Thursday 30 April 2015

Macca the Corrie henchman - hard as nails?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Did anyone else spot the nails on Callum's henchman last night on Coronation Street?

It was a blink and you'll miss it moment, when Macca (played by Gareth Berliner) put his hand on Callum's shoulder as Callum was threatening GavAndy in the batcave of the basement in the Dog and Gun pub.

For a skanky hard henchman, a druggie and a baddie, he didn't half have nicely manicured nails. What lovely turned out cuticles with such a lovely shine too.

It all adds to the campy charm and charisma of Callum the baddie and I love it.

David and GavAndy are hardly Batman and Robin but Callum, Macca and Gemma as cartoon Corrie baddies are as fun as Batman's foes ever were. The scenes last night of the lair of the pub should have been filmed at a wonky angle like the old Batman series from the 1960s and it would have been perfect.  Audrey's car might just work as the Batmobile too.

Glenda Young 
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter 

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Melanie Hill arrives on Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Melanie Hill arrives on Coronation Street this week Roy's new lady friend Cathy arrives tonight on Coronation Street. Cathy Matthews will be played by Melanie Hill, one of my favourite actresses and a Sunderland lass too, just like myself.

I'm very much looking forward to seeing Melanie on my favourite telly show.

Here's what we know about Roy's new friend. Roy gets his own allotment to grow some fruit and veg, and meets a widowed lady on the next allotment lot. This is where Cathy, played by Melanie Hill, will come into Roy's life.

She won't be a love interest - but someone who Roy will feel obliged to help guide through the world. Roy will offer real, redemptive support to Cathy.

Melanie says she's not there to fill Hayley's shoes, and neither would we want her to. Here's to Melanie on Corrie and a new friend for Roy!

Glenda Young
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter   

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Corrie Canada sneak previews for May 4 - 8

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

Will Gail and Michael say I Do? Bethany starts at Weatherfield High. Sarah continues to see Callum and gets a new job. Erica returns with a shock for Nick. Jenny seems more erratic and secretive but Kevin doesn't believe Sophie's warnings. Sinead comes home. Roy and Cathy make friends. Sally is hopeful.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Wednesday 29 April 2015

Deirdre Barlow voted best soap character of all time

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Coronation Street’s Deidre Barlow has been voted the best soap star of all-time in a poll on online bingo site

Anne, who played Deirdre Barlow, was also named best soap actress in the poll.

And she picked up a third award when Deirdre’s affair with Mike Baldwin was picked as viewers’ favourite ever soap plotline.

Coronation Street picked up four of the awards in the survey of 2,000 soap fans by online bingo review site

Britain’s most popular soap actor was voted as Bill Tarmey (JackDuckworth) with William Roahce (Ken Barlow) in second place.

See also: Anne Kirkbride memorial service announced.

Glenda Young 
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter  


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Todd Grimshaw - a nasty piece of work

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

What DID happen to Todd Grimshaw while living in that London?  He's come back up north as a right nasty piece and it shows no sign of stopping.

Next week on Corrie we'll see him try to split up his mum Eileen and her new fella Adrian. 

Remember Todd asking Eileen this week on Coronation Street if she'd heard from another of her internet matches called Jeff, and Eileen said he was fine but he lived in Dubai so it was a bit of a non-starter?  Well, Jeff is Todd.

Yup.  Todd has set up Eileen and is masquerading online as Jeff in Dubai.  Julie encourages Eileen to give Jeff another chance and tells her to get back in touch with him, in case Adrian doesn't work out. So, Eileen messages Jeff again, even while she's still going out with Adrian and lets herself believe in love again.

Meanwhile, Todd twirls his moustache and does an evil laugh.  Well, probably not. But if he had a moustache, he'd twirl it.  He does though, according to Inside Soap magazine, smirk at his mum and continue his bid to humilate her.

Come on, Eileen! Chuck him out!

Glenda Young
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter 

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Vote for Corrie! British Soap Awards shortlist announced

The shortlist has been announced in this year's British Soap Awards. The 17th annual awards, will take place in Manchester at the Palace Theatre on Saturday 16th May, airing on ITV a few days later. It will be hosted by Phillip Schofield

For full details on categories and voting please go to

The categories in which Coronation Street is nominated are as follows.

Coronation Street

BEST ACTOR (Last year’s winner was David Neilson – Coronation Street)
Coronation Street:         Simon Gregson         (Steve McDonald)
Coronation Street:         David Neilson             (Roy Cropper)

(Last year’s winner was Julie Hesmondhalgh - Coronation Street)
Coronation Street:        Alison King            (Carla Connor)

Coronation Street:         Sean Ward            (Callum Logan) 

Coronation Street:        Sean Ward            (Callum Logan)
BEST COMEDY PERFORMANCE (Last year’s winner was Simon Gregson – Coronation Street)
Coronation Street:        Sally Dynevor            (Sally Webster)

BEST STORYLINE (Last year’s winner was Hayley’s Cancer – Coronation Street)
Coronation Street:        Steve and Michelle, Hearts And Minds   
BEST SINGLE EPISODE (Last year’s winner was Hayley’s Death)
Coronation Street:        Rob’s Confession

BEST DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE (Last year’s winner was David Neilson)
Coronation Street:         Simon Gregson        (Steve McDonald)

BEST ON-SCREEN PARTNERSHIP (Last year’s winners were David Neilson & Julie Hesmondhalgh)
Coronation Street:        Sally Dynevor & Joe Duttine (Sally Webster & Tim Metcalfe)                       

Coronation Street:        Ellie Leach            (Faye Windass)     

Coronation Street:        Deirdre Throws The Trifle        


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Tuesday 28 April 2015

Conversation Street podcast 145

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

This podcast covers 7 episodes, making up for the short week last week.

