Thursday 28 February 2013

Michael Le Vell's scenes to be cut

(This post was originally posted by Sunny Jim on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2013.)

Following this morning's news that Michael Le Vell, who plays the part of Kevin Webster, has been charged with 19 offences of sexual abuse, the Radio Times is reporting that he will not be appearing in Coronation Street pending the outcome of legal proceedings.

ITV have confirmed that scenes already filmed will be removed from programmes to be broadcast. There has been no announcement as to how the character's absence will be explained.

Michael Le Vell has issued the following statement:

"I would like to make it quite clear that following the serious allegations that have been brought against me on Thursday, 14th February 2013, I am innocent of these charges and intend to fight them vigorously.

"I will now put all my efforts into clearing my name and proving my innocence. I thank my friends, family and fans for their continued support. I would ask now for time to concentrate on preparing my defence with my legal team."

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Tim Metcalfe - goodie or baddie?

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2013.)
I know it was inevitable that we would meet some of Faye's family sooner or later, but personally I think it's great they have decided to bring in Joe Duttine as Faye's father. Yes, I know the actor was previously cast as a policeman investigating one of Gail's stupid husbands (I think it was Joe, the one who drowned), but the part is significantly different for it not to matter in my eyes. 

I know the extended Windass family have their knockers on here, if you pardon the expression, but I rather like them. They come across as a lot more real and believable than some other characters in Coronation Street at the moment. Anna is a great character and I like Debbie Rush as an actress. I also think Ellie Leach is terrific as Faye - I'd love to see her give Nasty Norris some more cheek! And I will always have a soft spot for fellow ginger, Gary. However, I do not like Owen one bit and long for Eddie to make a return! Even the odd mention these days would be better than nothing!

Anyway, so far I have found the scenes with Anna, Faye and Tim intriguing. I can't decide whether Tim is going to be a nice guy and a dutiful father or if things will all go pear shaped before too long. There was a little look of quiet menace on his face during his confrontation with an over-protective Anna the other night that got me wondering. Mind you, I quite like a bit of menacing now and then. I also wonder where social services and the adoption people fit in with all of this - we haven't seen much of that yet have we?

So what are your thoughts on the arrival of Faye's real dad? Are you looking forward to this plot development? And do you think it will all end in tears?

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Tracy Barlow - here we go again!

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2013.)

Oh dear lord. Reading the Coronation Street spoiler that Tracy soon shares a taxi with Rob gave me an involuntary shudder. 

I simply cannot cope with the pairing of two of my least favourite Corrie characters. Why must this happen? 

What worries me most is that all they'll have to do is share a taxi cab for 10 minutes and Tracy will be pregnant despite the fact that she is on the pill and Rob whats-his-name has had a vasectomy. I jest of course. Well, given the Corrie writers' recent flights of fancy, anything is possible. 

I can't see the logic that lead the powers that be to put these two unedifying spectacles together. Both are incredibly dull. Both are incredibly tedious. 

And both lack any redeeming qualities whatsoever.

I am quite sure this latest Tracy pairing (how many have there been now, I lost track when she woke up next to Roy Cropper for a bet) is just so the writers can resuscitate that dreadful old story of jealousy over Steve being with Michelle. You'll remember Michelle as that lass who seemingly gained a business degree overnight, while raising a son who not only isn't hers but came back from a sojourn in Glasgow with a different head, looking older than his mummy. Mind you I've had nights out in Glasgow that have had the same effect on me. I digress. 

My main point amidst all this rambling is: What are the Corrie writers thinking about?! In the past it would be seen as sensible to put a less than popular character with a more popular, established one. Where is the sense in putting two rubbish characters together, unless they cancel each other out that there's a thought. I also really dislike the idea of Tracy going to work in Underworld. Exactly how many jobs can Carla create in that place? I do honestly think the recent stories at the faktry have been rather pointless and more than a little dull. If only they could bring back Ida Clough! 

So finally, what would I like to see come out of the Tracy/Rob pairing? I can only hope that Tracy will kill after mating. Oh hang on, she's already done that. Still, that's not stopped the powers that be before!

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Wednesday 27 February 2013

How will Kirsty get her comeuppance? (speculation)

Now that Tyrone has been arrested, we know that there will be a court hearing that will probably be the finale in the Tyrone and Kirsty saga. But we don't know the outcome yet. Oh sure, there's the tired old "we've filmed two endings" business but that's only for the benefit of the papparazzi and the publicity. They won't have filmed more than possibly one or two very short clips because they certainly wouldn't waste time and effort writing weeks' worth of aftermath and filming it.

Look at the photos on the Daily Mail site. They don't really give anything away as they show both "outcomes" to the hearing. We also see Alison, Kirsty's mother, and you would think that's reasonable, that her mother would support her but I think that's the clue to Kirsty's downfall. Read a bit more about how I think it could come down over here. Purely speculation, no spoilers. How do you think Kirsty will end up? Villains *must* pay in one way or another, it's soap law!

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The faces of 1990s Corrie

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2013.)

Inspired by Daran Little's 40 years of Coronation Street and having done some research on Corriepedia, I have come up with the top 12 faces of Coronation Street in every decade.

In the fourth of five posts, I look at the top 12 faces of Corrie in the 1990s. These are the faces who appeared the most during the decade.


