Thursday 31 October 2013

Which Coronation Street role did David Jason turn down?

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

There's an excellent interview by Nermin Oomer on Yahoo News with actor David Jason. 

You can read it here.

In the interview David reveals he was once offered a role in Coronation Street but dithered so much about the part that they offered the role to someone else.

He says: "I hesitated and hesitated. In the end they couldn’t wait and said 'we’ve cast someone else'. So they let me off the hook and I didn’t have to make the decision."

Now then, I wonder which role he was offered? Any guesses who it might have been?

(Edited to add, apparently it was a character that would have appeared in the past year or so. We're guessing Eric Babbage, Gloria's fiance, the one that popped his clogs in the pub)

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How Script Conferences Work

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2013.)

Interior - Coronation Street writer's meeting at Granada Studios.  It's seven o'clock Monday morning, and Stuart Blackburn, the Street's much feared producer, is knocking the forthcoming storylines into shape.

STUART: we're all agreed: we'll save the alien invasion plot for Christmas 2014, yes?

The other writers murmur their agreement.

STUART: Now.  As we all know, I'm bringing Beverley Callard back to run the Rovers.  This is because she's a great actress, and has nothing to do with the fact that even setting Stella on fire couldn't make the public love her.  We therefore have to do some moving of characters to set up her arrival.  Any thoughts?

WRITER 1: Why would Liz want to buy the Rovers again?  Isn't she happy in Spain?

WRITER 2: Yes, but she's stuck out there with Andy.  Shall we just say she got sick of looking at his miserable face?

STUART: No, we might need him to make a return guest appearance with unflattering facial hair at a future wedding of Steve's.  Best to keep him on side.  Let's just say that Steve wants to buy it, so he gets Liz back to help him out with the finances?

WRITER 3: Isn't Liz really short of cash?  Isn't that why Jim tried to rob a bank for her in the first place?

STUART: No problem - nila problema.  We'll just throw in a line like "Oh, yes, I got a load of money working in a spa and eventually bought into it and now I'm rich, what a palaver."

WRITER 1: But why would Steve want to buy the Rovers?  Wasn't it the scene of his last failed marriage?  Isn't it filled with unhappy memories?

STUART:  Hmm, good point.  Maybe Michelle wants to go back to working there?

WRITER 1: Why would Michelle want to work there now she's a highly valued member of the Underworld team and a top businesswoman?

All the writers laugh at the audacity of their plotting.  Michelle!  A top businesswoman!

STUART: Let's be honest; no-one really believed that.  Maybe she just missed the smell of the pumps?

WRITER 2: Carla could fire her.

WRITER 4: Seems a bit cruel.  She's the closest thing Carla has to a sister.  She's certainly a more interesting family member than Rob.

WRITER 2: Ah, but if Carla has to choose between Peter and Michelle....

STUART: That's great.  We'll use it.  So on Monday, Michelle loses her job at Underworld.  Cue break for EastEnders.  Then in the second episode, Steve buys the Rovers for her.

WRITER 3: No, wait.  We need to remind everyone that she's actually a very good barmaid.  

WRITER 1: Stella could offer her a job.

WRITER 4: Won't that make the Rovers ludicrously overstaffed?

The writers all laugh again, confident that a small boozer in a Manchester backstreet needs at least five members of staff.

WRITER 2: Seriously.  Stella could offer her a job.  I know they've barely talked in all the time Michelle Collins has been on the show, but I'm sure Stella would be happy to offer her a spot behind the bar.  Even though she's not actually aware that Michelle used to be a barmaid, because she's worked with Carla the whole time.

STUART: So.  Second Monday episode.  Michelle's behind the bar.  Little bit of angst, little bit of woe is me, Steve misinterprets it, buys the pub.  End credits.  Marvellous.

WRITER 3: Wait!  What about Ryan?

STUART: We've already sacked him.

WRITER 3: Yes, but we haven't written him out yet.  If Michelle and Steve own a pub then he's got a job for life behind the bar.  Why would he leave that?

STUART: Good point, Writer 3 -

WRITER 3: Jonathan.

STUART: I don't care.  So.  Wednesday's episode.  Steve still hasn't bought the pub.  Michelle tells Ryan he needs to get a job, Ryan says, "oh, that's lucky, I have a friend abroad who can offer me a job that will last forever so I'll never need to come back," and he's gone before eight o'clock.  Sorted.

WRITER 3: Genius.

STUART: I know.  That's Wednesday's episode sorted.  Friday, first episode, Steve buys the pub.

WRITER 2: Where's Stella and Gloria and Eva going to live?

WRITER 1: Well, they're desperate to get as far away from the pub as they can so they can put the agony of the fire and Karl's betrayal behind them.  So Kevin's house at the opposite end of the Street should be fine.  He's coming back soon, as well, so we'll have a good excuse to kick them all out.

WRITER 2: Who's going to do Michelle's job at Underworld?

WRITER 1: Eva.  She's got as much experience as Michelle had.

STUART: It's missing something.  Michelle needs a family member to spark off, someone she can complain about Steve to.  Not Ryan, obviously, because he's awful.

WRITER 4: Perhaps we could bring back her real son?


WRITER 4: Never mind.

STUART: Let's bring back her Dad.  He was good fun.  Not the mother though, because she was really annoying.  And let's make her Dad a bit of a drunk, a bit of a waster, a bit of a lazy old man.  A really fun Irish stereotype.  Let's have him awkward around Marcus's new sexuality.  Let's have him say begorrah.  Maybe he could do some Riverdancing on the bar of the Rovers.

WRITER 4: Could I just throw something in here Stuart?

STUART: Feel free.  Muto libre.

WRITER 4: I just think that making Daddy Connor the most Irish person in the world may be a little... offensive.

The other writers shift uncomfortably.

STUART: Right.  You're fired.  Don't talk to the press if you like having kneecaps.

Writer 4 leaves.

STUART: So it's Friday.  We've got Michelle out of the factory and behind the bar.  Steve has obtained a mortgage, negotiated repayments, obtained a licence from the local council and had a new sign printed up for above the door.  Ryan's off somewhere else - I don't really care where - and Paddy O'Gimcrack has moved in with them all.  So Friday, Steve announces that he's now bought the pub and everyone's happy.

