Thursday, 31 May 2012

Famous faces on Coronation Street (casting spoiler)

(This post was originally posted by me on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2012.)

Recent blog posts got me thinking. First there was the news that well known actor Sue Johnston may be joining Coronation Street as Stella's mother. Then there was Scott's great post about changing Stella's character to inject a bit of her inner cow but perhaps not changing her into Cindy Beale mark II, Cindy being the character she played on that Other Soap for many years.  Michelle Collins is still identified with that role after a long time away from it and Sue Johnston is also well known for her previous roles.

Corrie has sometimes cast other parts with well known faces, both for long term characters and short term "guest" spots. They may be known for other soaps, other tv shows or even films. They've also recast characters with new actors, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. Over the years I've read comments on blogs and forums about this and in many cases, the feedback is negative. People seem to prefer unknown actors rather than see someone they identify as a different character.

My view? Why not use a known actor? You don't have to cast them all the time, but by the very nature of the business, actors play a variety of roles. Sometimes they get known for a particular role and sometimes we are used to seeing them as all manner of characters.

I've blogged a bit more about it over here. I say, bring it on.

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Putting the steel in Stella

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2012.)

Peter's affair with Carla's had wide-ranging repercussions.  Leanne fled to stay with Our Toyah in That London.  Simon turned into an emotional wreck.  Ken furrowed his brow and chewed the end of his glasses.  And finally, nearly a year on, Stella's started getting interesting.

Up until now she's been too good to be true.  Floating behind the bar with a beatific smile, she's never failed to provide a wise word, a comforting hug or a cup of tea in the back for Weatherfield's emotional wrecks.  Stella's air of saintliness has, let's be honest, become annoying.

Peter's betrayal of Leanne has ripped back the mask, however.  Suddenly she's screaming at people in the street, threatening to bar all and sundry, and loudly proclaiming that she wouldn't be surprised if Carla had lied about the rape all along.  She's become a bitch.  And much better for it.

I understand why they've done this.  Cindy Beale last appeared onscreen in 1998, but we still know Michelle by her Walford name.  Cindy was a soap bitch par excellence, giving birth to another man's son, lying, cheating, and sleeping with her husband's half-brother.  Twice.  She did try to kill Ian Beale, so she wasn't all bad, but when her character died in childbirth fourteen years ago Albert Square partied like it was 1999.

This is all baggage that Michelle Collins needed to drop to be Stella.  Remember Jerry Morton?  Or, as he was known by pretty much everyone who watched the show, Sinbad?  Michael Starke entered the show playing basically the same character he'd played on Brookside, meaning we never really believed in Jerry.

By making Stella good, decent and honest, and giving her a Manchester accent (which is more than Jerry got), the writers and producers have tried to draw a line under Cindy.  She might have the same, surprisingly well-preserved face, they've said, but Stella is completely different to that woman who ran a hat stall and made cow eyes at David Wickes.

Trouble is, good is dull.  Nice is boring.  You have to be a bit quirky for it to work (see Roy and Hayley).  If you're just a normal person who's very pleasant to everyone and cares a lot you're - well, you're Emily Bishop in a push-up bra.  The revelation that Stella has a nasty streak underneath has made me like her a whole lot more, and I'm guessing the unpleasantness will continue in forthcoming storylines.  The landlady at the Rovers needs to wield a rod of iron, even if you wrap it in a lace doily first like Annie Walker.  She doesn't need to be spitting bile across the hand pumps, but it's good to see that underneath the immaculate bob there's some fire and passion.  That's a character I can get behind.

Come on Stella.  Unleash your inner cow.  We all want to see it.

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Corrie's new set update: May 2012

(This post was originally posted on the Coronation Street Blog May 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

The ITV studios and outside Coronation Street set are going to move from the Castlefield area of Manchester to a new development in Salford on the Salford Quays. Blogger Chewy has been following the construction progress.

This month we finally see the Street itself going up, from looking at the picture I have labelled what I think each of the structures is, as you can see here.

There's dozens more pictures of the new set, and MediaCity itself in the sunshine, over here on Mark Whitfield's website.

I'm excited to see how much the Street will progress in the next month or so!

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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Are Julie and Brian the new Mavis and Derek?

(This post was originally posted by me on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2012.)

More and more lately, whenever I see Julie and Brian on screen, I feel like I'm watching the embodiment of the spirits of Mavis and Derek Wilton, a classic Corrie couple in the 80s and 90s.

It's not so much that they're exactly like them, but their antics and attitudes put me in mind. I think Brian is closer to Derek than Julie is to Mavis but together, there's a lot to warrant it. Read more about that over here.

