Tuesday 31 May 2016

Pics: Suart Blackburn's Coronation Street leaving party

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Cast and crew from Coronation Street were out in their best bib and tucker for a party to say goodbye to producer Stuart Blackburn.

The party was held at On The 7th at MediaCityUK at Salford Quays.

New producer Kate Oates turned up to join in the fun too.  Kate has already started work on the show and we should start to see her name on the credits in a few weeks time.

There's a lot of photos to see at the Manchester Evening News website.

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Coronation Street's nod to the past with Blackpool tram

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Pictures released by ITV show the storyline we just saw being filmed in Blackpool.  It appears that little Jack went missing in Blackpool and when Jenny Bradley finds him, there was an altercation with a tram.

It's a wonderful nod to Corrie's past and to Jenny's story about her dad, Alan Bradley, when he was killed by a Blackpool tram after chasing Rita.

To be reminded of that classic scene, or to watch it again for the first time, have a look below:

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Monday 30 May 2016

Top 25 Favourite Corrie Females - No. 2

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)


Duration: 1974-1976, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1996, 1997, 1998-2009
Played by: Maggie Jones
2012 character poll position (women): 1

Apart from original battleaxe Ena Sharples, nobody has filled the battleaxe role better than Blanche on the cobbles. 

Mother to Deirdre, Blanche had her first stint on the street in the 1970s. A corset maker, she quickly made her mark as nobody to mess with when she slapped Ray Langton for mistreating Deirdre. She was later instrumental in planning Deirdre’s non-wedding to Billy Walker and clashed with his mother Annie. After stints behind the Rovers bar and the corner shop counter, she was whisked away by Dave Smith to run a country club in 1976. She would visit the street in 1977 (for the birth of granddaughter Tracy), 1978 (to console Deirdre during her marriage break-up to Ray), 1981 (for Deirdre and Ken’s wedding), 1996 (Tracy’s wedding) and 1997 (Deirdre and Jon Lindsay’s engagement party).

In 1998, she visited the Barlows once more but decided to stay put and moved into Albert Tatlock’s old room. Thus began Blanche’s tenure as one of Corrie’s classic characters.

Alongside gossipy ally Norris Cole, Blanche would pass comment on the goings-on on the street and didn’t care if residents heard it or not. And it was her family who would suffer the most. Ken and Deirdre had to have elephant skin to deal with Blanche’s acid remarks. But she was as fierce as a lioness when it came to defending the family.

My favourite Blanchisms have to be her condemnation of the Royal Mail and the classic AA meeting

Blanche went on holiday to Portugal in 2010 and sadly passed away there.
Were you a fan of Blanche? Should she be No.1? Have you got a favourite Blanche moment?

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

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Corrie Canada weekly awards for May 22 - 26

Selfie Stars!

Odd couple award: Craig and Bethany having a dating advice chat in the cafe. Unexpected, but the poor lass hasn't got any friends and Chesney is going to need one with Caitlyn flying the coop to Scotland.

A Lid on a Scream award: Carla really wasn't looking forward to the girly spa afternoon but couldn't get out of it.

Midnight Sun award: The hens partied. They were hours at the police station. The stags gathered, presumably after work and later had to go rescue the women. After all of that, the sun was still up. Did they start at 10 a.m. or something?

Mean Boys: Jason took all his rage and grief out against Eileen.

Reminiscing award: Tony was afraid of spiders!

Style fail: Gemma.

Delusional award: Gail went from disapproval of Carla to considering them close, personal friends, probably to keep her baby boy happy more than anything else.

Voice of Reason Award: I never thought I'd see myself give this award to David Platt.

Cheesy Lyrics award: Seriously, Sally? An emergency of the heart? I think she's been listening to too many 80s ballads!

Lines of the week:
Johnny to Aidan "I can see through you like a window"
Sally "How can puppets be gay?" (Bert and Ernie, that is)
Aidan "What kind of emergency?" Sally "The most serious kind. An emergency of the heart"
Gail "One minute you're alive and kicking and next you're in a hole in the ground" (eek!)
Sean "That's my tummy rumbling. D'you think there'll be sandwiches at the pub?" Eva "Probably not, you might put your foot in your mouth instead"
Carla "Being different isn't so bad, is it?"
Phelan "It's not about falling down. It's about whether you get back up" (true, dat)
Audrey "I think Carla's well aware of what kind of family we are" Bethany "Yeah, and she's marrying him anyway"
Gail "I'll have a disco nap. Never had one of those"
Roy "I will master this skill. And I *will* enjoy it" (you keep telling yourself that, luv)
Sally about Jenny "She's a cleaner, Sean, what's she meant to do? Govern the country?" (She'd be better at it than you, I suspect)
Kylie to Cathy about their outfits "We've been told to wear black. Don't ask" Cathy "It's not a death sentence, marrying your son?" Gail *death stare*
Roy "I don't wish to be the sort of person that talks to inanimate objects"
Robert to Tracy "That's what I love about you, you're overflowing with the milk of human kindness"
Sally "When you drink from the well, remember who dug it in the first place!"

