring herself to give up the baby to Izzy and Gary. In a large part, she was overwhelmed with love for the baby and that's a natural reaction. In a small part, she sees Gary and Izzy fighting, Gary having made a pass at her. Now Izzy and Gary are at odds, perhaps with a cool truce for the baby's sake but Izzy not planning to forgive Gary any time soon. The baby would be brought up in a broken home full of tension.

While I can understand the pull of hormones, I think she's wrong to keep the baby. Legally, she's the mother and does not have to abide by her promise. I believe that even a written contract would not be legally enforceable (though I may be wrong) and as far as Gary's paternal rights go, he only has them if she says he can. Legally she can give paternal rights to Tommy if she chooses. She and Gary were not married at the time of the birth. As for that broken home, she probably thought that a single parent would still be better for the baby than two parents split apart and at each others' throats while sharing custody. She's got Tommy on her side for the time being, but for how long?

Izzy and Gary may be at odds but they also have a family to support them and the child where Tina (and Tommy) have two old age pensioners. Tina does have a mother but she's never been in the picture and seems to have been totally forgotten altogether.

Biologically and genetically, that child is not hers, it's Izzy and Gary's. She promised. She took money (which is illegal aside from legitimate expenses). I don't recall if she signed a contract though there may have been some medical forms signed when she underwent the surrogacy treatments. Morally, I think she should give the baby to his rightful parents, as difficult as it would be for her.

It would have been too simple for the storyline to follow the planned route. Tina gives the baby over and looks sadly at the little family from across the cobbles when she sees them out and about. Having Tina keep the baby after all gives us far more drama and storyline into the near future at least. Everyone's upset, Tina stands alone. Even though Tommy and Rita have supported her, they don't really think she's doing the right thing, either.

There is supposed to be a court hearing now. Whether we'll get that far is another question. Will Tina give in? Will the judge say, Sorry, the law is clear. She can keep the baby. That will cause further ructions, hate and screaming in the middle of the street. I guess we'll find out soon enough. I can't help thinking that in the real world, if this were to happen, Tina might keep the baby and then leave town. (Well, yes, I know that spoiler too, but that's a ways off yet with lots of angst and storyline that can unfold in the meantime).

I know there's been a lot of criticism about the storyline but I have enjoyed it so far even when, at times, I've been annoyed. Overall, I think it's been interesting and good soap fodder. We've done a Yay or Nay about the subject here, feel free to add your views here or there.

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Corrie A-Z: E is for Exits

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

Coronation Street has seen many exits over the years – deaths, midnight flits or characters moving away. Deaths prove to be ratings winners and soap deaths are the most iconic of all TV deaths.

Dramatic Corrie deaths include Ernie Bishop being shot, Brian Tilsley being stabbed, Alan Bradley getting hit by a tram, Patricia Hillman getting hit by a shovel, Maxine Peacock by a crowbar, Richard Hillman driving into the canal and Tony Gordon perishing in the factory fire. Then there are the tragic deaths of Molly Dobbs and Ashley Peacock in the 50th anniversary tram crash.

Then there are those quiet, poignant deaths of well-loved characters. Martha Longhurst, Alf Roberts, Alma Baldwin, Ray Langton and Jack and Vera Duckworth all passed away quietly but made the nation reach out for its box of tissues. And even off-screen deaths can have a great effect on viewers – with the likes of Jack Walker, Stan Ogden, Blanche Hunt and Betty Turpin coming to mind. On the other hand, some deaths have been sudden like Derek Wilton, Mike Baldwin and Fred Elliott that have also had a great effect. And the tragic deaths of young residents of the street like Valerie Barlow, Janet Barlow, Renee Roberts, Lisa Duckworth, Des Barnes, Judy Mallett, Katy Harris and Liam Connor.

Exits also come in the form of midnight flits like Elsie Tanner, Bet Lynch and Liz McDonald who left the cobbles overnight without saying goodbye to anyone.

And there are the ones who departed by leaving the area to start afresh. Usually they get a nice send-off like Hilda Ogden and Mavis Wilton.

Some characters have left without an exit storyline (Ena Sharples, Annie Walker, Phyllis Pearce) while some have had mediocre exit storylines even though they’d been in the programme for years (Percy Sugden, Martin Platt). Others have had to be written out for off-show reasons (Len Fairclough, Lucille Hewitt, Bert Tilsley, Les Battersby).

And then there’s the death of Teresa the turkey!