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Coronation Street wins 2012 BAFTA

Coronation Street has won the British Academy Television Award for Best Soap and Continuing Drama.  The awards were held tonight at the Royal Festival Hall in London and were hosted by Dara O'Brian. (These are the equivalent of the American Emmy awards and are not fan-voted)

Collecting the award on stage was William Roache, who plays Corrie's Ken Barlow.

Also on stage were Corrie Producer Phil Collinson and cast members Helen Worth (Gail McIntyre), Michelle Keegan (Tina McIntyre), Paula Lane (Kylie Platt), Chris Fountain (Tommy Duckworth), Natalie Gumede (Kirsty Soames) and Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow).

Corrie beat off competition from EastEnders, Shameless and Holby City.

Well done, Corrie!

For those who don't recognise any of the faces above, the two women on the far left of the picture are Corrie writer Debbie Oates, dressed in black, standing next to Louise Sutton, Corrie Assistant Producer, dressed in pink.  And the woman dressed in black between Michelle Keegan and Helen Worth is Corrie Director (and ex-actor) Noreen Kershaw.

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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Why should Dennis Tanner get a job?

(This post was originally posted by me on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2012.)

Norris has made plenty of snide comments about Dennis freeloading off Rita. This week he's making an effort to look for a job to pay his way. What I don't understand is why?

He's 70 years old this year, now has a mailing address, and he must be drawing his Old Age Pension. Now I realize it's not a huge amount but it is something and as he's likely living rent-free, there's no reason he can't contribute a bit to food or the leccy bill. Why one earth should he have a job?

Yes, Rita is still working but it's pin money, I'm sure. She has a healthy bank account and is only working for something to do. Norris is over 70 but he owns the Kabin. Naturally he'll continue to run it as long as his health holds up. Betty, up to now, worked shifts in the pub and again, that was always for something to get her out of the house. She's been drawing a pension longer than living memory! Emily Bishop is the only OAP not holding down a paying job though she continues to do volunteer work.

It constantly irritates me that everyone should disapprove of Dennis' unemployed status. To be fair, Dennis does have a habit of avoiding his round in the pub and doesn't seem to have a lot of ready cash but you know, that's a habit of a lifetime! I'm sure he can put his hand in his pocket a bit more often to access that government issued money!

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Corrie Canada weekly awards: May 21 - 25

Cookie Monster award: Craig is back! Funniest scene of the week!

Head vs Heart award: Audrey's head say NO but her heart is leaning to YES.

Freeloader award: Too right Tracy should pay her half of the mortgage, and even if they were happily married, she should!

Green Eyed, Posessive Monster award: Kirsty's at it again.

Shortest Job Ever award: Job offered, job rescinded without even starting! That's Gobzilla Barlow all over!

Stepmother Fail award: Carla picking Simon up at the schoolyard, while she was tipsy.

Out of the mouths of babes: Amy telling Steve that Grandma says Grandad is a know it all. (snort... they hear everything don't they?)

Digging your own hole award: Owen isn't helping persuade anyone to his team. At all. Every time he opens his gob he's digging himself in deeper and proving Katy right.

You could do worse award: In fact, he has! But really? Beth looked quite nice!

Touched a nerve award: I think Leanne's hard words pushed all the buttons they were meant to with Carla.

You've changed your tune award: Eva's being really nice to Leanne!

Pants on Fire award: Simon lied and said Carla's hitting him.

Betrayal award: Two faced star: Jenny scheming with Frank to take the factory from Carla.

Tat award: A pond, a fountain, and all the junk from the market in the back garden.

Lines of the Week:

Anna to Owen "Most of the time you're a lovely, lovely man but sometimes your mask slips and there's a right nasty piece of work in front of me" (That's Owen in a nutshell)
Frank "Peter, can I help you?" Peter "Only by dropping dead"
Lewis to Kylie "David's wife? Shouldn't you be throwing drinks over me instead of buying them?"
Chesney to Owen "You don't want to help. You want to control!!!"
Sally to Carla "What do you bring to the factory besides a bottle of Scotch in your handbag?"
Sally "When it comes to spreading rumours, I'm an amateur" (but you're doing a good job of it anyway)
Jody "It's over? We're breaking up?" Tommy "This is our first date!"
Tyrone "At least with a car you get a manual"
Leanne "Peter doesn't love you, Carla, he's addicted to you. Like the booze. And sooner or later the hangover's gonna kick in" (Got it in one)
Tracy to Deirdre "I don't think I could share a house with that many pots"
Beth "What a waste of a bath!"
Peter "You'll end up being best of pals, I promise" (Bad bet for a bookie to make)
Julie "We were right in the middle of dirty dancing!" Hayley " I love that film!" Julie "I don't mean the film" (*choke*)

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Is Craig Steve's Son?

