(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in November 2015, reposted with permission.)
Is any one character universally loved on t'cobbles? Probably not although Roy Cropper must come perilously close to getting a group hug from the assembled fandom. Something he would hate. There are certainly firm favourites - Liz, Rita and Carla are beloved by many. In the dim and distant past I loved Bet and Minnie. I also took a shine, worryingly, to Renee Bradshaw. Early-version Gail plus her cohorts Tricia and later Suzie could do no wrong in my eyes.
Conversely, I've never cared for Emily all that much. I'm no big fan of Rita, never really 'got' Janice Battersby and loathed Mike 'packet of my cigars' Baldwin for two decades. A year ago, I would have added the Nazirs to the list. Initially they seemed to be yet another 'en masse' family flop and I was expecting them to be jammed into the Corrie cupboard alongside the Claytons, the Mortons and Beth's short-lived relations. Kal was an unrealistic gym instructor. They may as well have stuck Michael in lycra. Yasmeen always seemed to be projecting to the back row of a 2000 seat theatre, Sharif went from business mogul to hen farmer in a matter of weeks and Zeedan was a scowling bag of resentment. Ok, so the latter is a work in progress. Only Alya, bright as a button, seemed likely to be with us for the long haul.
How things have changed. Yasmeen has mellowed and although she hasn't lost her spark, her nurturing and caring side has emerged, particularly since Kal's death. Sharif has settled in nicely, hens conveniently forgotten and Zeedan proved to be a good friend to Leanne when she needed one most. Given upcoming storylines, she may well need that particular shoulder to cry on again before long.
Which leaves us with Alya. Corrie has once again worked its particular kind of 'magic' on a young woman and has drained her of any interest. It's happened before. Maria went from frumpy kennel maid, to vamp, to psycho mummy in the space of a decade. Sophie morphed from 'girl most likely to make something of herself' to mumbling dullard. Becky yo-yo'd between numerous personalities until we were all worn out and didn't care any more. Dear, dead old Tina journeyed from lovable barmaid to young fogey, helped along by dreary Tommy Duckworth and Tyrone's perpetual hangdog face. Now it's poor old Alya's turn. The engagement to Gary Windass was odd and clunky. They never seemed like an actual couple. Alya's one-off descent into drink and a little afternoon delight with Jason were uncomfortable storylines. Her burgeoning career at Underworld has been snuffed out by the many Connors and she now shuffles around the shop floor with a clipboard or hovers in the doorway waiting for the command to make something with 'two sugars love'.
For me then, the Nazirs can stay. I like them. Give Alya the positive lift she needs and you never know, I may even end up loving them.
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