Sunday, 14 February 2016

Keeping it buttoned

(This post was originally posted by David (Clinkers) on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2016.)

For me, January has been one of 'those' months as far as all things Weatherfield are concerned. As a parade of Corrie harridans might have barked, "If you've got nowt worth saying, then keep it buttoned". No need for brickbats or bouquets then?

This isn't to say that Corrie hasn't been any good. 2016 has kicked off at a cracking pace and there have been some wonderful episodes. We finally saw the back of Nessa, a character who, under different circumstances, could have been a stayer. Who knows? Maybe after a bit of a breather, she might return in a less aggravating form.Maybe Audrey will spiral perm the woman to death. We await that moment.

Audrey. Bless her and bless the Audrey Roberts Noise (check it out on You Tube). Everyone's favourite septuagenarian crimper has been dreaming of winter evenings curled up with Ken on his hideous sofa (please, has the man never seen a sofa store winter sale advert? A gigantic corner suite would look lovely jammed up against that dresser). An angina attack and a declaration of love later and she's still no closer to becoming the fourth Mrs Barlow. Would our lovely incoming producer dare to go down that (well-trodden) route? A Christmas wedding with Aud in fake fur, eyes glistening at the altar, the vicar asking if she will 'take this man' and a loved-up Aud simply making one of her fabled noises. Eh? Hmm?

Despite the never-ending joy of an Alison King performance, it feels like it's time for Carla to take to the highway once and for all. Other than settle her down with vinegar-faced Nick (and who wants to be stuck caring for Weatherfield's youngest OAP?) she has nowhere else to go. Carla could easily spend a decade running t'Faktry, marrying the wrong men. leaving t'Faktry, crashing cars, escaping fires, returning t'Faktry, slamming the noisy handbags down on every available surface, wondering who does Michelle's 'Endora' eye make-up, falling over cliffs, having some wine, slapping Sally down, ignoring Sean's 'witty' one-liners, marrying a man with a massive eye, marrying a drunk, romping with a bin man, returning to t'Faktry. But she's done all that. All good things blah blah blah. The Street will initially diminish without her presence but as always, it will bounce back.

We are currently enjoying The Many Faces of Rita. One minute sanctimonious old boot, the next Earth Mother. It can only be a matter of weeks before she morphs into her M'lady of the Cheque Book persona in an attempt to keep poor Jenny welded to the Kabin. Then again, let's hope not. How unsatisfying would it be for Ms Bradley to revert to type, that scheming not-so-lovely piece of work who bellowed her way through the late 1980s. We want to see a new, more focused Jenny, piecing her life back together, Rita reaching for her purse every few episodes would be bad news for everyone.

Mary Mary Mary. What is to become of you? The mother fixation, the slightly fearsome tone, the endless irrelevances - these we like. As part of the Family Alahan, Mary has thrived. We want to see her nurturing Aadi and Asha in the few minutes that they are allowed downstairs. We rejoice in her preparing nourishing meals and dashing away with a smoothing iron. We do no expect to see her rutting with a sixty year old man in a vest. It's wrong. Well, certainly the vest is very wrong. Yes, if Mary wants to engage in carnal naughtiness then fine, just let it be elsewhere. Sutton Coldfield, Burkina Faso - anywhere but in front of us. We are (a-hem) young and impressionable. I never, ever want to see Mary's bra strap.

What of Weatherfield's blokes? There's not a great deal to say about them at the moment. Both Tyrone and Andy walk around with expressions which seem to say 'I've just wet myself'. Add to that grimacing Nick, rampant Ken and Kevin, Brendan's vest, a gloriously awful Norris (please someone, throw Malcolm Hebden a funny storyline) and nice'n'nasty Robert and there's not a great deal to cheer about. The joyless circus that is Michael and Eileen seems to have rumbled out of town for the time being, Todd's arranging posies with the florist's version of Anna Wintour and Jason's shuffling towards his exit storyline. Eileen will be pleased.

Let's take joy in Sally's battle for City Hall or whatever the Weatherfield equivalent is. By autumn she will either have alienated the whole Street or will have been taken hostage by a plot device. Let's cheer on the increasingly delightful Erica and the always watchable Eva. Let's raise a toast to the absent Emily, halfway up Machu Pichu in an M&S mac. Small sherries for everyone!

Oh well, my attempt to keep it buttoned obviously failed.

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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