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Sunday 29 May 2016

Sunday Comments May 30

Jason wasn't too happy to see Eileen at the funeral was he? Jason really, really doesn't want his mother there and nothing Billy or Todd can say will change his mind so she leaves but hangs around outside the church. She's bereft. Phelan pushes her to talk to Jason in spite of what Jason wants. She tried but Jason sure gave him a load of abuse. Still, she told him a few truths as well. He needed to hear it and it deflated him. He did need is mum, really. She did say some lovely things to him that I think helped.

Poor Gemma. She's crazy about Jason but he's really not interested. He tried to make it up to her but really, his heart wasn't in it. Too bad, she got dressed to the nines for it. Mind you, those nines were a big tacky. No. A lot tacky. But she made the effort. Todd and Billy had a chat about Saint Pat Phelan and later in the pub, did Billy seem a bit put off of Sean? Phelan's urging Jason to get rid of Tony's flat. I think Jason should move into it!

We find out why Roy was so upset, not just because of the uninvited party guests and mess. But he first decides his guests need to not be guests anymore and leaves for a breath of fresh air. Sinead reckons he'll be ok once he calms down. Carla's the one that breaks the news that today is Hayley's birthday. She did manage to talk Roy down and out of his concern that Cathy is so different from him. Alex fixed the windmill but it was more glue than wood, I think. Roy made up with Cathy, though, and all is well again. He even got romantic, or as much as he can get. He's even willing to try Spanish Paella!

Tim's advice about finding something you can bond with seems to have made an impression and Roy suggested Alex join him in an activity. Jigsaw puzzle of a train. Reminsence of Thomas the Tank Engine and the thought of the Playstation was out of Roy's league. They did try to find a common ground but I don't think there was much to pick from. Roy has made finding common ground a quest. I'm not sure how successful he'll be but at least he's making an effort which counts for a lot. Sinead came across Roy trying to figure out a video game, football since that's Alex's favourite but Roy isn't very good at it. Alex has no patience for jigsaw puzzles so Roy suggests chess. Um....

Billy didn't get his share of the holiday paid so they lost it and Sean isn't happy at all about it. He's full of the joys and sarcasms of the day. Certainly didn't help Billy's mood and it's probably not going to help their relationship if Sean keeps digging like that. Sean even complained to Todd and now suspects Billy is seeing someone else, putting all the clues together and leaping to the wrong conclusion so Todd gave Billy a heads up, a warning to talk to Sean.

Gail made me laugh, saying how you can be alive one minute and in a hole in the ground the next. You don't know the half of it but Sarah does and it certainly sent shivers down her spine. She uses any excuse to get out of the house these days. Sarah even pretended Harry had a high temperature in hopes that he would have to stay at the hospital but of course he's fine and she's stuck with the body. Putting the thermometer over a steaming kettle is pretty stupid. Nobody can have a temperature as high as that steam would make the reading let alone a baby and Kylie knew that baby wasn't running a fever. Nothing Kylie says seems to pull Sarah out of her downward spiral. sarah tried to face her fears but ended up just ranting to an empty room. Surely Sarah can get benefits and get a flat of her own? And I don't understand why Gail is completely clueless as to Sarah's rising discomfort. Gail used to be a very good mother.

Meanwhile, Gail is fighting a losing battle with this pampering thing for Carla. Nobody seems to think it's a good idea but I bet Carla will take it in good temper or at least with a polite, pasted on smile. I like that they are making Gail into a bit of a comedy character but sometimes they really make her into a total idiot and this is one of those times. You know she's seen Carla drink gallons of red wine so why buy the sparkling stuff? She's oblivious to Sarah getting more and more out of touch with reality. Gail tried for chic and fun, it ended up being a kind of sleepover type party without the sleep over. But you know plucking eyebrows and talking rubbish, that sort of thing.

