Friday, 20 October 2017

Weatherfield's weird and wonderful ways

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

It's the weekend and time for a little bit of fun.  Have a look at the following ways in which Coronation Street has influenced our blogging team and their choice of pop culture. The weird and wonderful ways of Weatherfield.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Conversation Street podcast 275

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

This week, Michael and Gemma talk about Nathan and Neil's trial, Rita's operation and the intrepid investigative reporter that Daniel's becoming. It was a good week, between the tension of the trial and worry about Rita. Phelan certainly has a lot more to worry about and Shona's past is attempting to ruin her future. This week there are listener questions to be answered, including thoughts on Corrie's Canadian popularity and the use of unrealisic twists in the show, plus the story of how Conversation Street first came into existence. That's followed by a bit of religious controversy in the Kabin and finally some listener feedback.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Corrie Canada sneak previews for October 23 - 27

Without further ado here is a brief sneak preview of what you'll see on  next week's Corrie in Canada.
David objects to Shona's plan and Dane puts David's family in danger. Rana decides to make it legal with Zeedan but is struggling with her feelings for Kate. Billy hands out the stolen cash but finds out it wasn't from the source he thought it was. Summer acts out. Todd and Adam are arrested. Nicola has news for Phelan but he's even more concerned that Daniel is getting too close for comfort. Jude and Angie's visit is a bit bumpy. Beth and Alya's sewing machine turns out to be one stolen from Underworld.

For these and more detail, see the Moosejaw Mercury on

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Barbara Knox speaks out on Rita's brain tumour story

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

Barbara Knox, who plays Rita Tanner in Coronation Street, has spoken out about the brain tumour storyline she's currently playing in the soap.

She said: “When our producer Kate Oates talked to me about the brain tumour storyline for Rita, I was truly honoured to be tasked with taking on such an important story.

"I was immediately determined to ensure that we got every aspect of the portrayal of such a devastating illness correct. The work the team did with Brain Tumour Research has been invaluable. As an actress playing the role I am mindful that there are people going through this in real life and it is vital that we do their stories justice.”

She also tells this week's Inside Soap magazine: "There's a long way to go yet in this storyline for Rita. As we follow her journey from the diagnosis to how she comes to terms with the uncertainty of what the future holds, she has some big decisions to make in the coming weeks."

Coronation Street has been working with Brain Tumour Research on the storyline since the spring. Consultant clinical oncologist, Dr Matt Williams, from the Centre of Excellence at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, has been working closely with Corrie producers to ensure that Rita’s experience is as accurate as possible.

Barbara says: "Until I started working on this story I had no idea that a brain tumour could cause someone to act in the way Rita has been. It can't be just me who was surprised by how it affected Rita, so clearly not enough is known about brain tumours and their symptoms. It's a frightening disease and my thoughts are with everyone affected by a brain tumour.

You can support the work of Brain Tumour Research and find out more here.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Five Things We Learned In Corrie This Week

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2017.)

There's been a stock update in the Kabin.  Oceans rise.  Empires fall.  Galaxies die.  But one thing has remained constant: Rita and Norris trying to flog the 1999 Claire Danes starrer The Mod Squad to anyone who nipped in for half a pound of liquorice torpedos.  It appeared back in the days when people still bought DVDs, and it's continued on through robberies, assaults, and Mary going mad with a black bag and a duster.  Yet there was no sign of it in the rack in Monday's episode.  Don't tell me it's been sold; it was well on its way to being a holy relic.  Another year on that shelf and it would've developed sentience and a sarcastic yet heartwarming double act with Rita.

Judge Rinder isn't for everyone.  The factory girls have only been unemployed for a week but they're already bored of daytime television.  Personally I think when you tire of Homes Under The Hammer, you've tired of life itself.  You need to learn to balance your viewing, ladies; a bit of HUTH first, a smidgeon of Phil and Holly, then find out if they get a Golden Gavel on Bargain Hunt and have a nap until Pointless (you can watch The Chase on ITV+1).

Not everyone found Nathan's trial gripping.  Wake up there at the back!  He might make a run for it!

Don't count on Seb and Faye's relationship lasting until December.  Nothing is more of a turn-off for a teenage girl than her boyfriend strapping on a pinny and being pally with her mum.  She's with you for your snarling bad-boy charms, mate, not your impeccable potato peeling skills.  Time to smoke a filterless ciggie in the ginnel while wearing a leather jacket, otherwise you'll be spending the festive season drunkenly crooning Mud's It'll Be Lonely This Christmas into half a shandy while Faye visits the Christmas markets with a boy called Grub who has a tattoo AND a motorcycle.

Actually it's about ethics in local journalism.  Remember when Daniel was a shy virgin student who barely knew how to unbutton a lady's blouse without turning scarlet?  Now he's a cross between Paul Foot and a yet to be neutered dachshund, fearlessly delving into the Calcutta Street flats scandal (a year after it happened) and taking time out to dally with his editor on the side.  Where next for this roguish journalistic firebrand?  The broadsheets?  The Pulitzers?  The STD clinic?  Let's just say he's not the first reporter to get a career boost from Deep Throat.

