Friday 30 November 2012

A Corrie Matriarch for the 21st Century?

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

We all know that the foundations of Coronation Street are the strong female characters who have dominated our screens for the past 52 years. Looking back, we've enjoyed classic characters such as Annie Walker, Elsie Tanner, Ena Sharples, Hilda Ogden and Ivy Tilsley. Women continue to be the focus of the Street in the present day, with the men often still portrayed as hen-pecked and feckless. However, who do we think is the key matriarch in the present day Coronation Street? Here are a few contenders.

Rita Tanner

Rita has long been a shoulder to cry on for many of the Street's residents. From Mavis Riley through to Tina McIntyre she is always there for her friends and neighbours, offering advice, a friendly ear and a bottomless bank balance. She also acted as foster mother to characters such as Sharon Gaskell and the infamous Jenny Bradley. 


Audrey Roberts
Audrey may have started off as a flighty piece, however as she has matured on screen she has used her life experience to good effect. Audrey has a similar relationship with Maria as Rita does with TIna. Audrey also has a family of her own to advise and watch out for. She is often now the voice of reason in the exploits of daughter Gail and grandsons Nick and David. She can survive that lot, Richard Hillman and Wendy Craig's son from Butterflies in drag. What a woman!

Deirdre Barlow
While not providing the same shoulder to cry on as Rita and Audrey, Deirdre is still a loyal mother and grandmother to Tracy, Amy and Simon. We may not agree with the way she reacts to Tracy's schemes and scandals, however she does have the relevant life experience to be a Corrie matriarch. I would love for her to become a Blanche of the future. And if all else fails she'll dish you up a lovely stuffed marrow.

Emily Bishop
Although, like Rita, Emily has never had any children of her own, she has always provided a motherly influence to the likes of Deirdre, Tracy, Curly and Spider. More recently she has provided guidance for Sophie Webster. On the downside, we don't see as much of her these days as we once did. Perhaps she's back up that tree on the Red Rec?

Hayley Cropper

Although a different generation to the other characters on this list, Hayley is just as wise and has plenty of experience on how to survive a good crisis or two! Her marriage to Roy is one of the most stable and durable partnerships in today's Street. She has also been a friendly face to many of the Street's younger residents, particularly Fiz and Becky. And she knows how to wear a red anorak like no other. 

Of course, these are only five suggestions off the top of my head. There are many other possibilities: Gail Potter Tilsley Platt Hillman McIntyre could advise on marital issues. Eileen Grimshaw could always find room for you amongst the countless lodgers in her palatial two up two down. Sally Webster would be great on the subjects of other people's husbands and hanging baskets. And there's always St Ella of the Back Room. Agony Aunt to a cast of thousands and even capable of taking on armed robbers...Is there anything that woman can't put her mind to?? Answers on a postcard please! 

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Fab Photo - A-Camping we will go

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

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. It's been a while since we followed a group of characters away on holiday together. Here's a motley camping crew from a few years ago.

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Sneak Preview for next week's Corrie Dec. 2 - 6

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

Fiz is determined to expose Kirsty but it's an uphill battle until Tyrone overhears the truth. Will he manage to break free of Kirsty or will another solution present itself?

Leanne comes to a conclusion and needs to persuade Nick her heart's in the right place. Will he be able to overlook his doubts?  David wants a baby with Kylie and sulks. Will she agree or will she try to change David's mind with a cunning plan? Sophie and Jenna work to get Sophie on her feet but is Sophie crushing on Jenna?

Jason and Owen fall out and Jason attempts to go it on his own. Stella is his first customer. How will Owen take it? Lewis steps up his campaign and gets his feet under Gail's table.

For more detail and photos, see the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Thursday 29 November 2012

Corrie's Marcus - madly in love or just mad?

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

Reposted with permission from Mancunian Matters.  Written by Sam Taylor

Can Coronation Street really get more desperate for story ideas?  Marcus the gay midwife has suddenly turned straight and is madly in love with a woman. 

Not only do trams randomly crash into the most ill-fated street in British history, but it seems people’s sexual orientations can change overnight. Marcus is, or was, a confident, openly-gay man. We had been through his tumultuous relationship with Sean that all ended in tears. There were even rumours the two would marry in 2011.

You might think it’s stupid that I’m using my time to discuss fictional characters on a poor quality television soap, but shows are meant to reflect ordinary lives, and more worringly, affect people’s perceptions too. The power of the box cannot be underestimated.

Proper cases of homosexuality are not psychological.  You can’t just change it overnight after meeting a very attractive person of the other sex.

However, the amount of homophobic bigotry that still exists in our so called multi-cultural society leads many, particularly young, gay people to live in fear of their sexuality. And stories like this on Coronation Street could very well lead to many young gay men keeping quiet and tragically staying in the closet, perhaps even forcing themselves into the delusion that they are straight.

“You love Kylie Minogue and Canal Street – you do not love her!” Jason screamed at Marcus. Perhaps you found time for laughing at this comment, but it’s the sort of thing that will no doubt have a powerful effect on teenage boys struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality.

