Monday 30 November 2015

Coronation Street Chit-Chat news catch-up, November 2015

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

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

Current Corrie cast members
Kym Marsh (Michelle Connor) goes ice-skating. Read it here.
Kym Marsh (Michelle Connor) and Catherine Tyldesley (Eva Price) switched on Manchester Christmas lights. Read it here.
Catherine Tyldesley (Eva Price) and Brooke Vincent (Sophie Webster) enjoy night out together in Manchester. Read it here.
Tina O'Brien (Sarah Platt) on being vegetarian. Read it here.
Alan Halsall (Tyrone Dobbs) opens a new Co-op travel shop in Gloucester on Sat 14 November. Read it here.

ITV's This Morning puppy goes walkabout on the cobbles

Ex Corrie cast members
Andrew Lancel (Frank Foster) will play Brian Clough on stage. Read it here.
Angela Griffin (Fiona Middleton) wants a Corrie return. Read it here.
Julie Hesmondhalgh (Hayley Cropper) narrates Alice in Wonderland. Read it here.
Sean Ward (Callum Logan) directs music video. Read it here.
Peter Gunn (Brian Packham) supports Blackburn community event. Read it here.
Gray O'Brien (Tony Gordon) joins the cast of The Sound of Music touring UK stage play. Read it here.

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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Corrie Canada weekly awards for Nov. 23 - 27

Apples off the tree award: Amy had a very conniving look on her face after assessing the situation regarding Tony. Like mother like daughter!

Musical ambience: Amy was playing the theme from the Muppets on the violin! At least it was recognizable.

Pants on Fire award: where do I start? David and Kylie pretending she's on drugs. Liz and Tony pretending they weren't dating again.

Spider's Parlour award: I think Liz is setting Tony up for a big fall. ("Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly")

Cat out of the bag award: Amy! Very good at deciding just the right time and place to spill the beans and aim them towards the fan. Then asked Tony for money after everyone dumped all over Liz for taking him back. What a legend she is!

Fashion misstatement: Ken? Jeans? I don't think he wore them even in the 60s did he?

Blast from the Past award: Sophie mentioned Bill Webster in a round about way, using an expression her granddad used to use.

Lines of the week:
Amy about Liz and Tony "Dude, they were all over each other!" and "Well, don't shoot the messenger!" (Amy was Totally Awesome this week!)
Gail "We've lived in the shadow of Sally's conservatory for far too long"
Tracy to Nessa "You hearse-chasing old slapper"
Kylie to David "Because, unlike you, I'm not a psycho"
Ken "Tracy can bear a grudge the size of an aircraft carrier"
Tracy "Even her name sounds like a bank account"
Tony "You do know what you're looking at here, a new man" Liz "Yeah, well I might keep hold of the receipt" (I would if I were you, chuck)
Sean "Have you never heard of flattery, Sal?" (And she fell for it)
Erica "I'm not one to throw stones, not with the amount of glass houses I've lived in"
Kirk "It's a 24 hour clock so there's all that to deal with, too!"
Sophie about Luke "He's had a face like a yard of gravy all day"

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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Sunday 29 November 2015

Deirdre - A life on Coronation Street: a review

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2015.)

I have a collection of books based on Coronation Street, and at the end of last month another came through the letterbox.

But this is a special book. Not only is it written by our wonderful editor Glenda Young but it is also the first biography of a Corrie character - the soap icon Deirdre Hunt/Langton/Barlow/Rachid/Barlow.

I promised Glenda that I would do a review of the book, but I won't say much about the content because I don't want to ruin it for others who are yet to read it or are getting it for a Christmas present. 

The book has it all: brilliant photos, chronological storylines and features including Deirdre's men, jobs and fashions. But what else is brilliant is that includes fabulous quotes from the show from Deirdre and various other characters like Blanche, Ken and Rita. There are sometimes the script of famous Deirdre scenes like the love triangle in 1983 and her two-hander with Tracy in 2007.

What we see in this book is a wonderful character developing over 40 years - from cheeky dollybird in 1972 to the middle-aged matriarch of the Barlows who, if it wasn't for Anne Kirkbride's death, could have been a natural successor to Blanche.

There were even storylines that I wasn't aware of, and I thought I was a hard-core fan!

There's a quiz at the end and a list of her appearances which is sourced from the wonderful Corriepedia!

So I say go out and buy this wonderful book about a wonderful lady by a wonderful lady!

And let's hope this is the beginning of a biographical series. Rita next eh Glenda? Or Ken?

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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Why the Nazirs are no longer the nadir of Weatherfield

(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in November 2015, reposted with permission.)

Is any one character universally loved on t'cobbles? Probably not although Roy Cropper must come perilously close to getting a group hug from the assembled fandom. Something he would hate. There are certainly firm favourites - Liz, Rita and Carla are beloved by many. In the dim and distant past I loved Bet and Minnie. I also took a shine, worryingly, to Renee Bradshaw. Early-version Gail plus her cohorts Tricia and later Suzie could do no wrong in my eyes.

