Wednesday 31 December 2014

Heroes and Zeros: Another year on t'cobbles

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2014.)

Come midnight tonight and no doubt we will all be gathering around a piano and toasting the arrival of 2015 with a bottle of milk stout. I really do need to find a better local pub. Like everyone else on Planet Earth, today is a day for looking back as well as looking forward. For us lot, the die hard Corrie fans, it's a chance to ponder on the past twelve months in Weatherfield.

Was it a good year for you? These are my own ramblings - my own take on who I thought was hot and who certainly was not in 2014. Other opinions are available from local retailers.

We got rid of the elder members of the Price family. HURRAH! Having spent years moaning about their every utterance, we finally got to see the back of the bo-ho battleaxe Gloria and M'Lady of the Beige, Stella. I felt sad at the crummy excuse of a character that had been foisted on Sue Johnston. Gloria could have been wonderful and she wasn't. What a waste.

For me, there is always a band of Street folk who I just don't care about. Fine actors one and all but characters who just make me shrug and think "And?" Step forward Rita and Norris. The latter just seems mired in nastiness for most of the time and has few redeeming qualities. As for Rita, I know that people adore her but I don't. I didn't like her in the seventies. As a kid, I always thought she was a bit nasty and spiteful, a little like one of those vicious teachers that always seemed to surface in primary schools. As far as 2014 goes, Reet got dumped by Dennis (OK, for the hideous Gloria) but it felt more like a lucky escape. Well done that man!

Like many of the bloggers and commenters, I also have issues with Michelle. Why can't they just make her a little bit softer? Maybe staple her arms to her sides and stop giving her eye make-up that resembles Endora from Bewitched? I really want to like 'chelle but it is oh so difficult. Maybe 2015 will be her year to shine?

Anyway, enough of the whinging old nonsense. For me, there were more positives than negatives in 2014. Picking a Character of the Year is far too difficult though. If we were doing it Miss World style, then the final line-up would definitely include Julie, Tim, Steve, Carla, Eva, Sally and Beth. Katy Cavanagh's portrayal of the People's Doris Day has been one big old rollercoaster of joy. She's breathing new life into Dev (see below) and will be running the Corner Shop next year. OK, the latter isn't true but if we all form a circle and collectively hint about it . . .

Likewise, Joe Duttine as Tim has provided us with some fine moments. He has turned what looked like a slightly worrying loser into a bit of a hapless hero. Whether he's balancing on a roof top or bro-mincing with Kev, it's all quality stuff. Tim is the perfect foil for Sally and again, the introduction of one character boosts another.

Congratulations to Simon Gregson for twenty five years as Steve but especially for showing him as never seen before. Confused and vulnerable are two words we would never have associated with Steve but here he is, knee-deep in a shocking storyline, shining a light on an illness that resonates with many of us and our families.

I never expected to admit to enjoying Dev and Tracy this year but surprisingly, I did. Kate Ford gave us a cracking performance as her life with Rob was ripped to shreds. The Dev/Julie match(can we call them Dulie?) is inspired and could be the gift that keeps on giving in 2015.

One of my favourite characters of the year though has been Maddie. Does that come as a surprise? Amy James-Kelly has a great dry delivery and for me, has done a great job in showing Maddie's transformation from surly scruff to burgeoning self-confidence.

Personally, I think there is a lot to be positive about. Admittedly, the Nazirs are a work-in-progress and the Windass-Armstrongs might be a stronger force after their Spring reshuffle. Time will tell.

For me, one of the great joys about being part of the Blog family is reading other people's comments. No doubt there are one or two of you who loved Gloria Price or a few who start grinding their teeth whenever Julie appears. We all have stack of characters we love and loathe. Here's to a Happy 2015!

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Some Corrie New Year's Resolutions

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2014.)

I'd like to start by saying I hope all our loyal Coronation Street Blog readers had a wonderful Christmas. I don't know about you but I was left seriously underwhelmed by the festive editions of Corrie this year. They just lacked that traditional Christmas magic.

However, I've decided to start the new year afresh. The run up to new year always leads to many of us making resolutions for the year ahead, setting out our hopes, dreams and aspirations. So here are my Corrie new year resolutions for 2015.

First of all, I must try not to launch into a verbal tirade every time either Liz or Michelle appear on screen and criticise, deride or treat the lovely Steve in an altogether harsh and unfair manner. This will be a tough habit to crack, especially if Michelle is pouting with her arms folded like daggers.

I must give the Nazir family a chance. Even if it is downright preposterous that they have moved into that house in Coronation Street. Even if they have no chemistry as a family and do not work as individual characters.

I must work hard to accept that no matter how much I try I will never, ever like Sophie Webster, the most ungrateful, unpleasant, whinging Christian in the history of prime time television.

I must not cringe every time Andrea appears or jumps onto Lloyd's lap in the cab office. Which is practically every time she appears.

I must live in hope that when Owen and Katy's exits finally come about they will be both short and painless for the viewers. In the meantime, one of my resolutions is to hit the mute button every time either appears on my television set.

I must not scream and shout at each and every one of Corrie's totally rubbish romantic pairings. Nick and Erica sounded like fun but made me shudder. As did Tony and Tracy (make me shudder that is, not sound like fun). And Leanne and Kal don't provoke a strong enough reaction to even warrant a shudder. Can Sean's budding romance with his vicar please not be cringeworthy? Sean seriously needs to grow up, act his age and be seen to have some form of character development.

I resolve not to make a face worthy of a Gogglebox close up every time any of the following things happen: Tracy says something horrible; Dev over-acts; Sharif attempts to act; Michael acts like a wimp; Izzy over-reacts; Maria simpers; Simon is treated like he's five years old when in actual fact he's started to shave; Leanne either frowns or stomps; Nick treats his mother like dirt; David calls his mother "Gail"; Rita plays it all "sweet old lady" or Ken's kimono represents the best attempt at Corrie comedy.

I hope and pray that 2015 will see the Platts and the Wind-strongs rested, allowing other characters to have a look in. Let's hope this new year sees Steph and Luke flourish, Jason and Eva get a proper storyline, Julie get her cheery, 1950s self, perched pertly behind Dev's counter (ahem), Roy find some happiness (not in the form of Mary), Audrey take centre stage in a storyline that does not involve a conman or a cross dresser, Rita make reference to the fact she's still married to Dennis and plenty more of Sally and Tim. 

