(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Why, exactly, may I ask, is everyone
so frightened of Moira?
Yes, she is the
manager, so, fair enough, she is in charge of the admin staff, such as Liz,
whose role is to answer the phone and make appointments for patients. But why
is she so fearsome?
Now, if ever there was someone with people skills on the
cobbles, it would have to be Liz – and she’s no pushover either - at least she
wasn’t before the advent of Megalomaniac Moira, the power-crazed, tyrannical control
freak who has taken charge at the health centre.
At one point, I thought there had been a breakthrough and
that Moira was being complimentary. In Moira’s presence, Liz is a little
nervous and says that she is all fingers and thumbs today. ‘Nonsense,’ replies
Moira, ‘You’re doing very well, all things considered.’
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ asks Liz, justifiably. ‘Well’,
replies the delightful Moira, ‘your lack of experience and your limited skills
set – stick at it.’
Last week we saw the lovely Doctor Susan Gaddas and Liz
having a chat during their break. That was soon put paid to by the arrival of
Moira, clearly put out by seeing ‘her’ staff chatting together. Moira addresses
the doctor as Susan, and is asked by Moira for her paperwork. Moira’s tone is
patronising and even rather aggressive. Doctor Susan Gaddas scurries off
obediently, promising her paper work will be done.
Liz is outraged by the exchange and lets Moira know her
feelings. She tells Moira that it was wrong to use the doctor’s first name. If
she, Liz, had studied for all those years, she would want some respect and no
doubt would expect to be addressed as Doctor Gaddas. Moira’s reply to Liz is as follows, ‘Respect
is earned – when she gets up to date with her paperwork, maybe I’ll give her
some.’ How does anyone respond to that
without using several expletives? Moira adds, somewhat bizarrely, that, ‘
Friendship is no substitute for a tight ship,’ which leads us to wonder if
Moira has ever had a friend.
What will the future bring for Liz’s life in her new job? Will
the staff remain cowed and obedient or will there be a rebellion and a subsequent
removal of ‘The snarling beast of Rosamund Street?’ as Steve calls her. I hope
we get to know more about Moira and why she is as she is. But oh - beige! You have to be kidding, Moira! Our Liz in beige? Please, no! By @Ruth1722
We all know that Michelle went running to Robert on the rebound from Steve. I wonder if that decision isn't starting to look a bit shaky for her.
At first, I wondered about the introduction of drug dealer Rich to the canvas. After the whole accidental stabbing incident with Chesney, I thought it was just an elaborate ruse to get Chesney and Sinead firmly back together. Daniel saved Chesney life but Sinead thought he'd been the attacker, further pushing Daniel away from her. But, no. That doesn't seem to be the reason Rich is lurking about on our screens.
It seems to be bringing up Robert's murky past. By 'eck, he's squeezed a lot into the nearly 13 years between Tracy walking out on him at the end of 2002 and him reappearing for Deirdre's funeral in 2015, hasn't he? He's changed his career from carpet fitter to fully qualified chef, been married again (and divorced soon after he returned to Weatherfield, at least I assume so), owned a restaurant before he returned as well as developing and kicking a drug habit that also involved yet a different girlfriend than the one he married. A drug habit that has also made an enemy of his former dealer, rich.
Rich rocked up in the Bistro, not knowing it was Robert's restaurant and it wasn't the happy reunion you might expect. Robert seemed quite unsettled. Then there was the incident with Daniel's overdose and later, Chesney's stabbing. Robert managed to set Rich up and he got arrested but has threatened Robert.
Now those threats seem to be a reality. In 24 hours, the Bistro has had graffiti sprayed on the inside wall, a Molotov Cocktail thrown on the movable sign outside the Bistro, Robert has been mugged and the flat was broken into. All warnings, all threats, nothing that can proved Rich had any hand in it. Michelle is frightened and she's right to be. There will be further incidents, if the spoilers hold true.
And you know what? I don't care. There, I said it. I am absolutely not invested in this storyline one bit. I find it tedious and over-sensationalized. Why is that, I wondered to myself. Myself answered, because you have no interest in Michelle or Robert, that's why. Oh sure, I had a lot of sympathy for Michelle when she lost her baby and found out Steve had a child with Leanne. But I lost it again when she started being bitchy to Leanne, even as recent as this week when she tore up the registered letter. I do know where she's coming from and I do realize that resentment and hurt doesn't go away quickly. Her reactions are perfectly within the realms of reality. Look at what Eva's doing to love rat Aidan!
But with Michelle, I just want to tell her to suck it up and move on with your life. Which is not really fair because what she went through was a much higher level of betrayal than what Eva discovered about Aidan. The difference is that I like Eva and I don't like Michelle. It's not reasonable but it is what it is.
I don't like Robert much, either. He's got a nasty edge to him these days with a temper that has probably got him into a lot of trouble in the past and isn't about to stop. He apparently likes to gamble and that could end up being a major problem. This isn't the first time he's gone off to the casino in a strop. The last time he did, he ended up drunk and in a hotel room with Carla! Some might say Robert is just passionate. I say that Robert has a dark side to him and I wouldn't want to get on it. Michelle is starting to see that, too. He does keep leaving her alone where she ends up facing all this trauma by herself with no support from him, the man who keeps saying he'll look after her. That's going to erode that relationship fast. I don't think they'll make it to the end of the year at this rate.
Wherever this storyline is going, whatever Rich thinks up to terrorize Robert and Michelle with next (and it does seem like Rich is behind it unless Zeedan's gone completely psychotic after Robert shouted at him one too many times over the spice rack), I have no interest and will take the opportunity to make another cuppa while those scenes are on.
I'd say August was an interesting month in Corrie. Bethany's story reached a milestone when she overcame Neil's intimidation thanks to Craig's faith in her and his detective work, goading and then recording Neil's confession. It was enough for Bethany to finally make a full statement to the police who then got enough evidence to charge Neil and Nathan. That was probably the best storyline of the month.
In the worst one, Robert's former mate, Rich the drug dealer and now sniffing around and allegedly terrorizing him and Michelle. I thought making Robert into a former drug addict was a bit hard to take and thought Rich's introduction and Chesney's stabbing injury was only there to ensure Ches and Sinead got back together but there seems to be more to it than that because there's no prizes for guessing who's now at the center of that storyline. I am absolutely not invested in this one, folks. Let's move on.
The comedy of Mary and and Norris with a great number of excellent lines from Mary has been the brighter side of the show this month. The oafish Brian is probably supposed to be funny but he's not.
The Rovers Return Inn has changed hands for the first time in a decade and it's been quite an adjustment for Liz and Steve, much less we viewers.
There's more to tell and more to read over at State of the Street including thoughts on the Eva/Aidan/Maria triangle and the other almost-triangle of Kevin/Anna/Erica.
Georgia Taylor, who plays Toyah Battersby in Coronation Street, is interviewed this week in Inside Soap magazine. She talks about her character's new job as landlady behind the bar at the Rovers Return - and her dream of having a baby.
Georgia says that Liz McDonald is her favourite Corrie landlady of the Rovers. But could Toyah ever hope to match up that matriach? Well, it remains to be seen. I'm secretly hoping it won't be long before Liz is back behind the bar where she belongs.
Georgia says that Toyah is still desperate to have a baby and that she genuinely loves Peter. "She believes that they can be a proper family," she says. "I think they have a lot to offer a child."
But could it be Leanne who offers her step-sister a helping hand with the IVF treatment? When Leanne cashes in after receiving a cheque from Nick for her share of the sale of his flat, she offers the money to Toyah to help fund her baby dreams. Will it all come crashing down as a nightmare?
Gemma and Michael's podcast for the episodes that aired up to last night's Canadian Corrie can be heard here.
This week on the podcast, Toyah has to face the reality that she'll never be a biological mother. Michelle and Robert and the Bistro have been the target for a lot of nasty stuff, possibly at the hands of dealer Rich. Leanne has to find a room at the Inn when Nick sells the flat out from under her. Norris and Mary reach a new point in their relationship and Billy and Todd become Summer's parents. Have they bitten off more than they can chew? This week's classic character profile is Jack Walker and there's a review of the touring Addams Family musical starring former Corrie actor Les Dennis.
Coronation Street fan Sarah Cade has launched an online petition to get Liz McDonald back where she rightfully belongs - behind the bar at the Rovers Return.
The petition is at change.org and this is what Sarah says: "Liz left the Rovers last night in Coronation Street. It's the end of an era and a massive mistake losing such a key character, who is iconic, from the nation's favourite pub. Liz is an iconic character who links with Corrie icons such as Bet, Alec , Vera and Jack. She should be where she belongs behind the bar of the Rovers!"
The petition will be delivered to: Coronation Street Producers at ITV.
Here we go with a look back at some of the Coronation Street icons from the 1970s. Let's find out what they've been up to since they left the show.