Conversely, I've never cared for Emily all that much. I'm no big fan of Rita, never really 'got' Janice Battersby and loathed Mike 'packet of my cigars' Baldwin for two decades. A year ago, I would have added the Nazirs to the list. Initially they seemed to be yet another 'en masse' family flop and I was expecting them to be jammed into the Corrie cupboard alongside the Claytons, the Mortons and Beth's short-lived relations. Kal was an unrealistic gym instructor. They may as well have stuck Michael in lycra. Yasmeen always seemed to be projecting to the back row of a 2000 seat theatre, Sharif went from business mogul to hen farmer in a matter of weeks and Zeedan was a scowling bag of resentment. Ok, so the latter is a work in progress. Only Alya, bright as a button, seemed likely to be with us for the long haul.

How things have changed. Yasmeen has mellowed and although she hasn't lost her spark, her nurturing and caring side has emerged, particularly since Kal's death. Sharif has settled in nicely, hens conveniently forgotten and Zeedan proved to be a good friend to Leanne when she needed one most. Given upcoming storylines, she may well need that particular shoulder to cry on again before long.

Which leaves us with Alya. Corrie has once again worked its particular kind of 'magic' on a young woman and has drained her of any interest. It's happened before. Maria went from frumpy kennel maid, to vamp, to psycho mummy in the space of a decade. Sophie morphed from 'girl most likely to make something of herself' to mumbling dullard. Becky yo-yo'd between numerous personalities until we were all worn out and didn't care any more. Dear, dead old Tina journeyed from lovable barmaid to young fogey, helped along by dreary Tommy Duckworth and Tyrone's perpetual hangdog face. Now it's poor old Alya's turn. The engagement to Gary Windass was odd and clunky. They never seemed like an actual couple. Alya's one-off descent into drink and a little afternoon delight with Jason were uncomfortable storylines. Her burgeoning career at Underworld has been snuffed out by the many Connors and she now shuffles around the shop floor with a clipboard or hovers in the doorway waiting for the command to make something with 'two sugars love'.

For me then, the Nazirs can stay. I like them. Give Alya the positive lift she needs and you never know, I may even end up loving them.
David Bridgman (twitter @bridglondon)

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Sunday Comments November 29

Kylie can't face partying in Gail's new room over Callum's resting place. Can't blame her. Gail is oblivious of course but David is trying hard to convince Kylie to go to her grand opening party. Kylie's getting paranoid, too, thinking she can smell the decay. Kylie blames David for the situation but what's the solution? Gail overheard him telling her that she'd be in jail but she didn't overhear much and David scrambled for an excuse and dropped Kylie right back in it.

That was a terrible thing for him to say and she's really shocked at how low he's gone to cover everything up. He's only being stone-cold to try to keep everything in control. He's pretending to make her appointments with the councillor which has the result of getting her the afternoon off, at least.

Wasn't it nice to see the silence for Remembrence Day in the cafe? Tracy reckons Steve has to pay for a broken violin bow. He's already paying for the lessons, Ken bought the violin, I think Tracy could manage a few pounds for the bow. But that's Tracy for you. Jamie is still bullying Luke into racing, I see. Sophie's already dressing smarter now she's a business owner.

Tim and Sally are back! That was a bloody long honeymoon! They got married October 5. She's back to work and even though she was perfectly pleasant to Johnny, he immediately found her voice grating. Thing is, Sally is a good PA but she's also a good machinist but Carla isn't letting Johnny off the hook. He wants her demoted, he has to do the demoting and he did find a way of doing it so that he tried to blame Aidan and Carla, tried to praise her skills, but he admitted it was her voice in the end. and he managed to flatter her, praising her skill as a machinist and making her floor supervisor on Carla's suggestion and he really poured on the honey, didn't he? She's not stupid, though, she managed a promotion out of it.

Funny they have had that position in the past but haven't always. Last one was Hayley. And I can't blame Sally for being miffed and wondering if she should go to a tribunal. Demoting someone because you don't like the sound of their voice has to be grounds for something.

Dev was showing off with the pricing gun and wearing his second best shirt, dressed to impress but with Mary and Cathy taking the mick, it was a hard slog. But his showing off ended up coming across more patronizing. At least Erica doesn't let him get away with it. Eileen reckons Dev fancies Erica but it doesn't seem like that's returned. At the moment. And after another crisis at home, Erica is now homeless so naturally, Dev has offered her the shop flat.

Amy is still forging ahead on the violin lessons. Ken is avoiding taking her even though the whole thing was his idea because he wanted to go out with Nessa.

Steve has decided he had to get out of dodge, what with Tony lurking around. His nerves couldn't handle it and he's off to Spain while the actor is off taking some sick time. Liz is still insisting she's not getting back with Tony and then brings lunch over to him. He's pouring on all the charm he's got and then some. It looked like that charm might be winning her over but she still wants to keep things secret. She is determined to keep Tony away. She might still have feelings but she can't put her family through it all again. He's got a big job to win Steve around. Was there a little smirk on her face as she went down the steps after telling him? I think there was.

Amy saw them kissing. I don't expect it will stay secret long. I loved it when Amy questioned Michelle and Liz as to the lay of the land regarding Tony's welcome or not. She had a very conniving look on her face. Tracy saw Tony smile at Liz though Liz blanked him on the street and now she's suspicious, too. By the end of the week, Amy spilled the beans and the beans hit the fan and then asked Tony for some money for that outfit she wanted, which made me laugh out loud.