Who had the best exit for you? And what makes a great Corrie exit – explosions and drama or poignancy?

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Friday, 28 June 2013

Conversation Street Podcast 46

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the episodes in Canada that aired up to last night can be heard here. Don't worry, they don't do spoilers so you won't hear anything you don't want to!

This week Michael and Gemma chat about SurroGate, Dev's obsession and all the other bits and bobs from this week. The character profile is Gary Windass.

You can also subscribe to them on iTunes, Like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter (@conversationstr).

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Loving Corrie this week!

(This post was originally posted by me on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

I'm starting to be cautiously optimistic about Corrie. I'm finding more and more that I'm really enjoying lately. Wednesday and Thursday's episodes in Canada, written by Jonathan Harvey were great!

Dev's obsession is great! I'm still enjoying Jimmi Harkishin's performance and loving watching Karl scheme and squirm. It's driving him to desperation and he nearly knocked off Dev on Friday before managing to talk Dev down. I loved Mary putting forth her point of view. From her perspective, those kids are being bullied and if Dev settles down, moves on and helps the children through their grief, maybe they will too.

Karl is really getting close to the edge, and he nearly confessed to Gloria though she gave him an "out" with the post traumatic flashback suggestion. We all know it won't end there. Dev may have given up for now but something else will come along.

I'm one of those that has enjoyed the surrogacy story and watching Tommy and Rita having doubts while Tina is determined (right or wrong) is very realistic. They all want to support her even if they don't think she's doing the right thing. Dennis scolded them for their blind loyalty. Wonderful! He just jumps off the screen when he's finally given something to do! I am already tired of all the Windasses and Armstrongs hurling insults in the street at T&T and that's going to get old really fast. They're right to be angry but it's tedious, too.

Something's going on in the cafe. Things are being moved around and everyone is starting to wonder if there's a ghost or something. I'm betting Roy is repressing his emotions after his father's death so much so  that he's sleepwalking.

Eileen's trying to cope with Paul's job and not doing it very well. I kept thinking that the fire department would have family resources in place to help with things like that and Eileen finally mentioned it. Why nobody else has brought it up before then, I don't know. I also love that Steve and Eileen's friendship is back in full force.

We're also seeing the beginning of what will probably be the big reveal about Nick and Kylie. David's suspcions are aroused and we all know what happens when happens.

Yep, overall, I would class this week's episodes, Friday's in particular, as top class Corrie!

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Why Corrie's Sean makes me yawn

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

Urgh. I do try my best with all of Coronation Street's characters and storylines but sometimes I run out of patience. Hard to believe, I know! Please Corrie Powers That Be, do something with Sean Tully!

I admit I am finding the current Marcus and Maria story a trifle cringeworthy. I like both characters and I have nothing against what the storyliners are trying to do here. It is an interesting take on the usual "coming out" stories that seem to be ten a penny these days in both Corrie and its less auspicious competitors. The fly in the ointment for me is Sean's involvement. I just cannot stand him.

When Sean first appeared back in 2003 he was actually a breath of fresh air. His character was bright, cheerful and funny. And as with all decent Corrie characters, there was a vulnerability lurking behind the brash exterior. However over time, Sean has completely lost his way. 

It feels to me like the writers just don't know what to do with him. However unlike many other cases when this has happened, for some reason they don't get rid. I just don't understand why.

I no longer enjoy watching him on screen. Other people have commented that he is one big stereotype. What bothers me more is how unpleasant and catty he has become. His role in the Marcus and Maria story has been grim from the outset. He constantly plays the pouting schoolboy and it's very tired. 

With the reappearance of Todd Grimshaw on the horizon, you must wonder where this leaves Sean. I know people have said the actor has had his contract extended for another year, but where can the character go? The writers either need to calm him down and try to revert to how he was in the early days, or he needs to go. He also needs to clear out of Eileen's and stand on his own two feet. 

I've just watched Friday's episode and all I can say is, poor Marcus and Maria! Sean just loved stirring it up and making them both feel as uncomfortable as possible. Now, what's bright, cheerful or funny about that?

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Corrie Canada sneak previews for July 1 - 5

Without further ado, here's a brief run down of next week's Coronation Street on Canadian Screens:

David's world is shattered but he decides on revenge instead of confrontation. Stella sets a date. Ryan is feeling trapped. Is Chesney using Sinead? Tina has reluctant supporters but the pressure is building on her and she's feeling more and more guilty about what she's doing. Emily's accident has her suffering Norris the Nursmaid's hovering. Roy is frustrated by what seem to be practical jokes at his expense. What's really going on?