And please, please, please can Deirdre return soon, ready to get stuck into her stuffed marrow once again?

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Canadian Corrie fans - Coronation Street tour April 2015

Canadian travel company Coronation Travel are organising a trip for Canadian fans to visit the cobbles in April 2015. And for Corrie fans who are also Downton Abbey fans, they have managed to snag a group visit time inside Highclere Castle.

Their tour in September this year was a huge success. A real highlight during the visit was that the group were included in the filming of the "Rita and Me" documentary and the lovely Barbara Knox spent quite a bit of time that day chatting with group members. One of the gang was so touched that she finally got to meet Barbara Knox, she broke down in tears....Barbara was very touched, and very kind. 

Coronation Travel has been operating for 27 years and run by Kim Monteith who has been a Coronation Street fan since she was 10 years old   
Please contact Kim directly at  and visit  for full details for the April 2015 tour. I know several people that have been on this tour over the past few years and they all really enjoyed it!

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Tuesday 30 December 2014

Coronation Street review of 2014 - November

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Here we go with our annual review of Coronation Street month-by-month, all wrapped up in a little reminder of the most important storylines of what's gone on in Weatherfield this year.  We'll be running these monthly review blog posts through the month and reviewing December at the end of the month.

November 2014

Steve's depressed; Rob does a runner at wedding to Tracy; Peter's freed and Rob's jailed for Tina's murder; Peter leaves for Portsmouth; Norris receives a telescope; Anna teaches Tim to read; Michael's son Gavin arrives; Dev and Julie get together.

Check out all of our Bluenose Corrie Blog posts from November 2014 and Check out all of the Corrie weekly updates here.

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Monday 29 December 2014

Coronation Street review of 2014 - October

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Here we go with our annual review of Coronation Street month-by-month, all wrapped up in a little reminder of the most important storylines of what's gone on in Weatherfield this year.  We'll be running these monthly review blog posts through the month and reviewing December at the end of the month.

October 2014
Cilla returns; Tim can't read and write; Kylie meets Callum again; Mary's jealous of Dev and Julie; Tony and Liz split; Deirdre goes on a break; Peter's found guilty of Tina's murder; Roy heads to Blackpool to scatter Hayley's ashes; Community centre opens.

Check out all of our Bluenose Corrie Blog posts from October 2014 and Check out all of the Corrie weekly updates here.

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Corrie Canada weekly awards for Dec. 22 - 26

Money Pit award: Steve's car, and Tyrone's right, that "statement" is more like Bank Statement.

Full On award: Erica. I'm not sure Nick knows what's hit him.

Wind up award: I think half the reason Nick decided to have a fling with Erica was because Gail said he wouldn't be interested!

Musical Ambience award: "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" playing to Nick and Erica's first kiss. "Let's Get it On" when Tracy was coming on to Tony. An old fashioned cry-in-your-beer country song was on the jukebox when Carla was reeling from finding out about Rob's sentence.

Luddite award: Sally doesn't trust Alya's list on her phone!

Fashion win: Alya looked great in this outfit.

Lines of the week: Sean to the family "Nobody be themselves, act normal!" and "Nobody say anything irreverent in front of the reverend!"
Liz "Erica's harmless. More front than Brighton but there's a very good heart beating under that cleavage"
Gail to Erica "You stay there! You're not leaving till he (Nick) chucks you out!!" (You lose, Gail)
Erica to Gail "You're son's got a lovely bum" (Gail would know, she's diapered it enough!)
Nick "I've just forgotten something" Liz "The way home?"
Liz "It (the club) is so posh there is not one single rude cocktail on the menu"
Leanne about Tracy "Has she ever heard of a reasonable conversation?" Todd "Welcome to my world. Every day is a roller coaster ride of joy"

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Review: Rita and Me

Rita and Me is a documentary produced to celebrate 50 years since Barbara Mullaney Knox first appeared on Coronation Street as Rita Littlewood Fairclough Sullivan Tanner. We've already told you that it was scheduled to air on CBC on Boxing Day and it did air, but I missed it. It was aired again yesterday after the Sunday morning Corrie omnibus this weekend, which is when I caught it.

It's a wonderful celebration of all things Barbara and Rita with some of Barbara's background from her origins in Oldham. There are views of the Tower ballroom in Blackpool where her parents danced and views of the Oldham theatre where Barbara got her start.

There are lots of clips from her years on Coronation Street, plus interviews with cast members old and current including both Sue Nicholls and her husband, Mark Eden who played Alan Bradley. He had lots to say regarding their filming of some memorable scenes. Other really interesting details included recollections on how Barbara/Rita fared against the legendary Pat Phoenix/Elsie Tanner. There is a surprise guest near the beginning and they show a group of Canadian tourists that were there in September while the filming was happening.

There was a segment on Rita's fellas and her stormy relationships with many of them. We see Rita in the aftermath of Len's death and relive her relationship with Alan Bradley as well.

One of the best segments, though, was a reunion between Barbara and Thelma Barlow who played long time Kabin-ette, Mavis Riley Wilton. The two women sit together and watch footage of themselves from the beginning of their on screen partnership to the last scene when Mavis left Weatherfield. Wonderful stuff!

All in all, the documentary was one of the best ones they have done on long-term characters. Canadians can watch the documentary online at It truly is wonderful!

I've reposted this on State of the Street with lots more screen captures from the documentary. Click here to see them. 

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Sunday 28 December 2014

Bad boy blues on Coronation Street

Guest blog post from Corrie fan and long-time reader of the Coronation Street Blog, Alistair Geddes.
(This post was originally posted on the Coronation Street Blog November 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

The news that Callum Logan, wonderfully portrayed by Sean Ward, is to become a regular character, initially made me very happy.  I enjoyed his performance and he has a real screen presence.  His chemistry with Paula Lane is undeniable and his air of menace is reminiscent of Jez Quigley, who met his maker at the hands of Jim McDonald, so he did.  Quigley had few redeeming features and although he was not a fully rounded character, he was entertaining to watch.

