Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Men of Weatherfield

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

The return of the wonderful Jim McDonald last week has made me ponder the state of Coronation Street's men. We all know that Corrie has always been dominated by the strong female characters but male representation is also very important.

Big Jim is a man's man. He has his demons but all he really wants is the love of a good woman (Elizabeth) and the respect of his sons. Most of the time these days he's some way off achieving these goals but he always gives it a damn good try. And normally clad head to foot in denim.

Jim follows a tradition of Corrie men that was long epitomised by Len Fairclough. Len was a bit rough around the edges, not afraid of a hard drinking session or a good brawl in the street. However he was also a local councillor and respected businessman. People would go to him for help and advice in times of need. And above all else he married the Weatherfield Warbler herself, Rio Rita. However apart from Len and his sidekick Ray Langton, who else was there? Mike Baldwin was too smooth, Ken Barlow wore too many woolly liberal cardigans and Stan Ogden was far too feckless. Perhaps the man's man has always been in short supply in Weatherfield?

Who are the contenders these days amidst Corrie's ever bulging cast?

I remember early on, RIta commented that Owen Armstrong reminded her of Len. I have to say at the time, he did to me too. Now though I'm not so sure. Tony Stewart, currently stepping out with Jim's fair Elizabeth is also a bit rough and ready but he's far too sly and cunning for me. I'd rule Steve and Lloyd out straight away. Lovely as they both undoubtedly are, their girlfriends constantly run rings around them and not often in a good, palatable way.

Nick Tilsley is too camp and petulant, David will always look too young and Dev is just Dev. Rob has been taken down the killer route and lovely Roy is in a category all of his own. Peter Barlow meanwhile has soaked up enough personality flaws for the entire district. Who does that leave us with?

Jason Grimshaw is a true bloke - the character's development and sense of maturity over the years has been impressive. Ryan Thomas has taken Jason a long way since his early appearances. He's the only male presence in the Grimshaw household with a bit of integrity and a backbone at the moment. I just hope he rumbles his unpleasant father and equally toxic brother before they ruin his business.

Perhaps a bit of an odd contender, but there's always our Kirkeh. He may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer (something I think the writers sometimes take too far) but he'll always stand up for his sister, no matter how deranged she becomes. He's also a steadfast supporter of Beth, Craig and Chesney. 

Finally there's Gary Windass. There's a streak of the bad lad in Gary regardless of where he's at in life. Gary's decision to go to war and the aftermath of his life as a soldier were beautifully written and poignantly, powerfully portrayed. Does his link to the army put him in the Jim McDonald mould? 

Kevin Webster will also be returning to the fold again shortly. Is he the epitome of the Weatherfield bloke? Or is he too fists first, think later? 

So who, for you, is currently the archetypical Coronation Street bloke? Which Corrie men do you think need to "man up" and who would you like to see more of (in a manner of speaking)?

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