For more detail and photos, see the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Thursday, 27 June 2013

Curtains for Corrie

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

From Coronation Street fan on twitter.  I loved this so much it deserves a blog post of its own.  She tweeted this pic with the comment: "Same curtains as on corrie blending in haaaha"

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Corrie's 1 O'Clock Club - the next generation

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

One of the main reasons I love Coronation Street is the longevity of some of the characters. Unlike any other soap opera on television, Corrie really does seem to inspire loyalty amongst its core cast. 

However, those characters who remind us of the glory days are starting to become a bit thin on the ground. Ok, so Ken Barlow is still fairly prominent (despite his yet unexplained on-screen absence). I'm hoping Deirdre will come into her own in the weeks and months ahead. Rita Tanner still gets plenty of screen time, but mainly as part of Tina's never-ending dramas. Audrey and Gail are also very prominent - something which normally makes me very happy indeed. This mother and daughter pairing are a vital link to the past. 

I also consider characters like Sally, Steve and Roy to be from the Corrie golden age - I can't see any of them going anywhere anytime soon, which thankfully is very good thing. But what of the others? Dennis Tanner barely gets a look in, Norris Cole pops in and out (and is normally infuriating) and Emily is appearing less and less. In recent years we've sadly lost several older characters - the Duckworths, Betty and Blanche are all irreplaceable as far as I'm concerned. 

Stephanie Cole has been a great addition as Sylvia however the actress has been on record saying she doesn't plan on being in the Street for the rest of her career.

This has made me fret about the future of Corrie. I do think the majority of the cast are still very talented actors and the powers that be are lucky to have them, however loyalty to the brand is not what is was. In this multi-channel, ever-shrinking world more and more actors are using Coronation Street as a spring board for other projects. It is no longer the pinnacle of what an actor can hope to achieve. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing either. The last thing I want is for characters to hang around and become stale (I'm naming no names in case I spark trouble on t'internet). Actors moving on creates space for new talent and that's what helps Corrie thrive, however a core cast of longstanding characters is key for me. 

So who is coming up behind? Well it suddenly struck me that there are plenty of young actors currently in Corrie who have already spent more than a decade treading the famous cobbles. Alan Halsall (Tyrone), Jennie McAlpine (Fiz), Samia Ghadie (Maria) and Ryan Thomas (Jason) have all grown up on screen and for me this is invaluable. Some people have commentated that Tyrone and Fiz are the new Jack and Vera. Such comments are dangerous as far as I'm concerned. Yes, there may be similarities, but they need space to cement their own place in Weatherfield history.

While I hope to see veterans like Sue Nicholls, Helen Worth and Barbara Knox around for as many years to come as possible, I think the powers that be need to continue nurturing the younger, yet still very loyal cast coming up behind them. They are the future of Coronation Street and their time spent working alongside some of the original legends is priceless.

So over to you. Which characters (or actors if you prefer) do you see as most important in securing Coronation Street's long term future?

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Corrie’s Drink 'Problem' *hic*

(This post was originally posted by Stevie Dawson on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

We all know it’s a tough life in Weatherfield but there seems to be a bit of an alcohol dependence gripping The Street. You’ll struggle to find one character in Friday’s episode that wasn’t glugging from a large glass, and more often than not polishing off the whole bottle.

It must be doing wonders for Italy’s grape industry, but what’s does it say about the lives of the characters and do these habits reflect the average British home?

According to recent research by University College London, reported on BBC News in February three quarters of us are drinking above the recommended daily alcohol limit. Eileen, Deirdre, Carla and the like would certainly back this data up. In recent years we’ve followed the alcoholism storyline played brilliantly by Chris Gascoyne and Alison King, and who can forget the side-splitting scenes at the AA meeting where Blanche and Diedre shocked Peter’s fellow addicts with a hilarious public airing of laundry?

There has always been an undertone of alcohol being the glue that brings the Corrie community together. The Rovers Return is not only the setting for a quiet lunchtime pint, or wedding reception, or leaving party – it’s where the locals let off steam. But in recent years, there’s been an increasing presence of empty bottles and hangovers in the homes on our favourite northern street. As the UCL study would suggest, this is reflective of our own lives. Most of us really do find a glass of wine or a stiff whiskey helps us relax after a busy day at work. Sometimes it’s force of habit rather than an odd treat. So do we really have a drink problem in the UK, and can we blame our tipsy Coronation Street favourites for encouraging this unhealthy habit?

