Tuesday 30 September 2014

Coronation Street Chit-Chat: news catch-up, September 2014

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

Here we go with Coronation Street chit-chat, a catch-up of some of the shorter news stories that haven't made it into their own blog post. 

And so, here we go.

Current Corrie cast 
Coronation Street cast members join a variety night in Manchester for inspirational Kirsty Howard. Read it here.
Ryan Thomas (Jason Grimshaw) says he hasn't broken up with his girlfriend.  Read it here.
Tabloids report Corrie ratings decline. Read it here.
Amy Kelly (Maddie Heath) talks about her character. Read it here.
Katie McGlynn (Sinead Tinker) talks about her character. Read it here.

Ex Corrie cast
Julie Hesmondhalgh - who played the much-missed Hayley Cropper - will give the Holyoake lecture in October in Manchester. The Holyoake Lecture is organised by the British Humanist Association (BHA) in partnership with Greater Manchester Humanists, and is part of the BHA’s annual series of events designed to inform the public about aspects of Humanism.  Read more and book tickets here.

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Tuesday Musings

Now then. I started to jot down a few things I wanted to write about and it turned out to be a bit of an epic. I wanted to make a few comments on some of the current storylines and characters that I'm enjoying (or not).  Once I got started, it was difficult to stop. One thing kept leading to another.

Kevin's return has me wondering about Tyrone's ownership of the garage and any profit sharing that might be available. Sophie and Maddie are a bit of a non-starter at the moment but there's one aspect of Maddie's character that I have noticed and hope they keep alive. I'm enjoying Gail and Michael and I really hope this fella stays around for awhile. Aside from the unfortunate way they met, he doesn't have disaster written all over him. Yet.

Are we seeing the return of Scary Mary? You can't blame her in one way, for feeling threatened by the possibility of Julie in Dev's life. Where's the situation with Jason, Tyrone and Fiz going to end? It's anyone's guess at this point.

Read more detail on State of the Street.

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Monday 29 September 2014

Corrie Canada weekly awards for Sept. 22 - 26

Wrong end of the stick award: Simon thinks Eccles' neck is on the line when it was really the washing machine.

Phrase of Doom award: Andrea mentioning that Neil's poorly mother will keep him 2 hours away most of the time. Guess who's peeking round the doorway?

Alienation award: Ok, Fiz and Tyrone are on the outs with Jason but there's no need to be rude to Eileen.

Backfire award: Tony sure didn't handle Fiz with velvet gloves. And Fiz took it the wrong way.

Manipulation award: Taking the trophe from Todd this week is Neil.

Domestic award: Tony was helping Eileen do the washing up. Didn't expect that!

What's worse than a lawsuit award: Eileen's temper when she finds out what really happened.

Slippery Slope award: Kylie is taking Max's pills to try to cope.

Return of the Native: Nick shaved his beard off! Does that mean he's almost back to his old self?

Fun and Games award: Steve and Lloyd.

Moody Mare award: Amy. And Tracy doesn't know where she gets it from. *koff*

Blinders award: Deirdre took decades to realize what Tracy's like and now she's never going to believe that Amy is a bad egg.

Pants on Fire award: Kylie lied to the doctor about Max's meds.

Asking for Trouble award: Luke was pretty careless to leave the back door to the garage office open, even when he's in situ. He's under a car, anyone can come in and rob the place.

Lines of the week:
Mary about Andrea "Look at her twirling her hair. I bet you find that cute?" Lloyd "Yeah, I do" Mary "two years down the road, you may find yourself fighting the urge to break her fingers!" (Scary Mary returns?)
Sean to Neil "They're out back in the 'beer garden'" Todd "Yeah, with the ashtrays and empties, living the dream"
Dean "Once the pain wears off, there's nothing left but the glory"
Fiz to Eileen "You've got to take part of the blame, bringing up two lying, conniving little rip-off merchants" (say what you really mean!)
Kylie "We can't all be perfect like Super Fiz"
Tracy about the wedding "A family wedding in a couple of weeks will give him (Peter) something to focus on" (except he can't go, can he?)
Tony "I'm an idiot" Eileen "I probably would have used something stronger than 'idiot' but yeah, you're pretty close"
Eileen to Tony "You look threatening with a flower teatowel in your hand"
Deirdre "That dog can't even chew her own dog food"

Mary to Eva about Jason "He looks at you like a devoted puppy pining for his liver and bacon puppy treats. Enjoy it while you can."... "She shines so much brighter with her flaxen hair and big cow eyes" (Julie?)
Jim to Peter "Here he is, the living dead"

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Coronation Street muriel goes up at ITV

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

This iconic image of Ena Sharples has gone up as a "muriel" wallpaper in the entrance to the Tony Warren building at ITV's new offices.

The Tony Warren building was official opened by Coronation Street's creator on 20th May 2014.  It is the main studio block at the Media City Studios at Trafford Wharf. 

ITV Chief Executive Adam Crozier, the cast and production crew and Mr Warren himself attended the official opening. William Roache made a speech during the dedication.

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Sunday 28 September 2014

Sunday Comments September 28

And the Rovers Cricketers seemed to start off pretty well even if they weren't winning. At the tea break, they all seemed to be in good spirits. Steve got sucked into a bet with Dean and the hotpot recipe is up for grabs. But back in play, once Leanne arrived, Zeedan was too distracted. Gary knew exactly what was bothering him. That kid has a lot of resentment. His father was away a lot and he misses his mum and Leanne is not the ideal woman in his eyes. Everyone seems distracted in the second part of the game. Rob saved the day at the last minute. Didn't play all day but was allowed to bat. Steve wasn't happy with the win, though, due to all the aggro.

Zeedan pointed out an error in the match and Leanne has video evidence that proved it but he still isn't inclined to accept her. And it's her, not any woman. Kal wants to stick with it and Leanne isn't about to back down. But realistically, will it work?

Michael is now untagged. But his words about having nobody he loved come to see him hit home with Steve. Steve has decided to go see him. For everything Jim has done, he's still Steve's dad. Come Monday, Steve has arrived and Jim is tickled pink and makes sure to comment on how important family is, when he's mentioning how Peter went a bit mad. Get the point, Steve?

The medication is doing wonders for Max but she's still struggling with a teething baby, a busy job, an 8 year old and life in general. She's jealous of other people's kids that seem far better behaved and of other mother's that seem to be coping better than she is. Her guilt, the pressure, it all mounts up. David can't understand but he does know that Kylie doesn't think she's good enough. She's having more and more trouble coping. Kylie's heading for an off-rail rampage, I think.

Kylie's now far beyond her exhaustion point. And there you are, she must have decided if the pills help Max calm down they'll help her cope. It seems to have done the trick though I'm not sure ADHD medication works in the same way on an adult that doesn't actually have the condition. If she's having that much anxiety, she needs to go to the doctor to get medication that's right for her. She confessed to Eva who is horrified. Of course she won't tell David what she's done, because he kept putting her off. Now she's got a renewal on the meds and it doesn't quite look like the Doctor believed her story but I wonder if the doc thought Kylie was overmedicating Max?

Michael is untagged, as I said, but where did that rude snappy attitude come from? He was quite pleasant but when Gail asked about his auntie, he nearly took her head off. Sounds like he never had a very pleasant family and he's not so willing to talk about them. Some of what he said about his parents sounds a lot like Gail's as well. No dad, mother with a string of boyfriends. Turns out he never tried to see his son after he split with his wife. But all his compliments to Kylie only made her feel even worse. I suppose now that we're talking about Michael's son, he'll appear before long.

Rob got pulled over by the police due to a faulty brake lights and nearly got himself into trouble with his attitude. Into the canal goes the crowbar. He should have done that in the first place. Peter's on the mend, though, and that's good news for his family at least. Steve let the doves out of the bag, though, and now Ken knows the wedding is still on. Tracy still uses the excuse that a wedding gives them all something to look forward to but that's not much help to Peter who couldn't go even if he is eventually found innocent. The date is before the trial. Cancelling will mean lost of some of the deposits too so Ken was guilted into giving his blessing.

Eva's idea of a fun day is a game of Monopoly which might have been the wrong choice. A hand held game kept him busy so they could get in some personal time. Poor Jason, he really feels bad for what happened and is dreading a lawsuit. Tony doesn't believe Tyrone and Fiz will really go through with the suit. Eileen didn't know anything about what was going on. Now there really will be hell to pay, forget a law suit, they've got Eileen on the warpath now. She blames Tony for letting it all happen, Todd for screwing up and Jason for keeping the secret.

Every time Tony tries to smooth things over, he seems to make it worse! He can't seem to do right for doing wrong and heed Eileen's advice. Jason had only barely began to accept his dad back into his life and now all that good work is ruined. Tony's got to start all over again to win Jason over and it's going to be twice and difficult this time around. Eileen and Liz are both trying to help the two of them to mend fences which they do and now Todd feels on the outside. Where he belongs, I might add. I wonder if they're going to sack him now that the whole story is out? I would.

Todd really is getting a lot of stick from his nearest and dearest as you would expect. He tries to talk to Ty but that doesn't help. So what's next? put a banana up Jason's van's tailpipe as a diversion that might just get Luke out of the garage so he can do...something. Thing is, I'm fairly sure a banana in the tailpipe wouldn't prevent the engine from starting, would it? Very contrived. What's Todd going to do?

Lloyd and Andrea having a picnic, was it in the smoking shelter of the pub? Ew. The red rec isn't that far, why not go there? Contrived so that Neil can easily find them. He managed to cause an argument between Andrea and Lloyd which is all he hoped for. This business with Andrea's daughter delayed back from a trip meaning Andrea is going to have to contact Neil smells. Yep, he pretended he hadn't heard from their daughter and she lost her own mobile. Andrea falls for it every time because Neil knows what buttons to push.

But Neil doesn't seem to understand she means what she says. To be fair, he's upset and broken hearted but he's not going about it the right way. Putting an anniversary photo in the paper is really hitting low. Steve shot it all in the foot when he threw Neil out only to reveal that Andrea and Lloyd were in the Bistro where Neil decided to go next so he can hang over their shoulder and be all passive aggresive. They should have complained to Nick or changed tables to the other side of the restaurant. Doh. His next stunt is to threaten to top himself now that she's seen the lawyer and initializing divorce proceedings. It backfired when Lloyd went to see if he was ok instead of Andrea and discovered that Neil had sexy music on and a fancy table set. Doh, again. This storyline is doing my head it and it's not in a good way.

Still loving Steph. Papers, scissors, stone to win the bacon barm! Julie has decided to return to the gym. Dev continues to put a wrong foot where Julie is concerned. Maybe they've managed to make friends but now Mary is getting jealous and being unreasonable. Tim must be doing well. He's bought Liz a drink. Sean didn't know who Neil was? or Tim? Neil's been lurking around for a couple of months in and out of the pub shadowing Lloyd so surely they would recognize him, Sean especially as he might have been working. I like that Sean is sticking up for Fiz and Tyrone.

Amy is really acting out. I wonder if it's early onset puberty? What's the big rivalry over the dog, anyway? Now she's lying and saying that the dog bit her and Tracy is on the warpath to get rid of the dog. At least Deirdre's back after an inexplicable absence but she certainly isn't happy about the latest developments. You know Deirdre won't believe that Amy is a little troublemaker. It took her decades to stop defending Tracy. And if Tracy is building a case against the dog, she should have taken Amy and her little scratch to the doctor. I don't think Tracy would actually insist on putting the dog down but Simon overheard a conversation about a dying washing machine which was vague and unspecific and he thinks Eccles is about to meet her maker. Maddie is determined to save the pup for him.

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Saturday 27 September 2014

Corrie Party Conference

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

I should declare an interest. My day job is in politics and it is with this hat on that I have recently returned from Labour Party Conference in Manchester.

But it is in my capacity as a Coronation Street Blogger, comrades, that I am filing this report - because, in between various fringe meetings and receptions - I managed to squeeze in some pretty exciting Corrie-related activities.

At conference, the days can be long and the nights even longer. It is important, therefore, to eat well and that is exactly how I started things off on Sunday evening with tea at Annies. I went for the fish pie washed down by a couple of bottles of Becks. It was excellent! My mate James opted for burger and chips – also excellent.

It was lovely to see Jennie McAlpine and her partner Chris again (I covered our first meeting here and here). Eight weeks away from the birth of their first baby, they are both positively glowing. I have enjoyed the recent argy-bargy between Tyrone/Fiz and the Grimshaws. Jennie will be going on maternity leave soon but not before the hilarity that will surely ensue with Cilla’s imminent return. This will almost certainly sow the seeds of Fiz’s temporary exit. I’ll tell you something I am certain of - next time I visit Annies, I’m going for the hotpot!

On Tuesday, I was out on the doorsteps… of Coronation Street. I visited the set at Media City in Salford Quays where a group of us (including two Lords and a Baroness) were escorted across the cobbles by the production team. It was in equal parts surreal and magical. The transformation from what was derelict brownfield land to the impressive site that now stands at Media City is nothing short of spectacular.  

We had a guided tour from Stuart Blackburn (Producer), Kieran Roberts (Executive Producer), John Whiston (Creative Director of Corrie and Emmerdale) and Robbie Sanderson (Head of Production). It was really good of them to give us so much time and fascinating to discover the differences between the current set and the old set on Atherton Street that I visited in July.

I saw a prop for a forthcoming storyline but am sworn to secrecy so this is a spoiler free zone, I’m afraid. I can however reveal some titbits of technical trivia. Next time you’re watching, listen out for seagulls. They can sometimes be heard cooing away because Media City is on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal, near the River Irwell. In the final weeks of filming at the old set, seagull noises were dubbed over Corrie so that they wouldn’t seem out of place on screen once the move had been completed.

Much has already been said about the larger scale of the new set and that is certainly noticeable. The inside of the Rovers is bigger and as we know, there is an extra window (top floor, right hand side). This makes it more realistic for the Rovers to have at least three or four bedrooms upstairs. Only one bedroom set tends to be used in the Rovers – that of Steve and Michelle.

The street is twice as wide which means that normal sized cars can now go up and down it, passing each other. Stuart Blackburn pointed out that they could now get a bus down Coronation Street, which means that a bus crash would be possible at some point!

The bigger space needs to be filled and, as a result, more characters now have cars… and vans. Think of Michael Rodwell with his ice cream van, Steve and Michelle with their campervan and Tim with the “Flush And Go!” banger used for his window cleaning business. Vehicles of this size could never have fitted onto the old cobbles. Kieran Roberts spoke of the “pleasant challenge” created by the extra space and the consequential need for “extra dressing”.

Corrie’s producers have been subtle when introducing these details, doing it bit by bit so that sudden changes have not looked incongruous. Slowly and surely, the idea is to inject an added layer of realism. It’s a good job Kevin’s back to help out at the garage when all these new motors need servicing!

It is now also possible for delivery vans to appear on screen, perhaps dropping off ingredients to the Bistro (not olives – Gail still has that covered). This is something you would see on a normal street with shops and will start to crop up in Corrie from time to time to provide a better reflection of real life.

There are also more background outlets. I was surprised to discover that Weatherfield has a hardware store – J.R. Eccelston & Sons, located where Rosamund Street continues into Maudsley Street. This could be utilised in future, perhaps providing a trade for one of the new characters in the increasingly mixed local economy.

Robbie Sanderson talked us through the production process. There are far more sets on site now. There are around 24 standing sets every week but a rotation of approximately 34 sets in total – so some of them are kept flat-packed off site, depending on storylines.

The factory is big enough for Underworld scenes to be shot inside the building, which has freed up studio space. They now have 4 studios and 2 galleries, which can be pointed towards any studio so that the crew can monitor filming as it takes place. By the end of this month, there will be a studio at the top of the salon that runs the entire length of the outside area. This means that Stuart and Robbie will be able to see what is being shot on the street in real time and can start cutting it just as they could on the studio floor. Stuart joked that this will make it easier for him to interfere with what is happening on set.

The space is used extremely efficiently. The area inside Rosamund Street Medical Centre, for example, was recently used to film Peter’s hospital scenes and as the prison visiting room. And the area above Roy's Rolls has been used for some of the other prison scenes while the space above the Rovers has served as the police interview room, where no doubt Rob will be before too long.

You can now cross the thresholds of the houses that are on set. Previously, there would be a third of a house and then there was nothing but a wall. All of the interior sets of the houses are in the studios, still, but it is now possible to walk right through to the kitchens, which go on to the back ginnel. 

Talking of the ginnel, I was pleased to establish that its architectural integrity remains in tact. The bricks were painstakingly replicated and yoghurt was used to make the moss grow in the right way.

While I was in the ginnel, I popped into Fiz and Tyrone’s back yard where they had washing drying on the line.

It was absolutely brilliant to see the new Corrie set and to learn from those directly responsible for putting Coronation Street together exactly how things have changed since the move. 

I didn’t think I’d be able to top this but later I attended the Daily Mirror’s Street Party at the old set on Atherton Street. Sadly I missed Sally, Sean and Curly but I did say hello to Ian Puleston-Davies (Owen), Joe Duttine (Tim) and Cherylee Houston (Izzy), all of whom were lovely.

I’m a big fan of Tim in Corrie and it was an honour to drink a beer with Joe Duttine before I joined some other movers and shakers on the dance floor. I’d like to see a lot more of Tim on screen and it will be interesting to see how the plot develops between him and Sally now that Kevin is back.

Coronation Street is described by ITV as “the story of working people and the city street in which they live”. Since the Labour Party was founded to represent the interests of working people and the Mirror’s readership has traditionally been working class, this event seemed a natural fit. And for me, it was the perfect way to end a great few days in Manchester.

It really was a 24 Hour Party Conference this year, so I’m going to catch up on some much needed sleep. But only once I’ve caught up on Corrie, of course.

By Martin Leay
Twitter: @mpleay

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Coronation Street's Ordance Survey map

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

Ordnance Survey (OS), one of the UK’s leading map specialists, have mapped out the set of Coronation Street. Basing their work upon the set of the show in Salford Quays (England), the work covers streets of the town and footpaths in traditional OS format along with building outlines carrying business names or house numbers, whilst also offering second-screen style character details where relevant to the building.

Ordnance Survey representative Rob Andrews said of the map: “This has been a great project and highlights Ordnance Survey’s commitment to accurately map the rapidly changing face of Great Britain. This is one of the most famous streets in the country; however, it is only one of 87 other Coronation Streets which feature on the OS database.”

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Friday 26 September 2014

Conversation Street podcast 113

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

This week the Rovers' cricket team debuted. Rob was in a panic over the murder weapon, we find out more about Michael's family, Kylie reaches the end of her rope, Neil continues his stalking campaign and Amy's causing trouble. This week's character profile is Kylie Platt.

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Fab Photo Mavis and Derek

(This post was originally posted by Sunny Jim on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2014.)

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. Here's a popular couple from the past (not with me but others seemed to like them, I always thought Mavis was wasted on Derek and should have plumped for Victor), who are up to something odd.

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Thursday 25 September 2014

Corrie Canada sneak previews Sept. 29 - Oct. 3

Don't forget, Canadian fans, Corrie airs three episodes on both Monday and Tueseday next week for another catchup. We'll only be one week behind the UK by the end of next week!

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

Todd and Tony make things worse but the women sort things out. Todd gets the cold shoulder from his family. Jason moves out. Todd moves out. Jason moves in. Todd moves in. Jason moves out. (dizzy yet?)

Neil's antics push Andrea goes over the edge. Literally. Peter pays the price. The truth about Jim comes out. Steve washes his hands, Jim blackmails Liz. Eccles is saved from Tracy's wrath. Maddie gets a job at Underworld. Michael discovers his past and is afraid for his future. Mary feels threatened. Kevin returns.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at Corrie.net

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It's just not cricket

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

There has been a lot of underhanded behaviour in Weatherfield recently, what with Machiavellian Murderer, Rob Donovan doing all he can to ensure Peter goes down for a crime he didn’t commit; and the cowboy building operation being run to catastrophic effect over at “Jason's Construction”. It’s just not cricket.

It was with some relief then that I sat down last Sunday to watch the epic encounter between The Rovers Return and The Flying Horse. It provided a welcome break from Peter’s predicament and the gripping but intense wrangling between the Dobbs and Grimshaw households.

I’m not sure how the hastily assembled Rovers team managed to beat an established Sunday League team but that’s the romance of pub cricket, I suppose – anything can happen. Obviously, sport runs through Manchester’s core and it stands to reason there would be some competent cricketers in Weatherfield. The Rovers’ team sheet was as follows:

  • Alahan, Dev
  • Britton, Luke
  • Britton, Steph
  • Brown, Chesney
  • Donovan, Rob
  • Nazir, Kal
  • Nazir, Sharif
  • Nazir, Zeedan
  • Platt, David
  • Rodwell, Michael
  • Windass, Gary

Although the talent belonged mainly to Zeedan, Rob and Gary, Platty deserves a mention for a solid catch early doors and Steph too for stumping out Dean Upton, Landlord of The Flying Horse. Dev’s most noticeable contribution came at teatime with a veritable spread laid on by D&S Alahan’s Corner Shop, much to the delight of both teams.

Twelfth Man Steve McDonald may not have touched a ball but he did a fine job of assembling his team. In a sort of ‘Director of Cricket’ role, he appointed Alya Nazir to take charge of team selection. This proved a tactical masterstroke as Alya effortlessly calmed the dressing room bickering and focused her players on the task at hand – wiping the smile off Dean Upton’s face and shutting Bobby the Trumpet up for good.

What did blog readers think of stand-up comedian Justin Moorhouse as Deano? I thought it was a decent cameo and I’d like to see a recurring rivalry develop between the two publicans. After all, The Flying Horse want to win back the vintage Space Invaders machine they forfeited in defeat. Maybe the Weathy Arms could also be involved in a round robin.

Zeedan was brought into play for the first time – the final member of the Nazir squad. Despite being an excellent all-rounder, his hatred of Leanne (who he had yet to meet) was such that the mere sight of her made him throw his bat down in disgust and walk off the pitch with very few runs on the board. And they say cricket is a gentleman’s game! Leanne is going to have her work cut out there and it remains to be seen if the Nazirs will gel as a unit.

Thank goodness for Gary Windass who managed a respectable 59 runs before being ruled out for LBW. Michael “42 runs a season” Rodwell may have been free from the shackles of his electronic tag but he didn’t run very far on this occasion, finding himself out for a duck. The sight of Michael clutching his chest sowed the seeds of an imminent storyline.

So what about “star batsman” Rob Donovan? Well, he spent the day desperately trying to prevent Carla from revealing to Ken her newfound belief in Peter’s innocence. But what really knocked him for six was discovering that a new development is being built on the site where he hid the murder weapon. He really should have checked the local planning applications before disposing of the evidence – surely Deirdre could have helped him navigate the Weatherfield Council website? The retrieval and reburial of said evidence was far more pressing than pub cricket and Rob remained AWOL for most of the match.

When the Rovers were down to their last batsman, it looked like Stevie Mac and his oversized hat would get a run out after all. However, in the nick of time, Rob arrived in T-shirt and jeans to save the day. On the last ball of the last over, The Rovers needed four runs to win. Swapping the lead pipe for the cricket bat, Rob smashed it out of the park and won it for Team Rovers.

I enjoyed the cricket storyline. It showcased the sense of community and camaraderie so central to Coronation Street. When Rob’s teammates lifted him aloft amidst chants of “Legend, Legend”, I almost found myself forgiving him for all that he’s done. And that’s the tragedy – Rob has been a great character in recent months. It's a shame they made him a murderer. I feel he had much more to give.

But the die is cast. Carla is getting suspicious and he won’t be able to pull the wool over Ken’s eyes for much longer. Rob is on a sticky wicket and when the truth comes out, there’ll be no chance of bail.

By Martin Leay

Twitter: @mpleay

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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Pics: Coronation Street's first ever real-life wedding

Copyright: Chris Bull via Manchester Evening News
(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog September 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Our congratulations go out to Paul Johnston and Andy Daniel who have made history as the first couple to be wed at the old Coronation Street set in Manchester.

Andy, an event organiser, said: “We’re both big fans of the show, but I think anyone born or living in the UK knows Coronation Street, which makes it such an iconic venue. We wanted to do something totally different for our wedding, and you can’t get much better than marrying in the nation’s most famous pub.”

Paul said: “My background is in TV journalism so I’ve written about plenty of soap weddings, so it seemed entirely apt to have one of my own - although we’re hoping there isn’t quite as much drama involved at ours than in the soaps!”

Andy and Paul, who have been a couple for 12 years, were joined by friends from across the UK for the civil ceremony on Monday evening. And they admitted that at first their friends thought they were joking about the location.

And when Paul went to register their wedding, even the registrar didn’t believe him.

He laughs: “When I said we were getting married at the Rovers Return on Coronation Street there was a raised eyebrow, and then when I told them that the Manchester registry office is on Albert Square I think they thought I was really taking the mick - they said ‘you’ll be telling us the reception is at the Woolpack next’!”

View some fantastic pics at the Manchester Evening News website.

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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Queen Carla - Classy, Competent and Compassionate

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

Alison King, who plays the tremendous force of nature that is Carla Connor, arrived on our screens as Carla on 1st December 2006. At that time she was married to Paul Connor. Since then, she has had various boyfriends/ husbands and different surnames including Connor, Gordon and Barlow. Before marriage, she was Donovan. Officially she is still Barlow but as she has made it clear to her staff and others, woe betide anyone who calls her Barlow.

There was no doubt that she loved Peter Barlow and she did not have an easy time ensnaring him. For a while, when Peter’s deserting of Leanne had settled down and Leanne  got together with Nick, it looked as if Peter and Carla would be together for good. Their dark heads of hair and their build made them seem to fit together very well. (Though I have realized recently that Carla’s hair is more red than black). In addition, after a very shaky start, the relationship between Carla and Simon gradually improved and they were  able to tolerate each other and were even beginning to enjoy each other’s company. Sadly for everyone, as we now know, in retrospect, Peter’s affair with Tina put paid to a blossoming relationship with Carla’s would-be stepson. Not to mention all the rest, which, of course, will now be mentioned.

Paul, her first husband was killed as was her lover Liam, Paul’s brother. Tony Gordon, her second husband was responsible for Liam’s death and a whole host of other crimes.

What strength Carla has shown. She is a survivor and mostly, a deserving one. True she’s no angel and the sisterhood doesn’t seem to mean that much to her as she is happy to purloin other women’s husbands, namely, Maria’s Liam and Leanne’s Peter. Now she has had a taste of how it feels to be cheated on, as her full betrayal by Peter came to light, shortly followed by the miscarriage of the baby, which she was at first certain she didn’t want. When she miscarried she was heartbroken and maybe that is her last chance of motherhood, though this is soap life not real life. (And anyway my sister in law had a baby aged 44 – she’ll be thrilled to to get a mention on the blog). Tina, she thought, was her friend and Carla was the embodiment of kindness to her. And, though she doesn’t know it yet, her brother is a murderer.

Carla is the business – so it is fitting that she is also a business woman and a  hardworking one at that. She has a tough love approach towards her staff . They are a little afraid of her but clearly respect her. She pays them for their work, so work they must. That, she makes crystal clear. She is fair too.

When Maddie asks her for a job, and messes it up. Carla says, ‘Right little charmer in’t she?’

Maybe, just maybe, she sees in Maddie what she herself was like as a teenager, until she found her niche.

When Carla is on screen, for me, there is never a dull second. Her presence, her wearing of black even in summer, which I sense she will wear until they discover a darker colour, her style, her confidence, her business acumen and above all her compassion. What a friend she was to Hayley – a masterstroke by the writing team to have Carla and Hayley as such friends. especially since they are so dissimilar.

All praise to Carla and just remember that if you find her too brusque, too outspoken or just too much, she will have Tracy Barlow as a sister in law – and we must feel some humanity towards a woman who has to suffer such a fate.

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Kal's family move into Coronation Street - so who moves out?

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

This isn't really a spoiler since most new families end up moving into Coronation Street proper at some point...

In the fab Inside Soap magazine there's a good interview Coronation Street producer Stuart Blackburn. 

He says this about Kal's family, the Nazirs:

"We're taking it very gently with the Nazirs because it takes time for the audience to get to know a new family and trust them.  In the coming months we will get them moved onto the cobbles and right at the heart of things but in order to do that, someone living on the Street currently will have to lose their home."

So, Corrie fans, who do you think will be moving out?

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Monday 22 September 2014

Corrie Canada weekly awards for Sept. 15 - 29

Sportsmanship award: Team Rovers. They might be dubious but they're ours.

White Wobble award: Cricket whites. Sharif has all the gear. Chesney's wearing Cilla's old trousers. Dev is pretentious as always.

Double Take award: Carla realized Peter thinks she killed Tina. So if neither of them did it, who did?

Blast from the past award: Jack taught Tyrone how to play dominoes.

Doghouse award: Tony is really treating Todd like dirt. Not that he shouldn't be punished but perhaps humiliation might end up backfiring on him?

Sick making award: Katy and Luke fawning over each other to wind up Steph.

Snob award: Michelle shouldn't be snotty about Beth and Kirk's financial status. A wedding planner should be able to work with all budgets.

Whose lamp is it award: Loved the little running joke about the familiar looking lamp. Turns out it was Tracy's. Who recognized it? David (yes, he shagged Tracy), Roy (Yes, he's been in her bedroom), Steve (Yes, again). Brilliant!

Lines of the week:
Steve to Carla "Sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees"
Fiz describing her wedding "Something understated and tasteful." (you mean, like a registrar in a prison chapel? can't get much more understated than that!)
Beth "You know when Pippa Middleton's sister got married?" (erm...)
Carla about Peter "If he was a dog, I'd put him down"
Liz to Tracy "Even wicked witches have an off day"
Ken "Sometimes, I don't know how I feel about it until I write about it. Does that sound totally pretentious?" (Yes, yes it does.)
Sharif "Personal brilliance does not make a team"
Sharif "My mistake" Yasmeen "He's prone to them"
Tracy "I'm not much of a reader, myself" Tony "You surprise me"
Alya to Leanne "It'll be fun" Leanne "Yeah. That's what they used to say about burning witches"

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Little Shops of Horrors

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

A thriving hotbed of commerce it is not. You get the impression that the Weatherfield Wayfarer will never have to run multiple services in order to ferry the masses to the shopping mecca that is Coronation Street. Even the business-savvy combination of Mary Portas and Alex Polizzi would wither under the effort of trying to breathe life into the motley trio of corner shop, Kabin and pawn parlour. Was it always like this?

Fade to sepia-tinted memories of Corrie-long-gone and yours truly blethering on, teary-eyed, about how wonderful it all was back then. Except of course it wasn't. The corner shop was always exerted a feeling of mortal dread. From day one we had to contend with Florrie Lindley stacking tins in a dangerous manner, serving up eggs in paper bags and wantonly flogging fire-lighters whenever she felt like it. The woman should have been imprisoned and the shop demolished. Fast forward to the seventies and there was no sign of Weatherfield's environmental health officers as the brazen Maggie Clegg happily sliced bacon covered in a delicate crust of fag-ash. Okay, we know that some of her regular clients were doddering and not particularly fussy but even they never queried why Maggie spent precious time covering brand names with black tape or arranging cans in covert fashion. Bless Maggie and all those who sailed after her for continually having to contend with locals asking for a 'pack of my usual'. "Usual what?" she should have screamed, "Playing cards? Condoms? Firelighters?"

Today the shop seems to serve as an area for Sophie to slouch in, shoving produce across the counter with as much contempt as she can muster. If she's not half comatose across the hob-nobs, then she's hurling peanuts at Maddeh. Better that than Dev having a meltdown or MELTdown as he would probably bellow. It's time for the shop to return to providing good service with a side order of salacious gossip. Cometh the hour, cometh the tabard, cometh Julie Carp. Dear, dotty old Julie would shine behind that counter.

Across the cobbles and we bow down before the glittering Palace of Sanctimony. Please step inside for newspapers, a quarter of sweets and a good old talking down to by Mother Earth. Be brave and try a little chit-chat with Rio Rita and within seconds she will have, in a caring, considerate and non-patronising way, put you right. It's her way or the highway so think on. Or if you are unlucky, service will be provided by a shrewish camp old man. You will never want to shop there again. Not for you the selection of unheard of magazines and worrying selection boxes.

Compared to yesteryear though, the Kabin is a customer's dream. Forty years ago, a trip to the shop would have entailed shuffling down some alley. Once through the door, you would be greeted by a clapped-out cabaret singer and a nervous wreck who would happily dish out sweets from suspect jars whilst you browsed the Peters & Lee LPs, selected the latest Margaret Drabble from the library section and were then ushered to a tiny table where you were served tea in the company of Albert Tatlock. Had the Kabin remained in the same premises, Mavis would now been offering a tattooing service in the flat while Rita flogged you a mobile phone. Let's not even get started on the medieval wooden till.

Every other consumer option currently on offer is seriously warped. A meal at the Bistro/Nick's Place/Whatever consists of being shown to a table six inches from the main door in order to watch the owner's family provide a pantomime of abuse and name calling. Pop over to the kebab shop and it's Munch's Scream dishing out chilli sauce with added venom. Shuffle on down to Tracy's Tat for a plethora of stolen hairdryers and a proprietor who begins every sentence with a sarcastic "Well hello?"

Does the Street offer value for money and service with a smile? Should we be hoping for 'under new management' signs gracing the shop windows? Or should we all just clamber aboard the Weatherfield Wayfarer and head for the Arndale Centre?

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Sunday 21 September 2014

Sunday Comments, September 21

Peter's in really bad way, and Carla's trying to jump ship. But his turn for the worse after asking for her has her feeling far too guilty so she didn't get on the plane and later stopped off to see him. Everyone's thinking Jim is the big hero for finding Peter but of course we know it's really Jim's fault. He was supplying the booze in the first place. Anyway, Peter wants to confess to Carla that he is taking the blame for Tina's death to save her from it. He thought she did it! Now she knows he didn't. If neither of them did it, who did?

And Peter is going to recover but will bleed out if he ever drinks again. He says he has got the message but time will tell. And when Rob found out, you know he's freaking out and trying to put Carla off getting more suspicious or talking to the police. It's going to be more difficult putting Ken off the belief that Peter's innocent. If Rob pushes too much, Carla's going to get suspicious of him. So will Ken once he knows. Rob is frantic when he thinks Carla is going to speak to the police so is using all the guilt tripping he can.

But then he overhears there's some building work going on where he stashed the murder weapon. Oh crap. And the site is already fenced off. Will he manage to get the goods? He paid a couple of kids to "look for the dog" knowing it would cause a distraction. He managed to get the evidence dug up and now it's in his car and he's busy doing fancy footwork and juggling everyone.

And where was Deirdre during all this crisis? Nowhere to be seen. Not at Peter's bedside. Not wailing in the house and it's Audrey that has to support Ken in the pub, someone who has never really been that close a friend to Ken. Were Deirdre, Emily and Rita all on holiday together?

Tracy does love her brother and parents but she is still selfish enough to continue to focus on her wedding. She pretends it is to give her family something positive to focus on. Was she crying because she feels she has to cancel the wedding or because she's worried about Peter? You pick. She's not going to, though, and just continue to carry on planning in secret.

Steve's more concerned with the upcoming cricket match than he is anything else but he was worried about Peter and he was kind to Carla. The cricket team is keen. Sharif believes he is the one with the most talent and he's not, of course. Chesney is wearing Cilla's old trousers and has no idea how to play cricket. And Dev? Pretentious as always. Tempers clash between Sharif and Dev, vying for top dog spot and neither one deserves it. Kal's son Zeedan finally made an appearance, reluctantly. Then they had to nominate a new captain and Alya's the winner. She probably could keep them all in line.

On the day of the match, Steve is up early and keen to talk tactics, much to the chagrin of everyone else except Rob who's too involved in keeping Carla at bay. Sharif is intent on doing the cricket match properly, traditionally, and winding Dev up in the process. It worked, though, Dev has to keep up appearances, after all. I thought Michael was playing for the opposition but apparently not and he's untagged, too.

The opposition is taking great pleasure in winding up Steve who really wants to play but isn't very good. Alya managed to drag Leanne into the mix which only causes all the rest of the family to get their faces in a knot, especially Zeedan. Michael seemed to have had a funny turn on the field just before the match begins.

Katy and Luke are going to stick together just to wind up Steph. Nice. Very mature. Looks like Sean has joined a dating website. Michelle has her second client. Beth and Kirk though I do think Michelle was being a bit snotty about their financial status. A wedding planner should be able to work with all budgets. Beth has very high expectations for a bargain basement budget. Michelle knows she's going to be wasting her time looking into things that Beth and Kirk can't afford.

Todd's in the doghouse and being ill-used but he can't be sacked or Ty and Fiz might become suspicious. If Tyrone is the owner or part owner of the garage, can he not take a share of the profits even if he's not at work? They're going to start questioning why Jason can't claim through the insurance. Jason feels guilty and Tony's trying to cover his backside. But Owen spotted the bad boards when he was going through the skip to see if he could salvage anything (to sell, probably). Nobody could talk their way out of it when a certified builder told them the truth.

Tyrone and Fiz have now fallen out with another long time friend. They can't prove it because Owen took the old boards. Jason really has to confess and did but it's too late.

And you know? this campaign of humiliation that Tony's putting Todd through? I'm very afraid it's going to backfire and Todd is going to go off the rails. I do agree he's deserving of punishment and maybe now that Tyrone knows the truth, they can just sack him and make sure everyone knows he's behind the cheap flooring. Todd definitely has to take the fall. Pun intended. But he's also intending on manipulating Fiz and Tyrone to put them off the potential lawsuit.But even Jason believes that the types of lawyers that Fiz and Ty will use will add on all kinds of charges but it doesn't wash with Tyrone.

Poor Kylie's really taking Max's condition personally and it's dragged up all her old insecurities. Why would they insist on seeing them right now, this very instance after Max's assessment at school? It's not as if ADHD is a fatal diagnosis. It's because he went mad with the finger paints and pissed off the teacher. The diagnosis is definite.

Laughed at the little running joke about the familiar lamp. And it turned out to be Tracy's. Let's just see who recognized it... Steve, David, Roy. All three have been in her bedroom. Loved it! Tracy's doing deals with Tony again over ereaders. Neil is still stalking Lloyd and Andrea.

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Musing on Corrie's new-found friendship

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in September 2014.)

Over the years, Corrie has been very good at portraying long running friendships - Ena and Minnie, Len and Alf, Alma and Audrey, Rita and Mavis, Steve and Lloyd or Deirdre and Liz to name a few. The friendship is built over time, be it due to the characters working together, they're neighbours, they share the same hobbies and sometimes because they're the same age.

There have been unlikely friendships over the years. Rita and Mavis is an obvious one where their chalk and cheese personalities provided a lasting friendship while in recent years Roy's friendships with Becky and Carla are not ones you would think would be fathomable. But they work!

The other friendship is this one: suddenly characters become best buddies despite no previous indication that they share common ground. Sometimes it's led by a plotline, like when Carla and Tina struck on a close friendship just because Tina would later have an affair with Peter. Much more plausible was Carla's friendship with Leanne which I would love to be rekindled. If Peggy Mitchell and Pat Butcher could develop a strong friendship after their rivalry, I'm sure Carla and Leanne could let bygones be bygones. Enough time has passed now for them to start on another page. In real life it probably wouldn't happen, but this is soap after all!

But the new-found friendship that has been puzzling me for a few weeks now is that of Ken and Audrey's. It all began when Ken returned from Canada. He'd only just come home and Audrey was running across from the salon, excited to see him. Only for her to get the door slammed in her face by a flustered Deirdre. Soon after, Ken is in the Rovers and Audrey rushes over to welcome him home and offers to buy him a drink. She's also been concerned about Peter and the effect this has had on Ken and last week they shared a drink in the Rovers and they laughed and joked.

Now before Ken left, he didn't have that close a friendship with Audrey. Despite around the same age, they had very different viewpoints in life - Ken studied the past and history while Audrey lived in the present. Watching old episodes from the 1990s and the early 2000s, I see Ken and Audrey were often at loggerheads over one matter or another - be it Ken being disgruntled about Audrey gossiping about Deirdre or Ken annoying Audrey with his newspaper column badmouthing the council. While they may have both been hurt by Lewis kissing Deirdre, there was no indication that they shared a bond.

Ken's main friends on the street in recent years have been Rita, Emily and Roy while Audrey has been linked over the years with Fred Elliott and Alma. While Ken enjoyed a good and long friendship with Alf, Audrey always saw Ken as a bit academic and boring for her liking, compared to businessmen like Mike Baldwin or Fred. And Audrey and Deirdre have been seen as bosom buddies, so there's no link there either. So it's a bit puzzling really. It has come about so suddenly. Maybe Audrey sees a bond between them because Ken's been to Canada and her son Stephen lives there as well? Or maybe it's because she knows how it feels to have her child in prison? Who knows?

More plausible, in my opinion, would be that Emily would be eager to welcome Ken home while it was over a drink with Rita that he would confide his problems. But maybe due to the unavailability of both Eileen Derbyshire and Barbara Knox, Sue Nicholls had to step into the breach? 

And another thing, why hasn't Ken been seen talking to Roy about the closure of the library. I know he's in enough dramas with Peter, but surely a scene could've been slipped in? Come on writers! 

Anyway, have you noticed this new-found friendship on the cobbles? What do you make of it?

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Saturday 20 September 2014

More Corrie Catchup for Canadians

Back in the bad old days, Coronation Street on Canadian screens was aired nearly a year behind the UK storylines. A couple of years ago, CBC caught us up and we've been just about 2 weeks behind. Now, CBC is going to catch us up a little bit more. We in Canada will be just a heady ONE WEEK behind the UK air dates.

On the week of September 29, check your local schedules. There will be two extra episodes on both Monday, September 29 and Tuesday, September 30. By the end of the week, we in Canada will be just one week behind the UK airdates.

The schedule is as follows:

Mon. Sept. 29
6:30 PM Coronation Street Episode #8470
7:00 PM Coronation Street Episode #8471
7:30 PM Coronation Street Episode #8472

Encore at 12:30 AM - 2 AM the next day.

Tue. Sept. 30

6:30 PM Coronation Street Episode #8473
7:00 PM Coronation Street Episode #8474
7:30 PM Coronation Street Episode #8475

Encore at 12:30 AM - 2 AM the next day.

Wed. Oct. 1
6:30 PM Coronation Street Episode #8476

Encore at 12:30 AM - 1 AM the next day.

Thu. Oct. 2
6:30 PM Coronation Street Episode #8477

Encore at 12:30 AM - 1 AM the next day.

 Fri. Oct. 3
6:30 PM Coronation Street Episode #8478
Encore at 12:30 AM - 1 AM the next day.

CBC's listings don't go as far as the Sunday omnibus on October 5 but they will show the whole set of episodes, even if the start time is changed. Likely, it will start at the same time as usual in your local region. 

Check CBC's website here and change the city to your local area.

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Fab Photo Becky and Tracy

(This post was originally posted by Sunny Jim on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2014.)

It's time again for this week's fab Coronation Street photo to brighten up your Saturday. Whilst I'm impressed that Tracy Lynette Barlow is standing up for her half brother at the moment, I think she probably deserves a slap from Becky for letting her antics rub off on her once adorable daughter, Amy.

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Friday 19 September 2014

Conversation Street podcast 112

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

This week in Coronation Street, Peter is on his deathbed and Carla is stunned by his confession to her. Tyrone and Fiz are under financial pressure and Jason feels more and more guilty while Tony continues to humiliate Todd for punishment. Max's condition is making Kylie feel guilty and the last of the Nazir family finally graces our screen. The character profile this week is builder Len Fairclough.

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Thursday 18 September 2014

Corrie Canada sneak previews for Sept. 22 - 26

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

The cricket match is played. Kylie reaches the end of her tether, Rob scrambles, Fiz and Tyrone find out the whole truth, Tony tries to make things better and only makes it worse. Neil doesn't get the message, Julie and Dev are more friendly but Mary doesn't like it. Amy causes trouble leading to Eccles' life being threatened. Steve visits Jim and Lloyd visits Neil.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at Corrie.net

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Catherine Tyldesley's expecting a baby

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

Congratulations to Coronation Street's Catherine Tyldesley who has revealed she's pregnant with her first baby.

Catherine told Hello! magazine: “If you’d told me that before my next birthday I would meet someone as amazing as Tom, the person I want to spend the rest of my life with, and we were going to be planning for our first baby, I wouldn’t have believed you in a million years.”

Catherine's baby is due in March next year and this means she's the third Corrie actress to currently be in the pudding club - along with Jennie McAlpine (Fiz) and Paula Lane (Kylie).

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Wednesday 17 September 2014

More Fall and Winter Spoiler links

As we do from time to time, we post links to spoilers for those that want to know. Here are a few gleaned from the Inside Soap magazine as reported over on our sister site, the Coronation Street Blog.

Weddings and a baby

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From Script To Screen: A Night To Remember

(This post was originally posted by Martyn Hett on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2014.)

A big thank you to our guest blogger Martyn Hett for this post

Earlier this week I headed to The Lowry to attend Coming Out - From Script To Screen, a discussion on homosexuality in Coronation Street taking place as part of Manchester Pride Fringe. I managed to bag a front row seat, and sat with palpitations knowing that within minutes I would be just feet away from the big man himself, Tony Warren.

Damon Rochefort introduced the event with a montage highlighting Corrie’s best moments throughout the years. It was met with lots of laughter and the fans in the audience were completing the actors’ lines as though they were at a Sound Of Music sing-along. Following the montage, Jonathan Harvey, Debbie Oates, Brooke Vincent, Anthony Cotton and Tony Warren entered the stage to rousing applause and took their seats.

As the discussion began, it was like crack for the superfans in the audience. The chemistry between the writers was infectious, the anecdotes from the actors were insightful and exciting, and Tony Warren commanded the entire room every time he spoke as though he were The Pope.

The Writers

Debbie Oates was a delight to listen to. She was incredibly witty, full of expression and seemed genuinely passionate about the LGBT cause – even claiming to be referred to as ‘Head Of Lesbian’ at Coronation Street. She discussed the unease felt by some of the writers when gay characters were initially introduced, with some claiming ‘not to know how gays think’ to which she responded, “You don’t know how women think either, but you still write for them!”

Damon Rochefort and Jonathan Harvey also provided great insight on their personal feelings towards Coronation Street’s portrayal of homosexuality, with Harvey making the very honest admission that he had previously felt excluded by the soap due to lack of representation. Rochefort and Harvey’s inappropriate jokes had me laughing out loud on several occasions, and the evening seemed to be constructed similarly to Coronation Street itself: the serious made digestible with regular doses of humour.

From a fan’s point of view, it was great to see some of the writers in the flesh, particularly names that I pray for at the beginning of an episode. Between the stories about the lines they can’t believe they got away with (Blanche’s “nasty gash”, anyone?) and their personal reflections on some of the more hard hitting scenes, it felt almost like a night at the Rovers with a group of old mates.

The Cast

Brooke Vincent, who joked about being the ‘nation’s favourite lesbian’, spoke of her fear at being given such a big challenge at the age of 16, her initial reaction being, “Why me?” I got a real sense of personal journey when she spoke, and it seemed as though playing the character of Sophie from such a young age had helped Brooke to develop her own sense of self.

When discussing her character, it was noted that she had been in the soap since birth and that the audience had watched her grow and develop as a person. This raised the interesting point that Sophie had not been brought into Coronation Street especially to be gay, and that the audience had had a chance to explore sexuality through the eyes of somebody they had witnessed growing up.

The biggest revelation of the evening for me was Anthony Cotton. Anthony discussed the abuse he regularly receives from members of the gay community who claim he has “set the gay cause back 25 years”. I’m ashamed to admit, this was an opinion I had shared until recently. As somebody who has always been flamboyant, I am no stranger to internalised homophobia. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realised that my disdain towards flamboyancy in the media was actually a projection of my own self-hate.

Anthony touched upon this when I questioned him on the issue of homophobia within the gay community. His answer was eloquent and heartrending, yet at the same time encouraging, particularly for somebody like myself. He mentioned that he had never featured on the front cover of a gay glossy, which instead tend to favour “naked straight men with boxing gloves in front of their willies”. These in turn become the role models for younger gay men, meaning the character of Sean becomes less aspirational. Couple this with people’s inability to distinguish between fiction and real life, and it becomes pretty clear to see that Anthony has suffered. Nevertheless, Anthony spoke of his achievements and the importance of representing every part of the spectrum, and it turned out to be one of the most poignant moments of the evening.

Tony Warren

From the moment Tony Warren entered the stage a sense of admiration and respect could be felt across the entire room. You could hear a pin drop when he spoke, and the same Tony Warren who refused to come down from the filing cabinet at Granada was clearly still present, albeit older and wiser.

Tony discussed a story conference in the early days at which he stood up to speak against anti-gay language being used by saying, “Without a poof, none of you would be in work this morning!” When his colleagues responded by saying it wasn’t directed at him, he simply said, “Call my brothers, and you call me.” It was a stark reminder of how difficult it must have been for somebody like Warren in those days, and brought the earlier discussion about internalised homophobia back into the forefront of my mind. How have we gotten to the point where we are attacking each other when people such as Tony faced daily battles simply to exist in society?

In response to a fan question about Coronation Street’s perceived ‘lateness’ when it came to representing the gay community, Tony mentioned that there were underlying fears that advertisers may have pulled out had Coronation Street introduced a gay character any sooner. Never one to leave the tone too serious, he then joked that we had come a long way since then as the current sponsorship seems to feature two gay meerkats raising a baby together. The audience was left in stitches.

Given that Coronation Street has pretty much dominated my entire life, this event was a dream come true; after all, it gave me the chance to publicly fangirl over my favourite writers, members of the cast and Tony himself. But the event also raised several important issues on the historical struggles faced by the LGBT community, as well as the rather different struggles faced by people such as Anthony today.

Thanks to Damon Rochefort for putting together such a wonderful event, and thanks to Tony Warren for making my dreams come true by posing for a photograph with me at the end. It was most definitely an evening I will never forget.

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