Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Canadian Corrie fan writes his own obituary - regrets not knowing how Corrie ends

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has announced that a Corrie fan from Newfoundland in Canada has sadly passed away after a long struggle with colon cancer. But he left behind a master class on how to go out with style.

Shannon Churchill, who was living in Cole Harbour, Nova.Scotia, when he died, addressed his death head-on by writing his own obituary.

"My advice to you all is to make those bucket lists and to start filling them in. Life is short and it only runs out; I should know, I was only 44. So get off your butts and live those lives while you still have them and make sure you really think of what you want to matter on those last days."

Both Shannon and his wife Melissa were big fans of Corrie. Melissa said he joked about the show in his obituary because as fans know, having first started in 1960, it's not likely to end in any of our lifetimes. (CBC Media Centre)

His only (tongue-in-cheek) regret in a life lived to the fullest?  That he'll never find out how his beloved Coronation Street will end. 

You can read the full obituary below.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Monday, 19 March 2018

For the love of Corrie

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I might receive a fair amount of criticism for writing this but it's been itching away at me for a while now. I've normally restricted myself to writing about Classic Coronation Street as it's the only part of the show I can summon enthusiasm for these days. I've read an awful lot about what's going on in the present day Coronation Street and I really don't like it at all. 

Several people who know Coronation Street well, have watched and loved it for years, have written recently that Corrie just isn't Corrie any more. Nobody I've seen has written that the actors aren't up to scratch or production values have dropped. Corrie is a bit of a miracle really, turning out three hours of television a week in the way that team do. I have nothing but praise for the effort and hard graft involved. I just don't think the show is heading in the right direction.


There is a great deal of love out there for this programme, it's cherished by many. A large swathe of the population cannot remember a time when Corrie was not a part of their daily lives. On the outside looking in though, it could be argued that the company that we entrust with the future of this wonderful legacy of drama, comedy and northern storytelling just do not understand what Coronation Street means. In this day and age money, ratings and popularity on social media seem to be the driving forces for success. Advertising revenue, beating the competition and guaranteeing controversial talking points among the hashtag generation on Twitter is the name of the game. 

All long running shows need to adapt and change if they want to survive but I really do think Corrie is in danger of forgetting the main principles on which it was founded. These days I often feel Coronation Street could be set anywhere, the sense of Manchester is all but lost. Many of the characters are also interchangeable with any other show in the genre. As I see it the emphasis now is not on character driven stories or even character development, but issue led dramatic tension. It really is a street of extremes. I know serial dramas are all about heightened stories and action and are only meant to represent aspects of real life, not the daily drudgery. Yet the situations must be believable and the audience must be able to accept that the characters could and would find themselves in these circumstances.


At the moment we have so many issues being thrashed about it feels like Coronation Street is a box ticking exercise, not a beloved long-running drama. I don't want to dwell on the recent episodes which managed to cram in OCD, grooming, poledancing, the glassing of a character with a bottle and a vicar using heroin in his own church. I know the idea of the watershed is old fashioned, but Coronation Street really was a family show at one point and I feel that while many of the issues being played out are worthy, they are not Corrie. The soap is encroaching far too much into the subject matter of other dramas which can push the envelope a great deal further.

Many people feel that there has been a definite shift towards sensationalism and despite many of those involved in the programme defending its content to the hilt, I don't think anyone could disagree with that. I don't blame the actors and writers for sticking up for the show, after all their jobs depend on it. I've seen longstanding viewers say they'll stop watching and while that should concern ITV, they seem to be attracting a younger audience for the time being. There is a problem with this though. I don't believe younger viewers today are as loyal to a brand, given the range of channels available these days. Also, people younger than me and mine just don't watch television in the traditional way anymore. Neglecting the long standing viewer is a dangerous game. My mother and grandmother have watched Corrie pretty much since the beginning and although neither of them are prudes, they find much of the recent content inappropriate, depressing and mean-spirited. Any comedy in the scripts is forced. Those are not the foundations Coronation Street was built on.


