Sunday 31 May 2015

Sunday Comments May 31

>The custody hearing is a bit of a mix. Each solicitor bigs up their client but then Callum's drops the bomb. Somehow, they've got hold of all of David's past misdeeds that paint him as very disturbed. David can't keep quiet and insists he's a changed man and it's all down to being Max's dad. He has to be pulled out of the courtroom to calm down and even though Callum should be looking smug, he isn't so much. Not sure why. The judge then says they will need a full report on both men's suitability and in the meantime, Callum will have Max overnight two nights a week. I hope that means at his mother's because that tiny grubby flat is no place for a child! And poor David thinks this is the beginning of the end and he's going to lose Max in the long run.

He also thinks Sarah was the one to tell the enemy about David when we saw that Bethany at least started the ball rolling the other day. She probably told him all the rest. Even so, it's pretty clear from a pointed phone call that Callum is still dealing. It's not helpful when Sarah brings Callum around but then we find out that Sarah didn't tell Callum all the dirt, Bethany did and admitted it. I don't think she realized the harm it does. Callum admits he used it so he could see Max and rubs it in David's face. Audrey is right, David getting into a state isn't going to change anything or help.

Nick is trying to get his family to get all warm and cuddly with Erica who is definitely not the warm and cuddly type. Gail never learns her lesson. Why be so openly hostile? That's just like David, it's not going to help matters any. Gotta say, though, I love Gail being bitchy towards Erica and Erica always winding her up! And for a couple that doesn't appear to be a couple, Nick doesn't seem to mind having Erica stay over randomly. 

Ah sounds like Faye is keeping up with schoolwork even if she's not attending class. Ken's concerned about a casserole that has been sitting uncooked in the oven (which is broken). Microwave it! At least it will be cooked!

Now that Tony's planted the Spanish run away in Liz's mind, the thought of the sun in Spain is becoming more and more inviting. Tony is good. He works on her subtly and it looks like it's working, much to Tracy's glee. Liz sounds out Steve about Spain but assures him she won't abandon him. Steve now thinks he would be ok without his mother around and doesn't want to hold her back but she's still kind of leaning towards staying around. Still, Tony overhears and realizes she's wearing down and it's decided. She'll sell her share to Travis Ltd. Michelle is worried but Steve seems optimistic.

Tony is thrilled and Tracy is beside herself with joy. Tony is having the guilts, however, knowing Liz is going to be hurt. And what about Steve and Michelle? Tracy and Tony taking over the pub is going to have them out on their backsides, too. Michelle is right to be worried.

Meanwhile, Michelle is whining about her love life but the beautiful basque that Carla gives her is discovered by Steve and it has the desired effect. Love life sorted. Now the hen night needs to be arranged. Lloyd is doing the stag do except Steve can't face going in a mini bus with the lads on the way to Liverpool. I get that. But why didn't they tell him where they were going so he could take the train? The lads were unimpressed and Lloyd got the hump when the pub turned out to be a wash out and the lads were unimpressed. It all seemed to come back to that fractured friendship. The evening didn't last too long and it ended with Lloyd drifting away on a Norwegian fishing trawler to northern Norway! Eeek!

Michelle continues to worry about her job but Carla cheered her up no end. She's going to buy Liz's share! Tony was horrified when Carla pitched up offering to buy in rather than an anonymous company. That could be interesting. So let me get this straight...Tony bought Steve's share of the pub. Steve gets the money from Tony (Travis Ltd.) and gives it to Tony to repay the tax loan. Basically, Tony's bought half the pub for nothing so technically, wouldn't Steve still owe him that tax money? And Carla's buying Liz's share of the pub so she's now in partnership with Tony (Travis Ltd.). My brain hurts. And what about Liz? Is she still going to Spain?

Well, after Anna completely humiliated Faye in front of the bullies at school, the girls all coo over the baby. Were they actually the bullies or does Faye actually have a few friends? Doesn't matter, the word would get around anyway. It seems like Anna's actions gained Faye some sympathy. Anyway, Anna refuses to apologize and she's at the end of her rope. She rants and raves and shouts and is really nasty to Faye even pointing out that Faye of all people (meaning she was in care and subsequently adopted) shouldn't be the one that doesn't want her own daughter. History repeating itself and all that. Faye does get a few digs in as well but that poor child certainly has taken the worst of it and I wish she'd have gone in her room and called Social services right then and there.

