Tuesday 30 April 2013

Michelle Collins talks about former eating disorder

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

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Michelle Collins speaks about her former eating disorder. Earlier on in her career she would routinely starve herself and then binge and purge until her body and appearance was so emaciated she looked like a heroin addict.

She also used boozed to fill the empty space instead of food and only weighed five stone at her lowest point. When she lost a job due to her appearance, she got a wakeup call and realized how obsessive and damaging she was being to herself. She got help and slowly returned to a healthier weight.

She worries today about young girls and the pressure they are under to be thin. I think it's a good thing that she's speaking out about it. Women and girls of any age can get caught up in this sort of cycle and they go far beyond a healthy weight into the same danger zone that Michelle found herself in. 

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Does Corrie need more comedy?

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

Coronation Street has been rather serious of late. Not surprising given the dominant storylines have involved relationship breakups, arson attacks, funerals and St Ella and her seemingly endless beige wardrobe. Incidentally I understand the nude look is in. 

Anyway, what I think Corrie needs is a bit of good old fashioned humour. The recent hash brownie interlude with Sylvia and Dennis was like an oasis in the desert. I don't know about you but I long for the days when episodes could revolve around Fred Gee's wig, Annie Walker's bingo hall carpet or Stan and Hilda's slot machine. I know it takes a certain type of character to carry these stories off well. Many of the classic Corrie comedy ideas when written down on paper would look pretty ordinary, but brought to life by the likes of Jean Alexander and Doris Speed could turn into comedy gold.

I think the Coronation Street of 2013 could use an injection of traditional Corrie comedy. So who could be tasked with this challenge? 

i love the relationship between Roy and Sylvia. Practically every scene they appear in has a little gem in it. Now that the link with the infamous One O'Clock Club has been restored, I'd love to see Sylvia and Dennis have some more adventures there. There is also the Rita and Dennis pairing - the timing of Barbara Knox and Philip Lowrie is superb. And I'd like to see Norris involved in some more light-hearted stories rather than his constant nippy sweetie persona that seems to dominate today.

Of the younger characters I think Steve and Lloyd have great comedy potential. Once Eileen shakes off Paul the Fireman, I hope we are treated to some more cab office scenes. They used to have some classic moments. 

So who do you think should be providing the Corrie comedy today?

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CBC Hockey Schedule changes for Canadian Viewers

It's that time of year again folks but Coronation Street will still be broadcast during the next few months of NHL playoffs.

Starting next week (May 6):

In most regions, Corrie will be aired at 3:00 p.m. with a rerun at 2:30 a.m. the next morning. Those in the Atlantic time zone may still get Coronation Street at 7:30 in the evening as well. In Newfoundland, the wee hours rerun seems to be at 1:30 a.m. with the afternoon at 3:30 and evening at 8:00. Check your local listings.

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Is Karl evil or just misunderstood?

I've heard Karl being called evil in a number of comments and discussions here and elsewhere in the Corrie-universe over the past few weeks. It got me thinking about the definition of evil as applies to soap villains.

While Karl is surely on the villain list, is he truly evil? I don't think so. Misunderstood? No, I don't really think that either.

But to read what I think, and who the top two truly evil Corrie villains are, read this.

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Monday 29 April 2013

Monday Moan: Time to revitalise the Corrie women!

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

Some of the more mature ladies of Weatherfield are really grating on my nerves at the moment. For me, this is a great shame as I've always seen Corrie being about strong women of a certain age. At the moment they are just not doing it for me.

Let's look at the evidence:

Deirdre Barlow

Known for: Fags, big belts, big bins and dodgy pottery.
Desperately needs to: Show Tracy-luv the door and regain her self-respect.

Eileen Grimshaw

Known for: hopeless men, lodgers that never leave and fighting in the street with Gail.
Desperately needs to: ditch the fireman and visit the hairdressers (not Audrey's!)

Gail McIntyre

Known for: wearing tabards, fluttering her eyelashes and slowing turning into Ivy Tilsley.
Desperately needs to: stop interfering and skivying for her sons and get her own life!

Anna Windass

Known for: having an annoying adopted daughter which has caused a personality transplant.
Desperately needs to: ditch the daughter and the bullyboy boyfriend and bring back cake-making Eddie!

Mary Taylor

Known for: theme nights, an impossibly large motorhome and stalking Norris Cole.
Desperately needs to: leave Weatherfield due to a crushing storyline shortage.

I believe all of the above characters have come unstuck in recent times. Other Corrie ladies like Rita, Audrey, Sally and Hayley have faired better though my only complaint is that we really just don't see enough of them.

In all seriousness though, these women need to be the cornerstone of our favourite cobbled street. In my opinion there is an urgent need for the Corrie storyliners and writing team to come up with the goods for these performers.

All of them (apart from Mary) can easily be turned around with decent stories. Come on Mr Blackburn, time to revitalise some of Coronation Street's most loyal and longstanding characters! 

*You'll notice that St Ella hasn't reared her head in this blog. I haven't really got a lot more to say about her for the moment. There has been no change on screen so I have nothing further to add. 

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Corrie Canada Weekly awards for April 22 - 26

Suffering Artiste award:  Actually, it's not the artist that's suffering, it's everyone else!

Everyday life award: Fiz and Tyrone debating red and brown sauce. Awww it's nice to see them doing normal stuff.

 Inappropriate award: Anna had no business bothering Dev about who he rents the shop flat to. Not at a time like this. That business with Steve's suit and button popping was absolutely not needed.

 Peeing contest award: Rob and Peter banging horns on the top of the mountain.

Crap support award: Steve really does mean well, trying to support Dev, but he's kind of rubbish at it isn't he! He was a bit better with Eileen at least.

Musical ambience award: "Let's hear it for the boy" while Stella and Karl are discussing their reunion.

 Continuity WHAT? Tim bought a sofa bed between Friday and Monday episodes (Thursday and Friday on our screens). He's out of work. Why wouldn't there have been a sofa already in the flat that Dev would have owned? The rest of the furniture must be Dev's.