Having discussed this with family and friends, there is common opinion that the Street is now far too sensationalist and issue-led. It's also felt that too much of the action focusses on too few characters. It's no surprise that the actors who gain the most screen time are those with the biggest social media following. I really do think Corrie is missing a trick when they neglect some of the best actors on television - the likes of David Neilson, Barbara Knox, Helen Worth and Sue Nicholls seldom get a look in these days. I'm not going to name the actors I think dominate too many of the storylines but I'm sure you know who I'm talking about. Also, while there is a determination to constantly seek out the latest, biggest social issues and trends, it does feel that the Corrie cast is carrying a lot of deadwood characters who have seen precious little development in years. It's an odd combination.

I had major issues with the long running Pat Phelan storyline. I think the actor who plays Pat is superb and deserves to go on to great success elsewhere but the story has been padded out beyond belief and it's taken far too many nasty, unnecessarily grim twists and turns. I complained about the episode broadcast in October which saw the double murder of Vinny and Andy. At the time various luminaries came out and said Corrie had always tackled violent storylines, the shooting of Ernest Bishop in 1978 being quoted by some. For me the stories are like chalk and cheese. The shock death of Ernest was a rare event at the time and therefore had much more of an impact. The story also focussed much more on the grief and recovery of Emily, Ernest's wife. The deaths in the Phelan storyline have been much more about the shock value gained by the way they were carried out. And yes I know we had the Richard Hillman story a decade or so ago but there was black comedy in that one and almost a lightness of touch compared to the current saga. 


As I've said I would never look to criticise individual performances or writers as I think the standard remains gobsmackingly high across the board. Yes there are plot holes and unbelievable twists but that's soap for you. In focussing on the big tabloid issues and stunts, Coronation Street is not finding nearly enough time in its three hours a week to deal with the little details of life, the humour, pathos and development of long standing characters. It doesn't operate as a community on screen anymore and characters don't interact in the way they used to. Perhaps this is just Corrie reflecting society today but I don't like it. I really don't. 

So what would I do to change things? For a start I'd shift Peter and Toyah out of the pub. They are not in the tradition of classic Rovers landlords and the central focus of the show is now beige and bland. I'd also introduce a few older characters to broaden the appeal of the show. There are plenty of more mature character actors out there crying out for a gig. I also think Corrie needs to return to its roots and focus on strong women. For too long the storyliners' idea of a strong woman is a snivelling wreck or an eternal bad decision maker who deserves everything she gets. It's just not on. I'd also suggest the Corrie production machine cuts back on the social media a little - I don't think it does anyone any favours. And finally, for pete's sake give some of the other actors in the show something tangible to do. David Neilson needs a humdinger of a story as does Sue Nicholls and the hugely under-rated Shelley King. Even today, Coronation Street is bursting with top turns and quality talent, a great deal of which it is just not using effectively.


Anyway, I'll get off my soap box now and drift back to 1987. You may not like what I've said, you may vehemently disagree with every word I've written, but believe me, any criticisms I have come from a long held, deep rooted love for Coronation Street.

You can follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82 but please play nice.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Corrie Canada Weekly awards Feb. 26 - March 2

Boxes Ticked award: Billy's an instant heroin addict. He looks unkempt with black circles under his eyes, he's rude and he throws up in the sink for good measure. The writers seem to have covered all the bases and ticked all the boxes on the "I'm an addict" list, haven't they?

BirdWoman of Alcatraz award: Yasmeen is still keeping the chickens.

Fashion Award: Rosie's Pink mini dress and fluffy coat and laptop cover. But apparently, the town of Warrington didn't appreciate it.

Lines of the Week:
Rosie "This outfit was wasted on Warrington"
Yasmeen "Those chickens were hungry, they went mad when they saw the food. If they weren't caged it would be like a scene from The Birds"
Audrey"Anything must be better than showing what you had for breafast in some seedy lapdancing club"
Liz about Moira "That woman takes bitterness to a whole new level"
Leanne "Nothing I like better than a bit of paint porn" (DIY queen in the making?)
Geraldine "I haven't come to cause trouble" Eileen "Yet it still seems to follow you around"

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Sunday Comments March 18

Billy seems to be the object of an intervention with Granny Geraldine and Summer's teacher taking the leads and pointing out that while understanding he's had a lot to deal with, he doesn't seem to be handling his recovery well. Poor little Summer keeps blaming herself. Even Granny can see that Summer is taking on the carer role like she did when her first dad was dying but Geraldine pleads with Billy not to put her through that again. She wants Summer to come to hers so she can provide a more stable environment. Temporarily, so she says. Billy gives in and tells Summer she is going with Granny and Granny promises not to be so strict and horrible. Poor kid is in bits but Billy promises she can call and visit whenever she wants. They do seem to have softened Geraldine a little bit though her attitudes haven't really changed. I think she'll just keep them to herself a bit more.