And the stereotype is crudely encapsulated in Sean. Why can’t the producers accept that gay men are ordinary human beings?

Marcus and Maria’s first kiss could be seen as incredibly insulting to the gay community.  No doubt he’ll be gay again by the end of the year and the writers will pat themselves on the back for a job well done – but there is little respect for genuine portrayal of sexuality. It is the cheap TV were all knew it was.

For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.

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Corrie Originals - Doreen Keogh as Concepta Riley/Hewitt/Regan

First appeared: 23rd December 1960

Last appeared: 31st December 1975

Doreen Keogh played the role of original Rovers barmaid Concepta Riley/Hewitt/Regan between 1960 and 1964 and made guest appearances in 1967, 1972 and 1975.

Born in Dublin circa 1926, Keogh was trained at the Abbey Theatre School in Dublin before moving to London. She secured roles in repertory theatre and made her TV debut in Lady Precious Stream in 1950. For the remainder of the 1950s, she concentrated on her theatre career and didn’t return to TV screens until an appearance in Emergency Ward Ten in 1960. That year, she was cast in the role of 34 year old Rovers barmaid Concepta Riley in new drama serial Coronation Street. During her time on the cobbles, Concepta’s storylines included marrying Harry Hewitt in 1961; giving birth to son Christopher the following year; having a fraught relationship with stepdaughter Lucille; marriage problems with Harry; and Christopher being kidnapped by an unstable Joan Akers in 1962. Although she was the first Rovers barmaid, she only stayed in the post until she married Harry and became a housewife and mother. In 1964, in a bid to revamp the show by getting rid of deadwood characters, new young producer Tim Aspinall axed the whole Hewitt family. Lucille was salvaged as ITV bosses felt a street without children was unreal. Harry, Concepta and Christopher were written out in August 1964 when they all moved to Ireland where Harry took over the garage of Concepta’s father. Upon her departure from Coronation Street, Keogh had a one-off appearance in new Midlands soap Crossroads. While Harry visited Lucille in 1965, it wasn’t until 1967 that Concepta visited for the wedding of Steve and Elsie Tanner. Upon their visit, Harry was crushed to death under a van, leaving Concepta a widow. She left again for Ireland. Keogh returned to the role in 1972 when Concepta announced to Annie Walker and Lucille that she was getting married to Sean Regan who also came to introduce himself. Upon his visit, Sean made a pass at Bet Lynch. Bet didn’t tell Concepta who married Sean that year. Concepta visited the street for the final time in 1975 and admitted to Annie that she was aware that Sean slept around but still loved him. Overall, Keogh appeared in 321 episodes in total.

Since her departure from Coronation Street, Keogh has secured many acting roles over the years including in Z Cars (1974), Minder (1984) and Play for Today (1974-1984). In 1989, she was cast in the role of Mary O’Hanlon in new Irish soap opera Fair City, a role she would play until 1995. In 1998, she appeared in two episodes of hit Irish sitcom Father Ted. She also starred in Irish drama series Ballykissangel as Imelda Egan between 1997 and 1999. Additionally she’s had roles in comedy The Royle Family (1998-2006), comedy-drama Cold Feet (1998-2003), hospital drama Holby City (2004) and made her latest TV appearance in drama Cutting It (2005). She appeared in Irish film How About You in 2007. Keogh as appeared as herself in various Coronation Street linked programmes like Classic Coronation Street (1991), Life after the Street (2001) and Coronation Street Secrets (2003). 

Keogh currently lives in County Wicklow, Ireland. She has been married twice and during her time on Corrie in the 1960s she enjoyed a romance with on-screen husband Ivan Beavis (Harry Hewitt).

Have you ever seen or met Doreen Keogh? Have you any pieces of trivia about her? Would you like Concepta to visit Weatherfield? Who'd remember her -  only Ken, Emily, Dennis? Maybe some of the other veterans remembered her from her visits in the 1970s. What do you think?

Research from Wikipedia, Corrie Net, IMDB and Corriepedia.

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My favourite Jack Duckworth moments

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

With the very sad news that Bill Tarmey has passed away at the age of 71, I wanted to pay my own tribute to the great man by looking back at some of his best on screen moments. 

Jack Duckworth was always one of my favourite characters. Jack and Vera were great at broad comedy, all the fights and marital troubles played out in front of millions for over thirty years. However there was also a lot of subtlety in Bill's acting, best demonstrated in quiet moments where Jack showed his love both for his Vee and Tyrone, the son they wished they'd had. 

Here are some of my favourite Jack Duckworth moments.

Vince St Clair 

Who could forget this hilarious storyline from 1983? With Jack doing his best as a cut-price lothario, Vera tried to beat him at his own game by joining the same video dating agency. Egged on by Bet Lynch, Vera posed as "Carole Munroe" and arranged a date with "Vince" in the Rovers. With all the Rovers regulars looking on, Jack got more than he bargained for when his hot date turned out to be Vera going at him at full pelt! Classic Coronation Street comedy which is as funny today as it was then.

