Sunday, 16 April 2017

An unlikely pairing - and where is Erica?

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

In Preston's Petals we have Tracy Barlow and Mary Taylor, working side by side, daily. And how surprisingly well it works. Interestingly, neither Mary nor Tracy have in any way altered themselves in order to accommodate the other. Tracy is her usual impatient, petulant self, her own needs at the centre of her own universe with the expectation that the same centre should apply to everyone else. As Ken said, 'I don't think I've met anyone as self-obsessed as you.' He lays on a thick  further layer. ' You tried to sell your own child. I know you killed someone in cold blood.' All shockingly true. On a kind of lighter note, when Luke was trying to escape the concert by saying he had to work, Tracy said, 'Don't lie to me because I'm better at it than you are.' Well, at least she has self-knowledge...

As for Mary, well, she remains the same. Except to say that since her son was found she seems altogether lighter somehow, breezier perhaps. She also conveys to all who watch her, an inner strength and a more philosophical approach to life. Maybe it's the flowers, too - the stunning beauty of nature surrounding her, rather than the force of nature that is Tracy Barlow.

The way in which they get on is, to my mind, one of the real strengths of our favourite soap. Seeing people in ordinary everyday situations, such as work, provides for both writers and viewers, excellent opportunities for conversation, observations and humour. As with Norris and Rita in the Kabin, we are presented with great opportunities to see how characters react and interact with each other, the ways in which they clash, their foibles, prejudices and preferences. In short, the stuff that keeps us watching.

But, whereon earth is Erica? I think I'm right in saying that the last time she was seen was when she was standing with Sally in solidarity with the other women, against the sexism of the builders.

Last week we glimpsed Dev, having his foot trodden on by Luke who was jetting off to find the missing Amy Dev was at the concert, presumably to support his twins' efforts. But, there was no Erica present. Are she and Dev still an item?  Again, I may be wrong and will certainly be corrected if I am, but wouldn't Erica have made the effort to come to the concert? Getting on well with Dev's children must be a priority.

With Eileen away and Deirdre sadly no longer with us, surely Liz needs someone in whom to confide. I can barely remember the last time we saw Liz and Erica together and yet Erica was introduced as one of Liz's best friends. So why is she not around?

My fear is that she may no longer be on the cobbles. Will she be allowed to just fade away? I sincerely hope not. Erica should remain on the cobbles. She has great potential but since her introduction as Liz's best friend and her surprise pregnancy with Nick's baby, she hasn't really been employed as well as she might.

I find her an interesting character and would love to know more of her back story. What was her life in Spain like?  What is her relationship with her mother like? Her brother? Past lovers, husbands?  How great it would be  to know! So please bring her back with her unique mix of characteristics:  down to earth, kind, witty, positive , willing to laugh, loyalty and her refusal to take any  prisoners.

Erica's scenes with Mary brought out the best in them both. Those scenes were simultaneously entertaining, touching and brilliantly executed by 2 excellent actors. Take note TPTB.  

Ruth Owen, twitter: @Ruth1722

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

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