Later, Billy is in a lot of pain. He spots an antique pocket watch which gives him an idea. Next time we see him, he's in an empty church and Lee arrives. Lee doesn't have any more methadone and can't get hold of the man he gets it from but he does have something that just might help. Heroin. And they went there. Though we didn't see it, it was clear that he and Billy took heroin while in the church and were practically in comas by the end of one episode. I believe the TV "watchdog" people got a few dozen complaints about that. It is rather controversial, I have to say. Even *I* was looking over their shoulder for lightning bolts!

When next we see them, they've made it back to the flat in one piece and Billy is horrified at what he's done. In the church, no less! He is easily persuaded into another hit if he has something to sell. Lee suggests Summer's game console. Don't do it, Billy! Later, Eva can't get hold of him, he's not returning her calls and she can't find Eileen for the spare key. Someone that does have the spare key has skived off school and run home. Billy doesn't seem to be home. She does some cleaning up and hears Billy and Lee come in later just as the school calls and leaves a message. She hides in the bedroom but she knows they've done drugs.

Poor kid. She comes out and Billy looks like the seventh level of Hell, like he's been strung out on H for months instead of this only being his second time. To be fair, he's been necking pills for weeks. He insists she go back to her grandmother because he can't look after her, he doesn't want her there. She runs out just as he leans over the sink to upchuck. Another "I'm an addict" box ticked, I think.

And Summer, she ends up in Number 11. Eileen is still in the pub but Phelan is there and she pours her little heart out. He promises her they'll sort it out tomorrow. Phelan came home earlier and found out that Eileen tried to take Nicola's box of belongings to her and ended up in a shouting match. Phelan reckons it's probably for the best. He admits to being angry at Nicola but not at Eileen. They have more important things to worry about now that Summer's on their doorstep and Billy's pressed the Easy-Addict button.

Geraldine shows up on the doorstep of Number 11 looking to see Summer. Phelan's hackles rise but Eileen takes the steering wheel. Eileen allows a reasonable hearing but Geraldine's claims that she and Eileen are not that different threw that argument out the window. Eileen at least, has never abandoned her children (though she has disowned them for a day or two on occasion. It worked, Eileen might have won this round, but legally Geraldine has the upper hand.

Another off shoot of all of this is Peter's reaction. He sees what Summer is going through and feels really bad about being an instigator of the whole thing. If he hadn't tried to take revenge, Billy wouldn't have fallen and injured himself. He confessed to Toyah about the Christmas episode and how Adam ended up getting Billy hooked. Toyah took it well, at least to his face.

Tyrone is enjoying having Sean around with all his extra cooking and enjoying Gemma pitching in keeping the girls occupied. Both good friends to have. But he also seems to be giving Gemma an extra look now and then. I like when we hear a bit about Gemma's background. This week it was her grandparents, married 50 years, sang in pubs as Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and her gran did more to bring her up than her own mother did. Ty went to thank her for her help with the girls and take her a homemade muffin just as Fiz walked around the corner.

Nice to see Fiz is back. She asked if the girls have been behaving and is told they were little angels. Things have changed for her and her little family. thanks to Sean's cooking and Tyrone's participation in the fight, we are led through an explanation as to why Tyrone has lost weight though really, the actor has slimmed down though the years. Through the next day home, we see Chesney running into Daniel and Sinead all loved up everywhere and he can't stand it, feels like they are rubbing his nose in it and Fiz feels bad for her little brother.

Brian still hasn't made the connection between the musical Grease and character Danny Zuko and the actual country Greece and there have been a few amusing scenes about that. It might be a 50s style hair do but it doesn't actually look that bad on him. At the bar, Eva makes a remark about Brian's hair. He's still not clued to the fact that Danny Zuko from "Greece" is a character in a musical circa the 1950s which Eva mentions in connection with "Grease". Nope. still doesn't get through.