My hopes for Callum are that he will be well used and wreak havoc in the Platt clan.  (I foresee a romance with, the soon to return, Sarah Louise.)  Given his history with Kylie and being Max’s biological father, there is a goldmine of stories to be unearthed.

However, my, not inconsiderable, gut instinct tells me that Callum will be watered down and end up like other bad boys of the past.

Steve, who was once a gold-digging, small time criminal dabbling in drugs and stolen goods, has ended up as a successful businessman, emasculated and henpecked by all of the women in his life – No wonder he’s depressed.

Gary Windass had the chance to be a real badass, but has softened to the point where he is unrecognisable.  (Possibly all the punch-ups in his past have tenderised him like a steak.)  When he first appeared, he was like what would have happened to Chucky, had he grown up.  Now he’s more like a cabbage patch doll.

It could be argued that my two examples have shown character growth and development by turning their backs on their old lives, but do leopards really change their spots?  Most of the bad-boys that I have known have turned into bad men and still spend their lives lurching between the pub and the police station.

I know that in soap operas, characters change personalities to suit the whims of the storyliners and producers, but it would be nice to have a bit of consistency. 

After all. Emily has remained true to the character that was introduced nearly 54 years ago. 

I look forward to Callum’s extended stint, but fear that a year or so down the line, he will be a fine, upstanding member of the Weatherfield community, living and working within spitting distance of Coronation Street.

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Sunday Comments December 28

Gary's day goes from bad to worse when Kal sacks him from the sauna job at the gym and offers it to Owen. Alya's feeling the pressure but assures Gary she's not going to back down though everyone is against them. Yasmine tries to make Kal see he's pushing them together with his attitude and even tells Alya herself just to be careful and take things very slowly. If Gary is worth it, he'll be patient and wait. I.e. he won't push her into having sex. It almost sounds like that's the main thing the men are scared of, that she'll jump into bed with him. A Muslim boy would know that he couldn't push that issue and wouldn't even expect it of a good Muslim girl.

So in a way, it *is* different from Kal and Leanne. She's not a never-married Muslim virgin. I bet it also means he's find with being her lover but probably would never marry her.

So Gary is now jobless again and even Tony won't take him back on. Zeedan makes a point of telling Gary that Kal gave the job to Owen. That's one more person against him. I can't blame Gary for being resentful towards Owen. Love isn't going to pay the bills, luvvie. And as much as Alya is determined to make a go of it with Gary, and he is almost sure he's going to lose her as well as everything else, she won't give him a quick kiss at the bus stop and won't see him as planned. If he keeps putting pressure on her, it's going to go badly.

What I really hate is how everyone is treating Gary like he's the spawn of the devil all of a sudden. It's not as if he cheated on Izzy or even gave her the wrong idea that he wanted to get back together. He was getting on ok with her and she leaped to the wrong conclusion. Alya can't take the pressure and tried to break it off with him. She as much as admitted that she wasn't sure he was The One, either.

As usual in Weatherfield, real estate transactions take place very quickly and the Nazirs have packed up their whole other house to move to Number 6 just a couple of days after they've won it at auction.

The school auction day is here. Ken's got a cold, Amy pretends to because she's embarassed by Tracy's nasty old buns that she's sending for the auction. Carla gives Simon a designer keyring and ends up going to the auction with him so that Ken can rest. Tracy now has decided to get all pally with Carla all the while trying to avoid seeing Leanne because she owes her the shop rent! When it's all over, it looks like Carla has bought her own keyring at the auction but it's for charity, right? Too late, Leanne comes into the pub where Carla and Tracy are stood at the bar and Tracy can't avoid the jibe at her expense.

Tracy's still in the dumps over money, with Leanne badgering her for it via Peter. In this case you probably could make a case for beating the messenger! And it's Rob's hearing this week. Meanwhile, Tony does flirt, doesn't he? So she's going to do another deal with Tony but can she sell them off by the end of the week? He's working on her, working to get a partnership in the business. It would be convenient for him, a sure way to fence his dodgey gear. She finally broke down and agreed to his dodgey gear at least.

We come to the day that Rob is sentenced. As expected, he gets a long term imposed. 25 years! It's thrown both Carla and Tracy for a loop, like a kick in the gut. Carla had her women friends. Tracy had Tony. And did him. Well, with the classic Motown on the stereo to set the mood, he couldn't resist her in the end.

Liz's very good mate, Erica, has arrived and she's a little whirlwind! A real spark is Erica and she takes the pub by storm. But then she helps herself to a drink at the Bistro (but pays for it) because there's no staff around. Gail catches her and orders her out after a banter but Erica's having none of it. She doesn't look like "Nicholas Tilsley" the owner! The real Nick does come through from the office and Steph from the direction of the ladies' room. But Gail is fighting a losing battle and Nick just waves it all off so Gail storms out highly affronted. And as he's now lost one of his staff, she offers to take the shift. She knows bars, she assures him.

Liz gets a text from Erica swerving their paella meal at the pub. Liz reckons it must be a bloke. It is, of course. She and Nick seem to have hit it off and she leaves him her number in case he needs any more shifts covering. And wasn't she flirting full on the next day in front of Gail, no less. As if Nick'd be interested in Erica? Does anyone else think that was the reason Nick decided to go for it? Whatever the reason, Steph is right. It's nice to see Nick smiling again. Except Nick is off with Erica leaving Steph to hold the very busy fort.

And Gavin clearly fancies Steph as much as she fancies him! Steve's car is back on screen. It's costing him mega pounds, more every day but how's he going to pay for it? Looks like Roy's planning on a solitary, non-festive Christmas. Tony's flat is quite nice, isn't it?

Kylie is being harassed by Callum by phone and he won't leave her alone so she ends up running off to get a new phone and a new number only David doesn't quite believe that's where she'd gone. She managed to convince him with all the evidence and they return to the salon where there's one last customer. Callum!!!! Eeek! That's what i call invading your personal space! She's terrified he'll say something to David so she won't leave the Salon to go to the pub for the staff do. Can't blame her! Callum gives David a 20 pound tip,telling him to spend it on his son and leaves with a grin in her direction. Kylie looks sick. Naturally, Callum has found out the work do is at the Bistro and gets there ahead of the happy crew who arrive wearing their party hats.

