Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Queen Carla - Classy, Competent and Compassionate

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2014.)

Alison King, who plays the tremendous force of nature that is Carla Connor, arrived on our screens as Carla on 1st December 2006. At that time she was married to Paul Connor. Since then, she has had various boyfriends/ husbands and different surnames including Connor, Gordon and Barlow. Before marriage, she was Donovan. Officially she is still Barlow but as she has made it clear to her staff and others, woe betide anyone who calls her Barlow.

There was no doubt that she loved Peter Barlow and she did not have an easy time ensnaring him. For a while, when Peter’s deserting of Leanne had settled down and Leanne  got together with Nick, it looked as if Peter and Carla would be together for good. Their dark heads of hair and their build made them seem to fit together very well. (Though I have realized recently that Carla’s hair is more red than black). In addition, after a very shaky start, the relationship between Carla and Simon gradually improved and they were  able to tolerate each other and were even beginning to enjoy each other’s company. Sadly for everyone, as we now know, in retrospect, Peter’s affair with Tina put paid to a blossoming relationship with Carla’s would-be stepson. Not to mention all the rest, which, of course, will now be mentioned.

Paul, her first husband was killed as was her lover Liam, Paul’s brother. Tony Gordon, her second husband was responsible for Liam’s death and a whole host of other crimes.

What strength Carla has shown. She is a survivor and mostly, a deserving one. True she’s no angel and the sisterhood doesn’t seem to mean that much to her as she is happy to purloin other women’s husbands, namely, Maria’s Liam and Leanne’s Peter. Now she has had a taste of how it feels to be cheated on, as her full betrayal by Peter came to light, shortly followed by the miscarriage of the baby, which she was at first certain she didn’t want. When she miscarried she was heartbroken and maybe that is her last chance of motherhood, though this is soap life not real life. (And anyway my sister in law had a baby aged 44 – she’ll be thrilled to to get a mention on the blog). Tina, she thought, was her friend and Carla was the embodiment of kindness to her. And, though she doesn’t know it yet, her brother is a murderer.

Carla is the business – so it is fitting that she is also a business woman and a  hardworking one at that. She has a tough love approach towards her staff . They are a little afraid of her but clearly respect her. She pays them for their work, so work they must. That, she makes crystal clear. She is fair too.

When Maddie asks her for a job, and messes it up. Carla says, ‘Right little charmer in’t she?’

Maybe, just maybe, she sees in Maddie what she herself was like as a teenager, until she found her niche.

When Carla is on screen, for me, there is never a dull second. Her presence, her wearing of black even in summer, which I sense she will wear until they discover a darker colour, her style, her confidence, her business acumen and above all her compassion. What a friend she was to Hayley – a masterstroke by the writing team to have Carla and Hayley as such friends. especially since they are so dissimilar.

All praise to Carla and just remember that if you find her too brusque, too outspoken or just too much, she will have Tracy Barlow as a sister in law – and we must feel some humanity towards a woman who has to suffer such a fate.

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