 Tattoo You award: It's been quite some time since we've seen Peter's tatts!

Lines of the week:
Deirdre about her candle holder "You will not find anything like that in a department store, it's a one off" (I Love it that Deirdre's pots and things are still lurking in the corners!)
Peter about Rob and Tracy "Can you imagine if them two had a kid?" Carla "I don't have to. I have seen The Omen" (Damien!!!!!)
Sylvia "Children need parents that get on otherwise they'll turn out very oddly" (Roy got the point)
Eva "Have you booked the horses? The wild ones you'd have to have to get me to that cow's funeral"
 Dev "Is there a subject on the planet that you are not an expert on, Mr. Cropper" (no, not much)
Gloria "Sunita was a pyromaniac and a scrubber"
Karl "I killed Sunita" (oh you didn't think he'd *really* confess the real deal did you?)
Paul "This can't be the end?" Eileen "'cept it is"
Eileen to Paul "I can't believe you stayed down here last night" (you did tell him it was over)
Julie "We are both compassionate people" Brian "I am completely selfish, cold, and indifferent"
Steve about Lloyd's tombstone "Go on then, just the one" Paul "What's on yours?" Steve "It's not my fault" (got it in one!!!)

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Sunday 28 April 2013

Sunday Comments - April 29

Paul is certain he's ready to come back to work and the boss is listening to Eileen over the Health people. That tells him a lot more than the front Paul's putting on. I don't understand why Paul doesn't understand Eileen's fears. Surely Lesley must have been scared for him all the time they were married. Eileen can't get her head around it. They might have made up for now but the cracks are there. Eileen now has to back off a bit but at least Paul admitted she had a point. He'll be back to work on Friday and she'll probably be in a bottle of gin. It's so nice to see Steve and Eileen's friendship back on track, too.

Paul and Eileen seem to be on a loved up even keel again but Eileen's cooking skills haven't improved any. Hearing a report of a fire and injured fire fighters has freaked Eileen out. No wonder! And poof! There went her resolve. And when she found out he was ok and drinking in the Bistro, she went off on one. Can't blame her there. He was an idiot not keeping in communication with her, at least once he was done at the scene of the fire but she's an idiot to throw ultimatims at him. If she really can't handle it, she can't be in that relationship.

Eileen and Paul seem to be at an impasse. She told him it was over and then hoped he would beg forgiveness but he's not a mind reader and she can't change him. Paul didn't waste any time moving out, either, and with nowhere to go, took Julie's offer of a sofa. Clean break and all that. Where do they go from here? Is it really the end? Jason wasn't overly sympathetic because he didn't really like Paul anyway.

Ocean pie with just fish in it isn't really ocean but never mind. And insults weren't long in starting. Tracy having a go at Carla's drinking, Rob winding up Peter and flirting with Deirdre. Deirdre getting squiffy and dancing. I loved it all! I wasn't keen on Rob pressuring everyone to drink. Peter isn't keen on Rob either and thinks he's a poncy snob. He is. Oooh...Peter and his tattoos are back! Why on earth would Rob make such a meal out of Peter not drinking? He's a grown up, he shouldn't be acting like a 14 year old daring Peter to drink which is basically what he's been doing. Instead the two of them are in a pissing contest and it's driving Carla mad.

Tyrone stirred things up a little and got Fiz's friends to come round and talk to her again, begging forgiveness. Her heels were firmly dug in but they slowly loosened and Tyrone made Fiz see it was worth forgiving them. Isn't he a lovely bloke!? And really, it wasn't so much Izzy and Beth as it was Eileen and Julie. Sean was always on Fiz's side as was Hayley. I guess this is just tidying up the rest of the loose ends. Fiz will be back to the factory lickety split, now. Fiz is back in the factory but it's still pretty awkward between she and Julie and a few of them are walking on eggshells around Fiz. 

St. Ella of the back room hasn't changed has she? Still sticking her nose into everyone's business and trying to give advice. Giving it to Dev is the last person that needs it. I do like that he brought up his religion. Karl is bricking it, and his nerves are shattered and he ripped Gloria a new one. It was uncalled for but he is on the knife edge. I'm surprised he even was ok with her there and going to the funeral, considering she believes Sunita started the fire and "tried to kill her". Stella is now going to drag Karl to the funeral. Last thing he needs though he was at least happy to know the police aren't pursuing the case.

Funerals are very difficult for all, especially children. The Alahan twins are scared and it's all so new. It's not really sunk in either. Traditions will be followed.Stella and Glo have no intention of going but Stella is going and dragging Karl along with her. Inappropriate much? Bringing the man that helped break up the marraige to her funeral? Tsk. Roy trying to share his  views on the Hindu religion was typical Roy. Karl's nerves are increasingly wobbly and his guilt is packing on weight more and more every day. Karl was stuck between not wanting to face his guilt and staying on Stella's good side. I thought he was either going to pass out or throw up when they were leaving. And THEN he had to help carry Sunita's coffin. He couldn't even tie his tie with his bandaged hand and they expect him to carry that?

Karl couldn't stand it and ran out, and then confessed to Stella that he killed Sunita. But you didn't think he was going to actually confess did you? Stella immediately assumed it was all about the affair so he picked that up and ran with it and she snogged him. Gloria pushes for them to get back together. She insisted that she's not taking him back but you can see her spine melting. Stella is a stupid, stupid woman. Leanne isn't fooled. This part of the storyline is really painful to watch. EXcellent acting by John Michie, though.

Dev didn't want many people at the funeral but just the same, it was a miserable send off for Shobna Gulati, wasn't it? Deirdre had no right to gossip about the lack. And it was hypocritical for people like Gloria and Eva who had no intention of going to Sunita's funeral showing up at the "wake" at the Bistro. Jason is astonished that Karl and Stella are back together. As are we all. Could he not see that coming? Nobody else is going to be happy other than Gloria. Leanne was furious and told her so. Dev found out as well and he was even angrier.