This week, Anna can't find a reason to let Owen stay, what with dealing with Faye's denial and her own guilt. Tony and Tracy up their game and scheme to get their hands on the Rovers. Todd plays games with his mother's love life. David discovers the secret Gail's keeping about Andy/Gavin. Sarah is sacked and celebrates by cavorting with Callum who's planning to see David in court. The podcasters have an interview with a Corrie fan that makes video replicas out of Corrie scenes using Lego!

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VIdeo: Behind the scenes at Corrie post-production

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Working on a programme with such a demanding production schedule means ITV Studios is always keen to find ways to improve efficiency while maintaining production values. That's why the UK’s biggest production company chose a unique renderless, collaborative workflow - with Baselight ONE, Slate and Baselight for Avid - to create, adjust and share sophisticated colour grades between colourist and editorial.

If you know what any of the above means, you're a better person that I am!  It's all a bit Greek to me.  But nevertheless, I urge you to watch the video below for a smashing behind-the-scenes look at some technical aspects to Coronation Street that we never usually see.  It's from FilmLight and you can read all about their involvement with Coronation Street here.

In the video below, ITV Studios’ post production manager David Williams, lead colourist Stephen Edwards and editor Phill Lees, tell us more about their real-time collaboration and how the exchange of full grading metadata - produced by Baselight – has enhanced speed, creativity and productivity.

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Has Owen Armstrong returned to Coronation Street?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There was much excitement on twitter after Friday night's episode of Coronation Street, as a lot of fans thought that Owen Armstrong had returned to the show.  Not so!

The man who looked like Owen was none other than Corrie extra Jonny "G Force" Grimshaw. He's on twitter at and he once played the runner up in Corrie's Mr Gay Weatherfield competition.

Our blog team has met Jonny - and he's a smashing bloke. He says he might need a shave if people are confusing him with Owen! 

Read an interview with Jonny "G Force" Grimshaw here.

Glenda Young
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter   

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Monday 27 April 2015

Corrie Canada Weekly Awards for April 20 - 24

Got it Bad Award: Nick for Carla. She wasn't answering her phone but he decided to take a chance she was in anyway and he brought cake.

Name Game award: Carla keeps going back to Connor rather than Donovan. I suppose it's to do with business mainly.

Phrase of Doom award: Gail telling Nick "You wait until you have kids" and Nick replying "The best thing about that phrase is never having to hear it again" Oh dear.

Hypocrite award: Anna doesn't want Owen in her bed but she was shocked when he said he was leaving town and not coming back at all. She used Faye as an excuse but Faye's not Owen's kid and it isn't enough.

Only game in town award: Surely there are other corner shops or garages that sell cheap flowers for Gavin's grave other than Dev's?

Fashion don't. The hat is cute. But it doesn't suit someone Izzy's age. I don't even think Amy would like it!

Phrase of Doom award: Gail telling Nick "You wait until you have kids" and Nick replying "The best thing about that phrase is never having to hear it again" Oh dear.

Pants on Fire award: Tony pretending he owes a loan shark.

Skulking award: David creeping after Gail.

Shock of your life award: David looking at a grave of a man he thinks is actually alive!

Lines of the week:
Tracy "Poor Old Liz. You don't stand a chance, luv"
Owen "I still love you" Anna "I'm not sure I still love you" (I don't believe him. I do believe her)
Owen "I'm the same person I've always been" (and therein lies the problem)
Nick about the family dinner "I'll be on hand with a mop and bucket should any blood be spilled" (a very real possibility!)
Gail "We've not come here to be sniping and arguing. We can do that at home!"
Bethany about her mother "She is such a drama queen" (another one that gets it from her mother, then, both of them!)
Tracy to Tony "Would you rather be next door helping Old Ma McDonald put her rollers in"
Bethany "Talk to the elbow, at least it's got a point!"
Pub landlord "OUT!" Sean "Yes! And proud!... It'll be nice to get back to the 21st century!"
David "I thought *I* were the 'ead case of the family!"
Sean "Homophobia is alive and well and living in a pub in the Peak District. They do pub quizzes on Mondays. Stonings on Wednesdays"
Nick "This is about cunning, guile, fighting dirty and in that situation, there's not a man in the world I'd back against you"
Sarah "I've had a crisis but does anybody care?" (no, you brought it on yourself)

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Carla Connor's flamin' fireplace - what does it mean?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I'm intrigued by Carla Connor's fireplace - and no, that's not a euphemism. Or maybe it is?

Freud once said: "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." Try telling that to Mike Baldwin.

Are we to believe therefore that in the world of Coronation Street, where props are placed to tell us something about the person who lives on each set, that Carla's fireplace is just a fireplace?  I think not.  Let's analyse Carla Connor's fireplace.

Theory number 1.  The burning flames are a symbol of Carla's passion. She burns, she smoulders, she's hot. And she's getting ready to roast Nick's nuts.

Theory number 2. Fire is powerful and can be destructive, much like Carla and her life. It shows Carla's fired up, raring to go. What is it that powers that fire? Is it gas - silent, deadly? Is it electric - sparky, bright? Or does Carla just need to give it a death-glare to switch it on, using her mystical powers?

Theory number 3. It's a funeral pyre for two dead husbands and one dead lover.  The ashes of her dead husbands Paul Connor and Tony Gordon smoulder in the grate. They burn, so that she can keep warm on long, lonely nights.  Paul and Tony's ashes are mingled with the ashes from her lover Liam Connor, the real reason I believe she officially changed her surname back to Connor. Carla's tears extinguish the flames when she turns the fire off at night.