Yasmeen has apparently got the aisles and contents of Freshco memorized and can speed-shop her way through it. Liz might be the queen of karaoke and the bedroom but discussing intimate details with her son's girlfriend is a bit too close for comfort. Which is what Beth and Tracy were hoping rather than having Liz tag along with them. Looks like Rosie is developing a crush on Imran.

Phelan tells Kate and Alya they're going to have to get a new person to occupy Luke's old room. He can't afford to have it empty. It's a bit of a blow but they agree to try to find someone. Zeedan has just the person, Sophie! Sophie isn't so sure Kate would like it but asks anyway. She'll need somewhere once Tim and Sally sell up and move away. Kate tiptoes delicately around the subject, she certainly didn't bring it up and offer the room to Sophie. Alya tells Zeedan she wouldn't mind Sophie moving in but we all get the feeling Kate minds very much. She and Sophie might be dating but Kate's heart is definitely somewhere else. Alya tells Sophie it's fine and it looks like the spare room is now filled.

Kate doesn't look all that happy about it. Zeedan looks like it was a job well done. I guess he figures putting Sophie in the flat with Kate will keep Kate away from Rana and it will hurt Rana who admits later that it does have that effect. Imran takes Zeedan to task for rubbing Rana's face in everything. Kate decides she's going to have to talk to Sophie after all, telling her it's too soon in the relationship for them to be living under the same roof. Sophie's disappointed but it can't be helped. Kate told Rana later.

And then Kate finds Craig in the corner shop talking to Mary about moving out and suggests Luke's old room. Probably a safer bet having him there than Sophie. Less drama until the Kate and Rana thing explodes. Poor Sophie seems to realize something's not right but focuses on her own growing feelings for Kate instead.

That leaves Sophie again looking for a room since she doesn't really want to go with Tim and Sally. I don't think they're going to end up selling after all so it probably a non-starter of a plot. She does need to find something that will be more fulfilling than being a window cleaner. Craig doesn't waste any time before getting stuck in at his new home, turning off the burners and unplugging things.

Zeedan makes a kind gesture buying Rana a coffee in the cafe but doesn't stay to chat with her either. She took it as a somewhat peace offering. Imran is gutted that she's being the put-upon one in the relationship. Zee is less than happy when he finds out Sophie didn't move in after all. He ditched Leanne at the cafe so she followed him home to talk to him and offer advice on the new place he hopes to open. But the conversation and visit with no further agenda other than friendly support had Zeedan coming on to Leanne with an attempt at a kiss. She pushed back and was out of there like a scalded cat. Oops! At least he didn't let it lie and went straight to the pub to apologize. Leanne doesn't think Zee is going to be able to put up a front for a whole year.

Kate took her suspicions about Zeedan and Leanne to Rana and Rana admits their "trying to make it work" is a financial arrangement only. Cue tea and sympathy. The end result is that Kate and Rana are back together and Zeedan caught the conciliatory kiss. Oh heck. Rana tells Zeedan she's going to be with Kate, either in secret until the year is up or not, he's got to accept it. Zeedan has been the target of a couple of people's opinions on this whole year of a farce wedding and when Rana finally shows up he tells her she can see Rana as long as they're discreet. It's all about the money, baby.

Gail and Sarah are horrified that Bethany's going back to the club. Bethany figures she might as well get paid for being leered at and she can make a lot more money than at the salon. Yes, but at what cost? She'll find out soon enough.

Maria and Beth nearly catch Craig at his morning rituals, safe-proofing the kitchen but he manages to scale it back though mentions he needs a new watch battery. Maria has noticed Craig has been a bit obsessed lately but Beth has to agree but puts it down to the upset over Bethany. In a bit of an argy bargy, Beth and Sarah shout about trying to get Craig to talk to Bethany to get her to see sense about the club. He doesn't think she'll listen to him but Sarah's desperate.

The new manager is creepy and takes one look at Bethany and says she'll do. He passes over a very skimpy outfit that everyone has to wear. She's still only dancing in that "wave your arms around and wiggle your bum" way, which is to say, not all that sexy really. There's a group of men in having a stag do and one of them is fair haired. The organizer of the stag catches a look at Bethany who has defied the manager and worn her own outfit, something slightly less revealing.