David is trying to persuade Nick to let him organize a stag do but Nick is getting phone calls from the consultant which he tries to ignore by taking on organizing it with Steve himself. He did call the doctor back though.

I thought it was not very kind of Gail to insist that Sarah not go to the hen night. If Kylie and Gail are both going, then someone is babysitting Max and Lily and they could very well take on Harry as well. Gail has some nerve playing the "bad mother" card with Sarah when she can't even see that Sarah's state of mind is slowly crumbling. Gail didn't like Carla at first, didn't approve of her but now she's gone to the other extreme and has invented a close and personal relationship between the two. She's really delusional.

Anyway, the hen night was raucous as you would expect. All the women wore black and had long black wigs! (I guess that's better than the Tony Gordon masks the men wore to his stag do!) Gail took a dislike to Kate and decided she was far better qualified to be Carla's BFF and Kylie stirred things up by encouraging it. Well, that ended up in a shoving, hair pulling match and Kate on the floor! They ended up getting thrown out and arrested by the cops that Gail thought were strippers! Ok, they didn't get arrested formally but as near as.

Nick had pretty much all the men on the Street show up for his aside from Norris and Ken who you wouldn't want there anyway. All those ignored calls, though, are wearing on Nick and he's got a headache that's a big clue. He didn't get the all clear, did he? He's terrified he'll hurt Carla so the wedding's off! Here's the big thing, though. Robert told Tracy that Nick has cancelled the wedding and Tracy thinks it's all about ruining *her* life because Carla probably won't move away.

Anyway, Nick shoved David and it was pretty clear to Carla now that something's going on but Nick can't seem to get the words out until he loses his temper. He told her he didn't want to marry her but he wasn't going to tell her why and left her hanging, hurt and confused. Carla's been thrown for a loop, with Nick calling off the wedding. She's not taking it lying down. She went looking for Nick at Platt Towers and naturally David lied for Nick who was there. Carla is freaking out, worried that Nick found out about her and Robert but Michelle's right, if Nick found out, he'd have confronted her. Never mind, Carla put the pressure on David, physically and emotionally, until David caved and told her the truth. Nick's gone for his scan results and Carla's gone after him. Found him, too.

Caitlyn seems preoccupied while they talk about university. He doesn't know what to say, she's certainly not her usual cheerful self. Sinead definitely misses Chesney and doesn't think Chesney misses her much, not with having all the fun he seems to be having. Sinead's next Skype conversation got cut short like the first one. Chesney had to go and Craig came in looking upset. Later in the week, Sinead and Chesney had a video date scheduled. Chesney didn't make the date after all, letting her down again. Stuck at a beach party.

Craig and Caitlyn had another date though he wasn't really looking forward to it since the last one didn't go well. He's pretty sure something's up. There's a turn up for the books, though. Craig having a dating advice chat with Bethany in the cafe. She never gave him the time of day up to now but it's kind of nice. And really, she doesn't have any friends at school and since it seems that Caitlyn is moving to Dundee for university, he's going to need one. Caitlyn has broken up with him because she doesn't think they can keep it going long distance even though she won't be leaving for months yet.

Michelle and Steve are still not able to connect that well. He's trying to make up for it, though she seems more inclined to forgive now. Freddie dropped by the garage to hunt down some parts for his bike. Why did it seem like Luke didn't know who he is? A friend of Audrey's and so is Luke. I might have thought they'd have crossed paths but perhaps not. Tyrone managed to pay for his cab driver license and is now official.

We've got a new actor playing Jack Webster and Tim is charged with babysitting. Lovely little scene with Tim and Roy talking about family. Tim might be feeling things are rough with Sally at the moment but they do love each other. I really hope they can get through it. Tim is off to book a surprise holiday to make an effort. He's leaving clues for Sally to guess where the holiday is. Sally has far more sophisticated tastes than Tim but she was mortified when it turned out to be plain old Blackpool and even more upset when it was Jenny that figured out the clue!

She was livid instead of pleased he made the effort. Blackpool is so far beneath her! She obviously thinks Tim doesn't know her at all. I think she really doesn't appreciate what a kind and genuine man he is. And again she was horrible to Jenny, taking her embarassment out on her. She tore a strip off Tim over the phone so he decided he wasn't going to go to the police station and bail her out after all the hens got done for drunk and disorderly. That gave her a shock. She's not taking Tim seriously. He sees cracks and she thinks he's having a tantrum. If one person thinks there are cracks, there are cracks.

