Sunday 31 March 2013

Eve of Destruction

The pub is on fire and while we know the pub isn't going to burn down to the ground and end up a heap of rubble on the corner, it is going to be gutted and need a complete renovation inside. There are similarities to the last fire in the Rovers in that the landlady is going to be trapped upstairs and someone is going to manage to get her out just like Kevin did with Bet Lynch back in the day.

We've had all the players now put in place. We have resentful Karl who appears to have caused damage to the electrics with the burst pipe and we have equally resentful Sunita. Her chance at happiness with Dev has been scuppered with Stella putting Dev's doubts and fears to the forefront.

How will it all play out? We'll see on Monday. In the meantime, there's more musing about the subject here. (note, it was written before seeing Friday night's show in Canada, so we now know that Karl definitely did start the fire deliberately)

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Kevin Kennedy autobiography to be published

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

Legendary Coronation Street actor Kevin Kennedy, best known for his role as Curly Watts, is to publish his autobiography with Paperbooks on 31st October 2013.

In this tell-all biography Kevin will return to his days on the Street, his battle with addiction and recovery, as well as his future plans in the entertainment world.

The book will cover stories from working on Coronation Street, including many high profile celebrities from this golden age of soap.

The book entitled was announced on ITV Daybreak this morning. Full details of the book are currently embargoed.

Kevin Kennedy has been in recovery from addiction for over a decade and is the director of Addiction Management UK. He is currently starring in We Will Rock You in the West End.

Paperbooks Managing Director Tom Chalmers comments: ‘We are delighted to have signed up Kevin’s autobiography. Kevin is one of television’s national treasures and his story of recovery from addiction is truly inspirational.’

Kevin played Curly Watts on TV for over 20 years and appeared in 2 spin-offs: The Cruise in 1995 and A Knight's Tale in 2010.

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Happy Easter from the Bluenose Corrieblog

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

Is this the best Coronation Street Easter picture we've ever had, or what?

Ok, it might be the only Coronation Street Easter picture we've ever had, but it's still the very best. Sent in to us on twitter from @OfficialScottA who says "How about this for an Easter Egg entry by my mate Mr Tom Gamble - the Rovers burns!"

It's egg-cellent!

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Sunday Comments March 31

Just when Katy has decided to do the dirty on Chesney, he's decided to ask her to marry him and he's going to do it in front of a group of people. And she does love him, really, she's just feeling trapped and tied down so young. Messy kids, dirty laundry and a hot little black dress in the laundry basket and she's thinking hard about getting out the door. she and Ryan went to a new club and got in at the head of the queue. He pushed his luck, though, trying to talk her into getting a hotel room and scared her back home.

Chesney made a really proper job of the proposal too, talking to Katy's dad and everything. Laughed at Owen winding him up asking about his prospects etc. Meanwhile, Ryan's making friends and being all nice to Chesney while cheating and flirting with his girl behind his back. Lowest of the low you rat basssssssswhatever. The two of them sneak off and naturally the van runs into trouble and Katy's late getting back. Gary almost found them out but Ryan and Katy both managed to cover but it seems very much like Gary's ginger sense (Thanks for that one, Mare!) is tingling because Katy is acting more than suspicious.

Katy doesn't look like a blushing excited bride-to-be. Ryan has had his plans thwarted. I doubt very much it's true love on his part. Is it just the one that looks to be about to get away? She did admit it to Izzy. She promised to tell Ryan it was over but Gary went off on one and the ruckus found it's way to Chesney's ears and his heart is broken. Does Gary really have any business thumping Ryan? And why blame Ryan? Katy was equally to blame. He should have just gone straight to Chesney instead of brawling in the street and Chesney caught them fighting and knows what they're fighting over. Oh dear. Thank heavens they didn't drag this out too long. I really find these people dull. Katy, luv, you chose this life for yourself, relationship and baby, you have to grow up and suck it up. You know, Chesney might be mostly all grown up but he can still tug at your heartstrings like he did as a sad little boy. 

Fiz has to talk some sense into Chesney. She's not excusing Katy's actions but she can explain them. Chesney isn't willing to give Katy an inch. He says he's had doubts too and wishes sometimes things were different but he knows what's the right thing. Katy. But listen, he's not the one stuck in the house day in and day out with a baby. Katy doesn't want anything to do with Ryan now. Fiz is still poking sticks at Kirsty, too. Kirsty might be blowing the horn hard about sending Tyrone to prison but Fiz's digs hit a sore spot.

Laughed at Sally lying about taking Sophie to the Bistro and they ended up at the kebab shop just to get away from Gail's moaning. Gail caught them but Sally saved nicely.  Gail's a bit envious of Sally getting on so well with her family. Well, David *did* invite her back home but she wouldn't have it and she can't keep a civil tongue in her head. It goes both ways. Anyway, I can understand why Sally is starting to get tired of Gail going over the same old stories and complaints but Gail does realize and is going to look at flats soon.

The Full Monty program got sidelined by food poisoning. Hey gang, let's put on a neighbourhood show! And so they will! There *are* a few good lookers on the Street to participate, that's for sure. Eileen decided to recruit and to get Steve and Lloyd up on that stage, she insulted Lloyd and Steve couldn't let Lloyd do it on his own but they wriggled out of it. Ok, so Jason will do it for his mum. Tommy's on stage, next and he just loves the attention. Karl? He's going to do it to compete with Jason because Jason is moving in and getting his feet behind the bar.

Paul's friend Toni was very nice and getting to know her, I think Eileen can realize she's not a threat. Why were Sunita's shoes in Dev's flat? Can Chesney legally rent out that van? It's actually Gary's on loan isn't it?