Tim seems to be on Faye's side but has finally realized that Anna really isn't coping. But, there's the doorbell and guess who it is? Jackson and his mother Josie. Jackson saw the baby at school and realized he had to admit the truth. Josie asks if they can have his name on the birth certificate and says they'll help share the load. I'm waiting for the financial input here. Later Tim takes Anna and Faye over to his house, interrupting Sally's plan for a nice night in.

Jackson and Faye register Miley's birth and then bicker over her middle name, or lack of. Tim then catches Anna and Sally bickering over the housework and Anna storing the glasses rim down and tells them they're worse than the kids. Anna is staying at Sally's for a bit of a break. Not much of one though when Anna takes it on herself to tidy up and iron and mop floors. Faye seems to be thawing about the baby a bit, too.

Carla's paying for some of the wedding reception catering through Nick and Erica sees them sitting together looking friendly. Even if she and Nick aren't in a relationship, Erica seems to be a bit jealous and puts herself between them. Carla is wistful though Leanne thinks she could still nab Nick if she got in there now before it's too late. Nick's fairly honourable when it comes to family, though, so I don't know. Possibly.

Sophie is on a rant and a campaign and it's all against Jenny but nobody believes her. But on a nicer note, she and Maddie are planning to move in together in a flat of their own and they're all loved up and looking towards their future. Why am I uneasy?

Eileen still can't let go of Jeff from Dubai. He (Todd) is hitting all her buttons and she can't help be drawn to someone that seems to be exactly what she wants aside from the miles and miles between them. Even after Adrian asks her to delete her dating profile and spends the night with her, she's still lured back, egged on by Todd.

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Saturday 30 May 2015

Anne Kirkbride memorial - readings from Manchester cathedral

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

The Manchester Evening News have been running a live blog from Anne Kirkbride's memorial service today. Read it all here with some wonderful pictures too.

The MEN have reproduced the readings from the service too. You can read them all here.  Here, below, is the reading by Kieran Roberts, executive producer of Coronation Street

"When I was asked to represent the cast, writers and crew of Coronation Street and pay tribute to the unforgettable Anne Kirkbride, my first thought was……How do I begin to do justice to such an extraordinary person?

So, I turned to my colleagues for help and asked if I could share their favourite memories of Anne. In response I received this picture.

This was taken when Anne asked camera assistant Neil Jones to stand – or rather kneel – in for Eccles during a rehearsal. The point is, I can’t think of anyone else who would have asked one of our crew to do this. More importantly, I can’t begin to think of anyone else who could have made it happen.

Before sharing this picture today I asked Neil for his permission to use it and he replied,

“It would be an honour to be included in the memorial to the fantastic Annie Kirkbride.”

I’d like to thank Neil for letting me share this picture and for a response that speaks volumes about the love and respect we all had for Anne. Like Neil I am honoured to be here today, paying tribute to Anne… though I am daunted by the challenge of capturing such a warm, kind-hearted, generous, spirited, talented and fun-loving lady in just a few minutes.

Anne was a very private person so not much was ever written about her in the newspapers and she shunned the bright lights, award ceremonies and glittering premieres. In fact we once asked her if she’d like to attend a prestigious BAFTA ceremony at the lavish Grosvenor House Hotel, and without hesitation she replied “I’d rather stick pins in my eyeballs.” This was a typical riposte, which made us love her all the more, because the Annie we all knew never lost touch with her Oldham roots and remained down to earth with no airs and graces throughout her life.

Born to parents Enid and Jack Kirkbride, a cartoonist for the Oldham Evening Chronicle, Anne was inherently artistic and talented, something which is perfectly demonstrated by her artwork and photography on display in the Cathedral today.

From an early age she also showed a desire to perform. She joined the Saddleworth Junior Players then Oldham Rep Juniors and after leaving Count Hill Grammar School she joined Oldham Rep as an assistant stage manager. Acting roles followed and although Anne was at first reluctant to pursue a career in front of the camera she impressed producers at Granada Television who cast her, aged 18, as Deirdre Hunt. Her first appearance in 1972 was just three lines of dialogue but Anne made it count.

Anne went on to grace our screens for over 42 years and brought so much joy to millions of people with her brilliant, truthful portrayal of Deirdre Hunt – Langton – Rachid - Barlow. Anne was an amazingly gifted and dedicated actor who forged countless brilliant screen partnerships, including with many of the actors here today.

