Saturday, 22 July 2017

Coronation Street's missed opportunities

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog July 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Anyone else wondering how different life might have been for both Johnny and Liz if they'd got together in Coronation Street?

It's something I've thought about many times before, but after last Friday night when Liz acted as Johnny's confidante in the back room of the Rovers, I began to wonder why Corrie didn't put these two powerhouses together.

Don't get me wrong. I love Johnny and Jenny together and there's drama ahead for that pair, I'm certain. Her wedding is one I Do Not want to miss.  But Liz and Johnny together could have worked, I feel and I'm going to put it down as one of Corrie's greatest missed opportunities.

Another missed opportunity, which I've blogged about earlier, has been not seeing Sean and Norris together at home. Their domestic set up could have been comedy gold and I'm sad we haven't seen it.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Review of RTS Event: "LGBTQ In Soap: Job Done?"

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog July 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

A wonderful guest blog from Coronation Street Blog reader Laura Marlow, who attend the Royal Television Society event LGBTQ In Soap: Job Done? last week.  Here, Laura gives us her thoughts on the night's event.

"On the date 12th July, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the RTS talk, ‘LGBTQ In Soap: Job Done?’ As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I was intrigued by what would be discussed. As with Corrie itself I've always been impressed on how they include members of the community and don't kill them off for the point of it like most TV shows have been partial to. Daniel Brocklebank (Billy ‘the vicar’ Mayhew) and Annie Wallace (from Hollyoaks), who worked on Hayley Cropper’s storyline, were in attendance.

Annie discussed how she helped the Corrie writers give a realistic interpretation of a Trans woman as she offered up her own experiences and feelings which influenced on how the Corrie writers wrote the character of Hayley.

When the Hayley storyline was written in the 90s, it was a time where trans rights and representation were not that great so the fact that Corrie spent the time trying to give the storyline the justice it deserved is pretty admirable. One point that Annie brought up that I had never realised was that Corrie had its first trans character before its first gay as Hayley entered in 1998, 5 years before Todd Grimshaw’s coming out storyline began.

Daniel Brockleank, who plays Billy the vicar, discussed how important the representation of LGBT is as when he was growing up there was hardly any on television - and I have to agree. There was still very little representation in the shows my parents watched or the cartoons I saw growing up so it's great how shows like Corrie, which are in our living rooms every night as stated at the event, are showing real representation. When questioned about if his being out as an actor causes him to the type cast he said that it didn't bother him so much as now he just wants to add to the representation shown on TV.

At the talk, the scene of Todd and Billy at the hotel room, shown last year, lead to a jokey discussion on Todd’s “rush of blood from the head” and the homophobic outpour that scene resulted in. Daniel kept the dazzling smile on his face as he explained some of the vile comments he received based on children seeing this.

He then said when parents of his own family saw this they didn't even notice anything amiss. The most shocking revelation to me was that the hotel scene was originally meant to be topless but on the day they decided to not go with that approach. Daniel commented on how the homophobes would have loved it even more if that had gone ahead.

On the topic of homophobia he was asked what kind he normally receives as Billy but said most of it is wasn't to do with the fact that Billy was gay, but that he was a gay clergy as they believe clergys shouldn't go around kissing other men.

What amazed me most about the talk was the way Daniel tackled the homophobia he faced on a daily basis from being an out actor. He detailed stories of being in Sainsbury's and being told he was going to “burn in hell” but made some joke towards them.

Overall the talk was an enjoyable insight on what tv producers and actors thought into the LGBT representation in soaps.

With many thanks to Laura for this!

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Coronation Street Blog Interview with Nicola Thorp

(This post was originally posted by Jordan Lloyd Beck on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

“It is a privilege to be in a show like this” says Nicola Thorp on her new role as feisty Nicola Rubenstein in Coronation Street...

Hiya! It’s just Jordan with another write-up of an interview with a cast member. This time, it’s newcomer Nicola Thorp, who plays a careworker named Nicola Rubenstein. She is joining the cast as the long-lost daughter of established character Pat Phelan and I was lucky enough to be invited to a press conference with the actress herself, a perfectly poised and well-spoken lady who I am sure is going to shake up the Street.