  1. Gail Tilsley/Platt (1070 episodes, 1990-1999)
  2. Rita Fairclough/Sullivan (1022 episodes, 1990-1999)
  3. Jack Duckworth (1006 episodes, 1990-1999)
  4. Vera Duckworth (1006 episodes, 1990-1999)
  5. Alma Sedgewick/Baldwin (979 episodes, 1990-1999)
  6. Audrey Roberts (957 episodes, 1990-1999)
  7. Jim McDonald (949 episodes, 1990-1999)
  8. Kevin Webster (936 episodes, 1990-1999)
  9. Mike Baldwin (910 episodes, 1990-1999)
  10. Deirdre Barlow/Rachid (906 episodes, 1990-1999)
  11. Ken Barlow (905 episodes, 1990-1999)
  12. Curly Watts (891 episodes, 1990-1999)

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Tuesday 26 February 2013

Time for Ted Page to return to Corrie?

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2013.)

Just where is Gail's dad, Ted Page? He disappeared three years ago and has vanished without trace. I was more than a little disappointed at the time as I thought he was a great character and brought much needed sanity to the Platt/McIntyre/Roberts household.

His absence from Gail's trial following Joe's death was never really explained and he's not been mentioned in any great detail since. Surely now would be the perfect opportunity to bring Ted back? 

Gail's long lost gay dad would be the perfect person to reunite the family and put an end to all their squabbles. He would be a voice of reason and a good influence on Nick and David. He could also sort out the differences between Gail and Audrey. 

I loved the impact finding Ted had on Gail. We got to see a completely different side to her and it was incredibly touching to see her bond with the dad she never knew, in middle age. It was also amusing to see Audrey's nose put out of joint. Who can forget the moment Audrey thought her involvement with Ted all those years ago had turned him gay?! 

Also, given Gail's current financial situation, perhaps Ted would be in a position to offer advice and practical support? Maybe what Gail needs at the moment is a nice long break in London with her father? (Not that I want rid of her or anything)....I just think it's strange that Ted hasn't been mentioned.

Rather than Gail finding another man to share her life with, I think she would do well to reconnect with her father. So do you agree? Would you like to see Ted Page back in Weatherfield? As usual, let's have your comments below!

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Coronation Street comes to America, with Hulu

(This post was originally posted by Chewy on the Coronation Street Blog January 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Hulu, an American video on demand site has announced that Coronation Street is now available to watch on their service.

American pace will be two weeks behind the current episodes. This will be welcome news to fans in the US who have been stuck without a proper way to watch Corrie.

Also worth noting is that ITV have recently begun counting Coronation Street episodes in seasons, which may have been done to make the episode count (currently Ep. 8040) less threatening.

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Monday 25 February 2013

Corrie Canada weekly awards: Feb. 18 - 22

Voice of Reason award: Dennis Tanner always tries to see both sides of a situation. Nothing is cut and dried indeed.

You gotta start somewhere: Tracy packing knickers, next stop, Branson's empire? Not likely.

Desperation award: Tyrone thinks the only solution is to run away with the baby.

Continuity Fairy fail: Where did they get the car seat for Hope?

Guilt Trip award: Tyrone really laid it on Kevin to help him get Ruby.

Club Rules: Roy's railway club likes to keep to a strict timetable. Too bad real trains don't seem to manage it often! ;)

Pants on Fire award: Surely Sally can tell by now when Kevin's lying about having anything to do with helping Tyrone. Faye told Tim her parents are ok with her being out at night to see him.

Love is blind award: Addled star: Everyone seems to be of the opinion that love makes you stupid. In Fiz's case, they're right.

Psychic award: Fiz didn't tell Chesney where she was but we saw him put the phone down and then he showed up where she was.

Hard Faced Cow award: Who do you think? Tracy Barlow.

Lines of the week
Tyrone to Kirsty "You know I love her" Kirsty "You don't love me. That's the price you pay" (B#tch)
Marcus "I think it was the rat that broke the camel's back"
Owen "Playing the blame game isn't going to get anywhere" (then why is it your first line of offence?) Kirk "Nobody's bothered much with trannies once digital radio came out"
Syliva "I've always had a way with children"
Stella to Norris "The day you speak for me is the day I have myself committed"
Norris "There's no need to blow this out of proportion" (which is what you just did)
Anna "It's nice to have the old Faye back" (that would be the Faye that lied and stole? You got your wish)
Katy "Love's done something to her brain" (and it's not the first time, is it?)
Sunita "I suppose love can addle your brain" (voice of experience)
Gail "Box bedroom" "Box bedroom" "Box bedroom"
and "If it feels like a box and looks like a box, it PROBABLY IS A BOX!!!!"
Tracy to Katy (re them being in on Ty's escape) "You could all have your own wing!" (in prison)
Tracy about Chesney "Blind loyalty. I think it's a ginger thing" Sunita "She came in for loaf, not a lecture!"
Kirsty "Every second I'm not with her is torture" (And that's what you're putting Tyrone through!) Kylie "The thing about lodgers is you can kick 'em out"

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New Corrie producer, new crop of cast cull tall tales

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Every time a new Coronation Street producer takes up the helm at our favourite soap there's a clutch of stories in the tabloids announcing they're going to get rid of loads of members of the Corrie cast.  It happened when Phil Collinson took over and now it's happening, not for the first time, as Stuart Blackburn has taken up his new role as Corrie producer.