When Terry sold Tommy

One of the Duckworths' strongest stories during their time in Coronation Street involved the sale of their grandson Tommy to the Hortons. Jack and Vera had been left to bring up Tommy after his mother Lisa was knocked down in the street. Despite finding it hard work, they both doted on their grandchild. However, son Terry saw the opportunity to profit from their situation and sold Tommy to his other grandparents, the more affluent Jeff and Doreen Horton. These scenes, broadcast over Christmas 1993, were very strong and incredibly moving. I will never forget the moment Jack punched Terry, disowning him. 

Ida Fagg

A more recent memory this one, but the image of Jack Duckworth in drag is a lasting one to say the least! In 2004 Jack was forced to drag up as Ida Fagg in order to help the Rovers' Ladies' bowls team. Poor Vera was in for a shock, but apparently Bill Tarmey loved dressing up as Ida! 

Jack loses Vera

When Vera died in 2008, we all prepared ourselves for very difficult scenes. In my opinion Bill Tarmey gave the performance of his life. His grief for Vera was real, as while his character mourned the death of his onscreen wife, you could sense real emotion in his performance as a brilliant partnership was brought to an end. Bill's understated, totally believable acting in these scenes captured the moment perfectly with quiet dignity. 


Apart from Vera and his beloved pigeons, Jack also had a great onscreen partnership with Tyrone. I loved their father/son relationship. It was both hilarious and deeply touching. I hope we see elements of Jack in Tyrone in the years to come. 

There will never be another Jack Duckworth. And there will never be another Bill Tarmey. 

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Wednesday 28 November 2012

Conversation Street podcast number 15

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the episodes in Canada that aired up to last night can be heard here. Don't worry, they don't do spoilers so you won't hear anything you don't want to!

 You can also subscribe to them on iTunes, Like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter (@conversationstr).

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Will Amy Barlow's real dad be revealed?

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

Lots of great comments have been going on the Coronation Street Blog here wondering what would happen if it turned out that Steve McDonald wasn't Amy's real dad.  Did he ever get a DNA test or just take psycho Tracy's word that she was up the duff with his kid after she'd driven Roy Cropper to the brink of suicide by pretending it was his?

Corrie fans are asking if there's the possibility that if Amy isn't really the fruit of Steve's loins then could she be the daughter of Wally?  You remember Wally, don't you?

 No, not that Wally, this Wally.

Wally Bannister (played by Bernard Cribbins) was Blanche's boyfriend and appeared on Corrie between May and October 2003.  When Tracy found out that her gran's new fella had a bob or two, a posh house and a swimming pool, she had a fling with him too.   So, if Wally and Tracy did the deed back in 2003, and Tracy got pregnant by him, that would make little Amy around, oh, the right age now, being born in February 2004.  So, yes, it could be possible that Wally is Amy's dad.

Come on, Corrie writers, give us all a chance to laugh at Tracy Barlow and make this story happen. And while you're at it, please, please, please make Steve the real dad of Beth's son Craig while you're on.  It's something we've discussed here before on the Coronation Street Blog.

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Eva Price-less

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

How many of us like to be proved wrong? Who takes their humble pie with a splash of gravy? I hang my head in shame at the memory of having maligned the wondrous creation that is Eva Price. True, I once suggested that the character was about as beguiling as a mop head. I stood on the roof of Blog Towers, overlooking Mawdsley Street, and bellowed that the Price was not right.

Have others warmed to the character? While poor old Stella continues to get a ho-hum reception from fan-land, Eva seems to have struck a chord.

What's so good about her then? There is something appealing in her flawed demeanour. Eva is one spoilt brat of a girl, probably cherished as a back street Lancashire princess with her eye on all that glitters. With the right man on her arm, the latest fashions and a Mary Poppins-sized handbag, Eva can totter across the cobbles with he head held high.

Look again though. Eva is the wrong side of 25. She has no man and seems unable to hold down a relationship. Her jealousy slowly poisons friendships. Eva may have the bag, the frock and the lippy but she's sewing knickers in a back street factory. At the end of the day she goes home to her mum. There's no champagne lifestyle, no designer hubby, no kids. You can almost taste her rage as she stands on the sidelines, bag of chips in hand, watching other people get on with life. Will it ever be her turn?

In some ways, Eva is similar to the 'early days' version of Raquel Wolstenhulme - a slightly acidic, stuck-up cow. Raquel eventually thawed and, thanks to the rather impressive performance of Catherine Tyldesley, Eva has become a much fuller character. Her blend of narcissism, comedy and misery is a joy to watch and this particular viewer is intrigued to see where, cue tedious X Factor phrase, 'her journey' take her. And us.

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Tuesday 27 November 2012

Looking back at 12 months of Corrie: February 2012

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

Here we go with February in our look back at this year month by monthIf you'd lik a full synopsis of everything that happened this month in Corrie, you can read the Corrie weekly updates website and our blogger Tvor's State of the Street for each month.  This blog post is purely my own highlights and lowlights for each month of the year so far.  These are my own personal likes and dislikes for Corrie so do chip in with your own and remind me of anything major I've missed that happened during each month too.

So here we go with February 2012


Frank Foster's rape trial. He offers to buy the factory from Carla for a pittance and she refuses.