Tim decided to go to Blackpool on his own, shocking Sally who didn't think he would go without her. And he took a date...Kevin and little Jack who has been wearing that pirate costume for a week! For all Sally tried to keep the gossip from her factory mates, Tyrone managed to spill the beans. The news spread like wildfire much to Sally's mortification. So much disapproval. No word or reply from Tim, an ominous silence, a happy looking selfie. That's it. Sally decided she had better to try to salvage her marriage.

Jenny is sharing laughs with Johnny but Sally can't stop being vile about her and to her. But Johnny's not vile to Jenny at all, he's being very sweet. After she had a load of photos of Blackpool shoved at her from Sally, she had one of those moments you have when a sad memory kicks you in the gut suddenly. All those memories of her father's death in Blackpool came rushing back. He might have been a wrong'un but he was her dad. Johnny was kind to her. He thought she should go to Blackpool for closure and make some new memories. They could make quite a nice couple, if you think about it.

Johnny is taking Jenny to Blackpool much to the consternation of Aidan and Kate. Rita approves of Jenny putting her demons to rest and she would be quite pleased if Jenny and Johnny found love, I think. Rita pointed Jenny to the right location and it seemed to do Jenny some good.

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This is what Corrie is like with a live studio audience...

(This post was originally posted by Stevie Dawson on the Coronation Street Blog in April 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Coronation Street has always stood out as the soap that does comedy best. With new producer Kate Oates promising to keep this at the forefront of the show, we should be getting laughs from Corrie for many more years to come. Recent episodes have shown us that the writers are already embracing this approach, with fewer life and death scenarios in favour of the more light hearted storylines and a great deal of innuendo. That’s not to say the drama isn’t there, but they are certainly keeping the gags front and centre, especially with the older characters.

But what would Coronation Street be like without all the jeopardy and heartache? What if we plucked out all punch ups, murders and terminal illnesses and replaced them with rounds of applause and belly laughs to accompany the remaining comedy scenes?

I took some random scenes from the last few years of Coronation Street and added some laughter, creating a fictional episode of the show as a studio sitcom. Here’s the result:

Could Corrie's future be entirely in comedy? I tried to watch the video as if I'd never seen the show before, and I think it works. Let me know your thoughts...


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British Soap Awards: Corrie's awards in full

The British Soap Awards 2016 were held last night in that London at the Hackney Empire.

Look away now if you don't want to know which awards Coronation Street won because they are detailed below - with pictures!

Still not ready to look away? 

Have a look at the red carpet pics of the Corrie cast in their best bib and tucker here.

The British Soap Awards will be screened tonight - Sunday 29 May - on ITV at 8pm.

Here are the awards that Coronation Street won last night.

Sally Dynevor and Joe Duttine won Best On-Screen Partnership for Tim and Sally.

Connor McIntyre won Villain Of The Year award for Pat Phelan.

Patti Clare won Best Comedy Performance for her role as Mary Taylor and Malcolm Hebden (Norris Cole) collected the award on her behalf.

There was a new award this year at the British Soap Awards. It's The Tony Warren Award (Off-Screen) and was awarded to Coronation Street's former Casting Director James Bain, who  passed away recently. The award was presented by Charlie Lawson (Jim McDonald).

If you'd like to see all of the winners from the awards bash, they're listed at various places online and we've chosen to link to the easy to read list at Radio Times.

Interestingly Corrie won none of the shortlisted categories in which fans voted. These were Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Soap.  Also, Corrie won nothing for their nominated #CorrieLive and Callum's death episodes and storylines.  The winners above were all chosen by the Soaps Awards panel.

However, when you see which soap did win Best Soap at the awards last night, it does bode well for the future of our favourite show. Come on, Kate Oates, take us to glory next year!

The Little Book of Carla Connor
A Decade in the Life of a Soap Queen

An unofficial Coronation Street companion book

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Saturday 28 May 2016

Connor McIntyre on playing Pat Phelan

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Connor McIntyre, who plays Pat Phelan on Coronation Street, was interviewed on ITV's Lorraine this morning.  Connor's up for the award of Best Villain in this year's Soap Awards. It's a panel vote, so fans can't vote in this category.

The awards takes place on Saturday, May 28 in London and was screened on ITV on Sunday.  Warning, we will have the results of the Soap Awards on the blog on Sunday before it's screened on TV.