Mind you, after Corrie producer Brian "the axeman" Park famously slaughtered some of the cast after he took up the reins, maybe the tabloids have a point, in er, pointing out and pondering on who might be first on any new producer's chopping board?

So today the Mirror reports that Stuart "looks cuddly enough to me" Blackburn has asked to see Corrie cast members face to face to discuss their futures.  The Mirror have dubbed him "the grim reaper" and say he already plans to bring back Tina O'Brien as Sarah Grimshaw - a story that has been denied to us here at the Coronation Street Blog.

Mr Curry Sauce tells the Mirror:  “There are a few people full of jitters in here. They don’t know whether their faces will fit or not. And with mortgages and commitments to think of it’s a panicky time for a few people. Even if they don’t get the bullet they can be kind of sidelined, which means their pay packet will take a battering until it is decided to bring them back in to the fold.

Anyway, this is the science bit from the story - a Corrie spokeswoman insisted that the new boss’s plans to see the cast individually were not “sinister”. She added: “He has a very open door policy. Literally, his door is always open. He is very approachable and very friendly. He has said, ‘Come and see me, I’m really happy to see you’.”

Just hope he's not twirling his moustache and fondling a sharp knife when you do...

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Corrie bad lad starring in Spice Girls musical

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Bill Ward, who played Coronation Street's Charlie Stubbs - the one who got bashed to death by Tracy Barlow - is now showing his more artistic side.

He's currently starring as Johnny in the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever in London’s West End.

And an exhibition of Bill's photography – depicting some of his favourite scenes of Manchester (view some here at the MEN)  – is going on show at a new exhibition, called ‘Passing Through’.

It features shots of places that Bill visited during time off from filming during his spell in Weatherfield from 2003-7.

The photos include moody depictions of Castlefield basin, Trafford’s swing bridge and the Lancashire coast. Bill said he became fascinated with Manchester’s canals during his time on Corrie - and always takes the time to photograph areas such as Castlefield basin when he’s back in town.

The exhibition is at the Wendy J Levy gallery in Didsbury between February 12 -March 1. The gallery is open 10am-5pm Tuesday- Saturday.

Bill will give a talk about his work at the gallery in Warburton Street, on Sunday, February 11 from 3-5pm.

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Yay or Nay - was Fiz right to dob Dobbs in?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Was Fiz right to dob in Tyrone last night on Coronation Street? Although I was surprised that she'd done so, and I was growling at the screen when it looked like Katy might call the cops, I'm pleased Fiz did the right thing in the end.  There was no way the two of them could escape the country with two little kids and no cash.

I am finding it hard to believe that none of the women, none of them, on the street believe Tyrone's story, not even Sally, who should know better.  But let's suspend belief otherwise we'll be throwing shoes at the telly for the next few weeks, months or however long it's going to drag on for until Tyrone or Kirsty spend their day in court.

Anyway, was Fiz right to dob in Tyrone?  Yay or Nay? I say Yay.

And now he's been arrested on child abduction charges, there's only two words left to say - Free Tyrone!  Have a look at Free Tyrone campaign pictures here.

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Sunday 24 February 2013

Sunday Comments February 24

Nothing Fiz and Tina can say can dissuade Tyrone from pleading guilty. Going to see Kirsty probably wasn't the smartest thing to do. Kirsty complaining about how hard it's been to be a single parent? She's only been one for five minutes! Kirsty was surprised he was willing to plead guilty. He's willing to do anything, anything except come home to her. She's desperate to have him back and thinks if he comes back, everything will be like it was but we all know it won't. You can't unsay things, you can't love someone who's done all that to you. Fine. Kirsty intends on keeping Ruby  from him as a result. Why would you want him back under those circumstances, really? And nobody is willing to believe Tyrone, or it seems like it from his point of view. Deciding to run away with the baby might seem like the only solution to him but of course it's only the worst thing ever to do.

Sally might have held her ground against letting Tyrone see Ruby but Kevin got caught in the conservatory by a tearful Tyrone and couldn't help but let Ty hold the baby. Kevin doesn't know how how manipulative Kirsty can really be. I think we're about to find out how desperate Tyrone is. Sally and Kevin moan about what he did and yes, Kevin, Sally just can't get past it and I can't blame her. He wishes she'd just erase it from memory but that won't happen and I'm glad it hasn't been swept under the rug. Tina is adamant in her defence of Tyrone and got chucked out and nearly sacked. People on Coronation Street get sacked for the smallest thing and not sacked for total insubordination.

Ty you can't run away. But if you do, I'll go with you, says Fiz. Talk about making things 10 times worse. There's nobody else to babysit since Kirsty will have all her cronies with her! Oh, except Emily. Emily would have been the better choice. Nobody would have got past her but daft Sophie? Didn't have the chance, Tyrone's guilt trip on Kevin worked and he took over and let Tyrone take the baby. Fiz, naturally has to go with her. As far as you can go without a passport - Ireland. Kevin's taking the blame.

I can see that Kirsty might think Tina could be in on the baby-snatching but of course that's not what happened. The police are involved and the city is covered in CCTV yet they got away. Wait, how is the car Kirsty's? I thought Tyrone had his own car? Why on earth would he be stupid enough to go off with Kirsty's car, adding grand theft auto to it? Standing in the ferry ticket office, full of tv cameras and he looks right at one. He's even stupider than I thought. He at least figured out the police were checking the cars. Where did they get the car seat for Hope? Fiz doesn't have a car.

