Friday, 18 April 2014

Gail the Victim

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

I'm feeling quite sorry for our Gail at the moment. She's obviously struggling with the fact that the bloke who used to present Family Fortunes has been in her house uninvited. I think it will make for an interesting storyline as it progresses but it's made me wonder - when did Gail become the downtrodden victim?

Flashback now to August 1977, courtesy of Youtube. Gail Potter and Suzie Birchall, all glossy hair, cheeky grins and short shorts, peddling off under the viaduct on Stan and Hilda's tandem. I know 1977 is some time ago now but the Gail of today is almost unrecognisable. 

Was it Ivy Tilsley's fault? Or her Brian's? It seemed that as soon as Gail moved from under Elsie's roof to Tilsley Towers, her youth evaporated. Within months she was pregnant, boasting the very best in hideous late 1970s maternity wear. Suzie Birchall was long gone and Brian's acting talents were soon to be phoned in from Qatar. 

Life was very soon one long drudge for Gail. She spent her days running after Nicholas, and between dishing out unappetising dinners in the cafe and ditto at home for macho mummy's boy Brian. It didn't leave enough time for so much as a bitter lemon in the Rovers under Ivy's watchful, disapproving gaze. Gail didn't even pick up any tricks from her flighty mam Audrey, more's the pity.

So the victim seeds were sown back in 1979. Look what followed. Gail and Brian get divorced. Gail and Brian remarry "for the sake of the kids": more doom and gloom. Brian gets stabbed. Gail's mother in law from hell becomes a martyr, then an alcoholic, then runs off to a convent with a new face and dies off screen. 

Then along comes Martin, whos major achievement was giving the nation David Platt. Throw in a crazy Irish Cusack nanny and an affair with a Geordie nurse and Martin scarpers to Liverpool never to be mentioned again, despite the fact motorways have been invented.

We then enter more modern times which can be summed up as a cycle of never-ending doom and trauma, both for Gail and the viewers. As an aside, how can Helen Worth always appear to be so cheerful? Richard Hillman. Joe McIntyre. David, on countless occasions. Sharing a prison cell with Tracy-luv Barlow. Being conned by that posh bloke from Don't Wait Up...

Kylie summed up Gail's life in Monday night's episode to a fairly stunned Police Support Officer. I love it when Corrie references the plainly ludicrous tragedies that have plagued its characters. Where would Emily be without moist-eyed memories of Ernest? Up a tree probably, with Spider. 

Is Gail's natural doom-laden state an accurate depiction then? Should we be rejoicing in the fact that Corrie still boasts characters with such a history behind them? Or do you, like me, yearn for a bit of lighthearted excitement for our Gail? No dodgy fellas, bonkers family members or Bistro tabards anymore...or at least not for a bit. 

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