She's got to dance for the stags under a warning about wearing the bikini next time. The stag organizer immediately grabs her and is giving her a difficult time, the lads all start changing "Jason" (the groom) but she suddenly sees him as Nathan with the accompanying chant, freaks out, breaks a bottle and lashes out at the ghost of Nathan. She's then arrested for assault and she wants Craig back then, oh yes. Seeing her in distress sends him into counting like a mad man.

The whole story comes out when the police interview her when Sarah gets there to be her "appropriate adult" (Bethany isn't 18 yet). She thought the man was Nathan. She has had quite a knockdown. She's been arrested, all right and will be in court in a few days but is out on bail until then. Poor Craig feels that he wasn't able to protect her. All his rituals and counting and he still couldn't do it. She thinks she's scared Craig off and is frightened she's going to see Nathan everywhere. Sarah assures her that she only had a moment, not a psychotic episode.

David put it all in perspective. She's lapdancing out of anger, not for control and maybe she should go back to therapy. It might work better now that she sees things aren't quite what she thought they were.

She had her court appearance, wearing an outfit the very opposite of skimpy. Didn't know she even owned something so dowdy unless she borrowed it from Gail! But Craig is still there to be her rock (so she's still not questioning his apparent obsessions like turning the electrical switches off. Anyway, the man she attacked decided not to press charges so the charges were dropped. I can never understand why, when the person that was under attack drops the charges, that the police still prosecute sometimes and sometimes they don't. If the law was broken, it was broken and a major assault like a glass in the face is major. Bethany has realized that she does need more counselling so that's one plus at least.

Beth's not happy that Craig is moving but the poor lad must be yearning to have some privacy, not just from his mother. He's been living for a houseful for years!

In other developments, the former medical centre manager, Moira, has been to a tribunal and has been given her job back and back she is! Liz and the doctor are both horrified. Then, when Moira returned looking for Liz in the pub, Liz spent as much time as she could trying to avoid her by hiding in the ladies' room. She testified against Moira in the tribunal and thinks Moira's out to get her. Liz and Eileen have it out in the toilets with Liz asking Eileen to help her.

But later, after Moira drove Eileen spare, Eileen and Liz share a bottle of wine in the bog. They kind of do make up over her feelings for Phelan. Eileen feels she's losing all her friends because nobody likes Phelan. Liz suggests a "get to know Pat" party. They were rumbled in the toilet later by Leanne while Moira is beating Josh at the dart board. Turns out Moira's not upset at all that Liz told the tribunal she was mentally unstable. They believed it so she couldn't be dismissed on any mental health issue. It was what got her job back for her.

Now Liz and Eileen are back as mates but Billy's problems are weighing on her. Liz points out that since Todd is no longer with Billy, it's not really her problem. Don't forget,though, he lived at Eileen's for quite awhile so it's natural she'd feel maternal about him plus what happens with Summer.

The project manager of the Mill development, Mona, is after Phelan again. She's ticked that he's taking a day off now and then. Sounds like she's a workaholic when all she has to come home to is a houseful of animals. Phelan lost all the colour in his face. They've already started draining the swamp where the bodies are! Oh heck!!!!

One look at Phelan's face on the morning after the revelations of the night before, and you'd be saying to him "cheer up, might never happen" when, in fact, it has and the dead bodies are probably going to be uncovered by the swamp water draining any time now. Eileen's busy sorting out the "Get to know Pat" party, not realizing she herself needs to get to know him as well because she might think she does but does she really? She's given him a list of things to do and wants him home by 5. Who gives a party on a Monday night? Well, I guess a lot do.

Seems nobody minds a week night party including Gina and Dev and number 11 fills up slowly. Liz and Eileen sticking together because Eileen is worried that the guest of honour is nowhere to be found. and because Eileen more or less had to invite Moira Here things get emotional because for all his faults, Phelan is always honest with her, she says, and always calls when is on the road and expected back. Important it may be but two dead bodies about to be discovered kind of trumps that. Pat is pulling one of them out of the water as we speak and it's tough going. The wind is blowing and it's snowing a bit. He drags the bodies into the structure and along a scaffolding to where a huge cement mixer is on and pouring concrete into foundation bits.