Love is blind and it addles your brains. That's what everyone thinks about Fiz and let's face it, with her history, it's no wonder. She and Tyrone are at a brick wall, with not enough money to get anywhere safely so Fiz pleas with Chesney to help. She works on his guilt and he ends up agreeing to bring her some cash. Katy is furious because she's spent all morning defending them to the likes of Tracy Flaming Barlow who's a hard faced cow who enjoys causing trouble wherever she goes. Everyone thinks she and Chesney were in on the kidnapping and of course they weren't. Now, though, it looks like Chesney is going to be dragged into it anyway. Kirsty is going to make a television appeal which is only going to up the pressure and it makes me ill to see how Eileen is so protective of her.

Under normal circumstances, you can imagine how frantic Kirsty must be. She still is and should be with her child missing but she knows damn well why he took it. Sally won't have believed Kevin's lies to the police but she had her own grilling to put him through but he managed to sidestep that. Chesney is in a pickle again. Fiz is involved with another loser in his eyes. I'm not sure if Tyrone is a loser but he certainly isn't the smartest. Well, they're ensconced in a Welsh B&B while Norris reckons Tina is the ringleader of the whole plot and Tina overheard him. I'm glad she stood up to them all and told them they'd all have egg on their faces in the end. And I, for one, can't wait. I do think Rita, Emily and Dennis, obviously, are more or less on the fence.

Kylie even agrees with David that they can't afford to pay more rent. So why are they planning to move out? It'll cost them much more than they're paying living at home. Audrey might have been playing tough love with Gail but hearing that Gail could lose the house if David and Kylie move out gives her an idea, with Rita's help. I can understand Audrey being angry with Gail. what's the solution? Lending David and Kylie the money to buy Gail's house from her and let Gail lodge with them instead of the other way around. It's the best solution even if Gail can't accept it. Here's what i want to know.

Gail borrowed against the house to move to Italy. How was she planning to repay the loan from there? Was she going to sell it anyway? So what's different now? Kylie and David had been approved for a mortgage back when they were going to buy Eileen's house. Gail isn't going to forgive Audrey for setting her up as a lodger? I think Audrey has a lot more not to forgive Gail for and she knows it. Gail was so funny drunk with the mortgage guy.

Gail's idea is ask for a raise and come live with Nick and Leanne. Is it asking too much? Yes it is. But Nick can't say no. So there goes the rent that David and Kylie were counting on to help pay the mortgage. I can't blame Leanne for kicking off. If my mother-in-law refused to come to my wedding because she hates me and then wants to live with me, I wouldn't let her either. Nick then has to crawl back and tell Gail she couldn't move in. I can't understand why Gail would want to in the first place. Lesser of two evils? I love Gail's rebellion!! She's not giving in an inch to Kylie and David and it's sooo funny to watch! She's got her own cupboard, she's not ironing for them, she's not on Max duties. Suck it up kids! I'm just a paying guest!

I doubt very much Tracy will last very long at the factory. Between working with Kirk and the factory workers taking the mick and Michelle laughing at her? Even trying to get under Michelle's skin is going to wear thin after awhile. But Tracy is getting under Michelle's skin.

Sylvia really is being vague and there are things not adding up. Sylvia thinks she's lost her purse (wallet). Even Roy's offer of 20 pounds wasn't good enough so she asks for 100 as an advance on her salary. She looked overly relieved when he gave it to her and Hayley's suspicious. She wasn't in too much hurry to call up and cancel her other cards and only pretended to when Roy insisted. Sylvia continued being mysterious and Roy is getting worried. Is she ill? He ends up following her via Lloyd. What's he going to find?

Faye had more than a little lip teasing Sylvia about America. She managed to slip out when Sylvia dozed off. Stupid girl. Tim needs to realize what a stroppy little liar Faye can be. He doesn't really know her at all yet. I still have an unsettled feeling about Tim. I can understand Faye wanting to meet and know her dad and I really hope it is on the level. Letting her lie to her parents isn't a great idea but she got away with it. Meanwhile Anna and Owen are so naive. Faye ran off to see Tim again, this time behind Gary and Izzy's back. She's one determined little girl.

Laughed at Beth giving away the end of the dvd Marcus and Maria were going to watch. Temporary accomodations lasted 6 weeks, they did well putting up with all the extra poeple that long! Beth is on a mission to win Maria over but a big breakfast backfired because they didn't want it. Helping with the housework, too but it's too little too late. Beth's  idea of a great club is a gay club. That doesn't go over well with Maria, who thinks Marcus could easily be lured back to the other side. Overreact much? Naturally Sean catches Marcus drowning his sorrows in the exact same gay club out of all the clubs in Manchester. In spite of it all, Marcus *did* stay on in the gay club, a familiar surrounding for him. Nice to see he and Sean reconnect. But having that drink with Sean didn't help Maria's insecurities any.

It won't be long before Kirk and Beth move out and not before time. I hear they're going to rent the flat over the butcher shop because after all, almost nobody lives very far from Coronation Street and that flat's been available since Janice moved out. You know, under other circumstances, Marcus and Maria would make a really nice couple but I still think it's all going to end in tears. 