Interesting, Jason mentioned Charlie Stubbs and his habit for drinking cold tea and eating raw steak. Stella's starting to treat Jason like a schoolboy, have you noticed? I think she's starting to get tired of him already and it's been obvious she's giving Karl mixed signals.

There's a leak underfoot in the pub. Can Tim fix it properly? Shouldn't be that difficult. Well, yes, it is. Why didn't he turn off the water first? So that Karl could get his mucky hands on it, that's why and it caused the lights to go out when he sprayed the wires. We only saw him pick up the hose but that's what he did. Did they get in a professional electrician? Did they heck. Jason should know that if he can't fix it, to call a sparky! Oooh i wouldn't run the business under candlelight. That's dangerous innit? Maybe those flames were a forerunner of things to come! Well, Jason seems to have been able to fix it which put a knot in Karl's plans and he nicked the keys to the pub. Why would that be I wonder?

Well now Stella's going to have Jason working in the bar, (even though she told Eva two weeks ago there was no job open) and that didn't sit well with Karl. Further to that, hearing Sunita and Dev were back together only dug into Karl's soul even more. He's got the worst case of sour grapes I've ever seen. He's lurking around corners and you can just see the churning in his brain and in his gut. He's blaming Jason for everything and he could very well do something devastating to get even.

Wonderful stuff with the oldies in the pub singing in the candlelight. Gloria sniffing with jealousy while outside, Katy's packed a bag and left after Chesney kicked her out.

Sophie's trying to match make with Dev and Sunita, pushing them back together, It'll probably work because they do want to be together. Dev is reluctant though and scared that she'll walk out again. so Sophie plays the oldest game in the book, setting them up at the Bistro. Sunita's really saying everything Dev wants to hear because he still loves her. But it seems she's more scared than he is and can't bring herself to do it. Why is she so worried about it what everyone else thinks? It can't get any worse than it is now can it? In fact, they'd have more of a reaction towards Dev for taking her back.

It does take time to work these things out and Sophie ridiculed Dev into taking action. So he did and suggested they make a clean break and a fresh start. That probably would be the best thing, too. Dev still wants to present their reconciliation in front of the Street in the pub which is exactly what Sunita was a fraid of, all those reactions.

And speaking of none of your business, why should Stella care if Dev and Sunita get back together? Why go out of her way to be nasty? To work on Dev's fears. To ruin Dev and Sunita's reconciliation. Dev is willing to forgive. It's all water under the bridge isn't it? But Stella's poison worked. Dev has now got some second thoughts. And third ones I think. It's very contrived and you'll notice why in a minute.

Sophie is quite tickled that Dev and Sunita are getting back together and she probably thinks a lot of it is down to her. But Dev has doubts about Sunita and when he asked her if she loved him, her face froze and she can't lie to him. Dev can't have her back under those circumstances and I can't blame him. Sunita might blame Stella and in one way it's right, Stella should have kept her nose out but .At least Stella had the grace to admit she was only trying to get her own back on Sunita. Too little, too late, though. Sunita got drunk and vowed to get even with Stella (and we all know what happens when someone makes a public drunken threat. Just ask Peter Barlow!) along with the traditional drink thrown over the object of her venom. Seeing as it's the Bistro, though, it wasn't a pint.

We end with Karl having sneaked out of the Bistro and lighting a fire in the pub cellar by the electrics and he's been caught by Sunita!!!!! I've got a very bad feeling about this! Next week's episodes are going to be epic!

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Saturday 30 March 2013

Out with the Old Rovers

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

In the next few days we will be saying farewell to the current Rovers Return, though it has had a few minor changes over the years, it has stayed mostly the same.

There was those few months in 2008 when the Rovers Return did look quite different to its current look, though later that year the decor returned to a similar style to that of the 1985 Rovers.

When the Rovers reopens later this year, I'm thinking it will probably be a similar style to the current Rovers, but there is a few things that will be long gone. For me, the biggest difference in the Rovers will end up being the separating glass between the booths.

 For years they have been the backdrop to many whisperings and secrets, some of my earliest memories of the show are of characters talking between them. There is one thing that I do hope remains the same though, I hope they place another portrait of Betty in the new Rovers, as they did in the old, perhaps a bigger one, and one that doesn't say "landlady" would be preferable.

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Is the Price finally right?

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

This probably wont be the most popular opinion, but I think the Price family are finally becoming a 'Corrie family', for a long time now, we've had to endure St. Ella of the back room, and nobody in the show has actually reference how interfering she actually can be, until last night.

Sunita probably deserves best name caller of the year in the 2013 blog awards (a while off yet!) for her line "St. Stella of Weatherfield" and "Like Norris with bad roots!" perhaps we are starting to see the humanisation of St. Stella, with her no longer appearing as a know it all street councillor, instead as an interfering landlady.

Eva has also grown into a great character, she can be bitchy, but at the same time, she can be vulnerable, she's probably the better of the Price sisters, as Leanne has a bit of a self righteous side that can make her very unlikeable at times.

Gloria's return has been surprisingly good, during her original stint last year, the character was hard to like, Sue Johnston was great, but the character herself just came across as a bit mean and sometimes nasty, that side to Gloria hasn't gone, but she's finally realised that perhaps family is more important than money.

I do think that perhaps finally, we might see Stella in a different light, up until now Phil Collinson has made the character appear perfect, so that we find it easier to like her, which has ended up having the opposite effect, with Stuart Blackburn in charge, perhaps that will change.

