Saturday, 31 January 2015

The minibus slippery slope

Holy Hannah, that was superb, absolutely top notch stuff! The bus crash, rescue and hospital scenes were exciting, poignant, emotional and had me alternately on the edge of my seat and in tears.

Top marks to ITV, cast and crew who did absolutely awesome (in the literal meaning of that word) stuff this week! It was one thing to know what was going to happen, due to all the publicity and hype, but a completely different experience actually watching it. It was quite exciting!

Highlights:
Tracy Barlow rescuing Carla, her arch-enemy and the two of them sort of bonding in the ambulance over new boots and new debts.
Julie and Maddie working together to spearhead the rescue.
Tracy nearly going down with the ship, so to speak, when her boot got caught.
Steve in a broken huddle on the floor of the forest, babbling to Michelle and later admitting to her that he was ill.
Julie, the delayed shock hitting her, admitting to Dev that she was not, in fact, okay at all.
Sinead, scared and in pain, admitting to Chesney that she couldn't feel her legs. 


I've done a load of screen captures over the three episodes with a bit of narrative over here on State of the Street as there was just too much to post here.





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Kym Marsh engaged to be wed for third time

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Kym Marsh, who plays Michelle Connor, is on the cover of OK magazine this week, showing off her new engagement ring and fiance Dan Hooper.

Kym has two failed marriages behind her, and tells the magazine she's certain this one will work.

"Those relationships [with Jack Ryder and Jamie Lomas] didn't work out but that doesn't mean that I don't want to have a happy and successful marriage and I'm certain this time I will. For me to say yes to Dan after ten months of dating means a lot. I know people think it's quick but I wouldn't be marrying Dan if I wasn't certain.I'm not entering into this lightly but I'm the happiest I've ever been and that's the most important thing. My family and friends are over the moon as they've never seen me this happy."



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Friday, 30 January 2015

Katy Armstrong: Career Girl

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2014.)

Back in the Sixties, they used to make career novels for young ladies to encourage them into suitable areas of employment.  Things like Air Hostess Ann and Fanny in Floristry.  These books existed to get schoolgirls enthused about the world of work, right up until they got married and devoted their lives to their husbands instead.  They don't print them any more, because they'd have to be called things like Call Centre Clara and Zero Hours Zoe and everyone would get terribly depressed.

It's a shame Weatherfield Library has closed because Katy Armstrong could do with a couple of these books; Yasmeen doesn't strike me as the kind of woman who'd update her stock very regularly so I'm sure there would have been some floating around.  Katy's been wandering around like a lost soul ever since her heartfelt desire to be a paramedic - a heartfelt desire prompted by nothing more than a chat from a slightly fit bloke - was destroyed by her hatred for blood.  One would have thought that an intelligent person might have realised that paramedics would occasionally see a drop of the red stuff, but as I said, this is Katy.  She seemingly thought paramedics just turned up and stuck a plaster on an owie.

Katy has never struck me as a particularly entrepreneurial soul.  She arrived in the Street for Chesney's birthday party and immediately agreed to go out with him.  This was despite the fact that she looked like a gymslip Lolita and Chesney looked like... well, Chesney.  No matter how much iron he pumps he always looks like he was put together out of plasticine by Aardman.


After Katy and Chesney had been together for about eighteen seconds, they took the extremely mature decision to have a baby together.  Baby Joseph was born during the school nativity; their choice of name makes me think Katy and Chesney misunderstood the Christmas story.  Normally two teenagers having a child would cause all sorts of tragedies, with their lives sadly devastated by the effort of taking care of a new human being.  Luckily for them Joseph is Weatherfield's equivalent of the Cheshire Cat; he only fades into existence when he's needed.  Most of the time he's... somewhere.  I'm not sure where - a parallel universe?  Brigadoon?  Certainly his parents seem to have better things to do than look after him.

Katy soon got bored of Chesney and turned to Ryan for excitement, which is like abandoning a Big Mac in favour of a Quarter Pounder.  It's all the same really.  Ryan was just a different kind of dull, one with rock hard abs, yes, but even less going on between his ears than an Easter Island statue.  Even a nostril full of cocaine couldn't make him interesting.  Their affair was brief and passionless; it's hard to get properly aroused when you're pressed up against a rotisserie of kebab meat.  It was too much for Chesney though and she left to move into the Windass-Armstrong Tardis across the way.

Since then she's sort of floated around the Street, mainly standing next to Izzy and looking irate when Gary does something stupid.  She's got a job at the gym on reception, a job which she seems to think can be a springboard to literally anything.  It's how Karren Brady started, isn't it, folding up sweaty towels and demanding to see membership cards?  Someone needs to sit Katy down and explain that her terrible career prospects might be down to her dropping out of school to have a baby.  It might actually remind her he exists.

I'm hoping the writers really go for broke and give her an absolutely ludicrous job - after all, if Michelle Connor can go from being a barmaid to a top knicker saleswoman and from there to a wedding planner, anything seems possible.  Perhaps Katy could become the new head of the Bank of England?  An astronaut?  One of the Three Tenors?  The world is your oyster, Katy; don't let those opportunities pass you by.




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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Corrie Canada sneak previews for Feb. 2 - 6


Without further ado here is a brief sneak preview of what you'll see on  next week's Corrie in Canada.

Everyone blames Steve but not more than he blames himself as many of his friends and neighbours turn on him  until Michelle blurts out the truth. Sinead's injuries may mean a tough future for her. It looks like Kylie has surfaced but it isn't what it looks like and David finally tells Max his mother may not come home. Billy admits his feelings to Sean. Eva wants to get a place with Jason but there's no money for a deposit. Jason doesn't want Tony's help and Todd is jealous. Tim and Craig make friends. Gary starts work in the cafe.