Paul and his wife Lesley who has early on-set Alzheimer's Disease, move in with Eileen. 

Rosie Webster leaves Weatherfield to star in a reality TV show in that London. Jason's bereft. Who will he play 'Bedtime with the Beckhams' with now?

Beth, Craig and Darryl the rat move into No. 13 with Tracy and Amy when Steve moves to live in the Streetcars flat.

Katy does a runner, unable to cope with the pressure of being a new mum to baby Joseph.

Roy turns down Milton's plans to turn Roy's Rolls into a steam train theme restaurant, Beef Encounter. 
And Sylvia turns down Milton's invitation to live in America, telling Roy: "I can't be doing with faucets and closets and pants, not at my age,"

Julie thinks she's pregnant and Brian accuses her of having an affair because he's had the snip.

Lewis returns to lure Audrey again.

Audrey and Gail go power-walking - watch the FAB YouTube.


Surprisingly none for this month. February was clearly a good month for this Corrie fan - but there are portents of things to come which don't look good. Tune in next time for March 2012.

Monthly count of people St Ella took through to the back room of the Rovers:  561

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Corrie's Charlie Condou wins Attitude Man of the Year Award

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

Charlie Condou, who plays Marcus Dent on Coronation Street has been voted Man of the Year 2012 in the Attitude magazine awards.

Charlie was voted Man of the Year for consistently speaking out both in the Guardian and London’s Evening Standard about the reality of modern families.

You can read all the details at Attitude magazine.

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Meerkats do the Corrie theme tune

In the UK, Coronation Street is now being sponsored by a new company and they are using animated meerkats on their television ads. Even though we don't see it here in Canada, you might find this meerkat version of the Corrie theme tune a laugh! 

If you are interested, Coronation Street's new sponsor is

Listen to all the other versions of the Coronation Street theme tune over on the Coronation Street blog.

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Monday 26 November 2012

Corrie Canada weekly awards: Nov. 19 - 23

Not a lot of awards and lines really jumped out at me this week but here's what we have...  

Revenge will be sweet award: Lewis really is working Gail, isn't he?  

Man Up award: Marcus is already overwhelmed with all this, it looked like he really felt like he was going to run for the hills rather than face people.  

Train Wreck award: I'm sure Marcus does love Maria but it's not who he is and it's all going to go very badly in the end. Maria's lovelife is always about picking the wrong man.  

Idiot Award: Steve MacDonald. He never learns.

 Lines of the week:
Steve to Rob "Why are you being so childish"? Steve "I can see why people might go for stereotypical good looks, or work with them" Jason to Maria "Come on, what've I missed?" (oh dear.) Steve "Talk about delusions of adequacy" Lloyd "Before the handbags start flying..." Sean to Marcus "Drop Dead Straight Boy!" Jason to Marcus "You love Kylie Minogue and Canal Steet. You do NOT love her!" Kirk to Marcus "Did you feel yourself slipping the other way or did it just like, happen when you weren't looking?"

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ITV deny Coronation Street cast members to be axed

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

What's going on with the tabloids at the minute? Is it soap silly season, or what?

First this week the Mirror had a non-story about Toyah Battersby returning to Coronation Street.  Then they published a story about Maria getting pregnant with Marcus' baby, a story that ITV have denied.

And now, today's Sun says that 10 Corrie characters are facing the chop in a cast cull when new producer Stuart Blackburn takes over in January 2013.  And ITV have denied that too.

Come on you tabloids!  Give us some interesting inside info, not soft soap spoilers that turn out to be wrong. And in the meantine, here's who our new blogger Graeme would get rid of.  You know, if he could.

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Sunday 25 November 2012

Sunday Comments, November 25

OMG They slept together! Marcus and Maria!! She's all loved up and he's going WTF? You can hardly blame him. Maria has picked yet another bloke that's going to be Mr. Wrong. It's like a train wreck. Jason has picked yet another Ms Wrong, poor thing. Is he going to become the Curly Watts of the new millenium? And poor Sean! He's still carrying a torch for Marcus and boy wasn't he rudely brought down to earth? I can't blame Marcus for being hesitant moving away with Aiden even if Maria wasn't in the picture. Aiden is head over heels for Marcus but they really haven't been going out that long and it's a big committment to make, moving in together in addition to moving away from all that's familiar.

So Marcus was going to move to London but I think little Liam saying good night and seeing his little family left behind flipped the switch. I'm pretty sure though he loves Maria, it's more about the family he wants so much. Frankly i never liked Aiden. I always find him smarmy. Glad to see the back of him to tell you the truth. But letting Aiden think that Sean was the reason Marcus finished with him was a badddddd thing to do. Sean thinks it's true and he got his hopes up. Guess who caught Marcus and Maria in a clinch? Yep. Biggest gob on the street. Plus Sean is close to Jason and feels terrible for him. Jason took it hard, as you would. Bad enough to lose your girl to another man but lose her to a gay man? What??? Maybe Jason needs to rethink that Mr. Gay Weatherfield thing. He's not had much luck with women.

