I'm sure we're all dreading next Monday evening. Coronation Street is about to lose one of its most normal, thoroughly decent, thoughtful characters of recent years. The moral centre of Weatherfield is about to be seriously depleted. We all know Hayley is leaving us once and for all and we've known it for some time. It just doesn't get any easier.
Certainly the next few days at least will be dominated, quite rightly, with praise for Roy and Hayley's storyline and the actors involved. However, what of Corrie once this long running, heartrending story is over? I know the effects of Hayley's death on Roy will continue on screen for some time to come and that will be painful and yet impossible not to watch.
But what of Corrie as a whole, what will be the next big attention grabber?
The Platt family have dominated screen time for well over a year now and although David and Kylie are back together (remarkably quickly given the depths to which they both sank), Nick and Leanne are still in a pit of despair. Jane Danson is always superb but I for one have reached my limit when it comes to her stomping moodily through the Bistro. Stella is also doing her interfering mother bit again, she'll obviously never learn. And as for Gloria and her acidic little remarks, one can only hope someone's fist eventually lodges itself in her irritating clack.
The Windass crew are also rather worryingly gathering once again in their mismatched new build living room, primed for another drawn out storyline. Viewers across the land will wither faster than the cash leaves Owen's bank account. We all know how this tedium will end. Katy was particularly spiteful and annoying to Anna the other evening. I'm not quite sure what she knows about anything really, but it didn't stop her sticking her oar in. Spiteful and thick - a menacing combination if ever there was one.
Amidst this new Windass tale, the viewers are left to ponder whatever happened to the Faye/Grace/Simon bullying story. It was commendable in what it set out to do, however Grace seems to have vanished and Faye is back to sitting poutily on Anna's horrible couch as if nothing had happened. Some follow up on this would have been good, however sadly it all seems to have petered out...
Which, strangely enough, brings me to Peter Barlow. He's been skulking about in the background since Tina left, rather like a well-groomed, tattooed skunk. It's been lovely to have a break from Tina - I wonder what she's up to in that London. Anyway, she's bound to career herself back into Peter's arms before too long. Cue much wretching in our household. I hope Rita gives her short shrift when she does return - the least Tina could have done was say goodbye before she fled into the night.
Another thing I don't understand is how upset Liz was when Tina departed. Never mind Tina, Liz should be round at number 1, sharing more scenes with "Come to Deirdre".
So I think the next big attention grabber will be the fallout from Tina and Peter's affair. The only good thing about this as far as I can see is the prospect of more screen time for the fantastic Alison King. She has played a blinder throughout Hayley's farewell and Carla is now a much more rounded character.
I'm preparing myself for more of Michelle, Dev dancing round Stella like a school boy and toxic Todd leering over Marcus like the snake in the Jungle Book. I might take myself off to Youtube to be in the company of Annie, Elsie and Hilda while all that plays out. I do hope we find out exactly why Todd has turned into such nasty, unbearable creep and that the subsequent revelation softens him a great deal. At the moment I've had more than enough already.
So what do you think will dominate Coronation Street over the next few months?
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