For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at Corrie.net




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Is it time for Corrie to have another female Producer?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

With thanks to Wikipedia, I know that Coronation Street has had 33 Producers since it began in 1960. Of those 33 Producers,only eight have been women, as follows:

Margaret Morris (1963-4)
June Howson (1970)
Susi Hush (1974-6)
Pauline Shaw (1982)
Carolyn Reynolds (1992-4)
Sue Pritchard (1994-7)
Jane McNaught (1999-2002)
Kim Crowther, pictured above (2008-2010)

Now then, I don't know anything about television production and so I'm asking you, Corrie fans and those in the know, if you think having a female Producer at the helm of our favourite telly show makes it a better show to watch?  Does it make any difference? 


The only female Producer I know a little about is Susi Hush, who tried to, according to her obituary in The Independent "imbue the narrative with gritty, controversial social realism". She was also the Producer who took the women of the Street away from Weatherfield to Majorca on their jollies.

I guess that any Producer of any TV show, but especially soap, needs to press the right buttons to win the awards. By that I mean they need a sexy female, a hunky male, a best exit, a best storyline, the best special effects - all that kind of thing on which the world of TV and soap awards now turn, whether we like it or not. And whether the Producer is a woman or a man makes no difference, here. Awards are there to be won. 

However, the awards for the things, that I as a Corrie fan, would value wouldn't make entertaining viewing for the nation. So, there's no award for Best Eyebrow Raised in a Knowing Way. And no award for Over the Shoulder Look of Terror When Hugging Someone While Facing The Camera. And no award for Quiet Moment with Soft Line of Dialogue that Makes Your Heart Melt.

But where, I wonder, a woman might be able to make a difference - and here I'm willing to be argued with because I truly want to know what you all think - is in Corrie's portrayal of emotionally strong women. Corrie's very foundation of strong, feisty women is now on shaky ground and has been for some time.  We've got Manic Mary, Toxic Tracy, Missing-in-action Emily, moaning minny Anna with her spatula of spite. an assortment of young 'uns with nothing more to do than flick their hair and flutter their eyelashes.  

On the plus side, there are the women I'm enjoying watching. I like watching Carla and Tracy but have no empathy for either. I adore Izzy, Sally, Liz, the much-missed Deirdre, Eileen, Gail, Audrey, Julie, Yasmeen but feel ambivalent at best about the rest - the ones with the boobs and the shiny shampoo-ad hair.

I'm aware that I haven't made a good point very well here. Female producers might not make a difference. We might just need a capable captain, of any gender, to steer the portrayal of the Street's women, perhaps back to Majorca. Or even Blackpool. Or even just to a girls' night out. 


But one thing's for certain.  We do need Corrie's strong women back in the spotlight - and by that I don't mean yet another Tracy / Carla cat-fight. 


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Wednesday, 28 January 2015

In awe of Annie Walker

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2015.)

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda! It's three years today since I joined the blog! Can't believe it!

Yesterday, as there was nothing that good on TV I decided to watch The Stars of Coronation Street - 50 Years, 50 Classic Characters DVD once again, this time with my mum and grandmother. We fast-forwarded some clips as the characters didn't interest us but thoroughly enjoyed watching the clips of Eddie Yeats, Hilda, Ena, Percy Sugden, Betty and Blanche.

But the one character that made my mum smile fondly every time she featured in a clip was the wonderful Annie Walker.

A precursor to the classic comedy character Hyacinth Bucket, Annie is one of the most brilliantly played characters in the history of Corrie. While it is the likes of Elsie, Hilda, Bet and Vera that we remember for catfights, Annie could also dish them out, but in a much subtler way which I love. Just look at the clip below of Annie's classic put-down of Hilda in 1977:


She was the classic snob and the clip shown of her and husband Jack on the DVD is a Corrie classic, and hasn't been shown that often which is a real shame. She reminds me of certain aunts in my family or maybe people who live in my village - those who think they're a cut above but really they're not. When Annie went a bit too far with her snobbishness, the likes of Jack, Lucille, Len and Bet were sure to take her down a peg or two. And I loved how she used to separate the customers into two categories - her friends like Len, Ken, Emily and Alf and then the peasants like the Ogdens, Eddie Yeats and the Duckworths. I also loved how she used posh language to insult Stan or Hilda where they thought she complimented them! 

It is a real shame that she departed the way she did. It is remarkable that Doris Speed was in her 80s and still made regular appearances in her final years. In the final clip on the DVD feature about Annie it shows her laying down the law to the Rovers staff and Doris was in her 80s then and what a strong performance it was. And I thought, they don't make them like that anymore!

She was a megalomaniac but she wouldn't have fit in anywhere else apart from Coronation Street in my opinion. She soldiered on as a widow to run the Rovers and I believe there has been no landlady as good as her since. Annie's character would never age because snobs still exist in today's society as shown in present Corrie with Sally Webster. You could possibly not say the same about Ena, Hilda or Mavis even.

She was one of the big three originals and for me she was the best!

So let's raise a glass to Annie Walker of the Beaumonts of Clitheroe! 


by Llifon



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Conversation Street podcast 132

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the episodes in Canada that aired (up to last night's Canadian Corrie) can be heard here.

This week Carla's upcoming award causes ructions between Sally and Alya. Tony has succeeded in getting Tracy to sell him part of the business. He may regret that. We discovered who Gavin really is but Michael's heart is in such bad shape that he can't come clean.  Mary and Julie are still struggling to find their peace.

The character profile is Reg Holdsworth.