Wow, though really great scenes during the confrontation in the pub. Poor Jason was so betrayed and angry and bitter as was Sean. I loved that Sean was so protective of Jason, too, just like real brothers. Great acting aside from Maria's shrieking, that is. Poor Kirk is confused. No change there then. He's just trying to make sense of it all. Maria and Marcus are defensive. She nearly bit Roy's head off and all he wanted was to ask if the sausage was nice!

We had Pub of the Year that the blonde tart won for her pub by default. How? Who knows? It's the Weatherfield Arms and this was "best pub in Lancashire" according to a posh magazine. You wouldn't think two back street pubs in Weatherfield would be running neck and neck. That was a bit contrived. Now we have the football match of the century, which, naturally all goes south because Steve's rivalry with Rob couldn't be kept off the pitch after Gary backed out and Steve got to play after all. Boring. I don't blame Lloyd for not picking Steve initially. Steve. I mean, really? Gary, Chesney, Fireman Paul, fit Rob, young Ryan... and Steve? First they lost Pub of the year in an embarassing way and now the footy match was even more mortifying.

Michelle's back. I didn't miss her, did you? Looks like the green eyed monster in Steve will be even more wild eyed. Steve never did believe that a man and a woman can be just mates. He's also being very passive aggressive, interrupting her at work to try to lure her away. His solution? Lock Rob in the back of Kirk's van so he misses an important meeting. Yeah, that's going to put him in Michelle's good books. It was funny when Rob was hollering at Kirk through the door. Kirk didn't want to be blamed or get hit, poor lamb. Rob drove them home, obviously very fast and poor Kirk got sick! And why on earth would Michelle even doubt that Steve would have done what Rob accused him of? It's classic Steve.
Tina had to go upstairs and pee on a stick with all those people waiting downstairs. Twice. Tommy is moaning and throwing his toys out of the pram. I shouldn't be so hard on him, I suppose. I think that if she wasn't doing it to clear *his* debts and he had major objections to her doing it for a friend, I might not find him so annoying. But it's his own darn fault for getting into that mess in the first place and sure, he feels guilty about it and there doesn't seem to be any other way to get that kind of cash that isn't going to take them the best years of their lives to pay back. So yes, I find his petulant attitude annoying.

Anyway, Tina's pregnant. Yet another baby on the street. We're being overrun! And I wonder if Gary and Izzy will be able to give Tina a bit of breathing room or if they'll be monitoring her every move. They might all be a bit too close for comfort.

Mandy's the new pub cook. That was quite low key wasn't it? She could be a good addition I think. Stella seems to think the pub reputation was severely damaged. I doubt that very much. Oh look there's Dev. Not seen him for awhile. Wait, when did Eva and Rob get back together?

Lewis seems intent on getting his own back on Gail. He's watching where Gail is all the time and using that silver tongue on her. Pawning his father's watch, or so he said, using Gail's emotions. She feels very bad that she was the instigator in breaking her mother's heart. Gail bought it back (how did she know which pawn shop he went to? I forget if he mentioned it, he must have i guess) and we found out that it was a Lewis-scam! So we know for sure he's up to something.

Fiz is concerned about Tyrone and rightly so. She's in a tough spot, though, knowing Kirsty doesn't like her and not wanting to put Tyrone in a position that sends Kirsty off on another rage.

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Rehabilitation Street

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

Well, full marks and a ham and cheese barm to Graeme for his wonderful blog yesterday. Let's face it, there are often times when we would all like to charge over t'cobbles swinging the metaphorical axe. For many of us, the 'for the chop' list can change on a regular basis. For example, I would quite happily have ditched Deirdre this week, just because she's being stupid but overall, I love her to bits so we accept the fact that she has her off moments.

Judging by the reaction to Graeme's blog though, there are several names that crop up again and again. The long-running loathing of Tracy-luv grinds on year after year. Viewers need to be able to invest in a character. We want to see their highs and lows. What we don't want is an unrelenting tale of nastiness. If there are no redeeming characteristics, why should we bother?

Tracy needs to have a few positives in her life. How come a 35 year old woman is still loafing around at home, painting her toe nails? Give her a job, give her a purpose or get shut. Bored of Barlow. Or McDonald. Or whatever she is.

One of the other big 'thumbs down' verdicts in relation to Graeme's blog was to Sean. Again, debate will rage around whether this portrayal of an effeminate gay man is what the Street needs. Every soap needs the mixture of light and shade. In the distant past, Sean was a welcome addition to Street life. Recently though, he's just a moaning minnie (not Caldwell, obviously) who seems to be out on a limb with no real friends or lasting relationships. Should Sean come in for a bit of rehab? Is he worth saving? The character must be knocking on forty and yet seems about as emotionally developed as a sixteen year old. If he's going to be a screaming queen, then why not go the whole way and give him a Charles Hawtrey persona. At least it would give us a laugh.

Our reaction to Dev seems to be pretty negative too. This seemingly stems from the the rather over-the-top pantomime delivery of some of his lines but in his current state, Dev is a spent character. However, rehabilitation could be at hand.