All week we had Liz and Tony skulking around behind people's backs with Liz now pushing Tony. He's got to cut ties with Tracy. He's got to make it up with Steve. It sounds very much like she's got an ulterior agenda and Tony's falling right into her web, especially when she casually mentioned that he'd have to sign the pub back to Steve as the only thing that would make any difference to her son. Not that she said he had to but it would probably be very awkward living under the same roof, wouldn't it? The seed was sown.

Now Tony wants out of his partnership with Tracy and she hasn't got the money and neither does Robert but she's jumped to the conclusion that Liz is behind it. Which she is. But after Liz lied and denied, Michelle looked thoughtful. Tony cleaned out the bank account in lieu of the payout he wanted from her to buy him out. I hope Tracy gets a contract sorted out so that his name isn't on the business anymore, after that.

Finally, Liz is confronted by her friends, Erica, Eileen and Michelle, all of whom just can't get their heads around Liz taking Tony back. Erica stays more or less non-judgemental but Michelle and Eileen use as much ammunition as they can. It doesn't seem to make a dent, even trying to use guilt over Steve's reaction. She says something about having to do what she has to do with is a bit odd. You'd think she'd declare that she has to follow her heart. When Tony comes to her with a signed contract that gives her and Steve back the pub, Liz verfies it with her solicitor. So far so good. She texts Michelle to come back to the pub but she's side tracked by Tony who slips in and goes down on one knee to propose just as Michelle comes through the door, and she's horrified!

Nessa really is over the moon about Ken and making it sound like it definitely is a developing relationship and rubbing it in gleefully to al that will listen. But according to Ken, yes, he admits taking her out and Tracy is horrified. She's certain it means he never loved Deirdre at all, and to some people it can look like that but really, it's not all that unusual. It's difficult to see someone moving on when you might not think it's been an appropriate length of time but it's different for everyone. I still fully believe that in Ken's case, it has more to do with being lonely, needing someone to fill that spot but he likely wouldn't have taken that step if Nessa hadn't been so relentless in pursuing him, either.

But Tracy's outburst and Deirdre's old friends did make Ken think twice about it. He can't be happy about a relationship if everyone else is against it. Robert's encouraging Ken but I'm not sure it's fair, because he's also not been in that situation. Ken realizes it looks like he's back into "ladies' man" mode. I can fully understand how it hurts Tracy to see her mother replaced. I think it might have gone over a bit better if it had been Audrey rather than man eater Nessa. He's decided. He's going to date Nessa and keep on living. Her revamping his wardrobe, though, even getting him into jeans, might backfire on him! Mind you, he turned vegetarian at his late age so maybe jeans are the way to go!

Tracy isn't happy about it one little bit.

Simon's back and nothing's changed. He's still angry and surly. I'm tired of this. If there hadn't been a break in the action, I would have stayed interested. It certainly didn't start off well for Simon. First Peter made him take the train on his own and then Leanne didn't meet him at the station. He was nice when there was company around but once Ken and Eva left, it was back to Simon angry because Leanne sent him away. It didn't help because Peter spent more time with his girlfriend than with him.

So we're back to the same old same old. I liked this story at first, it was interesting and inevitable considering what Simon has been through all his life. Now, after a break, it feels like it's dragging on too long and I hope they wind it up sooner than later. Meanwhile, Leanne is reaching the end of her rope. The break was good for her but she's right back into the firing line. Simon mouthed off but Eva really gave him grief for it. He seemed to genuinely apologize but Leanne insisted he go to school so his attitude slipped right back. He bunked off school and had a party for his mates which Leanne discovered. Uh oh.

How can Tyrone and Fiz not decorate the neighbourhood and rally the troops to give that sweet little girl a happy Christmas. Simon was away for 8 weeks. No word of being at school while he was away. No word of Leanne getting fined for taking him out of school. No word of him doing any schoolwork. I thought Liz told Tony to come to the pub later because Michelle would be out but she was certainly not.

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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Saturday 28 November 2015

Sue Nicholls: "I was surprised about Audrey and Ken storyline"

Sue Nicholls, who plays Audrey Roberts in Coronation Street, says she was surprised when she was first told about the Ken and Audrey storyline.  In this interview with Sue Nicholls, she tells us what we can expect as Audrey and Ken's friendship develops... and Cathy's sister Nessa arrives who also fancies Ken!

Is Audrey surprised by her feelings for Ken?
At first she is just enjoying his company and not reading too much into it but she is eventually surprised about how she is feeling. First of all she is seeing herself in a mother earth type of role as he has had this dreadful loss and needs someone to talk to. But after having a couple of occasions where they spent time together they start talking about how long it takes to move on from a loss which sorts of takes it into a different area, as it it recognising that moving on to another relationship is an option.

Does it panic her a little?
Yes I think maybe it does a little not because she doesn’t like it but because she does like it and that worries her. She feels a bit out of her depth with someone like Ken. She probably went home that night and poured a very large drink and thought “Ooh what is happening here!”

What do you think it is about Ken that attracts her?
Initially it is the first time that they have talked about other things, it is a bit deeper, not just about general day to day stuff. She finds she quite enjoys his company, I don’t think for one moment that she ever thought she would have a grown up conversation with Ken. She tried to impress him with reading Anna Karenina and he was so lovely when she did admit she wasn’t really reading it he was so sweet about it! Sometimes when you get to know someone a bit and perhaps go to their home you start to see them in a way that you haven’t done before.