When what we are seeing now on our Canadian screens aired in March in the UK, the following exchange was captured on Facebook by blogger Rebecca for the Coronation Street Blog, regarding the blog post Are Beth and Craig Comedy Gold?

· · · 13 hours ago via twitterfeed ·

This happened on Facebook last night/this morning (I've removed the surnames to protect our identities a little, although I appreciate that if you look on Facebook you can probably see them...) and I thought it was interesting enough to post. When we first met Craig and his mam I immediately thought that Craig was going to turn out to be Steve's son, and thought at the time that it might be another wedge between Becky and Steve.

Now that they're back and seem to be staying at least for a while, I'm even more convinced. I actually seem to recall that when we met Beth and she told Steve how old Craig was, you could see his eyes widen as he did the mental calculations - I think he knows, but hasn't said anything yet. That will cause yet more friction with Tracy, because Amy won't be Steve's only kid, and we all know Steve will do the decent thing and provide for him.

What do you think? Do you think he could be Steve's son?

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Are Beth and Craig Corrie comedy gold?

(This post was originally posted by me on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2012.)

Judging by the comments left on recent blog posts, it seems I'm not the only Coronation Street fan who's enjoying newcomer Beth and her ever-silent, ever-eating son Craig.  Beth's attepted seduction of Steve had me in stitches, as did Craig sitting in the back of the cab office, snaffling the biscuits

Well done to actrors Lisa George and Colson Smith, who play Beth and Craig. This fan hopes there's many more scenes with them both in.  and I did wonder if we'd ever see Craig's dad turn up on Corrie one day too...

Do we know if they've been given a surname yet?  It's always a good sign that characters are staying, when they get a surname!

See also: Could Beth be the new Cilla?

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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Should Peter keep custody of Simon - Yay or Nay?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

It's the battle of the Barlows for custody of their little boy. But who should get to keep Simon living with them, what's best for him?

Peter's his dad and has rights, but he's also a raging alchoholic and bigamist. Leanne's caring but she's not his  real mum and has a background as prostitute Barbie. 

Now I like Peter, and I also like Leanne, but which one's better for little Simon? There's only one way to find out - VOTE!

So, should Peter keep custody of Simon - yay or nay?

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Sunday Canadian Corrie Comments, May 27

I'm back! Did you miss me? (Lie if you have to!) Just in time, too, so it seems because Corrie is really heating up.

Carla still isn't getting on very well with Simon, is she? And picking him up while she'd been drinking didn't help matters. Brian really felt like sticking his boots in over Carla and Simon and I suppose he could make a case but she was hardly falling down drunk. I don't blame Carla for being angry that Julie and Hayley had a word with her about it rather than Brian but she dove in and shouted at them, assuming everyone was gossiping when they weren't. They will now. And it gives Frank more ammunition. I also can't blame Peter for being furious that Brian was talking to all and sundry about the situation and now it's common gossip in the shops. Sally is always so pleased to be able to castigate the people she has a grudge against. First it was Fiz and now it's Carla. Carla's self defence to Peter's accusations didn't really do her any favours.   Funny though, I just don't buy Stella as a crusading mother lion.

Now Leanne's back. First just to get her stuff and go again but even that ended up in a slagging match with Carla but i think Leanne came out the best in that. I think her point about Peter being addicted to Carla is spot on and it threw Carla didn't it? Seeing Simon delayed her departure and that's all it took. Simon pushing buttons and telling lies, exaggerating Carla's behaviour and then saying Carla hits him added to the mess and sparked Leanne into a fury and she's the mother lion now. (You notice she called Stella "Mum"?) It's put Carla's position into disrepute with a few more of the neighbours but Simon's lying and even then, it doesn't seem to sink in to Peter what all this upheaval is doing to the lad.

Carla is desperate to get the order from Jenny who says she won't deal with her unless Frank is out of the picture. Why doesn't Carla just start up on her own, she suggests. She'd make it worth Carla's while. Hmmmmm.... Where did that all come from? And he's starting to act kind of cool to Sally, especially after she saw his email to his lawyer asking what would happen if he sacked the workforce which is what he's planning to do but he's very smooth about it. I do think her conscience is pinging her a bit but there's going to be a lot more alarm when she finds out he's in cahoots with Jenny! It all makes sense now. 