Back at Eileen's, Moira shows up and is as obnoxious as ever. Some things don't change! Gina jumps at the tequila bottle, promising Dev she will only have the one. By contrast, Sally's dinner party is quiet and genteel with sophisticated music playing in the background. Before Kate can have a word with Sophie, Sally calls for attention. She mentions that Sophie is selling the window cleaning business and they're all very proud. Sophie admits she needs to concentrate on a better future. Kate still wants a word (timing, ladies, could be so much better). They go outside, Kate splits up with her. She knows Sophie is falling for her and she doesn't feel the same way. Tears flow down Sophie's face as Kate flatters her as a lovely person who deserves someone wonderful. Kate leaves her there crying on the doorstep.

Sally's having a posh dinner party on the very same Monday night as the rival Phelan party. Rosie ropes Imran into being her plus one and Tim would rather drink beer than wine and is not looking forward to it at all. Kate and Rana also plan to come out together or at least, Kate has to break up with Sophie. This night is going to be a disaster. Kate sees Zeedan and questions him about the circumstances behind the deal with Rana's parents. He can't stop her and Rana from being together so if he thought he'd get her back, he thought wrong. Gina tells Sally they were already invited to the party at Eileen's so she and Dev won't be at Sally's.

PHelan gets to the Mill a bit late and his boss mouths off at him for it. The next two blokes near the outlines of a building, are running a machine that's working on draining the water. The canal with concrete sides (that defines it as more than a pond at least) has a very visibly lower water line than before. Phelan takes a good look at the canal and looks quite anxious. The water line continues to drop. The skivvy is sat beside the water pretending to be talking to head office but in reality, having a natter with his old mum. He's the last one on the site for the day bar Phelan who's anxious to get rid of him because he can see one of the bodies has started to be revealed on the other side of the water. He plays to the man's ego and his offer to stay on is snapped up.

The weather has turned to a mucky sleeting rain. Phelan has managed to get the bodies into the foundation! Eileen texts him and he sends one back. Phelan's text about a work disaster has put Eileen's mind at rest. Eileen calls him back to see when he might arrive except, as his phone rings and vibrates, before he can get it, the vibration makes it fall off the scaffolding where he'd laid it. Plop right into the heady mixture of liquid concrete and two dead bodies. I don't know why he thought it was worth it, but he climbs down to fetch it even though it will never work again.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Cooking with Coronation Street - Alec's Whiskey Chicken

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Greetings! Here we go with the third of our Cooking with Coronation Street blog posts in which we take recipes from this little gem of a book from 1992 and see what they turn out like when cooked at home by Corrie fans.  

The first recipe we tried from the Coronation Street cook book was Betty's Hot Pot. You can find out how that turned out with Gemma and Michael from Conversation Street, the Coronation Street fan podcast here.   

And the second recipe was when I turned my hand to making Angie Freeman's lentil soup.  You can find out how that turned out here.

Today was the turn of Alec Gilroy's Whiskey Chicken.The recipe is one of a few under the heading of 'Bet and Alec Cooking with Booze' and when one of the most famous couples ever to have worked behind the bar of the Rovers Return tell you what you should be cooking, well, who's to refuse them? Not me, that's for sure. And so, here's how we go on cooking this at home.

First, we gathered the ingredients which were simply whiskey, an onion, whiskey, mushrooms, whiskey, carrot, whiskey, chicken, whiskey and chicken stock. The recipe also called for double cream but we used creme fraiche instead. Did I mention the whiskey?

Once the chicken had been browned in a pan, in went the onions to soften followed by the whiskey.

Now this bit was interesting!  The recipe called for it "to flame" and so we set it on fire, which was a bit scary.  You'll see the photo below is, er, slightly blurred as I jumped about a foot backwards once my husband set the whiskey aflame.

After the flames (finally!) went out and the alcohol burned off, we added the chopped mushrooms and carrots and the chicken stock, then it all went into a casserole dish in the oven for 45 minutes.  Ten minutes before the end of the cooking time, we added the creme fraiche and stirred it all in.    When it was ready we served it with baked potatoes, as below...

However, I felt it might have been better served with rice.  Now then, to the taste - what was it like?