Steve and Lloyd are trying to be good friends to Dev, supportive but Steve really isn't very good at it is he? He and Lloyd were much better with Eileen.

Stella offered to mind the twins along with Simon but she didn't stay long. Why couldn't Owen come to the house to consult? It didn't go very well, leaving Karl with the kids. They got a bit rambunctious and Simon spilled the gossip. Just what those poor kiddies needed! Karl's guilt practically oozed out and under the cludgie door and having to console one of Sunita's children dug a few more holes into him.

Poor kids are now starting to kick back, which is normal, and Asha's having separation anxiety, which is also normal. Hearing the gossip only makes it harder. None of Sunita's family came, they are very traditional and feel Sunita dishonoured the family. Only two of Dev's cousins? Why not his parents, at least? Tina, a former coworker was there but why not Sean? Dev is holding up for the kids but barely. Speaking at the funeral he started sniffing again. I didn't think having that silliness over Steve's suit was needed. And aside from the distracting sniffing and huffing, Jimmi Harkishin did do a very good job.

And just an aside, you may have heard Dev say "At least I can drink again". One of the Hindu mourning traditions is abstaining from alcohol until after the funeral.

Karl shouting at Simon rubbed Leanne the wrong way and really, Simon was a bit rude and tactless.

Steve was right to tell Paul a few things but wrong to bring him to the Bistro before checking in at home. He could have at least texted, knowing she was nervous even if he didn't know that she knew about the fire he fought that day.

Tim is going to rent the corner flat and Anna had no business bothering Dev at a time like this about it. Get over yourself, Anna. Faye is delighted Tim is moving over the road. Anna's going to have an even more difficult time keeping a clamp on things. Faye's manipulating and attitude is getting on my nerves. I do understand her motivations. Doesn't seem like Tim is very comfortable with the fatherhood role no matter that he does want to get to know his daughter. And he seems to feel like he's stuck and people are expecting more of him than he's ready to give. Anna had to help him cook. Owen and Tim support different football teams but Tim trumped everyone by having a baby picture of Faye.

Now that Tim is living in the street, Faye is really going to start pushing. She played sick and Tim offered to look after her. Exactly the result she wanted.  Tim even rushed right out and bought a sofa bed, got it delivered and all between Friday night and Monday. He's out of work, btw. I expect the rest of the furniture was Dev's so why didn't Dev have a sofa? I thought he did. Anyway, once Faye was installed, she refused to leave. Anna's worst nightmare.

I love that Deirdre's homemade pots and things are still lurking in the corners. Did you see that lump of a candle holder on the table? Nymphs frolicking! Wonderful!!! Chesney managed to get his stall back. Not managed to get Katy back though and Fiz is worried sick. Chesney really is overreacting to one kiss.  Clever exchange between Roy and Sylvia over funeral arrangements. Why is Jenna consulting a list for prices. Sophie's always wielding the price tag gun. Hmm..Tim seems to have a clippy kind of temper doesn't he? I do think he was a bit harder on Chesney than needed. Is that "nice guy" facade cracking a bit? Jason seems to be doing a bit of work but not enough for Tim. So is Tim on benefits?

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Corrie A-Z: A is for Affairs

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

Three things that are ratings winners in soaps are weddings, deaths and affairs. Or indeed the revelation of an affair.  The secrecy, the danger and the showdown of an affair make us glued to our TV screens and are indeed one of the main themes that make soap operas at the peak of television.

In Coronation Street, affairs have become a storyline norm since the 1980s. But the first Corrie affair, I believe, was back in 1961. Street siren Elsie Tanner unwittingly had an affair with Petty Officer Bill Gregory. She was unaware he was married to Phyllis as he’d told her he was unmarried. Elsie soon ended her liaison with Bill but rekindled their romance in 1984 and married him that year.

During the 1960s and 1970s, affairs did exist but not in the sensationalism form that they exist now. Ken Barlow had a fling with newspaper reporter Jackie Marsh in 1966; and Ray Langton had an affair with café waitress Janice Stubbs in 1978 that in time ended his marriage to Deirdre.
It was in 1982 that an affair became sensational.

At this time the press began their close association with soaps. The affair of course was between bored housewife Deirdre Barlow and factory tycoon Mike Baldwin. Their affair gripped the nation. But as we all know, it was when Deirdre’s hubby Ken found out about the affair and the scenes shared between the couple and then Mike appearing on the doorstep and Ken grabbing Deirdre and slamming her against the door that made it a classic TV moment. The Barlows did manage to rebuild their marriage but the affair began a long lasting feud between Ken and Mike.

Other affairs during the 1980s included Gail Tilsley’s affair with hubby Brian’s Australian cousin Ian Latimer in 1986. Gail later fell pregnant and wondered who the father was. Sarah Louise was born in 1987 and a DNA test revealed that Brian was indeed her father.
Jack Duckworth had a fling with Bet Lynch in 1982; and Ken Barlow had an affair with council worker Wendy Crozier in 1989 that ended his marriage to Deirdre.

While there were many affairs during the 1990s, it was Kevin Webster’s affair with vamp Natalie Horrocks in 1997 that gripped the nation once more. Natalie brought excitement to Kevin’s life in contrast to his dull marriage to Sally. The affair ended the Websters marriage. They later remarried in 2002.

Other affairs and one-night stands since then include Martin Platt and Rebecca Hopkins (1999-2000); Mark Redman and Linda Sykes (2000); Dev Alahan and Deirdre Rachid (2001); Steve McDonald and Tracy Barlow (2003); Todd Grimshaw and Karl Foster (2004); Danny Baldwin and Leanne Battersby (2005); John Stape and Rosie Webster (2007); Liam Connor and Carla Connor (2008); Steve McDonald and Becky Granger (2008); Kevin Webster and Molly Dobbs (2009-2010); Ken Barlow and Martha Fraser (2009); and Karl Munro and Sunita Alahan (2012). Both Steve and Tracy’s and Kevin and Molly’s affairs resulted in a baby: Amy and Jack respectively.

