Monday 26 July 2010

Real Men DO watch Coronation Street!

In the previous post about mine, Graham and Deborah's experiences filming our bits of the upcoming documentary about Coronation Street,  I told you that there was a third mate of mine, Mark Grant, who had a day of filming while on board the HMCS Fredericton. Mark is in the Canadian Navy and hosted the crew and documentary's host,  Canadian tv personality Debbie Travis. He has written about his experiences and they are so interesting, I thought they deserved their own post! Here, then, is Mark's day with the Corrie Crazy crew (seen here below):

Well the film shoot is finished. It was a long day, and a very rewarding day. It all started at 9am, when I met the film crew at their hotel to escort them to the Dockyard, and to HMCS FREDERICTON, where we would be filming for the day. I was also introduced to the remainder of the gang that I would be working with the rest of the day, Tim (the local Director), Raquel (Make Up), Dan (Still Photographer) and of course Debbie Travis, the host of the show. I had already met Eunice (the director), Steve (camera) and Joe (sound), the previous Sunday, during the filming of the DownEast Streeters Pingfest.

Once onboard the Fredericton, there was a safety brief for cast and crew, and then a "Welcome Onboard" brief to all by the Commanding Officer, Commander Zorz, and the ship's Coxswain Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Rasmussen. After this, the crew set up the first location shoots of the day,on the Bridge. Once the setup was complete, plus some touch ups with Debbie's makeup, and the patting of my face to get rid of the shininess, (I was a little nervous) we were ready to film our first scenes.

I was to be performing my regular duties as a Naval Communicator on the bridge, talking to another unit via the radio, when Debbie surprises me on the bridge. We did take after take, so that the scene was just right. A few of the takes were interrupted by the ship Public Address system making announcements, thus that take had to be done again. Since the crew were only using one camera, several  takes had to be done of the same scene so that different angles could be achieved. It made the filming of this one scene take an hour to shoot,  and will likely be only 30 seconds or less when it is edited into the show.

Our next scene was suppose to be outside, but typical Nova Scotia weather was not going to cooperate for this shoot, and it was raining, and hard. Luckily, there were plenty of scenes to shoot inside the ship,
and we could wait for an opportunity to shoot them later. So it was off to shoot several scenes of Debbie and myself, walking and talking in the corridors of the ship, which are called flats. Now, to get the crew's equipment to all of these locations through out the ship it meant that the crew had to lug this equipment up and down several steep ladders, which was quite challenging for people that are not used to going up
and down these ladders. It was accomplished without breaking any of their equipment.

There were lots of takes shot of Debbie and I walking up and down the flats, chatting away about Corrie. She was telling me of  her experiences about a month ago filming scenes for the show on the set of Coronation Street. She told me about a couple of spoilers that will be happening for the 50th anniversary, which should be very good....that's all I'm going to say, but stayed tuned, it's going to be exciting! Once again, the shots were at various angles, even one of us popping our heads up through a hatch, and at feet level. I'm looking forward to see how these shots turn out in the final product.

At this point in the day's shoot, it was lunch time. The ship treated  the crew and cast to a wonderful lunch. I had a chance to have a good chat with Debbie and Eunice during our meal. We chatted aboutDebbie's current and past projects and she was very interested in life onboard a navy ship as well as my love of Corrie.

Debbie Travis was very friendly, very down to earth, and made me feel very at ease. Throughout our visit to the ship, many fans of Corrie and of Debbie Travis came forward asking for autographs. She was most accommodating to all of these requests, and stopped to chat with all of them. During our lunch break, the weather was checked numerous times to see if we could catch a break and be able to get the outside shots, but to no avail. The weather would not cooperate, although it did stop raining for about 5 minutes. We thought we would be able to get the shots in, but no, it started to pour again.

The next phase of shooting began after our lunch was over. We all moved the crew and equipment to the Junior Ranks Mess. This phase included Debbie, myself and Corrie fans from the crew of the ship. The setup was to show Debbie and myself watching an episode of Corrie with the crew. Once again, many takes were shot to get all of the angles that would be need to go into the final take. It meant doing the same thing over and over again. Then after this was finished, we had an informal discussion with 3 of the crew about life onboard a ship and how they are able to watch Corrie while the ship is away from Halifax. The most common way was to pick it up on the satellite TV system that each ship has onboard but also, some relatives send copies of the show to their family members while they are away.

One of the funnier moments happened during this informal chat, when Debbie asked a couple of the young guys "if they watched Corrie because of the hot young girls that are on the show". One of the guys promptly responded that he couldn't answer that question, because he was married, all the while showing everyone his wedding ring. While in the Junior Ranks Mess, I also met up with the son of one of the DownEast Streeters' most regular Pingers who, usually every summer, makes a special trip from out of province to attend our Summer Pingfest. We had a great discussion about Corrie and our last Ping.

(Note from the blog owner. That man's mother is Katherine Burgess who was at the very first Halifax ping in 1996. I met her at that ping and I have even attended her son's wedding! She became a minister a couple of years ago and she's going to marry Graham and I when the time comes! Back to Mark....)

By the time that we had finished with the Mess shots, the only thing that was left were those shoots outside.  Mother Nature decided to finally cooperate with the shoot. The clouds cleared and sun came out, so it was off to the Flag Deck for the final shots of the day.

This is were Debbie Travis got her hands dirty, so to speak. These are the shots were she helped me with a flag hoist. For those who aren't familiar with this procedure, it is where several flags are connected  together, and raised up the halyards (a halyard is a line that flags are hoisted up on naval ships). We had fun with this but we had to do this several times, with  both close-ups of the flags being pulled out of the flag locker, to wide shots of Debbie raising the flags. I'm not going to tell you what the flags spell, but they do spell something special, and will be revealed on the documentary so you will have to tune in to find out what it spells.