WRITER 3: What about Liz?

STUART: Oh yes.  There's some kind of altercation in the bar - Kylie and Tina perhaps; the Star loves it when the pretty girls get into a catfight.  And Liz comes in and breaks it up.  End of first Friday episode.

WRITER 2: Wait.  I've got a GENIUS idea.

WRITER 1: Is it as good as your one about giving Sean his own chat show?  Because that was brilliant.

WRITER 2: How about we introduce Liz with a bit of mystery?  Say, an elegant high heeled shoe stepping out of a black cab?

They all gasp.  Stuart shakes his head admiringly.

STUART: See?  Now that's why we pay you guys the big bucks.  Totally original, never been seen before ideas like that.  We're amazing.  Give yourselves a round of applause!

They all clap, except for Writer 3, who looks pensive.

STUART: Why aren't you clapping, Writer 3?

WRITER 3: I don't know.  I was just thinking.  All these sudden moves.  These quick purchases of highly valued properties.  These characters having a major change of heart for no apparent reason.  Aren't you worried the viewers will think it's all a bit contrived?

STUART: No.  We professionals notice.  Joe Public never clocks a damn thing.

They break open the cocktail cabinet.


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Roy and Hayley's Blackpool trip recreated in Lego

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

LegoLand Manchester have recreated Roy and Hayley's trip to Blackpool, in lego.  Follow LegoLand on twitter at @LDCManchester.  and visit their website at

Go behind the scenes at Roy and Hayley's Blackpool trip at the official Coronation Street website at

I don't know about you but I'm still full of sadness after last night's wonderful episode with Roy and Hayley dancing in the Tower Ballroom.   I'll have to go, I think I've got something in my eye.

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Wednesday 30 October 2013

Where have you seen the Corrie clairvoyant before?

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

If you're wondering where you've seen the Blackpool Corrie clairvoyant who told Hayley's fortune in Coronation Street tonight, then wonder no more.

She was played by actress Alice Barry, well-known for playing Lilian in Shameless.  She's also been in Coronation Street before - in another fortune-telling storyline.  Back in 2002, Alice Barry played a character who had her fortune told by Fiz Brown when she pinched Gypsy Peggy Jones' booth in Blackpool.

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Are you a Coronation Street Mastermind?

Whenever I watch BBC's Mastermind I think that if were to take part there could only be one specialist subject I could answer questions on: Coronation Street. In 2007, Sarah Piddock, a retired catering supervisor, did just that and scored 13 with one pass. The programme was repeated this lunchtime on BBC2 and here are the questions she faced. I scored 15, how would you have done?

1. Coronation Street was created by which writer who at one point planned to call it Florizel Street?

2. What was removed from a drunk Kevin Webster during Des and Steph Barnes house-warming party in 1990?

3. Which travel agency did Alec Gilroy take over when he returned to Weatherfield?

4. The first episode of Coronation Street was transmitted in which month of 1960?

5. After Curly Watts bought number 7 he decided to have the loft converted into what?

6. Whose beloved Rover car was wrecked in 1983 when Eddie Yates backed the council bin lorry into it?

7. Mayor Alf Roberts cancelled the twinning of Weatherfield with which French town after Fred Elliott was accused of bribery during a black pudding contest?

8. What was the name of Percy Sugden's budgie who accompanied him when he became Emily Bishop's lodger?

9. Which mission had been Ena Sharples' home for 30 years until its demolition in 1968?

10. The programme's theme tune was written by which composer who died in 1966?

11. In 1974 eight of the female characters enjoyed a holiday in Majorca after Bet Lynch won which competition?

12. Which character was Reg Holdsworth trying to seduce when Derek Wilton drilled through the floor and punctured Reg's water bed?

13. Hilda Ogden left Coronation Street in 1987 to become the live-in housekeeper to which doctor for whom she had previously cleaned?

14. What was the name of the Rovers Return's third bar, along with the public bar and the snug, although they were knocked into one during the refurbishment after the 1986 fire?

15. Which actress began playing Betty Turpin in 1969 although she'd auditioned for the role of Hilda Ogden 5 years earlier?

16. Which actor played Robert Croft the leader of a hippy commune that took over number 11 in 1968?

17. What was the name of the boat built by Gerry Booth whose maiden voyage ended in disaster when it capsized with Stan Ogden on board?

18. Who replaced Mervyn Watson as the programme's producer in 91 and later became the Executive Producer?

The answers are here!

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Groundhog Day in Weatherfield

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

Well the bunting and streamers appear to be on order as a nation celebrates (possibly) the exit of St Ella of the Beige from t'Rovers back room.

Personally, I always feel a bit sad when a character seems not to have worked out - well, other than Tracy McBarlow. An actor has to work with whatever is given to them and in the case of Stella, Michelle Collins found herself shoe-horned into far too many irrelevant scenes. Her involvement in the storyline centred on Betty's death  left most people gasping in incredulity.

The departure of Stella, if that is the case, should have paved the way for something new, something exciting or perhaps a bold piece of casting for a very different landlord or landlady. Instead, we get Liz MacDonald. Again.

Judging by some comments, anyone would think we are about to experience the Second Coming. In Liz's case, it's the umpteenth coming. The woman is a like a boomerang in a basque. No matter how far we throw her . . . Anyway, we will get another chance to see her clattering across the cobbles, dressed in some garish effort. She's more Ronald McDonald than Liz McDonald.

Will she add anything to life in the Street? It's doubtful. There will be the usual tired romance with someone inappropriate (Norris? Sean?) There will interminable scenes in the pub as she hollers and splutters like some angry Tweety Pie. A few red wine and fag ash scenes with Deirdre, all reminiscent of Marg Simpson's scary twin sisters. Several long-winded visits to Andy in Spain who will require 'looking after' following yet another accident. Close-ups of that rotten zig-zag necklace. Then she will disappear into the night yet again.