Theory number 4. It's a fashion statement. Carla works in fashion, therefore it fits that her interior decor suits her personality too. Along with the migraine-inducing red, white and black wallpaper, it's all a bit 90s. Much like the underwear that the factory churns out.

Theory number 5. It's her womb. One of my aunts died a few years ago and an abiding memory of her was when she came round to see my mam when I was just a child. I was sitting on the floor, listening in to my aunt and my mam talking and gossiping about people they knew.  They started talking about something I couldn't understand, something about a woman who'd been into hospital for an operation, which I realised much later was a hysterectomy. My aunt saw I was listening and decided the conversation was not for the likes of a child so she tempered her words to my mam with: "Yes, she had it all taken out, all of it... (clocks me watching her and says)... and a new fireplace put in." I think that line might have originally come from Les Dawson. This was the same aunt who trained her talking parrot to shout "Thatcher's a ba*tard, Thatcher's a ba*tard" every time Maggie Thatcher came on telly. That tells you a lot about my aunt and a great deal more about Thatcher.  Anyway, Freud says that hysteria is caused when the womb overheats. So you know, heat+fire=a rather ropey theory number 5.  

Theory number 6. It's just a flamin' fireplace! Sometimes a fireplace is just a fireplace, as Freud says.  But, on the other hand, as Belgian artist René Magritte says about his painting of a pipe: "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe").  He was right. It's not a pipe, it's a painting of one. 

So there you have it, six half-baked theories on the symbolism of a Coronation Street prop.  If you have any more suggestions of what Carla Connor's fireplace could signify, do please leave a comment and let me know!

Glenda Young
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter   

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It's Just Nick

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in April 2015, reposted with permission.)

Exactly what kind of aftershave does Nick Tilsley slap round his chops every morning? Whatever it is, it's working. 

If I was him I'd still be recovering from being Praying Mantis Erica's Christmas plaything. But no, now he's sitting in Carla's flash apartment with its loud wallpaper and curious newfangled fireplace topping up her wine glass in his shirt sleeves and tucking her in for the night. Does he just pick on strong women when they are vulnerable? After all he's married Leanne Gob On A Stick Battersby not once, but twice! 

Leaving aside Nick's good fortune with the ladies for just one second, what has happened to his life-affecting brain injury? For a moment my computer alerted me that I had spelt it BRIAN injury by mistake - oh the irony. Remember big toothed, unusually muscled for a man who lives on pies and hotpot Brian Tilsley? Well clearly Nick doesn't because he never mentions him. Seriously though, did the shaving off of Nick's "I'm nasty now" beard signal the end of that particular story arc?

Back to the bedside manner. Nick has had dalliances with Natasha the hairdresser (who turned out to be a bit bonkers), Becky (ditto), Eva (who turned out to be a bit Eva) and Leanne, who despite her family background, lap-dancer background, fire-starter to claim on insurance background and general frowny stompiness (Ok I'm making up words now), is considered quite a catch. Yes, even though she has that Simon child biting at her ankles. We fondly remember their first wedding, when they ran away to a television version of Gretna Green back when Nick had a different face and skin tone.

I can kind of see what the women of Weatherfield see in Nick. He's handsome, sophisticated (ish) and successful (somehow). He's the man who brought orzo and halloumi to Coronation Street and served it in under a viaduct. Being honest, if he brought me a bottle of red and a molten chocolate pudding after hours I'd happily let him plump my cushions and pop on Texas' Greatest Hits. 

Carla and Nick though? Really? I maintain she would have him for breakfast and still have room for one of Roy's sausage and egg baps. I just don't get it. He sat on her couch the other night like her gay best friend. I don't see the chemistry and I don't see him being Carla's type. For a start he hasn't locked Leanne in his car boot, thrown Roy into the canal or been falsely imprisoned for the murder of a neighbour he was enjoying trysts with in the local Travelodge.

Still, I'd prefer Nick and Carla to Nick and Erica. I know Liz needs a pal, but must it be Erica? She zooms into shot with all the subtlety of a very unsubtle thing.  The only thing I do like about her is her wonderful ability to get up simpering Gail's nose. 

So do any of these preposterous love matches work for you?

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Sunday 26 April 2015

Sue Cleaver training to be a psychotherapist

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Sue Cleaver, who plays Coronation Street's Eileen Grimshaw, is training to become a psychotherapist.

In an interview with Soaplife magazine, Sue said: "I have it constantly - once a week. I've learned so much about myself by doing it, and it really has changed my life.

"It has given me complete understanding of certain behaviour - why we react in the way we do. It can't help but affect every relationship in your life. I get excited about having therapy each week. It's a bit like going to the gym, but for your mind.

"I've always been fascinated by the good it can do. Personally, I think it should be mandatory. It's a great confidence builder. I am qualified to take clients and have another 18 months to go before I can finish my four-year course in Analysis Psychotherapy at the Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy. It's hard work fitting it in with Corrie, but I love it."

Sue said that her Coronation Street fame does not impact her sessions with clients.

She said: "It is maybe a bit weird for them at first, but once we start talking, they forget all about it. The novelty wears off.

"The people come to see me when they have something they want to talk about and when they have a problem. That is what they are concerned about, not who I am."

Glenda Young 
Flaming Nora Blog / @flaming_nora

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Sunday Comments April 26

Faye came clean. She really insists she doesn't want the baby and Anna thinks she'll change her mind. Owen can see Faye just isn't mature enough to handle it and in this instance, I think it might be the best thing. The family can barely make ends meet as it is and Tim, though he wants to help, isn't bringing in a fortune. It's showing the breech between Owen and Anna very clearly, though. The Social Worker seemed really nice but she's got her work cut out for her. She's got to stand up on Faye's side no matter what Anna insists.