Can you think of any other Corrie affairs? Are there any favourites for you?

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Saturday 27 April 2013

Listen: Love song to Corrie's Deirdre and Ken

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

With thanks to @kelwrites on twitter for sending us the link to this fab little ditty.  It's a song by a band called The Thyme Machine called "I want to be in love like Deirdre and Ken."

It's definitely worth a listen and it's here.

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Is Tim for Real?

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

I've been thinking about Tim this weekend.  You saw him snap at Chesney. That came out of nowhere. But is it the first crack in the nice guy facade or was it just a bad mood? Nice guys are allowed to have the occasional temper.

So far, the powers that be are being careful in how they're filling out Tim's personality. I'm curious as to where it's all going and have blogged a few thoughts over here. What do you think of Tim? Good guy or bad?

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Friday 26 April 2013

Conversation Street podcast 37

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 the aftermath of the fire, Sunita's funeral, Paul and Eileen's relationship and a bit about the Windasses. The character profile is all about the memorable Blanche Hunt. 

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

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Corrie Canada sneak preview April 29 - May 3

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

Faye digs her heels in and Anna has to give in after Faye's lies cause serious trouble. Eileen is not best pleased with Paul's temporary accommodations. Paul has news. Eileen plans a holiday with Julie. Dev questions Stella's decision. He then looks for a nanny and finds help in an unusual place.

Chesney's jealousy continues to scupper his reunion with Katy. Beth introduces Chesney to her niece. Gary fusses over Tina. Izzy feels left out.
For more detail and photos, see the Moosejaw Mercury at Corrie.net

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Thursday 25 April 2013

Always a pleasure, never a chore? Well not tonight, Corrie

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

I'm afraid this isn't going to be a very positive blog. I've just sat through two episodes of Coronation Street tonight. And when I say sat through, that's exactly what I mean. Tonight was far more of a chore than a pleasure.

Yes, I know the main event of these episodes was a funeral so it was never going to be a laugh a minute. However even a funeral can have good writing and decent performances. I just felt tonight was found lacking in nearly every department. Only a brief appearance from the always watchable David Neilson as Roy captured my imagination. 

So what went wrong?

Well for a start the Eileen and Paul storyline just dragged on and on. Enough already. We know Paul is heading for the door marked exit, so for goodness sake, just get on with it! As a story, it just doesn't add up either. Paul has been a fireman since Eileen first met him - remember he rescued her head from those railings. Yes, hilarious. Anyway, this sudden paranoia doesn't add up, is extremely irritating and makes me dislike Eileen enormously. When Paul finally leaves I will struggle to find any sympathy for Ms Grimshaw whatsoever.

Moving on, all the Stella and Karl stuff is just awful. It's story-lining by numbers yet again. We all know where it's heading and for me it's gut-churning to watch. Gloria and Eva are acting out the whole sisters grim bit to the extreme too. 

Thank heavens for Leanne! It seems a prerequisite at the moment that Stella, Gloria and Eva are shoehorned into practically every scene! They are not the strongest characters in the world so what they really need is material of a far superior quality.
As for the Faye and Anna storyline: I dislike what the adoption of Faye has done to Anna Windass. She's had a complete personality transformation and the relationship with bullyboy Owen isn't right either. When Faye first appeared she was gobby, but with a decent enough nature. She has now become a spoiled, nasty brat and has to go.

And finally - Dev. I just can't buy his performances at the moment. Watching him tonight was just too much like hard work. Dev is a character that has existed in Corrie for far too long, stuck on the uncomfortable boundary between low farce and shouty drama. The emotional depth required in recent episodes has just not come from him as it should. 

I know some people will think I'm just a moany old blogger having a go, but behind all this is a deep passion for Coronation Street. I just get so annoyed and frustrated when I feel my beloved Street doesn't step up to the mark. Don't get me wrong, I will always love Corrie, I just think it could be a lot better than it is right now. 

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Sue Cleaver in plaster after Coronation Street injury

8115: Eileen rushes to the station to stop Paul from leaving for his new job in Yorkshire(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog November 2012, reposted to this blog with permission.)

This week we saw this scene of Eileen Grimshaw on Coronation Street running along a train platform. Do spare a thought for the actress who plays her, Sue Cleaver.

While filming the scenes of Eileen rushing along the train platform trying to stop fireman Paul from leaving, Sue did herself a mischief.

Speaking to TV Choice, (by way of Digital Spy)  Sue  said: "It's like Brief Encounter because Paul's on a train and Eileen's chasing up the platform.

"Unfortunately, I got a bit enthusiastic during filming, tore my Achilles tendon and have been in plaster for a few weeks. It's only just come off."

Ah, so that explains this picture of Sue Cleaver using a crutch and hanging on to cast member John Michie, who plays Karl Munro, last month.

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It's Coronation Street - German style

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

Did you know that 30 years ago, the format of Coronation Street was shipped overseas to Germany where they started running their own version of it called Lindenstrasse

No, neither did I.

However, because it's now Lindenstrasse's 30th anniversary, they're quite rightfully blowing their own German soap trumpet.

And there's a good article on the BBC website from John Jungclaussen, who is the London correspondent for Die Zeit magazine.  John travelled to meet the cast of Germany's Corrie clone to find out how the German soap compares to Corrie.

Lindenstrasse, which literally means Lime Street, was created by the eccentric Hans Geissendorfer - a renowned director and the man behind some of Germany's most successful feature films. He became hooked on Coronation Street while visiting his British girlfriend in London and returned to Germany in the belief that audiences were missing something big.
Inside Soap magazine editor Stephen Murphy was particularly taken with the throwback to the old kitchen sink drama - the realism - of Coronation Street in years gone by.