The final shot of the day involved just Debbie Travis, and will actually be the first shot of this segment of the documentary. It is one of Debbie Travis introducing the segment with the tagline "Do real men watch Corrie". I will go on record and say emphatically YES!!.

This concluded the Corrie film shoot for the day, and it was 5pm! It was a great day; I had a wonderful time filming this segment for the "Corrie Crazy" documentary, and can't wait to see the final show when it airs in December. It has given me a greater appreciation of the making of a TV show, and how much hard work goes into its production. The amount of  filming that is necessary to shoot just to be able to put together a segment that will be about 5 mins in length when it goes to air is tremendous.

I can't say enough about the crew and cast, who were able to put me at ease, and I hope were able to get the best out of me for the show. Debbie Travis was wonderful to work with too; she also put me at ease by being so down to earth and friendly. I am glad that I was given the opportunity to do this, it was a once in a lifetime experience. Yes, I would do it again, in a heartbeat! Many thanks to everyone involved, in making it a truly memorable day.


Thanks for telling us about your day, Mark! I agree, it was a fantastic experience to be part of making this documentary. I can't wait to see it in December as well! December 9, everyone...Mark your Calendars!

I'm gonna be a star!

Well, maybe not a star. But I'm going to have my 15 minutes of fame. Well, probably not 15 minutes, more like 2 minutes if I'm lucky. But it's fame, nonetheless!

There's a documentary being made in Canada by Force Four Entertainment about Canadian Coronation Street fans. It's going to be called (as far as I know at this point) "Corrie Crazy" and it's going to be on CBC on December 9 in honour of Corrie's 50th anniversary on that date. I was asked to participate in it along with a few other people I know in various locations in Canada. This is mainly my story along with input from two other participants.

Why me? They liked that I met my fiance in a Coronation Street chat room. He lives in Salford, about 2 miles from Granada Studios, and I live in Canada. We met through a mutual friend, someone he knew through the heavy metal communities online. She was into the metal scene, as he is, as well as a regular in the Corrie chat room. Being British, being into metal music and horror movies, and also liking Coronation Street was also part of the appeal because he's not your stereotypical fan. But it was the "love connection" through Corrie that they really wanted.

Since they were going to be in Manchester anyway, filming at Granada Studios, they also filmed him in his flat, interviewing him and then filming us chatting on the webcam. My turn would come but first, June 30 was his big day and in  his own words...

"One minute I was at peace with the World, birds were singing, I was reclined on my chair sipping coke and good music was surrounding my head. But suddenly I was thrust in to turmoil as a film crew from CBC burst in to the room and cast my moment of serenity in to chaos. My (recently tidied) flat was now strewn with cables and awash with spotlights while the sound engineer tried to stuff a microphone up my tee shirt. Did I complain? Not at all because now I was in my element; at the centre of attention and preparing to perform.

Okay, I wasn't going to be strutting on stage with my electric guitar (oh I miss the old days) but I *was* going to be interviewed for the Corrie Crazy documentary due to be screened in Canada later this year. Recounting how I first met my Canadian fiancée Diane in a Corrie chatroom online and how our mutual appreciation of this grand old British soap brought us together. Hopefully I didn't make too much of an idiot of myself as I fumbled through the questions set to me by the director Eunice, but if I did then so be it. That's what being a public spectacle is all about.

But it wasn't all Corrie, they asked me about other things too. My love for heavy metal music, my ventures in to Internet Radio podcasting and why, do I think, does Coronation Street and the video nasties in my video library share a space in my heart? These are questions that Sigmund Freud would be writing an entire thesis about if he were still with us today. Me, I can't answer any of these questions but I did do rather well with the trivia question Eunice asked me during the interview.

A great afternoon, darn nice people and a possible shimmer of stardom on Canadian telly for a few minutes. Please, no autographs!

July 18 was my big day.

We scheduled a Corrie ping (a get together of corrie fans, ours, the Downeast Streeters, is more like a fan club) to fit in with the film crew's schedule and they arrived and got set up. It was pretty good, too, though they had a microphone on me and one other guy all through it. That means be careful what you say! Oh, and please take it off while I nip to the loo! There are some things you don't need to hear!

Those of us who were doing things for the ping, like the quiz or a chat about the show, sometimes had to redo it for the cameras, for a different angle or so they could catch it properly and we had to get the crowd to repeat their reaction. We didn't have any trouble with our enthusiastic fans! It's quite interesting to see the crew work. We had a sound guy, Joe, and a camera guy, Steve, and a director, Eunice and they were all great, very patient and very professional!

After the ping, the crew came to my apartment. What a palaver that was and it was utter chaos with equipment and cables everywhere! They have to move furniture around and "dress" the views behind the camera so it looks balanced, they had to arrange the lights and keep my curtains closed so the light would be more even I guess. There was a sound man, Joe, and a camera man, Steve, and the director, Eunice. I had to change my top a few times as I couldn't wear the same thing I had on at the ping and the interview was to be a different top than the one I was wearing when they filmed me on my fiance, Graham's webcam since we were then going to shoot my side of that same conversation. Everything had to match so some little old lady from the middle of nowhere wouldn't call up the CBC and complain.

The interview itself was ok. I was a little nervous but not too much. I was more worried about prattling on a bit but if I did, or if I stumbled on words, they just restarted. The director sat right beside the camera so I was looking at her all the time, not into the camera and I had to try not to look around the room as I was speaking, too. We talked about how Graham and I met and fell in love, which was one of the main focuses of my bit in the doc, I think. We also talked about the Corrie scene in Halifax, and my involvement in it. She gave me some trivia to answer and got me to pose a question as well.