Connor talks about playing Phelan of course and comes across as a really nice bloke. He credits the storyliners and writers for creating Phelan and making him so complex.  He says that Phelan was only supposed to be in Corrie for three episodes but was brought back by public demand as the fans loved him so much.

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Top 25 Favourite Corrie Females - No. 3

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)


Duration: 1972, 1973-2014
Played by: Anne Kirkbride
2012 character poll position (women): 20

When we think of Deirdre, what comes to mind are the huge glasses she wore for nearly 30 years. As well as the huge glasses, she was also known for her many liaisons with the men of Coronation Street. 

After failing to lure Alan Howard from wife Elsie, Deirdre caught the eye of Billy Walker. They were due to marry but Billy fled to Jersey. Soon enough, Deirdre was dating her boss Ray Langton and they married in 1975. Deirdre gave birth to Tracy in 1977 (who’s served time in jail for murder). Ray left Deirdre for Holland in 1978 and she found comfort in Ken Barlow who she married in 1981. Ken adopted Tracy in 1986. 

In 1982, Deirdre had a headline affair with Mike Baldwin. A furious Ken found out but forgave her. But it was Ken’s infidelity with Wendy Crozier that led to their separation in 1989 and divorce in 1992. She married Moroccan waiter Samir Rachid in 1994 but he was stabbed to death the following year. Her next boyfriend Jon Lindsay led to Deirdre being wrongly imprisoned for crimes he committed but was released and found comfort again in Ken and they remarried in 2005, to everyone’s delight. 

Over the years, Deirdre worked at the builder’s yard, the corner shop, the council and as a receptionist at the medical centre. She also shared close friendships with Liz McDonald, Emily Bishop, Frankie Baldwin, Eileen Grimshaw and Bev Unwin.

While Deirdre was always portrayed as a serious character for most of her life on the street, she became a comedy character in her last years and won a legion of new fans. Indeed, she became a natural successor to her mother Blanche.

In 2014, Deirdre went to visit Bev as she was under strain from Peter’s impending court case. She never did return to the street and passed away from an aneurysm in 2015, leaving Ken, Tracy and many of the street’s residents in shock.

Were you a fan of Deirdre?

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

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Gemma Winter spreads a little Summer on the cobbles

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in May 2016.)

What is she like? Who? Gemma Winter, of course. She first appeared in a rundown pub in October 2014. She is one of those characters who certainly divides opinion. Initially, I found her nothing more than an irritant, a sidekick to the drug dealer Callum and his henchmen and an old friend of Kylie's. She was loud, brazen and brash; her only claim to anything was that Callum trusted her, as it surely seemed he did. She wore his trust as a badge of pride, subsequently revealing that she was/is in love with him.

The odd thing is that Gemma is still very outspoken, brash and brazen, but now, I find those characteristics refreshing - all irritation vanished. The reason for the disappearance of the annoyance is that Gemma is no longer in the shadow of Callum and has become a character in her own right. I relish every moment she is on screen. Her dealings with Bethany's bullies were impressive and suggests that she has long experience in dealing with girls such as Lauren and her crew.

Despite her rough and ready approach to life, there lurks a certain vulnerability about her. This was displayed in her getting together with Jason. She provided comfort after Jason had propositioned Eva and received a knockback. I was impressed by Eileen giving Jason a piece of her mind concerning his using Gemma. Eileen's words must have hit home because later Jason invites Gemma for a drink in The Rovers. He apologises too for his ungentlemanly treatment of her and is more than happy to accept, though is clearly surprised. One night stands may be the norm for Gemma, so for a man to treat her as a human being may well have been both pleasing and surprising. Gemma accepts Jason's invitation with alacrity and plonks herself down opposite Phelan and Eileen.

We know almost nothing about her background, but it seems that there was nothing much in it that could be described as stable. Does she have a family somewhere? Was she brought up in care? Over the coming weeks these details will perhaps be revealed.

My hope is that she is kept on long after the 'reappearance' of Callum. She is of a similar type to Becky and Kylie and look how well those characters evolved.

Dolly-Rose Campbell, who plays Gemma, is a skilled performer - more of her characterisation of Gemma Winter please. Many say that Corrie is lacking in humour lately - well here is Gemma to provide some, as well as casting a little sunlight on those often too gloomy cobbles.