Listen to the documentary about this soap in a programme called Coronation Strasse on BBC Radio 4 at 10:30 BST on Saturday 20 April and afterwards on the BBC iPlayer.
And from blogger Graeme N after the broadcast:

I caught some of BBC Radio 4's documentary Coronation Strasse today (still available on BBC I-Player) which recounts the success of the German soap Lindenstrasse. The series was inspired by Corrie and has been on-air since 1985. Interestingly, Lindenstrasse credits its success to the telling of straightforward human interest stories, rather to the 'nuts and sluts' approach favoured by many of their contemporaries. Certainly the Lindenstrasse approach seemed to find favour with the assembled UK soap gurus.

Whether or not Corrie would benefit from a 'back-to-basics' approach is debatable. These days, the basic art of story-telling seems to lose out in UK soaps. With up to five episodes to fill, there seems to be a constant need for visual stimulation. Writers and producers are therefore constrained by the requirement of blockbuster storylines. It is the kind of thing that Channel 4 drama Brookside was ridiculed for a decade ago. For them, a never-ending diet of sieges, murders and a helicopter crashing into the shops every other week finally did for the twenty one year old soap. The somewhat earthy drama of 1982 left the screen as a faintly ridiculous, hollowed-out shell of its former self in 2003.

BBC Radio 4's The Archers, of course, has to rely on the power of the spoken word only. For them, an exploding village pub or the prospect of a herd of angry cows ploughing through Lynda Snell's back garden is not an option. Without the visual outlet though, the emphasis is firmly on the characters and their traits. All of them are damaged or weakened in some way or another and more often than not, the listener is prodded into recalling those foibles.

As a Corrie viewer, I do enjoy the odd set piece. However, the regular occurrences of murder, fire and infidelity are wearing a little thin. There are only so many times that t'faktry can be torched, that Tracy can be a scheming bitch or that Eileen, glowering through yet another relationship breakdown, can be of any interest. Maybe we could find out a little of Mary's back-story or discover what happened during Dennis Tanner's missing years. We need a break from pyrotechnics and marriage merry-go-rounds.

Lindenstrasse gives a nod to Corrie for its own success. Is it time that Corrie went full circle and re-discovered its own roots?

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Wednesday 24 April 2013

Corrie's Oldies but Goodies

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

Watching the lovely little scene between Norris and Rita the other evening was one of the highlights of the recent Rovers fire drama. It was terrific to see these two older characters expressing just how much they care about each other. This really did highlight to me how much we value the older generation on Coronation Street.

I think it's about time some of Corrie's mature characters featured in a storyline of their own, rather than just appearing in the background in those of younger characters. I really do think we have to use them before we lose them.

We haven't seen much of Ken and Deirdre recently and although Ken had the story with the wonderful Wendy flamin' Crozier, we haven't seen a proper storyline for Deirdre in ages, unless you count Tracy's never-ending dramas. 

Emily has a much-reduced role these days but Eileen Derbyshire is still always effective when given an opportunity. Probably the most prolific of the old guard are Rita, Gail and Audrey. Gail and Audrey are pretty much guaranteed storylines as part of the turbulent Platt household, but Rita tends to pop up in Tina's stories these days rather than her own.

I'm all for bringing in Dennis Tanner more often. He has a long history with Ken and a spikey relationship with Norris (but then who doesn't!) I'd love to see the writers explore Dennis and Rita's marriage a little more and also have Dennis interact with Gail - she did lodge with his mother for a good few years back in the 1970s.

I adore Sylvia Goodwin and would like to see her brought more into the group, perhaps also involving Roy more once Hayley departs. Sylvia is a great fit with the likes of Rita and Emily I think, but so far she has mainly been seen with the Croppers in the cafe. Perhaps even Gloria can become more involved with the pensioners as she surely must be one herself. Incidentally, I softened to Gloria during her scene at Stella's bedside the other evening. If she is to stay and develop, we need to see more of her softer side. Sue Johnston was terrific.

I loved the stories involving the infamous book group when we were blessed with the wonderful Mel Hutchwright and his Hard Grindings! It was Corrie at its best - comedy, sharp writing and a bit of poignancy. I would love to see another story like this. I know we have sadly lost Jack, Vera, Blanche and Betty but we are really lucky to still have many links to the Coronation Street of the past.

Do you agree we should have more stories focussing on the older Coronation Street residents? If so, what would you like to see them get up to?

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Whatever happened to Eileen Grimshaw?

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

It's the Corrie storyline that we all seem to have missed. Yes, those wily writers managed to sneak a secret plot into the show without any of us realising. At some point in the past year, Eileen Grimshaw was snatched from the cobbles and replaced with someone else.

You remember Eileen don't you? Sarcastic wit, razor-sharp one-liners, general shoulder to cry on?

The Weatherfield bodysnatchers presumably descended on the Street one dark evening and bundled our favourite taxi switch operator into the back of a van. In her place they left a cunning impostor. A woman who resembled Eileen, save for the hairstyle which they obviously could not master. New Eileen is a dreary, desolate ha'porth. She trudges between micro-kitchen and tiny sofa with a face like a bag of spanners.

New Eileen makes enemies of former friends and shacks up with a man who has all the vitality of a balloon on a stick. She fails to notice that her barmy sister spends all day, everyday swanning around in a full-length woollen cape.

New Eileen doesn't laugh or have fun. She hides in fire station cupboards and whines on about how scared she is that someone might pop her balloon on a stick at any moment. Well, we've had enough. It's time for sharp-shooting, fun-loving, wise-cracking Eileen to return and usurp this pretender to her throne (or PVC clad office chair). Real Eileen needs to make a glorious comeback, stopping off at Audrey's on her way for a new barnet.

Meanwhile, I've got the urge to burst a certain balloon. Anyone got a pin?

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Tuesday 23 April 2013

My current Corrie highs and lows

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

Here we go with a quick round up of what this Corrie fan is loving and loathing in Coronation Street at the moment. Just my own personal views and opinions, but please feel free to comment and share your own thoughts!