Kylie's day is going from bad to worse with Callum watching from across the room. Kylie insists to Callum she doesn't want any drugs, he's skeptical and he blackmails her into meeting up with him later and she did manage it. He's intent on invading her life. He won't believe she's changed and he reckons he can persuade her that she hasn't and isn't good enough for her new life. He just might do it.

I think the Christmas tree bit with David was just a distraction for him. And why did Tyrone want a tree if he isn't even going to be home for Christmas? By the way, did she take the girls with her? There's been no mention of them since Fiz left.

Sean's invited Billy to Number 11 for tea and was a nervous wreck, expecting Eileen to say something really stupid or embarassing. In typical tv style, everyone is crowded around three sides of the table (so the camera can see everyone). It always looks so stupid! Anyway, poor Sean. He's so nervous that he decides they will call Toad in the Hole a "sausage" dish because the other name sounds heathen and nearly jumps out of his skin when Billy arrives and knocks at the door. Eileen is cynical and Todd is sarcastic. It seems to have gone over well, though. Billy is at ease. Todd gets into a discussion about hoodlums that are running the streets but Billy turns it around on Todd, allowing that he's probably not found a way to put it behind him and forgive. Ouch.

He admits to Eileen that he should have become a vicar about five years before he actually did bend to the call of who he really was. Now he's calmer and steadier and he seems like it too. Perhaps Sean needs someone like that! And it looks like both of them are keen!

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Saturday 27 December 2014

Peter’s Pompey Paradise

(This post was originally posted by Martin Leay on the Coronation Street Blog in November 2014.)

People of Portsmouth – lock up your daughters, sisters, wives and mothers; beers, wines and spirits – because Peter Barlow is in town.

Actually, it’s probably too late, such is the havoc the renowned imbiber of women and alcohol is likely to have already wreaked on the South Coast.

What is it about The Waterfront City that always lures Peter back? As Carla astutely observes, “he always goes down there… he licks his wounds and then he comes back with his tail between his legs”. A fine analogy for the dirty dog that he is.

A quick glance at Peter’s Weatherfield-Portsmouth migration patterns on Corriepedia throws up the following timeline:

• 2003 – with his life in ruins after being busted for bigamy, Peter moved to Portsmouth and set up a business there.

• 2007 – Peter returned to Coronation Street worried about Tracy's relationship with Charlie Stubbs. When Tracy went down for Charlie’s murder, Peter returned to his life in Portsmouth.

• 2009 – Peter entered rehab in Portsmouth and whilst battling the booze was unable to kick his other habit – he had a fling, cheating on Leanne (not for the last time, obviously).

• 2014 (May) – before her death, Peter gave Tina his credit card and told her to buy train tickets so that they could run away together and start a new life in… Portsmouth. It’s not surprising that Peter Barlow is irresistible to women with those kind of promises!

• 2014 (November) – to avoid the judgement of Weatherfield residents and constant reminders of the past, Peter abandons his son (again) to seek solace in Portsmouth (again).

Now, I’ve been to Portsmouth – many times. It has heritage and a lot more besides but it has never had the spiritually healing effect on me that it seemingly does on Peter Barlow. That said, last time I was in Southsea, the Honest Politician were offering selected pints and j├Ągerbombs for £2.50 – a price that must compare favourably even to The Rovers. To use Pompey parlance, you’d have to be a right dinlow to miss out on a deal like THAT.

Portsmouth has a pub on every corner, a fact that could seriously scupper Peter’s desire to “sort (his) head out”. After a menacing medley of pints and j├Ągerbombs, I boarded a bus decked out in amazing facts from Britain’s naval history. I remember thinking it’s no wonder that Peter Barlow is so enamoured with the home of the Royal Navy, with whom he served for 20 years.

And you know what they say about sailors having a girl in every port? Well, maybe Peter has an old squeeze down there – perhaps the same woman he bunked up with after that stint in rehab. Ah – women, wine and song – the perennial pursuits of Peter Barlow. Will he ever really change?

I know it’s been a fortnight now since Peter’s departure but it’s taken me that long to reflect on the exit of my favourite ever Corrie character. It feels good to break my silence.

I’ve always been drawn to the duality within Peter Barlow – the Jekyll and Hyde conflict between the good friend, father and husband he is capable of being; and the selfish and destructive alcoholic womaniser he seems powerless to resist turning into.

At his best, Peter is a man that other men aspire to be like (charming, cool, charismatic) but at his worst he is someone we all fear becoming (reckless, ratty, reprehensible). He is a brilliantly complex character played with great skill and sincerity over many years by Chris Gascoyne. And as I always say when defending Peter Barlow – it’s all Ken’s fault.

Peter will be missed but as noted on Emma’s excellent exit blog (link here) it feels the time is right, somehow, for the character to be rested and I doubt he has ‘gone to Portsmouth’ for the last time. He will return rejuvenated at some point, I’m sure.

But what of his exit? Blog readers may have picked up on the scathing write-up in The Metro (read it here) which described Peter’s departure as “a dull cop out” arguing that even Peter wouldn’t walk out on Simon, especially not since the thought of being reunited with his son is exactly what kept him going while inside. It makes the point that a character as fascinating as Peter deserved more fanfare. What do you think? Was Peter’s departure a damp squib?

Perhaps it was – a bit – but moving to Portsmouth in times of trouble is hardly out of character. And we all know that Peter’s character, while fascinating, is also deeply flawed.

Flawed though he may be (and who isn’t?) I still think Portsmouth’s Visitor Information Service should update their marketing strategy. I’m no PR guru but I’ve got an idea for their next tourism drive…

By Martin Leay

Twitter: @mpleay

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Conversation Street podcast 127

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the episodes in Canada that aired (up to last night's Canadian Corrie) can be heard here.

There's a lot of bed hopping this week on the Street. Nick has a new squeeze, an older friend who's a mate of Liz's. Tracy consoles herself by seducing Tony. Callum invades Kylie's life and Alya finishes with Gary, unable to handle the family pressure. Des Barnes is this week's character profile.

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The curse of 6 Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2014, reposted with permission.)

So the Nazir family are rather inexplicably moving into number 6 Coronation Street. I still do not understand the reason behind this impulse purchase, other than a crazy notion these days that every character connected with the programme must live on the street itself. Gone are the days of seeing the wider Weatherfield world it seems. 