The show, as with all its storylines, approaches alcohol with a certain level of balance. After an almighty booze-up, the offenders will always suffer the consequences. Whether it’s Sunita Alahan being arrested for throwing shapes atop a Ford Mondeo (other brands of motor vehicle are available) or Peter Barlow setting fire to his flat, or even just the horrendous hangover that follows a night on the tiles, the viewer is left in no doubt that the alcohol consumed during each episode doesn’t come without terms and conditions.  

So next time you reach for the bottle, consider the consequences…

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Just what does Rita see in Tina?

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

If the rumours are true our Rita is about to put up her life savings to help Tina pay her legal fees in her battle to keep baby Jake/Joe. I know Rita is a kindly soul. I know Rita cares about Tina. Really though?! I just can't believe Rita Tanner would put her security on the line in this way.

The bond between Rita and Tina is obviously strong, although I can't quite remember how it came about. I just think a woman in Rita's position would do best to concentrate on a happy life and marriage with the lovely Dennis. With all this Tina stuff going on, Dennis is yet again like a background character which I think is a terrible waste.

I also wonder just how much money Rita has. I know she inherited a lot from Len when he died, but she seems to be absolutely rolling in it. I remember her bank rolling the Webster family in the past so I guess she does have form. There is also the whole baby issue. Going back a long way, we know Rita really wanted children of her own, but sadly it wasn't to be. Is she just trying to help Tina achieve something she herself could not?

At the moment we are seeing Rita trying to make Tina see sense, but if she goes ahead and puts all her money into helping her fight this, she'll go down a few notches in my estimation. What she needs is a good talking to from Norris, Emily and Dennis!

So what do you think? Is Rita right in supporting Tina as she has been? 

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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Would Corrie ever stage a 'surprise' death?

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David)on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

"What's he banging on about now?" you are probably asking. Death, as we know, is hardly ever a surprise visitor to the cobbles. If a character is axed or an actor decides to move on, then the news of the departure  might as well be emblazoned across the sky in giant, illuminated letters. Sometimes, telly bosses wheel out that tired old "who will die?" so-called teaser, providing a picture of several characters even when we all know who is about leave. Therefore we are prepared and suitably cushioned from the full impact of a character's final appearance.

However, could Corrie ever sneak in a totally unexpected death?

Last week, BBC Radio 4's The Archers managed to do exactly that. During a scene in the local pub, a regular announced that they just discovered that another character had died unexpectedly. As a listener, the shock was palpable. The demise came out of nowhere and yet had obviously been planned and executed by the producers without anyone finding out. Full marks to them for keeping it quiet.

Maybe this isn't something you can get away with on a ratings-hungry TV drama where every nuance has to be raised up the flag pole well in advance. I don't recall many secret storylines on Corrie or any other UK soaps. on the Street there was the famous Curly and Raquel reunion back in 2000 which was filmed in splendid isolation both away from other cast members and the ITV studios.

Personally, I think it would be a master stroke for a Corrie writer to pull off something like this but would it be popular?

Or are we happier with our soap 'early warning system' and the endless 'will she/won't she?' empty speculation?

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Corrie A-Z: E is for the Even side of the street

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in May 2013.)