With long-term colleague and friend Bill Roache she created a truly iconic Corrie couple. The ups and downs of Ken and Deirdre’s relationship kept the nation gripped for decades. And in Deirdre Anne created one of the truly great characters not just in the history of Coronation Street but in the history of British television.

Although we were work colleagues, and rarely saw Anne away from the office, we were devoted to her and she to us. She was genuinely one of the most decent and honourable people you could ever wish to meet and she always had time to chat in the corridor or more importantly give you one of her legendary hugs.

I vividly recall one of the last meetings I had with Anne.

I’m supposed to stay professionally detached in meetings with cast but with Anne it was impossible. A discussion of contracts and the like quickly gave way to half an hour chatting about Spain, the conversation punctuated, of course, by those legendary hugs.

Annie had the gift of making everyone feel special around her but in reality she was the special person. She’d walk into a room or onto the Barlow’s living room set with such presence and warmth and left us with so many lovely memories of working with her and being in her company.

She was a consummate professional, always on time, lines learned and asking all the right questions of the directors, producers and ADs. It’s testament to her professionalism as well as her personality that so many of her former colleagues are here today to pay their respects alongside those who worked with her more recently.

Anne was a brilliant dramatic actor and it was no accident that she was at the heart of many of Coronation Street’s biggest and most iconic storylines – even provoking questions in parliament when the Weatherfield One was wrongly imprisoned in 1998. She was an equally gifted comic actor - her dry wit, quirky sense of humour and impeccable timing meant she was a joy to write for and made for the most wonderful delivery of lines such as “I don’t take sides – just think of me as Switzerland in glasses” or, in a row with Tracy, “that kidney’s wasted on you” or “Ken, you are the only person I know who irons a crease in his pullovers! You are not a creature of impulse.”

No better script could have been written for Annie than when in 1990 she met her husband and best friend David Beckett who joined Coronation Street to play Deirdre’s handyman boyfriend, Dave Barton.

We’ve worked closely with Dave, Anne’s brother John, sister-in-law Jacqui and nephews Samedi and Alphin in arranging her Memorial Service today. Although they were her real family on which she doted, Anne will forever be part of Coronation Street’s family.

When David collected Anne’s Outstanding Achievement Award at the recent British Soap Awards, he perfectly captured our thoughts and feelings about Anne. We were the lucky ones because she’d been in our lives.

On behalf of everyone who works at Coronation Street, everyone who worked with Anne during her amazing 42 years with us. And on behalf of the many millions of viewers across the UK and around the world who have followed the programme – and Deirdre - throughout those years….

Annie, we thank you for bringing so much light, laughter and love into all our lives for all those years."

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CBC renews its Coronation Street license in Canada

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

There's good news for Coronation Street fans in Canada!

It says here that ITV Studios Global Entertainment has inked a multi-year deal with the Canadian public broadcaster CBC regarding the continued broadcast of Coronation Street.

CBC has been the Canadian home of Coronation Street since 1966. The new pact with ITVSGE sees Corrie continue to air exclusively on both CBC-TV and online, just one week after the U.K. broadcast.

CBC also scored the rights to air more than 8,000 previous episodes. Wouldn't it be great if CBC found a slot to air all the older episodes?

Greg Johnson, the executive VP of distribution for the Americas for ITV Studios Global Entertainment, said: “Coronation Street has been airing on CBC for almost 50 years, and we’re delighted to continue our long-standing partnership with CBC. This agreement will enable Coronation Street’s loyal Canadian fans to continue to enjoy all the action and drama of their favorite soap for years to come.”

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Anne Kirkbride Memorial Service today

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

A public Memorial Service for Anne Kirkbride will take place at Manchester Cathedral on Saturday 30 May 2015. Members of the public are invited to attend the service and join with Anne’s family and the Coronation Street cast and crew in the celebration of Anne’s life.

Respected and much loved by all who came into contact with her, Anne played Coronation Street’s Deirdre Barlow over a 40-year period, and passed away in January this year. Anne’s character first appeared on our TV screens in November 1972 and entertained us each week appearing in over 3,300 episodes. Anne’s final appearance on the programme was in October 2014.

The Cathedral’s Sub Dean, Philip Barratt, will conduct the public service with hymns performed by Manchester Cathedral choir. There will also be readings and tributes by members of the cast including William Roache MBE, Beverley Callard and Elle Mulvaney and Executive Producer, Kieran Roberts together with members of the Coronation Street Production Team.