We may as well start with some positives:

- I admit I did quite enjoy Sylvia's recent storyline involving the hash brownies and a return to the infamous 1 O'Clock Club. As far as I am concerned the performances of Stephanie Cole, Barbara Knox and Philip Lowrie raised this idea from being potentially embarrassing and repetitive into a fun interlude. I'd love to see move of the Sylvia/Dennis double act!

- I am happy the powers that be have given Tyrone and Fiz a happy ending, at least for now. While discussions over whether brown or red sauce is better may seem humdrum after all the Kirsty drama, it does make a refreshing change. They will never be the "new Jack and Vera" but then they really shouldn't try. More lighthearted stories for this pair please.

- I am actually quite enjoying the villainous Karl. Yes, I know it involves more scenes with Stella and Gloria and I am far from their greatest fans, but John Michie is terrific at the moment. I only hope it doesn't get repetitive and follow the serial killer by numbers storylines we've seen in recent years.

Now for some negative points:

- The Paul and Eileen scenes have been AWFUL. I used to love Eileen but the relationship with Paul is just dragging her down. I actually considered turning off on Monday  evening as the boredom levels were becoming unbearable! I know Paul will be departing our screens soon so I hope the writers can then take Eileen back to her roots. She used to be strong, brash and funny. I also don't buy their current storyline - Eileen must have been aware of the risks. When we first met Paul he was trying to save Molly during the tram crash. Has Eileen honestly not thought of that since? And if we, the viewers, were meant to care about Toni's passing we should at least have met her more than five episodes before her demise.

- I just hate the way Stella has treated Jason. Yes, we know the writers are setting it all up for a big Karl and Stella reconciliation but she really has been unpleasant. She has been hot and cold with him for weeks, supporting Karl and dismissing Jason again and again. She has slowly frozen the poor lad out while knowing exactly what she will do next. And for a grown woman she allows her mother far too much say in her life! Very annoying! The low point came with Stella dumping Jason down the back alley with Karl spectating. Yuck!

- The ongoing surrogacy storyline fails to get any better in my eyes! I don't mind Tina so much these days although I still struggle to understand why she would get involved in this. I used to really enjoying watching most of the main players in this but the surrogacy plot seems to have turned them all on their heads! Anna has become a pushy, thoughtless shrew (her butting in on Dev on Monday was very selfish). Meanwhile Gary is slowing moving in on Tina as we all knew would happen. I have a horrible feeling poor Izzy is going to be left out in the cold, which will see 'orrible Owen back to his bullyboy best (or worst). 

Finally a quick mention for the Corrie Cupboard. In my view there are certain characters we just are not seeing enough of at the moment.
We haven't seen Audrey in weeks. Both Lloyd and Steve pop in and out but I think it is time both were brought back to the fore, hopefully in a storyline together. 

Marcus is another character who has been on the periphery for too long and we can add Tommy Duckworth to that list. I would also love some more scenes involving Kirk, Beth and Craig. And finally, what are they doing with Dr Carter? He surely deserves a proper story?

So what do you think about Corrie at the moment? What do you like and what do you loathe?

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The truth about Ken and Deirdre's wedding anniversary

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

Ken and Deirdre Barlow celebrate the anniversary of their second wedding on April 8th. (the last two Canadian episodes)

The Barlows have been married twice. They were wed for the first time on July 27th 1981 and married again on April 8th in 2005. TV viewing figures show seven million viewers tuned in for the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla compared with 13 million who tuned in to see Ken and Deirdre get spliced on Coronation Street, for the second time.

And if you think Corrie fans have had enough of Deirdre being with Ken, well, think again.

Cartoon courtesy of Business in Berkshire.

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Monday 22 April 2013

Helen Worth has no plans to leave Coronation Street

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

It's Monday, there's no news, but still, I saw this in the supermarket this morning while browsing through the papers and it put a little smile on my face.  It's a non-story, but here we go anyway

The Daily Star reports that Helen Worth, who plays Gail McIntyre, has pledged her future to Coronation Street. It says that Helen has scotched rumours she was going to retire when she weds teacher Trevor Dawson at the Ritz in London.

A Street source said: “Helen’s told bosses she is happy to stay as long as they want her. She’s getting wed but there’s no chance of her quitting.”

I'm happy to hear it, she's fab.

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Corrie's Karl: The end is nigh?

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

When Karl Munro first arrived in Weatherfield I thought he had a decent future ahead of him. Out of all of the Price family, he was the one I took to the most. 

However since his arrival in 2011, the powers that be have taken Karl from being a loveable rogue to a love rat to an arsonist and now, by the looks of it, a murderer.

To be honest I am not complaining about this. Anything that enlivens the Price family is fine by me, even if it does mean extra screen time. John Michie is brilliant at playing the villain of the piece. He has just the right combination of menace and vulnerability. One minute you think he is going to crack and reveal all and the next he is spurred on by his desperate situation and adds another devilish deed to his growing list of crimes. In many ways he is a rather good combination of past villains John Stape and Richard Hillman.

Last Friday's dĂ©nouement saw St Ella dump poor Jason in the most desultory way. I mean honestly, who dumps their boyfriend in the ginnel? Karl was lurking behind so a reunion between these two hopeless cases is par for the course. I predict that as is usual in such storylines, Karl and St Ella will get back together, but they won't live happily ever after. Obviously the guilt of his actions will eat away at him. What happens next is anybody's guess, but as we know, Corrie villains always receive their comeuppance. Unless, that is, you are Tracy Barlow.

While Karl's turn to the dark side has been quite entertaining I worry that this development means we will lose John Michie sooner rather than later. Once you have gone bad on Corrie the clock is normally ticking on your character. The truth will naturally come out, exposing the story to maximum drama. However once everyone knows, where else is there to go? This for me, is a shame as I think Michie's character had broad appeal and real longevity.