Well. Frank stayed overnight at Sally's! Sally is doing some home cooking for Frank, but it's all pre-frozen meals for 2. He doesn't seem enticed. He should feel lucky it wasn't fish fingers and beans! He doesn't seem like the type of man who would really find all that domesticity all that appealing, does he?

Yep, Tracy should be contributing to the mortgage if she's living there. Modern marraiges are like that, 50/50. And Tracy isn't spending a penny of any money she might have, mainly Steve's child support i think, and her idea is for him to increase the amount so she can pay her half. Um. Anyway... Steve decided to unwall the downstairs and move Beth and Craig in! Brilliant! and a pet rat named after his dad!!! At least Steve will be out of that house and into the taxi flat but Tracy and Beth will not get along, you can see that. Tracy continues to be completely delusional about hopes that Steve will come around. I really really hope he doesn't. 

Well let's see. She won't pay half the rent, Steve is pretty much broke, why not have housemates? It's her own fault. I think this has the potential for some great stuff. We've already had Steve looking at Beth's "glamour" portrait in horror and the nearly  mute Craig stuffing his face and playing with his pet rat. And Tracy tried to use Beth's crush on Steve to push him. That was hysterical but you know? Beth actually looked really nice, i thought.

Kirsty's jealousy is leaking out again. It sounds like her ex was a bad 'un. Could that be why she's so possessive? Tommy is dating a Barbie doll who has their future all mapped out after one date. Talk about making a man run a mile! And isn't Tina enjoying it!?

Kylie seems to have made friends with Lewis or is she just trying to dig up the gossip. And Lewis certainly made points in Kylie's eyes by sticking up for her over Brian's wibbling about Max's lunchbox. Whatever happened to school dinners? And every time she sees Brian and he confronts her about it, he's eating unhealthy food of drink! Kylie is encouraging Audrey to listen to her heart and Gail's pushing for the head and it looks like Audrey's leaning to the heart. She just can't keep away from him, can she?

Brian seems to be Ken's new BFF. I guess as a fellow teacher, Brian feels they have something in common. Owen is offering to get rid of the pond and rebuild a shed and now Faye says she wants to keep the pond! So they did and tarted it up to a high degree of tacky.

Katy's really struggling isn't she? She took off but you knew she'd come back. Lots of new mothers have a difficult time coping but a 16 year old doesn't have the maturity to back her up for the most part. Looks like everyone will help out now and that's good. Maybe she did make a mistake having a baby so young but wee Joseph is there now so everyone pitches in. Owen gobbing off only made it clear that he is going to be the tough nut to crack. He needs to back off and just be supportive. Saying I Told You So does no good. Chesney's right, Owen wants control, he wants it all his way. Poor Chesney is at the end of his rope, coping with the baby alone. I did like to see that he apologized to Faye.

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Museum will not take on the Coronation Street set

(This post was originally posted by me on the Coronation Street Blog in April 2012.)

When we knew that the ITV studios would be moving to the new Media City in Salford, we wondered what would happen to the outside Coronation Street set. There were rumours and hopes that the neighbouring Museum of Science and Industry might take it on but according to an interview with the museum's new American director, Jean Franczyk, it's not going to happen.

She says "There's going to be someone out there who is probably the best in the world at running a Coronation Street visitor attraction but,” Jean M Franczyk pauses theatrically, “it’s not going to be the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. That's not our role. We have so much work to do in celebrating the historic site and contents we already possess. Coronation Street is for someone else."

That's a pity but maybe someone else will take on the set and open it to the public as a Coronation Street experience, complete with working pub and a gift shop in the Kabin! Now, where's my lottery ticket....

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Saturday, 26 May 2012

State of the Street - February 2012

As we skid towards this year's murder storyline, we look back at some of the storylines in February where Steve and Tracy's childish antics filled a few airwaves. Tiresome, but at the end, we have Beth and Craig in situ to add some genuine comedy to the schtick. Katy was finding it difficult to cope on her own with a baby while Chesney worked his socks off trying to keep their financial heads above water. Owen got to say I Told You So but it backfired when Katy did a temporary runner.

There was some lovely bits with all concerned in the cafe and some classic soap angst with Peter coping with Carla, her problems and a very unsettled little boy. Cad Lewis is smarming around Audrey and that can't be a good thing. Read more about these and other observations on State of the Street.

And as of today, we in Canada are just about three months behind and holding (until the hockey playoffs are over, then the double episodes start up again, June 14).

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Betty Driver given posthumous award

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Betty Driver has today been honoured with a posthumous award by the Television and Radio Industries Club.  The awards ceremony was held today in the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

The Coronation Street actress, who played Betty Wiliams, was given the posthumous TV Soap Personality award, sponsored by Samsung.