Looks like Anna is quitting both her jobs for the baby. And with chucking out Owen, Gary's the only one bringing wages from his job at the cafe. That's not going to pay the bills.

Anna and Owen went at it hammer and tongs. Anna really thinks she knows better than Faye and Owen thinks she's forcing Faye to do something she doesn't want. It's true Faye is probably in shock and certainly overwhelmed but it's also true that maybe Owen is right. Maybe Faye would be better off giving up the baby. Maybe Anna is projecting her own feelings and her own guilt on the situation. Well, they screamed and said horrible things to each other, maybe things that will never be forgiven. All the taboo subjects came up. Gary, Eddie, Linda, Phelan!

Anna said she doesn't think she loves Owen. I think that's true. I think it's been one thing after another until she just had no more energy for it. She can't trust him and she's walking on eggshells all the time, waiting for his temper to flare up time after time. It's over. And she seems pretty certain. He shed a tear over her. We did see her shed a few tears but it didn't matter. Owen has left the flat.

He tried to convince Anna to take him back. Oh she was willing for him to stick around for Faye's sake but that wasn't enough for him. I can see his point of view. He's not her father and her bio father is in the picture. More guilt applied to Faye's little shoulders who thinks it's all her fault. I can, however, see Anna's point in that Owen shouldn't be promising Faye things if Anna's already told him it's over. Izzy reckons he should go to Portugal to see Katy and give Anna a chance to miss him. That could backfire big time. He's vulnerable, Linda loves him, what do you think's going to happen? It doesn't matter because after Portugal, he's moving to Aberdeen.

Meanwhile, Gary and Faye have a heart to heart, interrupted in typical fashion by Tracy which actually did make me chuckle. Only went to reinforce how Faye was feeling, though, with everyone talking about her and laughing about her and you know it will be worse when she goes back to school. Alya was nice to her and even Yasmeen was kind. Faye still can't stand being alone with the baby, resisting any attempts Anna makes to get her to pick up the baby or help.

Anna's tired and stressed and missing Owen. Clearly ruing her most recent lot in life and snapped Faye's head off. Why on earth does Anna think Faye isn't going back to school? It's illegal for her not to!

Now Tracy has Tony back in her bed. She knows that she has Tony right where she wants him but he's still caught between she and Liz. Tracy made a blunder, though. She let Tony kiss her in the shop and Todd saw it. Secret's out. More ammunition for Todd. (yawn) In this case, he let Tracy know he knows and puts her on notice. I don't know if he realizes who he's dealing with. She's the manipulation mistress, that one. He's good but she's a pro. She's playing him like a fiddle, that one.

I have to say I love how Tracy keeps sticking the knife in Liz's back to reinforce to Tony how she's younger, hotter and a much better catch all around. Now she's starting to make noises about being an owner of a pub and not just any pub, the Rovers so she can crow over the neighbours and bar them all! All she sees the Rovers as is a method of revenge against all her enemies. She'll run it into the ground in no time. Tony's feeling the heat. It certainly would cause a lot of trouble for him with Liz. More and more he's feeling like the McDonald's personal bank and that's pushing his buttons. Tracy's work is done, everything Liz does Tony sees it as nagging or treating him like a child or using him for cash.

Tracy's plan is to get Tony to get his hands on Steve's share of the pub. What is she going to do about Liz's share, then? Anyway, Tony puts the first step into place and pretends he's in trouble with a loan shark.

I chuckled at Liz wondering how Steve managed to put up with Tracy as long as he did. A one night stand that created Amy. A pretence of affection to try to get custody of Amy. Another one night stand that produced twins that she miscarried and a few months with her then until Becky blew them up on their wedding day. It's hardly more than 10 minutes considering how long he's known her.

Steve isn't sure if Lloyd will agree to be his best man. There's nobody else. Does Steve really have many other male friends? Why doesn't he see if Andy can fly up for it? Steve and Lloyd are still a bit awkward around each other and it seems like it's more on Lloyd's part. He sure seems prickly about Steve, doesn't he? Steve wasn't too pleased to find out Tony's helping to pay for the wedding on top of the tax bill. It was Steve that didn't want a low-key wedding for Michelle. Now he feels worse, he should just accede to her initial plans. Well, he asked Tony to be best man which only gave Lloyd even more reason to be bitchy. After the gobful of grief he gave Michelle, it's his own fault he wasn't asked!

The Gavin and Andy saga has returned. Now it seems that Gail is getting calls and texts from Gavin's mother wanting desperately to talk to Michael and it's getting more and more difficult to put her off. She's so stressed that her anger is barely being suppressed and she takes it out on Andy whenever she can, snarling, hissing and glaring. Michael says she seems a bit off. Really?

Meanwhile Gail is still moaning in the Bistro, the family is sniping at everyone else, Andy's still trying to get away from her dagger like glares and Nick isn't really doing much work even though he's the one that lost the coin toss with Andy. Michael's trying to put his foot down but Gail digs herself in deeper and lies that she's stressed about the wedding.

And she's still buying flowers! (laughed at her being insulted when Sophie asked if she was seeing another woman. She as much as insulted Sophie by doing that!) David caught Gail looking at flowers again. She's not too bright, is she? Surely there are other corner shops or garages where she can pick up cheap flowers for Gavin's grave other than Dev's?

Well, David has decided to follow Gail to see where she's going with the flowers and he's seen Gavin's grave! I still don't get why she feels she needs to put flowers on the grave of a man she barely knows who's related to a situation that she's highly resentful of.

