(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2013.)
So Dennis has fled Weatherfield once again, this time with that Gloria. Part of me says good for him as I can see what a good match they might be. Part of me says Boo! for poor Rita. The rest of me (that would be the majority) just feels heartily disappointed at the massive waste of talent this has all been.
As became common under the reign of Phil Collinson, a lot was promised when we heard Dennis Tanner was returning to Coronation Street, but very little was actually delivered. The Powers That Be obviously knew the importance of this move, after all Philip Lowrie was pictured having been newly entered in the Guinness Book of Records, however after that came not very much at all.
I think the lack of anything decent for Philip Lowrie to do clearly demonstrates the wider issue of Corrie not really knowing quite what to do with its older characters. We should be cherishing them while we can, not bringing them back and doing nothing with them or changing personalities over night just because it's convenient to the plot. Once upon a time characters like Ena Sharples, Albert Tatlock, Annie Walker and Minnie Caldwell were the backbone of Coronation Street. Year after year they would be there in the snug of the Rovers or chatting away in the Corner Shop and although not a great deal happened, their performances were lively, truthful and entertaining. They had a niche and the writers of the time knew well what that was.
Even in more recent times we had the onscreen joy of Phyllis and Percy, Maud Grimes, Blanche Hunt and the Duckworths. I know we've lost many class acts in recent years, but that should only mean that the Corrie bosses invest even more in the older characters that remain.
Neither Audrey nor Deirdre have had decent, stand alone storylines in months (possibly years in Deirdre's case). We've seen how wonderful Anne Kirkbride can be recently and I want to see her do more than just disapprove of Tracy's behaviour or throw in a reference to her stuffed marrow. I've always loved Eileen Derbyshire and think Emily's character has stayed true to itself over the years, but the writers have let Barbara Knox down in recent times. Yes we see plenty of her onscreen, but she isn't the Rita we all know and love. The relationship with Dennis didn't work and the friendship with Tina continues to baffle me.
It wasn't that long ago that we gloried in the Book Group meetings in the cafe as Blanche, Rita and the others thumbed the pages of Mel Hutchwright's Hard Grindings. We need more of this, it's the kind of material Corrie thrives on and it's been absent for far too long.
I'm not sad to see the back of Gloria Price but I would desperately love to see Stephanie Cole return as Roy's mum, Sylvia. She was magnificant. I would also dearly love to see Roy Hudd reprise his role as undertaker Archie Shuttleworth. There was real chemistry between Roy and Sue Nicholls as Audrey. Much better than that dreadful Marc/Marcia debacle. And let's develop Norris and Mary a bit more - their touching dance in the Rovers backyard after Hayley's funeral was wonderfully moving.
I also think we need to see some new older characters brought in to freshen things up. I've often thought Lynda Baron would make a great addition to the Corrie cast. She has appeared once before back in the 1990s and more recently, Lynda was fantastic as Violet Carson in The Road to Coronation Street.
So do you agree more needs to be done with Corrie's older characters? Who would you like to see join the ranks? I'm sure I read somewhere that Stuart Blackburn wanted another older character in the cast - get your suggestions in, he might be reading!
Follow the Bluenose CorrieBlog on Twitter and Facebook