Arguably, Liz McDonald is no Corrie 'great'. At best she was a questionable mother and an average barmaid. My heart doesn't leap at the thought of her returning. She will never have the gravitas of Annie Walker or the popular touch of Bet Lynch - and that's a problem. If she comes back wiser, calmer and more balanced then hurrah. What the Street needs now is a woman of a certain age with a bit of common sense who is both grounded and happy with herself. It doesn't need some shrieking fishwife who looks like a half-baked drag queen.

Should the past be left where it is? Cameos from past characters are always welcome - we would probably all like to see one or two more. Corrie, like life, should move on rather than revisiting past glories. Or even past Glorias. Are we happy for old faces to return or should we leave them safely anchored in yesteryear?

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Cilla Black joins Coronation Street - sort of

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

ITV are screening a tribute to Cilla Black in which she'll fulfill a lifelong dream to appear in a very special Coronation Street scene with Rita and Norris in the Rovers Return.

The One and Only Cilla Black will air on Wednesday 16 October at 9pm on ITV.  It's hosted by fellow Corrie fan Paul O'Grady.

Cilla's never made any secret about being a life-long fan of Coronation Street.

Rumours in 2010 that Cilla was joining the show were quashed.

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Tuesday 29 October 2013

Meet the Croppers

(This post was originally posted by Stevie Dawson on the Coronation Street Blog in September 2013.)

Spin offs have been discussed for years on the Coronation Street Blog. For me, if ever there was a perfect Coronation Street spin-off idea, Hayley and Roy Cropper would be it. Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Nielson have shown us what’s best about Corrie over recent weeks – heart breaking drama, heart warming examples of the best of human nature, side-splitting comedy and the very serious message of cancer diagnosis and treatment. With the welcome end of the Killer Karl storyline we’ve been treated to an unusually large number of scenes featuring the ‘odd couple’ and Corrie has been all the better for it. The unconventional pair are now cemented into soap legend, giving viewers everything they could have asked for over the past 15 years. 

ITV has now released Hayley’s Diary on their website which gives us an unusual and unique take on Hayley’s storyline and is a real treat for Corrie fans. It’s a first for Corrie but it’s not the first time we’ve seen characters from a different perspective. 

I recently watched the feature length Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas for the first time, having obviously been hiding under a rock since 1997. It was far from Bafta worthy, in many ways it reminded me of a Carry On film. Liz Dawn was completely brilliant in it with a comedy performance that was worthy of an award. We’ve also been treated to Corrie in Spain, on safari, on board the QE2 – which is a particular favourite of mine as Rita sings in it – and we’ve also seen some of the cast go out to Kenya to help raise awareness of HIV with the charity S.A.F.E.  They also created ‘Just Rosie’ for ITV2 but it’s probably best to try and forget that ever happened...

But my ideal spin off would revolve around Roy, Hayley and Sylvia, a delightful trio that will soon become one. Sylvia, played by Stephanie Cole who left over the summer, was fast becoming a fitting replacement for Blanche. In a short space of time she became unmissable viewing. Hayley is living out her final months with Roy and it goes without saying she’ll be missed. So my fantasy of a farcical sitcom featuring these three soap icons is not meant to be. But you can imagine it, the three of them bickering in the flat above the cafĂ©, Roy playing with his trains of an evening, Sylvia fingering a Maeve Binchy and Hayley watching Cash in the Attic and planning Roy’s next driving lesson. Babysitting for the ever increasing child population in Weatherfield, or discussing the pros and cons of having a kebab shop next door. They might even have a pet rat - a dog would be too conventional - although Roy would probably argue the ethics of having rodents in a two bedroom flat, especially above a cafe. They might have a Facebook to be able to keep up with Becky's travels. Oh and a bit more sleepwalking for good measure. The trials and tribulations of a small, dysfunctional family, loving the simple things in life but getting into the odd drama nonetheless. It sounds too simple, but when written well, these otherwise mundane situations make it all worth tuning in.

If you’re interested in seeing what other spin-offs, musical projects and feature lengths Coronation Street have made, Corriepedia is the best source of information.

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Welcome to Weatherfield-on-sea, our Corrie day in Blackpool

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

We've just returned from a jolly to Weatherfield-on-sea, or Blackpool if you want to call it by its Sunday name.  We were there at the invitation of ITV for a Coronation Street press day and two of us from the Coronation Street Blog went along armed with our reporter's notebooks and camera to make the most of a very special day.

Before things kicked off indoors at the press event, we were all given a free ride on the new Wallace & Gromit ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. I know! How much fun is that?!  Not being a fan of fairground rides that spin, turn, plunge, speed or indeed, move much at all, I was reassured when I turned up at the ride to find we'd be sitting in a slipper.  No fear, then.  With two of your bloggers in the front of the slipper and Jane Reynolds in the rear seat, we set off on a cracking ride.  It was a fun way to start the day.

Safely back indoors after being shifted around on the seafront in a slipper, the event began with a talk from Corrie producer Stuart Blackburn, who welcomed everyone and introduced the day.  We then had a sneak preview of this coming Wednesday's hour-long episode of Coronation Street which, without giving too much away, includes a christening in chaos and some very touching scenes of Roy and Hayley on a day out in Blackpool.  I won't say any more about this episode because I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but let me tell you, you will need a box of tissues close at hand for the Croppers' scenes.  Oh, and you might spot one of our favourite Corrie extras - Jonny G Force in a couple of church scenes!

Stuart Blackburn told us: "Next week is full of heartache, vengeance, betrayal, cat fights, the return of Liz McDonald and a christening like no other. There are two stories driving the episodes that on first glance look totally different. You have the huge scale of the Platt story set against what is an astonishingly beautiful love story of Roy and Hayley. I defy anyone to watch it and not come out sobbing."

We were also given a glimpse at some of Hayley's online diary and a preview of some of the storylines to come over the next few weeks.  I can't say anything about those except to say that even the most hardened journos in the room did a collective intake of breath at one storyline preview.  Oh 'eck.