Sarah has had a lot of fun winding up Bethany about Jason but it's also clear that Sarah fancies Callum and Beth can see it. The secret's out, didn't think she'd let Beth believe it for long. Meanwhile, Callum is stalking Sarah, he's hanging around all the time. Won't she find it off if he's supposed to have a job, or a company or something? She hasn't really changed, has she? She was generally always pretty quick to grab a fella and get what she wanted. She chased Jason, you may recall, and took him off Violet.

Sarah also got herself sacked for not sending Steven a document, but then again, she was lying about not being able to send it. Bethany went off on one when she discovered she was leaving for Italy tomorrow but with Sarah getting the sack, I suppose that's a win for Beth when she'd just finished changing her tune about going back. Except she was pretending. She knew about Sarah's no-internet lie and emailed her uncle so he'd know about the lie. He didn't get his documents in time so he sacked her.

Seems a bit harsh, shouldn't she just be let off with a warning? Maybe she's been screwing up all along and this was the last straw! Can Gail save her bacon? Nope. I don't know why Sarah would want to stay crowded in the house with David anyway. Now Sarah feels very badly used and come on, she did bring it on herself.

Now she and Bethany have to stay put. I guess they'll have to build a bedroom in the garage. It's ludicrous how many people seem to be wedged into that house. The corner shop flat's going empty, Sarah could always move them in there. There should still be a flat over the community centre, too.

I firmly believe that Sarah is only really indulging with Callum to get at David. Oh he's cute, and she fancies him but knowing David and her family hates Callum only makes him more attractive. She's acting like she's 16 not nearly 30. She's not really grown up at all and she's clearly shirking her job which is what got her sacked.

Alya delayed her meeting with Carla so she ended up in another cozy chat and dinner with Nick. This definitely looks like it's going somewhere. Nick clearly fancies Carla. He couldn't stand his family anymore, decided to shirk work and pitched up on her doorstep in spite of the fact that she wasn't answering her phone. Any man taking a chance, with cake, just in case? Got it bad, I'd say.

The latest news is that one of Dev's uncles has died (not Uncle Umed, phew! I like to think he's still there in Mumbai talking bollocks and charming the ladies!) and he's going to be gone another few months. That's hard on a brand new relationship. Will it stand the test of distance so early on? Eileen is still drooling over "Jeff" from Dubai. I would be more interested in her dating story if Todd wasn't the one playing games in the background. Adrian seems a really nice bloke. Unfortunately, Eileen should prefer nice but she tends to go for something a bit more edgy.

Billy is having some positive influence on Sean, they're going walking in the countryside! Last place you might expect him to be. They found themselves in a country pub with a jovial landlord. Jovial until he realized there was a gay couple planning to be up to all sorts under his roof! Or so he thought. I don't think Sean and Billy have taken it to that next level yet but he didn't know that.

The time line fairies seem to be out of sync here, though. Carla had finally finished her meal with Nick and said good night, off to bed. Owen was packing to leave. Faye was still out in the cafe with Gary and Alya. The cafe shouldn't have been open that late, should it? Oooh Gail mentioned Sarah was a teenage mum. Now if Sarah could only have a talk with Faye, it might actually seem realistic. It seems like Sarah has no idea at all what has been going on around her outside Number 8 aside from Callum.

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Saturday 25 April 2015

Anna and Tim - do you think they'll get together? (Speculation)

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I'm going to miss Owen Armstrong a lot.  He was never a nice fella, there was always that undercurrent of violence about him, as if he was going to explode at any moment, and sometimes he did. Remember when he hit Faye? I'll miss him just the same. He was a complex character and in Ian Puleston-Davies, a great actor too.

When Owen's eyes filled with tears on  Corrie as Anna told him she didn't love him any more, my eyes swelled too.  I'm glad Corrie haven't killed him off which is always a good sign that a character and actor could return.  Ian Puleston-Davies is going on to star in new TV drama Beowulf and we wish him all the best, I know he'll do a great job. His gain is Corrie's loss.

With Owen gone, and Anna all over the place, thoughts now turn to whether she might force her affections on Tim. I'm loving Faye's baby storyline and it does seem the obvious thing to happen that new grandparents Tim and Anna will bond over the baby.  Maybe it's too obvious and Coronation Street won't go down this route.  Part of my hopes not, and yet.. and yet, another part hopes they will.  Here's what I hope will happen - Anna comes onto Tim and while he's tempted, he knows which side his bread's buttered on with Sally and stops himself before he gets involved.

It's going to be very interesting to see what happens in Faye's baby storyline next. Maybe news reaches Pat Phelan that Anna's now free and single and he slimes his way back to the Street to be with her and this time, she gives in freely and willingly.

Maybe Eddie will return after he's had a wash and brush up and found himself a job?

Who knows what will happen? Time will tell.  I'm looking forward to see how it all unfolds.  I do wish Corrie give more of a role to Gary and Izzy in helping Faye cope with the baby, whether she keeps it or not. For me, the actors who play Gary and Izzy are much under used assets on Corrie. Some actors light up the screen when they come on, let's have them back together, Corrie please.

Glenda Young 
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter  

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Friday 24 April 2015

Corrie Cold Turkey

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2015.)

I'm teetering on the abyss of life without Coronation Street. Could I cope without five episodes of Weatherfield life each week? I get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach at the very thought.

The trouble is I'm just not loving it any more. There is too much I don't like about it. It's on too often. It's populated by too many characters I don't care about. There are too many convoluted storylines that get on my chuffing nerves. That's just too much for me for now. 