Anne’s husband Dave Beckett has helped the Coronation Street production team produce the service and has been involved in every aspect of the celebration including the choice of music and readings. The service will be a celebration of Anne’s private and public life with colleagues and members of the public paying their respects. Anne’s passion and verve for life will be present throughout the service.

Photographic images of the actress in her role as Deirdre and photographs taken with her real life family will be on display. An exhibition of artwork which Anne photographed and painted throughout her life will also be on view.

The Manchester Cathedral choir, singing The Lord’s My Shepherd, Hills of the North Rejoice and How Lovely are thy Dwellings, will be conducted by Christopher Stokes, Organist and Master of the Choristers, at Manchester Cathedral.

Musical accompaniment will be provided by Roman Lytwynlw on the violin and James Ellis on the piano. Both are members of the Chetham’s School of Music.

Classical Tenor, Tom Spence, will perform Lucio Dalla’s Caruso during the service. Merseyside based Tom has supported Russell Watson on tour and will be performing at the 2015 International Mersey River Festival in June.

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Sean Ward on being Callum Logan in Coronation Street

I've become a fan of Corrie's Callum, although I'm not sure it's for all the right reasons.

The actor who plays him, Sean Ward, is interviewed today in The Mirror where they praise Callum as being "manipulative, selfish, yet definitely a bit of alright, the girls love him, the guys want to be him, and much to our delight, Callum is now on the Street to stay."

Maybe I'm the wrong age (i.e. too old) but those are none of the reasons I'm enjoying watching him. I love the camp, fey way he's styled, his comedy henchmen and motley crew of comic goons.  Maybe that's part of the plan as I know I'm not the only Corrie fan to have spotted those qualities, so each to their own.

Sean's interviewed in The Mirror about his life on Corrie and how it's changed since he joined the show. He talks about his new flat, that he's dating Georgia May Foote (Katy Armstrong) in real life, and says the best perk of being on the show is being able to afford a cleaner for his mum.

Read the interview here

See also: Comedy Callum and his finger of doom.
See also: Is Callum the campest Corrie villain?
See also: Callum's henchman - hard as nails?

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Friday 29 May 2015

Famous paintings of the world - Coronation Street style

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

With Liz McDonald behind the bar of the Rovers Return recently being compared to the Edouard Manet's painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère, let's see if we can remaster some more Old Masters.

I have limited Photoshop skills so bear with.

How about Tim and Sally as Grant Wood's American Gothic.

Leanne Battersby is Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer.

Tracy Barlow as Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
Alma Baldwin emoting along to Edward Munch's The Scream
The Platt clan sitting down to The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

Roy and Hayley in Dance at Bougival by Pierre Auguste Renoir

With thanks to our blogger Emma for this one - Corrie meets Caravaggio.

Our blogger Stevie Dawson sent in this one, of a painting of George Washington.

And speaking of Coronation Street death bed scenes, our blogger Emma reminded me that when Mike Baldwin died, the Radio Times mocked up a death bed scene linked to an artwork in 2006.

DubWeasel sent this one in via twitter. It's a Frida Kahlo as depicted by Blanche Hunt.
Coronation Street Blog reader Leslie Katz emailed this one in:

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Let's talk about sex on Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Stevie Dawson on the Coronation Street Blog in May 2015, reposted with permission.)

Nearly all Coronation Street characters can be separated by six degrees of copulation. 

The cobbles play host to one big swingers' party and it has pretty much always been that way.

Jean Alexander might have had a point back in 2012 when she claimed Corrie had 'sold its soul to sex and scandal.' The Street hasn't necessarily lost its soul but I'm sure there was a collective sigh of 'well that was inevitable' when it was suggested that Nick and Carla were to bump uglies. The two sexy, successful, but unlucky in love neighbours started to spend more time together some time ago and were clearly gagging for it, but cautious Carla kept things friendly and platonic until she got to grips with her feelings. Just as things were about to go to the next level, Erica returned, complete with a bun in the oven. 

This week, we saw Leanne involve herself in the Nick-Carla, Nick-Erica scenario, suggesting Carla should tell a certain someone about her feelings before it's too late. She should know, Nick's also 'been' there too. In fact, add to that list Maria, Eva, Kylie and that almost snog with Todd, and our Casanova Nick's certainly done the rounds. The dirty dog. No wonder he's got brain damage.