Sadly, Coronation Street lost out to EastEnders in the award for TV Soap of the Year.

Details of Betty's farewell from Coronation Street can be found here.

See also: Red carpet arrival pictures from TRIC Awards

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Friday, 25 May 2012

Julie Carp, Fashion Queen

Julie didn't take it too well when David suggested she invest in a pair of elasticated maternity jeans
(This post was originally posted by Katriel on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2012.)

Whether you think Julie Carp’s wacky wardrobe is an assault on the eyes or the closest we’ve had to couture on the cobbles, it seems this vintage vamp is Weatherfield’s unlikely fashionista. Week after week Julie, whose personal mantra is ‘bold is beautiful’, has been rocking up to The Street wearing frocks in fun fabrics – cupcake, anyone? – and an episode last week saw her sporting this season’s block colours, opting for lime green and white. Is the newly confident Carp chasing the chic look now she’s with child and has her man, Brian ‘The Snip’ Packham, firmly on side?

Does Brian appreciate his girlfriend’s clobber? Is he aware of the ulterior motive behind Julie’s choice of threads? We’ve seen this fifties throwback wearing sweetheart necklines, and flouncy, cupcake and heart cotton prints that scream traditional, old-fashioned, family values, leaving Julie looking as wholesome as a freshly baked apple pie.

We can only guess and wonder – some might shudder – at Julie’s future maternity wear. As her bump grows, we’ll be sad to see the back of her fifties frocks with their nipped-in waists and we can only hope that she shies away from voluminous tents and those jeans with the ridiculously broad elasticated waistbands – never a good look.

But onto more serious considerations: what are the chances of this hopeless romantic having a baby out of wedlock? And if there is to be a wedding, that leaves only one, fabulous giddy-making thought… Julie’s wedding dress. It’s enough to put us in a fashion spin…

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Sneak Preview of next week's Canadian Corrie, May 28 to June 1

 Without further ado, here's a brief run down of next week's Coronation Street on Canadian Screens:

Anne feels rejected. Frank and Jenny scam Carla. Sally finds out she was being used. Peter is off the wagon and furious at Frank. Frank goads Carla. Sally finds Frank's dead body in the factory! Who did it?

Nick deals with the bookie licensing people and fights with Leanne over Simon. Lewis faces the music and then soothes a situation at the Bistro. Dennis is determined to pay his own way. Eileen cares for Lesley again. Karl and Stella row.

For more detail and photos, see the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Coronation Street win RTS Award for Best Soap

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Coronation Street has won the award for Best Soap and Continuing Drama, beating EastEnders and Emmerdale.

The award was given at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2012, held last in March in London at the Grosvenor Hotel and hosted by Rob Brydon.

Pictured here with the trophy are Corrie actor Andrew Lancel, who played Frank Foster, with Corrie's chief publicity lady, Alison Sinclair. Picture courtesty of Alison via twitter.

You can see red carpet pics from some of the ladies of the cast who attended the awards ceremony.

A full list of RTS Awards winners can be found here.

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Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lisa George on playing Corrie's Beth Tinker

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There's a good interview today in The People with Lisa George, who plays newcomer Beth Tinker.

She says her role on Coronation Street has been a lifesaver. "It’s been really tough. At times I’ve been on the breadline. I’m so grateful to Ma and Pa and my boyfriend for ­supporting me. Over the years I’ve done everything to make ends meet. I worked in a fish finger factory, a pasta factory and a bike factory, threading gears in bikes and drilling handle bars. I’ve sold cigars in a posh restaurant wearing fishnets and a tutu. I’ve been a PA and sold tickets in the Albert Hall’s box office. I’ve been a holiday camp bluecoat, a backing singer and a singing teacher – you name it, I’ve done it.”

Did you know that Lisa has been in Coronation Street three times before? In 1997 she was a nursing colleague of Martin Platt and in 2005 a police family liaison officer in five episodes after the murder of Tommy Harris.Two years later she played another policewoman in an hour-long special when Ashley Peacock’s son was kidnapped. But the episode was shelved due to the disppearance of Madeleine McCann.

Lisa even wrote to Street bosses begging for a part as the sister of Cilla Battersby because she was constantly being mistaken for her!

She also sings and records with a 19-piece big band The Cat Pack. Find out more about the band here.

Anyway, I'm loving Beth but especially enjoying watching her son Craig, played by Colson Smith.  I'm still holding out hope that Craig turns out to be Steve McDonald's son. Watch this space.

Read the full interview here.

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Who wants Janice Battersby back to sort out Stella?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2012.)