“It’s mental. Two months ago I was watching Corrie with my family shouting at Phelan. We have a saying in our house – “Zip it, Corrie’s on”

The first thing Nicola cleared up was that the character of Nicola is in fact Seb’s careworker, not his mother, which dispels rumours that Seb was Phelan’s grandson. This is something I am glad of; there is only so much long-lost rubbish I can cope with! So, how will it all start for Nicola and Phelan? Well, Nicola gives him her contact card when they initially meet. Her surname, as well as the distinct resemblance to her mother, set alarm bells ringing in Phelan’s head.  She is the result of an affair between Phelan and her mother which has been covered up until now. With Nicola believing until now that both her parents were dead, this is a discovery that is sure to rock her world.

“She grew up locally, was born in Liverpool but moved to Manchester shortly after she was born. We don’t know too much about her past at the moment other than her parents brought her up telling her never to live life with any regrets.

Nicola Thorp also went on to explain the impact this sudden revelation will have on Phelan.  It is possible – or rather, inevitable – that we will finally, at long last see a softer side to Phelan. Once he gets a hint of the truth, there is no doubt in his mind that he wants to make the effort and get to know the daughter he has just met.  And while Phelan has gained a daughter, Eileen has acquired a stepdaughter, who welcomes her with open arms, glad to – as Nicola explained – have a girl around after bringing up two sons.  
“Connor [McIntyre] is my set dad and Sue [Cleaver] is just wonderful”

As a new character on the show, much of the interview focused on Nicola Thorp herself. She is a native of Blackpool and is a family of candy rock makers.  She spoke of her enthusiasm upon bagging this role:

“Any Northern actress will say to you “All you ever get asked is “Are we gonna see you on Corrie?” and it’s so nice to finally say “Next Monday. Watch out”

A jobbing actress since graduating from the prestigious ArtsEd in London, she has played small roles in programmes such as Doctors and Doctor Who and even auditioned for the role of Kate Connor in Corrie. To most people, however, she is currently best known for starting a successful campaign last year when she was sacked from her temping job as a receptionist for not wearing high heels. She discussed the media frenzy at length in the press conference, and as brilliant as that campaign was, I am not going to talk about it in this blog post. I don’t want anything to diminish the fact that Nicola Thorp is a hard-working traditionally trained actress who has plugged away for years before landing her dream job.

“I am very proud of what I did with that campaign but as an actress, I was very worried that people would not want to go near that. But actually, Coronation Street’s got an incredible history of really strong, feisty women”

A life-long fan of the show, Ms Thorp is still finding herself in awe of the place. The interview took place in the Bistro, and she even admitted to being a little starstruck as she came in as she hadn’t been on that set before. I always find it rather endearing when an actor who is a fan of Corrie ends up working there. A proud feminist, Ms Thorp spoke of her love for the strong female characters and highlighted Raquel Watts and Tina McIntyre as particular favourites of hers.

“I loved watching working-class women on TV because it just didn’t happen on any other show”

One other interesting titbit about Nicola Thorp: she’s followed in the footsteps of Corrie’s Martha Fraser and has recently bought a canal boat, which she bravely manoeuvres round the country in all weathers.

It seems that Nicola is set to be a new feisty girl for Corrie, a type of character Corrie should always have in stock. Feisty women are what Corrie is built on and what it does best.

A brilliant interview with a thoroughly eloquent actress, who I think has a huge Corrie future ahead of her.

Thanks for reading!


Follow me on Twitter!

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Friday, 21 July 2017

Speculation: Could Kate Connor's new love be...

I have just had an idea. It's not really a spoiler because soaps are all about pairing up couples. There has been some publicity that says Kate Connor is going to find love and it's reportedly someone that's already on the show. There has been speculation that it's going to be Rana Nazir who has a big storyline coming up. It might be her, I wouldn't rule it out, and it might be Alya as other people have guessed.

So as long as we're playing the guessing game, here's another suggestion for your perusal, good readers. May I suggest that it might be Nicola Rubinstein, Phelan's newly discovered daughter? It's true, we don't know anything about her yet aside from her paternity and that she's a case worker for troubled youth. She's in the right age bracket, with a birthday in May, 1990 making her 27. Kate's the same age, turning 28 on October 5 according to Corriepedia. (which is a tad older than I thought she was).