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Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Les Dennis: "I still pinch myself when I walk into Corrie"

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Les Dennis was interviewed on BBC Radio 2's Paper Cuts show last night with Kate Thornton.  He talked about his life and touched on Coronation Street, of course.

It's definitely worth a listen.  Les said that if his late comedy partner, Dustin Gee, was still alive today, he would have been enormously proud of him for joining the show.

When Les first joined Corrie, he says: "I was in awe. My first scene was running up the cobbles having burgled Gail's house. I remember thinking: 'I am actually on Coronation Street, not doing a sketch as Mavis!

"Here I am playing a character that might have a shelf life in the show and every scene that I did, my first scene with Roy - oh! - my first scene with Bill Roache, who plays Ken Barlow - at the end of the scene he touched my forehead and said 'you're blooded'.

"I still pinch myself when I walk through the gates, it's a fantastic show to do. It seems that people like the character and like the relationship between Gail and Michael. Maybe for the first time she's got the man she deserves!

Listen to the interview here.




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Monday, 26 January 2015

Corrie Canada weekly awards: Jan. 19 -23

Nerves Jangling award: Kirk, obviously, but Julie was sweating bullets over the cake, too!

Decor award: The room for the wedding was really decorated wonderfully, from oversized Rubik's cubes to banners. If they'd lost their slot, though, the lesbians from Levenshulme mightn't have been too keen.

Irresponsible award: I don't care how ticked off you are, you don't walk out on a shift leaving one person behind the bar to handle a wedding reception if the rest of the staff are nowhere to be seen. Michelle's name might be on the door, but she needs to be sacked.

Double edged sword award: Romantic (free) honeymoon in a donkey sanctuary with the in-laws? Um....

Musical ambiance: Lots of great 80s tunes but the one that really caught my ear was while Maria and Luke were arguing and she's telling him she doesn't want to be forced into something she doesn't want with "I Want To Break Free" playing.

Make it stop award: Maria still blowing hot and cold at Luke. She's angry he ended up at the reception, made it clear she didn't want anything serious and then asked him back to her empty flat (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold. Make it stop please.

Penny's dropping: Liz is finally realizing there's something wrong with Steve even if, at the moment, she thinks it's just upset over the breakup.

What is it with weddings and Sally Webster? She always seems to be legs in the air these days! (Carla and Peter's and now Beth and Kirk's. Tim must be way hotter than Kevin!)

Pun of the week: Regarding playing opera to unstress the chickens so they'll lay eggs Roy "Perhaps something from La Boheme?" Alya "Don't you mean, La Bo-hen?"

Dog eat Dog award: Tony is determined to get his feet under the Barlow Buys table at any cost.

Set up award: Tony most definitely set Tracy up with the dodgy guy with the mixers to try to scare her into accepting him as a partner.

Fashion wow: Loved Steph's lacy outfit.

Pants on Fire award: Gavin, of course, is always backpedalling to cover up his impostorship!

Oblivious award: Julie seems to realize that Mary is feeling left out because she's with Dev now and part of the family, but she doesn't realize how much her interfering is upsetting the twins' routine and Mary's authority over it.

Loved Up award: Steph and Gavin.

Lines of the week:
Julie "Weddings! Alcohol and Polyester! It's a powderkeg waiting to blow!" (quite possible my favourite line!)
Mary "Sugar me up baby, and let's get squeezing!"
Todd "When have you ever seen Jesus in shoulder pads?"
Sinead "He's marrying some lesbians from Levenshulme at 10 past 11." Beth's sister "Levenshulme?" Beth's granny "Don't know about lesbians but they've got a lovely market there!"
Sean to Eileen "You've come dressed as the cake!"
Liz "I don't know where you are, Steve, but I'm gonna kill you!"
Liz to Steve "You will do anything to distract yourself!" (And isn't that a clue right there?)
Julie to Sinead's mother "You have all the grace of a Salford Navvy!"
Beth "I'm so happy my heart is going to burst" Kirk "D'you wanna know how I feel? Like a winner" (And that, ladies and gentlemen, puts the cap on the best wedding ever!)
Yasmeen to Sharif "Why are you sitting out here, you ridiculous man? They (the chickens) don't require a midwife"
Tony, referring to the dog eat dog world of business "The lion eats the zebra!" Eva "That don't mean the zebra has to be happy about it"
Luke "Jealousy is an ugly thing" Steph "Yeah, so are you when your trousers are undone" (Oops! And ...little sister 1 big brother 0)
Michael to Sharif "Are you sure they're not roosters?" Sharif "Oh they're hens all right, you can tell by the amount of pecking they do!" (snort)
Roy "When a loved one needs support, it's sometimes necessary to look beyond one's own feelings and beliefs"
Gavin "There's two sides to every story" Leanne "Really? In my experience there's usually truth and bare faced lies"
Eileen to Jason "Just because you hang around the nest doesn't mean I have to drop worms in your gob!"
Gavin "I am sick and tired of telling lies cause it's got me into a mess you wouldn't believe" (he's quite right, too!)
Michael "When push comes to shove, I've always been a bit of a cryer" (real men aren't afraid to cry, Mike!)
David to Michael "Welcome to the Addams family!"


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Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sunday Comments January 25

It's wedding day! Kirk is tied in knots with a kick to his self esteem and just general wedding jitters. He doesn't want to get anything wrong and is convinced he's going to do it all wrong. The bridesmaids look awesome. The Bride does too, but she wasn't best pleased to see a few spare Madonnas (from other eras, at least) across the road (Sophie and Maddie, )Julie's sweating over the cake, it's Mary to the rescue and they nearly overturn it on the street. Here's the problem, Kirk walked out of the house and nobody knows where he is!