Soaps are stories about relationships, and more often than not, about the implications that arise from sexual interaction between characters. Look at other recent storylines for example - Faye and her teen pregnancy, Tracy getting her claws into Tony behind Liz's back, even Sally and Tim's 'come to bed eyes' over their drinks in the Rovers. It's all going on under that metaphorical duvet that is the Greater Manchester sky.

There are so many storylines based around sex from the last few years. I've selected a few to highlight how Coronation Street covers this important subject. So let's talk about sex...


Liz McDonald. In her underwear. On a balcony. Ena Sharples would have been spinning in her grave. The scenes were hilarious but also showed us the pain Liz felt yet again at being continuously unlucky in love.

It's a common theme in soap operas. Liz has bags of sex appeal but perhaps is just a little too obvious with it and it doesn't help that she often falls for men who are already taken.

We've followed Liz's bed hopping over many years, with that ever present cleavage glaring at us like a fissure into the bowels of Hell, but Liz is the ultimate tart with a heart.

One big and rather pleasant development in Coronation Street over the past year has been the blossoming relationship between Sally and Tim. Since Tim came on the scene, he has won many of our hearts, which is no mean feat, especially as he is effectively filling the shoes of Kevin Webster. After years referring to Kevin and Sally as if they were one person, it's difficult to get used to big changes like this, but it has been cleverly written, with them all becoming one big family. The relationship between Kevin and Tim is lovely, and a refreshing approach to the ex and the new man scenario. And as we've seen recently, Sally and Tim's night time, and sometimes day time bedroom activity, proves that this might be a relationship that lasts. Let's hope so.

For a while it felt like Corrie writers were trying to shove gays down our throat. If you'll pardon the expression. But Sophie Webster, recently telling us it's ok to say 'lesbian' out loud, was funny but also reflected the attitudes still present in British society about homosexuality. I think we've all got used to girls kissing girls and boys kissing boys now, and of course girls who used to be boys kissing boys, thanks to the much-missed Hayley Cropper, but I think a bit more modest messaging might be needed before some viewers see these things as 'normal'. It's important that we see gay characters with proper storylines too, not just about their sexuality. It's not ALL about sex when you're gay. I'm told.


Carla's rape storyline gave actress Alison King some of her best but ultimately most harrowing scenes on the show. It showed a strong woman, reduced to a nervous wreck after Frank assaulted her in her own home. Such storylines are delicately approached and are often unpleasant to watch, particularly when a prominent character is involved, but rape happens and Coronation Street produced some very emotional scenes surrounding this storyline, whilst offering support to any viewers who had been raped themselves. 

Let's move on to the somewhat familiar tale of teen pregnancy. It's hard to believe so many years have passed since Sarah-Lou gave birth to Bethany. What's even harder to fathom is why there hasn't been more interaction between Sarah and Faye considering the young Windass has just had to endure the same life changing experience herself. Nonetheless this is another example of Corrie approaching a subject that has proven problematic throughout UK society - sex education and teen pregnancy. It hasn't been The Street's most emotive storyline this time round, and had a lot to live up to considering last time they approached it the issue was discussed in parliament. It's still a problem though so Corrie was probably right to bring it into the consciousness of a new audience. 

Now for the issue of selling sex. The Anna & Phelan storyline was upsetting and difficult to watch. Debbie Rush portrays torment and sadness brilliantly and these were some of her best performances. Feeling she had to sleep with Phelan in order settle Owen's debts was new territory for Corrie, who have touched on prostitution and escorting in the past, but this new, emotional twist was excellent, if somewhat depressing.

And what about the steamy affair between Tina and Peter? The less said about that the better.


Tug, tug, tug. Went the tug boat. Ken's dalliances with Martha, on what was actually a canal barge, were part of a lovely time in Corrie's recent history. We were lucky enough to still have Blanche and Deirdre with us, played by true Coronation Street greats Maggie Jones and Anne Kirkbride. Not long after, there were some very public discussions about the goings on in the Barlow family, care of Alcoholics Anonymous, but who knows what really went on down in that galley between Ken and Martha...

Now an unlikely coupling. Even though it never actually happened, the idea of Roy and Tracy getting it on was planted in our consciousness some years ago, in a bizarre storyline that involved numerous Street residents. Thankfully it turned out to be one of Tracy's evil schemes to milk Roy and Hayley for all she could, and I'm sure we all breathed a sigh of relief when we were let in on the secret. It didn't happen. 


So let's all have a stiff one and raise our glasses to all the great Coronation Street sex over the years. And plenty more to come. Keep it up, Corrie. 