There is, however, perhaps a more interesting question. Given Karl's run of form - Toni dead thanks to his arson attack in the Rovers and Sunita possibly silenced in her hospital bed - will he be forced to kill again? We've seen this storyline pattern several times since Richard Hillman stalked the cobbles so it would be no surprise. 

If Karl was to silence another Weatherfield resident who might it be? Grim Gloria, who seems to be even more besotted with him that her darling daughter? Jason Grimshaw, for a long time a thorn in Karl's side? We've heard that Leanne becomes suspicious of Karl, so maybe she bites off more than she can chew? Could it be that Karl even goes so far as to bump off the woman he loves: St Ella of the Back Room?

Place your bets folks! What do you think the future holds for Karl Munro? Will he kill again? And if so, who is your money on?

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Corrie Canada weekly awards: April 15 - 19

Doctor Doom award: Karl. Caused Toni's death. Left Sunita to burn and when that didn't work, killed her in hospital.

Need new shorts award: Looks like Sunita may be coming out of the coma. Karl's face went the colour of the ashes on the Rovers' site.

Truffle award: I wish Dev would stop sniffing!

Spoke too soon award: Tyrone promised they'd never have to see Kirsty again. Guess who wants to see Tyrone?

Humble Pie award: Kirsty is getting help.

Doctor Sylvia award: Sylvia the pusher is in town.

Red headed fury: Rita's furious at Sylvia and Dennis' recreational eating.

Misplaced heroism: Karl did NOT save Stella's life, Paul did. He's the one went up the ladder and got her back down it safely.

It's not you it's me award: Stella insists Karl has nothing to do with her breaking up with Jason. Heck as like it is.

Me Me Me award: Stella is moaning about Sunita dying hating her.

Shoots yourself in the foot award: Eileen can't keep her neb out of Paul's business. If she's too scared, she'll have to end the relationship.

Foot in mouth award: Sophie's remark about gossip spreading like wild fire. Ooops!

Lines of the Week

Sally "Sometimes I'm not a very good judge of character" (You can say that again)
Dev to "Morris" "Go knit at the guillotine or peddle your gossip elsewhere"
Norris "Asking after someone's health is gossiping now, is it?" (it is the way you do it)
Karl "It's always you. You ruin everything"
Tyrone "I'm glad I came so I could see you for what you really are"
Sophie to Karl "I reckon you've done enough, Karl" (more than you know)
Tina "I'm simply a womb with a view"
Sylvia "I have never been so insulted in my entire life" Rita "Well, that's a shame because I'm just getting warmed up"
Tracy "Would it kill you to pretend to be listening?" Ken "I was. Pretending to be listening"
Tracy "Just because we didn't break up a marraige doesn't make us less of a couple"
Mary "Cliches are cliches for a reason. Personally I avoid them like the plague"

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Sunday 21 April 2013

Coronation Street A-Z: A is for Accidents

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

In recent years, accidents are a common occurrence in storylines. Not a month goes by without a car crash or some collision. It is part of the sensationalism of soaps these days. But accidents did happen in the good old days of Corrie as well.

You might remember the train crash that spiralled into the street in 1967. Ena Sharples was under the rubble but survived. Only minor characters were killed. This was echoed 43 years later when a tram crashed into the street in 2010 and claimed the lives of Molly Dobbs and Ashley Peacock and injured many others. The Corner Shop and the Kabin were destroyed as a result.

Back in 1969 there was a coach crash when the residents were going out for the day to Windermere. The driver, Reg Ellis, was killed when the coach crashed into a tree. Several of the residents were injured.
And in 1979 a lorry crashed into the Rovers. Len Fairclough, Mike Baldwin, Alf Roberts and Betty Turpin were injured but only the lorry driver was killed. Baby Tracy Langton was feared to be covered under the timber of the lorry but was later found safe and sound. Alf suffered mental problems and had angry outbursts at the neighbours and had to have psychiatric help. The Rovers wasn’t affected greatly and the interior remained unchanged. 
As for characters being involved in accidents: Renee Roberts was killed in a car/lorry collision back in 1980; Jenny Bradley and Martin Platt were involved in a car accident in 1986; Lisa Duckworth was killed by a car in 1993; Judy Mallett died of a result of a car crash with Vera Duckworth; Tyrone and Molly Dobbs have been involved in a car crash as did Tyrone with Tina McIntyre and girlfriend Kirsty Soames; and Sarah Platt nearly died when she was involved in a car crash with Aiden Critchley in Ken Barlow’s car. Then were the deaths of Dennis Stringer (2002) and Paul Connor (2007) as a result of car crashes.

Others have died off-screen in car accidents including David Barlow (1970), Len Fairclough (1983), Susan Barlow (2001) and Elsie Tanner (2004).

Can you recall any other accidents over the years?

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Sunday Comments - April 21

Jason shows up at the door and interrupts. He had been living with Stella before the fire. Is he not anymore? Between Jason calling Karl down to Stella and that kiss, I don't think Jason is long for that relationship. I don't blame Jason for being mardy about Karl but Stella won't be told and she's treating Jason like dirt, and sending Karl loads of mixed signals and I'm glad Jason and Stella are over. Karl wins but Jason is better off without Stella anyway if she's going to treat him like that. Karl made sure to be there for comfort.

Meanwhile, many of the neighbours may or may not believe that Sunita started the fire, but Norris and Mary are making a career out of the gossip and I don't blame Dev for banning them from the shop. They were plying Sophie for information and the kids could have overheard as well.

Sunita's improved some and she was brought round. She's trying hard. The doctor is pleased. The police are anxious. And Karl? He's wetting himself and lurking like the Grim Reaper. And then it's done. Murder number 2 and this one is First Degree. He went there with intent. What's worse is Sunita appears to have come around enough to see Karl. Now comes the difficult part. How do you tell children they've lost their mother? The neighbours are doing what they can to support him but he's the one that's got to do the telling. I'm glad we didn't actually have to see him tell them, he'd already started sniffing again and I couldn't bear much more of it. The rain is falling, too. Nice touch. And i liked that Steve insisted on being there for Dev.