Oh great. Now what? Beth does her nut! In the process, she completely insults her future in-laws who were only invited by text and I fail to believe that Beth wouldn't have sent them an invitation. Seriously? Anyway, Bride's worst nightmare. Oh never mind, he's here and he changed his costume from another Blues Brother to Beth's favourite, Adam Ant and all is forgiven. Ooh and they even decorated the room! Brilliant! Though if they'd lost their slot, the lesbians from Levenshulme mightn't have been too keen.

The wedding was wonderful! Beth wrote her vows and of course Kirk just couldn't do it but spoke from the heart. Brief, simple and true and there wasn't a dry eye in the house, me included! Kirk's parents were looking on, were they emotional or just horrified? I don't know but it doesn't matter, does it? A wedding that was as excellent and unique as I hoped for!

What's up with Sally Webster, by the way? She and Tim got all hot and bothered at Carla and Peter's wedding and this time, they didn't even make it to the wedding! Tim must be way hotter in bed than Kevin! Sean feels in the dumps because Billy didn't make it to the wedding.

Steve, meanwhile, is doing his bit for the 80s, fiddling with a real Rubik's cube and off with the fairies. Liz decided that she had to do some shopping before visiting Andy in Spain. Today. Irresponsible, I say even if her main objective was to get Steve and Michelle in the same room. It didn't work. Michelle kept having a go at Steve who was shut down so, even if she's ticked off at Steve, she should be sacked by leaving Steve alone in the bar to handle a wedding reception while she goes on a date. She knows she can't be sacked if her name is over the door but if anyone's pushing Steve over the edge on this day, at least, it's her. Of course Steve can't cope and he just leaves the pub to the punters to it, free booze and he couldn't care less. Liz finally returned and was horrified. Well, she shouldn't have left in the first place!

The first dance was supposed to be Lionel Ritchie's All Night Long but Beth's mam hit the wrong button, probably on purpose, and they had to make do with Push It! It certainly got the audience jumping, including, surprisingly, Kirk's dad who was very flirtatious with Tracy Barlow! The In-laws' gift is free tickets to Cypress where they live. Ok. Romantic honeymoon in a donkey sanctuary with the in-laws? Um....

Most of the reception went smoothly except Sinead's mother latched on to Dev who was flattered but Julie sizzled and fumed until she blew. BACK OFF, LADEH! Dev understood and they're ok with it all. And Beth's sister had the gall to squeal about them not being married and him being fair game! If the stiletto was on the other foot, you know she'd have her claws in Julie's eyes far sooner than that! Kirk kept freezing up over doing a speech so Beth had to do some damage control. They had some "us" time in the back yard of the pub that Kirk decorated with lights and a romantic table for two, and made some very special vows to each other. Julie caught the bouquet, much to Mary's chagrin. Carla gave the couple a night in a very posh country hotel and Tyrone lent them the car to get there. On getting in it, Beth promised Kirk the best ride ever! Kirk's reply? Why d'you think I married her!!!

Awwww this is the best Corrie wedding ever!

But there were tears, too. Tracy was reminded of her failed wedding. Julie was upset after the fight with a love rival. Steve withdrew inside himself. Sean was sad because Billy never showed up until the very end. Liz has finally started to realize that she really should be worried about Steve. Maria still blowing hot and cold at Luke. She's angry he ended up at the reception, made it clear she didn't want anything serious and then asked him back to her empty flat for a shag. Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold. Make it stop please. I posted more photos and fun from the wedding here.

Mary is still on duty with the Alahan twins but Julie keeps poking her nose in and distracting them from her routine. Mary is dismayed and complains to Dev about the distractions. Dev sends Julie out for wine and tries to make excuses for her as not meaning any harm but Mary stands her ground. When the twins' upcoming birthday activities are discussed, bowling is voted down in favour of Annhiliator, which displeases Mary but she's outvoted and she leaves, tail between her legs.

Dev knows Julie means well but Julie's oblivious. She can see Mary is feeling left out but doesn't seem to twig that she's the cause of some of it by overriding Mary's authority with the kids and their routine. Julie wants them all to be one big happy family. Dev is really getting stuck in the middle and Audrey rightly points out to Mary that if it comes to choosing between the woman he loves and Mary, Mary will lose. Audrey is sympathetic to Mary's feelings, how much she loves the family and she's right. Julie isn't trying to push her out. Dev showed up at the pub and reinforces that. He still needs her and so do the kids.

On the twins' birthday, Mary feels like a spare wheel and doesn't go to Annhialate anyone at the games thingy. But Dev brought the children to her later to make up for it even though she called them on setting her up into it.

Sharif's chickens are not laying eggs yet and he's spending time sitting and watching, much to the amusement and scorn of his wife. It's ironic, Sharif watching the hens peck and identifying with them! But he loves his wife anyway, so he indicates to Michael. Not so sure he always likes her, though! Later, Gary and Alya have a bit of fun at his expense as well when Roy suggests playing opera music will relax the birds.

Maria is STILL hot and cold with Luke. She let him stay overnight but kicked him out really early so Liam wouldn't see him and be confused. Yet when Liam was invited to a sleepover, she was quick to invite Luke back for the evening. Luke, being a bit clueless like a lot of young men, offers pizza until Katy scolds him. He then offers the Bistro and gets a much better reaction but it didn't turn out very well because Liam had to come home from the sleepover. Where Steph and Gavin are just as cute as a button together, these two just bore the bits off me.