Do you think she is concerned somewhere with what people may think because of Deirdre?
I think in a way there is that yes and I can understand that because it is quite soon after. At this point she isn’t able to go too far down worrying about that because Nessa appears.

Does Audrey immediately realise that Nessa fancies Ken?
Oh yes very quickly, she is very upfront and straight in there. She thanks Ken straight away for helping look for her son Alex, she doesn’t give Audrey a second glance. Particularly once Audrey has made it clear she and Ken are not an item. She thinks she is a bit over the top.

Do you think she is a match for Nessa?
Well I actually think she knows exactly what Nessa is and what she stands for because she is very much the sort of person Audrey was when she was younger. She’s flirty and gregarious. There’s a bit of that still in Audrey. Nessa doesn’t have the baggage of having known Deirdre or caring what other people think so she can just put it out there and go for it.

What happens when Audrey confides in Rita?
Because Audrey has gone home on her own and the whole Ken thing has occupied her mind more than it would if she had a house full of people then she feels she really needs to speak to someone. Rita is the person who had already started to notice things anyway and had made a few comments. They have a chat in the pub and Rita tells her she should tell him how she feels.
If you were Audrey’s friend how would you advise her?
I think I would not have been as forward as Rita, I would have said just see how it goes and see if it goes any further. Don’t rush into things and if it is meant to be it will. Don’t worry about Nessa we don’t know anything about her and there is nothing to say Ken is interested.

Do you think Audrey and Ken would make a good couple?
That is a very difficult question to ask. There are some very big shoes to fill and they are very different people. I was quite surprised when I was first told about what was going to happen, but nicely surprised. In fairness it depends what they are going to do and how it develops, it is nice that it is quite a slow burner and is coming from a mutual friendship. And as yet we don’t know if they will end up as a couple. For now she is just very peeved that Nessa has come in and stolen her companion from her.

Ken would also have big shoes to fill as Audrey’s love of her life was Alf?
That is true, Audrey first set her sights on Alf because of his position, she had been around the block a bit and he could give her a life she wanted but she grew very much to love him and he helped make her the woman she is today. He taught her a lot. Growing old with someone is all part of it. Most of all I think Ken and Audrey could have a lovely friendship.

How do you think the families will react about this growing friendship?
Well the family are very unforgiving with Audrey and Gail and their choice in men so if they think something is possibly developing with Ken it would be interesting to see how they and indeed Tracy will react!

Are you enjoying working with Bill?
Yes I am I love Bill, we haven’t ever really worked together before this to any degree - I have been in the Barlow’s maybe about half a dozen times in total before this storyline. It is a joy for me as an actor to work with different people, you get used to working with your on screen family and it is lovely to suddenly have something different. Bill is a real giggler and it seems I make him laugh even when I’m trying to be dramatic.

Have you had any response from viewers?
Not really as yet because aside from the Anna Karenina incident there hasn’t been a lot of indication that anything might develop. It will be interesting to see what the viewers make of it. I do think it is something that people of a certain age can identify with. Are you ready to give up the life you are living and let someone else in?

There's an absolutely brilliant interview in today's Mirror with Sue Nicholls, who plays Audrey Roberts in Coronation Street.

Sue, and Audrey, are in the Corrie spotlight at the moment with Audrey's friendship with Ken developing into something more. Or will it?

Sue, also known by her title of the Honourable Susan Frances Harmar-Nicholls, is married to actor Mark Eden, who played Alan Bradley on Corrie.  In the interview she talks about married life to Mark and her on-screen relationship with Ken Barlow and real-life friendship with William Roache.

Rita with Alan Bradley
She also talks about the death of co-star Anne Kirkbride who played Deirdre. She says: “The storyline had to change because of the circumstances that hit us all so badly – because of the sadness of dear Annie. Obviously that meant Deirdre wasn’t going to be around, so what they’d thought of had to go on hold.”

What does Sue think Anne would make of Audrey getting together with Ken? “I don’t know really,” she ponders. “She was so professional. Annie just took whatever stories happened. She’ll ­probably say, ‘Yeah, go on girl. Love you...’”

She adds: “Everybody loved Annie, it was always a joy to be with her. But you’ve got to kind of think of the story – and I don’t mean forget Annie. It’s difficult because she was such a huge, huge character and so important. It’s being delicately done.”

It's a lovely read and it's here.

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Tisha Merry talks Corrie's revenge porn storyline

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

I'm a big fan of Tisha Merry, who plays Steph Britton on Coronation Street. And I'm a big fan of Steph too although I reckon Steph would already have made mincemeat out of dopey Jamie by now.

Tisha was interviewed on ITV's Lorraine about the revenge porn storyline.  Coming up on Corrie, Steph finds out about Jamie's bribe and photographs, but is unable to stop Jamie from posting them.

Tisha talked about what it's like tackling a sensitive issue that can affect anyone, often with traumatic consequences.

She said: "I hope when people watch it they think, 'I'm not going to do that, I'm going to think twice, this is what can happen'."

Tisha has been on Corrie for almost three years now. Hasn't time flown?!

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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Friday 27 November 2015

Ken Barlow to go public with his new romance

Ken might be having a good time looking for love this week on Coronation Street, but there are some people on the Street who think he's out of line.

Firstly, Tracy pours cold water on her step-dad's fling with Nessa and tells him it's far too soon after Deirdre's death.