Well, it wasn't bad. I think we both agreed that it wasn't brilliant and there was no taste of whiskey at all in the dish. It was just about all right. The chicken was cooked wonderfully and was tender and soft, the veg was tasty but the whiskey sauce let it down, being too runny and tasting of little more than chicken stock. A much more reduced sauce would work better, we felt. But maybe this was our fault for not using double cream as instructed?

Would we cook this one again? Possibly yes...but not for a very long time.  And we both agreed that if we did cook it one again, we'd slice potatoes and cover the top of the dish with sliced potatoes and cook it a la hotpot for a tastier treat.  

All in all, it was not bad - but not great.  It might have satisfied Alec for using up his leftover whiskey in the Rovers Return, but I'm afraid it left a bit of an odd taste in our mouths - and almost burned the kitchen down in the process too! 

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Faye Brookes Interview: #Kana - and Sophie moving in

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

What’s the current situation with Kate and Rana?

They are not speaking and Kate is with Sophie which everyone thinks is a rebound. Kate is not seeing it as a rebound but she feels like if she was to lead Sophie down the wrong path she might be breaking her heart so she is keeping her distance because she knows her true feelings are for Rana.

How does Kate feel when Phelan tells them that they need to find a new tenant for Luke’s room?

Kate thinks of the panic of having rent to pay and they don’t want to get in trouble with their landlord so they need to fill that room. Kate offers it to Craig because he needs a place to live. They are all moving on; Kate checks in with Alya to see if she is alright about it and she is so it is not like there is pressure. It is more about that they are really letting go of Luke now by letting someone come and live in his room but it is also the next step. 

Tell us what happens when Zeedan suggests that Sophie should move in.

Kate is frustrated and doesn’t think it is a good idea. She doesn’t want to hurt Sophie’s feelings. She knows that they need to take their time and that’s a really nice way of moving forward and actually letting their relationship go its natural course by not rushing because Kate does keep rushing in to relationships.

How do you think Zeedan pushing Sophie towards Kate will impact Kate and Rana?

Kate is using Sophie and that is harsh. Sophie has got such a soft spot for Kate and Kate can see it and is taking advantage of that. So when Kate knows that Rana can see that they are together and she is getting jealous, it is only fuelling that fire -  Kate is totally leading Sophie down a wrong path. She knows that she need to come clean sooner rather than later.

With Sophie obviously smitten, is Kate aware of the extent of Sophie’s feelings for her?

Kate is similar to Sophie in that she wears her heart on her sleeve and I like that you always know what you’re going to get with Sophie Webster. Kate starts to see that she’s taking her down a misleading path and she doesn’t want to send out mixed messages.

How do you think Kate will handle having two women fighting for her affection?

She doesn’t realise that she’s got two women fighting for her because her feelings are so strong for Rana. Kate doesn’t realise her effect on people and Kate doesn’t have that self-worth that every girl should have. 

Zeedan seems to have taken a self-destructive path and Kate sees him trying to apologise to Leanne. What does Kate make of this?

Kate sees that they are arguing in the street and she is with Carla at the time so the pair of them think the worst because they can tell that Leanne is really upset as she storms off. Zeedan and Leanne have a really good relationship so for them to be arguing something has got to have happened.

How do you think Zeedan will react if Kate and Rana were to continue their relationship?

I don’t think he has a leg to stand on because the pair of them want to be together no matter what!

The fan reaction to Kate and Rana has been huge… How are you enjoying this story line?

We are so overwhelmed but we are so grateful at the same time. We spoke about this relationship before it was on screen for months, the planning with the writers, the talking with the producers. We knew it was going to be a real hard story to tell and I cannot get over the support that we have had so I can only be thankful and I love the fact that they love me more because I’m with Rana. With all of these characters on Coronation Street, all you want to be is loved, so the fact that we have our own fandom, we appreciate the time that they take to make edits and they even come up with their own predictions for the future. We tease them all the time!

How are you enjoying watching the storyline play out?

I’m just really proud because we have all worked really hard on it and we are giving those people a voice, we’re telling a real story that is so relatable and it’s a game changer. I do think we’re doing something that’s quite historical for Coronation Street.

This storyline is obviously very complex and involves the subjects of both sexuality and religion, do you feel like there’s an added pressure to do it justice?