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Who would you like to see do a Terry Duckworth?

I will warn you from the off, this blog is not going to be terribly politically correct, and is probably all the better for that. If you are in any way squeamish, please do look away now.

As we are all getting excited amidst the build up to Rovers Fire: The Next Generation, I decided to watch again the benchmark in Rovers Return dramas - the original fire from 1986. One thing struck me that I'd previously forgotten about, although I don't know why. Young Terry Duckworth is almost something of a hero. Tearing about, helping neighbours and looking out for his mate, Kev. What I also noticed was that for the vast majority of the episode, our Terry runs about in nowt but a pair of jogging bottoms. I'm sure that was a treat for the audience of the day!

This made me wonder who we'd all like to replicate this dynamic performance in 2013. Rather than bring Terry back for a repeat performance (let's just not go there!) I thought it would be a good idea to look at the possible contenders and see who's the most popular. Given that there will be a strip show taking place in the run up to the fire, it seemed like common sense to me!

The obvious choice would be young Tommy Duckworth, following in his father's notorious footsteps. Or would you rather see the lovely Dr Matt running down the cobbles with his stethoscope a-dangle? It's a pity Tyrone is currently banged up as a guest of Her Majesty, but there's always that gruesome twosome, Rob Donovan and Ryan Connor to light up your evening! Or there's always old Nicky Tilsley, minus his 90's abdominal muscles? 

Of course there is a very obvious contender I've left out: our Norris Cole. I'm sure that's a spectacle that would make all Mary Taylor's dreams come true at once!

So let's have your favourite, all in the name of fun of course! ;)

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Should Corrie cut down on its cast?

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

I really think they should. That doesn't mean that they have to cut down on the episodes although I'm sure three episodes per week would be enough.
I'm basing my argument on my other favourite soap which is Aussie soap Neighbours. It airs five times a week, all year round and has a cast of only 25-30 characters. Ok, the storylines are lighter than Corrie and they don't last long, but I do think it's a formula that works. Every Neighbours episode stars about eight regular characters - and it's not the same characters every day.

Every character has equal screentime and for me that makes the show more interesting instead of the same old faces. When I look at episode spoilers here on the Coronation Street Blog, I notice it's the same characters who appear in every episode - Stella, Tina, Fiz, Steve, Carla, Peter, Leanne, Gail, and Tyrone. While others like Kirk, Deirdre, Roy, Hayley and Dennis rarely star in a storyline of their own. 

With a small cast everyone could have equal attention. And thus it's the same characters that get nominated in awards much to fans' chagrin. Both EastEnders and Emmerdale follow the same trend unfortunately.

In 2012, out of around 260 episodes, Stella appeared in 176 and Tina appeared in 150. Kirk and Dennis appeared in 62 and 63 episodes respectively. What a difference eh?

Corrie in the 60s, 70s and 80s had the same average cast as Neighbours has now. Should Corrie revert back to those old days? These days, it includes 60-70 members. Due to this, many characters don't have storylines year after year. Then you've got the same characters appearing week after week and soon enough there's an announcement stating that a certain actor/actress is leaving. Although they don't say it, I'm sure the number of episodes they appear in contributes to their decision to leave. Look at Chris Gascoyne and Alison King - they took a break because they were continuously in the limelight. I know some actors can handle some stories better. While some can handle dramatic stories, others star in humourous ones. Sadly, Corrie lacks the humour these days.
So what do you think? Should Corrie cut down on its members of the cast to like it was back in the day? Is it possible to have 60 people living in one street whereas 30-40 years ago there was only half that amount? Even though there are three more houses and three or four flats, does that mean the number of characters has doubled? I don't know.
It is possible to air five episodes and have a cast of 25-30 members. What do you think? Which characters would you include in that reduced cast? Leave your comments below!

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Friday 29 March 2013

Sneak Previews for Canadian Corrie April 1 - 5

Without further ado, here's what you'll see on Canadian Corrie next week:

The Rovers Returns burns. There will be at least one fatality and the lives of  two others  hang in the balance. Everyone, including the police, want to know who's to blame.

On the even of Tyrone's trial, Julie witnesses Kirsty's temper and Tina outs her lies. The trial begins and Kirsty does her worst.

For more detail and photos see the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Conversation Street podcast 33

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 Chesney and Katy's problems, the upcoming Full Monty show, Dev and Sunita's possible reunion, and more. The Character profile is Ivy Tilsley Brennan!

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

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Thursday 28 March 2013

Chesney and Katy - the Dickie and Audrey Fleming of 2013

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

From watching tonight's episode, I've noticed that Chesney and Katy are the modern equivalent of that other doomed Corrie couple from the late 1960s, Dickie and Audrey Fleming. The Flemings got married in 1968 - Dickie was 19 and Audrey was 16. And like Chesney and Katy, they grew old too soon and the marriage became boring.
Katy said that her life was dull and suffocating. The same words were expressed by Audrey back in 1969 when she embarked on an affair with bad boy Ray Langton (the 60s Ryan Connor). But when she failed to convince Ray to leave his fiancee Sandra Butler (Elsie Tanner's niece), Audrey left the street. Dickie had left a week earlier.
The end is nigh for Chesney and Katy, just as it was for the Flemings. Dickie and Audrey divorced in 1970. It really is a case of history repeating...

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The Music in Coronation Street

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

I'm not talking about the theme tune, enough has been said about it in the past  nor about music produced by members of the cast, much of which is best left unmentioned anyway. What I'm interested in today is the use of music within the programme.