The other trouble is that I'm still a Corrie addict and proud to be an anorak. I know so much about Corrie, its history and its characters that it would just be too much of a wrench to give it up. The cold, feverish sweats at the thought of filling those extra two and a half hours each week. What a to do.

So what I am going to do is go Corrie cold turkey for two weeks and see how I cope. Can I live a fruitful existence without regular updates of the crazy cesspit of lies festering under Gail's roof? Can I live without knowing what fate befalls Sharif Nazir's chickens? And can I soldier on without having to witness Sean hosting a butler auction at the Rovers?

Only time will tell.

I'm going to stop watching for a bit in the hope that I'll miss all those familiar soapy shenanigans enough for me to carry on. I hope a break from it will help me start tuning in again out of desire rather than out of routine. Let's see how I get on in the big wide Corrie free world.

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Thursday 23 April 2015

Coronation Street Blog interview with Debbie Rush

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2015.)

Once more, in mid –February, I was in the newly furbished Coronation Street Bistro, at Media City. This time I had the real pleasure of interviewing the lovely, warm, friendly and chatty Debbie Rush.

What struck me in particular about Debbie, is best described by employing a phrase my mum used to use - ‘There’s no side to her.’ Which means that someone is absolutely natural, no airs and graces, no pretension. Exactly so for Debbie Rush.

Debbie will be involved in a massive storyline soon concerning the birth of Faye’s baby, so read on below to see what she has to say about that and her role as Anna Windass.

How does Anna feel in that moment when she learns that Faye is pregnant?

Well, she doesn’t actually found out that Faye is pregnant until Faye gives birth, so the whole thing is a complete, massive shock.

So has Anna failed Faye?

Well, she will definitely feel as if she has failed her. She will feel the repercussions for sure. We don’t know whether or not Faye was having periods. In the show, she has got to the age where she doesn’t want her mum in the bathroom with her anymore. She’s been quite private and her periods have never been mentioned.

How did Ellie (who plays Faye) feel about the storyline?

We have a brilliant writing team here. I say it all the time. They approach things with great care so I knew it was going to be done well. We are certainly showing that teenage pregnancy is no walk in the park. Ellie has been amazing.

How does Anna react?

Instantly she wants to throttle her as any mother would, but because there’s another human being now, the relationship between Faye and Anna will change. Anna will be supportive, always, but she will feel under huge pressure and needs to help Faye. There will be no preparation though because the baby just arrives.

Where does the birth take place?

The birth takes place in the flat above Dev’s shop. Anna and Owen are out at the pub, thinking everything is alright. Linda’s gone, it's time to relax. Then, unbeknown to them, the big storyline is just round the corner.

How does it unfold on the street?

Well I know how Sally reacts! As we know, Sally is the best mum ever! There’ll be a bit of rivalry between Anna and Sally about who actually is the best mum. Tim will be really proud actually, and happy to be a granddad.

Will she have any common ground with Gail, who went through this with Sarah Louise?

I’m not sure but I’d like to think so. What we’re all really keen to get across is just how difficult it will be. The baby and the birth won't be glamorised at all.

How would you personally have felt in Anna’s shoes?

I would have been devastated. Absolutely devastated. All the things they would miss out on would worry me.

Does Faye want to keep the baby?

I don’t know. It’s a big mixed bag of emotions at first. She doesn’t realise what’s hit her.

Is Anna upset that Faye never told her?

We’ve just now (as at Feb 16) filmed the first words that are spoken when Anna sees Faye. She just says, 'I’m sorry mum'. She loves her mum, Anna, very much. Faye is terrified that she’s going to be sent back because she’s adopted. There is no way Anna would do that of course.

How do Gary and Tim react?

Gary is gobsmacked!  She’s his little sister. Tim is devastated at first but loves the idea of being a granddad.

Are Social Services involved?

Yes because she’s under age and the police are involved too.

And the father?

Immediately Anna wants to know who he is. All fingers point to Craig. Anna is very concerned that Faye was forced into sex. Craig tells Anna that it is someone at school. It turns out to be just a little boy.

How did you help Ellie prepare for the role?

Well she listens to absolutely everything – she’s like a little sponge! Her mum’s great, her chaperone is too. We’ve all just chatted as we’ve gone along. But Ellie has been absolutely amazing! It is hard for her as she has schoolwork to do too. But Ellie is a complete joy!

Does Anna reprimand herself?

Anna feels she has taken her eye off the ball. Linda turned up, we lost the house, Anna is working two jobs.

How do you feel about Owen leaving?

I’m gutted! We were worried about his exit so soon after the birth, but actually it is done really well. It is heartbreaking though. It is tied into Linda and the birth and his reaction. But Anna will cope. She always does what she has to do.

Is it nice working with a baby?

We’ve actually got three babies – triplets. They’re gorgeous, so tiny! They are as good as gold too. Sometimes we have scenes where the baby is crying and crying but actually the baby is just lying quietly in my arms! The baby will be a girl and she will be called Miley. The name is Faye’s choice though she takes a while to choose it.

Do you get itchy feet?

I love Corrie. I’m very lucky to be here. I get great drama and I have to pinch myself. It’s the nation’s favourite and I’m very happy.

When you were given this storyline were you taken to one side?

Yes, we were taken to one side, which is rare. It was because of the sensitive nature of the story. We had Ellie’s parents in too. We had a midwife come in too to talk about the birth. I was thrilled for Ellie though. I want people to see how brilliant she is. She gets it, she sees it and away she goes! Brilliant! We don’t actually see her give birth but we do hear her!