I'm trying very hard to like the Nazir family. Alya is the brightest hope for a long term character I can take to. I can't even find the words to describe how boring I find Kal, Zeedan and Sharif. I feel sorry for Jane Danson as the trend for her character being placed with unpopular new arrivals continues. Yasmeen has promise but she can sometimes be just too full on for me. Putting her in charge of the new community centre has been a good move but the current Alya/Gary storyline isn't impressing me all that much.

Anyway, they've moved into number 6 which hopefully means that horrid living room wallpaper will soon disappear. Every cloud. 6 Coronation Street is something of a doom-laden property so that doesn't exactly augur well for its latest inhabitants. Shall we take a look at the evidence as we go through the keyhole? Ahem.

For the first eight years of its life, the house was owned by bookmaker Des Barnes. The fondest memory I have of this time is the lovely Phyllis Pearce acting as his cleaner. Sadly all was not well chez Barnes and before too long Steph had run off with someone else. More misery ensued as Des mucked poor Raquel about for years. And of course Des met his maker in the house thanks to a run in with a coffee table and some dodgy drug dealers. 

Ever since then, the house has changed hands on a rather alarming number of occasions. It has become a temporary residence for a constant stream of ill-advised casting decisions. Debs Brownlow and Matt and Charlie Ramsden spring uneasily to mind. 

Then came the Harris family, never a happy, bubbly brood. They ruined the character of Martin Platt, daughter Katy killed her father and then herself and mother Angela went to prison. 

Then came Charlie Stubbs, who also breathed his last under that roof thanks to a combination of Tracy's woeful sexy dance and her nack with heavy, ugly ornaments. After a quick bottoming through, in come 23 members of the Morton family, although the only one I can remember is Sinbad from Brookside. Most recently we've had to witness the extended misery of the extended Armstrong-Windass clan, now forever banished to the gloomy flat above Tracy's emporium of knock off. Not exactly a glittering track record is it? 

So I wonder what lies in store for the Nazirs? Will it be more murder, mayhem and misery or will they lead a more charmed existence, sandwiched between Sally and Gail? I'd say it will be interesting finding out, but I'm yet to be convinced. 

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Bring back Coronation Street eco-warrior Spider Nugent

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Anyone who knows me (hello!) will know that my favourite Coronation Street male character was Spider Nugent.  I know, I know.  Anyway, Martin Hancock, the actor who played Aunty Em's favourite nephew has been interviewed by The Express. 

It's one of those 'where are they now' type of interviews and Martin talks about getting the role of Spider on Coronation Street. He says:

"The casting director of Coronation Street, June West, came to see the play and thought I might work for the role of a new character they were developing. So I went for an audition for eco-warrior Spider Nugent in London, as they were auditioning a lot of people all over the country.  When my agent rang, I thought she was joking when they said I was going to be Spider. I went to live in Manchester for a five-month contract, with an option to extend it if the storyline worked. It was an amazing experience. My mother was thrilled as Coronation Street is almost a religion in New Zealand. She was really proud of me."

As to the future, Martin says: "... well, I may go back to Coronation Street one day. Who knows when Spider Nugent might return?”
Oh go on, Corrie, take him back and soon - and Toyah could return too!

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Friday 26 December 2014

Coronation Street review of 2014 - September

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Here we go with our annual review of Coronation Street month-by-month, all wrapped up in a little reminder of the most important storylines of what's gone on in Weatherfield this year.  We'll be running these monthly review blog posts through the month and reviewing December at the end of the month.

September 2014
Rovers Return take on Flying Horse in cricket match; Eccles is saved after Amy says the dog bit her; Kylie starts popping Max's pills;' Dev and Julie get friendly.

Check out all of our Bluenose Corrie Blog posts from September 2014 and Check out all of the Corrie weekly updates here.

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Thursday 25 December 2014

Corrie Canada Sneak Previews for Dec. 29 - Jan. 2

Without further ado here is a brief sneak preview of what you'll see on  next week's Corrie in Canada.

Todd discovers Tracy's secret. Steve continues to spend money that isn't his to spend. Michelle gets the wrong idea. Steph hires "Gavin" and Nick continues to see Erica. While minding Jake, Gary's good Samaritan work helping Roy backfires on him in the Armstrong eyes. His Christmas mistakes has them ganging up on him further. Callum's presence ends up blowing Kylie's world apart.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Merry Christmas from the Bluenose Corrie Blog

From all of us here at the Bluenose Corrie Blog, Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday to you all! We wish  you all the best of the season and for a successful and peaceful 2015.

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Wednesday 24 December 2014

Coronation Street review of 2014 - August

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Here we go with our annual review of Coronation Street month-by-month, all wrapped up in a little reminder of the most important storylines of what's gone on in Weatherfield this year.  We'll be running these monthly review blog posts through the month and reviewing December at the end of the month.

August 2014

Jim McDonald returns; Ken Barlow returns; Leanne and Nick divorce; Gail and Michael go on a date in an ice-cream van; Jenna leaves; Kirk proposes to Beth; Tyrone falls through the ceiling.

Check out all of our Bluenose Corrie Blog posts from August 2014 and Check out all of the Corrie weekly updates here.

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Tuesday 23 December 2014

Musings on a year on the cobbles

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2014.)

Don't worry! It's not one of those long meanderings through the year's plots and storylines. They have already been covered excellently by those better equipped than me to do so. This is more of a ramble (in more ways than one) on my own personal loves and loathes of 2014. Is it possible to have a favourite Corrie year? I'm not sure. I think as devotees of the show we tend to talk in terms of eras as opposed to specific years. 2014 - a mixed bag?

Sometimes real life has a shocking way of running in tandem with Corrie. Hayley's illness and subsequent demise came at a time when cancer had arrived in my own household. It made the fictional goings-on of the Croppers impossible to watch and so I avoided huge chunks of the show for several months. It was too painful. Therefore, for purely selfish reasons, I was happy to wave 'ta-ra' to our Hales back in January. Julie Hesmondhalgh provided us with so much joy over the years though.