With thanks to Daran Little’s Coronation Street: Around the Houses for all the info on the history of the even side of the street prior to 1960.
Between 1882 and 1931, Hardcastle’s Mill, a cotton maker, reigned over that side of the street and it was the proprietor, Charles Hardcastle, who was responsible for the building of two new streets to house his work force: Mawdsley Street and Coronation Street. Many of the residents were employed there (including Ena Sharples and Albert Tatlock) before the business folded at the beginning of the Great Depression. The building was bought by Jack Elliston who established a raincoat factory that survived through the Depression and the Second World War and lasted until the factory’s demolition in 1968. Characters who were employed there include Christine Hardman (who tried to commit suicide from the factory roof), Sheila Birtles, Irma Barlow, Lucille Hewitt and Bet Lynch. Between 1964 and 1968 there was a social club in the basement of the factory.
Built in 1902, the Glad Tidings Mission Hall stood beside the mill/factory. It was the sixth mission hall in Weatherfield and conducted weekly religious services. It had a chapel, hall and a vestry where the caretaker lived. It had two long-serving caretakers: Gladys Arkwright (1902-1937) and Ena Sharples (1937-1968). It remained a mainstay on the street for over sixty years but dwindling numbers amongst the congregation led to its demolition in 1968 along with the factory. Since the early 1960s, the Mission Hall had been used for over-60s clubs, children’s birthday parties and various other functions.
In a bid to modernise the show, producers decided to introduce new maisonettes on the even side of the street. They comprised of four two-storey flats and three OAP ground-floor flats. Despite housing Ken and Valerie Barlow and their twins and Ena Sharples, other than that the flats were empty and became derelict and were unpopular with the residents. The viewers were unhappy as well as now the street lacked a place for the community to interact. By early 1971 only the Barlows occupied the flats and when Valerie was electrocuted and died in the flat fire, the council decided to demolish the maisonettes which was welcomed by the residents and viewers.
Replacing the doomed maisonettes was Mark Brittain’s Mail Order Warehouse. While the warehouse itself didn’t bother residents, the noise of lorries going back and forth did. Residents who were employed here included Ivy Tilsley, Vera Duckworth, Emily Bishop, Mavis Riley, Gail Potter, Tricia Hopkins and Ken Barlow. But yet again the viewers failed to warm to the warehouse and in 1975 the place was burned down thanks to a cigarette smouldering. Employee Edna Gee was a fatality of the fire. When the fire was extinguished, there was only a gutted shell left.
A year passed before the warehouse was put to use when Londoner Mike Baldwin opened up his denim factory. Read here for an account of the factory’s history.
Built along with the warehouse in 1971 was the Community Centre. There was once again a place for the community to come together. Plays, flower shows, concerts, youth clubs, fetes and pantomimes were held in the community centre over its 18 year history. Ena Sharples was the original caretaker until 1975 when cleaners took over the realms while Ena stayed put in the flat. Newlyweds Fred and Eunice Gee became caretakers in 1981 but didn’t last long. Pensioner Percy Sugden took up the post in 1983 and became the street’s latest busybody. In 1988, Percy was forced to retire and within a few months the bulldozers moved in under the orders of Maurice Jones who’d bought the site and the centre and Baldwin’s factory were knocked down.
In their place came three houses, three shop units, a few flats, a garage and a factory. The layout has stayed unchanged for over 20 years and is the longest lasting set-up on the even side of the street. Rita Fairclough bought one shop unit and relocated her paper shop ‘The Kabin’ from Rosamund Street. The shop remains to this day with Norris Cole now proprietor.
Another shop unit was bought by the Weatherfield Hospital Volunteer Group as a charity shop with Emily Bishop as manageress. By the end of 1990 the business had folded and in 1992 the shop was bought by hairdresser Denise Osbourne. Then in 1995 the business was taken over by Fiona Middleton and in 1997 by Audrey Roberts who still runs the business now. There is a flat above the salon. Since 2000, the unit behind the salon has been a cab office called ‘Street Cars’ that has been owned by Steve McDonald and various others like Vikram Desai, Dev Alahan and Lloyd Mullaney. There’s also a flat above the cab office.
The garage unit has been in the hands of the likes of Don Brennan and Mike Baldwin but for many years now the place has been owned by Kevin Webster.
The factory unit has been in the hands of Steve and Vicky McDonald before Mike Baldwin took over the ownership and established a knicker factory. Since Mike’s death, the factory has been owned by Danny Baldwin, Adam Barlow, Liam Connor, Paul Connor and Frank Foster. Since 2006, Carla Connor has been in charge. The three houses (numbered 4, 6 and 8) have had various inhabitants, with Gail Tilsley/Platt/Hillman/Platt/McIntyre being the only one who’s lived there since the start!
The even side of the street has seen much change in the last 50 years, is it time for another?

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Debbie Rush on Corrie's surrogacy storyline

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There's a good interview in today's Sun with Debbie Rush, who plays Anna Windass on Coronation Street. Debbie talks about the current carry on with the surrogacy storyline and how she would feel if it happened to  her in real life. 

The article also reveals that Debbie only took up acting in her mid-30s when she studied amateur dramatics at Manchester School Of Acting. She won her first TV role in 2006 on Hollyoaks and says she has been learning her trade ever since.

It's a nice little read, have a look at it here.