The removal of the much-maligned Sunita may give Dev a new breath of life, much in the same way that killing Renee Roberts saved Alf over thirty years ago. Plus, get the writers to acknowledge the fact that Dev has numerous other kids (and grandchildren?) as a way of extending his world. Cherish him or chuck him out.

With a few changes in emphasis, no doubt many of the characters mentioned in response to Graeme's blog can be saved. Give Tina and Tommy a slice of happiness. Let's see them have a little fun. They could make a start by burning Tommy's blouses and using a thinner pen on Tina's eyebrows. Any thicker and she'll be Groucho Marx in a frock.

Michelle needs to calm down a bit. She and Steve are constantly in 'harridan and buffoon' mode. Go on writers - give them a bit of stability! Make her pregnant. Make Steve pregnant. Let's have more of Eva, Kylie, Dennis, Roy 'n' Hayley, Julie.

As for those who should go, well luckily that's not our decision. As one respondent quite rightly said, we are but a tiny group amidst the large Corrie watching public. Here's hoping that the dull, tedious, ridiculous and unbelievable characters (and we know who they are) are rooted out and dispensed with or given a new lease of life.

Remember though, that things could be worse. Think Albert Square...

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Saturday 24 November 2012

Anne Kirkbride reveals all in new documentary: Deirdre and Me

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

There's going to be a special documentary all about Anne Kirkbride, who plays Coronation Street's Deirdre Barlow, airing on ITV1 next month.  
The documentary is called Deirdre And Me and will celebrate Anne's 40 years on Coronation Street. According to The Sun today, Anne will talk about her battles with cancer and clinical depression.  
It will also cover the “Free Deirdre” campaign and the “Weatherfield One” story and Anne also tells of her grief when actress and close friend Maggie Jones, who played on-screen Corrie mum Blanche Hunt, died. 

Anne says she has no plans to leave the Street: “I certainly have no intention of going – I’m very happy to stay.”   That's good to hear.

The one-hour documentary Deirdre and Me will air on November 13 on ITV1.  

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Special Conversation Street podcast number 14

Gemma and Michael have published a special podcast in tribute to the late Bill Tarmey (Jack Duckworth) which can be heard here. And they've done a biography of Bill here.

 You can also subscribe to them on iTunes, Like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter (@conversationstr).

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Friday 23 November 2012

Vintage Corrie episodes live on stage in Manchester pub

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

While this is about an event being held in Manchester, We're letting you know about it in case anyone happens to be in the UK in January and might want to take in the events!

The Lass O'Gowrie Coronation Street event in January 2012 was one of the Corrie highights of my year so far - read my review here

So if you're anyway near Manchester in Janaury 2013, you will not - I repeat NOT - want to miss this...

Vintage Coronation Street episodes will be staged as part of Lassfest, 3 January - 3 February 2013 at the Lass O'Gowrie, Manchester, but this time the action has moved to the 1970s.

With the kind permission of ITV Granada, the action will include iconic characters such as Bet Lynch, Fred Gee, Betty Turpin, Eddie Yates, Hilda and Stan Ogden, Mavis, Rita, Deirdre, Ken Barlow, Mike Baldwin and Gail.

Former Coronation Street casting director June West, who cast the 1968 live episodes, is again using her inside knowledge to sign up a stellar cast with yet more familiar faces from the small screen.
Past and present Coronation Street stars including Chris Gascoyne, Brian Capron, Jennie McAlpine and Nigel Pivaro also popped into the Lass to watch the 1968 episodes covering Dennis Tanner's Wedding and the Ogdens going for a Chinese meal.

Even Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey tweeted about Coronation 1968 and Maureen Lipman was moved to tears watching the episodes written by her late husband Jack Rosenthal.
Maureen Lipman gave an emotional speech at the final show when she talked about Jack and the fact the shows were raising money for Myeloma UK - the cancer that Jack died from in 2004. Jack was born in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, and wrote 129 episodes during eight years working on Coronation Street during the 1960s.

Maureen said: "It was a historic day for me. I honestly think what you are doing at the Lass O'Gowrie is both trailblazing and vital for people like me who remember and relish the golden age of television. And for anyone who wants to see how great acting and great writing are interdependent."

There will also be a Corriefest on Saturday 5 January, 10.30am-4pm, when cast and crew, past and present, will be popping in to talk about their experiences on the show. There will also be screenings of episodes, out-takes and auctions of very collectable souvenirs.

There will also be screenings of episodes, out-takes and auctions of very collectable souvenirs.
For more details of this and all the shows visit and follow The Lass O'Gowrie on twitter @thelassogowrie.

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Charlie Condou concussed after on-screen Corrie fight

Tensions rise between Jason and Marcus next week after Maria breaks up with Jason and he discovers the reason he's been dumped is because Maria's got feelings for Marcus.

And in typical Jason style, he deals with the situation in the only way he knows how. He sits down with Marcus, opens up to him about his feelings and has a man-to-man heart-to-heart. Or he belts ten bells out of him, yes, that's it. Sorry, I got confused there.