Anyway, after the screening there was a raffle to win one of five copies of the new Coronation Street book called The Rovers Return: the official Coronation Street companion. Bev Callard (Liz McDonald) drew the raffle and five lucky winners walked away with a copy of this fantastic book.   Written by Tim Randall, it's available here and we'll be running a competition on the Coronation Street Blog very soon in which you can win a copy of the book too.  Keep following us for details of this special competition.

After a ride in a slipper, a few tears at the screening and then the raffle for the book, it was time for lunch and in true Blackpool style we were all fed fish and chips with mushy peas and buttered bread. And very nice it was too.

After lunch it was down to business and interviews with members of the Coronation Street cast.  The first interviews were with Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson (Roy and Hayley Cropper) who talked about filming the Blackpool episode we'll see this Wednesday 16 October.  David Neilson said that when they were filming, there were crowds of people watching them, and he showed us some photos he'd taken on his phone. "It was like being The Beatles," he laughed.  Asked if Roy would end up with another woman after Hayley goes, David joked that he thought that was the reason Liz McDonald had returned, and then he said Roy would probably go out with Sally.  We all laughed and hoped he was joking.    Julie talked about how difficult it was going to be for her to say goodbye to Hayley after playing her for so long.

Julie Hesmondhalgh in Blackool on Corrie press day.
Picture copyright:

Then it was the turn of Paula Lane and Jack P Shepherd (Kylie and David) to tell us about baby Lily and the christening. I can't say too much about this but I can reveal that there are two babies, twins, who are playing baby Lily Platt, and surprisingly one of the babies is actually called Lily in real life too.  Jack was asked if he gets recognised a lot by the public and he said he was, yes. In fact, the most surreal time was when he was in a noodle bar in Vietnam and someone asked him if he was David Platt.

Next up were Ben Price and Jane Danson (Nick and Leanne).  Ben was funny and had us laughing when he told us about falling asleep in his hospital/coma scenes. Ben says he has worked with the charity Headway to help understand Nick's brain damage and how it will affect him.  He also said that Nick's condition will be a long-term storyline which could run as long as two years.

Beverley Callard in Blackpool on Corrie press day in Blackpool
Picture copyright:
And then finally we had Beverley Callard (Liz McDonald) looking beautiful and much taller than she does on screen.  She confirmed that the tabloid rumours about Liz getting together with Jimi Mistry's character Khalid are not true.  Yes, Liz will be getting a fella and he has just been cast so Beverley hasn't yet met him but said she hoped he was gorgeous - and tall!  Asked if Liz would be wearing the same kind of clothes as she always has done, Beverley said that wardrobe would bring her nice dresses for approval and she'd say yes, she liked them, and then the next time she saw them they'd had their hemlines taken up and the seams taken in - very Liz!

Well, after such a long chat with everyone, it was time to take our leave in a very special way. But the day wasn't over and we were in for a treat with a ride on a vintage Blackpool tram!

The tram transported us all to the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where we enjoyed a Corrie cream tea while watching the dancing.  

It was a magical end to a very special day.  Thankyou, ITV!

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Corrie A-Z: S is for the Seventies

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

Bookended by strikes, it could be said that this decade was the most testing for Coronation Street in its history. It was the first time that the producers experienced that the cast wasn’t invincible. They had experienced departures in the 1960s, but not the loss of big characters. During the 1970s, they lost many key characters through death or departures while other characters were absent due to ill health. Producers had relied on the same characters more or less since the show’s inception, and so during the 1970s had to invest in new characters to secure its future.
In 1970, the show experienced the first death of a cast member. Arthur Leslie, who had played publican Jack Walker since the beginning, died suddenly and Jack was the first character to be written out due to the death of the actor. Doris Speed, who played his wife Annie, considered leaving but decided to stay put and Annie soldiered on behind the bar with barmaids Betty Turpin and Bet Lynch. The same year Anne Reid, who played Valerie Barlow, also decided to leave. Valerie was electrocuted by a faulty hairdryer in 1971 and over 18 million watched her death and her funeral.
In 1973-4, Coronation Street reached crisis point. The ratings hit a new low: 8 million (about the same ratings we get these days) in early 1973 while Pat Phoenix, who played central and popular character Elsie Tanner, quit the serial without notice later that year. To add fuel to the fire, Violet Carson, who played as-central Ena Sharples, suffered a stroke and was absent for most of 1974 and didn’t appear on a regular basis for the rest of her time on the show. Doris Speed also took a couple of months sabbatical leave. During this time as well, ITV’s other soap Crossroads was also gaining success with its Thatcheresque lead character Meg Richardson very popular. Many saw Meg as a replacement to Elsie as she was also a redhead. The sudden departures of Elsie and Ena and the absence of Annie led producers to develop characters who had before been in the background. Characters like Bet Lynch, Rita Littlewood, Deirdre Hunt, Mavis Riley and Gail Potter were built up in this period. As we know, these characters would be in the show for years to come – while some are still there!
Humour of course had been a vital ingredient in the success of the street very early on. By the early 1970s, the humour was few and far between. In 1976, new producer Bill Podmore decided to re-introduce the humour back into the show involving Stan and Hilda Ogden, Eddie Yeats, Mavis Riley and Fred Gee. As well as this, 1976 was also a positive year for the show. Pat Phoenix returned to the show after a three year absence and Violet Carson also returned on a more regular basis – 42 appearances compared to the 13 she appeared in 1974. But the same year the show lost another of its stalwarts. Margot Bryant, who played original character Minnie Caldwell, had begun to suffer memory loss and had to be written out in April 1976. But the late 1970s was a period where the old guard and the newcomers were brought together with various relationships being formed between characters of different ages: Elsie took in Gail Potter and Suzie Birchall as lodgers; Eddie Yeats became involved with the Ogdens; Mike Baldwin becme the new factory boss; and Annie Walker continued to reign supreme at the Rovers with Bet, Betty and now Fred Gee.
Storylines during the decade consisted of various marriages and romances – Alan Howard and Elsie Tanner, Ernest Bishop and Emily Nugent, Billy Walker and Deirdre Hunt, Ray Langton and Deirdre Hunt, Len Fairclough and Rita Littlewood and Mike Baldwin and Bet Lynch and Brian Tilsley and Gail Potter. Others include Betty Turpin revealed as the mother of Gordon Clegg in 1974, the warehouse fire in 1975, the murder of Ernie Bishop in 1978, and a lorry crashing into the Rovers in 1979.