By @merseytart

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Through the Corrie Keyhole of No 1 – who would live in a house like this?

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

1 Coronation Street – a desirable residence next to the pub and opposite the Health Centre

Guest blog post by Derek Bray who blogs at DailyBungler and is on Twitter @IndieTribeWorld
Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here!  

A humble terraced house on an iconic street. I wonder what secrets hide behind that old brown door? Join me and let’s find out!

Let me take you back almost a century to 1919 when Albert Tatlock moved into the house next door to the Rovers Return on Coronation Street with his wife, Bessie.

Happy Albert, always one to raise a smile
The terraced house comprised a front parlour, hallway/stairs, kitchen and scullery on the ground floor, a landing and three bedrooms on the upper floor. There was an outside lavatory and coal-hole in the back yard. It was grim ‘up North’

Albert was still living there when Coronation Street opened its doors to the public in 1960, but his wife had died a year before. Probably of boredom.

At about this time, Albert’s niece, Valerie moved in with him, and soon after started dating Ken Barlow. In due course they married and were blessed with twins, Peter and Susan. Susan was destined to produce Adam, Ken’s grandson from a marriage to Mike Baldwin and Peter is currently in the street, having sired young Simon.

Ken and Valerie Barlow

Valerie died tragically when she was electrocuted in a hair raising incident whilst drying her…yes, you’ve guessed it, hair. Ken soon found he couldn’t cope with his twins and shipped them off to Val’s parents in Scotland.

Ken was very close to Albert, who regarded him as a son and he moved in to No. 1 to look after ‘Uncle’ Albert in his twilight years. A cynic would perhaps question why he was adept at looking after an old man, yet less so at looking after his own twins.

In 1973 Ken met and married a girl called Janet Reid in the hope she would take on his twins. She refused and they divorced a year later.

Next up for Ken in the marital stakes was divorcee, Deirdre and her daughter, Tracy. He married her in 1981 and they all lived together at No.1 with Uncle Albert. Ken bought No.1 from Albert and allowed Albert to continue living there so they could look after him.

That marriage certainly had its moments culminating in Deirdre committing adultery with Mike Baldwin in 1983.

In 1988 Ken remortgaged the house to buy the Weatherfield Recorder, probably harbouring a dream to become the next Rupert Murdoch. Well, you have to start somewhere. Ken and Deirdre separated soon afterwards. Deirdre had begun to suffer from, yes, you guessed it…acute boredom.  She was legally advised that she owned half of the Recorder. That did wonders for her boredom and triggered off more dramatic action. She forced Ken to sell it to pay off No. 1’s mortgage, after which the house became legally hers.

All’s fair in love and war they say, but I suppose that depends on whose viewpoint you are looking through.

In 1994 Ken had a new girlfriend, Denise Osbourne, and another son was born, Daniel. As with the other children, Ken was not destined to be part of his upbringing.

In 1994 Deirdre married Samir Rachid and moved to Morocco with him, but not before selling the house to Mike Baldwin, Ken’s nemesis. After seven months, for reasons best known to himself, Mike sold the house back to Ken Barlow, who has owned it ever since.

Deirdre returned to No.1 and Ken in 1999 and died, whilst away, in 2015

The Barlows outside No.1 today. From left: Adam, Peter, Ken, Tracy and Daniel

And that completes the chequered history of just one of the houses on a rather remarkable cobbled street. Am I going to leave it there? Not likely. I’m all set to look through the keyhole of all the others.

By Derek Bray who blogs at DailyBungler and is on Twitter @IndieTribeWorld

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Chris Harper Interview: Nasty Nathan in the Dock

What is Nathan’s state of mind since his arrest? Is he convinced he’s going to get off when his case goes to court?
He has been constantly manipulating Mel, getting her back onside, so that he can use her to get back at Bethany. He thinks if he can get Bethany out the way, he will be in the clear.

We discover that Nathan is still in contact with Mel, how is he still controlling her and what is he asking her to do?
Mel is vulnerable, she craves love and a stable life. She hasn't got the support Bethany has. Nathan promises he'll give her a home and that they can start a family. He swears to Mel that he loves her more than anything in the world and he pretends to get upset if she questions him. He promises her the world and just needs one thing in return - Mel has to stop Bethany getting to court, whatever it takes.

He’s played a dangerous game putting Mel in the house with Bethany and the Platts, is he totally convinced that Mel will stay true to him and Bethany won’t be able to talk her round and turn her against him?
Yes. He keeps the squeeze on her from his burner phone in prison. She's always done what he needs before, there is no reason to believe she'll turn on him now. Bethany has her family and her friends, Mel only has Nathan.