We haven't heard Nicola mention a husband, children or other partner of either sex yet and maybe we will in the coming weeks but until I'm definitely proven wrong, I'm throwing Nicola's hat in the ring. So far, I like this character quite a lot. She stands up for herself, she seems to take no guff off Phelan (or Seb), she's smart and seems to be good at her job and she obviously cares for the young kids in trouble that she tries to help. I would quite like it if she and Kate got together and we saw more of her on our screens.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Pat Phelan - From Villain to Chillin?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There are paparazzi pictures in The Sun today showing Pat Phelan being filmed around a church. Now, this could mean anything - or nothing.

But Corrie producer Kate Oates told us at the recent press day that when Phelan's daughter Nicola arrives in Weatherfield, she'll be the light to Phelan's dark.  

Kate told us: "Phelan’s daughter will be the light to his shade. I love him dearly and I can’t stop watching him. We may discover that all is not as it seems to be. Bringing in Phelan's daughter will be the light to his darkness, he doesn’t know she exists. Phelan falls in love with the daughter he didn’t know he had, and wants to be a better man because of it..

And so I wonder if his daughter might be responsible for sending him to confess his sins, perhaps?

Phelan's long lost daughter Nicola Rubenstein turned up on the cobbles last week as Seb Franklin’s case worker. She'll be played by campaigner and top woman Nicola Thorp. You can find out more about her here.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Robert's Drug Problem

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in July 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Last night Chesney was stabbed in the shoulder by an out of control drug dealer with a wine bottle.  It was staggeringly unrealistic.  I don't just mean Chesney managing to get a deep tissue wound from a bit of a bump; I don't just mean the way the Bistro emptied in about thirteen seconds (including all the kitchen staff, apparently); I don't just mean Michelle immediately turning into a sniveling hysterical wreck, despite the fact that she could probably wrestle a marauding thug to the ground with one hand and not spill her Babycham.  I don't even mean Daniel saying Back To The Future III was the best of the trilogy, even though no-one with any sense - and certainly not someone with the intellect of Daniel - would ever think that.

My main problem with this storyline was that it was based on a narrative untruth.  Apparently Robert was, at one point in his life, a rampant coke head, and I refuse to believe this is even slightly true.

Robert Preston is the most boring character in Coronation Street and remember, this is a cast that includes Ken Barlow.  I do not believe that Robert has ever done anything as interesting as snort some blow.  I don't believe Robert has done anything as interesting as leaving the immersion on overnight.

Boring can be fine.  He used to be boring in a perfectly acceptable way.  Robert first came into the show as a teenage carpet fitter who fell in love with Tracy Barlow.  This was v3 Tracy, so that wasn't quite as hard to believe as it would be in 2017 (although she was already a kidney thief at that point).  The pair married in 1996, with Tracy wearing a charity shop dress and Doc Martens, because that was what everyone was wearing in 1996.  Even the boys.  Robert, for his part, wore a dull but respectable suit that reflected his personality.  The two of them then moved to London and vanished for years, only returning to Weatherfield for the odd party.  He was nice and reliable and perfectly acceptable as a beau for Miss Barlow.

Finally Tracy - having morphed into her final form, a demon Gorgon intent on wreaking havoc across the cosmos - left Robert and moved back to t'North.  They got a divorce, and he quietly disappeared into Tracy's past, one of those bits of her history that never got mentioned - like the time she ran away to visit Susan Barlow in Newcastle, or the time she murdered her boyfriend in cold blood and then, somehow, got away with it.

Robert made a return for Deirdre's funeral, and he'd had a morph of his own.  Instead of being the ordinary, perfectly pleasant looking young man we'd last seen in 2002, Robert Preston had turned into a "hunk".  Suddenly he was six foot something, dark and brooding and ready to make the ladies swoon.  In theory, anyway.  The truth is that Robert is missing that indefinable spark that makes him actually sexy.  He's undeniably good looking - he looks like an Action Man carved out of granite - but he's not got that oomph.  Peter Barlow and Gary Windass have that oomph, despite being, respectively, a slightly chubby fifty-something and a ginger with a broken nose.  They're sexy.  Robert is just... handsome.  Handsome but dull.

Still, Tracy seemed keen to start all over again with him, despite not showing even the slightest inkling to rekindle their romance in the thirteen years since she dumped him.  They were soon getting hot and heavy on that uncomfortable looking sofa in Ken's back room, and then Robert was moving in with her, abandoning his wife Sarah Harding Joni for a bit of Barlow.  It seemed that since living with Tracy he'd retrained as a highly talented professional chef, despite, as Tracy recalled, not being able to boil an egg when they were together.