No tears though for the final, painful offerings from the elder Price family members. At last the white flag of defeat was hoisted and off they went. Gloria, in particular, brought very little to the party and for those of us who have loved Sue Johnston's work over the years, it felt like a blatant squandering of her talents. Glo arrived like some bo-ho battleaxe and departed as an unloved marriage wrecker. Stella vacated the Rovers and did a stint at the increasingly cheerless Bistro before packing her beige bags and doing one. I can't imagine that we will see her again.

The death of Tina was long in coming but when it did, it seemed to (temporarily) be the making of Rob. This sometime humdrum character shone in the period up to his own exit and that made his departure all the more sad. As murderers go, Rob was no pantomime Richard Hillman or hapless John Stape. He was just a fool. Oddly, the rise of Rob also seemed to have reinvigorated Tracy Barlow. It's now almost a given that the majority of blog readers can't stand Tracy luv and yet when thrown a meaty storyline, Kate Ford breathed new life into her. About time too. There is something a little queasy watching a woman approaching forty acting like a stroppy teenager. Time to woman-up Trace.

We all have our favourites though and it's always difficult to pick out those who have impressed most. As ever, Steve has been a good watch in 2014. The depression storyline maybe heavy meat but Simon Gregson's portrayal of a man in turmoil has, to date, been mesmorising. Also high on my 'love list' for this year, ladies and gentlemen Miss Julie Carp. With tedious teacher Brian consigned to history, Julie has escaped a dull relationship to emerge as Weatherfield's very own Doris Day. She dresses like every day is 1957. She's taming Comedy Dev. She needs to be behind that Corner Shop counter. Now.

Luke and Steph Britton have shone in 2014 too. So far, no sign of murky backstories or unhinged personas - just a couple of normal young twenty-somethings, cracking on with work and having a bit of fun. Easy characters who are well acted. What more can we ask?

Also, let's hear it for Tim Metcalfe. Originally I had wondered if Tim was being lined-up to provide us with another 'character with a dark secret' (yawn). Instead we got a slightly bemused but decent bloke who is the ideal foil for Sally and her Hyacinth Bucket moments. Again, in Joe Duttine, the Street is blessed with a fine actor. He and Sally Dynevor are possibly the most watchable couple on the cobbles at the moment.

There's probably far too many to mention but hey, it's Christmas so let's 'big up' Paula Lane and Catherine Tyldesley (enjoy the maternity leave but come back soon!), Anne Kirkbride (Deirdre lobbing that trifle at the wall was a moment to savour) and Amy Kelly. Maddie has come on in leaps and bounds.

That's just my ever-so-humble take on things. Thanks to the actors and all those involved with Corrie who give us something to rant on about!

We all have favourite storylines and characters. Who did you love and loathe in Weaterfield this year?

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Blog Interview with Antony Cotton aka Sean Tully

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in November 2014.)

Sean Tully has been unlucky in love to say the least, but there will soon be a new man on the scene. The new man is a man of the cloth, a man of God - in short he’s a vicar.

I was privileged to meet Antony Cotton at Media City as he talked about his new storyline. Sean hasn’t had a meaty story for some time, but it really is his turn now.

Asked why Sean is unlucky in love, Antony gave quite an amazing answer. Sean came into Coronation Street, just as Raquel, played by Sarah Lancashire, left. It is Antony’s theory that the writers carried on writing for Raquel, who they seemed to think had metamorphosised into Sean. Never having written for an openly gay man, they basically wrote Sean as Raquel. So, it stands to reason that Sean is always unlucky in love because Raquel was.

Antony knew that he had to hit the ground running when he first appeared on screen. He said that at first, he would have been happy with three months, but then decided that he had to get himself, as an actor, noticed so that he could extend his time on the cobbles. So, 13 years later – well, something went right.

Antony pointed out that Sean has not really had a story for a year now, other than being at The Rovers, the factory and at the Grimshaw’s. As long as he’s there present in the show, he’s happy though. Antony enjoys very much living with the Grimshaw’s and working with Sue Cleaver, Eileen, Bruno Langley, Todd and Ryan Thomas, Jason. He says that the writers have the ‘family voice’ exactly right as they do with the Platts.

‘I am the older brother they never wanted,’ laughed Antony but actually he is like their older brother and they have simply forgotten that they are not related. In the Grimshaw household Sean was originally a lodger but is now most definitely part of the family. He is Eileen’s rock and someone she could not manage without.

Sean is more than that too. Sean, uniquely, amongst the cast has no enemies in Weatherfield. He is its moral voice and compass. If Sean says it’s wrong, then it’s wrong.

Who then is the new man in Sean’s life? Well, Underworld has planned an outing, but gradually everyone drops out except for Sean and Sinead. Sinead is a strange dancer, apparently, but she does manage to get Billy, who is leading his congregation the next day, and Sean, talking. The actor who plays Billy is in the show initially for 6 months. It could be more, but Antony doesn’t know what the writers have in store for Sean and Billy. What Antony does know is that Billy is a very hardworking vicar because his work is a vocation rather than just a job. Billy is also a modernizer, which may well cause conflict with the more traditional members of the congregation.

Interestingly, Antony says that he never watches himself playing Sean. He fast forwards to avoid himself, though he does enjoy watching the rest of the cast.

Asked if there were any downsides to playing Sean, Antony spoke of the vile abuse he receives on social media. He wasn’t specific about the insults but did say that they consisted of the vilest, nastiest insults that anyone could possibly throw at someone. It is then most admirable, under such provocation, that Antony has never once retaliated – in fact he makes a point of never ‘slagging anyone else off.’

On the plus side, and because he is in the show, Antony has several achievements to his name. He is an ambassador for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. He has met the queen, he has been twice to Number 10, under 2 governments, and his mum, Edna, is very pleased by this.

Antony has also done considerable work for LGBT support. Sean has never apologized on the cobbles for who he is and nor has Antony, the character reflecting the person and the person reflecting the character.

Antony’s mum, as mentioned, is called Edna and that is what Antony has called her all his life. His mum would have loved him to call her mum, but it wasn’t to be.

There is a gentle, but solid self confidence in Antony Cotton, which seems to have been with him for some time. As a five-year old, just starting school, he said to the teacher, ‘I have come here to learn how to read and write, no to colour in.’