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Ex-Corrie fella vows never to return to Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Sean Wilson, who played Martin Platt in Coronation Street, left the show in 2005 after it was claimed that he was unhappy with the direction his character was going. If you remember, Martin Platt had an affair with Katy Harris who was under the age of consent.

In his book "The Great Northern Cook book" (which is wonderful, by the way) Sean say this: "By 2005 I knew my tenure on the Street had to end. An editorial decision was made that Martin should embark on an underage relationship, something that made me uncomfortable. I picked up my coat and left in September in that year ending 21 years of massive fun with a fabulous on-set family."

And now Sean has confirmed his future is in cooking and cheeses rather than the cobbles. He told the North West Evening mail:

He said: “I will act again, but never with Coronation Street. They were very rude to me when I left, I would rather walk down any other street even if I had a nail in my shoe.”

Since leaving Corrie, he as established The Saddleworth Cheese Company and spent a lot of time cooking in Michelin-starred restaurants.

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Saturday 23 February 2013

Flashbacks on Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

This week on Canadian Coronation Street Gail had a bit of a moment. The truth of her stupidity hit her hard, but not hard enough as she's barely taking in the full force of what she's gone and done.  If Audrey does give David and Kylie the deposit to buy Gail's house, at least she's starting to relaise now she'll lose the house - the home - she's lived in for over 21 years. 

And as that realisation sank in, we watched Gail on screen absorbing the enormity of how utterly and ridiculously, pathetically stupid she's been over losing her loot to Lewis. She's losing the home where the drama of her life has played out over the years.

And I thought to myself - what we need now is a Flashback!

Yes, a Flashback! That exclamation mark is not optional, by the way. The camera could pan to Gail sitting on the sofa with her head in her hands, sobbing her little heart out, while viewers are fed a Flashback! of scenes from her life played out on screen.

There could be sights and sounds from the past. David with his hand ready to push his mother down the stairs, Nick returning, Sarah Lou leaving. There could be the deep boom of male voices - Richard Hillman offering his 'portillo' to Jack and Vera at Gail's tea table, Phil the foot fella offering to rub Gail's corns, Martin Platt leaving.  There could be the wail of the cop cars as they swoop to her front door, blue lights flashing through her cheap and nasty nets to bring all manner of bad news to her door - David's in the canal, Joe McIntyre's drowned, her dad Ted Page has gone AWOL.

Has Corrie ever used a Flashback! before? If not, why not? And surely it's time to start now.

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Fab Photo - Becky

(This post was originally posted by Sunny Jim on the Coronation Street Blog January 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. For absolutely no other reason than I really like this picture, here's a fab photo of Becky on one of her wedding days.

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Friday 22 February 2013

Tyrone and Fiz have history - but do they have a future?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

A comment from a Coronation Street fan on twitter this week got me thinking. The fan on twitter was and his comment was: "I don't know my Corrie history well but were Ty & Fiz ever a couple back then?"

Well, for those Corrie fans who would like to know, let's delve into the history books via and Corriepedia to remind ourselves just what a couple Ty and Fiz were, first time around.  And why perhaps it was only natural that Tyrone would seek out Fiz's help when he needed it most to get away from Kirsty.

Back in 2000, Tyrone and Maria got engaged. You might remember Tyrone proposed to Maria at the top of Blackpool tower in an episode when all the young 'uns went on holiday to Blackpool.  Watch the YouTube here. 

Meanwhile, Fiz became somewhat obsessed with Tyrone.

Maria broke off her engagement to Tyrone after seeing Fiz and Tyrone kiss.

Although nursing a broken heart for Maria, Tyrone started going out with Fiz, not having had much of a say in the matter.

Harking back to his days as a juvenile delinquent, Tyrone began nicking cars from the garage and taking Fiz on joyrides.

Their relationship ended when Fiz, making a stand over her dismissal from the factory, posed topless on the factory roof and her photo was splashed over the front page of the newspaper.

So, it seems to me from looking back at the runaway duo, that Tyrone needs Fiz's strength at the moment more than her love and any notion of romance. I'd not really thought about it like that before and it's only by looking back at what they were like before, how insistent Fiz was on getting her man, whether he wanted to be got or not, that suggests they might not last in the future.

When all's said and done, when Kirsty's locked up or killed off (for surely she most be, villains always get their comeuppance), do you think there's a future for Tyrone and Fiz and Ruby and Hope?

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Corrie's Jayne Bickerton returns to stand-up comedy

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Copyright Mark Bickerton 2013
Remember Yana Lumb? She was Cilla Battersby's best mate, played by actress Jayne Bickerton. Since leaving Coronation Street Jayne's turned her hand to scriptwriting and artwork and now she's going back to her real love of comedy stand-up as Mary Unfaithful.

Jayne, who lives in Manchester with her Corrie scriptwriter husband Mark Bickerton, put Mary Unfaithful into retirement back in 2000 says Manchester City Life.

Jayne says: “I’d played Manchester a lot as a stand up and I saw people getting jaded with the circuit. I put the uke away.”

Then, last year, her husband bought her a new uke. She started writing songs again, and then had two crucial conversations: one with local funnyman Justin Moorhouse about performing at his new Laugh Local event, and another with Gag Reflex’s Lee Martin, who gave her the advice she needed about getting back on stage.