Ruth - on twitter @Ruth1722

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Friday 27 May 2016

Strong Women and Feckless Men - my Coronation Street talk in Sheffield

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in April 2016.)

I am very pleased to report that my talk on Saturday, April 16 at the Manor Library in Sheffield, about the happenings on the cobbles, was received most warmly. The organiser noted that I didn't appear nervous and that was probably because I wasn't nervous. Many things bother me, I'm not immune from nerves, and some things make me very anxious indeed, but talking to groups of people is not one of them. Having taught for many years is a tremendous help.

The audience was lovely. Fortunately they laughed in the right places and, when invited, asked plenty of questions. I talked them through the decades, and hung on to the theme of Strong Women and Feckless Men. That wasn't difficult as during each decade you can find both.

Most of the audience was interested in the original characters and seemed to imply that Corrie was better then - during the sixties and seventies. Any thoughts on that?

Much loved characters were the ones you would accurately guess - Ena, Elsie, Hilda and Bet. Their absolute favourite? Elsie. The general feeling was that the current characters would not make the iconic status of those four. Only time will tell. I would be delighted if others would add a comment as to whether or not they agree. The average age of the audience was 50+, though there were a couple of teenagers - a boy and a girl.

Their opinions largely concurred with what readers of the blog say in their comments. A wish for more excellent dialogue, excellent characterisation, more humour, fewer affairs and a break from dramatic crashes and fires.

Their favourite current couple? Sally and Tim, of course. Eeh, they're alrayt them Sheffield folk! Especially as I was asked to do another talk at some point!

Ruth Owen - twitter @ruth1722

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Conversation Street Podcast 199

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, Roy is back but is at odds with Cathy, then attempts to bond with Alex. Jason is full of anger and rage at Tony's funeral. Caitlin is breaking Craig's heart. Sinead is jealous of Chesney's extended holiday in Portugal. Sally is still nasty to Jenny though Johnny has extended a hand of friendship. Tim is feeling like his marriage to Sally has big cracks but his attempt to fix them doesn't go over well with Sally. We have a new actor playing Jack Webster, too.  Zeedan Nazir is this week's character profile and there is the Kabin for news and listener feedback.

Next week, Conversation Street celebrates 200 episodes. Sally-Ann Matthews is the special guest interview so make sure you tune in!

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Thursday 26 May 2016

Top 25 Favourite Corrie Females - No. 4

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)


Duration: 2006-
Played by: Alison King 
2012 character poll position (women): Not included

The sassy owner of Underworld since 2006. 

Carla’s not had an easy life. She lost first husband Paul in a car crash; she married evil businessman Tony Gordon who eventually tried to kill her; she had an affair with brother-in-law Liam that ended with Tony arranging his death; she was raped by Frank Foster; and she married Peter Barlow who had an affair with Tina McIntyre. Phew!

Carla’s always sailed by the brink in the business sense as well. Many times Underworld’s future has been under threat. But somehow the gods always smile on her as saviours in the guise of Luke Strong, Frank Foster, Tony Gordon, Nick Tilsley and more recently Johnny and Aidan Connor have come to her rescue. It is this aspect of her life that riles arch enemy Tracy Barlow. Despite leading a car crash life, Carla always comes up smelling of roses.

Carla has maintained various friendships over the years. She has always been close to sister-in-law Michelle. They grew up together and they confide in each other. When she first arrived she shared a strong friendship with Leanne Battersby and it reminded me of the friendship of Bet Lynch and Rita Fairclough. But that soon soured when Leanne learnt of Carla’s feelings towards Peter. Although they are on speaking terms now, they aren’t bosom buddies. I would’ve liked to see these women become friends once more. Another strong friendship for Carla was with Hayley Cropper. Despite being poles apart in personality, they bonded and Carla’s vulnerability showed with her chats with Hayley. And since Hayley’s passing, Carla has become a loyal friend and protector to her widow Roy.

Carla has many demons. As well as having an affair with Liam Connor, she has also had a fling with Robert Preston, to Tracy’s wrath! She is fond of the drink and is also a gambling addict. It was her gambling that nearly drove her to bankruptcy in 2015. She also had an interesting dynamic with her brother Rob Donovan. While Carla looked out for him, it was Rob who paid the price in family loyalty when he murdered Tina McIntyre when he discovered about her affair with Peter. In the end, he blamed Carla for his downfall.

Carla is currently on the verge of marrying Nick Tilsley, although her affair with Robert is a dark shadow on proceedings. Blackmailed by Tracy, Carla is on the verge on leaving Weatherfield for good.