As for competition, the 1970s was a quiet decade for the show. Both the other two soaps of the 1970s, Crossroads and Emmerdale Farm, weren’t a competition to Corrie (although Crossroads did grow in popularity between 1973 and 1975) and were, as someone said, the little boats floating alongside the huge ship. It would be in the 1980s that Corrie’s position as top soap would be threatened.

Do you have a favourite storyline from the 1970s? Did you start watching Corrie in the 1970s?

What’s your favourite moment from the 1970s?

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Monday 28 October 2013

Where to find clothes seen on Coronation Street

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

We're often asked where you can find the clothes fans' have seen characters wearing on Coronation Street. And with the help of the Coronation Street wardrobe team, we've been able to help and answer queries.

Well, now there's a website dedicated to finding the clothes you see worn on TV, including Corrie.  It's and they're great.

They're on twitter and facebook and have a dedicated Coronation Street section on their site at

So, if you'd like to know where to buy Carla Connor's bodycon dress, or indeed any other item of clothing worn on Coronation Street (although perhaps not Roy's jumpers) then head on over to

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Corrie Canada weekly awards for Oct. 21 - 25

BFF award: I really like Carla and Hayley's emerging friendship.

Oldest Trick in the Book: Tim only had a few coins in his pocket, not enough to buy drinks so Sally had to pay.

Secrets and Lies award: Daddy Connor lied about the real reason he left Ireland. Mum's not away, she chucked him out. Steve isn't lying exactly, but he's keeping the pub sale a secret.

Baby Acting award: You could tell that baby did not want something stuck in her mouth!

Start as you mean to go on: Don't work through lunch on your first day, Eva, they'll expect it every day.

The truth is out there. The baby is David's!

Green eyed monster: Kylie does not trust David where Tina's concerned.

A Telling Tale: The letter with the truth is hidden in the DVD case for the King's Speech.

Twinkletoes award: Roy is not one of life's dancers. Nick is on his feet and walking!

Lines of the week:
Kylie about Tina "I wish she were ugly"
Sally "I'm not someone who likes to complain" (yes, you are)
Sally about a tarted up Eva "Can you imagine employing someone like that as your personal assistant?" Tim, rolling his tongue back in his head "Only if I tried very hard"
Barry "When two people have been together for so long, they need a break!"
Stella "Steve McDonald. International man of mystery"
Kylie to David "Two kids. No sleep. One paintbrush and a slag"
Nick "If it's mine I come clean, if it's not, I don't"
Audrey to David "I'm just wondering when you got to be so romantic"
(You *are* new here)
Tracy asks for her regular, Tina "can't remember". Tracy "That's probably because you can't remember what shade of orange to paint yourself in the morning!" (Hah! the fake tan rears its ugly head!)
Deidre "Must be nice having a sign over your door. Should I get one?" Tracy "Saying what? Abandon hope all who enter here!"
Steve "How am I supposed to do two jobs?" (you did it before, why can't you do it now?)

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Return of the Queen

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in September 2013.)

“He was in his second day on the job,” Beverley Callard remembers about producer Stuart Blackburn, “And he said: I want Liz back in the Rovers.”

We’re on the third floor of ITV’s building in Quay Street, the historic centre of Granadaland, and Beverley is explaining why she decided to return to Corrie.  She’s looking forward to the move to MediaCity.  “The building’s getting a bit tired now.  And we’ve always felt a bit out of it, over there [she waves at the set].  At MediaCity, we’ll all be together - writers, actors, everyone.”

She already knew Blackburn from his days story-editing the show, so when he made overtures, she was keen to listen.  “It had to be done in complete secrecy,” she said.  “There had been negotiations with another former cast member which ended up in the papers so they didn’t want it leaked.  I was doing Little Voice at Manchester Opera House and Stuart came to my dressing room and laid it out for me.”

Liz is back, back, back in Weatherfield, and she’s landlady of the Rovers again.  She’s done well in Spain - “Liz speaks Spanish now!  With a Weatherfield accent, mind,” - and somewhere along the line Liz managed to invest in a spa and it’s paid dividends.  She has enough money to buy back the Rovers which is, after all, where her heart is.

“But she’s got a bit of money now so she’s gone up market.  She can finally dress like she’d like to dress, instead of how she can afford.”

Which doesn’t mean the end of the legendary miniskirts and cleavage flashing tops.  “They’re just a better class of outfit.  She’s not buying stuff off the market any more.  Wardrobe did turn up with a necklace made of five capital L’s and I just said, ‘No!””

Her wardrobe plays a big part in her entrance too.  “The script said my first shot was just a close up of this gorgeous leather stiletto.  It really was a gorgeous shoe, though it was so high I could only wear one of them for the shot!  We got it all set up for lighting and the camera and I nipped and borrowed Ryan Thomas’s big work boots.  So the first shot was actually my stockinged leg with this huge leather boot on the end!”

Beverley’s feet are actually a source of fun on set: as the owner of size two and a half feet she’s used to Simon Gregson (Steve) leaving Barbie shoes around the set to make her laugh.  “In the till, in a hotpot.  And now Kym Lomas has joined in as well.”

She’s always been close to Simon, and recalls that he knew about the possibility of her return before her.  When she agreed, he sent her a text: O. M. G.

One of the conditions of her return was that she didn’t just go over old ground.  “Liz didn’t like Michelle, she didn’t like Tracy, she didn’t like Becky.  Every eighteen months I was just doing the same scenes again.  Now she really gets on with Michelle - they have a great relationship with each other.  They know they’ve got this idiot trapped in between them!”

She’s enjoying working with Kym and Michelle Keegan.  “We don’t wear those big high shoes behind the bar though.  We have an agreement for when they come off and all three of us put our Uggs on.  Otherwise we’d be at different heights.”