Tracy will tell Ken she can't believe he's moving on already just a few months after Deirdre died. Worse still, after Tracy loses her temper with Ken, he seeks solace in his friends on the Street but they give him short-shrift.  Both Rita and Emily agree with Tracy and tell Ken that they aren't too happy with his choice of companion.  Rita, for now, keeps quiet about Audrey's crush on Ken.

Tracy's fella Robert is the only one who thinks Ken should grab happiness where he can and Ken decides to do just that. He and Nessa go public with their romance and of course, this will leave the fragrant Mrs Roberts somewhat distraught.

What do we think, Corrie fans? Is Nessa the right woman for Ken? Is Audrey? Is it too soon for anyone just yet after Deirdre's death?

Deirdre: A  Life on Coronation Street
is a new official ITV book celebrating of one of the best soap icons of our time. 
Find out more here.

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Conversation Street podcast 175

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

This week in Corrie, Simon's back and nothing has changed. Nessa's chasing Ken and he's not running away. Tony's chasing Liz and she's not running away, either but maybe she's got an agenda. Johnny meets Sally and there's an immediate clash.  The character profile is Ernest Bishop and there's the usual listener feedback, news and chat.

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Thursday 26 November 2015

The Past Is A Bucket Of Ashes

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in November 2015, reposted with permission.)

Last year I delved into the archives, first to 1979 and then to 1989.  I'd always meant to go back and have another look sometime, but life got in the way, plus all that brown wallpaper and miserable food and relentless Ivy Tilsley got to be too much.  However, I've not had much on this week, so I turned back to YouTube to find out what was happening on the Street this week thirty-five years ago.

Episode Broadcast November 3rd 1980

We start off with Deirdre Langton, as was, hammering away at a teacake with a butter knife.  She's meant to be preparing it for the school girl customer, but she actually looks like she's trying to beat it into submission.  Ivy Tilsley is also there, wearing a headscarf and complaining because Brian has lost his job and Gail's pregnant.  They bemoan a woman's lot, and Ivy gestures to toddler Tracy sat on the side: "When she's grown up and got married it'll be just as bad as it is today."  Oh Ivy, you have no idea.

The girl with the teacakes goes outside, and I realise she's not a school girl at all; she's just really young.  She's stopped by a lad who's like every Bay City Roller combined into one unfortunate package, and who has a truly indecipherable accent.  I think it's Brummie, but it might be Scouse.  Apparently he and the girl were caught by a policeman drinking in Len's yard the night before, which is embarrassing for her because her dad's a copper.  I have absolutely no idea who these people are; given the lack of acting talent displayed by the boy with the hair, I assume he's a competition winner.  The girl tells him she's not to see him again, even though she wants to, while I'm distracted by the ridiculous proportions of the gap where number 7 should be.  The bench practically touches the sides; no wonder Dev was so stressed when Amber came to stay, there's barely enough room in that household for a small chihuahua.

In the fancy Tilsley household, off in a cul-de-sac somewhere, Gail is looking miserable as Brian rolls out of bed at 10:30 in the morning.  She tells him he should be at the job centre, but he says there's no point really.  There's a red bill on the mantlepiece, and they are both worried about money; perhaps if Brian stopped going for elaborate shampoo and sets with frosted tips they'd have a bit more cash to spend.  Ivy has offered to lend them her savings of two hundred quid, but Gail rightly doesn't want to be in debt to the rancid troll, and so they agree to economise by skipping meals.  I should point out that Gail is heavily pregnant at this point.  I don't know much about obstetrics but I'm pretty sure eight months pregnant women shouldn't be starving themselves.

Len Fairclough and Eddie Yeats are delivering a sideboard to Elsie Tanner; Len tells Elsie that she needs to rein in "that lad".  This seems to be Brummie/Scouse boy, and the not-school girl is called Karen.  He has something to do with Elsie - I'm guessing he's her grandson, spawn of Linda Cheveski.

In the pub, Albert Tatlock is looking pensive, and Betty offers him a bob for his thoughts.  He asks what the soup of the day is, and if it's home-made.  Annie Walker takes offence, pointing out that he asks that every day and she gives the same reply every day.  Albert suggests "you might have started slacking," to which Annie, the magnificent beast that she is, replies, "Standards are to be maintained; hopefully raised, never lowered."  On the other side of the bar Eddie is drinking with one of his binman mates, Johnny, who is played by Jack Smethurst of Mind Your Language infamy.  This immediately makes me anxious that he's going to come out with some kind of casual racial slur and make my rewatch awkward; fortunately, he's only interested in talking to Annie about her rubbish.  Apparently, she should fill her big catering tins of soup powder with rubbish before putting them out, so she can fit more in the bin.

Naturally Albert is outraged that she's charging 20p for home made soup then getting it out of a tin; Annie says that there isn't always time to make soup from scratch, but only charges Albert 10p.  She then lets rip into Eddie and Johnny.  Eddie says that people's rubbish tells you a lot about a person; he helped some woman who was staggering across Rosamund Street the day before, only to find out why she was staggering when he went to her bin and found seven empty Pot Noodles and fifty six bottles of cider.  I'm mostly astonished that they had Pot Noodles in 1980.