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Corrie's Mavis Riley and Valerie Barlow on Celebrity Antiques Road Trip

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Thelma Barlow, who played Mavis Riley, and Anne Reid, who was Ken Barlow’s first wife Val on Coronation Street, have beein filming a special episode of Celebrity Antiques Road Trip.  The show will be on screen in November and was filmed to raise funds for Children in Need.

What I found amazing about the press release here is that Thelma is now 83 years old. I know!  She says she doesn't watch Coronation Street any more as she's too busy gardening and seeing friends.

Anne Reid keeps going from strength to strength too. She did a five-night cabaret residency in London last week and is looking forward to the start of filming next month for a second series of BBC1’s Last Tango In Halifax.

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Monday, 24 June 2013

More Corrie contracts signed - Sophie and Maria are staying

There's a good interview with Brooke Vincent, who plays Coronation Street's Sophie Webster, in the Mirror. 

Brooke turns 21 tomorrow, Tuesday June 4 and in the interview she talks about growing up in the public eye, maintaining a relationship with her boyfriend, playing Sophie the Corrie lesbian and being protective of Helen Flanagan.

There's also a video of Brooke doing a birthday shoot, which if you like that sort of thing is the sort of thing you'll like. It's here.

The Daily Star also reports that Brooke has been given another deal to stay on Coronation Street, by which I guess that means she's had her contract renewed, or, in tabloid speak Brooke "agreed the mega-bucks deal after a meeting with the ITV soap’s boss Stuart Blackburn".

Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria Connor on Coronation Street, has reportedly signed a £100,000+ contract to stay another year on Corrie's cobbles.

The 30 year-old actress has played Maria on Coronation Street for 13 years. Ghadie's contract will ensure she continues playing her role until mid-2014.

Viewers have recently watched Maria fall in love and move in with gay character Marcus Dent. Fans watched the fall-out this week from the couple attending a friend's wedding reception, with Marcus getting flack from hiding his relationship with Maria.

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Corrie Canada weekly awards for June 17 - 21

Pulling rank award: Tina decided she'd be the first one to hold the baby.

Quest award: Dev is deep into obsession. He's right of course but he needs hard evidence. And telling the police your friends think you're crazy isn't going to help.

Exhibit A award: I suppose Marcus has a point. If he takes Maria to a wedding as his new partner, she really is going to be the center of attention and not in a good way.

Foot in Mouth award: Sylvia joking to Tina about giving her son away. Oops.

Passive Aggressive award: Sean managed to let Maria know about the wedding by making small talk about it to Audrey.

Naive award: Steve and Lloyd aren't recognizing the signs of stress in Eileen, preferring to think she's just a going concern.

Insecurity Fail award: Maria is really worried about her relationship with Marcus.

Inevitable Award: Tina might have been able to hand over the baby if he hadn't got so sick.

Lines of the Week:
Lloyd "Not one for tidying while you go"
Gloria "She was drunk as a skunk and intent on murder" (she was NOT intent on murder!)
Carla to Rob "It's Mr. Alkie to you"
Carla "Tracy Barlow?" Rob "Yeah. My worse half"
Karl to Dev "I know for a fact that you will be the one that will suffer. You. And your kids" (sounds ominous)
Michelle "Tracy, anyone with half a brain could fool you"
Sylvia to Roy "We are not about to be decimated by bubonic plague"
Sean to Eileen "See ya, you old scrubber"
Eileen "Deirdre Barlow, are you a man or a mouse?"
Deirdre "They tell many stories, my belts"
Tina "I'm selling my baby. I might as well stick him on eBay"
Audrey to Tracy "Hard work is hardly your forte, is it?" and "It's not easy being told where to go every 2 minutes although you are certainly used to it

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

A Corrie retrospective: 1980s v 2010s

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in May 2013.)

I very much enjoyed reading Llifon's recent blog post on the major events that took place in Corrie during the 1980s. I have very distant memories of the tale end of that decade however from watching a lot of DVDs I know it was a strong period for the street.

This set me off wondering how the Coronation Street of the 2010s will be viewed retrospectively. The one thing that struck me was the sheer volume of high quality, iconic storylines that unfolded in Weatherfield during the 1980s. Is Corrie today capable of matching, or even exceeding that?

