Thursday, 30 July 2015

Wanted: Spirited shopkeeper for Weatherfield store

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in August 2013.)

Like many others, I went into a bit of a slump on hearing the news that Katy Cavanagh had decided to hang up her high heels and take her leave of the Street. Joyous Julie will be no more. While it's great news for the actor, Katy's impending departure scuppers my plans for her to reign supreme in the Corner Shop. Of course, these plans begin and end in my own mind. Who could be bothered with the minutiae of real life when you can gaze out of the window and map out the rise and rise of the People's Doris Day?

For me, the Corner Shop symbolises a wasted opportunity. Forever and a day it has been central to life on the Street but of late, the shop has become marginalised. I think there may be a staffing problem. Now don't get me wrong - I'm partial to a bit of Comedy Dev and even So-feh has her moments. Together though, they ain't Team Shop.

The dream teams at number fifteen are numerous. Maggie and Norma. Alf and the incomparable Deirdre. Alf and Sally. Maureen and Maud. Memorable colleagues one and all. Sometimes the pairings floundered. The Welsh granny and Nora Batty were about as appetising as a Marmite and coleslaw balm cake. Tricia and Gail were a giggling nightmare. Ravi 'dear lady' Desai and his miserable daughter. Brendan Scott and Emily 'Upstairs Downstairs' Bishop.

It's about time the shop was back where it belongs, at the heart of this small community. That doesn't mean turning back the clock forty years and littering the place with bacon slicers and people coughing over the cake selections. The shop needs a strong female presence. Maybe a woman in her late forties, possibly freshly divorced or widowed, setting out on a new adventure in life. Her own shop. With the kids off her hands, this is now 'her time'. Of course, the kids would soon roll up and disrupt things but it could be an interesting story.

Years ago, the Street had fewer places for social interaction. If you weren't knocking down a milk stout in the Rovers or dropping off your order with Maggie/Renee (delete as applicable) then your only other chance for a gossip indoors would have been to jam yourself in Rita's lending library/café with Uncle Albert. Nowadays, the Street residents can ricochet from gym to café to kebab shop to Weatherfield General.

The Corner Shop could have been Julie's little bit of heaven but it's not be. However, it's time for this palace of provisions to regain its rightful place at the heart of Street life. We want a cheery, no-nonsense shopkeeper serving up homespun philosophies, a shoulder to cry on - and no eclairs.

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