The long haired one is definitely Elsie's grandson - he's having lunch at hers.  Apparently he's called Martin, and he is quite possibly the worst actor I have seen, and remember, Brian Tilsley has already been in this episode.  Elsie gets a call from Karen's police inspector dad: he wants to come round for a word.  END OF PART ONE.

Ken is flirty with Deirdre right over the top of Tracy's head - no wonder she's so messed up.  He buys her some chocolate buttons - Tracy, not Deirdre - and they agree it's very civilised that they can still talk now they're not going out.  Deirdre says "it's nice we've done the things we did and can still be friends", which brings up all sorts of images I'm never going to get out of my head.

Karen's dad, who has a West Country accent for some reason, turns up at Elsie's and they have a row about the suitability of her liaison with Martin.  Elsie fetches herself a drink from her new sideboard - she filled that quickly.  There's a brief scene with Brian once again suggesting they borrow money off Poison Ivy, and Gail still telling him that it would be a fate worse than death, then we return to Elsie trying to reason with D I Oldfield about his wayward daughter.  They're in love, she says, but the policeman storms out, unconvinced.  Speaking of things that are unconvincing, Martin's at the yard, whinging to Len about how unfair it is that people are making such an issue about him getting a sixteen year old girl drunk so he could feel her up in a builder's yard.  I may be paraphrasing.  Len is paternal, and wishes that he'd had a builder's yard of his own to do his courting in.  At least I've finally deduced that Martin's meant to be Brummie.

In the pub, Eddie is trying to make things up with Annie Walker by producing a half-empty tin of hair dye he found in her bin and trying to return it to her - "it must have cost a fortune!".  Given that he does this over the bar in a bellowing Scouse accent it's not exactly discreet, and Annie unsurprisingly takes umbrage.  She storms into the back while Hilda cackles, "you're not very wise in the ways of women."  Meanwhile I have a slight panic over the stuff I've put in my wheelie over the years.

Brian meets Ivy and Bert in the pub, and asks to borrow that £200.  Ivy, obviously, has no problem with this, because it gives her a chance to have yet another one over her daughter in law.  She promises to get the money out the next day.

Annie Walker is on the phone to the Cleansing department of the local council, leaving a message for the manager because he never seems to be at his desk.  She points out that she is a former mayoress of Weatherfield and she wants her binmen changed immediately to a different crew.  I don't blame her, to be honest.

Gail is watching telly on a little portable; when her show finishes, she picks it up and moves it across the room to the top of the sideboard.  I bet she's glad she hasn't got a 50" plasma.  Brian returns home, tells her he was in the pub, had his tea at his mam's, and is going to borrow that £200.  This does not go down well with Gail, unsurprisingly, and she orders him to go and beg for his job back, or she'll do it herself.  CREDITS.

Episode Broadcast 5th November 1980

Elsie is reading the paper in a pair of enormous specs that make Deirdre's look positively compact.  She must have the vision of Mister Magoo.  Martin appears, still terrible at acting, and says that if he can't keep sexually molesting drunk teenage girls he's going to go back to Birmingham.  This is apparently a bad thing.

Eddie and Johnny are in the ginnel behind the Rovers, anxiously debating whether they should fetch the bins or not.  They are rightfully terrified of Annie, and unconvinced by their supervisor's suggestion that she might have changed her mind.  She appears in the back door in a glamorous fur lined dressing gown and informs them that she will wait for a different crew to come and collect her refuse, thank you very much.

Deirdre and Ken are flirting in the shop again, this time over Ken's purchase of a box of matches; it's all very Bogart and Bacall, if Bogart and Bacall ever talked about the pilot light going out in the kitchen.

Brian is looking for jobs in the paper, and is insulted when Gail suggests he takes a job as a storeman, telling her that he's a mechanic.  She points out that he got fired from being a mechanic - I still don't know why - and again suggests he go and beg for his job back.  Brian refuses for various male pride related reasons that won't feed the rapidly gestating foetus in her belly, then storms out to go door to door looking for jobs, which is obviously a lot less demeaning.

Karen's dad is still on the warpath for Martin, and turns up at the builder's yard wanting a word.  Len tells him that Martin's not a bad lad, though he is a rotten actor, but Oldfield disagrees.  About the first part, not the second.

Ivy and Bert are having their dinner in the Rovers; I'm not sure what they're eating, but it looks like reheated Pedigree Chum.  Perhaps Albert Tatlock should check what other tins Annie's got round the back.  Ivy's going to withdraw the £200 that afternoon; Bert tells her not to be smug or bang on about being right when she hands it over.  Ivy tells him she's not stupid, and Bert rightly pulls a disbelieving face.

Martin is waiting for Karen to go back into the factory, and we discover he can't even act when he's just standing still.  A couple of urchins ask for a penny for the guy as he drags her under the viaduct and tells her he's going back to Birmingham.  You'll never guess who happens to be passing by: that's right, Mr Oldfield, and we are left hanging on that cliffhanger as we head into the adverts.

PART TWO, and Mr Oldfield sends Karen back to work in Baldwin's Casuals while he growls menacingly at Martin.  Martin cowers for a bit then says it won't be a problem for much longer because he's going back to the Midlands.  For some reason this stops the older man in his tracks.

Gail picks her way round a wreck of a car to find Brian's old boss, looking very Rita Tushnigham in A Taste of Honey.  He slides out from underneath, and he looks like he's wearing a disguise, because he's buried under a curly perm and a moustache.