From the Mike, Deirdre and Ken love triangle of 1983 and the death of Stan Ogden in 1984 to the Rovers fire of '86 and the long-running reign of dastardly Alan Bradley, Coronation Street really was firing on all cylinders for most of that decade. How much of this is looking back through rose tinted specs I don't know as I wasn't old enough to enjoy these stories as a regular Corrie viewer. However it does seem to me that Corrie did big event storylines in a much more subtle, realistic way. Many events such as the death or departure of a long running character were underplayed therefore having a greater impact.

While many of the events that took place in Corrie during the 1980s are quite major or life-changing, they were spread out over ten years. A huge amount has already happened to the Street residents and this current decade is still young. 

Is it all getting a bit much? Would such carnage and mayhem really strike so many residents of such a tiny back street? I am sure you all have quite strident thoughts on that.

Take Stella for example. In just shy of two years she has found a daughter she abandoned at birth, found out that Karl had a gambling addiction, found out that Karl had cheated on her with Sunita, been knocked down by a drunken Carla Connor and nearly died when trapped in the Rovers fire. Throw in a relationship with a man young enough to be her son and being caught using Gail's mop whilst giving the Bistro a good bottoming and you have a very unlikely, not to mention, very unlucky two years.

I wonder how the immediate post-tram crash years in Corrie will be viewed in years to come. Some telly gets better with age while some does not. Who knows, we may look back fondly on Corrie's sixth decade in years to come, although for me the jury is firmly out.

What do you think?

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Sunday Comments June 23

Nobody can persuade Dev from his quest so off to the cops he goes, positive that his hunch and belief in his children's faith is going to tip the scale. Karl was really stick handling trying to talk him out of it but no dice. Sunita couldn't kill a spider, how on earth could she manage to kill a human being. And if you tell the police your friends think you're crazy, it might be a tad difficult to persuade them your theory is bang on. They think his guilt is driving him. We know it's the truth.

Dev is asking hard questions that nobody can answer and Karl doesn't like it one bit. And why does Craig looks worried or nervous after hearing Dev asking those questions in the Kabin? I think Lloyd and Steve are noticing that Karl is getting a bit more nosy than need be at Dev's inquiries. Dev even cornered Tyrone as a fellow mis-accused. Steve and Lloyd are worried and wondering how to distract him and Karl is increasingly uncomfortable. He pretended sympathy and got Steve and Lloyd to admit the evidence is against Sunita and encouraged them to think Dev is having a breakdown. That makes his theories even more suspect. He's grilling everyone and he certainly has Stella's sympathies. Karl is poking his nose in left right and centre. How does nobody even suspect his motives? He stole Dev's wife. They're hardly even remotely friends.

I do hope that the wedding that Dev was talking about regarding Sunita's inability to hold her alcohol wasn't his wedding but the one of the relative he was talking about because Sunita didn't get a chance to drink champagne at her wedding. She was hauled off to the nick! ... Listened to it again and he said "a" wedding, not his or her or whatever. That's ok then. Continuity ...check. It doesn't make sense to Dev that if Sunita was blind drunk that she could have managed to sneak into the pub and set fire to it. He's got a point. The next experiment is how far away can the fire alarm be heard but Karl saw him running up and down the ginnel and used that against him.

Meanwhile Stella can't imagine it would have been anyone else that started the fire and blames herself for sticking her nose into Dev and Sunita's business, causing Sunita to go off on one. Dev kept grilling her too, trying to figure out the details, and Karl kept trying hard. Surely Dev is going to realize how hard Karl is working to get him away from his quest.

Tina can't stand the name Jake or is it symbolic of more than that. She's worried about the baby being so little and that pull of hormonal motherhood is stronger than she thought it would be. She's also sick to the eye teeth of Gary and Izzy. Tina is tetchy about having to give her baby away and Sylvia putting her foot in it didn't help. Tina is still drawn to the baby and both Tommy and Rita can see she's having a hard time putting it behind her. But now the baby is having a crisis with an infection and it could be quite serious and Tina is in bits.

It annoyed me that Gary was irritated with Tina for wanting to read the permission signature forms. It's not as if she wasn't going to sign them. Worry is worry, it's allowed but it's starting to feel close to bullying. Tina's beside herself with worry. As the storyline progresses, we could all see where this was headed.

The baby, of course, will be ok and a whole crowd barges in on the neo natal post-surgery ward. A bit much isn't it? Tina is most definitely attached to the baby and she knows it now. She can't give him up and Tommy is horrified. So is Rita. She didn't agree with the surrogacy and she doesn't think Tina should keep the baby but she supports Tina anyway. Owen paid out the rest of the money. I wonder if he's paid more than what Tommy owes. Tommy is promising to support her if she does keep the baby. It's not going to be easy, going to war with the Windasses and Armstrongs. Did she sign any contracts?