Most dramas today use music to establish a mood, reflect the action on screen or to signal some sort of change in emotional content. But drama serials want to convey as realistic a scenario as possible and as most of us do not conduct our lives with any sort of background soundtrack, music in Coronation Street is almost exclusively naturally sourced. Indeed, I can only remember one occasion when this was not the case: the conclusion of Sarah-Lou's internet stalker story, which was played out to the dark sounds of 'Teardrop' by Massive Attack.

In all other cases (that I can think of, feel free to correct me) the soundtrack is always sourced within the context of the drama. So we have Richard Hillman driving his family to their destruction, so he intends, with The Wannadie's 'You and Me Song' (working on two levels here) with its chorus of 'You and me - always - and forever' playing over the car's music system. And when Roy and Hayley cemented their love for each other, there was the poignancy of '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman' playing in the background. Such occasions where there has been an obvious use of music to enhance the mood are however quite rare (can you think of any more?) and what I really like are the far more subtle uses of background music.

It happens mostly in the Rovers and I'm always trying to work out what's playing on the juke box especially during those tedious scenes when we're being subjected to more of St. Ella. I don't know if there's any direction given to the editting crew on what to put on in the background but it's regularly relevant to the scene. Here are a few recent incidences:

Lewis Archer convincing Gail to run away to Italy with him to the sound of Lulu's version of 'The Man Who Sold The World'.

Gail telling Sally about her impending move to Italy to the sound of 'Walk Out To Winter' by Aztec Camera.

And when it had all finally fallen to pieces, Gail sitting at home with her head in her hands while Adele's 'Skyfall' plays on the radio.

There are loads more, please add your own recollections. It's a very strange juke box they've got there in the pub, not the usual selection of popular hits and golden oldies. Twice recently we've had a track from the latest Madness album and only the other week we had 'Northern Skies' by Nick Drake, which is certainly not normal pub fare. We do occasionally see a member of the cast or a background artist putting money in the jukebox but who on the Street is it who has such eclectic tastes? I don't think it's Fat Brenda because we never hear any Cliff.

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Wednesday 27 March 2013

Bill Tarmey memorial statue to be built

Out of the Manchester Evening News today we hear of a new mission to raise money for a new copper statue of late actor Bill Tarmey. The statue is apparently going to be erected outside Granada Studios in Manchester and the fundraising for it has begun among the cast and crew.

Bill of course, played beloved Jack Duckworth on Corrie since 1979. His first appearance was at the wedding of Gail and Brian Tilsley. He left Corrie partly due to health reasons and partly because his son was diagnosed with a brain tumour. Jack died on screen shortly before the show's 50th anniversary and Bill passed away in November.

It will be a lovely tribute but I do wonder if they'll leave it outside Granada or take it with them when they make the move to the BBC Media City in the Salford Quays.

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Tuesday 26 March 2013

Is Karl Munro the new Don Brennan?

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

It's a question the whole nation isn't asking. Apart from me that is. In the next few weeks we are about to witness, Street style, a complete character change as Karl Munro turns nasty. Yes nasty! Which got me thinking. Who was that other well-loved (Ok, possibly not) Weatherfield character who morphed from being a relatively jolly, dependable middle-aged bloke into a raving loon. Step forward Don Brennan.

Don, you may recall, was the Street's everyman for a while. He was a hard-working cabbie, liked a few laughs and had enough resolve to take on God-bothering Ivy Tilsley and her devotion to all things dead. Before long, Don became a drudge, a bore, a shadow of his former ebullient self. What followed was disaster heaped upon tragedy. There was the seedy stalking of Denise Hairdresser, a bitter feud with Mike Baldwin, Ivy's 'get me to a nunnery' exit, his liaison with the staggeringly dull, gruff-voiced Josie, the hounding of lovely Alma, the 'foot' incident, living with Ashley, more Baldwin and a welcome death.

Poor old Karl seems to be yet another member of the cast who seems to be without purpose. Weaving across the cobbles like Liam Gallagher's dad, he was originally an intriguing addition to the Street. The stomach-churning affair with Sunita turned him into a snide, nasty piece of work. Loveless and seemingly friendly, he now makes for uneasy viewing in the same way that Dead Don did back in the 1990s.

If history decides to repeat itself we can look forward to Karl delivering pervy phone calls to Maria, packing St Ella off to a convent (hurrah), attacking Jason with a chair leg whilst over-acting and then plunging Sunita into Weatherfield Quays whilst she yells 'no....." in an echo chamber.

Seriously though, it does feel as though Karl is about to tread that well-worn path of normal blokes who suddenly go bad. It doesn't make for particularly believable drama and can only end with Karl as a bitter, cynical and hollow version of his original self. Here's hoping this prophesy of doom comes to nothing but I have a feeling that we may be witnessing the beginning of the end for Mr Munro. Now - has anyone got the phone number for the nearest convent? Would they show pity on a beige nun?

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Monday 25 March 2013

Canadian Corrie weekly awards: March 18 - 22

Smug Git award: Could Sunita have been any smugger to Karl?

Short memory award: Karl reckons their relationship was good up until he screwed up. It was pretty rocky, the little we saw.

Her own worst enemy award: Eileen's jealousy is always her downfall with fellas.

All Girls together: Julie and Eileen have a special handshake!

Hypocrite award: Bacon star: Julie criticized Brian for having a bacon barm while espousing a healthy lifestyle (cycling) and then ordered one herself!

Pushing the envelope award: Stella told Karl in no uncertain terms. Hours later he's back on her doorstep trying to wheedle in. Passive Aggressive, much?

Inconspicuous award: I love Julie. I really do.

