Tuesday, 14 January 2014

What makes a good Corrie exit? Now there's a question

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

The end of another year. I must be getting old as I don't know where the time is going. It's been another action packed year in Weatherfield and I'm sure 2014 promises much of the same. For there are many changes afoot in the new year, mostly involving cast departures. As we reach the end of the year, it seems appropriate to look at some happy (or not so happy) endings.

2014 will see several characters leave Coronation Street. Within the space of a few months we'll lose Hayley, Tina, Dennis, Gloria, Stella and Marcus. One or two I'll be really sad to see  go - the rest not so much. I think you will all know my views so I won't specify! All these impending departures have made me wonder whether it is better for well-loved characters to depart quietly in a taxi or in a blaze of glory? I'm sure we'll see a mix of both methods in the months ahead.

We already know that Hayley will have a sad, emotional goodbye while it looks like Tina's departure might spark a "dramatic" whodunnit. Will Stella and Gloria depart in the back of one of Steve's cabs? And what about Dennis and Marcus? Will they leave Weatherfield alone? We recently saw Brian drive out of the street in his van without much ceremony. Earlier this year we lost Sunita in a very explosive manner, however poor Shobna Gulati then had to endure many scenes lying in a hospital bed playing unconscious - hardly the best of both worlds.

I guess at least these actors are lucky, they will get the chance to play out a proper exit storyline, whether it be long or short. Looking back to cast departures in the past, some were not so fortunate. Original characters Annie Walker, Albert Tatlock and Ena Sharples made their final appearances without saying goodbye to the loyal Corrie audience due to the ill health or sad demise of the actors behind these Weatherfield legends. The same fate befell Bert Tilsley due to Peter Dudley's death and Len Fairclough following various revelations about actor Peter Adamson. It will always be a great shame that legendary performers like Doris Speed and Violet Carson were not allowed a final on screen flourish. 

So what are my own favourite exits? If we're going for a dramatic demise, it has to be Alan Bradley. The culmination of his long running storyline with our Rita was and is iconic. My two absolute favourites however are much more low key. I just adored Elsie Tanner's farewell in January 1984. Unlike some of her costars at the time, Pat Phoenix was given a well-rounded, thoughtful final curtain. The return of Bill Gregory, one of Elsie's first on screen loves, completed the circle and gave Elsie a fitting, happy goodbye. I still get the shivers whenever I watch her striding down the darkened Coronation Street for the last time, clutching her photos of Dennis and Linda, while famous scenes are hauntingly touched upon in the background. 

Finally, who can forget Hilda Ogden's feel-good farewell on Christmas Day 1987? Poor, downtrodden Hilda had spent years scrimping and saving, coping with Stan's lazy work shy attitudes and loving him fiercely all the same. She finally achieved the status she craved when she went off to Derbyshire to take up the position of Dr Lowther's housekeeper. Hilda's final scenes in the Rovers, complete with community singsong, was a warm touching tribute to both the legendary character and also to Jean Alexander who played her so beautifully for 23 years. 

So those are my favourite endings. What are yours? 

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