Asked if he would like to stay in the show until he’s as old as Norris and Rita, there was a definite yes. He envisages himself and Fiz as the future Norris and Rita. Though of course, Sean would be a much more likeable person.

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Monday 22 December 2014

Coronation Street review of 2014 - July

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Here we go with our annual review of Coronation Street month-by-month, all wrapped up in a little reminder of the most important storylines of what's gone on in Weatherfield this year.  We'll be running these monthly review blog posts through the month and reviewing December at the end of the month.

July 2014
Yasmeen arrives and joins forces with Roy on library closure; Gail gets Michael a job at Streetcars; Max starts having problems at school; Nick changes name of Bistro to Just Nick's; Gary and Izzy split up; Peter's in prison for Tina's murder; Owen's declared bankrupt; Lloyd meets Andrea's husband Neil.

Check out all of our Bluenose Corrie Blog posts from July 2014 and Check out all of the Corrie weekly updates here.

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Corrie Canada weekly awards for Dec. 15 - 19

Fashion Fail: Sharif had no Santa boots!

Characters/Actors of the week: I continue to be hugely impressed with Paula Lane and Jack P. Sheppherd.

Tact of an Elephant award: Sally insulting Anna by sucking up to Yasmeen as a potential new neighbour. Nice and sensitive, there, Sal.

Nerves of Jello award: Julie is a nervous wreck anticipating her first formal date with Dev. He's pretty wobbly, too! Maria was nervous for her date with Luke, too.

Overspray award: Luke got enthusiastic with the aftershave.

Triple Act award: Tim, Sally....and Kevin! Brilliant!

Lines of the week:
Eileen to Sean "You're usually chapter and verse" (on his evenings out and considering that's a Biblical reference, she's closer to the mark than she knows!)
Sharif re Santa "I've decided I'm not going to do it" Alya "I'm not sure that matters"
Sally "Tim looks confused" Yasmeen "And you think that's the photographer's fault?"
David "There's nothing normal about needing a fix before changing a nappie"
Audrey "As excuses go, that is so ridiculous, it must be true"
Sally "When you've sat on the Manhattan Range, you can't settle for cheap imitations!" (And that was only the end of a deliriously delightful snobby Sally moan!)
Yasmeen "Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all"
Sally "With her (Beth) and Julie, it's like being stuck in the middle of a rom com (romantic comedy). All we need is Hugh Grant!"

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Sunday 21 December 2014

Sunday Comments Dec. 21

We're back to Kylie and the drugs after a few weeks off. She's fidgety, she's tense, she's hiding the gear in a compact mirror. She tells Callum over the phone she doesn't want anything but ends up at the Dog and Gun anyway even though she's supposed to be with her family at the community centre for a Santa visit and family photo. Cue Gail going all bitchy about Kylie and David getting worried. Finally, he's figured out she lied about an client and corners Eva who clearly knows more than she's telling.

Eva takes him to the Dog and Gun and timing is everything. He comes in just as Kylie's getting drugs from Macca. David lets rip into her in the ladies' where she went to take it and Kylie figures it's too late to fight. It might have helped her at first, but she's getting dependent and the negative effects are making her worse than she was before and she knows it but seems helpless to fight it even though she's making an effort in order to keep her marraige.

Eva's being a good friend even if it might seem like she's taking David's side. Kylie may come to realize it eventually. Kylie came clean. Maybe if she'd told him about her drug past years ago, he would have understood from the start. It's doing David's head in. Now Kylie's going to make an extra-hard effort but is it too late? She's lost David's trust and she might not get it back.

Luke had a place to live, I thought. I must have missed him telling folk he was losing it because the next thing we know, he was talking about a posh flat and now he's moving in with Tyrone while Fiz is away. Well, that's handy innit? He and Maria are starting to get together, slowly for now. Given Maria's history, I hope Luke isn't going to turn out to be a wrong'un like most of the others. So far, he's keen. She's not so sure. Audrey's right, Maria's confidence has been battered and she's looking for ways not to be happy. This new couple are a lot more tentative than Dev and Julie.

Julie is a nervous wreck. It might not be the first proper date, which they had last week, but last week's date was kind of impromptu. This one is more formal and she's full of butterflies. Dating a man you really fancy can be awfully hard on the nerves.

Sean is bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning, after meeting Billy last night but he's keeping quiet about the reason other than to tell Eileen he met someone. He's not giving out too many details though. Not yet. But later, Billy shows up at the Rovers with Emily and surprise! Sean is behind the bar! Sean must have called as promised because they went on a date, with both of them nervous but Sean was shaking! Yasmeen didn't really help matters. Her advice started off ok, but then I think she had Sean about to discuss world peace and he wobbled away. It went well, though and Billy seems really nice.

The community centre has people coming and going all day. Sharif doesn't make a very patient Santa and Alya has been roped into being his elf. Gary and Izzy have brought Jake which makes things uncomfortable there and Katy has got the wrong end of the stick and thinks Gary and Izzy are going to get back together, which she tells Alya. Izzy's kind of acting like she thinks it could happen as well. Now Alya's worried and sick of hiding. It was she that was holding back and now, out of insecurity i suppose, she's ready to "come out". So it came out all right and now Owen and Katy and Izzy are all against Gary for it. Even Anna thinks Gary's gone about it all the wrong way.

Meanwhile, Zeedan is not having a good day. It's his mother's birthday and he just wants to be alone. Tony makes him work for triple pay on an emergency, citing that if he doesn't he loses his job altogether. Nice. Maria gets bumped by a rowdy child while she's putting on mascara before her photo shoot with Liam so Luke takes her to A&E. Sally isn't happy with Tim's expression and tries to blag her way into a free retake. No dice.

Zeedan worked all day and Kal is getting punchy with Tony. He's implying that he's harder than Tony thinks. I'm not so sure it would be a fair fight. Kal might have been in the army but Tony's street tough. I kind of feel like i'm on Zeedan's side on this. Maybe Tony's using him but Kal isn't helping matters by shouting the odds all the time. If Kal thinks Tony's doing something underhanded, he can call trading standards. Or talk to Jason. Jason is the true owner isn't he?