Continuity fluff up: Where did Karl get a car? He lost his job at Streetcars and he's skint. Did he always have it? Why was he sleeping outside and rough a few weeks back if he had a car?

Musical ambiance: Here Comes the Rain Again, background to Paul's proposal to Eileen in the pub. Sounds like trouble, if you ask me.

Continuity Carelessness: Gail came out of a long shower with dry hair sticking out of her head towel.

Monday Moan award: Everyone! Gail's moaning to Sally and Sally and Sophie are having a moan about Gail. Jason's moaning about losing his contract. Katy and Chesney are moaning about each other. Peter's moaning about Leanne. Sunita even had a moan about her regrets. About the only one happy is Eileen with her ring.

The Grass Isn't Greener on the Other Side: Sunita's realizing how badly she got it wrong.

Lines of the week:
Karl "Why is everyone so obsessed with moving on?"
Alison to Kirsty "You need to start telling the truth" (I think Alison is going to be Tyrone's saviour)
Stella to Karl "From the minute you drop me off tonight, I am dead to you" (Phrase of Doom, anyone?)
Steve and Lloyd: "Sacked, Sacked, Sacked!!!!"
Julie "I'm Julie, her sister." Eileen "Not any more."
Stella to Jason "Do you have to tackle everything like a sulkly schoolboy?" (Eh? you sound awfully sympathetic to a man you want nothing to do with all of a sudden)
Sunita to Karl "The one thing you were always good at, self pity"
Paul to Eileen "What do I tell them? That you're clinically insane?"
Paul "I thought our relationship was based on honesty" (like when you were in love with her while married to Lesley? Yeah, that was honest. Cheating, but honest)
Stella "I can handle Karl. I *am* handling Karl" (not very well)
Gloria "Is he bringing his Lego?"
Peter "Leanne can barely say hello to me and when she does it sounds more like 'I hate you, you adulterer'" (and whose fault is that?) Aadi "What's an adulterer?" (You know, like your mother!)

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The Weatherfield Good Food Guide

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

We all know where to go for a good booze up in Weatherfield - The Rovers Return of course. However where would you go for a decent feed? I set to wondering what culinary options are available to the residents of our favourite cobbled street. Let's take a look at the evidence:

We may as well start off with the world renowned Rovers Return. The Rovers has been famous for one dish, and one dish only, for as long as we can all remember. The wonderful Lancashire hotpot. The merest whiff of hotpot gets us all misty eyed as we think back to the days when wonderful Betty Turpin graced the Rovers bar with her magnificent presence. I wonder if you are with me when I say I think the Rovers has never been quite the same since Betty departed? And neither, of course, is her famous hotpot. 

Why oh why was the closely guarded recipe gifted to Sean Tully?! They weren't particularly close and I can easily provide a roll call of Street residents who would be better trusted with this little slice of Corrie heritage. Sadly this has put me off ever dining at the Rovers. Apart from hotpot what else does the Rovers actually serve? I remember Annie Walker bravely diversifying into soup until Eddie Yeats found the industrial tins in her backyard. I'm surprised she ever lived down the shame.

Let's move on to the Rovers' main rival - Nick's Bistro. Nick's is famous for two things. Being demolished by an errant tram, and bringing the stuffed olive to Gail's dining room table. Personally I wouldn't trust the food served at the Bistro. Since it opened the staff have included Leanne, Mary, Kylie, Lewis, Ciaran and of course Gail. Remember when she left a fingernail in a food critic's dinner? I'd take a star away for that, if they had any to begin with. 

Although the Bistro offers a classier environment for our favourite Corrie characters to brawl, bitch and get trollied, The Bistro does seem to be where everyone goes these days. Before that it was Vallandros (until Leanne burnt it down - if I was Nick I'd be keeping her away from the creme brûlée torch). And going back even further there was Delphines, a favourite of Mike and Alma Baldwin, and The Clock. I wonder what has happened to these places now everyone dines within 50 yards of their front doors?

Victoria Street provides two more earthy eateries. The first of which is the delightfully named Prima Doner. Currently owned by Dev (enough to put even Becky McDonald off after a night on the cider), it employs beige Ryan and pointless Katy. The kebab shop is often neglected, originally belonging to Sinbad from Brookside. Ryan obviously finds the scent of kebab grease deeply alluring as it seems to be where he does all his courting - remember that is where he first hooked up with Tracy-luv Barlow. Now be honest, even if you were desperate for a kebab, would you purchase one from any of the above suspects? I think not.

A far better bet in my mind is Roy's Rolls. Originally Dawson's, then Jim's Cafe, Roy's has long been as reliable as Fiz Stape's stupidity, Deirdre's fag breaks and Tina's strange golden hue. It may not be fancy, but I'm sure a visit to Roy's is always a comforting experience. Unless of course Owen the Ogre is menacingly standing by the counter plotting with Anna Windass. Thankfully the craze for Mary's theme nights has now passed and Roy is safely back at the helm. Anyway, I'm sure Roy can knock up a mean steak pudding. And where else would the faktry girls go on their never ending cake runs?

There is one place we sadly never see anymore - Wong's Chippy. I loved it when the truly hideous Cilla and Yana worked in the chippy dishing out limp saveloys to Les Batterby and various other assorted unsavoury specimens! Which reminds me, whatever happened to Jackson's Chippy? Maybe we should campaign for its return!

So where would you choose to dine if you happened to find yourself down Coronation Street? And do you think Corrie makes enough of Lancashire's glorious culinary history? Deirdre's stuffed marrow does not count!

