Thursday, 7 May 2015

Bradley Winnings

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in April 2015.)

Last night Jenny Bradley went from "quirky" to "psycho hose beast" in the course of an hour.  One minute she was Mary Poppins, floating around on a happy cloud of childminding love, the next she's bawling at passers by in the street, lying through her teeth, and belting the neighbours.  And yet my sympathies were always with her, not the victims of her rage.  How did that happen?

The easy answer is, she was smacking Maria in the face, and let's be honest, Maria could do with a bit of a slap every few months.  The more in depth answer is that Jenny Bradley is just plain ace.  Sally-Ann Matthews has been fantastic from the minute she returned to the Street.  She has an advantage, I suppose, in that it was all pretty familiar to her; a lot of the cast were around in her day, and the set might have moved to Salford but it still looks pretty much the same.

But on top of this, she's been a fascinating character.  A bit funny, a bit clever, a bit mouthy.  She's mellowed since she was last here - as you would hope anyone would after 20 years - but she's still recognisably the Jenny Bradley who left the Street during the John Major premiership.  There's a darkness there, of course.  We should remember that she was orphaned at an early age - her mum died in a car crash, and her dad turned out to be a nasty criminal who ended up under a Blackpool tram.  That's a not insignificant amount of youthful trauma to go through.

On top of that, her over-reactions to Jack's illnesses hint at a horrible secret.  I've avoided the spoilers, so I don't know what she's hiding, but I'm guessing at a dead child somewhere in her past.  I hope whatever it is comes out in a sympathetic way, and that Jenny gets the help she needs to overcome her demons.  I'd rather see that than, for example, a melodramatic kidnap of Jack followed by her falling into the canal.  I'd rather see her bond with Rita, put their differences aside, become like a mother and daughter again.  Since Dennis has gone forever, it'd be nice to give La Knox something to do. Perhaps she could take a job in the Kabin, or in the cafe now Anna is off playing happy families.  I'd like to see her behind the bar of the Rovers, not least because Sarah-Lou is grossly overqualified for that position (also, how can she see over the beer pumps?  Do they have a box back there for her?).

Basically, I want Jenny to stick around, because she's pretty marvelous.  No doubt Sophie Webster: Girl Detective will turn up some crucial evidence before long (I'd love to know what she expected to find in Jenny's handbag: a bloodied knife?  A detailed floor plan of a bank?  A copy of Child Rearing The Rosemary West Way?).  I hope, when she does, the revelation isn't completely destructive to Jenny and her burgeoning relationship with Kevin.

Alternatively she could just punch Maria in the chin every other week.  That'd cheer me up too.

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