On the day of the court case is Nathan still totally confident that he’s going to walk free?
It's touch and go, but he thinks he's a master manipulator and can get anyone round his fingers, including the guards, the police and his female barrister. I spoke to a police inspector who said a man charged with grooming had tried to seduce her while he was being interviewed. Nathan is largely based on him. His self confidence is delusional.

When Bethany doesn’t arrive in court is he pleased to see that Mel’s plan to keep her away seems to have worked?
Yes. Dream come true. He knows he can slip through if he keeps lying well and witnesses don't come forward. I think he finds the adrenalin rush almost fun. He's back in control. He knows he's not in the clear til he's out. But without Bethany testifying, the case is weak enough to let him wriggle out and carry on doing what he is doing. He's already making plans.

Does Nathan start to feel the nerves when he’s stood in the dock?
Once he's in the dock, it's in his hands. He thinks he can talk his way out of anything. The jury will fall for him in the same way Bethany and Mel have.

How does he handle being questioned by Bethany’s barrister, do we sees Nathan squirm or does he keep his cool?
Nathan's barrister has done a good job selling the story that Nathan has constructed, but it is clear Bethany's barrister doesn't believe a word of it. When Nathan realises the jury don't seem to be falling for his charm he suddenly gets stage fright.

As the trial comes to a close does he still rate his chances of walking free?
Nathan's been a joy to play, because he is one of those pig headed people who think that if they say something it's therefore true. He convinces himself he's done a good job, therefore he must have done. He's convinced himself he's innocent, so he must be. Remember he thinks everyone around him is playing a small role in the movie about his life. He thinks he'll get off, he's the hero.

Have you enjoyed reprising the role of Nathan?
Very much. The way he thinks is very seductive, and the self delusion and bullying in these scenes at the court is actually fun to play. But of course, seeing the lifelong damage abuse causes is a hard lesson. That's why it's so good Corrie are doing this storyline.

Was it important for you to see Nathan face justice?
Yes. There are growing conviction rates for abuse cases. The bravery of victims who come forward is being rewarded.

What was it like filming the court scenes?
The director made it feel like a film set! It was very exciting, with lots of angles and great lighting. When we finally came to record the verdicts my heart was pounding. I felt so, so sorry for Bethany.

Whether Nathan walks free or gets sent down we know it’s the end of his time in Weatherfield, have you enjoyed working on the show and taking on this character?
Playing a role for this long, as new episodes have come up and the plot has twisted and turned, has been really exciting. I have loved watching this snake grow. I don't like him, but I like playing him.

You’ve been able to use the role to work with a number of charities on child sexual exploitation and grooming, was this important to you while playing Nathan?
All the way along I have had help from members of the police, social services, charities and survivors. They have provided me with confidence at every step. I am very proud to be Patron of Voicing CSA and to work so closely with the NSPCC too. Also, I have to say Kate Oates and the whole team at Corrie have been incredibly supportive all the way through.

Do you know what you’ll be working on next or is it too early to say?
It's really exciting - there are a number of things coming, but first will be an animation I have recorded for Voicing CSA. We are hoping to launch it just as things come to a climax in Corrie.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Five reasons why Rita dying would make great drama

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

Guest blog post by Glenn Meads who is on Twitter and LinkedIn
You can read all of Glenn's guest blog posts here.
Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here!  

Poor Rita Tanner! She is one of the Street's most enduring characters. The things she has seen over the years, the comings and goings, the way she has cheated death by tram and her durability have made her one of Corrie's best loved characters. 

For me, the way Rita 'adopts' waifs and strays makes her so loveable and likeable, that I feel like I know her. 

But, all good things come to an end, and Rita's health has begun to deteriorate, leading to speculation that the character will join the likes of Deidre, Blanche and Jack and Vera in Corrie Heaven. This has led to a campaign to Save Rita. 

But, won't this storyline provide fans with great drama? 

Here's five reasons why Rita shutting shop might be good for viewers;

1) Barbara Knox may have chosen to leave. And who can blame her? The long hours.and the fact that the character has had some amazing story lines may mean Barbara wants to retire and get some well earned rest. 

2) Rita has been replaced any way. Poor Reet has been sidelined by the equally wonderful Mary. What used to be Rita and Norris is now Mary and Norris. So, at least Norris now has a significant other, if Rita did die?

3) The drama would be great for the actress and viewers. Often Rita is a conduit for other people's drama. This brilliant plot development means Barbara could leave on top, showing us all why she is such a great actress. 

4) The aftermath. Rita has taken in many strays in her time. Her death would leave them and us with a huge gap in their lives. Will they fight for her cash? Or will the loss of this 'mother' figure mean that they hit self destruct?

5) Births, Deaths and Marriages. Soaps need all three of these to keep going. The loss of such an iconic character will be a huge blow, but it will give many actors meaty drama, and bring them back from brink. And viewers? The unending success of Long Lost Family proves we all love a good cry. 

I love Rita Tanner and will miss her. But, I also think that Corrie needs this poignant storyline in order to move forward. What do you think?

By Glenn Meads who is on Twitter and LinkedIn

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter
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