We then went to the webcam and went through the conversations we'd done a few weeks ago. They sent us a transcript to go by. That was repeated several times to get different angles and some with Graham wearing his glasses and some without because they couldn't remember if he was wearing them when they filmed his side of the conversation.

It was a very warm day but for most of the time it wasn't too hot in my apartment. They did leave my fan on low as it was very quiet but by the end of the time they were there, it was getting pretty warm. I'd say they were there almost 3 hours by the time they packed up and reset my apartment.

That's it for my part though Eunice will want some photos of Halifax pings from the past as well so I'll have to dig out some old disks! Here's a photo of Steve, Eunice and Joe giving me the Horns Up as they were leaving!

Another woman that I know through the online Corrie community, Deborah Cyr, was interviewed a few days before I was. Why Deborah? She won the #1 Corrie fan in Canada contest last year so they wanted to know about her experiences. She had three different days where she was filmed. They caught up with her at the British Isles show, at her house and they also filmed at a ping in Toronto that she helped organize. She was quite nervous for her interview, she said.

Canadian television personality, Debbie Travis, is going to be the host/presenter of the show and she met up with Deborah at the British Isles show. Deborah recalls "Debbie Travis tapped me on the shoulder and asked if she could join Canada's # 1 fan in line to meet Becky and Sean. Next thing I looked and there were 100's of flashes going off, for Debbie of course. It was crazy, but a lot of fun." Filming at her house on a very hot July day was not the most comfortable, to say the least, but she said there were many retakes. She was nervous and what she wanted to say didn't always come out right, not to her satisfaction. (I'm sure you were way better than you think, Deb!) Here's Deborah with her husband, Al, and Debbie Travis (in the middle) at the "Brit" show and she has more pictures from the ping here.

The crew were pretty busy over the last few weeks, filming in the UK at Granada Studios, in Toronto, Halifax and in Ottawa. They also filmed a fellow Downeast Streeter, Mark Grant on board his ship. Why Mark? They were intrigued that he was a sailor in the Canadian Navy. They want to show that Corrie fans cover a wide variety of ages and cultures and that men like the show too! Being able to film on board a ship makes for an interesting segment, as well! Mark kindly wrote about his experiences at length so I've given that it's own blog post here.

I hope you've enjoyed reading about our experiences contributing to making the Corrie Crazy documentary. See you in December on screen!

Sunday 25 July 2010

Romanian Holiday

Written by Simon Crowther and Chris Fewtrell, Directed by Ian Bevitt

In a regular Coronation Street episode, we discover that Frankie Baldwin is getting married and has invited Roy and Hayley to the wedding, in Romania! Needless to say there is much preparation and research done by Roy for the upcoming trip. This "spinoff" dvd starts in Weatherfield and quickly segues to Romania on or about October 24, 2009.

The opening scenes are shots of rural Romania, with lovely scenery and a village with folk dancers performing for tourists. An SUV pulls up, showing that it is the modern world in spite of all appearances of tradition. The owner of the SUV gets out and is carrying a stack of letters. He's dressed in sport warm up clothing. The aged postie wheels up on an old bike to the red postbox. One letter is dropped and it's addressed in lovely script to Roy and Hayley Cropper. Curiously, it already has the postal mark stamped on it! The camera closes in on the letter and we then fade to Weatherfield...

Where Hayley is examining the contents of the letter. It's a wedding invitation sent by Frankie (formerly) Baldwin who is marrying a footballer named Dean Fraser who is playing for a Romanian team. Roy doesn't think they would realistically be attending though Hayley is up for an adventure. All that way for one weekend? We'll leave a carbon footprint the size of a Yeti, our environmentally conscious Roy comments. Hayley is disappointed. She adds that they have been asked to house sit for them while on honeymoon so it would be more than a few days. Roy suddenly realizes that part of Romania is the backdrop for the Dracula legends. He's not at all bothered by the literary version but the real Count, Vlad the Impaler was from that area and the lure of the history has Roy hesitating after all. Hayley takes full advantage, thanks him for agreeing to go, with a hug, and then drops the RSVP in the postbox. Sorted.

Come Saturday, Roy and Hayley are in Eddie's cab. They've stopped off for sunscreen and a guide book. She's already got her wedding outfit and hat on. Apparently they are flying on the day of the wedding, arriving only 2 hours before the ceremony with a change in Munich because it was much more expensive to fly the night before. A sure sign of trouble. Hayley looks annoyed as she tells this to Eddie but he is on Roy's side. There is some chatter about Steve and Becky to establish that they are on their honeymoon as well.

Oh dear. The next sign of a day is Sunday. They've missed the wedding! Seems there were all manner of delays, starting with an electrical storm to a strike at another airport. Hayley is on the phone to Frankie, who is just boarding their plane for their holiday, apologizing. Roy consults the guidebook, now fluttered with yellow sticky tabs, to find out which bus they take. Hayley summons a taxi...who then leaves them in the middle of a quiet road having had a disagreement with the driver.

The Croppers walk up the drive to the house and see a large mansion with pool. The interior is just as impressive. They look around the house, which also has a jacuzzi. Hayley is in heaven! Roy looks dubious over this development.

Outside, a car comes around the road. A middle aged British couple pull up outside, having been led their by a vocal GPS. Inside, Roy has found the bedroom, decorated by a large nude painting of Frankie and Dean, though it is discreetly covering any private bits. Roy swallows and then moves the painting off the wall. Hayley notices the newly arrived car outside. The couple from the car get out and they are impressed as well, he saying they've hit the jackpot.