In truth, she had plenty of experience to draw on already. During the 1990s, she toured with Lily Savage, Craig Charles, Jo Brand and Steve Coogan, and eventually went on to work in TV with Peter Kay and on hit series Clocking Off. 

An exhibited artist with her own jewellery range, Jayne also worked as a production secretary on Countdown and wrote scripts for Corrie and Emmerdale.  But she says it’s time for Mary to unleash her latest songs – written for the settled, Radio 4 crowd – on the world.
Find out more about Jayne Bickerton and Mary Unfaithful at Jayne's website here.  She's got gigs coming up this weekend - go and see her!

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Alan Halsall to become a dad

Alan Halsall, who plays Coronation Street's Tyrone Dobbs, is to become a dad. He announced on twitter today that his wife Lucy Jo Hudson, who played killer Katy Harris on Coronation Street, is pregnant with their first child.   Many congratulations to them both.

Here's Alan's tweet about the good news:

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Conversation Street Podcast 28

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!

This week Michael and Gemma talk about Audrey's solution to Gail's financial problem. They analyse Tyrone's possibly ill-thought out decision in his quest to see Ruby and there's more.  This week's character profile is Kevin Webster.

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

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Whatever happened to... Richard Hillman?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog January 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

In the first of a series of guest blog posts from Michael Smith, we take a look back at some of the ex-Coronation Street actors to see where life has taken them since they left the cobbles.

We kick off first with tricky Dicky Hillman, actor Brian Capron.

Who can forget Richard Hillman?

It’s been a decade since Brian Capron terrorised the residents of Weatherfield in his infamous and critically acclaimed role as the serial killer dubbed ‘Tricky Dicky’ by the red tops.

Capron cleaned up at the British Soap Awards in 2003, taking home the gongs for Best Actor, Best Exit and Villain of the Year.

The question then is, once you’ve dealt with the mardy teenage David Platt, taken a crowbar to poor old Emily Bishop and endured Norris’ incessant busy-bodying, where do you go next?

In all seriousness, the success of the Richard Hillman character would always leave Capron with a big decision as to his next role.

He eventually decided on making the transition across the Pennines for a two year stint in Skelthwaite on Where the Heart Is, playing Ozias Harding, a factory owner and somewhat of a bully.

As if drawn to locations with particularly high crime rates, Capron then ventured to the fictional town of Midsomer, to guest star as Dave Hicks: Mayor of Causton and another role where he wasn’t afraid to tread on the wrong side of the thin blue line.

Although his crimes in Midsomer paled in comparison to its other residents (and were a far cry away from his reign of terror in Weatherfield), he did abuse his influence on the council to further his dodgy property deals.

Interestingly, Tricky Dicky did make a (sort of) return to Weatherfield in 2011 for A Knight's Tale, starring as a boatman in a Corrie spin-off DVD. He wasn’t, however, resurrected from the canal 20 million of us saw him plunge into in 2003; Capron returned to play Hillman’s evil brother.

So, with a CV that boasts appearances in Corrie, Eastenders, Where the Heart Is, Grange Hill, Doctors and Midsomer Murders; it seems there isn’t an institutional British television drama that Capron hasn’t appeared in, during the 40 years he’s graced our screens.

He even appeared in 2006 on Strictly Come Dancing.

These days, you’re as likely to see Brian in the pantomime as you are on your television set. He told the Telegraph in December that he was ‘making more in panto than from his pension’!

To book Brian Capron or any other past or present Corrie actors, have a look here.

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Sneak preview for Canadian Corrie, Feb. 25 - Mar. 1

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

Fiz makes a big decision and Tyrone lands in jail. Roy discovers Sylvia's secret and shows how to play the odds. Faye continues to cause trouble in her quest to know her father. It's putting cracks in Owen and Anna's relationship as well. Will Anna give in to Faye? When Tim's job finishes, will Faye's idea keep him around?

David and Kylie find home ownership more expensive than they thought. Gail finds a clue. Jenna moves in with Mandy and Lloyd, just around the corner from Sophie. Gloria returns with a fella. Katy develops a crush.

For more detail and photos, see the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Thursday 21 February 2013

Time for Emily to have her own Corrie storyline?

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2013.)

As the new Coronation Street producer settles in to the all powerful hot seat he is bound to look at the current cast of Weatherfield characters and make some important decisions for the future. As with all Corrie fans he is sure to have some characters and actors that he prefers to others. It will be interesting to see the changes Stuart Blackburn will put into place over time.

I think we'll all agree that different producers have actors who become flavours of the month, and while Corrie has to evolve and move forward, let's hope the powers that be don't forget some of the old faces. While Bill Roache is always praised for his longevity and years of service as Street original Ken Barlow, and Philip Lowrie's return as Dennis Tanner was also a delight, I think it's time to salute the wonderful Emily Bishop as portrayed by Eileen Derbyshire. 

Eileen has been part of Coronation Street for an amazing 52 years this month making her Corrie's longest serving female cast member. As the actress herself very rarely makes public appearances and never gives interviews I think it can sometimes be easy to overlook her wonderful contribution to the Street. Her character may not be the most dramatic, exciting or explosive the Street has ever known but she has featured in some terrific storylines, from her years with Leonard Swindley at Gamma Garments, her marriage to Ernie Bishop and classic partnerships with the likes of Curly Watts, Percy Sugden and now, Norris Cole. 