"Thanks, mum" said Leanne last night on Coronation Street to St. Ella of the Rovers. "She's not yer mum!" we shouted at the telly, "What about Janice?" 

Now, yes, we know that Stella Price was brought into Corrie as Leanne's biological mother, but how quickly Leanne's 'proper' mum has been forgotten.

We're talking about Janice Battersby, the woman who brought up Leanne, the woman who lived through Leanne's Barbie prostitute years. The woman who lived with and loved, heaven help her, Leanne's dad, Les. The woman who nursed Leanne, looked after her, brought her up and was to all intents and purposes, her real and proper mum.  How quickly she's been forgotten. 

This fan thinks it's time Janice Battersby returned to sort out Stella, put her right about a few things and remind Leanne of where her loyalties should lie. And I'm not the only fan who thinks so, Chelle Gower on twitter @chellecuffers suggested it too. 

What do you think about having Janice back to take up Stella's invitation to "Come through to the back" and beat Stella black and blue sort Stella out?

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Helen Worth gets engaged

Coronation Street actor Helen Worth, who plays Gail McIntyre, is to get married again at the age of 61.  The Sunday tabloid The People reveals today that Helen has just got engaged to teacher Trevor Dawson, 54.

Helen broke the happy news to delighted colleagues last week.

Kevin Kennedy, who played Curly Watts, told of his joy at ­hearing Helen is engaged. He told The People: “She is such a lovely lady. Helen deserves all the ­happiness in the world. It’s brilliant news to hear about her and Trevor.”

A spokesman for Coronation Street last night confirmed Helen and Trevor’s engagement but said they did not wish to comment.

Well, we wish her all the very best here at the Bluenose Corrie Blog.

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Corrie’s Usual Suspects in the Frame for Frank’s murder

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2012.)

This line-up is the first image of the UNUsual Suspects who find themselves under suspicion for the murder of Corrie factory boss Frank Foster. When the body of evil rapist Frank is found in a pool of blood on the factory floor the finger of suspicion immediately points to the people who most want him dead. And in the coming weeks these five people are the ones that the police and residents of
Coronation Street
start to suspect could have bludgeoned him to death.

Frank’s lifeless body will be found in the factory on Monday March 5th – after days of arguments and confrontations with associates, lovers and enemies alike – leaving police and viewers baffled as to the identity of the murderer. And Corrie fans will be on the edge of their seats as the mystery unravels and the killer is finally unmasked in true soap style.

It’s Sally Webster who’s found with blood on her hands as she kneels over ex-lover Frank’s lifeless body.  Knicker stitchers Sean Tully and Julie Carp look on in horror as they arrive at the factory to confront Frank over his plans for the business, after he conned partner Carla Connor out of her share.

Not satisfied with getting off with the rape of Carla, Frank had set out to destroy her by ruining her relationship with lover Peter Barlow and getting her to sign over the factory for a rock bottom price. It puts Carla firmly in the frame, along with partner Peter, colleague Michelle and Sally’s ex-husband Kevin.

As the police start digging an arrest is finally made – but have they got the right person or has the real killer got away with murder?

Here the actors who play the five suspects talk about their characters’ motives and whether they could be capable of murder:

Sally Dynevor on Sally Webster: “Sally’s got lots of reasons to want to do something very bad to Frank, as have all the factory staff as he was plotting for them all to lose their jobs. But there’s a particular motive for Sally because of the way he betrayed her on a personal level and the way she was prepared to betray her friends for him.”

Chris Gascoyne on Peter Barlow:  On a scale of 1 to 10 Peter hates Frank 11, for what he’s done to Carla and the fact that he’s still trying to ruin both their lives. When he double crosses Carla at the factory that’s just another reason for Peter to really hate him. He wants him dead.”

Michael Le Vell on Kevin Webster: “He claims not to have gone anywhere near Frank before he was killed but there’s a twist which makes him a suspect. It throws Kevin Webster right in the frame and the police come calling. It leaves even Sally wondering if Kevin was Frank’s killer.”

Alison King on Carla Connor:  Carla hates Frank with all of her being, she can’t stand being in the same room as him, he makes her feel sick. He’s winding her up as well, talking about giving her a lift home and pointing out that he’s not got any bail restrictions anymore. She just wants him out of her life, she can’t stand him and she’d do whatever it takes to get rid of him.”

Kym Marsh on Michelle Connor: “Michelle’s always been a very moral person. Having said that her big thing is family and she’s very protective of the Connor clan, Frank destroyed Carla so maybe Michelle decided to dish out some justice of her own. Michelle’s definitely involved in the mix somewhere but whether she’s capable of killing Frank you’ll have to wait and see, I think she could be!”