Yes, in the 13 years between his two appearances, Robert had discovered a deep and abiding love of food that caused him to carve out an entirely new career.  And what do you know, just as Robert became unemployed from his last job, Leanne and Nick were looking for a new chef for the Bistro.  What are the chances of that happening?

But of course, that wasn't all he was doing in those 13 years.  We now learn that he spent much of that time out of his head on scag.  Remember, we've seen Robert as a young man (when he looked like Julian Kay) and we've seen Robert in middle age (when he looked like Tristan Gemmill).  You can draw a straight line from nice but dull carpet fitter Robert to nice but dull chef Robert.  Apparently, that's all wrong, and for some reason he went mad in his thirties.  This would admittedly explain why he married human lump of wood Sarah Harding, but really?  Try and picture a thirty-something Robert off his nut on Colombian marching powder, bouncing off the walls of a club and speaking nineteen to the dozen.  You can't, can you?

That's because Robert is just so boring.  He's bland.  He's white bread.  I could imagine Robert, perhaps, at one point, having too many pints of Carling (definitely Carling) and vomiting outside a kebab shop, but it would have to be a special occasion.  And the next morning he'd have had a roaring hangover and sworn never to do that again and he'd actually never do it again.  I can't imagine Robert having the hedonistic wild side that would let him abandon his thoughts and emotions to the influence of psychoactive substances.

Rich the drug dealer threatened to tell Michelle about "Catherine" in last night's show; presumably this is some poor moll he got high with who died - I'm imagining something like camp classic Desperate Lives, where Helen Hunt tries drugs for the first time and then immediately throws herself out of a window.  A girlfriend who died in tragic circumstances; another contrived attempt to make Robert something resembling an interesting character.  He'll have to have packed a lot more into those thirteen years away from the Street than a bit of a drug habit to make me even sit up in my chair.  I look forward to future storylines about his time as the bassist in Metallica, his Formula 1 wins, and his year as the sexual plaything of Sharon Stone.  And then I'll shrug and wait for a more interesting character to turn up.

By @merseytart

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Corrie Canada Sneak Previews for July 24 - 28

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

Johnny and Jenny work out their differences. Sarah asks Neil to talk to Bethany. Craig wheedles the truth out of Bethany but she makes him promise to keep the secret. Sarah asks Mel to help and then spots Shona at a drop in centre. Rosie is a confidant to both Anna and Kevin. Erica persues Kevin. Will he go for it or will he stay loyal to Anna? The corner shop reopens. Why does Norris have a letter addressed to Mr. and Mrs. Cole? Liz signs over the pub and gets a new job. It's the anniversary of Kylie's death.

For more detail and photos check out the Moosejaw Mercury at

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Sam Aston Interview on Chesney's shock stabbing

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Sam Aston, who plays Coronation Street's Chesney Brown, has been talking about the scenes in which his character gets stabbed next week.

In a robbery that will see the Bistro fall victim to a gang of thugs, Chesney gets caught in the crossfire when he tries to find Daniel and ends up getting slashed in the neck by a broken bottle.

Sam tells The Express that he found the change in pace for his character refreshing, but noted that the scenes were difficult to film.

"It was great fun, I’ve been here for quite a long time and I have never done anything like that. It was a challenge because Chesney is making kebabs most of the time but it was really cool to be involved in something different," he said.

While it has been speculated that the moment Chesney is stabbed could spell the end for the popular character, Sam said that he enjoyed being able to show a different side to the relationship between the long-time rivals.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Dan Brocklebank: “Motor Neurone Disease is cruel and evil.”

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Dan Brocklebank, who plays Billy Mayhew in Coronation Street, has been interviewed in Gay Times magazine where he talks about his grandad who died from motor neurone disease.

It's a very moving interview in which Daniel reveals that he has been working with the charity Motor Neurone Disease Association for the last 14 years.

"It’s an incredible charity that does amazing things to help people and their families who’re affected by MND." he says. "They help with everything from funding for things like chair lifts and wheelchairs, to emotional support – and, of course, research to try to find a cure.

"In the 14 years I’ve been working with the charity I’m endlessly impressed by how hard it works and for the amazing things it does. The charity receives no government funding so it also work tirelessly to keep money coming in."

For more information about MND and the Association please visit and You can also follow the MND Association on Twitter at @mndassoc or follow Dan on Twitter at @dan_brocklebank.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter
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