Over at Digital Spy, they report a story from this week's TV Times saying Jason has a huge fight with Marcus.  So big in fact, that actor Charlie Condou, who plays Marcus, was left a bit battered and bruised.

Ryan Thomas, who plays Jason, told TV Times about Jason's fight with Marcus: "He does more than punch, he goes a bit wild! It's funny because in the script it was just supposed to be a punch across the table, but then a fight co-ordinator came over and said, 'I want you to punch him across the table, drag him against the bar, slam him into the bar, he then drops to the floor, then you kick him, pick him up and smash his head on the bar'. So it was a big fight!

"I actually kicked Charlie in the head - I didn't mean to, I love him very much, but in the moment it was just one of those things that happened."
And Charlie added: "I was slightly concussed! I had to go off set for 20 minutes. Ryan was mortified - he kept phoning me the next day to check I was alright.  It's always difficult when you do those things but because Ryan and I are close friends, it makes it even harder. Although I think maybe he enjoyed it!"

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Nigel Pivaro's tribute to Bill Tarmey

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

Nigel Pivaro, who played Coronation Street's Terry Duckworth, has written a moving tribute to Bill Tarmey, who passed away this week. 

Nigel now works as a journalist and writes a tribute to Bill, who played his on-screen Corrie dad, Jack Duckworth.

Nigel reveals the chemistry between Bill Tarmey and himself when filming Duckworth family scenes and admits things didn't always run smoothly behind-the-scenes. 

It's an insightful piece and worth reading.

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Fab Photo - Alf Roberts

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

It's time again for a fab Coronation Street photo. Alf Roberts has featured on here quite a few times but I make no apologies for having him on again, he's so photogenic.

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Thursday 22 November 2012

Sneak Preview for next week's Corrie, Nov. 26 - 30

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

Steve grovels, Michelle softens and then Steve puts his foot in it yet again. Eva confronts Rob with Steve's help.  Leanne's divorced and Nick makes his move, encouraged by Eva and Kylie who are stirring trouble for their own reasons. Leanne knocks Nick back but makes up for it, much to Eva's dismay.

Tommy whinges. Marcus is still confused. Kirsty gets jealous and Tyrone is isolated even further. Kirsty casts her vengeful eye on Fiz who pays a terrible price. David is missing Kylie who loves her job and he's whinging too. David decides on a solution. Will Kylie think it's such a good idea?  Lewis reels in Gail slowly.

For more detail and photos, see the Moosejaw Mercury at Corrie.netbr>
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Vote for Corrie! Soap Moment of the Year 2012

It’s been a dramatic year for the inhabitants of all the UK soaps; marriage proposals, weddings, affairs, breakups, fights, revenge, tragedy and many comings & goings, including the return of some familiar faces!

TV Choice have selected eight moments from the soap year and give you the opportunity to vote on the final, prestigious category of the 2012 TV Choice Awards: the Soap Moment of the Year, sponsored by Daz.

The two soap moments from Coronation Street you can vote for are:
  • Becky exposes Tracy's lies about losing the twins, on Steve and Tracy's wedding day
  • Leanne discovers Carla and Peter's affair in court
You’ve got until midnight on Friday 23 November to make your vote count!  Vote here.

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Corrie Alzheimer's Disease storyline for 2013 Calendar

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

Paul "the fireman" Kershaw features in this wonderful picture from the Alzheimer's Society 2013 Calendar.

Paul, played by actor Tony Hirst, turns up outside of the Rovers Return for the month of December 2013.

And actress Judy Holt who played his on-screen wife Lesley Kershaw, who had early onset Alzheimer's Disease, features for the month of August.

Buy the calendar and/or donate to the Alzheimer's Disease Society here.

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Who would make the perfect Rovers landlady?

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

Following on from my previous blog, I thought I would change course slightly and be a little more positive. If the powers-that-be decided to axe the current Rovers landlady (she of the back room), who would make a good replacement? In my mind the landlady of the Rovers Return should always be one of the most important characters in the show, and that's why the current lacklustre landlady is so disappointing. 

For me, there has only ever been one truly great Rovers boss - the fabulous Mrs Annie Walker. I loved how she had ideas above her station and always aspired to greater things, knowing deep down that the Rovers was her lot in life. There was so much mileage for the writers in her snobbish ways. For over twenty years we watched her lord it over her staff and customers alike. She believed herself to be in a different class compared to most of her regulars, although she did have a soft spot for Ken who she saw as an intellectual equal. Just proves everyone is allowed the odd error of judgement. Who can forget her rivalry with Nellie Harvey? Her love/hate relationship with Hilda Ogden? And remember how we all shared her shock and horror when she discovered Renee Roberts did not stock vichyssoise in the Corner Shop? I wonder if Dev does now?

Anyway, I digress. Who would be the best modern day landlady for the Rovers Return? I discount Bet Lynch/Gilroy/Lynch straight away as too much water has passed under the bridge. My three suggestions would be:

Lillian Spencer - As close to Annie Walker as we're ever likely to see, I adored Maureen Lipman's portrayal of the snooty temporary manager. I believe she was brought in at short notice after Julie Goodyear cut her contract short. Lillian stole every scene she was in and made a great double-act with Fred Elliott. I would love to see her return to the Rovers complete with her mynah bird and Austin Allegro. We could do without her offspring though.