Twitter: @StevieDawson

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Conversation Street podcast 150

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

This episode of the podcast covers the last three episodes shown in Canada. David and Callum have their custody hearing. Will David ruin his chances? Lloyd goes on an impromptu trip when Steve's stag do doesn't turn out as planned. The classic character profile this week is Ashley Peacock.

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Sud's Law - the legal case for Corrie custody of Max

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

If you're the sort of Coronation Street fan who likes a bit of court room drama and shouts at the telly "Oi! That wouldn't happen in real life!" when they tackle legal issues, then you'll like this blog post.

It's been sent to us from Sud's Law - the legal facts behind the fiction. And this time they're looking at the Coronation Street custody battle for little Max.

Sud's Law weighs up the pros and cons of David and Callum as to who would, in real life, be awarded custody in such a case. And while they give nothing away about the storyline, it's well worth a read.

So who would win custody of little Max in real life? There’s only one way to decide…

Read the Sud's Law blog post here.

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Thursday 28 May 2015

Corrie Canada sneak previews for June 1 - 5

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

Carla scuppers the deal and Tracy is determined to have her revenge. Liz gets her heart broken. Victoria Court goes up in flames and lives are in danger, but is Tracy responsible? Sophie and Maddie make plans for their future as do Kal and Leanne. Jenny makes plans, too but someone will thwart them. Steve and Michelle tie the knot.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Corrie Canada sneak previews for June 1 - 5

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

Tracy has her revenge but does it have fatal consequences? Jenny makes plans to leave town with Jack but someone catches her. Will they be able to get to Kevin in time? Kal proposes. Steve and Michelle get married. David has to answer Max's difficult questions. Victoria Court goes up in flames.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Wednesday 27 May 2015

Sally Lindsay: "I'd love to come back to Coronation Street"

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

In this week's Inside Soap magazine, there's a good interview with Sally Lindsay, who played Shelley Unwin on Coronation Street.

Sally talks fondly about her time on Corrie and says this: "I'd love to come back to it in years to come. Betty Driver (Betty Williams) didn't join until she was 58 so there's plenty of time I love Corrie - always have, always will."

Talking about working on Corrie, she says: "Corrie was the best training course of my life. I learned everything there - everything. I had to learn lines quickly  and because everything turns over so rapidly, you learn to trust your instincts while working with brilliant actors like William Roache (Ken Barlow).  He's amazing.  He never forgets his lines or was late on set. You look up to people like that."

She pays tribute to Betty Driver and says: "Betty could fill a room with her presence and was such a good woman.  She looked after people and gave generously of her time and I think I've always aspired to be like that because of her. Right to the end she was giving people autographs when she went for a little walk in hospital.  She was always very kind, sometimes it's hard to be kind in this business but she always was She was a great mate, and hilarious with it. She was lovely."

Sally is starring in Ordinary Lies on BBC1 at 9pm on Tuesday nights.

Glenda Young 
Flaming Nora Blog / Twitter  

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Tuesday 26 May 2015

In pictures: the many wives of Steve McDonald

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

Steve and Michelle are due to get married on Coronation Street this week.

It's time then, once again, to look back at the many weddings and wives of Steve McDonald, so far...

Mrs McDonald No. 1
Vicky Arden.
Wealthy, orphan grand-daughter of Rovers landlord Alex Gilroy.
Married in St Lucia on 18 August 1995.

Mrs McDonald No. 2
Karen Phillips, they married for a bet on 30 August 2001.

Mrs McDonald No. 2 (again)

Karen McDonald, they married again on 18 February 2004, this time for love not money.

Mrs McDonald No. 3 - Almost!
Friday 13 March 2009
Steve's bride, Becky Granger was too drunk and the wedding didn't go ahead.

Mrs McDonald No. 3 - Second time lucky
Friday August 14th, 2009
Becky Granger

Mrs McDonald No. 4
Tracy Barlow, January 21, 2012
Separated at the wedding reception when Steve learned Tracy had lied about her miscarriage being caused by Becky pushing her down the stairs.

So far, Steve has had six weddings and four wives...will it be a happy ever after with Michelle? 

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Coronation Street meets the Folies-Bergère

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

Last night on Coronation Street, Ken walked into the Rovers and compared Liz behind the bar of the Rovers to a Manet painting. It was a lovely scene in a wonderful pair of episodes written by Jonathan Harvey.

The painting Ken compared Liz to was Edouard Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergère.  As you can see below, it works.