Inside, they are surprised to see Roy and Hayley. They introduced themselves as Dean's aunt and uncle, Glen and Verity. They say that Dean had asked them to house sit. He calls Dean (who should be on the plane, shouldn't he?) to sort it out. When offered the spare room, Glen says they'll find a hotel but supposedly the nearest one is at the airport by a dodgey chemical plant. Ramp up the guilt trip! Verity asks for a nose round the house and Hayley leads her inside where they check out some of the rooms. More passive aggressive guilt is laid so that when they finally turn to leave, Hayley blurts out an invitation for them to stay.

Later, Glen is barbecuing. Roy is discussing Vlad the Impaler where Glen prefers the "real" Dracula. Glen accidentally barbeques a mobile phone and then throws it in the pool before the electrics can sizzle. Verity dives in thinking it's hers but it turns out to be the Cropper's phone. Hmmmm.

It's now Monday. We see a babbling brook by the side of the road where Roy and Hayley are waiting by a bus stop. Apparently, Glen and Verity were up late and were rather noisy. Roy was not happy. Hayley slept well but Roy accuses her of being drunk. She defends herself as only having a couple of drinks. She's on holidays, after all! They discuss their sightseeing that day, in the local village and a monastery before trying out a local cafe. Roy, thriftily, has brought cheese sandwiches and tea made from teabags from home. Marvelous.

The bus does not seem to be forthcoming. This causes more fractious arguing over the schedule. More time passes. Roy now has his jacket off and pant legs rolled up.

They return to the house, finally, in the midst of an argument. Inside the other couple is very loud, and it sounds like vigorous sex happening upstairs or an enthusiastic game of snooker in the games room, which is what they later tell Hayley they were doing. Shortly they come downstairs looking disheveled and out of breath and wondering why the Croppers have returned. The non-running bus is blamed and Verity says she's seen some bikes near the garage. Hayley stumbles, saying she's not ridding a bicycle since she was a little b... well, since she was small but they turn to go find the two wheelers.

Bikes and helmets, they set off. Glen urges Verity to get up them stairs! The Croppers head down the road. Roy is delighted to be on a bike after many, many years. It takes him right back to his childhood but as he's expounding on the delights, his bike loses the chain. Back to the mansion, i guess. Glen is eating and dripping brown sauce over the carpets. He offers to drive them into town.

In town, they make a date to meet up at 5. Hayley offers to buy them a coffee to thank them first. Glen, spying a Newton and Ridley sign (eh?) agrees. Verity doesn't look impressed. We next see them sitting at an outdoor cafe. Glen is having a beer. Roy is fighting off a wasp that lands on a glass of tomato juice. Glen is terrified of the little beasts and whacks at the glass, sending its contents all over Roy. He offers Roy another football shirt that he has in the trunk of the car. Roy is hesitant but having no choice, dons it.

They have proceeded to the monastery. Roy is very uncomfortable in his football shirt, thinking it inappropriate. Hayley sighs and tells him it's a blue and white, perfectly inoffensive tshirt. In town, after another beer or two, Verity tells Glen they have to go. He reluctantly gets up but notices a football game on the telly inside the bar and goes in, much to her frustration.

Roy and Hayley have enjoyed their visit, well, Roy has for sure. They have wandered back into the village. Roy even donates a bill to a local busker playing on the side of the road. A voice singing a team song at the top of his voice floats out of the cafe over the square. The Croppers follow it inside where both Glen and Verity both are legless. Hayley has to drive them back. She creeps along the road slowly where even a horse cart passes them, nervous of driving a brand new car on an unfamiliar road. Glen is shouting the odds at all passers by. A black clad biker drives by. Glen stands up in the car (it's a convertible) and shouts. The big bruiser biker stops, gets off and starts to walk back. Glen urges Hayley to step on the gas now!

Later, back at the house and by the pool, Roy is hollering at Glen and Verity for putting Hayley through a horrifying experience. Seems the biker followed them for 18 miles at top speed! Hayley is so traumatized she's gone to bed. Glen and Verity are starting to experience a hangover. They're sat by the pool suffering and are in no mood for Roy's haranguing. Roy throws Glen's tshirt back at him and insists that they will have no further intercourse. Poor Hayley, Verity muses. SOCIAL INTERCOURSE, Roy spits! He spins around on one heel and heads back to the house.

It's Tuesday. Roy is keeping his distance. Glen approaches and apologizes for both of them. Verity says they should bury the hatchet. They have to cohabitate for the next few days and might as well call a truce. Glen and Verity offer to drive them anywhere. Hayley, ever the optimist, suggests Bram's Castle which is unfortunately misnamed as Dracula's castle. Glen perks up at this and is keen to go, are the Croppers coming or not?

They are. In the car, Glen wants directions. Roy suggests the GPS but Glen says he has no idea how to work it (in spite of it leading them to the house on the first day. Hmmmmm.) He asks what music they might listen to as there are several cds in the car. Roy suggests Romanian folk music on the radio. The camera pans across the lovely rural scenery to the tune of said folk music to show the passing of the time and miles. They come upon some roadworks. They stop and Glen turns off the radio and Roy's running commentary. They chat about music and the castle.

Arriving there shortly after, there is, as Roy predicted, all manner of vampiric tat for sale at numerous market stalls which Glen loves! They bicker about various things as they approach the castle and a tour of it. Glen wants to look around by themselves but Roy is keen to hear the guide and the history. They agree to part company. The guide herds them up the stairs and when Glen sees that the guide is an attractive woman, he changes his mind.