I loved Emily's relationship with her nephew, Spider (and I know a certain someone on here who did too!) Sending a protesting Emily up a tree on the Red Rec was a masterstroke and gave the character new life back in the 1990s. However for me Emily was at her best when coping with her grief after her beloved husband Ernest was shot back in 1978. Eileen turned in some tremendous performances and was incredibly believable throughout.

I just wish the powers that be would give Emily a storyline of her own in 2013. Yes, I know the actress is now of a certain age but she is not really that much older than Bill Roache and his character is still fending off amorous advances from Wendy flamin' Crozier! All we've seen Emily do recently is baby sit Ruby and look disapprovingly at Norris and Mary. It was great to see her involved with Norris' long-lost brother Ramsay, but that was a few years ago now. 

So what would be a good story for Emily? Maybe something involving her charity work at the hospital? We haven't seen anything of her relationship with Sophie Webster since she went down the lesbian route (Sophie, not Emily!) so perhaps that could be explored again. Emily does have a sister, Norah, who appeared at both her wedding and Ernest's funeral - maybe she could arrive for a visit? Also, wouldn't it be good if Spider came back to visit his aunty Em? I'm sure there is still the opportunity for one or two adventures there. 

So do you agree that Eileen's contribution to Coronation Street is often overlooked? And would you like to see her carry her own storyline for a change instead of just popping up in other people's? If Emily was given a storyline, what would you like to see her get up to?

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New producer Stuart Blackburn talks Corrie in MEN article

(This post was originally posted by Chewy on the Coronation Street Blog January 2013, reposted to this blog with permission.)

The Manchester Evening News has a great introductionory interview on their website with new Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn.
(WARNING The article itself has no spoilers but at least on one or two days, there were spoiler links after the article on that website)
In the interview Stuart talks about his vision for our favourite show.

"My vision of Corrie is really simple. The first episode wasn’t whimsical, it wasn’t a comedy, it wasn’t a nostalgic love-fest. It was gripping urban drama done on popular television for the very first time." Stuart explains

“It was kind of revolutionary – the lives, loves and aspirations of the working classes. What I want Corrie to do is retain that wit, the warmth and optimism."

He also talks about the rumours of axings, and of the rumors of returning characters such as Toyah and Sarah Louise. Stuart's vision for the show sounds quite interesting, and a little bit different to what Phil Collinson's vision was.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Stuart has in mind for the show.

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Weatherfield's flavour of the month

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2013.)

The recent news that the Rovers may (or may not) succumb to another fire took me rather by surprise. I can see the logic of doing this if the powers that be are trying to find a way to build a new set, but what I cannot understand is why they would consider making the character of Michelle Connor the new Rovers landlady. 

I mean really, do the Corrie bosses never listen or learn from past mistakes?

It's not the idea of making Michelle the landlady that annoys me most. Even though Michelle has been a less than favourite character of mine since all that rubbish with the two sons, which she never mentions, even though she is now bringing up a son who isn't her own, with a different head. I also don't like the effect she has on Steve, a favourite character of mine. It didn't work the first time and it doesn't work now. 

Anyway, the main reason I dislike this idea is the tabloid comment that Corrie bosses want to push Michelle forward to ensure she becomes a fans' favourite. I may be nothing but a stubborn child at heart, but whenever someone tells me what I should or should not like, I tend to do the exact opposite! And I think this is true for the majority of genuine Corrie fans. Force-feeding us a character with no respite, shoe-horning them into endless storylines no matter how unsuitable or unrealistic never works! 

There have been several attempts at this in recent years and despite the varying talents of the actors involved it never comes off. Sean Tully was a flavour of the month for a time, however now the character receives a fair amount of criticism and isn't currently carrying a major storyline. Tracy-luv Barlow is another one. Again and again she has taken centre stage in numerous ridiculous and rehashed stories in the vain hope we will take to her. Michelle Connor herself was flavour of the month for quite some time until the aforementioned child-swap story which plumbed new depths! 

And finally, I can't go any further without mentioning dear darling St Ella of the Back Room. For months on end she was parachuted in to hundreds of stories, regardless of whether she knew the characters involved or not. The writers even had her take on armed robbers and win in the hope we would take her to our hearts. Wrong! The only upside to this current rumour is that she may not be landlady for that much longer! Well, a boy can dream!

In the old days characters were allowed to develop over time. They built up their screen time and storyline potential gradually, allowing the viewers to get used to them, learn more about them and finally take to them and appreciate their presence. These days characters seem to explode into Weatherfield and are shoved down our throats from the get go! 

Anyway, I'm finished ranting now. I'm off to watch some classic Annie Walker to remind me of what a proper Rovers Return landlady should be like. 

As usual, let me know your thoughts!

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Wednesday 20 February 2013

The faces of 1980s Corrie

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2013.)

Inspired by Daran Little's 40 years of Coronation Street and having done some research on Corriepedia, I have come up with the top 12 faces of Coronation Street in every decade.

In the third of five posts, I look at the top 12 faces of Corrie in the 1980s. These are the faces who appeared the most during the decade.