Shelley Unwin - It took a while for me to warm to Shelley, however she made a great Rovers barmaid in the end. Sally Lindsay was terrific in the part and despite spending six years in her bedroom thanks to Charlie Stubbs, I never grew tired of her. If they ever do bring Shelley back, let's hope they don't do to her what they've done to her old pal Sunita.

Claudia Colby - I loved Rula Lenska's portrayal of Audrey's friend and rival. Audrey needs a best mate for adventures and fun - she hasn't had one since Alma's sad demise. I love Audrey as a matriarch but I long for the old floozy to make a reappearance. Claudia had great screen presence and would, I think, be perfect landlady material. The writers could have a lot of fun with a Claudia/Audrey lock-in at the Rovers.

So who would you love to see behind the bar at the Rovers Return? And while you're at it cock, mine's a large G&T.

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Corrie originals - Daphne Oxenford as Esther Hayes

First appeared: 14th December 1960

Last appeared: 5th April 1972

Daphne Oxenford played the role of spinster Esther Hayes between 1960 and 1961 and made guest appearances in 1962, 1963, 1971 and 1972.

Born in Barnet in London in 1919, Oxenford was trained in the Embassy Theatre in London. She made her TV debut in 1949 in Family Affairs, the first TV serial ever. The following year she began her 21 year association with the BBC’s Listen with Mother. In 1960, she was cast in the role of 36 year old stay-at-home Esther Hayes in new drama serial Coronation Street. Debuting in the second episode, Esther became a mother figure to many of the street’s young people including Christine Hardman, Ken Barlow and Lucille Hewitt. As she was an irregular character, she lacked any storylines. The only proper storyline she had was when her ex-con brother Tom turned up on her doorstep. Although she obliged to take him in, she quickly saw he hadn’t changed his ways and he quickly left the area. Esther later moved from the street to another area in Weatherfield in 1962 before moving to Glasgow in 1963. She would return to the street for special occasions like Ken Barlow and Valerie Tatlock’s wedding in 1962, Valerie’s funeral in 1971 and Ernest Bishop and Emily Nugent’s wedding in 1972. She made her final appearance at the Bishops’ wedding reception. Overall, she appeared in a total of 66 episodes.  

While she continued her role as the voice of Mother on Listen with Mother until 1971, Oxenford had roles in other TV programmes like City of ’68 (1967-1968), Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em (1973), The Dick Emery Show (1973), Crown Court (1973), Play for Today (1971-1975), Man About the House (1973-1976), To the Manor Born (1979-1981), Juliet Bravo (1983-1985), Fresh Fields (1984-1986), The Wind in the Willows (1984-1988), The Bill (1993) and Casualty (1988-1996). She continued to have roles in her 80s, starring as the Queen Mother in Prince William (2002), The Royal (2004) and Midsomer Murders (2004-2008). Her last role was as a dying Agatha Christie in Doctor Who in 2008, but her scene was cut out from the broadcast episode. She was also the longest serving actor-reader on What the Papers Say, clocking 36 years between 1956 and 1992.

She currently resides in Denville Hall (a retirement home for professional actors) in Northwood in Middlesex. She was married to David Marshall from 1951 until his death in 2003 and they had two children.

Have you ever seen or met Daphne Oxenford? Do you have any pieces of trivia about her? Would you like Esther to make another guest appearance? To visit old friends Ken and Emily perhaps? If Dennis Tanner can make a comeback, why not Esther - even for just a flying visit?

Research from Wikipedia, Corriepedia, Corrie Net and IMDB.

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Wednesday 21 November 2012

Examining Marcus and Maria

There's a new love story in town and it's name is Marcus and Maria. It's a new twist on a standard soap love story. We've had odd couples before: Alf and Audrey, Ashley and Maxine, Kirk and, well.. anyone really. Roy and Hayley were probably the least likely couple yet they've turned into Coronation Street's couple with the most stable relationship, probably ever!

Most odd couples don't last and Marcus and Maria probably won't either. There has been some worried reactions among viewers that this is sending the wrong message out. I think this will be handled appropriate, and it will be done honestly and with sensitivity. We should sit back and see where it goes before we make any snap judgements. 

There's a bit more about how this happened and how I see it unfolding, over here.

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Marcus and Maria in bed together

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

There's a good interview in The Radio Times about why Marcus and Maria end up in bed together. In Bed! Together!  Marcus and Maria!

Charlie Condou, who plays Marcus on Coronation Street says this about the public reaction to Marcus' relationship with Maria: “The response I’ve had on Twitter has been great. It seems that the public has been willing Marcus and Maria to get together. A lot of people seem to prefer Marcus and Maria together rather than Marcus and Sean, which is interesting and very unexpected. There is a lot of interest from the viewers about where this going.”

Well, there's no interest from this fan. I'd much rather have Marcus back with Sean but what do I know?

Charlie says: “The whole situation is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better. There is a long way to go with this story.”  

Oh no.

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