Gavin has been acting unromantic towards Steph ever since New Year's. You'd never know they snogged each other's face off and she complains to Leanne who tells her men who are a puzzle probably aren't worth it in her long experience. Later, Gavin's ex-boss and ex-fiance (one and the same woman) comes looking for him. He hides behind the bar and hears her tell Steph and Leanne that her ex owes her money after dumping her and is a right piece of work. Oops. Gavin tries to tell Leanne and Steph he's changed. They don't really buy it and he gets a warning from Luke to back off his sister as well. Now Steph really is put off Gavin as a lost cause but Michael thinks Gavin just has to admit to Steph how he feels.

We know, of course, he's worried if he gets close to her, she'll find out his secret. He admits he's been telling lies but not what they are and he admits he really likes Steph. A lot. Luke isn't happy about it but there's not much he can do about it. And so much for not getting close to her. Gavin and Steph have taken that next step. A number of them in fact, up them stairs, if you get my drift!

Meanwhile, Michael has been getting chapter and verse about hanging on to the one you love so he ends up down on his knees in the street proposing to Gail. He's head over heels in love but her reaction to the proposal is cool, mainly because he really caught her off guard and he went running, embarassed. At least Gail did make a remark about "another marraige?" and had a second thought for his health problems. But what the heck, Gail decided to surprise Michael with her own proposal but it landed him in hospital with the surprise and the day long worry! As if she'd gather the family around to watch her dump him!

Ken helps out Tracy in the shop to give her a bit of a break but his moral lecturing and speeches have apparently turned most of the punters away so she makes him leave. But Tony's heard Ken telling Roy that Tracy's in financial dire straits and looks very interested in that fact. Later, Tracy buys a load of fancy kitchen mixers but he tells her they're stolen.

Not sure how she contacted the guy to return, because i wouldn't have thought he'd have let her have his contact details but maybe she made him sign some sort of contract or receipt. Anyway he does return but when she insists he give her the money back and take the goods away, he starts to rough her up. Conveniently, Tony comes in and helps chase him off though Tracy put her knee to good use first. Guess what? The bloke seems to know Tony quite well. Set up? I'd say so. And it's not over yet.

The shop is then broken into and her insurance isn't going to cover it. The last payment bounced. Obviously she's not been watching her bank statement because the fees for that sort of thing are huge and noticeable. That broken shop door was exactly what Tony needed to walk right in with his chequebook. She didn't feel she had much of a choice. 50/50 partner.

Kylie's still missing and Michael has got the cab drivers on the lookout for her. It isn't much but it's something. Sounds like David's got his hands full dealing with the kids on his own.

Carla's back from L.A. and she looks wonderful. But in the factory, Sally's still treating Alya like something under her shoe and was gleeful when Alya accepted the invitation for Carla for the award she won because Sally knew that Carla didn't want to be at the ceremony. But Carla didn't take long to see the sniping and power glint in Sally's eye where Alya is concerned and she made them both leave so she wouldn't be in the line of fire! Ohh i really wanted Carla to shoot Sally down.

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Saturday, 24 January 2015

Be afraid, Tony, be very afraid

(Originally posted on State of the Street. Reposted with permission)

Did you see the way Tracy took that yob out the other night? He sold off stolen goods, fancy countertop mixers, and when Tony told her they were stolen, somehow she got hold of the seller and told him she wanted her money back. He wasn't about to and she provoked him into roughing her up. If that had been Todd, he'd have given the man the keys to the kingdom and run away screaming but not our Tracy.

It pains me to admit it, but I had to admire her. She's not afraid of anyone much less a posturing little toerag like this guy. She's brought down bigger and badder men that that with a blunt instrument and she used another one, her knee, to reduce this one to a snivelling muppet. Tony set the whole thing up. as we discovered, and his plan was to be the hero, saving Tracy from a dire fate worse than death. But there she was, all red lippy and defiance flashing in her eye and his plan went south. You can't really rescue a dame that can hold her own in the ring and yours in her handbag.

Tony's just going to have to get his hands on her business some other way but if I was him, I'd rethink that plan. He might think he's not stupid enough to fall for any of her tricks but he doesn't know Tracy Barlow like we do. She may end up allowing him to own part of the business so that she doesn't go bankrupt and she may end up coercing him into her bed so that she's not cold at night, but I reckon Tracy will get the upper hand in the end, don't you?


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Deirdre Barlow: A Special Legacy

(This post was originally posted by Emma Hynes on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2013.)

What a sad start to the week it was when we learned of the shocking news that Anne Kirkbride had passed away. The intervening days have been filled with well deserved and fitting tributes and outpourings of respect, admiration and love for the actress who, for over 40 years, touched so many lives both as Anne, and in the form of Deirdre Barlow.

Much has already been beautifully articulated by others who lament her passing, but I would like to add my own humble contribution to remembering her. I didn't know Anne, but I knew Deirdre Barlow well.

As viewers and media alike looked back on her character this week, recurring highlights have included Deirdre's relationship with Blanche, her marriages to Ray Langton, Ken Barlow and Samir Rachid, her affair with Mike Baldwin, her incarceration at the hands of Jon Lindsay and the public campaign to “Free the Weatherfield One”. All are examples of great Coronation Street storylines in which she performed her central role brilliantly, and while I have enjoyed watching them all, I think that her performance over the past year is how I would like to remember Deirdre best.

Deirdre began 2014 in the absence of Ken, and having her house deliberately trashed by Tracy and Rob to make her fear living alone, and agree to Rob moving in. She was canny enough to realise who the culprits were straight away, and despite being furious, allowed Rob to move in anyway, but on her terms. This act would set the tone for a year which saw her put those she loved before herself while at the same time taking action and making decisions as she saw fit.