In spite of my vague contempt for Dev, and the sniffing aside, Jimmi Harkishin did a very good job in the episodes this week. 

Karl is feeling the pain of Sunita's death, too, though i'm not sure if it's true remorse or scared witless. People still don't understand how Sunita could have lit the fire. Other than Gloria that is. And did she try to kill herself in the fire? Or in hospital? Oh we know better but Dev has doubts. If Stella is on medications and can't drink, why isn't Karl on painkillers? He's still bandaged up. The police are questioning Sunita's motives for the fire. Things just don't add up. Karl doesn't want them pressing too hard. Jason's already put him in their radar and I don't think they've forgotten that or put that aside completely.

Dev is moving into the house and needs to rent out the flat and Tim is interested. Naturally. Dev says all the kids' friends' parents know about Sunita and seems to put it down to gossip. Wouldn't something like that fire and the deaths have been all over the news? The Post mortem wouldn't reveal anything about Sunita's involvement with the fire so I don't know why Karl is shaking. There's no way to know, the police say and they also say they can only verify her injuries and pulling the breathing tube out, supposedly by herself, caused her death. Head Injuries? (the fall down the stairs). No idea. It seems like they're assuming she did it and that's an end to it. How does Dev live with that?

Owen is going to do the Rovers renovations.  Stella's skeptical about him  but Karl is keen (Karl has *what* business to have any say?) but she wants to start sooner than the insurance company is ready to pay out. Big change there. Usually things like that happen instantly in soap-land.  Tim and Jason are still doing piece work and Jason won't be part of the pub refit. Stella wants the pub to stay the same, Karl wants changes, including the name though he's not strayed far from the original. Don't you touch a splinter on that pub's frame, me laddo! It can't be anything but The Rovers Return and I have every confidence Stella will prevail. 

Dennis to the rescue, spacecake alert! Rita's suspicious. She should know Dennis well enough by now. When Sylvia gets into the cakes, she gets all fluttery. Dennis is the next one brought to his knees with pain and looking for herbal relief and he worked his charm on Sylvia to get an order of brownies for himself. Rita will not approve.  Sylvia's taken to baking them herself. I think she over-egged the brownies, so to speak. He's high as a kite and out cold! He didn't even finish the brownie and it must have been pretty potent if Rita could smell it! She sussed him and Sylvia out sharpish. Rita marched them to the doctor who really told them the whole story about the long term effects. It's amazing how easily they can always get in to see the doctor, too, isn't it?

Eileen is bending everyone's ear about her worries about Paul's state of mind. Paul's not going to thank her for it. Doctor C could have handled it a bit better, maybe Paul is determined to go back to work and thinks work is probably the best medicine now. Paul's finally happy, he could be back to work next week. Not if Eileen has anything to say about it. I suppose she knew the danger before but this incident really brings it home how dangerous his job really is and it scares the bits off her. Going to his manager to try to persuade him not to let Paul back to work is exactly the wrong thing to do and getting busted by Paul? Beginning of the end.

Tyrone says nobody's guilty in prison. They wouldn't be. He was only on remand so would everyone else have been in that section. If you're on remand, you're innocent until proven. Tyrone was willing to forgive Sally but not Julie and Eileen. I'm not so sure that was the best venue for it but the Royston Voice of Reason made sense and Tyrone is a good guy, after all.   Fiz certainly wasn't ready to forgive and her red headed temper really gave them what for. Tyrone is now back out in the world and facing the future. Where will he and Fiz live, though? Fiz doesn't want to leave Chesney on his own but who's paying the rent? I suppose Fiz must be paying it on her own now Chesney's lost the market stall. Hayley decided to help as well and put a word in on Fiz's behalf. That lad needs a proper job. It's nice to see Fiz and Chesney so supportive of each other. And it's nice that Tyrone is so happy finally.

Kirsty wanted to see Tyrone. Odd time to get hold of him. Tyrone has gone to see Kirsty as she'd asked and he's on the offensive. Does she want to make amends to make herself feel better? He doesn't want her to ever have any contact with him or Ruby again. She says she's getting help and she says she means it but Tyrone is skeptical.Tyrone's reaction to her seemed a bit over the top, a good offence is the best defence you might say. Was he scared she could talk him around in some way? A couple of the things he said to her were unnecessarily harsh.  We were right, Kirsty scared herself with her reaction to Ruby's crying and she is admitting she's got a problem. Maybe she's going to make herself a new life. Tyrone seems to have finally closed a door, too.

Fiz can't move in because she can't leave Chesney. And he's got no job. Who's paying the rent?Fiz had been offered her old job back but she's still angry at her former friends. Why is Eileen worried about busses. She works for a cab firm. Ken and Deirdre's anniversary and Ken's forgotten and then forgets again and again to get a card. Ken is going to make a nice tea and all the inlaws and outlaws are invited. One big happy family. Kind of.

Tina is halfway through her pregnancy. Gary is wetting himself too, to find out if it's a boy or a girl but Izzy wants to wait to be surprised. Gary, as always, isn't going to leave it alone. Chuckled at the George Michael trivia at the party. Will Dev PLEASE stop sniffing! Did you see the vibrantly brilliant CGI starts over the Street? There's no way you'd see stars that clearly over a city the size of Manchester.

Gary's really getting into this pregnancy and is fussing over Tina non-stop. He's determined to find out what sex the baby is as well but Tina isn't going to say unless Izzy wants to know too. Tina's really keeping herself shut off from trying to emotionally involved with the baby but you can see it's happening anyway. Izzy can't resist Gary's pleading little face and we now know they're having a boy. I wonder if he'll be ginger! I love red headed babies. Then Tina discovers her flat is broken into and Gary's even more protective. You can see where this is going, can't you. It's more obvious than an obvious thing and Izzy is even helping push them together.

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