She tells them the history of the castle. Glen interjects and makes a tit of himself, as you might expect, through the tour. Roy actually ticks off the guide when he corrects her as to the truth of whether Vlad actually even lived there. Hayley tries to silence Roy but he has gone too far and the guide kicks them off the tour. Roy is insulted and Glen and Verity have slipped away to look around on their own and get away from the Croppers Roy and Hayley take up the search for them through the various rooms, the incidental music is The Monster Mash!

Outside, later, Glen has taken off his vampire gear. They're bickering and then dismayed to find Roy and Hayley standing by the car waiting for them. Hayley tells them off for spoiling Roy's day (but he did a good job of that himself as well). Verity and Glen make plans to go to the village bar. They don't figure Roy and Hayley would come along, not that they would.

At the bar, they discuss what they're going to do. Glen says they'll have to be obnoxious (more so) so that Roy and Hayley will leave.Glen as spied something and says There is a God! Verity looks over her shoulder and is pleased at his idea.

At the house, Roy is scrubbing a stain off the carpet. He's angry and fed up. Hayley gets down on her knees and hugs him and says she can't stand it much longer either. Roy thinks they should tell the other couple they can't stand them but Hayley thinks you just don't do that. Hayley thinks they should just lie to get out of the situation but Roy doesn't want to do that either so they will just stick it out.

Wednesday arrives. Very early. It's 3 a.m. and the lights come on with a crash. Glen and Verity burst into Roy and Hayley's room with a karaoke sign, insisting they all go, causing Roy to lie quickly and say their daughter, Becky, has gone into labour and they will have to leave. Glen and Verity are pleased but pretend it's due to the impending grandparenthood. I guess they didn't think it would be so easy to get rid! They leave the room.

Later at a civilized hour, Glen carries the luggage to the car and they arrive later at the airport. They say their good byes. Just as they are about to turn to head into the building, they hear ROYSTON!!!! bellowed out behind them. Becky???? She's delighted they have come to meet her! Seems she and Steve have had an argument. He's told her she can't have her jacuzzi installed at the Rovers. Seems the Croppers are rumbled.

Back at the house, they lay on the guilt, making Roy and Hayley feel terrible. The Croppers offer to go to the airport hotel but Becky arrives in her pink bikini and tells them all they can get along if they try. She dives into the pool, watched intently by Glen. Bygones be bygones, he says. Verity watches him suspiciously.

Later, Glen is barbecuing again, wearing his Statue of David apron. Becky finds out about the karaoke and she's keen. Glen suggests they do Abba. Hayley can play one of the blokes1 Becky offers to do it instead but Glen says she's a ringer for the good looking one and Verity can man up instead. Verity is insulted. What??? Glen doesn't get it.

At the bar that night, a bearded Romanian with a headband on is enthusiastically singing Kung Fu Fighting. Roy has stayed home scrubbing the barbeque and wearing the apron! Hayley and Becky are wearing glittery accessories and Verity has a moustache pencilled on. Glen has been plying Hayley with Pink Ladies and she's already feeling the effects.

Hayley has tell Becky some of what has been going on. Becky admits her row with Steve isn't' serious but she'd already bought the tickets by the time she'd forgiven him and, in addition, she misses Roy and Hayley!

Back at the house, Roy is eyeing the jacuzzi bubbling in the corner. Is he going to try it? Yes he is! And it looks like he's absolutely blissful!

At the bar, the faux-Abba group performs quite well. Glen is at one end by Becky and using any excuse to put a hand on her body. Verity watches with increasing jealousy. It's late. At the table later, Verity and Hayley are ready to go home but Glen wants to keep on partying and Becky is certainly not ready to go home. Verity puts her foot down and Glen is led out. Becky is determined to stay. Hayley worries how she'll get home but Becky says she'll be ok, and sends Hayley home. Becky heads to the bar for another drink.

At the mansion, Verity tells Glen they're leaving in the morning. She says they thought they had a good thing but there's no shifting the Croppers now Becky's there. Glen insists they can get them all out. Trust him!

At the bar, Becky sees a drinking contest going on with the Kung Fu Fighting singer and a local. Becky looks on with interest when she's told this man is unbeatable. That's a challenge. She stumbles over and throws some cash down on the table. He looks as if he thinks it will be a doddle. Becky downs the first two shots as if she were throwing down the gauntlet and stretches her neck to either side to loosen herself up. Line 'em up!

They trade shots, Becky keeping up her end steadily. The other bloke looks a bit sweaty and shaky. Becky downs one last shot and survives. Buddy tries, but collapses. The king is dead, long live the Queen!

Back home, Glen is up in the middle of the night making a cuppa. He picks up Roy's guidebook for a browse and sees something that seems to give him an idea.

Becky is now drunkenly telling the crowd at the bar about her plans to redecorate the bathroom, now spiraled down the drain. Then she's gushing about her sweet fella, Steve and how they fell in love, Steve lying through his teeth for her on the witness box. She lasts all night and we next see her on a horse drawn cart being driven across the countryside.

They're next seen all on the outside patio of the village cafe. Becky of course is hungover but happy. She assures them all she was a good girl and didn't chat to any blokes all night. But all the locals see her as they pass by and greet her enthusiastically, even a local priest! Glen mentions wanting to see the nearby Valley of Hell (gleaned from the guidebook no doubt) and they all agree to go for the allegedly spectacular views. It isn't far, apparently.