Eddie has let the penny for a guy urchins into the pub to harass the locals, because apparently he really wants to wind up Annie Walker.  She's not there, fortunately, but Fred Gee is, and he tries to send the kids off.  This was the good old days when you could go for a pint and not have some caterwauling infant ruining your alcoholic stupor; there was no such thing as a Family Room in the Rovers.  The boys go into the Snug and try to get cash off Albert Tatlock; he tells them they're too early and, when Eddie informs him that it is actually November 5th, he says they're too late.  Good old Uncle Albert.

Gail is telling Brian's old boss that he's not sent her, but he really needs his old job back.  I suddenly realise that he's not in disguise, he's actually Bobby Knutt from appalling 1970s forerunner to Live at the Apollo, The Comedians.  Between him and Jack Smethurst I can only imagine what the language was like in the canteen at Granada between takes.  Bobby says he sacked Brian for a good reason, and I still don't know what it was, but apparently if word got round what Brian did it would ruin his reputation.  Now I'm imagining some kind of lurid act involving an Austin Maxi and a vat of lubricant.  Gail bursts into tears, as well she should, and Bobby asks when her "babby" is due.  Six weeks, she replies, a handy reminder that Ben Price is meant to be playing a thirty four year old man in 2015.  He relents, because who's going to turn away a blubbing up the duff Gail Tilsley, but tells her Brian has the "babby" to thank.

In the most shockingly unrealistic part of the programme so far, Martin is watching University Challenge on TV.  There's a knock at the door, and Martin tells Elsie it's his new girlfriend who has convinced him he doesn't need to leave Weatherfield after all.  She is befuddled, but hilarity ensues when it is revealed that his "new" girlfriend is Karen!  Her father has relented and decided they could see each other after all!  I have no idea why he changed his mind, but they all have a good laugh about it, before Martin takes her out to celebrate.  Presumably by giving her half a litre of Diamond White then trying to get a glimpse of her bra behind the chippy.

Brian finally arrives home after a day of tramping the streets, and Gail tells him Bobby Knutt has said he could have his job back.  Refreshingly, Brian is only momentarily outraged on behalf of his male pride, and they hug.

They're soon in the pub, getting a drink with Ivy and Bert.  At the bar, Ken and Eddie ask how Brian's job situation is; Ken suggests the until-recently unemployed Eddie has a word with Brian to buoy him up, but Eddie points out he was always quite happy with the life of an idle layabout.

I am flabbergasted when Ivy is not only nice to Gail, giving her full credit for getting Brian's job back, but also tells him "you've got a lovely little lass here and don't you forget it!".  No, don't you forget it, Ivy, because I'm sure next week you'll be calling her a harlot again.

At the bar, Annie thanks Eddie for continuing to drink in the pub despite their professional disagreement.  He says it's no skin off his nose, because he and his fellow workers have had a vote.  She won't be getting a new crew to collect her rubbish; until she accepts Eddie and Johnny as her binmen again, the Rovers has been blacklisted!  The credits run over a burning bonfire, which I like to imagine is the pyre Annie threw Eddie on once she unleashed her full wrath.

As with the 1979 episode, so many characters here are iconic, it's easy to slip into the show because you know who they are.  The obvious exception is Martin Cheveski, who is a truly awful character that it's hard to give a monkeys about; clearly the producers agreed, because a quick look at Corriepedia reveals that he was written out the following New Year's Eve, despite only arriving in the Street in June.  The main thing I will take away from these episodes is that, given the right circumstances, Ivy Tilsley could actually be nice.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  It's just plain wrong.

Many thanks to Aunty Corrie for putting all these episodes on YouTube in the first place.

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Corrie Canada sneak previews for Nov. 30 - Dec. 4

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

Will Liz give Tony the answer he wants? Simon is out of control. Leanne sends him to stay with Ken but Simon is no better there. Kate and her fiancee Caz make wedding plans. Kate makes waves in the factory, standing up on principle. Jamie continues to force Luke's hand. Luke confides in Sophie. Michael helps out a client. Craig and Caitlyn's romance blooms.

For more details and photos, visit the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Wednesday 25 November 2015

Why the latest Corrie Connors are winning me over

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

As a Coronation Street traditionalist and a bit of a cynic, I'm not normally a fan of so-called stunt castings or bringing in big names when there are loads of actors out there desperate for their big break. Therefore, the arrival of Shayne Ward as Aidan Connor was not something I greeted with much enthusiasm.

Let's face it, the Connor family have a chequered history. The sprawling clan are probably the victim of too many different producers. New Connors pop up with alarming regularity, never mentioned before but always extremely familiar with each other with nary a trace of an Irish accent. In traditional soap opera style, as soon as the show is on the brink of running out of family members, several more suddenly appear almost as if the Corrie casting team have put an emergency advert in Spotlight.

Michelle was the first Connor to appear on screen. Originally a guest spot for Kym Marsh, her apparent popularity led to a full time gig and the introduction of several family members. First came brothers Paul and Liam. I never warmed to Paul as we weren't given the chance. Actor Sean Gallagher obviously realised life in a continuing drama wasn't for him as he didn't last long. Paul, Carla's first husband died in a car accident, Leanne Battersby locked in his boot. Liam was much more popular but I didn't take to him. For most of the two years he spent on screen, neither the character nor the actor seemed to find much enthusiasm for life in Weatherfield. 