Awww, i like seeing the softer side of Yasmeen when she was talking to Zeedan about his mother and talking to Alya about love. Which gives Alya the idea that if she comes clean about Gary it'll be ok. But you knew it wouldn't go to plan. An empty house, shirt off because oh look, gravy spilled! and an interruption, surprises never go over well and Kal ended up knocking six bells out of Gary for daring to date his daughter. He's turning into quite the thug these days isn't he? The fight, naturally, spills out into the street so that the neighbours can listen in.

Yas really wants that house, doesn't she! But hey, that was quite nasty of Sally to put down Anna right in front of her. Since almost nobody is allowed to live anywhere but on the Street or in the neighbourhood at least, the Nazirs buy Number 6 for a song and are going to move in...move in under a public fight. Good start! It doesn't matter that Kal has been seeing a non-Muslim and Leanne has only been on shaky ground with his family. Leanne's words to the family only calmed them down. They're still dead against and you can see that Gary, to them, really doesn't look like that much of a catch.

Diane comes round to see Kevin but as he's taking Jack to see Santa, she hangs around and later finds out from Owen that Sally is the one that has the sofa. There will be hell to pay. Kevin continues to lie until she calls him on it. Calls all of them on it, and tells them all in no uncertain terms. By rights, yes, it's not Diane's sofa. Her husband sold it. She shouldn't get it back and a solicitor would tell her so but she's also right, they all lied to her. I do hope she's going to pay Kevin back that hundred pounds he paid her husband for it, but i doubt it. She got her sofa back and Sally has beach chairs set up instead. Temporarily, of course!

Tim is still freaking out about the auction. He's been practicing but still isn't up to snuff. And I am really loving Tim and Kevin's friendship! It's making the two of them and Sally a rather odd triple act but i think it works!

I can't wait for this wedding! Beth and Sinead are doing all the hard work and Kirk just sails through it all, oblivious like he does with life in general. Sinead is going to make Beth a basque and she's going to be dolled up like 80s Madonna. Dog's dinner (mess) or Dog's Bollocks (awesome)? Chesney's going to be the Best Man. But Kirk has to make a speech as well and that's going to be a problem.

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Review of Christmas on the Cobbles

(This post was originally posted by Emma Hynes on the Coronation Street Blog in November 2014, reposted with permission.)

It was a fittingly chilly morning as I disembarked in Manchester Airport for my first festive encounter of the year; a preview of Coronation Street The Tour’s Christmas on the Cobbles. Christmas isn't just another time of year for me, I love absolutely everything about it. I’m a mulled wine making, carol singing, mince pie munching, decoration amassing snow globe of festive cheer, and so you can imagine how combining that with a trip to the cobbles would have me and my Christmas jumper more than sufficiently excited.

When I arrived, I was whisked into the Green Room from which tour guide Dom brought me on a whistle stop tour of the internal sets. As I had visited in April, there was no need for me to experience the full tour again, so Dom pointed out the things that had changed for Christmas. In the costume department were Gary and Chesney's festive tree-selling outfits and a number of wedding dresses, Tracy's being the most recent. We then watched a video montage which has also been given a festive makeover, showing a number of scenes of Christmasses past. The sight of Roy and Hayley gave me an instant lump in my throat at the memory of what was unfolding this time last year. 

Each of the sets have also been decorated so we can encounter the Platt’s the Dobbs-Browne’s, the Rovers Return, Underworld, and even Martha’s Barge as they would look at Christmas. Already appearing smaller than you might expect on first encounter, they looked extra cosy decked with tinsel, trees and baubles. With preparations underway for its unveiling to the public the next day, set designers busied themselves by making lists and checking them twice, while others chatted about plans and preparations. While it doesn't form part of the tour, I was lucky enough to be allowed to take five in the place of many's a dramatic Christmas, the Platts.

Once through the internal part, I was brought behind the doors of the bistro which opened out on to the Street, and what a sight awaited me. Snowy rooftops, Christmas lights and decorations, and a choir of children singing carols filled the senses, as well as a lovely surprise which I’d rather not spoil for those planning to attend, but which made it all the more magical. Everybody remarked that it felt a little colder, probably than it really was, and we all pulled our coats a little tighter.

Tour guide Matt took over at this point, and explained that in addition to the indoor tour being tailored with Christmas stories, there will be a seasonal tour of the outdoor set at no additional cost which starts at Roy’s Rolls and makes its way around the Street. As we received a taster of this tour, Matt revealed that the decorations have been taken straight from the new set at Media City UK where filming of this year’s Christmas episodes has now finished. This means that while visiting the old set, visitors will be seeing the authentic decorations used in the show just this year.

As for the snow, which I'm told withstands rain, it's remarkably realistic, both in the way it looks and compacts underfoot, and it can even be made into snowballs which I couldn't resist successfully putting to the test. It was still being applied to Victoria Court as we wandered about, so we got to see the work in action. I urged readers back in April not to forget the ginnel, and the same applies this time round.

While it unfortunately wasn’t up and running in time for my visit, I’m assured the scent of Christmas will be in the air for arriving visitors with Christmas berries, cinnamon, chocolate orange and Christmas trees giving a “multi-sensory experience” at various points along the tour.

In addition to 977 glittering baubles, 800 tonnes of snow, over 10,000 fairy lights and 385 hours of Christmas music, I’m told that over 50,000 mince pies will be served to visitors, and the post box will be open for the first time to send your letter to Santa.

Aside from the many festive trimmings, I noticed one great addition to the tour since April, and that is a list of names of former occupants and their years of residence in the windows of each of the houses on the Street. The shop contained within the Medical Centre has also been expanded with a wider range of products on sale, including our own Glenda’s book A Perfect Duet. This is also where you can purchase the picture taken of you in the Rovers Return, and the festive cardboard holder is a beautiful detail.

Christmas on the Cobbles runs from 22 November to 11 January with twilight tours on Fridays and Saturdays until 7pm, and tickets are available here. If you visit between 13 and 24 December, the twelve days of Christmas, your trip will be made even more atmospheric as you will be serenaded by choirs, brass bands and singing groups. A trip to Coronation Street The Tour is a magical experience in itself, and the Christmas theme makes it even more so. Even if you've been before, it is tailored to the extent that you are assured a different experience throughout. I topped off my day with a trip to Manchester Christmas Markets, and I'm now fizzing with festive cheer. Whilst it's still only November, Merry Christmas to you all!

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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