How does she find the new look Rovers?  “To be honest with you it doesn’t look much different!  Michelle Collins and I would love to have more scenes together; there’s just been a couple so far.  Stella and Gloria said ‘I wouldn’t have done it that way’ about something and Liz replied ‘I wouldn’t have killed a punter and set fire to the pub, either’!”

Beverley is committed to the Rovers and how it looks.  “As an actress I’m very 100%.  Like if it’s lunchtime in the pub, I’ll say, ‘where’s the ketchup on the tables for people’s dinners?’  Liz is a very good landlady - it’s the best thing she does.”

The set for the Rovers isn’t perfect though.  “Only two of the pumps work!” she laughs.  “The other day I had a scene where I had to pour a lager.  I was acting with one hand and stirring this non-alcoholic beer with the other so it didn’t look flat!  I said, can we get another pump working round the other side of the bar so I can act that way as well?”  She’s stunned to hear that the pumps in Emmerdale are said to dispense real beer.  “We’ll have to work on that!”

The Street hasn’t changed in the two and a bit years since she was last here, but over her twenty five years she’s seen huge changes.  “It’s so much more glamorous now.  Which Liz would love.  You know she’s had satellite in Spain and has watched every episode of TOWIE.  But I think there needs to be a balance on the Street.  I like it when the older characters get big storylines.  The country loves them.  I want Emily to get a boyfriend!”

Perhaps Liz could flirt with Dennis?

“No.  I think she reckons she deserves someone a bit younger.  There’s a bit of a flirtation with Owen again, and she has a moment with Lloyd.  She also spends a lot of time talking to someone in Spain called ‘Luis” a lot.  But right now she’s single.  You can tell because she’s wearing a onesie. The minute a man appears she’ll be swapping that for the lingerie.”

While she’s been away, Beverley has been in the theatre, in a production of Little Voice.  “Jim Cartwright, who wrote the play, directed it, because while he loved the previous productions there was always something not right about them.  I loved it.  He said I was the first actress to make Mari a real person.”

She adored being back in the theatre, and would love a return to it, perhaps with her actress daughter Rebecca Callard.  Rebecca had a stint on Corrie as Fizz’s cellmate in prison; would she like to work with her in the Rovers?  

“I’m not sure about that.  When she did it she came home and said, ‘I don’t know why you say it’s hard!’  I said - you’re in one set you’re only acting with Jennie (McAlpine).  Wait til you’re on the cobbles!”

When asked how long she’s in Corrie for, she says “the long term” but quails at the suggestion of another decade.  “I think I would have to do a play in the middle of that,” she says.  “A comedy.  Or perhaps one at the Royal Exchange so I can do both.”

Until then Liz is firmly back where she belongs - dishing out Newton & Ridley’s finest to the legends in Weatherfield.

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Sunday 27 October 2013

Sunday Comments - October 27

Thing is you do need samples from both potential fathers and the mother for a DNA test but when did that ever stop a soap plot? I suppose that could at least rule him out if that were the case. i.e. you definitely can't be the father. The baby kept wrigging away from the swab stick. How did they manage to get her to do that? It's also astonishing that you can mail off samples on Monday and get the results on Wednesday (as it happened in the UK episodes).

It's DNA day. The results are coming to the salon and though Audrey doesn't open other people's mail, won't the envelope have the DNA testing company name on it? Apparently not. And it came by courier needing his signature anyway. David's first reaction is to call Tina. Kylie's radar is definitely up regarding David's apparent interest in Tina when she's feeling ugly and unattractive herself and you can see why. David is sly and she knows it and he certainly is acting like he's up to something, which he is, just not what she thinks. Now that Kylie's suspicions are banging off the walls, there's nothing David can say or do that will stop her thinking he and Tina are having a fling.

David and Nick are waiting for the test results and Nick has his mind set on telling Leanne the truth if the baby's his.  And the winner is.... David Platt! I'm glad, really. But it's still going to come out. I guess that's one thing off Nick's mind but he seems disappointed or else he's just pissed that David has the upper hand. I don't think there will ever be any brotherly love between them ever again, though there was never a lot in the first place. There's always been a lot of resentment on David's part towards Nick the golden boy. And Oh God, the letter got left at the hospital in the midst of their fight. Letter, Letter, who's got the letter! Of course it didn't get straight back to David's hands and is now sitting in a dvd case for the King's Speech where Gail hid it from Kylie thinking it was a surprise hotel reservation which David now has to make  and ensuring they mailed him a confirmation to cover that particular track.

Sure enough, they found the new hotel reservation first and Kylie thought it was for David and Tina giving us a reason for a big confrontation. Kylie insisted that Tina tell her the truth but Tina stayed quiet and in the face of all the evidence, Kylie had to believe the hotel was for her. Where on earth did she and Eva take the dvd with the other letter in? Why would they have left the house with it? Oh. to watch it at Eva's house I guess but it still feels weird and contrived. Now we just have to wait to see if Kylie finds it. Bets, anyone?

Nick might regret mouthing off at people but it doesn't stop him, especially with Simon. The visitors seem to be there constantly, one out, one in and that alone might be an irritation. Nick can come home but he's still in a perpetual bad mood.  Now he's home, he's still nervous. I think Leanne is too. She's going to have a bit of a struggle with him I think.

Roy aces the written test as expected. It's the driving test that's going to flummox him and the support group is not something his type of personality can relate to but he's doing it for Hayley. He thinks she could find it upsetting and maybe she will but she needs to talk to others going through the same thing. The first person they met sure has a positive outlook on what she's facing but Roy found her crude and scary. Hayley put him straight. Jane has inspired her to do things her own way and damn anyone else's opinion. Hayley's made a fast friend of Jane. Roy doesn't seem to be one to make new friends easily. Jane's visit did make Hayley feel a bit maudlin and sad. In a way, I'm glad we're seeing that Hayley's not always feeling positive.

Meanwhile, he's planned a day out in Blackpool for her and is taking her to the ballroom. Fiz is good at covering for Roy and is being a good help organizing the Blackpool trip. Now Roy has to learn how to dance and pretty quick so he's asked Norris to help. Norris was actually nice for once, he must like Hayley!