More camera views of the scenery. The intrepid crew are playing road games in the car on their way. But alas, the car seems to be making odd sounds, according to Glen who stops it and raises the hood on the car. Becky basks in the sun, Glen ogling her from under the hood of the car. Roy thinks they should wait until someone comes by. Verity is feeling ill from the sun. Glen is concerned and sends the Croppers off with a bottle of water to find a nearby farm. As the head off, with Becky, Glen calls back, Sorry about this! Hmmm... Hayley dismisses his apology. He can't help it, can he? (Can he?) But he does look guilty.

As they go out of view, he puts the hood of the car back down. When next we see the Cropper crew, they appear to be lost as the sun beats down. Becky goes off in one direction and Roy in another to find the road and car. Roy and Hayley decide to follow her. They stop and sit on a log. Hayley does admire the scenery. Hayley expresses sadness for Roy, who never joins in and has fun like she did at the bar the night before. She worries he's missing out on things for fear of enjoyment. She doesn't want him to change, but maybe he could be more open to new experiences. He confesses, he tried the jacuzzi. And he liked it. Just as they are about to have a little kiss, they hear the howl of a wolf! Eek! Roy admits there are wolves in Europe and possibly bears which freaks out Becky. They start to hurry through the woods.

They finally come out to a field where there is a flock of sheep and a shepherd. Who recognizes Becky!! They joyfully hug (It kind of looks like the guy that drove her home in the cart and indeed he loads up his cart with Croppers and takes them into the village, where they run into the police station to report that there are two people stuck in the mountains, one with sunstroke. The hills are then filled with helicopters and police cars.

Meanwhile, back at the house, the Croppers and Becky talk about the stranded people. Apparently the land line is not working so Hayley can't contact Frankie. But lo, up the drive comes a man looking very much like Dean, Frankie's husband. Yes, it is. He lit some woman's cigarette and Frankie got jealous and chucked him out and to make matters worse, he gets back and finds his car has been stolen from the long-stay parking at the airport. Hayley admits his Uncle Glen and Auntie Verity are stranded on the mountain. Dean looks confused. Who??

Yep, the safe has been completely cleaned out. Roy realizes they've been duped from the outset.

At the airport, Glen and Verity are waiting for their flight. Verity wonders if it was worth it. She's pretty much done with their scams. She's tired of staying one step ahead of the police. Romania was the last place they weren't known, aside from the Ukraine and thinks they should retire and go back to England.

Dean admits he gave his keys to the guy at the airport but that was Glen! Becky explains the scam and we flip back and forth between them, the couple in the airport and flashbacks. Easy to get an orange vest that looks like the real attendant's. The GPS is set for "home" so that's simple enough to figure out. Roy and Hayley's presence almost ruined the scam until Hayley admitted she didn't know Dean. Glen tells Verity that her story about being Dean's aunt and uncle was genius. The house tour gave them the lay of the land and location of the safe. Glen cut the phone lines and sizzled the Cropper's mobile. That vigorous sex? That was them trying to get the safe open when they heard the Croppers return.

Verity hopes the Croppers will be ok where they left them. Glen assures them they would be but she's worried. They never have hurt anyone. She decides she's not leaving until she knows they're safe. Oh they're safe all right. The Croppers and Becky and Dean have come to the police office to report the robbery but at the same time, Glen has called the police to report that three people have been stranded on the mountain. The police officer wonders where Glen is calling from. He declines to say but an announcement in the background gives him away so he drops the phone and runs.

Back at the house, Dean is on the phone to Frankie. Apparently, the robbers got away but they'd already checked in their baggage and all the stolen goods were in it so it's all been returned. Dean mentions Becky as a friend of the Croppers but that seems to have sent Frankie into a barrage of jealous hollering again. Roy suggests that Becky call Steve and make up. She admits she misses Steve and thinks maybe she'll go back to Greece.

Hayley and Roy decide to enjoy the sunset together. They hope the police catch up with Glen and Verity who are heading on the road towards the border (in another stolen car?) of Ukraine where a gruff guard welcomes them.

Sunday comments, July 25

Lines of the week:
  • Kirk "It's like i'm in the middle of Grand Theft Auto!!!"
  • Julie "Do you think i could be a model?" Eileen "Yeah, you could do that while i dance Swan Lake in Covent Garden!"
  • Prison guard: "Marraige isn't just a word... it's a sentence." (And I think Fiz is entering a life sentence. Not in a good way)
  • Sean: "Getting married in a flippin' prison. Cilla'd have been proud of her."
  • Dev: "I just want my ding back." Rita: "It's your age, it happens to us all."
  • Ken "It's green if nothing else" (about sharing his birthday party with Emily...Blanche "Trust you to suck the life out of a birthday party"
  • Sally "I wish Rosie hadn't taken his (John's) money" (you were hot for it when he offered it!
  • Umed "In business, a big fat zero is a big fat zero" Graeme "yeah, well you should know"
  • Sean about Rosie "Can you get fired for showing too much cleavage?"

Lovely wedding vows... toilet seats and dirty socks? Run away Fiz! No.. really! It was nice of Fiz's friends to throw her a party though. Thing is she weeps and wails about how awful it is to be newly married yet alone. All she had to do was wait a few more weeks, silly cow! I know she thinks they'll move away but apparently John has other ideas. Did i say lately that i think he's a manipulative selfish creep? Chesney agrees with me and I agree with Chesney! Poor Chesney is so beside himself that he is moving in with the Windasses. John figures by writing to all the neighbours, that will smooth things over. Oh yeah? Sally will paper her conservatory with them first! She's on a crusade to run Stape and Fiz right out of town. I'm glad Roy and even Ken stood up for Fiz and John at the kangaroo court Sally held in the pub. Even Fiz standing there didn't stop her ranting. Well Fiz certainly made Sally look like a nobhead.