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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Corrie news chit chat

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

It's time for another in our series of Coronation Street Chit Chat, where we bring you all the snippets and loose ends of Corrie news that haven't made it into their own blog post as they weren't sexy enough.

Current Corrie cast:

News that William Roache (Ken Barlow) bedded over 1,000 women has made its way to Canada where William is doing the rounds on a fan tour. Following complaints, the media have been banned from attending. Mind you, William's current girlfriend Emma Jesson says she's relaxed about all the fuss.

Malcolm Hebden (Norris Cole) was taken to hospital, thankfully it's nothing serious.

Chris Fountain (Tommy Duckworth) likes to learn his Corrie script at the last minute, yes he does.

Jane Danson (Leanne Barlow) says Alex Bain (Little Simon) is like a son to her in real life. Aww.

Charlie Condou (Marcus Dent) talks about the charities close to his heart.

Real cops called in to advise on Frank Foster's murder.

Ex-Corrie cast:

Roy Barraclough (Alec Gilroy) says current Corrie storylines are not up his Street. Not any more.

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Review: Fat Brenda, My Flamin' Story

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Last night I attended the premiere of the stage play Fat Brenda, My Flamin' Story. Sitting here at the computer, the morning after the night before attempting to write a review of the show, I just hope I can do it justice because it was Beltin', Absolutely Beltin'.

It's the first play by new playwright Joe Parkinson, a one man show with Brenda played by ex-Corrie actor Steve Huison, who played Eddie Windass on Coronation Street.  For one man to act, sing and dance his way through the business end of 2 hours and keep the audience in the palm of their hand is no mean feat for any actor in any theatre. Steve Huison carried it off in superb style last night.

As a piece of theatre, this new play must surely be unique, a possible world-first. A life-long Corrie fan sets up a twitter account as a fictional soap character that's been often referred to but never seen, starts tweeting to a Corrie actor and the two of them become friends and join forces to create this wonderfully funny play.  It started in Harrogate last night, runs there tonight too, transfers to Manchester and then hopefully will tour later this year.

I can't write too much about the content of the play because I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. But there's a great story to it, and what a story it is. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll dance in your seat.

What I can tell you is that Fat Brenda the stage play is funny, sad - and sometimes both at the same time. It casts Brenda in the light of one of the traditional, strong, feisty, lovable women on which Corrie was built, while giving her a personality and style all of her own. With the playwright being a life-long Corrie fan, his love of the Street shines through. Fat Brenda the stage play is a must for any Corrie fans, whether you follow Fat Brenda on twitter or even if you've never been tempted to twitter yourself.  Brenda is the kind of Corrie women you wish we could see more of on the cobbles these days. You empathise with her right from the start of the play and you're on her side all the way through as she looks for love and a way out of Weatherfield. But as with all Corrie women, there is no way out. Will Brenda be different? You'll have to go to the play and find out.

Fat Brenda, My Flamin' Story gives a respectful nod to Corrie's past, acknowledges its present-day state with a bit of a cuddle and to this fan, is the direction of what Corrie's future should - and very well could - be.

In short, it was one of the most amazing nights of theatre I've ever seen in my life. Unique.

I give it 5 beltin' stars and urge you to see it as soon as you can.

Book your tickets for Harrogate tonight, Saturday 14 April
Book Tickets online now HERE or ring the box office on 01423 502 116

Book your tickets for Manchester on May 24th, here.

There's another review from another fan here.

Follow Fat Brenda on twitter @fatbrenda  and read her Beltin' Blog Posts here.
Follow Steve Huison on twitter @stevevehuison

There will be a national tour (in the UK) so if you're there over the next month or two, check to see if it's playing locally where you'll be!

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Corrie boss admits mistakes were made in rape storyline

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2012.)

Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson has admitted that mistakes were made in the portrayal of Carla Connor's rape storyline.

The BBC have the full report after Phil Collinson spoke at the annual conference of St Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Manchester.

Corrie was criticised for portraying rape victim Carla Connor being confronted by her attacker outside the court.

Phil said: "I do agree that there were some procedural things in the court that we did get wrong. In a show like ours, we are constantly balancing the needs of the drama against the needs of accuracy, and I suppose I would have to agree that there were some procedural things in the court that our attention has been drawn to subsequently and I can only apologise for that. I have to stand by the story that we told and I think we did a good thing in the main."

The Rape Crisis helpline said it saw an 800% increase in calls after the attack - by Frank Foster on his girlfriend and business partner Carla, was aired last September.