Deirdre Barlow took centre stage last year, and to my mind embodied the best qualities of the Coronation Street matriarch. She was selfless yet strong, humorous yet solemn, made tough decisions and defended them to the last, and did all in her power to keep things going and hold her family together as everything around them fell apart in the aftermath of Tina’s murder. She stood by Peter and believed in him when nobody else did, suffered for her efforts to spare Ken any pain, and agreed to go on a caravan holiday she was dreading, despite her dreams of sun and sand, all for her love of Ken.

What made Deirdre the everywoman who was so easy to identify with was the normalcy she maintained against the soapland backdrop of murder, deception and false imprisonment. She was an ordinary woman reacting ordinarily in extraordinary circumstances, and this is where the realism in any good soap must be found. 

Alongside her sacrifices and hardships, her grounded nature and representation permitted the motherliness at her core to shine through like a beacon. Allowing Rob to get some ‘posh crisps’ from the cupboard after recovering Uncle Albert’s medal, and preparing a parcel for rehab-bound Peter containing his Easter egg and a threaded needle are small but beautiful and very important details which brought her to life, conveyed who she was, and were central to why so many could relate to her, loved her, and felt they knew her, as she was representative of many beloved women in our own lives who we know would do the very same.

To these lovely details we can add her marrow, her belts, her sneaky ciggies, her pottery, her glasses and her special trifle, for after all, no matter what happens to us, these are the details that make up who we are, that constitute a life. Across her 42 years on Coronation Street, that life played out alongside ours, and this is a remarkable and very special thing.

Deirdre’s visits to Liz in The Rovers were another endless source of joy for me. I can see her with a glass of red in front of her at the side of the bar, pondering how wine is not quite the same without pork scratchings, and confiding, sharing, laughing and chatting about life with her best friend. This was one of Deirdre’s pleasures, and consequently ours.

It's hard to imagine Coronation Street without Deirdre Barlow, but she leaves a very special legacy in that it is not just made up of memories, but the sense of what it was to know her. For a fictional character to leave not just recollections but feelings is a testament to Anne, and we have her to thank for the gift of Deirdre, a woman who illuminated both our televisions and our lives.

May she rest in peace.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes



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Friday, 23 January 2015

Too many nights in the ’açienda?

(This post was originally posted by Martin Leayr on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2015.)


I’m off work today and posting this blog as I embark on an exciting mission to Manchester (more on this in due course). Hopefully, it won’t be a Blue Monday!

It was fun this week as we went back to the 80s for Beth and Kirk’s wedding. The highlight for me was this exchange between Tim and Norris as the bridal party stepped out of Number 5:

Tim: Takes you back does it Nozzer?
Norris: Oh the decades all blur into one for me if I’m honest.
Tim: Oh is that right Nozzer? The 80s were a blur, were they? Too many nights in the ’açienda?


Brilliant! But despite Nozzer gurning his face off while Beth showed off her Madonna costume (Madge made her first ever UK performance at the Haçienda in 1984, fact fans), it’s safe to assume the Kabin Killjoy would have given the Haçienda a wide berth during its 80s heyday.

Tim, on the other hand, was no doubt a regular. You didn’t need to read to have a good time at Manchester’s famous nightclub – top, sorted, MAD FER IT.

The Haçienda opened in 1982 and was a joint venture between Factory Records and New Order. It was financed mainly by New Order record sales. Legendary acts such as The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, Happy Mondays and Oasis all played there – as well as New Order, obviously.


The Haçienda provided an early UK platform for acid house and gave rise to the whole “Madchester” scene. It also laid the foundations for rave culture and today’s electronic dance music.

While it changed modern music, the Haçienda famously ran at a loss. New Order bassist, Peter Hook, has claimed the club lost up to £18 million in its final years. When gangs and drugs took over by the 1990s, the dream had turned sour. The Haçienda closed in 1997 and was demolished in 2002.

I never got to the Haçienda. I was 15 when it shut its doors (the same age as the club itself), so there wasn’t much I could’ve done about that. But this quirk of history does upset me – especially as it’s something my older sister has over me. She went to Manchester Uni during the peak of Britpop (94-98) and managed to frequent the Haçienda before it croaked its last.


The site was converted into flats, of course – “The Haçienda Apartments” now stand at 11-15 Whitworth Street West; the coolest address in Manchester and one I often visit in homage to what was an iconic cultural landmark that had a lasting impact on millions of people far beyond the boundaries of Manchester.

I often wonder which Corrie characters would have spent their weekends raving it up at the Haçienda. While it’s difficult to be certain (as I’ve said – I wasn’t there), here are my Top 10 most likely Weatherfield contenders to have had Fac 51 membership:

1. Peter Barlow 

Peter would have been 17 when the Haçienda opened and already in the navy. But if Ken ever invited his son to Weatherfield while he was on shore leave (unlikely, I know), a trip to the Haçienda would have been a must for this hedonistic sailor – especially if this T-shirt is anything to go by:

2. Liam Connor

Liam was a proper TopBoy with swagger and effortless Manc charm. Remember when he installed a jukebox in his gaff and had to decide which tunes to have on it? New Order made the cut. I also recall Liam in the Rovers naming “Fools Good” by The Stone Roses as his favourite song. A definite Haçienda man – era: the mid 90s.

3. Rob Donovan

A couple of years younger than Liam, they would have moved in similar circles given the relationship between Carla and Liam’s older brother, Paul. In planning his doomed marriage to Tracy Barlow, Rob proved himself a fan of Oasis, The Roses and The Prodigy (for all your rave/techno needs). He would have turned 18 two years before the Haçienda closed and so could have sneaked in just in the nick of time (and before his time in the nick).