Gilly Walsh, Corrie make up artist on twitter reminded us that we've seen a similiar picture before featuring a Coronation Street character.   The picture of Becky Granger in the same pose was done as a cover for the Radio Times.

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Exclusive interview with Coronation Street Digital Editor

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

We are delighted to bring you an exclusive Coronation Street Blog interview with Dan Archibald, the man who manages Coronation Street's online presence.  Dan and his colleage Alan Toner at ITV Corrie have recently been nominated as Best Content Team in the Prolific North Awards. And with their achievements recognised in this way, what better way than to ask Dan to tell us all about his job tweeting and writing online about our favourite show!

Dan hard at work on #AskCorrie with Tina O'Brien (Sarah Platt)
Please introduce yourself and tell us your job title and how long you've been in the role.
My name is Dan Archibald and I’ve been the Coronation Street Digital Editor for a little over a year.
Basically, I look after as well as the social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. 

What's a typical day like as Digital Editor for Coronation Street?
That’s the joy of this job - there are very few typical days! I watch every episode of Coronation Street to pick out the key moments to highlight on the social platforms. This depends on story beats, funny one-liners etc. but also with half an eye on future storylines and where the characters or plots are heading. To do this, I do a lot of analysis around what people are responding too after every episode. Then, using a combination of sentiment and statistics I try and pre-empt what the fans are going to like or want to talk about!

That’s the fun part of the job, as I then get to sit and watch the episode again with the rest of the country and modify and change our focus, in real-time, as everyone else is watching and talking about it!
Rest assured, we see all your comments (the good and bad) and everything is taken on board.

Away from the socials, my main focus is writing and creating content for while working closely with the other departments at Corrie (including the cast!) to find little nuggets to share with our fans. The rest of my time is spent delving into statistics and providing feedback to the rest of the company about how we're performing, working up technical ideas such as the voting mechanics on Who Killed Tina? or the multiple endings on What Would Kirk Do? as well as dipping my toes into the commercial world, by helping to activate Online sponsorship deals etc.

Dan hard at work on #AskCorrie with Brooke Vincent

Were you a Corrie fan before you started the job? What was it like to meet some of the icons of the cast? Do you get a bit star struck?
I think the joy of Corrie is that everyone has been a fan at some point or another in their life. For me, Coronation Street always reminds of my Nan coming round for Sunday dinner when I was younger. We’d all sit around and watch it as a family and so I've always feel quite sentimental when I think back.

I haven’t been too starstruck when it comes to meeting the cast - I’ve been working in TV for a few years now and you do get used to it. Saying that I was a massive Red Dwarf fan and I did have to double take when I first saw Craig Charles in the canteen!

One of the fab behind-the-scenes pics of cast members regularly tweeted by @itvcorrie
What do you like most about your job at ITV?
The people. Every single person I’ve worked with has been genuinely lovely. You hear a lot of stories about working in TV before you start, but I’ve been nothing but impressed with everyone’s professionalism - and sense of fun!

And what would you change if you could?
I could do with a few more hours in the day.

What did you do before you started at Coronation Street?
I started off as a runner and researcher working freelance on everything from Big Brother to Blue Peter, but my first digital job was making behind-the-scenes videos and blogs for The One Show.  From there, I worked on shows like Strictly Come Dancing and EastEnders before moving over to ITV nearly 6 years ago.

I was initially brought into ITV to look after Emmerdale and the ITV Drama Premiers (Downton Abbey and Primeval were my first websites!) but I then moved into the Online Entertainment Department and produced shows like Saturday Night Takeaway and The X Factor before moving back up north to Manchester.

Is your job full of meetings about meetings or is it quite fun?
So much fun! I get to write and make up silly jokes for a living - plus the meetings are usually quite useful.

Cast members watching the Corrie Challenge online mime-off between Jack P Shepherd and Les Dennis
Watch it here, it's great!
You work closely with Alan Toner, the Corrie Digital Producer. Can you explain a little about what Alan does please?
The Coronation Street Digital Department is a two man team. Digital Producer Alan Toner is the other half of our merry little band. Every single video that you see online has in some way come from Alan's marvellous brain. Whereas my main focus is always on what is coming up in the next few weeks and reflecting what’s going on now, Alan is always looking ahead of time.

Alan works very closely with the writers and storyliners to strategise what our focus should be coming up. He’s the guy that’s out there on set filming behind-the-scenes and interviewing the cast. Alan is also the man who drags our amazing additional mini-dramas to life online. Directing the crew on the likes of Streetcar Stories and What Would Kirk Do?