Why would Fiz go to take her ring off when she came into the factory and shush Janice when she called Fiz Mrs. Stape? They all knew she got married, most of them were at the party, too. It's not as if Sally and Rosie wouldn't find out. Then Sally went off on her and everyone else seems to be against them too. You know, i understand why Sally is so against Stape, i really do, but but she really goes over the top into mean and nasty with it and it's not really any of her business telling Fiz where she can and cannot live.

So much for Rosie being sacked. She's an investor, it's a bit tricky. But being an investor, as Luke pointed out, she'd be on the hook if Fiz sued for wrongful dismissal so Rosie had better hold her tongue. I bet Fiz could sue for harassment at the very least even if she didn't get sacked. Mind you, Fiz was supposed to start back at work on "Monday" and pulled a sickie. How does she manage to stay employed? Maybe i could work for Luke too!

Oh my god, Umed installed a new shop doorbell. "To create a mood".... and Kirk nearly hit the floor when a machine gun went off for him. The bells had me snickering all through a few episodes. Made an amusing contrast to Amber moaning and griping about Dev paying off Darryl. Well i don't blame her, mind you. It was a pretty stupid thing to do but on the other hand, Darryl *did* take the money at first. But Teresa was the one spilling the beans. She might have had the end result by keeping Darryl and Amber split up (and she picked up the cheque from the ground!) but she also drove a wedge between father and daughter. Then Ashley nearly went spare and Graeme had to soothe the savage breast! LOL well he sorted the bell anyway. "Oops!"

Tyrone wondered why Molly hasn't gone to the gym in a couple of weeks... (oh say since Kevin was on holiday? but the dim little pet doesn't connect the dots, sadly) Does nobody wonder why Kevin is suddenly keen to go running again (since Molly got back)? Does Kevin not realize that Glasgay isn't a play on the accent? Now "MolVin" have uttered the L word. (gag) It just gets worse and worse, and makes them and this storyline more and more insufferable. Molly's happy to take what she can get? How much you wanna bet she'll be giving him an ultimatim within weeks. I'm done with this one for the week. Fill in the blanks yerselves and read my official stand on this debacle here. Someone make it stop!!!

Jesse sure got an eyeful of Julie's backside. Does he have a roving eye? Eileen doesn't trust him but really, has he ever given her any reason not to? i didn't think so but she's jealous none the less. He's really not very bright though, is he? Thinking he can pretend he's not working with Julie and having them sneak around to their gigs? You know that's not going to last too long. Tyrone redecorated the living room and tore off that awful dark wallpaper. What did he put back up? dark wallpaper. Only one one wall at least.

Ashley is getting pretty sexually frustrated. I guess Claire is still a no-sex zone until he has his bits done. So frustrated that he took it off on Umed's doorbell. Peter is a bit wobbly, isn't he? I really do think Peter and Leanne make a good couple. There must be a transporter on that train. Kev and Molly got from Weatherfield to a hotel in Chester in the amount of time it took Graeme to "clean" the front window of the shop. And incidental music while they were away, Sorry Seems to be the Saddest Word. Ironic, no?

You might remember hearing Roy and Hayley talking about a visit to Romania for Frankie Baldwin's wedding? That was another one of those spinoff DVDs that was released last fall in the UK. I shall be providing an update of the dvd storyline in the next little while, with photos!

Thursday 15 July 2010

Sunday Comments, July 18

Lines of the week:

  • Dev to Umed "Who needs England's glorious cultural history when you've got biscuits!"
  • Sean "I don't think it would look as appetising on the menu. Betty's Tongue!"
  • Luke to Rosie (figuratively) "You're dumped" to Michelle 30 seconds later "You doing anything tomorrow night?"
  • Norris "That little empire is all mine!" (Wonder if he's got his Napoleon jacket dry cleaned?)
  • Theresa "Better blow the cobwebs off me boob tube!" (I Love her!)
  • Fiz "Come Monday, I am gonna marry that freak!" (But the thing is, he really is a freak!)
  • Michelle to Rosie "There you go luv, in the gutter where you belong"
  • Teresa "You're just a moany old slaphead who works in a sweet shop" (God i love that woman!)
  • Norris "Knees apart, I have to say you're the most promising candidate so far!" (oooh errr missus! That's a bit close to the knuckle innit?)
  • Kirk "It's a long and winding road out there" (leading to next door!)

So the wedding of nearly didn't go off. Julie was being so supportive that i think Fiz should have let her come to the wedding even if Hayley had decided to go. Her dress was quite nice, though, i liked it. She's living on frayed nerves though. You know, if you aren't happy about your wedding, you should step back and rethink things. I think the actress might have made a slip, though, talking about it not being as if she was walking down Salford Cathedral. Shouldn't that have been Weatherfield Cathedral seeing as Weatherfield is based on Salford?

And didn't John look smug while getting ready? Not happy, smug. Well it looked it to me. Even Roy was emotional! He patted her on her shoulder and pecked her on the cheek! And curiously, i found myself on Rosie's side telling Fiz off. John was quite pleased she had upset everyone to marry him, he's got her right where he wanted her but she backed out. I'd say "Finally" but the week ended with Chesney coming to the wedding and now it seems Fiz will probably marry Prisoner 666 after all.

You know as much as i dislike Norris, Malcom Hebden has done a bang up job in the aftermath of Ramsay's death. Norris will always have regrets but at least he's accepting of things, too late, but there you are and he's going to buy out Rita's share of the Kabin. She's determined to retire. I wonder if she'll regret it. A round the world cruise for Rita? Don't worry, she'll be back! Now Norris has to find a shop assistant in addition to Tina. Kirk isnt' quite the right candidate :) Neither is Teresa. Can you just picture them working together? Next up is Sheila Wheeler who seems to like to talk. And talk. And talk. I think she'll drive Nozzer around the bend.

