Monday, 14 December 2015

The wonder of Weatherfield

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in November 2015.)

Over the past few months I have, admittedly, been struggling with my love of all things Corrie. It happens. We've probably all been there. There comes a time when the show seems to hit a stream of storylines that fail to resonate. You ask yourself the usual questions - 'have I fallen out of love with the soap? and 'will it ever get better?'

The real problem was that the one particular storyline which ground me down just happened to feature a couple of my favourite actors. Yes, the disposal of Callum Logan had me cheering. The dreadful old campster had been dispatched and with him, a tedious period in the show's history. Not so. Kylie and David then found themselves trudging through endless episodes of 'what ifs'. Paula Lane and Jack P. Shepherd tackled them with aplomb. However, I couldn't escape that sinking feeling every time that nasty little sofa and the awful kitchen hove into view. Thankfully, simpering, whinnying Gail had been bundled off to Italy along with her daughter and grand-daughter, otherwise I'd have been tearing up that manhole cover and hurling myself in.

Of late though, a little respite. We all know that the story is going to resurface and despite assurances from all involved, part of me still believes that Callum will resurface at some point. Otherwise, and quite rightly, Kylie's off to Cell Block H and we really don't want to see Paula Lane exit stage left.

In the past couple of weeks though, sunshine through the rain. I'm enjoying my cobbles-based dramatics. There have been some cracking episodes and to me, it feels as though the show has had a hefty kick up the bum. I'm loving the cat-and-mouse shenanigans of Erica and Dev. Comedy Dev has always been a guilty pleasure (more so than sobbing, dramatic Dev) and in Erica he's met his match.

The Mary-Brendan relationship is one of those quirky couplings that Corrie does well. I loved the scene where Mary told Emily to butt out. Mrs Bishop is beloved by many but I'm not a fan so this was quite  moment. I can't wait for her to get started on Rita!

I cheered for Leanne. The poor woman struts up and down the Street with her 'Scream' mask facial expressions but at last, she has the support she needs to deal with Simon. Isn't it good to see Eva back too? When she first joined the show I thought she had all the appeal of a wooden spoon but now, she's Corrie gold.

Leanne isn't the only resurgent female on the Street. Liz dealt with Tony wonderfully (sad to see him go though), Kate got feisty at the faktry and new, shiny Tracy reverted back to her shrieking Harvester barmaid persona.

Elsewhere, I feel that other characters are entering their comfort zone. Mine too. I like the Nazirs, especially Yasmeen, who is the kind of nurturing soul the show needs. The Roy/Cathy relationship feels 'right', Carla seems buoyed by her re-discovered family and attentive boyfriend. There's been some lovely acting from Jennie McAlpine and Alan Halsall as Fiz and Tyrone struggle with their awful news. All the stuff of which any good soap is made.

Of course, one man's meat is another man's poison and no doubt there are many who will have loved the high drama of Callum's comeuppance or the conclusion of the Gary and Alya romance. Not me though.

I hope that Corrie has weathered a hum-drum autumn only to burst forth into a contented winter. For me, there certainly seems to be a different feel to recent episodes and for that, I raise a glass of milk stout to those in charge of t'cobbles.

By David Bridgman (twitter @bridglondon)

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