Steve has all the financing in place for the purchase of the pub. He wants to keep it a secret so Stella tells Leanne and now the pub sale is a done deal. I wonder how many days it will take for Michelle to find out unless Steve's very lucky. Stella et. al. will move back into Kevin's house for the time being.

Barry's not too sure Michelle will be thrilled about the pub. Stella isn't too sure Michelle will like the surprise either. They're probably right. Keys are passed over along with the paperwork. Now to spring the surprise. Yep. The words Lead and Balloon were the ones coming to mind. She thinks of it as a jail sentence. Good times, good memories, like.. Steve breaking Michelle's heart over Becky, and though it wasn't mentioned, there was that debacle over the switched babies too. And he's still lying about how he financed it. Loan? His face was full of lies on that one.

His heart's in the right place, I'm sure she knows that. Her ego's hurting from what happened with the factory but if he'd kept her in the loop, either he wouldn't have bought it or at least she'd have been consulted. Loved Michelle rubbing Tracy's face in the pub sale. She definitely was jealous after all those years trying to get Steve and install herself in the pub when he owned it. Steve and Michelle both get their names over the door. Steve can have it now apparently because there is a time limit after a criminal conviction and he's past it. He can now legally be a licensee.

Big confrontation in the pub between Tina and Kylie, lots of hair pulling and screaming. Just in time for a long leg encased in a stiletto to arrive. Now who could that be, I wonder! IT's Liz!!!! and she's there to  break it up and no doubt, to reveal that Steve has lied yet again and she is part owner! Now there could be too many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak.

Carla was surprised at Peter's choice of a PA, without discussing it with her first. To be fair, Sally does have more experience. Oh Tim, you did not just use the old trick of only have a few coins in your pocket so Sally would pay for the drinks! And yes, you can see the comparison between Eva and Sally as far as being a man goes. Sally is taking it all very personally.

It's nice that they've remembered that Kylie and Eva are friends. It's Eileen's birthday. Maybe not so memorable as one or two in the past but Barry wasted no time cozying up and flirting. She felt pretty awkward. I like the friendship between Carla and Hayley so much! Today's the day they're painting the flat and they haven't even decided what colour to buy? Picked a bland colour in the end. Tommy wasn't happy that David was helping and he's a bit suspicious now, too. He doesn't trust David, does anyone? Julie and Brian are moving forward in the fostering process. Barry butted in with his opinion that pretty much mirrors Brian's. Oh, I didn't realize that Dennis was still a lollipop man. Tracy and Tina are bitching at each other.

Barry seems to be a spare part, no real purpose in life. He's wandering around like a lost soul but he won't go home. Barry seems to be a character in the classic feckless vein, not wanting to do any hard work helping Steve and Michelle move and Michelle is taking the reins in hand.

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Simon Gregson: "I had a little moment when I saw Steve's name above Rovers door"

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

There's a good interview by David Brown (top man and Corrie fan) in the Radio Times with Simon Gregson, who plays Steve McDonald.

Simon talks about the return of his on-screen mum Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard) and about Steve and Michelle taking over the Rovers Return.

Simon says this about Bev Callard's return to the show as Liz: “Bev is very funny, witty and bubbly, so she’s great to have around on set. When Liz comes back, she and Michelle immediately join forces against Steve, which is great fun. Steve’s not allowed to be a grown-up around his mum or any other woman – he’s still a kid in their eyes.”

In the coming weeks, we'll see Steve agree to buy the Rovers from St Ella in a move that brings about the return of Liz after an absence of more than two years. If you remember though, Steve has a criminal record - and  I wondered whether this would prevent him from becoming the licensee. 

But Simon says in the interview: “Owning the Rovers is quite cool and it’s the first time I’ve seen my name above the door, so I had a little moment there. Steve could never be the licensee before, he can now as any criminal record has lapsed.”

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Saturday 26 October 2013

Corrie A-Z: R is for the Rovers Return (Part 3)

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

With thanks to Corriepedia for all the info on the history of the Rovers. Read Rovers Return (Part 2) here. Having looked at the Rovers between 1902 and 1984 on Wednesday, 1985 to 2000 yesterday, today we look at the period from 2000 to the present day.
Fred Elliott with Duggie Ferguson, Mike Baldwin and Eve Elliott 2000-2006
While the three held equal shares, it was Duggie who ran the pub – Fred had his butcher’s shop and Mike had his factory. Duggie soon grew tired of the arrangement and tried to trick them into selling their shares – ultimately selling their shares to him. He ran the pub until the end of 2001 when Fred bought the pub back, with new wife Eve taking over the licence. But in 2002 it was revealed that Eve was a bigamist and she had no legal right over the pub. Needing someone to man the Rovers while he concentrated on the butcher shop, he appointed Annie Walker-esque manageress Lillian Spencer. But she proved to be a bad choice as she didn’t get on with the regulars or the staff and even sacked Jack for being too old to be a potman. Lillian soon left when a better job offer came up and Fred appointed barmaid Shelley Unwin in her place. Shelley’s time behind the bar saw many dramas: she married bigamist Peter Barlow and was manipulated and bullied by her fiancĂ© Charlie Stubbs. He even caused her to develop agoraphobia, where she was confined to her bedroom for weeks on end. Shelley left the street in 2006. Bev and Fred soon fell in love and planned to marry and move away but Fred died on their wedding day. Prior to his death, Fred had made a deal that Steve McDonald would get the pub. Fred’s son Ashley honoured that deal.
Steve and Liz McDonald 2006-2011
Liz McDonald had been a Rovers barmaid on and off since 1990 and had previously applied to become Rovers owner in 1995 and was chuffed to bits when she finally became licensee, with son Steve being the owner – balancing his time between the Rovers and his cab firm ‘Street Cars’. The McDonalds had their fair share of dramas during their time at the Rovers: Steve’s relationship with Michelle Connor; Liz marrying Vernon Tomlin; Steve having an affair with his later wife Becky Granger and Becky suffering miscarriages and buying her nephew Max from sister Kylie. Liz was absent from the street for about six months and returned in early 2011. Seeing that Steve and Becky were in financial difficulties, Liz saw this as a chance to buy the pub. She was with ex-husband Jim at this point and he went to drastic measures to try and buy the pub – robbing a bank! Jim was arrested and jailed. Liz decided it was time she left the street and left again. Following Liz’s departure, as he wasn’t legally allowed to own the pub, Steve advertised for a manager. That new manager became Stella Price – St. Ella of Weatherfield! An almost penniless Steve then decided to sell the pub to Stella.
Stella Price with Gloria Price 2011-
Stella moved in with partner Karl and daughter Eva and her motive for moving into the Rovers became clear soon after. She had come to find her daughter Leanne, who she’d abandoned when she was a baby. Over the months, Leanne grew to accept Stella as her mum. Since she took the Rovers, Stella’s been involved in many storylines (which sometimes don’t even involve her!!!) like being hit by Carla Connor’s car, Karl’s gambling addiction and discovering Karl’s affair with best friend Sunita Alahan.
In 2013, the Rovers went on fire for the second time. It was Karl who started the fire deliberately in a bid to quash Stella’s relationship with builder Jason Grimshaw, who’d fixed the pub’s electrics earlier in the day. The blame for the fire would then fall on Jason. But things went horribly wrong: he was confronted by Sunita and threw down the cellar steps; and then found out Stella was inside. Karl went to save her and he was deemed a hero. Sadly, Sunita died as did firefighter Toni Griffiths. The Rovers was refurbished again and re-opened in May. Stella had been in financial difficulties due to the fire, and at one time couldn’t pay to get the pub rebuilt. But her mother Gloria gave her some money to cover the costs and so Gloria is now a partner in the business.
You can read about the Rovers barmaids here and see who Coronation Street Blog readers voted as their favourite barmaid here.