Definitely and more so for Bhavna as an actress. We were worried about the reaction and that people weren’t going to accept the idea about this new relationship but because they’ve received it so well and I know that it’s only a positive thing and it can only get better. The pressure is from me wanting to do a good job. We are both straight women playing those characters so we’re just giving truth to everything we do with it. Love is love and that’s the message across all boards. We don’t need to even think about any other factors, it’s down to a feeling and down to happiness and two people just falling for one another. It’s what Corrie always has - it has heart.

What has it been like working with Bhavna Limbachia and Brooke Vincent?

Brooke cracks me up every day, I know she’s always going to have an amazing story to tell me that’s literally going to have me belly laughing. She’s so comfortable at Corrie because she’s been here since she was so young and so she has a real natural ability and I soak that up when I’m with her. Bhavna works just as hard as I do as an actress so she has the work ethic. We constantly bounce off each other with new ideas. We have to kiss a lot so to be comfortable with her is really important and I can’t take that for granted.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Friday, 16 March 2018

Five Things We Learned In Corrie This Week

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2018, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Amy is a big fan of Liam Payne.  I so love your eyes, my beautiful Liam/When you go back on tour I can't wait to see 'em. Such beautiful words from the young Ms Barlow, eulogising the fourth-best member of One Direction (for the record: Zayn, Harry, Niall, Liam, the fifth one).  I wonder if she's still into him now the band have split up, or if she's moved onto some other popular beat combo I am too old to know about?

Moira is back!  Back!  BACK!!!  In a week featuring druggy vicars shooting up in churches and teenage lapdancers with PTSD bottling random men, a moment of levity was desperately needed.  Thank goodness then for Moira, storming back into the Rovers for a celebratory glass of prosecco after overcoming a tribunal we knew nothing about.  She immediately started banging on about her menopause, accused Eileen of being an alcoholic and sexually harassed Josh.  What a woman.

Eileen fled to the (suprisingly spacious and well-appointed) Rovers loo, where in another shocking moment, we actually saw her mid-pee.  You didn't get this sort of thing with Martha Longhurst.  Moira was soon down there too, calling Liz a "true friend" and referring to her ill-fated romance with Vic Reeves as "Colingate".  Frankly, I can't get enough of both her and Louiza Patikas's performance, and I hope she clatters round the Street passive aggressively insulting the residents for months to come.

Weatherfield's queer women are really, really keen.  The comic Lea DeLaria used to have a joke:  "What does a lesbian bring on the second date?  A U-Haul."  It's a cliche that gay ladies rush into commitment far quicker than their heterosexual counterparts, but it's one that the girls of Corrie embrace wholeheartedly.  Kate and Rana had, at most, three snogs before they were declaring their undying love for one another.  Now Sophie, who has been dating Kate for about a fortnight, leaps at the opportunity to move in with her.  Admittedly they'd have had separate rooms, but that's still a lot closer than you'd expect from a couple who probably haven't even updated their Facebook relationship status yet.  There's no need to jump into anything Sophie, not least because Kate is incredibly dull and you can do better.  I'd suggest sorting out your shaggy fringe should be a much higher priority on your "to do" list than shacking up with a tedious lesbian.

Legumes are big in the Grimshaw house.  Peas and beans, Eileen?  No wonder Summer was unenthusiastically picking at her tea.

A mother's love is a wonderful thing.  In a week of such unremitting misery, let's finish by focusing on the happy family relationships that closed off Friday's episodes.  Sally was upbeat and supportive to a disheartened Sophie, telling her that the world was her oyster and boosting her confidence about her relationship with Kate.  (Of course, at that exact moment, Kate was snogging the face off Rana, but let's not dwell on that).

Then Beth was tearfully helping Craig take his first step into adulthood, helping him move into his new flat.  Being Beth, she also embarrassed him about a thousand times in the process - I'll just say Janet the Giraffe and leave it at that - but that's what mothers do.  Sometimes they make you cringe, sometimes they make you angry, but most of the time they're quite, quite lovely.

Please send pictures of kittens and puppies and Paul Rudd smiling to the author on Twitter @merseytart.  After this week's episodes, he seriously needs them.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter
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