And you can invite me out to Roy's for a frothy coffee and an eccles cake via Twitter @Edgeof31

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Sunday 24 March 2013

Sunday Canadian Corrie comments March 24

Gloria and Eva sold their jewellry and the funeral cost them next to nothing and she's still moaning about the price. Stella didn't tell Jason the truth about Karl keeping her in the car so even though he seemed to believe her, he was cool with her. Apparently everything she said to Karl made absolutely no impression. He's back on her doorstep with her umbrella and setting in for a cuppa when Gloria asked. I'm not sure why Eileen would have suggested Karl take Sunita out in the cab knowing they've broken up and there's bad blood there.

Gloria knew darn well something happened between Stella and Karl and managed to get it out of her. Karl had that punch coming and Sunita totally enjoyed watching all the trouble he's got into. Now he's lost his job yet again. One step further down into the hole and he's going to be a desperate man now. I can't believe Karl used crocodile tears and a stupid "I used to be a contender" type line. Anyway, driving Stella to a lonely spot to "talk" didn't get him very far. Apology accepted, now do one! She still won't take him back. And by saying he's to consider her dead to him? That could be a very bad thing to wish! He's not going to start again, he's going to fester and simmer and it's all going to boil over. But Stella did a 180 turnaround and sounded awfully sympathetic to Karl after Gloria and Jason caused Karl's further trouble.
I thought it was so obvious that Jason's meeting with someone from the council was a set up and Karl was behind it. Instead, Karl managed to break into the car and hotwire it, stealing it and setting it on fire. Then he made it sound like Jason did it himself, at the very time when he was in the pub, etc. What would be the motivation? Insurance? Just when Jason was starting to build up the business. Isn't logical. Amazing the detail of the description of the what he was wearing if he'd got away in the dark. 

Karl couldn't resist sniffing around Jason to find out what happened with the police. Jason got his own back, though, by waving his bag under Karl's nose and telling him he was moving in with her and rubbing it in later in the Bistro. Karl thought by revealing that Stella got him a new job he'd surprise Jason. He didn't. Foiled again.

When Jason was telling Glo and Stella, they couldn't have shown less enthusiasm and support. I can't understand why Stellla was so fussed about Gloria and Jason getting all in Karl's face when she didn't want him near her and he kept coming back and winding everyone up. She didn't want Jason to suggest to the police Karl was involved in the set up. All of a sudden it's "back off, don't interfere"? It comes across like she's defending him all of a sudden and he's very much acting like a stalker. And Jason's not acting like a child, he's got very good beefs against Karl. I don't think he's being unreasonable.

Sunita is doing her bit to keep Karl down, too, asking Dev not to serve him. He can't get his job back. He was on his last chance as it was. Karl can't blame Stella, so he's going to blame Sunita. He was certainly not going to blame Stella. Sunita putting the digs in to him didn't help either.   Looks like Sunita and Dev are a lot friendlier. Reconciliation in the wind? Dev is playing it a bit cooler which is probably good, rather than jumping in and taking all advantages he can get. You can see Dev's little mind already putting clean sheets on the bed and packing his bags to go home, can't you? Both of them are playing happy families with the kids.

Alison played Kirsty well. She pretended she didn't know Ty was in  jail to bring the subject up. Kirsty did admit where he was but tried to make her mother believe the lies. And she did at first. A few little inconsistencies, though, like Kirsty leaving Ruby with him to go back to work. I thought after awhile, Alison was saying things to bait Kirsty, to see what she'd say and that's exactly what she was doing. She knows her daughter well and Kirsty admitted it. I think her mother is going to be the one that saves Tyrone in the end. She is trying to make Kirsty come clean to the police but Kirsty is probably feeling like she's gone too far now to back down. 

Kirsty's thoughtful after her mother's visit and her mother's back to see Tina and Fiz. I'm really suprised Alison admitted it all to them but naturally she blames herself. Perhaps in a way she's right. She let her husband do his worst all their lives and it's affected Kirsty like it has. I didn't think Kirsty would go to the police to retract her charges, even before she realized her mother had been to see Tina but  now she knows, she's going to dig her heels in. The thing is, her mother *does* know.

Fiz confessed to Tyrone about Alison. Now, of course, he feels she's made things worse. So will Kirsty crack in court? She's a very good liar. Threatening Tina for interfering with a witness? What witness? She's not seen her mother for months.

It doesn't matter that Kirsty thinks it was a set up, it's still true that she's lied and set Tyrone up for a prison sentence as revenge. Her mother's so cowed after all these years that she won't betray her daughter and risk Kirsty's anger. But I still think her mother might be instrumental in Kirsty's downfall.

Owen's words made an impression and Tim's coming to the play and it didn't stand well with Anna. Faye's a manipulative little madam isn't she? She managed to push Owen out of the play attendance. Naturally Faye's scheme to exclude Owen got busted. She's not smart enough to be *that* calculating. She's a kid. Owen knows darn well what she did and it was proven when Leanne told them all the Barlows were  going and when Brian told what really happened. Owen figured it out, Faye wants Tim and Anna together, but he was pretty good about it. If Owen didn't fly off the handle so much, maybe Faye wouldn't be doing stuff like this.

Katy's friend probably thinks she's in there with Ryan. She probably is, but he's not in it for any long haul. Probably enjoys making Katy jealous.  Katy hates that her friends are both after Ryan. Nothing to do with you, sweetie. Isn't Ryan loving all the attention?