4. Karl Munro 

Talking of firestarters, Karl would almost certainly have been found burning down the house at Hac 51. He was rarely seen wearing anything but Pretty Green (Liam Gallagher’s label) during his time on The Street. I met John Michie at Labour Party Conference (2013) just as his final scenes were about to air. I asked about the Pretty Green clothes. I was impressed when he told me this was something he added to the character – because even though he didn’t have much money, Karl was the kind of bloke who would have spent what he did have on clothes (amongst other vices). Karl would have been 19 when the Haçienda launched. My verdict is that he was there from opening night onwards.

5. Tracy Barlow

I quite like Tracy at the moment. I warmed to her when she walked down the aisle to “Waterfall”. And when it all went tits up, she sat and listened to The Stone Roses on repeat for a week. She’s got taste. And she didn’t think much of the 80s tunes that Beth chose for her wedding day. My view – Haçienda goer: late doors.

6. Beth Tinker

Though her wedding playlist veered towards the cheesier end of the 80s spectrum, I reckon the misspent youth that Beth sometimes alludes to would have involved some mad ones at the Haçienda. Perhaps this is why she gets on so well with Tracy. Beth’s likely Hac heyday – early to mid 90s.

7. Tim Metcalfe

His banter with Nozzer is all the proof we need. And that line on Friday night is another reason why Tim is brilliant – and a nice touch by the writers.
8. Becky Granger

I don’t have much to base this on, except for the fact that Becky was no stranger to a big night out. Technically she would have been underage when the Haçienda closed. But I don’t think that would have stopped her.

9. Steve McDonald

A teenage tearaway when he first arrived in Weatherfield, Steve was always getting into mischief in his younger days. I find it hard to believe that Steve and Andy never went up town for a night at the Haçienda. I just hope that poor Steve can experience the good times again.

10. Owen Armstrong

Age wise, this makes sense. Born in 1958, Owen was almost certainly still going for it in the early 80s before settling down and finally getting out of the game with the birth of Izzy in 1986. Recently, Owen could be heard singing along in the kitchen to “There She Goes” by The Las, so he's into his music. I reckon Owen went once or twice in the early days.

And that’s my 10. It was a narrow miss for Lloyd Mullaney. Lloyd is more into Northern Soul but as a lover of music and all round cool guy, it's probable he would have made the short journey from Liverpool to Manchester to see what was going on.   

Which other Corrie characters were cool enough to have hit the Haçienda? And who out there on this blog was lucky enough to have been there?

I would like to give an honorary mention to Luke Britton. Luke was probably still in nappies when the Haçienda closed. But it’s clear from Kirk’s stag do that Manc vibes run through Luke’s veins. It was funny watching him try to get the party started in Tyrone’s front room – “This is quality mate, just wait for the drop” said Luke as he enjoyed his one-man rave while Craig googled Stag Party Games. It was a genuine case of M.V.I.T.A. (Manchester Vibes In The Area).

Anyway, that’s it from me. My train is pulling into Manchester Piccadilly and I’m in the mood for a party. I’d better find myself a double espresso and get down The Haçienda Apartments. Top Buzz mate.

By Martin Leay
Twitter: @mpleay


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Yay or Nay: Should Gail accept Michael's wedding proposal?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

In next week's Coronation Street, Michael Rodwell gets down on one knee and begs Gail for her chips. Or her hand in marriage. I'm guessing it's the latter.

Previews suggest that Gail doesn't give Michael an answer straight away, which is unlike her. She's normally the first to zip herself up in something unsuitably frilly and frothy to drag a bloke up the aisle and say "I do, yet again"

But never mind Gail's answer, what do we think she should do? Should she accept Michael's proposal - Yay or Nay?

Here's a reminder of Gail's previous mistakes marriages:

Wedding number 1. From Gail Potter to Gail Tilsley. Gail married Brian Tilsley for the first time on 28 November 1979. Brian divorced Gail after her affair with Ian Latimer as he wasn't sure whether he was really Sarah-Lou's real dad.
Wedding number 2: Gail Tilsley to Gail Tilsley. She married Brian for the second time on 24 February 1988 for the sake of the kids. Brian died after being stabbed in an alley after a night out in a club.
Wedding number 3. From Gail Tilsley to Gail Platt when she married toy-boy Martin much to her mother-in-law Ivy's chagrin. Gail and Martin's wedding took place on 27 September 1991.
Wedding number 4: From Gail Platt to Gail Hillman. Richard drove Gail round the bend and her family into the canal. It was probably never a good choice to marry the man they called 'Norman Bates with a briefcase'.
Wedding number 5 From Gail Platt to Gail McIntyre. Another watery end to Gail's marriage when Joe died in a lake after trying to do an insurance scam.



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Thursday, 22 January 2015

Corrie Canada sneak previews for Jan. 26 - 30


Without further ado here is a brief sneak preview of what you'll see on  next week's Corrie in Canada.

Gavin tells Steph the truth but Michael has a heart crisis  so he can't come clean. Tony and Tracy  team up. Roy does his community service close to home. Carla gets an award and there's a van booked to take everyone to the ceremony but, with Steve driving, the van has crashed. People are hurt. Will they all get out in time? There is one serious injury. Steve finally admits he needs help.


For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at Corrie.net




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Listen: Audio tributes to Anne Kirkbride

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

With thanks to Audio Boom for sending us this moving collection of audio tributes to Anne Kirkbride, who died this week on Monday night.

In addition, our blogger Emma Hynes was interviewed on BBC Radio Tees on Tuesday this week

You can listen to Emma in the Anne Kirkbride tribute here (start at approx 39 minutes in).