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Corrie Canada Sneak Previews for April 27 - May 1

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

David discovers Gail's secret then uses Andy to get at Callum. It backfires, as you might expect. Steph confides in Luke. Michael and Gail's next wedding day arrives. Will they say I Do this time? Billy and Sean are loved up. Tony and Tracy put their plan into action. Roy and Sharif meet their allottment neighbour. Sinead is on her feet. Jenny's behaviour with Jack continues to be a concern. Faye gives the baby a name.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Wednesday 22 April 2015

Video: Les Dennis and Dustin Gee as Mavis and Vera

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog March 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

This is superb.  Les Dennis And Dustin Gee performing "You Gotta Get A Man" on stage as Mavis and Vera from Coronation Street in 'A Royal Night of One Hundred Stars'. 

The song was written by Bobby Crush.

It's well worth a look, very funny indeed.

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Heroes or Villains?

(This post was originally posted by Emma Hynes on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2015.)

The return of Jenny Bradley and my recent blog on Todd Grimshaw have me thinking about the theme of redemption on Coronation Street. While Jenny appears to have returned a remorseful individual wishing to prove she’s changed, it remains to be seen how it will all play out. Todd, however, showed true remorse last year after being rejected by his family on foot of his deplorable actions and achieved forgiveness, yet despite this redemption, he has regressed to villainy. This is for seemingly tenuous reasons which are unlikely to make him feel stronger than he did on regaining the affection of his family, and nevertheless he persists. 

Another character who, like Todd, went through what should have been a life altering experience last year and yet remains unchanged is Tracy Barlow. After Rob was arrested on foot of a rare moment of honesty from his fiancée, I expressed my frustration at her reversion to type following a seeming metamorphosis in which she showed welcome glimpses of character that we had never before witnessed. In December 2014 I wrote “I had high hopes for a change in Tracy which would have been natural and well founded considering recent events and her reaction to them, so I’m disappointed to see her revert to the woman scorned with a questionable agenda.”

It would have been interesting and true to life to find both Todd and Tracy changed for the better after their experiences. I don’t subscribe to the logic that there would be nothing there for them (or us) if they were to turn ‘good’, after all, this is a programme which portrays ordinary life, often in extraordinary circumstances, so why not let a character go through a life altering encounter and come out the other side wiser and better for the experience?

In any event, they have both left these significant experiences behind and returned to fulfilling the roles of Street ‘baddies’. The fact that they are well matched is, at times, a source of pleasure, but their redemption has proven rather pointless, and as this is the theme of the blog, let’s look at some other examples from the Street.

In order to be redeemed, you have to be a ne’er do well in the first place. Becky, Kylie and Maddie were all tearaways who managed to turn their lives around and become accepted by the community. While it was by no means plain sailing with regard to either sister, and Kylie's behaviour remains questionable, Maddie has been progressing on an upward trajectory, with the exception of her recent ill devised treatment of Norris. What is important though is that her confession and guilt were the markers of true change. While it was similarly frustrating to find Gary Windass acting out of character and breaking into Roy's, his reaction assured me that there won't be a repeat performance. Both have proven that there is no need for a character to revert to type following a life changing experience and I wonder why this must be the case for Todd and Tracy.

There are plenty of characters who manage to get over their crimes, mistakes and indiscretions, and be forgiven by enough members of the community as to remain among them, but if a character is not permitted to achieve this, the only natural conclusion can be their departure, otherwise, the drama becomes implausible. History shows that the male Corrie villain doesn’t last very long, and will generally either be jailed long term or killed, Rob Donovan, Karl Munro, Tony Gordon, Richard Hillman, Jim McDonald, John Stape, Charlie Stubbs, and Frank Foster are just a few examples. Todd aside, Callum, Tony and Andy are the only other male characters on the Street who could be considered dubious at present. How the drama plays out should dictate whether or not there is a future for each of them.

Callum setting up in the community long term seems unfeasible to me, and considering what Andy is guilty of, it seems implausible for him to continue pretending to be Gavin, or remaining in the aftermath of his deception becoming known to everyone, even if he is coming across well. His portrayal as a better son to Michael than Gavin ever would have been doesn’t wholly ring true for me, because at the heart of it all is a lie which throws his whole character into question, regardless of the extent to which he comes across as a tortured soul. 

Where Tony is concerned, despite his shady nature, I find him likeable, and I think he has a better chance of remaining in Weatherfield in the event that his affair with Tracy is exposed. His dodgy dealings, however, are another matter, and he is as likely to end up behind bars as Callum and Andy for his misdemeanours. Considering Todd alongside each of these characters really proves that he was the strongest candidate for redemption, and I wonder why he didn't take it with both hands instead of regressing.

As far as women are concerned, Tracy Barlow is the only terminally villainous character on the Street, and I can’t see her going anywhere. Aside from Tracy, Steph is the only female embroiled in a deception at present. Like Andy, in the event that all is revealed, it would be unfeasible for her to emerge unscathed considering she is fully implicated at this point.  I must confess to being disappointed at her association with his scam, and concerned at what it will mean for her character. Whether or not there is the capacity for redemption in her case remains to be seen, but I do hope there is, as I have loved her addition to the Street. 

Where Tracy is concerned, while her long term villainy somehow ensures that we accept her lack of progression, her connection with Rob was such that I felt we were witnessing a true metamorphosis. I find her regression frustrating, especially when, like Todd, what should have been a life altering experience was so well portrayed. However, I have been enjoying Tracy of late, and I wonder if viewers would want her to be any different than she is. Is this the reason why she will ultimately never change?