Now that Eileen knows Toni is running the show, she's going to have a jealous cob on about the charity do. Why should he have to tell her which of his mates is female? Eileen is jealous no matter what Paul says, unreasonably so, if you ask me. She's so full of insecurities that she's her own worst enemy. Jealousy is Eileen's worst enemy and she and Julie spying only got them in trouble. Paul knows darn well why they were there. I doubt he'd leave Eileen over that but Eileen's attitude will push him away a lot faster. I can't blame Paul for being miffed at Eileen for sniffing around and not trusting him. He's right. she doesn't trust him because of her own insecurities. So what does he do? Blow off work, and ask the one person Eileen is extremely jealous of to go shopping with him to buy Eileen a ring. That was not very smart. But they need to work on her issues before they get into an engagement. in the meantime Eileen's quite happy flashing her rock around when nobody's looking. Why not flash it to the world!?

I see Brian is still feeding his face while espousing a healthy lifestyle.  Tim is quite insistent on his correct name. Owen is all chummy with Karl and Karl is rude and ignorant to Jason. .

And the last episode this week was a Monday in the UK and it truly was a Monday Moan show:

Katy and Chesney are getting on each other's nerves, or at least Ches is getting on Katy's. Katy's moaning and miserable.  Chesney needs to listen to Fiz but it could be too little too late. Even a smurf doesn't put a smile on Katy's face. Steph wasn't too happy to find out Tracy is Ryan's ex and Katy helpfully filled her in on more details about Ryan and made him sound a lot more dangerous than he is and Steph kicked him to the curb. Well, after all, Ryan did instruct them to talk about him while he was gone. 

Then looked as if she was happy with a good day's work. Miaow. Katy admitted she was jealous and Ryan's pointing out all the things that are wrong with her being tied down so young, lighting a fire under her dissatisfaction. I'm positive Ryan is just after her because he can. He's already had a history of womanizing, we heard about that when he returned from Glasgow.

Jason's moving in, with all his bits and pieces. Looks like he's off the hook for the van fire though. Gloria's moaning about having a pub cat. Jason's moaning about probably losing the contract because of the burned out van and he's pretty sure Karl did it so he kicked out one of Karl's mirrors. Oh that's so mature! But I do understand how he feels.

Peter's still moaning about Leanne's attitude towards him. I wonder why? Still got lingering feelings have we? Gail's getting on Sally and Sophie's nerves too. How did Gail come right out of an extra long shower with dry hair? Gail's moaning to Sally about Leanne and Audrey.

Dev and Sunita are most definitely getting closer. I knew all along that Dev really still had feelings for her and we all know Sunita regrets her fling with Karl. She had a moan about that too.

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Would you watch Coronation Street in 3D?

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

The Express today has a story that says Coronation Street is preparing to shoot in 3D.  Which means, of course, we'll need to wear those daft, special glasses to see the effects.  

The story says that the "ground-breaking move" for Corrie will be made possible with the move to the new set at MediaCity in Salford Quays.

Corrie already shoots in HD, but insiders say the new set will need to be “fit for purpose” and “future-proofed”. This includes the option of shooting special entire episodes in 3D. Pilot tests in 3D for both Emmerdale and Coronation Street were undertaken two years ago.

Apparantly, ITV plans to make announcements shortly about “minor changes” to the famous cobbled street.

So, what do you think about watching Corrie in 3D?

I'm no fan of 3D but then I'm an old fuddy-duddy and I don't relish Eva's cleavage popping out of my screen and into my living room, alhtough it will give new meaning to the phrase "you'll have someone's eye out with them".  

And if the 3D glasses were Deirdre Barlow-shaped then maybe it could even be fun.

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Saturday 23 March 2013

Coronation Street: From here to maternity

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

Apart from the debate over who is Corrie's best mum, there has been another interesting theme running through my recent blog posts - those Coronation Street mothers who did not feature in my poll. It seems everyone has an opinion!

So I thought on the eve of Mother's Day itself, I would take a look at some of the other mothers on the Street.

Some of you may have wanted Eileen Grimshaw included on the list. She may not be the best judge when it comes to men, but she has raised two sons well and is a strong source of support to both. She defended Todd to the hilt when he came out - who can forget her wonderful scrap on the cobbles with a dressing gown-clad Gail? One of my favourite Corrie moments ever! And I for one would love to see a rematch in the future.

Then there are young mums like Fiz Stape and Maria Connor. Should they have been included? Fiz has been a great mum so far to baby Hope although perhaps her involvement with John Stape rules her out. She has also acted as a surrogate mum to brother Chesney and was in many ways a better role model than their dreadful mum Cilla! 

Maria is another good young mum, although like Fiz she did get mixed up with a crazed psycho in my fellow countryman, Tony Gordon. 

And what of the other, lower-key mums on the Street? There's Roy's barnstorming mother, Sylvia Goodwin. Their relationship is certainly touching if at times very strained. What about Gloria Price, mum to St Ella of the Back Room. Nah, giving birth to St Ella rules her out straight away in my opinion! 

Kylie Platt has certainly improved as a mother, especially since she tried to sell son Max to her sister Becky. There is also Beth Tinker who gave us the superb Craig; Katy Armstrong who is currently putting us all off kebabs; Sunita Alahan who is soon to go up in smoke and Crazy Kirsty, though I fear even Tracy Barlow might get more votes than her. 

Have I missed anyone out?

I think so. One of the interesting things to come out of this discussion (well I think so anyway) is that sometimes the best Coronation Street mother figures are actually not mothers at all. I'm looking at three lovely ladies in particular. 

