(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)
I loved Carla. When the news came out that she was going, I thought that one of Coronation Street’s very best characters was leaving and that she would be missed terribly. Her couldn’t care less what you think of me attitude, quite rare in women, was so brilliantly expressed in Carla as she clicked down the cobbles in her heels, her car keys jangling in her hand. As is so often the case though, I adjusted, as we all do. Her absence was nowhere near as unbearable as I’d feared. Various storylines were absorbing, involving various excellent actors and Carla was almost forgotten.
Then we heard she was coming back. I was thrilled and couldn’t wait to see her and learn what she had been up to. The spoilers before her onscreen return suggested that Carla was coming back to Weatherfield with a secret. Ooh what could that be? I was really keen to find out and did wonder too, if Carla might have realised that her heart belonged to Peter.
When it was revealed that Carla had kidney disease, I was so disappointed that this was her ‘secret’ – which is not to say I have no humanity. Of course, it’s sad when a person has a serious disease, especially when that person is not old, as in Carla’s case.
Obviously, a serious disease affects a person deeply. They’ll be more anxious, more aware of their mortality and worried as to whether the disease will seriously curtail their life expectancy.
But, despite a couple of emotional scenes with Roy, to my mind, Carla has not been the Carla I remember. (Except for the time in The Rovers when she hurled insults at Peter). That may change. She’s older now, and though maturity doesn’t necessarily accompany age, maybe with Carla, age and experience has softened her. Maybe now she’s not so sparky, not quite so dynamic and energetic. But since when has she been so concerned about family? Is it her illness that’s done that? She feels alone and needs the support of family? Maybe she wants one of their kidneys.
And what of her feud with Tracy? Never to be best mates, we could at least be treated to a few cruel, spiteful comments, from both women. Have they just got bored with goading and attacking each other? Well, nothing stays the same, so we might just have to accept that one of the best enmities in soap is now over.
What is in wait for Carla is an affair with Daniel. Yes, with Daniel, Daniel Osbourne. Surely this will affect Peter, and let’s not forget Sinead. We saw Daniel and Carla interact on Sinead and Chesney’s wedding day. Carla told Daniel that he should do something to stop the wedding. In the end he didn’t need to as Chesney did that for him, and it was Carla who brought the news to Daniel that the wedding did not go ahead.
I cannot help but think that Carla and Daniel are ill-matched. But then who am I, or anybody else, to pronounce? It’s their business as two consenting adults. I don’t believe it will be long before we see the affair played out and all its repercussions. Perhaps it's Carla holding on, literally, to youth.
I’m a little disappointed that we don’t have the Carla of old, but have to accept that we grow, change, and develop. We’re seeing a gentler, more feeling, more sensitive Carla and hopefully, with the sublime acting skills of Alison King, we’ll like this incarnation of Carla just as much as we did the original.
It’s taken her realisation that she is not immortal to crack open her carapace and expose the more vulnerable side of Carla Connor.
By Ruth Owen, @ruth1722
Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter