Friday 31 October 2014

Corrie Canada Sneak Previews for Nov. 3 - 7

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

As Tracy and Rob's wedding approaches, Carla finds out a shocking truth. Michael has a hospital appointment and takes Eileen for moral support. Has Michael had bad news? David and Kylie then get the wrong end of the stick. Cilla makes to leave town but Sinead knows her secret. Michelle worries that Steve has gone off her. Gary and Alya promise to take things slowly. 

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Pics: Coronation Street - Horrible Hallowe'en 2014

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

It's Hallowe'en, and time to give these fabulous archive pictures another airing for our Coronation Street horrible Hallowe'en blog post.  All the pictures below are from the Hallowe'en episode in 2003 when Fred Elliot threw a Hallowe'en party in the Rovers Return.

The episode aired on Friday 31st October 2003 and was written by Daran Little.

One of the great lines in the episode came from Jack Duckworth: "You've heard of the Bride of Frankenstein? Well I'm the husband of Vera Duckworth."

You can read the 2003 Hallowe'en episode synopsis on Wikipedia.

You might also like to read our Top 5 Coronation Street Hallowe'en Howlers

How many of the Corrie characters from the pictures below, taken 10 years ago, can you remember?

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Fab Photo Friday Steve and Becky

(This post was originally posted by Sunny Jim on the Coronation Street Blog October 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. With Steve McDonald down in the dumps and with things not looking up anytime soon, here's a picture of him looking alot happier.

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Thursday 30 October 2014

Telling it like it is

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

I think it's a brilliant move to give Steve McDonald a more serious, challenging storyline to play out. Simon Gregson has mainly been playing comedy of late and although he is a gifted comic actor I think tackling the issue of depression will really give him something to get his acting chops around.

Depression is frequently discussed on television these days and quite right too. I know Coronation Street will handle this topic sensitively and much research will be done by all concerned. I also think it's a very good idea to turn the spotlight on depression in men, particularly those of Steve's age. 

On the face of it Steve is very successful and you might wonder why he could ever be depressed. He is in a longterm relationship, has a daughter he loves dearly, friends who care about him and two successful businesses. In many ways, these facts make Steve the ideal candidate for this storyline.

Having read a little about this in the press, it would seem the story will focus on Steve's feelings that he has been a failure, particularly in relation to the Peter Barlow business and the lead up to Tina's death. While it will be interesting to explore this, I hope they will also tackle some issues much closer to home.

I've made it clear in the past that I'm not keen on Michelle. She's unsympathetic and sometimes down right unlikeable. Stuart Blackburn describes Steve and Michelle as a love story but I really don't buy into that idea. While support from Michelle and Liz will ultimately play a big part in helping Steve, I hope this storyline also includes Liz and Michelle taking a good look at the way they treat him. 

I've been very uncomfortable in the past with how Liz and Michelle in particular belittle and undermine Steve. The storyline which saw Steve return to education is the best example of this. Instead of supporting his efforts to return to further education (no mean feat as I know only too well), both partner and mother mocked him and showed little faith that he would go the distance. Sadly this story was really only a plot device to introduce Andrea as I'd really like to have seen more of Steve's journey through education. 

The depression storyline, if tackled appropriately, should affect those close to Steve as well as the man himself. If Michelle and Liz are not made to identify themselves as part of the problem, this Corrie viewer will not be best pleased. I look forward to seeing how this brave new story for Steve plays out over the coming months. 

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Coronation Street pumpkins on the Halloween Corrie Tour

Corrie characters from soapland past have been carved in to pumpkins by artist, Stephen Giles, and will be on display at Coronation Street The Tour (at Granada TV in Manchester) up until October 31st as part of the attraction's Halloween celebrations. 

Coronation Street The Tour has recent been granted planning permission to carrying on welcoming visitors into 2015. Tickets to the tour can be booked at

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Conversation Street podcast 119

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

The podcast is early this week because Michael and Gemma were busy over the weekend and recorded this week's to cover just three episodes. Next week they'll catch up the rest of this week and all next week. Peter's verdict came in and Jim McDonald finally realized he'd burned all his bridges with his family. Kylie's still dabbling in drugs but her hidden stash was nearly found. Cilla returned. Now what does she want? Cilla is the focus of the character profile, too.

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Wednesday 29 October 2014

A pregnant pause

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

There will be some noticeable absences in Weatherfield over the coming months. Actresses Jennie McAlpine, Catherine Tyldesley and Paula Lane will all be temporarily leaving their roles when they go off on maternity leave.

Lovely news for all three although it does mean the viewers face a few months of bumps being hidden by bulky coats, big cushions and other unconvincing props. Perhaps we can all play a game of spot the baby bump?

Of the three, I think I will miss Eva the most. She has really come into her own following the departures of Stella and Gloria and I love her character, particularly now she is teamed up with Jason. It has been good to see her standing by her mate Kylie in recent episodes too, they make a good double act. 

The question is, how will Eva, Fiz and Kylie depart? I think we can be sure that Cilla's arrival back in Weatherfield will have something to do with Fiz's temporary exit. Who knows what the mother from hell will get up to during her return stint. I have mixed feelings about seeing Cilla again. She was part of some very funny moments when she first appeared but she really was just too outlandish and over the top by the end. I wouldn't mind seeing her mate Yana again though, I loved her! 

Kylie's exit also seems set to involve her deeply dubious ex, Callum and her spiralling drug habit. I might be a bit critical, but it feels like Kylie's drug problem has come from nowhere. I don't recall it being mentioned before (although I may be wrong). 

Paula Lane is a cracking actress but all this yo yoing back and forth from good to bad is doing my head in. It all feels very "plot device" to allow an exit, much like Tina's unconvincing affair with Peter Barlow. Anyway, whatever happens we can rest assured it will involve more heartache and misery for the Platts. 

Finally, back to the lovely Eva. I have no clue how she will leave the cobbles, she seems content with her life at the moment on screen so there will need to be an almighty shift to break that up. I wonder whether her involvement in all things dodgy chez Grimshaw will play a part? She seems quite fond of Todd and Tony despite their wrongdoings, so who knows where that could take them all? I hope Eva's brief exit will not mean the end of her relationship with Jason as of all the Corrie couples at the moment, they are one of my favourites.

So how do you see these three Corrie characters departing in the weeks and months ahead? 

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Tuesday 28 October 2014

Jennie McAlpine's tasty treats at Daisy Nook

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

Coronation Street's Jennie McAlpine’s Manchester restaurant and tea rooms, Annie's, has won many accolades and awards since it opened two years ago.  More recently she and partner Chris Farr have expanded the business to sell their own made range of pickles and preserves through the restaurant and at specialist food markets.

Now they’ve teamed up with Oldham’s leading family-run garden centre, Daisy Nook, to offer their products direct to the public - the first time the range will be available through another retailer.

“It’s a perfect partnership,” explained Jennie.  “Both businesses are family run and share a common ethos of promoting local products that are superb quality.”

Jennie and her real family will be launching the range, called Annie's Tea Shop, at the garden centre’s Christmas preview evening on Wednesday 29 October between 6.30pm and 9pm.

“We’ll be letting people try some of the jams and chutneys for themselves – I’ll be happy to sign any of the purchases – and there’s a 10% discount for the night!” said the actress who is expecting her first child in November.

The Daisy Nook Christmas Preview Evening sees the unveiling of the store’s royal themed Christmas displays.  As well as Jennie’s appearance, Gary’s Feathered Friends will be giving shoppers the chance to meet their owls and birds of prey – and there’s 10% off just about everything in store for the evening.  Doors open at 6.30pm.

Find out more at

(I've been to Daisy Nook Garden Centre and it's well worth a visit. They have a Corrie exhibit as well as Corrie items for sale)

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Coronation Street set tours to continue

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

It has been announced today that the Coronation Street set tours will remain open into 2015. We have previously reported that the site will be demolished next year but I guess that this announcement means that dates on that are still quite fluid.

The site will close for a short period in November allowing operator Continuum to transform Weatherfield into a winter wonderland, complete with snow covered roof tops, a stunning Christmas tree on the cobbles, Christmas carols and other festive treats and surprises.

In 2015 there will also be some new additions, both in the studio exhibition with set elements brought over from Coronation Street’s new home in Media City, and out on the Street itself with areas opened up to the public for the first time.

Juliana Delaney, Chief Executive of Continuum Leading Attractions said:

“I am thrilled to announce we have been able to extend the opening of the attraction. The feedback we have received so far has been phenomenal and I’m so pleased those who have yet to experience the tour will now have the chance to.

The extension paves the way for us to make some exciting changes to the attraction and give past and present visitors a chance to see something new.”

The set opened to the public in April 2014 for a limited period of six months before development of the site was to take place. Although the tour will remain open longer, it will eventually close to make way for a cultural quarter, hotels and residential development by Allied London.

Tickets post October 31st will go on sale from 12noon on Monday 20th October and can be purchased from Dates on the ticket site are booked into March 2015 as of now.  

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Monday 27 October 2014

Corrie Canada Weekly Awards for Oct. 20 - 24

Ringo Starr award: Todd. (Eileen "You could always form a band and call it Feckless!") Moving Houses award: I understand Carla packing up her stuff to move out of Peter's flat, but it looked like she even took some of the furniture!

Queen Bee award: Rita. Well, she is, isn't she? :)

Pride award: Neither Tony nor Liz wants to be the first to give in.

Fashion Win: I know her coat is covering a baby bump but I loved Eva's short red jacket!

Simile award: Ken likened Norris to a circling vulture.

Musical ambience: "That's the Way I Like It" when Liz is talkng to Eva about Tony.

Reasonable Doubt award: Going on the evidence we've heard, especially some of the big loopholes, If I was on the jury, I'd say there's reasonable doubt.

Lock Down award: We now know there's an exterior door to the flat yet the lads broke in through the cafe and it didn't look like there was any damage in the cafe when Anna got there, just in the flat. I hope Jason changed the locks on the other door, too.

Fashion Fail: Liz running off to the shop in her bedroom slippers? Eileen, yes, Liz, never!

Lines of the week:
Carla "Who needs Alton Towers when you've got the cemetery."
Leanne to Norris "You're giving evidence in a murder trial, not topping the bill at the Bradford Alhambra"
Rob "His son's on trial for murder" Tracy "Been there.. got the tshirt" Rob "What happens in this trial is going to change all of our lives forever"
David to Kylie "I've seen zombies with more life in them than you!"
Simon "Why are so many adults rubbish?" (And my heart breaks for him again)
Leanne on how Peter attacked Nick "With a metal bar" Tracy "Well, we've all done it" (Bwahahahaha!)
Eva "Please tell me you're sleep walking"
Tony "I'll have the usual" Eileen "And then he'll order a drink"
Tony "I'm an open book" Eva "Yeah, an open book full of tall stories"

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Sunday 26 October 2014

Sunday Comments October 26

The trial begins. Even Norris and Mary are witnesses and they've stocked up for a long day in court with enough food and snacks for an army. Steve is a bag of nerves. Roy is rock steady and even manages to score a point. When he's called a trainspotter then questioned on how he could have noted Peter's emotional state so well after only a brief moment, he says that trainspotting has given him a keen eye for detail. Take that! Norris is going to put on his best performance which he feels would reflect him personally and was thoroughly disgusted that he didn't get to testify after all.

But first, Leanne had to admit Peter could be violent, attacking Nick with a crowbar (that time in the wrecked restaurant when he found out Nick had lured him to drinking on purpose). Poor Steve. His nerves were shot before he even got on the stand. Nothing he said came out right and what he did say came out very, very wrong and the state he's been in lately, it's just one more nail.

Then it's Carla's turn and Peter doesn't want the solicitors to give her a hard time even though he figures Carla's testimony is going to hang him out to dry. The big thing is, why would Peter tell Carla he had the affair if he'd killed Tina, therefore Carla would never have to know. A good point that the defence made. And she told them what Peter said in hospital and it all convinced her that he wasn't guilty. It might be reasonable doubt. Maybe. But Peter has to testify yet.

He started off fairly cool. Just the right amount of humility, honesty and clarity. But was it going to last through the cross examination? He started getting flustered and seemed to twist his own words around. The prosecution was very good. The evidence is damning. The only piece of evidence that was wrong was his fingerprints on the bracelet *after* Deirdre had washed it but nobody would have known that except her. The defence patched things up and Peter was sincere. The summing up was also good pointing out whatever holes there were in the situation. Another good point about no blood on Peter's clothing or the missing charm. Going on the evidence we've heard, I would suggest there is reasonable doubt. We'll find out soon enough.

Rob managed to wiggle out of attending the trial on day one and got collared with looking after Simon instead. Simon actually had a scene where he really acted his age, 12 going on 13 but it didn't last. Simon who is grieving for Tina and gets Rob to take him to the cemetery where he's curled up on the ground crying (in a voice that's clearly starting to change!) and then later launches himself in Rob's arms (and his head reaches Rob's chin now!) and blames his father.

Rob can't stand it and insists that Peter didn't kill Tina but of course he's not going to say who really did it, is he? Carla was furious he took him there. Later, Simon told Leanne and Ken that Rob told him that Peter was innocent and they looked surprised and worried. Why? Wouldn't you tell a child that too, even if you weren't sure? Rob of course, is very sure. But they worry that it will crush Simon if Peter is convicted, I suppose. Rob was furious at Carla's testimony and you know why, because it adds pressure on him because it's making Carla more suspicious of him.

Rob is backpedalling and doesn't want Carla there to remind the jury of what she said because he doesn't want Peter to get off.

Looks like Jim is making use of that mobile phone he seemed to have had for ages probably. Only now that Liz has brushed him off, he's decided to risk using it.

Kylie is all empty promises. She'll be a better wife and mother and she won't keep taking off to parts unknown. She's saying this while in a very clear drug-hangover and yep, ends up back at the pub looking for another pick me up from Callum though she paid for it this time.

Audrey is having a minor confidence crisis. That little fender bender must have been a bit worse than it seems. Luke spotted the problem and he's charming enough to win Audrey over into a confidence building drive out into the country. Audrey came back extolling Luke's virtues like a love struct 17 year old.

Eva's getting tired of Todd underfoot and finds him a job looking after Barlows Buys during the trial and later, while Rob and Tracy will be on honeymoon. Eileen didn't seem to care that Todd had a job. Liz is busy hoping to ignore the non-existant texts Tony isn't sending. And both of them are as proud and stubborn as each other, stealing looks across the bar, telling people the same complaints about each other. This isn't over.

Tyrone and Fiz have remembered it is soon the anniversary of when Roy and Hayley went to Blackpool and it's bound to be on Roy's mind. And getting mail addressed to both of them doesn't help. That always feels like a kick to the gut. He's really struggling trying to find his way without her. Off to the seaside to scatter Hayley's ashes and though he had a memorial paddle in the water, he couldn't let go. Lovely little bit with the older couple still so happy together but it brought Roy down with a crash.

On top of that, he came home to find his flat broken into and trashed. Never mind that Anna was only gone 15 minutes to get change, how did they manage to do that much damage in 15 minutes? The feeling of being invaded is even more painful to Roy who was in a bad state to begin with.

Here's something else about Roy's break-in. We now know there's an exterior door to the flat yet the lads broke in through the cafe and it didn't look like there was any damage in the cafe when Anna got there, just in the flat. I hope Jason changed the locks on the other door, too.

Carla's moving into her own flat. Why she's boxing up Simon's things as well is a mystery. There are two or three thuggy looking blokes in the cafe today, with Anna mentioning that they've been loitering. And later they were hanging around on the street watching the place. This doesn't bode well, methinks.

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Saturday 25 October 2014

Is size everything on the Street?

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

You get a lot more for your money down Weatherfield way these days. It's reassuring to know that we could navigate a couple of cruise ships down the centre of the Street and that the Rovers accommodation potential exceeds that of the Shard. A bigger space therefore demands to be filled and to that end, we seem to have cast members squeezing out from between the cobbles at an alarming rate.

How would Corrie fare though if the cast suddenly had to be reduced to 1960s levels? Which of the characters would you deem 'essential' and which would you relegate to a 'supporting' status? It's a difficult concept given that you have to have the right kind of mix for the programme to work. Think of it as being a soap opera version of Fantasy Football!

Any reduced Corrie cast would have to feature Ken and Deirdre. Ken for historical reasons and Deirdre for hysterical ones. She is priceless and as the years go by, Deirdre is morphing into something quite wonderful.

The Rovers is the cornerstone of the Street and probably wouldn't be much cop without Liz and Steve at the helm. Would we miss Michelle? Possibly not. She's never really been popular and it's probably too late to start softening her character now. Ditto Tracy luv.

There traditionally has to be an Alpha male or even Alpha female in residence and therefore Carla would escape any cast cull. Alison King is always a joy to watch and the multi-layered Carla would be too good to lose.

Couples have always been a feature of life on't Street so it would be 'yes' to Sally and Tim. Joe Duttine continues to shine as hapless but not hopeless Tim and is the perfect foil for Sally and her Mrs Bucket moments. We would also keep Jason and Eva. Again, this feels like a very 'right' pairing. Jason has matured nicely and Eva's dippy but not in a 'Raquel' way.

Kirk and Beth are Corrie gold too. Kirky is dependable and Beth's scattergun approach to life is refreshing at times. She's the new Millennium Vera Duckworth.

Although they are not a couple, Luke and Steph Britton have settled into Street life nicely. Steph, although prominent, hasn't been foisted on viewers in the alarming way that Michelle, Becky and later Tina were. Luke seems like a decent bloke and at the moment there are no signs that he is going to start bashing people around the head with a spanner.

One of the best characters in the show of late is Julie Carp. As I may have droned on before, Julie ought to be front and centre in the Corner Shop. Her personality is ideal for that arena and she would probably suit a designer tabard.

That's a total of fourteen cast places filled. To round it up to sixteen, let's add Roy and Tyrone. Of these two, Tyrone has gone off the boil recently with some odd bordering on bad judgement calls in his battle with Jason. As for Roy, well he always makes for interesting if not always comfortable viewing but we love him to bits - so he stays.

Who gets left out? The list is long and worrying. I've not included any of the Tilsley/Platts. Todd and Eileen, Dev, Mary, Rita, Norris, Emily, Sean, the whole Nazir clan, assorted Windasses, half the inhabitants of number five, Fiz, Leanne. Madness! Would it be even feasible to reduce these characters to 'supporting' status or even have a version of the Street that focuses on a core cast of sixteen characters?

There's your task. If you were asked to trim the cast list, who would stay and who would be ordering a taxi from Street Cars?

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Conversation Street podcast 118

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

Peter's trial was held this week with some interesting testimony. Steve stuffs up, Carla plays a blinder and Peter pours out his heart. Roy goes to Blackpool and Luke impresses Audrey. Terry Duckworth is this week's character profile.

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Friday 24 October 2014

The Guilt of Rob Donovan

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

We all know Peter is innocent of Tina's murder and we all know he's guilty of a lot of other things, bad judgement being the worst thing. He's been on trial this week for murder. The question is whether the evidence was enough to convict beyond a reasonable doubt or not. This is a soap and the innocent don't usually get convicted unless their freedom will shortly be given to them once the real culprit, Rob Donovan, is revealed.

I have no idea what the verdict will be. The spoilers are vague and give nothing away so far so as I write this, I'm in the dark as much as you all are. We know Rob is the real villain of the piece and we know he's bricking it. If Peter gets set free, there will be more scrutiny into the case. The pressure on him will mount.

I do like that the defence brought up the fact that the prosecution accused Peter of hiding the bloody bracelet in the outdoor loo, (which is accessible to anyone) but that the murder weapon has not been found and if he'd been hiding it under his jacket, why was there no trace of blood on his clothing? Excellent point. We know Deirdre washed the bracelet after the dog found it so any further prints on it shouldn't be admissible in evidence but Deirdre hasn't given that testimony nor must she have mentioned it in a statement. It probably didn't even occur to her. If Peter is set free, and the prosecution re-focuses on Number 1, who else lives there? One convicted (and released) murderer. Check. Another who's been in prison for robbery. Check. And one more who's been convicted and freed from fraud charges. Check. There's a lot of "previous" there and Rob knows it.

What will happen? There's a 50/50 chance Peter will be convicted or set free but then what? Rob's near-violent reaction to Carla's testimony that showed Peter in a more favourable light has raised a few alarms in her opinion, I think. I believe she will figure it out or find out somehow. If Peter is convicted, Carla would not want an innocent man to go down for a murder he didn't commit, even if she has finished with him. Rob would no doubt try to convince her to keep quiet and play the family guilt card but I don't think she'd hold out. Therefore, I'm going out on a limb and speculating that Peter won't be convicted. When Carla then finds out, there might be more of a chance she won't go to the police, not straight away. I think she'll try to persuade Rob to turn himself in but of course, he won't.

What I'd really like to have happen, and this is probably wishful thinking, is that Carla stands up at Rob and Tracy's wedding and outs him as the killer and Tracy's fairytale day will be ruined. I may be asking too much, here! I do think it's safe to say that if the wedding does happen, the marriage will not be all that much longer than hers to Steve which only lasted a few hours.

Rob will go down for it, it's a matter of how and when. I think the wedding will be the day it all happens but I don't really know if Carla will out Rob or if the pressure that Carla puts on him makes him admit it to Tracy himself or if Tracy will connect the dots as well. Maybe she will and then dump him at the altar? (Isn't speculation fun?) What do you think? How will Rob get nicked?

It's a shame we're losing Marc Bayliss. I have enjoyed his portrayal of Rob and I've really liked the brother-sister dynamic they've built with Rob and Carla.

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Fab Photo Albert and Minnie

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

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. What the Street is really missing these days is an old curmudgeon and a dotty pensioner. Here are my favourite ones, Albert Tatlock and the marvellous Minnie Caldwell.

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Thursday 23 October 2014

Corrie Canada sneak previews for Oct. 27 - 31

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

Peter's verdict is given. Is he guilty or innocent? Roy is a bundle of nerves. Cilla arrives. What's her real motive for showing up? Jim hopes for a reconciliation but Steve punishes his father for using him to get to Liz. Liz and Tony are the ones that reconcile. Michelle notices Steve is distracted but makes it about her. Owen has bad news. Kylie continues her slide. Callum has a request. The community centre opens.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Coronation Street Blog interview with Paula Lane

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

Kylie’s not having it easy at the moment. Struggling to cope with the stresses of both parenthood and working life, and with things getting steadily worse, it doesn’t bode well for her over the coming months. 

I travelled to ITV in Manchester to hear Paula Lane reveal more about the drama to come. 

A character such as Kylie is often marked out for strong storylines, a fact which Paula finds very flattering as an actress. Kylie has had some tough times on the street, and this will be her third Christmas with a big story, and on a downward spiral. This, Paula reveals, will be the darkest place Kylie has found herself yet, and while the street has proven redemptive terrain for her, there are just too many demons in her old neighbourhood.

Struggling to come to terms with Max’s diagnosis with ADHD, Kylie visits his biological father Callum to see if his condition is genetic. While she feels guilty about her own actions during her early days as a mother, she does wonder if he has inherited something from his father. Desperately wishing to cling to the life she has made for herself with David, her remorse becomes twofold as she feels guilty on returning home after meeting Callum. David notices a big change in her as she proves grumpy and agitated with a short fuse, but he puts it down to tiredness.

Callum disappeared shortly after Max was born, and when Kylie returns, he doesn’t initially show any interest in his son. This soon changes however, much to Kylie’s unease. In any event, she doesn’t get the answers she wants from her ex, a cocky, arrogant drug dealer who thinks Max would do well to take after him.

While Kylie’s reasons for seeking out Callum are just, Paula acknowledges that there is something deep down that leads her to him for less honourable reasons, even though she continues to convince herself that it’s all for Max.

Paula explains how David takes to locking Max’s medication away after he discovers Kylie taking it, and her former drug addiction sees her turn to speed as an alternative. Kylie knows Callum can supply her, which he does, but not without toying with her in the process.

While their relationship is hostile, Paula assures us that the chemistry between Kylie and Callum is “electric”. It helps that there is a great dynamic between herself and newcomer Sean Ward who she describes as “fabulous”, and is certain will add “flavour to the street”. And while Kylie doesn’t necessarily fancy Callum, he has a charm about him that makes her feel excited, and she gets a kick out of being with him again.

One might wonder why, having made such progress in her life, Kylie must regress yet again. Paula puts this down to Kylie always carrying the fear that the mistakes she made with Max early on will have affected him, thus making her vulnerable, and she feels judged by others on the street who may see her as responsible for Max’s behaviour.

It is crucial for Paula that Kylie remains sympathetic, and she considers this, together with her feelings of inferiority, to be the crux of the character. “If all her creases were ironed out”, observes Paula, “I don’t know if there’d be much drama left in her”. It’s important to her that Kylie isn’t portrayed as one dimensional, and she observes, “I haven’t wanted her to enjoy going back to speed, it’s a real test for her.”

The research conducted around both drug addiction and ADHD makes Paula feel well supported. With regard to the former, Paula relies on a combination of instinct, how Kylie’s story is written, and the advice of a recovering addict to inform her performance. With regard to the ADHD aspect, while she has experienced people saying Max has never shown signs of this behaviour before, and it’s purely for the storyline, on the whole a lot of parents have said thank you for addressing it and portraying it, as it reflects their feelings and experience.

Preparing for motherhood herself, Paula reveals that her pregnancy hasn’t posed many problems with regard to filming, with helpful disguises including well placed handbags, fruit bowls and teapots. “To be pregnant accomplishing something feels really successful, and I’ve had a kick out of it and felt like I’ve gone on this journey with my little pal” she explains, “It’s never felt like work”. Paula’s impressions of Kylie as a mother are that “She tries her best and shouldn’t be so hard on herself. She’s a tortured soul whose heart is in the right place”.

With her baby due in December, Paula will finish filming in the first week of November; perfect timing for a Christmas exit. While the storyline was already in the pipeline, her departure facilitated taking it in a different direction, resulting in a traumatic exit. Paula considers it strange to get a taste of what it would be like to leave the street, albeit temporarily, as she plans to be back on the cobbles in March.

She feels very privileged to be in Corrie, and acting is a big passion for her. She’d love at some point to tread the boards at the Royal Exchange, perform in a fresh drama that hasn’t been done before, or try her hand at sci-fi or a part in Doctor Who.

Paula very much values her privacy, and doesn’t subscribe to the celebrity lifestyle confirming, “It’s a conscious decision and something I've been very happy with and won’t change”. She finds fulfillment in people noticing her for doing her job and not for something else, observing “That is the biggest kick that I can get out of it. It’s worth a thousand magazine deals”. She is clearly passionate about acting and values her job immensely. While Kylie shares her feistiness, Paula is very sensitive and could never have fights like Kylie does. “I like to think I've brought a bit of myself to the role” she explains, “but the rest I've pulled out of thin air really”.

I asked Paula what her one wish for Kylie would be: “Just to be happy and safe in the knowledge that you’re okay, and people make mistakes, and she doesn't always have to go off the rails.” Here's hoping she will emerge from her darkest hour having learned her greatest lesson.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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Coronation Street Blog interview with Wendi Peters

(This post was originally posted by Emma Hynes on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2014.)

Whether departing soap characters disappear into the night gazing longingly from the rear window of a cab, or are despatched in more dramatic circumstances, the extent of their legendary status is only really felt through the passing of time, and I think it’s safe to say that Cilla Battersby-Brown has firmly etched her legacy into the annals. In some ways it’s hard to believe she has been away from the street almost twice as long as she spent causing havoc on it. I caught up with Wendi Peters at ITV in Manchester to chat about her infamous character’s return to the cobbles.

Wendi herself is surprised at Cilla’s iconic status considering she was only there for four years, putting it down to a combination of her storylines and her bold, brash nature. But what has Cilla back after seven years, and where has she been?

Despite her departure for Las Vegas, and later move to South Africa, Wendi reveals that Cilla has been living of late in slightly less exotic Wolverhampton. “That did make me giggle” says Wendi on learning the news.

She reveals that Chesney and Fiz are skeptical of Cilla's reason for returning and are right to assume that there’s an ulterior motive, as Cilla is harbouring a secret. “She’s Cilla. She’s not back just to say hello,” observes Wendi, “there always has to be a reason.” However, her children don’t ask, accustomed as they are to being lied to. 

Wendi reveals that the only person who really takes to her that doesn’t know her of old is Sinead who tries to persuade Chesney to give her a chance. Describing him as Cilla’s “blue eyed boy”, Wendi notes that, by extension, his son becomes the apple of her eye. “On her first sighting of Joseph, she’s absolutely thrilled” she reveals, “she thinks he’s very bonny and takes after his Nana.”

However, while Fiz isn’t exactly happy to see her, “Chesney is the one that really knocks her for six as he’s so hostile towards her” reveals Wendi who confirms that Cilla gets a “huge shock” when it becomes apparent that “they can’t wait to get rid of her.”

It’s clear therefore that Cilla’s return is going to be far from prodigal.

Much has naturally been made of potential clashes and comparisons with Beth Tinker. “All I’ve been getting Twitter-wise is ‘we can’t wait to see the arguments and the fights with Beth’” observes Wendi. “It’s an odd one this. You have to say we’re the typical strong Corrie women and I suppose there’s a slight resemblance.” However, Wendi anticipates that interactions between the two might offer “a bit of a twist on what people are expecting.”

So how did Wendi feel when she learned they wanted to bring Cilla back? “It was a complete shock” she reveals, “I’d put it to bed really, I’d moved on. It was something I’d never really considered. It’s lovely just to come back for a short break to find out where she’s been and what she’s up to, and to have the purpose of getting Jennie out for her maternity leave. The fact that my daughter’s properly having a baby, it’s so lovely to come back and see her go out”.

With regard to her preparations for playing the part after 7 years away Wendi reveals “I’d obviously learned my lines at home but I didn’t read them out with anybody, so the first time she actually spoke was when I walked on set and said ‘Well aren’t you pleased to see me?’ It’s really weird, because I feel like I’m in full swing again, it’s like riding a bike.”

While Cilla's loud personality has traditionally been matched by her wardrobe, viewers can anticipate a change in this regard. “She’s gone a bit more upmarket this time” Wendi reveals, explaining how she was anxious to tone Cilla down. “Although she still has the essence of Cilla, she’s never going to change,” she notes, “we did want to bring her a little bit back down to earth. She’s still got the gold jewellery which I’ve picked out of my loft; I have a Cilla box in which I put a few scripts, my last continuity photos, her jewellery and a little hat from the last scene.”

Wendi’s preparations also included watching Cilla’s last week of episodes, but she regretted doing this, disliking bits of both the character and the way she played her. I asked Wendi if that contributed to her decision to tone Cilla down. “Before I even watched that I wanted to tone her down slightly” she confirmed. “She’s 7 years older, she’s nearly 50. I loved playing her, but I just felt we needed to find a little bit more reality in her. I felt over the 4 years she’d maybe gotten a bit too much at certain times.”

Wendi describes her nerves on returning as being like the first day at school, revealing, “It wasn’t until I’d got about 2 or 3 scenes under my belt that I relaxed and thought this is going to be okay now".

With regard to whether or not she resembles Cilla in any way, Wendi observes “I think there always has to be a bit of you in a character you play. I’m very impatient, I’m a bit of a control freak, and I’d like to think a much nicer version of Cilla.”

Wendi has no idea if Cilla will return again after this 6 weeks, but isn’t closed to the idea. “Never say never” she observes, "for me it’s very much dependent on what they come up with, the way it’s going to go, and how she’s going to be” as well as what’s going on in her own life at the time. For now though, it's clear that an intriguing few weeks lie ahead as far as her return is concerned.

Wendi is a true breath of fresh air, and the enthusiasm with which she talks about her character, her love of theatre and the life she has carved for herself, filled with all the things about which she is passionate, is an inspiration.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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Wednesday 22 October 2014

Our final visit to the old Coronation Street set

Yesterday, blogger Sunny Jim (my husband) and I set the alarm clock for 5am (yes! 5 flaming ay-em!) for a very special day out. We were going on our final visit to the old Coronation Street set.  Now then, we live in the north-east, on the other side of the Pennines and what feels like a million miles away from Manchester, hence the early start. Armed with butties, off we set on the charra with a coach load of other early risers, all Coronation Street fans. And here we are, on the coach, on our way to Weatherfield via Manchester on the M62...

Now then. This is where I lay my cards on the table. Sunny Jim and I have been to the old Coronation Street set a few times before. We've been six times before, and two of those times we were very lucky indeed to have been on VIP guided tours while the set was closed to the public. I have also worked in the Granada TV building when I was invited into the Corrie press office to work on a book when I was a mature student in journalism.  But even though I knew that Granada TV no longer filmed there, or used the office block next to the old studio set, it still came as something of a sad shock to the system to find the Granada TV building unused and unloved.

Granada TV building as it is now (left) and as it once was (right).
However, even more of a surprise was finding the blue plaques dedicated to Coronation Street actors from the past still attached to the walls of the old Granada TV building entrance.

Our tickets to the Coronation Street tour were for the 11.50am tour.  We had approx. 20 minutes to wait so we wandered around the old site until our tour time was called. The workplace for Coronation Street cast and crew for decades is now a tourist attraction. And one we were happy to pay for and to experience as true, full-on Coronation Street fans. One of the many joys of the day was that we were with hundreds of other fans on that day, with each tour group accommodating what appeared to be around 20 people at a time.  Our tour guide was called Andrew, a really nice guy who kept us all entertained.

Photographs aren't allow inside what was Studio 1, so I have none of those to share here on the Coronation Street Blog. If you go on the Coronation Street tour (and I do hope you do...) you will see some of the old sets used for filming, some costumes, have a tour of where wardrobe was, where the green room was, and you're shown a film of highlights from over 50 years of Coronation Street.  It's all good stuff. We even got to see the inside of Martha Frasier's barge, a set I'd never seen before on Coronation Street, as well as Rita's latest wedding dress and Hayley's coffin.

If you want to, you can have your photograph taken behind the bar of the Rovers Return.  Then, with a flourish and the Corrie theme playing, we were ushered out onto the cobbles where you're free to walk around and take as many photos as you like. 

There's a cafe and a shop where you can buy Corrie merchandise and I even spotted posters advertising my book A Perfect Duet, the story of Roy and Hayley Cropper.

It was great, it really was and I recommend the Coronation Street Tour to every Corrie fan. I wanted to see it one last time before it gets demolished, as it surely will.  It might not be this month or this year but it will go, some time, and I wanted to see it before it went.

As a Coronation Street fan, the set has special memories for me. It has special memories for all Corrie fans and I urge you to visit, to see it one last time, before it goes.  Taking in those memories again brought a mixture of feelings - both happy and sad, to be honest. I felt the weight of history and the culture of Corrie when walking down the corridor that had the stars' dressing rooms on it, but clearly we weren't meant to linger there. I wanted to soak the history in, to breathe in that history and I did get goosebumps at that moment. But it was over too soon, we were ushered into what had been the wardrobe room.  The tour is great - and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

The set that once was a working home of the best television programme in the world is now a tourist attraction. That's good of course, but the magic has gone, for this fan. The magic now is now being made over at Media City. And that's as it should be.

Yesterday was a farewell to an old friend - and one that changed my life.  As we walked out of the tour the friendly tour guides gave us a cheery goodbye and thanked us for coming. I smiled and nodded but I couldn't say thank you back to them. I couldn't speak at all for fear or breaking into tears. 

Sunny Jim and I walked in silence from the old set to the canals in Castlefield, where Corrie has filmed some of its scenes in the past. We walked..  and then we talked and then we went and had lunch and raised a glass to Corrie's glorious past - and to its future.

See also:
Our blogger Ruth visits the old Coronation Street set
Our blogger Emma visits the old Coronation Street set
Our blogger Tvor visits the old Coronation Street set
Our blogger Llifon visits the old Coronation Street set

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Where have you seen Weatherfield Crown Court before?

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

The rather splendid looking building used last night in Coronation Street as the outside of Weatherfield Crown Court was the lovely Manchester Victoria baths.

However, Weatherfield Crown Court's exterior has changed over the years. It was once filmed at St George's Hall, Liverpool, in 2009  (says Paul Lanagan @corrieart on twitter)

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Corrie Canada Spoilers

We do this every now and then. This is generally a spoiler free blog for Canadian Coronation Street fans. On occasion we'll break a big spoiler if it's all over the Canadian news, like the tram crash of 2010 was. Any spoilers in articles we repost from the Coronation Street Blog are either edited if possible or you are warned.

Now and then we post links to upcoming spoilers with just the character name in case you do want to follow the link to see what's coming up. The link itself may have a spoiler in it so if you don't want to know, don't hover your mouse over the character links. With that in mind, here are a few for your perusal, should you wish:

Returning Character

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Tuesday 21 October 2014

Corrie scoop three gongs at Inside Soap Awards 2014

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

The winners of the Inside Soap Awards 2014 were announced last night at a glitzy ceremony in London.

Coronation Street won three awards, as follows:

Best Bad Boy
Marc Baylis (Rob Donovan, Corrie) - WINNER

Best Bitch
Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow, Corrie) - WINNER

Funniest Male
Simon Gregson (Steve McDonald, Corrie) - WINNER

Best soap went to EastEnders.  Full list of winners here.

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