And can you explain a little about the Prolific North Award that you and Alan Toner have been nominated for? When do you find out if you've won it? What will you do to celebrate if you do?
It’s amazing to be shortlist for Best Content Team in the Prolific North Awards. Alan and I really love what we’re doing and for that to be noticed is really very much appreciated. There is a real buzz and excitement around the media and creative industries in the North at the moment and to be included, in our small part, with that resurgence is very flattering.

We won’t find out if we’ve won until they read out the names on the night, but if we win I’m sure there will be some partying involved - it would be very rude not to.

What advice would you give anyone who is reading this who would like to get experience to enter the same type of career as you have?
Be friendly, work hard and don’t set yourself up to do just one thing. The more open (and brave) you can be to saying yes to jobs across all mediums, genres and platforms, the more well rounded you will be when you find the thing you want to do.

Social media didn’t even exist when I started working in TV - I remember working on a report about this new Twitter thing and thinking it would never catch on, and now I spend most of my week Tweeting for a living - it’s bonkers!

With our very best thanks to ITV and to Dan Archiband for this great interview. Cheers and good luck in the Prolific North Awards!

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Conversation Street Podcast 149

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

On the latest episode of Conversation Street, Anna shows Faye up at school by bringing the baby to her in front of everyone. Tony and Tracy move closer to their goal of taking over the Rovers. Billy comes clean to the Bishop. There's a new monthly feature, this month about all Corrie's pets. There's the Kabin for news and feedback as well!

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Monday 25 May 2015

Bring back the Kabin paper round to Coronation Street

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

Who's delivering the papers for Norris and Rita in the Kabin these days? I think we should be told.  It's time to bring back the paper boy or paper girl to Coronation Street.

As far as I can recall, the last time we heard someone doing the paper round in Corrie was 'Chelsea Trainers' when Norris was on the phone to them.

And according to Corripedia, the first paper boy appeared in 1976.  Credited simply as Paper Boy he was an employee of Rita Littlewood’s in the Kabin who in response to sarcasm from her hoping that he would actually deliver 75% of her papers, made a comment about her “wig” before hurriedly leaving the shop.

So that's the first and the last of those working the paper round. How many of those who have held this most esteemed of jobs can we remember? Do please prompt me as I know I will have missed loads out.

Paper boy Craig Russell was played by actor Stuart Wolfenden. He returned to Corrie as Kevin Webster’s grease monkey sidekick Mark Casey and can currently be found on Corrie playing Greig Hodge, granddad to Faye's baby Miley.

Ramsey Clegg, Norris' brother, worked as one of the oldest paper boys in town.
Priscilla Millbanks was a young girl who delivered newspapers for The Kabin in 1988.
Jenny Bradley worked there as a papergirl in 1986 and that's how she met Rita.
Another OAP, Harry Ashton worked there as paperboy in 1988.
Pensioner Keith Appleyard worked there too as a paperboy in 2005.
Louise Clayton was the chirpy but outspoken papergirl who was promoted by Mavis Riley to be a full-time assistant after Rita Fairclough walked out on Len Fairclough, her marriage and her job in early 1980.
Dennis Tanner even delivered the papers but managed to get it wrong. On his first round, Dennis got a little muddled with the deliveries. Rita told him there had been a complaint and that "Mrs Barnett's phoned to say her Jewish Chronicle went to Mrs Khan."
Michael Le Vell (Kevin Webster) played paper boy Neil Grimshaw in 1981.

Curly Watts worked as a paperboy too but we never saw him delivering papers.
Chesney Brown once did the job too.
As did Candice Stowe.

In 1988 Jason Stubbs asked at the Kabin if they needed anyone. They didn't, but the polite lad made an impression on Mavis Riley...

... who two days later decided to sack unreliable Wayne Pickles and give Jason his round. On his first day in the job, Jason was beaten up by Wayne for "stealing" the round.

Craig Tinker once worked as paperboy, for just a few hours, after he was caught stealing the Kabin's paperboy statue.  Watch the scene here.

Lindsay Gilmour appeared in Coronation Street in March 1981 as papergirl Penny Shaw
Gary Carp played paperboy Jimmy Haggerty in 1976.

There must have been more... please leave a comment below if you can remember any of the Kabin's paper girls and paper boys and I'll add them in to this blog post.

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