  1. Bet Lynch/Gilroy (738 episodes, 1980-1989)
  2. Ivy Tilsley/Brennan (691 episodes, 1980-1989)
  3. Rita Fairclough (682 episodes, 1980-1989)
  4. Alf Roberts (681 episodes, 1980-1989)
  5. Mavis Riley/Wilton (667 episodes, 1980-1989)
  6. Betty Turpin (659 episodes, 1980-1989)
  7. Ken Barlow (657 episodes, 1980-1989)
  8. Deirdre Langton/Barlow (652 episodes, 1980-1989)
  9. Mike Baldwin (648 episodes, 1980-1989)
  10. Vera Duckworth (628 episodes, 1980-1989)
  11. Emily Bishop/Swain/Bishop (621 episodes, 1980-1989)
  12. Gail Tilsley (613 episodes, 1980-1989)

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The ruination of Sunita Alahan

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2013.)

Christmas is but a distant memory, the pavements are covered in ice and all we have to entertain us of a weekend is a parade of Z-list celebrities belly-flopping into a swimming pool. Weep, Britain. Weep bitter tears for these dreary days. They, of course, are about to become drearier as the luckless, loveless Sunita Alahan bids farewell to t'cobbles.

I dare say one or two people will be dancing a merry jig at the thought of the former Miss Parekh getting the heave-ho she so richly deserves. To a certain extent, I agree. However, I have that odd, heavy feeling - nothing to do with the hideous Yorkshire Pudding I made at the weekend (thank you Mary Berry) - that comes with the knowledge that a Corrie character appears to have been well and truly trashed.

I had the same feeling about poor old, very dead Molly Dobbs. Here was a character who, let's be honest, was never dynamic but who represented a kind of Corrie everywoman - generally dependable, honest, a good wife and a bit of a laugh. Somehow though, it wasn't enough and before long, she was the Whore of Babylon. The same thing seems to have befallen our Sunita.

Once a good friend, happy wife and a demon with a pricing gun, Sunita morphed into a doxy almost overnight. Suddenly it was 'baps ahoy!' as Sunita's cleavage threatened to fill the Rovers like an inflatable dinghy. The cheery face was replaced by some arch, vixen-like pouting as she dragged herself around the pub playing the tart for Karl. Karlnita - the coming together of two decent people to become one heinous creature. The relationship ultimately didn't work for them and it certainly didn't work for us. Was it a case that the storyliners had no idea what to do with Sunita? If so, would it have been better to just let her depart with her head held high (and her bosoms held low?)

Shobna Gulati is a fantastic actress and no doubt will have great success with whatever she does next. As for Sunita, I'm going to forget that the 'Carry On Moll Flanders' version ever existed and will forever remember her dishing out sliced loaves to customers and sound advice to young Sophie.

Let's hope someone buys her a nice chunky high-necked sweater as a parting gift.

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The fall and rise of Gail Potter

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2013.)

I don't hate Gail. I just like her a lot less than I used to. I put that firmly at the door of the storyliners and the writers. Helen Worth always puts in terrific performances as Gail and as an actress she has been incredibly loyal and positive about the Street for the last 38 years. 

I think we all enjoyed the culmination of the Lewis Archer plot last week. Gail really did have it coming. However, rather than dwelling on the negative fallout of this story, I make a plea to the powers that be at Coronation Street to mark this out as a turning point for our Gail. After all the failed marriages, murderers, faked deaths and horrible children with different heads, I truly think Gail has hit rock bottom and has only one place to go. And that's up. 

I have long been uncomfortable with the decision to portray Gail as pathetic and daft. The woman now always gets it wrong. She makes a living cleaning her son's toilets when she was once an aspiring career woman who had a share in a business and stood up to scary Ivy for the common good. I think post-Lewis we need to see a stronger, smarter, more confident and more likeable Gail.

Click to watch the YouTube
First of all we need to see Gail and Audrey make up and be friends again. I love this pair as mother and daughter. Thinking about it, Audrey and Gail must be one of the most successful, long lasting partnerships in the Street's history. They have been mother and daughter on screen now for nearly 34 years. And despite the knowledge that Sue Nicholls is only seven years older than Helen Worth, it somehow works. For me, they are the very heart of the show, and a valuable link to the past.

So what would I like to see the new, improved Gail do? Well she's never going to stop meddling in the lives of her family so we can't change that. Personally I would love her to ditch the memories of all the awful men in her life and revert back to Gail Potter. It might just put a bit of verve back in her, and help her to move on. McIntyre never really suited her. However, I think the biggest change would be to get her out of Nick's urinals and back running her own show. I have three options on how this could happen:

1. Audrey lends her some money and she invests in a share of Roy's Rolls. Gail and Roy worked together at the Cafe after Alma sold up so it could work again. After Hayley leaves there will also be a big gap to fill at the Croppers. I would love to see Gail back behind the counter, jostling with Roy's mum, Sylvia.

2. Gail's old friend from the 70s, Tricia Hopkins, returns to the area to reconnect with her old pal. In the intervening years Tricia has become a successful business woman and buys the old butcher's shop, converting it into a ladies boutique. Tricia could then install Gail as manager and the pair could run it together.

3. I may be wrong, but I think Gail's closest friend, Sally Webster, still has a load of cash stashed away from Kevin's lottery win. If so, Sally could invest in a shop and run it with old friend Gail. I love Sally and Gail together - they go way back. Remember Gail was pregnant with David while Sally was pregnant with Rosie. Their scene in the Rovers last week reminded me how little we see of them together these days. I would love to see them go into business together - we need more Snooty Sally as well!

So those are my suggestions for what Gail should do next. What are yours?

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