Johnny Briggs who played Mike Baldwin
Johnny Briggs played Mike Baldwin from 1976 to 2006.
Since leaving Coronation Street, Johnny Briggs has appeared on TV in Agatha Christie's Marple, Holby City, Moving Wallpaper, Echo Beach and Doctors. He has also appeared in interviews for Corrie TV specials such as Farewell Vera, Coronation Street: 50 Years, 50 Moments, The Corrie Years. He reunited with former co-stars William Roache (Ken Barlow) and Anne Kirkbride (Deirdre Barlow) for the latter's tribute show Deirdre & Me - Forty Years on Coronation Street in 2012. That same year Briggs also reprised the role of Mike Baldwin as the ghost of the character for the Text Santa Christmas Charity sketch, which was transmitted on 21st December 2012. Sadly, Johnny tends to get his name into the papers for the wrong reasons due to the family problems with his daughter and grand-daughter. You can read more on that here.
It's been another cracking week in Coronation Street this week. Time then, to take a fun look at five things we learned in Corrie this week.
1. Toyah's middle name is Laverne. I wonder which Laverne she was named after? I'd like to think it was this one.
2. Tim looked like Oliver as a baby. "Oliver Reed?" Steve asked. "Oliver Hardy!" Tim reply.
3. Colin the tonic delivery man at the Rovers Return is a bit of a dish and Sean's got the hots for him. A new romance for Sean could be good, it'd give him something to other than to pretend he's Bet Lynch, swanning around with "I'm the glue that holds this place together." No, Sean, you're not.
4. Fred Elliot is gone but not forgotten. Kirk did a wonderful impersonation of the late butcher this week. I say, he did a fair good impersonation of fat Fred.
5. Every time you lie an angel's wings catch fire. It must be true, because Mary's mother said it all the time.
Tom Elliott, who worked as a Coronation Street storyliner and writer has passed away this week aged 79. He wrote for Coronation Street over almost 15 years, first as a storyline writer (1983-93), then as a scriptwriter (1990-97).
The Guardian carry Tom Elliott's obituary where it details that Tom was responsible for writing the 1986 fire in the Rovers Return that ended with Kevin Webster rescuing a screaming Bet Lynch from the pub – and the actor Julie Goodyear, who played Bet, genuinely fearing for her life when her nightdress caught fire.
Tom Elliott had a talent for putting authentic dialogue into characters’ mouths. “Their speech patterns are in your head, their parlance, how they phrase things – and that’s the way you write it,” he told Melvyn Bragg on the South Bank Show in 1995.
He also channelled his army experience into Percy Sugden, who took pride in his second world war days driving a mobile canteen across the western desert. Abbott recalled Elliott as “an ex-paratrooper, a sturdy bloke, but a soft poet inside”.
Roy Barraclough, who played Alec Gilroy, was a friend of Tom Elliott's and shared a 1987 holiday in Spain with Elliott and his wife. Tom had to keep from Roy the secret that This Is Your Life was planning to spring a surprise on him. A white lie from Coronation Street’s producer meant that Barraclough had to fly back after a couple of days, supposedly to re-record scenes that had been wiped. After being greeted by Eamonn Andrews with the big red book, a furious Barraclough maintained a frosty silence with Elliott for several days, but the friendship survived.
In 1999, two years after leaving the soap, Elliott wrote two episodes of the late-night, six-part spin-off Coronation Street: After Hours. He also spent almost a year (1997-98) on Emmerdale, where his scripts included the first episode filmed on its purpose-built outdoor set.
The obituary in the Guardian also includes some quotes from writer Paul Abbott, who says: "Tom became my boss in the storyline department shortly before Coronation Street turned 25, and so would I. Tom was then double my age but within about three months, we had merged into the same mental age. He was always the guvnor, but the parent-child relationship swung like a pendulum. His mischief and delinquency often put me in charge of best behaviour.
Following EastEnders’ majestic arrival, Corrie geared up to three episodes a week. Press attention on future storylines had never been keener. We had a mole leaking closely guarded material to the papers. Tom and I made a hobby of writing up front pages for fake storylines that we would leave to be read upside-down by a few suspect visitors passing through the story office.
Eventually, all our suspects were actors. They were all shown different stories, but sure enough the upcoming story revelation that hit the papers revealed our mole. We had proved it conclusively. Sadly, the politics of exposing the anonymous actor were deemed too sensitive by people upstairs, just when Corrie and Enders were mounting a face-off. We were told to get on with real work. Tom won the bet.