Carla is by far the most successful of all the Connors, but she didn't have much competition - Ryan anyone? The first version of Michelle's pride and joy was completely free of personality and the revamped Ryan wasn't much better. He may have been a foot taller, ten years older and bulging with biceps, but his storylines left a lot to be desired. Can anyone remember which was Michelle's real son? Actually, who cares?

Anyway, Carla and Michelle are now joined by three new Connors. So far so good. Johnny Connor is a rough diamond business man with a mischevious twinkle and a love for a Belgian bun. Actor Richard Hawley is doing well and seems to easily fit in at the factory. There is a dearth of decent mature male characters in Weatherfield - we will be losing Tony at some point soon and as for Sharif, well let's just say Johnny doesn't have a lot of competition. 

Kate Connor seems quite a sparky, intelligent addition to the clan too. She outed herself to Beth and Kirk the other night comparing the decision to the choice between prawn cocktail and salt and vinegar crisps. This must surely mean she'll be buying her potato-based snacks from Sophie Webster before too long. We must enjoy the sparky Ms Connor before Sophie soaks all the life out of her and turns her into a whining drudge. 

I seem to have drifted off my original topic slightly, so let's refocus of the delectable Aidan. Against my better judgement, I'm a fan. It takes guts for someone in the public eye to switch careers and have a go at something else. Shayne Ward has done that and I applaud it. We haven't had nearly enough time to decide whether Aidan will be a successful long term character or yet another Luke Strong (remember him? Nah, didn't think so). I've heard rumours Aidan will become involved with Eva which might do the character a lot of good as Catherine Tyldesley is excellent value. 

In the meantime, I'm happy to enjoy Aidan's appearances at Underworld as he struts about in those lovely tight shirts of his - thank you to the Corrie wardrobe team for these, I love you all. Yes it's shallow but at least I'm honest! 

So are the latest influx of Corrie Connors doing it for you or am I a lone voice in the wilderness? And if Shayne Ward wants to loosen off any more buttons, I won't complain...

You can follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82

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Simon Gregson to take time off from Corrie

(This post was originally posted by Tvor on the Coronation Street Blog in September 2015.)

It's all over the news today, and ITV News has also carried the story that Simon Gregson will be taking several months off due to illness.  He won't be in the live episode next week by prior arrangement. It's too soon to know how Steve McDonald will be written out of the show.

Simon Gregson has recently been involved in a storyline about depression and has himself had similar problems in the past so was anxious to portray Steve's illness properly. It is not known if his current illness is related nor how long he will be off screen.

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Monday 23 November 2015

Corrie Canada Weekly Awards for Nov. 15 - 20

Mary had a date. Dev was bemused. Norris was not.

Pull the Other One award: Do they really think we'd believe a nearly 80 year old man would join a 20something running after a client that skipped out without paying?

Sibling rivarly award: Cathy has always felt overshadowed by Nessa who always seemed to be able to handle life with confidence and zest.

Peacekeeper award: Yasmeen may be disappointed in Alya but she's a bit more sympathetic and trying to keep peace in the family.

Practice makes imperfect award: After six weddings, Gail's gone way past the point where practice would make perfect. In her case, I think she must be in the "just don't get it" category.

Accessory award: Loved Mary's phone case!

Flip Flop award: Zeedan is supportive, then he's nearly calling her names and beating on Jason, and then he's supportive again. Make up your mind! (But then, I like that he's being supportive)

Cheeky mare award: Izzy blaming Alya because Jake was up in the night and Gary is nowhere to be seen? Really? And would she normally call Gary over in the middle of the night when that happens? Thought not. And as I recall, Gary wasn't about to get back together with Izzy anyway, she'd got the wrong end of the stick so Alya didn't actually break them up.
Fashion award: I really liked Liz's blue dress.

Location query: When Alex first visited, Cathy had to put him on a train to go back to his mother. Now Nessa is just going out for a walk and popping in to the Rovers for a drink. Either she's walking for a gold medal or the continuity gremlins are at it again.

Musical Ambiance: Crazy by Patsy Cline in the pub when Liz got back from her date with Tony. "I'm crazy for trying and crazy for crying and I'm crazy for loving you"

Fool me once award: Not sure Michelle was fooled by Liz and Erica's fancy footwork to cover up Liz's lie, the one Erica nearly blew out of the water because Liz didn't give her a heads up.

Heart of stone award: David.

Lines of the week:
Max "If Gail got married, like, six times, does that me she's really good at it?" (David snorts) David "You'd think so, mate"
Kylie to Eva "What are you, the secretary of the David Platt fan club?"
Norris "He could be Weatherfield's Hannibal Lecter, for all we know"
Anna "Owen used to say that tiling was an art" Steve "Well then, say hello to Leonardo da Vinci!"
Sophie "Dad, we've got an empire to build"
Tony "I'm on a break" Michelle "From what? Your personality?"
Brendan "Ghosts don't judge, Mary, and neither should we!"
Nessa "It's always nice to have a dunk in the afternoon, d'you know what I'm sayin' Ken?" (HA! brilliant line, superbly delivered!)
Cathy about Nessa "When it comes to men, she's like a heat seeking missile"
Nessa "Inside this ample chest beats a passionate heart"
Rita "Sometimes, today is all we've got" (indeed)

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