Corrie does have a history of successfully redeemed characters who have been forgiven and change for the better, and when this can't be achieved, for the most part, the character leaves. Why in certain cases however, is neither course of action taken? My feeling is that it suits the plot to keep someone behaving a particular way regardless of what they've been through when really, who the character is and their personal history should inform their actions.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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Reminder - Who is Uncle Stephen in Coronation Street?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

If you're fairly new to Coronation Street, or would like your memory refreshed, here's the detail on Sarah and David's Uncle Stephen in Milan.

Stephen Reid is Audrey's son. Audrey claims to know little about Stephen's dad and spins differing stories depending on who is listening. The nearest we have got to the truth is Audrey admitting that the father was a 'spotty 16 year-old'. Audrey was 16 when she gave birth to Stephen. Stephen is Gail's half-brother.

Stephen was adopted by a neighbour and old flame of Audrey's - Malcolm Reid who emigrated to Canada in 1960 with his adopted son. Stephen lived in Canada and worked for Kbec, a sportswear company based in Toronto. He returned to the UK early in 1996 for business, but took time out to meet his mother and half-sister and their families. Alma Baldwin made a pass at him whilst he was over here, but Stephen made it perfectly clear he wasn't interested.

We last saw Stephen in 2007 when he returned to Weatherfield to visit Audrey and Gail for Christmas. He offered David a job in his business and David accepted. However, because of David's relationship with Gail, Stephen offered his niece Sarah the job instead, so Stephen left Weatherfield again with Sarah and her daughter Bethany to Milan. He was unable to make it to Gail's fifth wedding to Joe McIntyre.

Stephen the Canadian was played by American actor Todd Boyce.

Glenda Young 
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter  

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Tuesday 21 April 2015

From Wearside to Weatherfield, Corrie connections to Sunderland

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog February 2015, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Corrie fans might have heard my home city of Sunderland mentioned on Coronation Street some time back when Peter Barlow was planning a naughty night away with Carla Connor. Peter lied to wife Leanne, saying he had to stay overnight in Sunderland "to see a man about a greyhound".

But it’s not the first time that Sunderland’s been mentioned on Coronation Street. And with today's announcement that Sunderland-born actress Melanie Hill is joining Corrie as Roy's new friend Cathy, it's time to look again at those who have moved from Wearside to Weatherfield, from Sunderland to the Street.

Carole Evans, landlady of the Weatherfield Arms was played by Sunderland-born actress Debbie Arnold.

Back in 2006, factory girl Jessie Jackson left the cobbles for a bumpy landing thanks to some out-of-date research in the scriptwriting department.  Jessie told the Corrie factory girls she’d landed a job as a trolley dolly with Majestic Airlines flying “from Sunderland”.  I bet Nissan, whose factory is located on the long-gone Sunderland airstrip, were a bit surprised.

But hang on, there are even more connections between Corrie and Sunderland, with some of the Street’s leading men being born and bred in the city.

Alan Browning
Born in Sunderland, he played Elsie Tanner’s on-screen husband Alan Howard and in real-life was married to the actress who played Elsie, Pat Phoenix.

William Russell

Born in Sunderland, he played Rita’s second husband, Ted Sullivan, who died of a brain tumour. Russell was also one of the four original cast members of Doctor Who in 1963, starring opposite William Hartnell as the Doctor for the first two seasons of the legendary series.

Malcolm Terris

Born in Sunderland, he played Eric Firman, owner and head of Firman’s Freezers. In real life before going to drama school, Malcolm started out as a reporter on the Sunderland Echo.

Ian Embleton

Ian, who played Des Barnes’ brother Colin, was born in Jarrow and grew up in Boldon.

But we're not finished yet, there are even more connections between Salford and Sunderland.

The Coronation Street spin-off DVD Romanian Holiday was a Corrie caper set in Transylvania and released in 2009. Both Sunderland football club and FA Cup winning Sunderland manager Bob Stokoe get a warm and friendly mention in the DVD so you do start to wonder if Corrie has recruited some Mackems to the writing team.

Back in 2008, Michael Le Vell, who plays Corrie garage owner Kevin Webster, also donated one of Kevin’s outfits from the soap to raise funds for a charity for young, homeless people in Sunderland. The outfit was auctioned off to raise money for the charity at the Black Bull pub.

And there’s been a recent saucy Street revelation when the tabloids reported that Coronation Street actor Jimmi Harkishin, who plays corner shop owner Dev Alahan, had been spotted out on the town in London with Sunderland porn star Kat Lee.

Meanwhile Bruce Jones, who played Corrie layabout Les Battersby, swapped the Rovers Return for Agadoo in Vine Place when he opened up his own Sunderland bar with Black Lace singer Dene Michael.

And Sunderland band The Toy Dolls released a song about Coronation Street’s Miss Sexy Specs herself, Deirde Barlow. The song was called, “Deirdre’s a Slag” and released in 1984. The song takes a pop at Deirdre Barlow and the blokes in her life – Ray, Mike and Ken.

And finally, I’m indebted to Colin Randall, editor of SAFC fanzine Salut! Sunderland for this wonderful snippet about Coronation Street actor Joe Simpson who was once booed by 47,000 Mackems at Sunderland AFC's Stadium of Light. Why did Joe deserve all that grief?

The poor fella had only been invited onto the pitch at half-time in a match against Ipswich in the 2001-2 season, to make the lottery draw. But he was introduced to the crowd by his Corrie character persona “the evil Alex Swinton” and the crowd rose to the bait with a chorus of pantomime booing. He didn’t mind though – Joe is a Sunderland fan and took it all in good fun.

See also: Sandra at Saunders of Sunderland gets a mention by Carla in a stolen silk storyline, week of May 31 20130.

See also: Exclusive pictures of Corrie cast in Sunderland Bistro 

Check out: Sunderland R&R Life Magazine  

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