Emma was also interviewed on Irish radio station Today FM, along with Boyzone singer Keith Duffy, who played Corrie's Ciaran MacCarthy and former Corrie Producer Gareth Phillips.  Listen below from 52 minutes in.



Audio Boom tributes to Anne Kirkbride can be heard from a variety of sources including from William Roache (Ken Barlow).  You can listen to them all below.




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William Roache's emotional NTA tribute to Anne Kirkbride


Today's Manchester Evening News has the full report with a gallery of pictures from last night's tribute to Anne Kirkbride at the National Television Awards.  The awards were screened live from London on ITV.

William Roache paid emotional tribute to Anne Kirkbride. Castmates were left in tears after the moving speech detailing William and Anne’s time on screen together.

And the star-packed audience at the glittering awards ceremony at the 02 Arena in London gave him a standing ovation after he signed off his speech with “I love you Anne”.

You can watch William Roache's speech, as it has now been posted to YouTube. 



Here’s William’s speech in full...

“For over 40 years our dear friend Anne Kirkbride played the part of Deirdre Barlow and she became one of the best loved and most enjoyed characters on British television.

“With her husky voice and trademark spectacles the nation took Deirdre to their hearts. As the characters of Ken and Deirdre we felt we’d met our soulmates and no matter what was thrown at us, Deirdre’s wrongful imprisonment, or the compelling love triangle with Mike Baldwin, we always found one another together the nation seemed to want us together and I feel so blessed, honoured and privileged to have had those years working with Anne."

“What I will remember the most is the vibrant, warm-hearted, loving person who came into work each day came and gave us all a hug and brightened up our lives.

“In real life the programme brought Anne and her husband David together when he joined Coronation Street to play the Character of Dave Barton and he’s lovingly and loyally been at her side since they married in 1992.

"Together with Anne’s brother John and his family, David and her Coronation Street family and especially Beverley Callard who was very close to Anne in her last days, we’ve been deeply touched by the outpouring of love for Anne since she passed away on Monday.

“We share your grief and sadness at losing such a beautiful person who will be so greatly missed by us all.

"I love you Anne.”

At the NTAs, EastEnders won the award for Best Serial Drama and dedicated their award to Anne Kirkbride.



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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Conversation Street podcast 131

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the episodes in Canada that aired (up to last night's Canadian Corrie) can be heard here.

It's wedding week on Coronation Street while we wait to see if Kirk is going to make it to the registry office on time. There's lots of style and comedy, tears and fears and it was quite one of the best weddings ever! Meanwhile, Michelle's met a new fella and David searches for Kylie.

The character profile is Kirk Sutherland.




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Watch: Granada Reports - Anne Kirkbride tribute programme

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

With thanks to Coronation Street Blog reader BarrieT for alerting us to this Granada Reports special on the life of Anne Kirkbride.

The programme comes from the Coronation Street set, filmed yesterday, and is a tribute to Anne Kirkbride which includes interviews from cast and crew members.





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Back to the 80s - Beth and Kirk's wedding

Now then. Wasn't that one of the best Corrie weddings ever? Of course the groom was going to show up, I never doubted he would for a minute, even after his self esteem crisis that week. Kirk was scared of messing up on the big day, that was all.

There were tears, fights, duplicate Madonnas, wedding day shenanigans and a sobering backstory while Steve struggled and Liz finally seeming to realize there was something wrong with her son.

There was a couple of really irritating things as well. If you were responsible for a wedding reception venue, would you take off on the day of the party to go shopping, leaving only two staff members behind the bar, knowing the two of them can hardly manage to stay in the same room together? And would one of those two, even if her name is over the door, decide to walk out, leaving the other on his own to handle the whole thing? That's irresponsible even if the one left behind was fully compos mentis which Steve isn't. Nobody knows the reason why Steve is acting the way he is but they do know he's been, as they see it, irresponsible, lately. Why would they even think he would suddenly snap out of it under that kind of pressure?

And the other thing is bloody Maria and Luke. Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. She doesn't want to be forced into anything she doesn't want. Then smiles, and asks Luke back to her flat for a bit of How's Your Father? Really? Make it stop, someone. Please.

That aside, though, there were some excellent lines and some really funny moments. There were great costumes, too! (Who was the person in the background with the Tina Turner hair!?) What is it with Sally and weddings lately? She and Tim were bonking at Carla and Peter's wedding and this time they didn't even make it to the wedding at all! Tim must be way hotter than Kevin where it counts, that's all I can say!

Poor Julie had to contend with wedding cake fail, to be rescued by Mary and then had to watch Sinead's mother paste herself all over Dev who seemed to be enjoying the attention even if he wasn't really joining in. She told her rival what for, though and Julie can command the room with the strength of her "LADEH!", right up there with Bet, Rita and the queen of it all, Elsie Tanner!

Quite possibly my favourite line of the night was Julie's "Weddings! Alcohol and Polyester! It's a powderkeg waiting to blow!"

Sweet moments included Kirk's back yard fairyland, decorated for he and Beth if they needed some "us" time and Kirk's many sweet things he said to and about Beth.

I've blogged the wedding day over here with lots more photos. Have a look and let us know what you thought about the wedding.



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For P.E.I. Corrie fans - A Corrie Themed Pub night in Georgetown

There's going to be a Coronation Street theme pub night in Georgetown, PEI on January 31 at the King's Playhouse.

Date: Saturday, January 31st, 7pm

Tickets are $5 at the door or reserve in advance by calling (902) 652 2053

Quizzes, merchandise prizes, and some of your favourite British tunes live at the piano.

Come as you are or have a little fun and dress up as one of your favourite Corrie Street characters!

British Pub Food for sale including Betty's Hot Pot.


Facebook group for PEI Corrie Fans.

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