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Video: Beverley Callard talks about returning to Corrie as Liz McDonald

Beverley Callard will be returning to work on Coronation Street soon when Liz McDonald comes back to the cobbles.  Beverley was interviewed on ITV's Loose Women today and here's what she said, in a nutshell.

First off, there's a lovely clip of Liz's very early scenes in Corrie. She says she's missed the show and returning is "sort of going back home."

She talked about playing the character of Mari Hoff in the national theatre tour of Little Voice, which finishes on Saturday this weekend.  She's loved being in the theatre but can't wait to have her own bathroom when the show ends and stop living out of a suitcase.  After Little Voice ends, Beverley will take a few weeks off as a berak and then starts filming Coronation Street on August 5th.

However, she won't return to our screens until October as she revealed that Corrie are 'banking' some episodes anticipating the Street's move to Media City.

Asked about what she can reveal of Liz's return storyline, Beverley laughed it all off saying she knows what's in store but she can't tell.

She said that when new Corrie producer Stuart Blackburn took over the reins of the show, on his second day in his new job, he met Beverley in Manchester to ask if she'd be interested in returning to Corrie. Stuart laid out his plans for Liz, saying "we're going to do this, and this, and this" with the character, but she wouldn't say what any of it is, except that it's all exciting.

Having played Mari Hoff in Little Voice, Beverley has had to put on two stone and now has to lose the weight before returning to Corrie so she can fit into Liz's skirts again.

And the interview ended with Beverley saying she was feeling good, very good, about life and in herself, and that was great to hear.

You can watch the full interview here.

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Liz McDonald's Corrie To Do List

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

With the wonderful news that Liz McDonald is returning to Weatherfield in October, I thought it might be timely to give the delightful Elizabeth a few pointers on what needs to be put right when she totters down the cobbles of Coronation Street once again. So I bring you, without further ado, Liz McDonald's urgent to do list:

1. An obvious one this. Skull drag Stella Price out from behind the Rovers bar. Why else would Liz return to Weatherfield than to sort out the current mess that is the Rovers Return public house.

2. Continuing with the same theme: Reinstate herself as Landlady of the Rovers Return. Liz is much more suited to life as Rovers landlady. She's strong, she's brassy, she's fiery and she's more than a little outrageous. Most importantly of all, she is actually a character with character!

3. After sorting out the Rovers, Liz needs to turn her attention to No. 1 and help old mate Deirdre find a storyline. I loved the period years back when Liz lodged with the Barlows - who can forget Blanche's withering comments on Liz's inappropriate dress sense?! Deirdre needs a friend more than ever and these two share plenty of on-screen history. 

4. Next, Liz needs to sort out Steve's love life. I hope Liz would agree that Michelle is just not right for Steven. I've long felt that they are an odd match - Michelle dominates and emasculates Steve and it's not pleasant viewing. Add to that life in the tiny Kebab shop flat with beige Ryan and whiney Katy and I'm hoping Liz will think Steve can do a whole lot better.

5. Once Liz has dealt with Michelle, she needs to track down Karen McDonald and bring her back to Weatherfield. Without a doubt Karen was Steve's best partner in crime. While she gave as good as she got with Steve, their arguments mainly enjoyed a comic slant which made the partnership loveable and affectionate. I know Karen and Liz had a strained relationship - all the more reason for her to return!

6. Liz quite clearly needs a man. And who better that Big Jim McDonald. I think we need to forget about all that armed robbery/bank hold-up nonsense and spring Jim from The BIg House once and for all. I love Liz and Jim together - there is proper chemistry in their tempestuous relationship. I would love to see them run the Rovers together. 

Oh to hear Jim utter those much loved words once again: Catch yourself on Elizabeth!

7.  Liz has always had her own unique sense of style. No, I'm not praying for that frizzy ginger perm to make a return. I do hope we see that wonderful zig zag necklace back in Weatherfield though - Liz wouldn't be quite the same without it!

8. On another important style issue, Liz really does need to encourage Steve to stop shaving his head. It really doesn't do him any favours. Stick a lolly in his gob and he could pass for Kojak. 

I think that just about wraps up my list. I reckon that'll keep Mrs McD busy for a few months! So what would you like to see our Liz get up to when she clatters back into Weatherfield later this year? 

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