Friday, 27 February 2015

Time to hide your cheque book Rita!

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2014, reposted with permission.)

Ah, the fragrant Jenny Bradley has returned to Coronation Street. Who can forget that long, ginger mane of hair; those unflattering 1980s anoraks and her own special brand of spiteful teenage poison she brought into our lives.

I love the idea of Jenny coming back to see Rita, with one or two reservations. I hope the writers come up with something fresh this time around, while still referencing the past (accurately). After messing up Rita's character and ruining Dennis Tanner's, I hope the next blast from Rita's past is handled better. I also hope it isn't just another opportunity for our Reet to open up her cheque book and raid her increasingly bizarre bank balance. Exactly how much money did Len and Ted have between them? All they did was fix the Rovers toilets and flog boiled sweets.

Jenny will notice quite a difference in the Coronation Street of 2014, compared to when she last appeared (briefly) in 1993. She will still recognise several residents though, thankfully. Ken, Deirdre, Emily, Gail, Audrey, Sally, Kevin, Steve and Liz will all remember her and her infamous father. Tracy and Nick were both children at the time but they must have memories of it all. And I'm sure Norris will have a few sharp comments for her when she turns up in the Kabin.

The Alan Bradley saga really was Barbara Knox's finest hour. It gave her the best storyline of her Corrie career. For three years the tension slowly built with the viewing public uncovering more and more about the shady character who had entered Rita's life. Mark Eden was superb in the part, smooth, menacing and all too believable. The storyline was probably constructed as a ratings winner to combat the soaring popularity of the BBC's Corrie rival, EastEnders. And it worked. Millions of viewers tuned in throughout the saga, peaking with Alan's demise thanks to a combination of Rita's frightful gold mac and a passing Blackpool tram. 

The storyline even won Barbara Knox the Oracle Teletext Best Actress award. Them were the days!

Jenny was, of course, one of several kids Rita fostered over the years. And bizarrely, we have Brian Capron to thank for this, in a roundabout way. Years before he turned up as Weatherfield's black glove wearing serial killer Richard Hillman, he played Don Worthington, a friendly social worker who brought Jenny Bradley to Rita's door in 1986. Just when you thought the man couldn't wreck any more havoc on the good folks of Weatherfield...

So what will Jenny get up to this time around, and what exactly will bring her back into Rita's life? Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see what's become of her over the past 21 years. She may not have been the most pleasant of characters, but she was part of one Coronation Street's most famous storylines. Revisiting that one will be interesting. 

Is it too much to hope for a cameo from Mark Eden as the ghost of Alan Bradley? Anything is possible these days...

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