But scenes showing Frank confronting Carla, played by Alison King, outside court had deterred some real victims from going to court, St Mary's said. The Centre's Bernie Ryan said: "We have to put a lot of reassurance into the fact that it was a dramatisation of a courtroom event and that there are support services to make sure they don't come across the perpetrator and are supported throughout the court process."

Phil Collinson said that Corrie "sent out a very clear message" by unambiguously portraying Frank, played by Andrew Lancel, as a rapist. But he admitted that an earlier assault on Maria Connor, played by Samia Smith, had divided the show's writing team.

"I was astonished. Even around our conference table, a very fiery debate happened about that night - literally, some of the writers saying that it wasn't an attempted rape. I really believe that we said right from the beginning that it was."

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Michelle Collins says fans have accepted her accent

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2012.)

Michelle Collins who plays St. Ella of the Rovers, has told The Manchester Evening News that Coronation Street fans have accepted her Northern accent. Have you? I haven't.

Michelle says: “It's funny, people now come up to me and say: 'oh your accent is much better now', but I haven't changed a thing! I knew it was always going to be hard for people to adjust to seeing Cindy Beale in the Rovers at first, but I think now viewers have accepted me a bit more, it's great.”

As our blogger Sunny Jim said in his post Hit The North: "I was watching The Road to Coronation Street at the weekend and in it, great emphasis is put on Tony Warren's insistence that the actors are nothern as a southern actor putting on a northern accent just wouldn't be convincing. By all means have southern actors in the programme, I had no problem with the Baldwin clan for instance, but having them try to fake a northern accent rarely cuts the barm cake."

Mind you, our blogger Rebecca fairly loves Stella Price.  Do you?

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Review: A Knight's Tale, Corrie spin-off DVD

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

We reviewed Romanian Holiday, Coronation Street's spin-off DVD here and today, months after its release I bring you the review for the most recent Corrie spin-off DVD, A Knight's Tale.

The reason it's been months since the DVD was released and my review hitting the website is that I only bought and watched the DVD this week.  Is it shocking to admit, as a staunch Corrie fan, that I find the spin-off DVDs, dare I say it - somewhat disappointing?  Romanian Holiday was better than expected so I had high hopes for A Knight's Tale but ended up enjoying it less.

Written by Joe Turner and Mark Wadlow, directed by David Kester, the Knight's Tale DVD wasn't enjoyed that much in our house. It starred Ken Morley as Reg Holdsworth, Kevin Kennedy as Curly, Patti Clare as Mary, Malcolm Hebden as Norris, Helen Flanagan as Rosie, Ryan Thomas as Jason and a lovely guest appearance from Brian Capron as Richard Hillman himself - or was it?!

It's a romp that's set in Tatlock Towers with our Corrie characters acting to form. The storylines are ok but not as strong as those in Romanian Holiday and the dialogue wasn't as funny as either that DVD or what we've become used to on Corrie itself.

There were some good moments however and having Reg and Curly back together was worth the £2.25 I spent buying the DVD from eBay. At one point Curly brought out a picture of his son, a lovely picture of nine year old Ben, a kid wearing glasses, looking just like Curly used to.  He also revealed he'd split from wife Emma, so that tidied up a couple of storylines well.

If you're a fan of Rosie Webster then there's plenty for you to enjoy with leg shots, breast shots, and scenes of her tied to a bed in her underwear while ITVs Jeremy Vine played an evil cosmetic surgeon.

There was also some honesty expressed between Mary "I want you Norris, I want you now!" and Norris "You can't force a relationship out of a friendship!" that we don't usually see on regular episodes. And while everyone acted their socks off, it just didn't work for this fan.  But if you've also seen it and disagree, please let me know you thought of it too.

Corrie managed to get its sponsor Harveys the Furniture Store into the DVD as well as other ITV Products Tombola Bingo and Friends Reunited.  None of this was done subtley but spotting the Harveys furniture van raised one of the few laughs from our sofa.

So, in short:
Is it worth watching? Yes but only because it's Coronation Street.
Is it worth buying? Only if you can get it second-hand off ebay.
Marks out of 10? I'd give it 6.

Our blogger Chewy reviewed the DVD here.

Note: This dvd doesn't appear to be available in Canada yet. Personally, I don't think it's very good. Romanian Holiday and Out of Africa were both much better.

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Can you help solve these Coronation Street mysteries?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There's a few things I'm not sure about at the moment on Coronation Street.  Can you can help solve these Corrie conundrums?

Number one: Who is the chef at Nick's Bistro and why have we never seen them?

Number two: What's happened to Dev's kebab shop? Who's working there now and why is it never mentioned?

Number three: Where have the Renshaw twins gone?

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