Rosie jumped the gun and Luke cut her off at the knees. Dumped! The idea of Rosie 24/7 must have given him nightmares! Boy was that ever satisfying, seeing Rosie dumped and all! But i have to say, Luke shouldn't have done it in the Rovers in public, he should have done it in private. Bit of a plonker wasn't he? Rosie got her own back on Michelle, though, by setting her up to find an unrobed Luke and Rosie. Pretty obvious and she got that, and dumped Luke because it was too much trouble. But still, She didn't seem to get that he was going to take advantage of what was on offer just the same.

Party fun.... David has found a gorgeous new blonde! Now is he just trying to make Tina jealous or is he moving on? What do you think! Michelle is all over Luke and Rosie doesn't like it one bit. And she figures by attacking Michelle she's going to get Luke back? Wasn't it great to see her land on her assets? Teresa was legless and funny as hell. Graeme was insulting Natasha then asked if she wanted to date him. Nice. I guess stepping in a steaming pile of poo was kind of justice lol Just seems a bit odd to me that Ryan have been playing a Christian song at the late night end of the party? He's not really into it like Sophie and Ben are.

I love the friendship growing between Chesney and Gary. Chesney looks like he could be Gary's little brother. Kirk decided to move out of number 5. Great big long good bye speech and him talking about the long and winding road and not knowing what lies ahead. And he went 4 feet to Maria's front door! lol!

Amber came back. That didn't take long. Turns out she got homesick and misses Darryl. Dev wants her back at uni and bribed Darryl to leave town so she'd go back, which she did. And he did. So that's the end of Darryl.

Sunday 11 July 2010

Sunday Comments, July 11

Lines of the week:

  • Jesse "Is there no dvd player with it?" (ungrateful pillock!)
  • Tyrone to Molly "You start making an effort or Jack won't be the only one leaving!" (too bad he doesn't mean it! wouldn't Molly get a shock?)
  • Emily "All i have going round in my head is's not fair!" (it never is!)
  • Sally about Kevin "The longer you spend with someone, the less you know what's going on in their head" (ain't that the truth, at least about these two!)
  • Rosie "Did you hear me shouting?" Luke "Only dogs and dolphins can hear you shouting!"
  • Liz "Staffing is the manager's decision" (so why were you so antsy that Steve sort it?)
  • Becky about Liz and Michelle "They're like a couple of pussycat trolls!"

Kevin had to put up with knowing Molly and Tyrone were loving it up on a beach. Now Molly has to do the same thing but she was a lot less graceful about it, manipulating him so that he nearly missed his plane. But dear heavens, the pair of them cooing over the phone are just cringeworthy! You know, she moans that Tyrone is treating her badly but she's really being nasty to him. Aww wasn't he cute in his long apron making a big deal of her.

Methinks Luke is rapidly tiring of Rosie. Darts? I don't think so. He is going to have a darts night. But it was with Michelle! Still, we got to have some nice sister stuff with Rosie and Sophie. Rosie is heading for a fall, mark my words. Luke wants to dump her, her designs are crap and you know what they say... a fool and her money are soon parted. Watch this space.

Norris buried his brother and realized how little he knew Ramsay. It's his own fault, though. He never wanted to know and now he has to live with it. The funeral has made Rita think about finally retiring. She's said that before, and was it the drink talking? She did have a few. Poor Emily has had a hard time of it and Norris fussing and hovering and being mean about their feelings (probably to absolve his own guilty feelings) are driving her mad! Now Norris has Ramsay's personal effects in a trunk. He couldn't resist it in the end, he's too curious. Norris found out a little more about his mother, too but how did Ramsay know about Norris if the mother sent every letter back unopened? At some point she did write, probably after the very first letter and Norris realized how hurt Ramsay must have been. And Ramsay has left him money. Hmmm... Money in hand, Rita wanting to retire. I guess it's pretty obvious that Norris is going to buy out Rita.

Poor Eileen got robbed by Sean's er... date. Wasn't it nice for the taxi folk to chip in and get her a new telly? Steve and Becky off on a belated honeymoon but Lloyd freaked her out suggesting it could have been a scam! Luckily it wasn't!

Hard to see Jack leave number 9. It was hard for him to leave, too. Probably for the best, he was starting to feel like a third wheel. Whether he gets together with Connie romantically or not, it's good to know he won't be lonely. aww Sophie wants Emily to sponsor her at her baptism. Just what Emily needs to cheer her up a bit. Amber's gone too. I hope we do see her now and then.

Peter is trying hard to get Leanne back and isn't above using Simon, knowing that's her soft spot. But even then, he still couldn't help himself, lying about that other woman and now he's humbling himself. I never know whether to think he's completely honest when he bares his soul or whether he knows it's just the thing she wants to hear. He certainly believes what he says, i have no doubt about that. Now Leanne needs a job and she doesn't want to work with Peter and she doesn't want to work behind the bar for only 2 weeks. While she was waffling on whether to do it or not, Liz hired Michelle. Now *that* could be awkward! I have come to dislike Michelle, really.

Fiz still hasn't told Chesney she's marrying John. She knows darn well he's not going to approve. He's giving her a hard time as it is. But Kirk spilled the beans, assuming the phone argument was about the wedding. Ooops! Not telling him and then having him find out that way only made matters worse. Nice that Julie is being friendly and supportive at least. You know, if you are this unhappy in the days before your wedding, lying to everyone and having your closest family against you, that should tell you something.

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