(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2013.)
We get it. We're grown ups. We understand that sometimes an actor just isn't available, or is too expensive. Someone who should be in an episode just isn't. These things happen.
Having said all that, where the fig is Sinead's mum?
This isn't like Sarah-Louise "not being able to get a flight", or Toyah "can't get time off work", or Ken "has to look after Adam." We just met Arlene. She was in the programme a couple of weeks ago. She turned up for a wedding. Why isn't she at her daughter's bedside when she's about to have a life-changing operation?
The writers and producers knew that this plotline was coming up, so it was simple: get Alison Burrows to stick around for a month instead of a week. If she couldn't commit for that long, cast a different actress who could. We'd never seen Arlene before - it didn't really matter who played her. Any reasonable actress with a northern accent would do. Just pay her to sit at Sinead's bedside while all this drama happens.
Because we just met the Tinkers, we're wondering where they are. When Tina was in hospital, her non-existent mother wasn't such an issue because we knew there had always been problems between them, and she'd not been around for a long time. Arlene, Nancy and Agnes all turned up at the start of January - so they know where Sinead lives - and they were lovely to her - so there are no outstanding Cilla Brown-esque family tensions. Why aren't they with her now?
In fact, I'm being generous in just calling for Arlene to come back. The wedding episodes established that Sinead was the golden girl of the family, so it would be reasonable for her nan and great-gran to turn up as well. That might be a bit expensive, fair enough. Just bring back her mum then. All the time Beth is sat there worrying - and yes, she's very good at it - I'm just thinking, where is her mum!
Sorry. Had to get that off my chest.
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