Emily Bishop has never been blessed with children but has acted as a wise mentor to many younger Street residents such as Kevin Webster, Curly Watts, Spider Nugent and Sophie Webster. Hayley Cropper is also a character seen as a wonderful mother figure by many. Despite Roy and Hayley's many attempts, their dreams of fostering or adopting never quite worked out. A great shame as I think they would have made terrific parents. Hayley has been like a mother to Fiz and Becky and is the kind of character many Street residents turn to in times of need.

However, I think the best mother figure has to be Rita Tanner. It was always a great sadness to Rita that she had never had children which led to the Faircloughs fostering kids in the early 1980s. There was John Spencer, Sharon Gaskell and finally Jenny Bradley. Sadly Rita didn't have much luck with any of these in the long run. Since then Rita has acted as a friend to many younger characters such as Sally, Leanne, Tina and Tommy. She is always there to  dole out the common sense with the sherbet lemons. Having been there, done that and bought the diamante studded jumper, she always knows exactly what to say.

So do you agree that the best Coronation Street mother figures aren't always mothers in the traditional sense? 

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Friday 22 March 2013

Conversation Street podcast 32

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 Karl's antics, Dev and Sunita and an analysis of what Alison's part will play in Tyrone's trial. The Character profile is Eileen Grimshaw.

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

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Sneak Preview for next week's Canadian Corrie March 25 - 29

Without further ado, here's a brief sneak peek at next week's storylines on our Canadian screens:

Chesney tries harder but Katy gets caught out. Sophie plays matchmaker but Stella plays doubt-maker. Will Dev and Sunita reunite? Karl's schemes backfire so he takes drastic action and someone else gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. A charity do displays the Full Monty.

Disaster strikes Coronation Street.

For more detail and photos see the Moosejaw Mercury on

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Thursday 21 March 2013

Fab Photo - Don kidnaps Alma

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

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. This week's picture is brought to you courtesy of the Coronation Street plot recycling department as a crazy cabbie kidnaps one of the Street's residents.

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Wednesday 20 March 2013

Corrie wins RTS Best Soap

Coronation Street is on a roll for awards. Last night they won the prestigious Royal Television
Society's award for Best Soap and Continuing Drama. Full list of awards are here.

Here's Natalie Gumede holding the award (photo from ITV) and there are a few more photos of other actors attending the awards on ITV's Corrie Facebook page here.

Don't forget to vote for Corrie in the British Soap Awards over here!

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Corrie's Katy and Ryan: Do you care?

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

No I don't either. The thing that shocks me most is that Prima Doner is yet to be shut down by the Weatherfield branch of Environmental Health. All that snogging and sweaty angst can't be doing much for the flavour of Dev's kebabs.

Now this is just my opinion but all this is completely unnecessary and smacks of a quiet desperation from within the Coronation Street writing team. How many "illicit" affairs have we the viewer had to suffer through over the past few months? 

What is particularly unappealing about this most recent coupling is that both participants are so poorly drawn, so beige and uninteresting that I don't come down on either side. Which I guess is what the powers that be would hope with these stories - that the viewers invest in them and take sides. Not something I'll be doing this time.

The main problem for me is that neither Katy or Ryan are strong enough characters to carry a storyline on their own. We haven't been given the opportunity to invest in them at all, both have been thrown in at the deep end. Ryan, as the Street's latest bad boy hunk, launched amid much publicity and silly photo shoots. And Katy, dropped in as the latest youngster forced to grow up fast. To be fair, it's no wonder she is craving a little excitement, but perhaps she should have realised that before she settled down.

From what we've seen it doesn't look like this story will go on for that much longer. The highlight for me looks to be when Gary Windass gives Ryan a good slap. Personally, I don't have any time for either character. Katy is saved by her involvement with Izzy and Chesney. As for Ryan, I can't see anything saving him.

What do you think of this latest Corrie affair plot? Are you enjoying it or can you not wait for it to be over? Do you even care?

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Tuesday 19 March 2013

Man who put Coronation Street on TV dies aged 95

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

Sir Denis Forman, the former Granada TV chairman who was responsible for putting Coronation Street on TV in 1960, has died aged 95.

The Guardian carries his obituary detailing a remarkable 50-year career.  Sir Denis, who died on Sunday night in a nursing home in London, was also director of the British Film Institute and deputy chairman of the Royal Opera House but it was his work in television of which he was most proud.

One of the founding executives of Granada TV in the mid 1950s, Forman went on to become is joint managing director and chairman between 1974 and 1987.

He was responsible for a new generation of programmes that helped to redefine British TV, including Coronation Street.  In an interview with The Guardian he once said this about the show:

"I recognised its merit and I supported the move to get it on air, but I was not 100% behind it. I was nervous. Everyone was. Look at those accents. Anyone in broadcasting reading one of those scripts would say: 'It's impossible.'"

Granada made it possible, though initially only as a 13-part series. The Daily Mirror's review of the first episode was scathing. "The programme is doomed from the outset," it intoned, "with its gloomy tune and grim scene of a row of terraced houses and smoking chimneys." But it was a ratings triumph, became a twice-weekly fixture, and within six months was the most-watched programme on British TV.

And here at the Coronation Street Blog we've just checked through Sean Egan's book - 50 Years of Coronation Street, the Unofficial Story. It says Sir Forman gave Tony Warren his first exclusive writing contract at Granada TV.  And as we all know, Tony ended up penning the first episodes of Coronation Street, of which Sir Forman says this:

"If we'd been in London, I don't think we would have made Coronation Street.  I don't think anyone in London would have made Coronation Street".

And his verdict on Tony Warren's first script for Florizel Street, as Corrie was originally known was this: "Good characters, good dialogue."

At the end of the day, I think that's all we really need. 

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