So what's next for Tina? She's tetchy, hormonal and stressed, that's for sure, but the baby is doing really well now. Onward and upward. Tina has decided to pull legal rank and be the first to hold the baby. The nurse can't stop her and boy, Izzy and Gary were sure disappointed. Tina sat there knowing darn well what she had in store for them even though she's hating what she wants to do to them.

Sean's gossip quest was fruitless. Michelle thinks Tracy will dump Rob but as long as she can goad him into trouble, she'll stick with him. Michelle is really annoying, all smug and superior. You can't tell me she is better at either Carla or even Rob at chasing down and closing deals. Rob is demanding more and more for his share, the share she's giving him nothing for since she didn't make him pay for it in the first place. Demanding doesn't work. Begging only got him 10% of what he demanded.

I'm loving all this sibling angst between them. She probably does feel guilt over abandoning him and her alcoholic mother but then she probably had to get out for her own sake and Rob doesn't see it. He resents her horribly for it. Tracy's new mission to find a way to invest Rob's five grand. Deirdre was interested to hear about the cash and figured it was a result of a scam. I guess without a job, Tracy's back to existing on just her child support from Steve or benefits. Meanwhile Carla has to give job references for Rob and can't in good conscience recommend him. That has to be difficult and Rob went ballistic when he found out. I'm not quite sure it's such a good thing, her blackening his name all over but she does have a point as well.

I don't blame Sean for being upset at Eileen playing the telly all night. His room is on the other side of the wall from the living room! I don't blame Eileen for worrying but she's got to find a way to cope. What next? Eileen is cleaning windows at 6:30 a.m. and Paul still doesn't twig? And she's volunteering for a night shift, too. Deirdre is defending Eileen's corner, concerned. Nobody else is getting the idea, not even Paul.

Deirdre and Eileen drinking was funny, chatting about disappointing lives and Deirdre's belts. Ha! Oh Paul is starting to notice that Eileen isn't on her game! It took awhile. Her work is starting to suffer and she got a stern talking too from Lloyd though Steve was a bit gentler. Eileen really needs help and her mate Deirdre is there for her.

Marcus is trying to get out of going to the wedding with Maria on his arm, introducing her as his partner to a group of his old friends who will not be having pretty girls on their arms. Sean will push him into it and he managed to make sure Maria found out about the wedding in a round about way. Naturally she wants to go but he seems half-hearted. You know he's still self conscious about switching sides and admitting it to his mates.

Marcus is doing all he can to get out of the wedding reception and is annoyed that Sean let the cat out of the bag. Sean does have a point. Marcus does seem to be afraid to face his friends and indeed he avoided his real relationship with Maria until it was unavoidable. Sean pretended to be discreet to their mates while passive aggressively insinuating that there was major gossip afloat and the mates zeroed in and unearthed the truth by backing Marcus into a corner in front of Maria. He had to admit it then and she wasn't too happy about it. I can't blame her.

Sean was bitchier and bitcher the more he drank and Marcus was more and more anxious to get away but he had to defend himself. Maria wasn't too happy to hear he still identifies as gay. His friends feel like he's betrayed the side but Marcus has a point, too. You can't always control who you fall in love with. Maria's insecurities are rampant and you can understand her side of it too. And Maria is getting more and more distracted too, worrying that Marcus is going to dump her and go back to fellas. Marcus doesn't know what to say to reassure her.

Roy is still tetchy too, isn't he and he's still on the rampage for the litter in the street and cleaning in front of everyone else's business in addition to his own. Roy had to give away a lot of defrosted food and Brian seems to have scarfed up most of it in his shopping bags. Greedy guts. Loved Sylvia pointing it out, too. Everyone is noticing that Roy is off kilter.

Sally is nervous about the blind date. To the tune of "Like a Prayer". She looked very nice. Unfortunately she was stood up and it depressed her. Why did Dev show up at the house? To grill Sophie. Why didn't anyone hug Dev when he got upset listening to the sad song? It might have stopped him sniffing. I think Audrey got the better of Tracy. Not difficult. It seemed odd to see so much interaction between Audrey and Tracy, they never usually connect. I think there's another example of other cast members picking up where Ken would normally have been. Tracy got a telemarketing job.

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