Are you a fan of Carla?

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

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Corrie Canada sneak previews May 30 - June 4

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

Little Jack has a near miss in Blackpool but someone saves him. Nick tells Carla his deepest fears. Can Carla keep Nick stress-free while Tracy is threatening to reveal all? Billy tells Todd who Lee is. Gary has his court hearing but Izzy gets herself in deeper with the law. Jenny sets her hat at Johnny but plays it cool. The anniversary of Kal and Maddie's deaths shadows some of the residents.

For more detail and photos check out the Moosejaw Mercury at Corrie.net.

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Wednesday 25 May 2016

Review: Access Coronation Street with Lorraine Keane

(This post was originally posted by Emma Hynes on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

On Friday 25 March, Corrie viewers in Ireland were treated to a behind the scenes look at their favourite show courtesy of UTV Ireland. In Access Coronation Street with Lorraine Keane, the Irish television presenter, broadcaster and journalist takes a tour of the set which includes interviews with those both in front of and behind the camera, and is accompanied by clips from the show.

While a rundown of the show's history and viewership offers context, the emphasis is very much on contemporary Corrie (the 2015 bus crash is the oldest clip I spotted). Shayne Ward fans will be glad to know he not only acts as tour guide, but is the focus for the first half of the 22 minute show, with other interviewees even giving their complementary takes on the singer and actor. This isn’t wholly surprising for a programme broadcast in Ireland considering both Shayne and his character Aidan's Irish family connections, and his strong Irish following in his X-Factor days and beyond, having charted highly in both the Irish album and single charts. He also travelled to Dublin in September of last year with Faye Brookes and Richard Hawley (Kate and Johnny Connor) for a UTV Ireland event which saw one Dublin pub transformed into the Rovers Return for a day.

Talking in the Platts about how much he loves being on Coronation Street and enjoys the challenge, Shayne and Lorraine playfully act out a recent scene between Aidan and Eva, He then confidently whisks her through some backstage areas. The highlights include glimpses of Liz McDonald's clothes rail, the trophy cabinet, the wall of fame and snapshots of the work of Costume Designer Tracey Cliffe, Art Director Andrew Hare, and Make-up Artist Kathy Ducker.

Lorraine is on set for two scenes; the first, which happens to be the first of the day, is Kate and Caz's hen party in the Rovers, and the second is one involving Maria and Luke outside the salon. 

In her interview with producer Stuart Blackburn, it's interesting to hear he gets the bulk of his script reading done from as early as 4.30am in the morning so the rest of the day is free to deal with the myriad things that can arise. His lips are firmly sealed on future storylines however, and he admits he doesn’t even tell his own mother what’s coming up even though she loves the show. At the time of filming, he had started editing, in script form, episode 8912. I couldn't resist checking if this episode had since aired, and it transpires that the latest, Friday's second double which I reviewed, was numbered 8868, so this episode is some way off yet.

One of the highlights of the show is Lorraine's chat with Sue Nicholls in Roy's Rolls where she talks character Audrey's upmarket residence on Grasmere Drive, her relationship with Ken, what its like to pretend to be a hair dresser, and how lovely she finds it that people see her as Audrey and call her such in the supermarket. Ladylike and gentile with a twinkle in her eye, it is a delight when Lorraine thanks her and she reciprocates ardently before saying to camera with great sincerity “can I thank everybody back in your home for watching, we love you to pieces and thank you very much". Just when you thought she couldn't endear herself any further, a great little outtake-style scene appearing alongside the credits confirms what a diamond she is. 

Over at the Rovers, Kym Marsh and Lorraine discuss her ten years on the show as Michelle, one of Lorraine's favourite characters. Both jump at the idea of taking Corrie to Dublin, but Kym insists that Lorraine would have to agree to being an honorary Connor; she'd certainly look the part.

Lorraine interviews Catherine Tyldesley on the cobbles about being constantly made-up and glamorous, and the fun of playing a feisty, funny, sometimes bitchy, character, while Michael Le Vell talks of his love of working on the show 33 years on before being affectionately ribbed by Lorraine having admitted to not knowing an awful lot about being a car mechanic. 

I very much enjoyed this nicely paced, good-humoured tour of the cobbles which left me wanting more; indeed, I would've liked for it to have been a little longer. Lorraine is the ideal presenter for a behind-the-scenes look at a programme which means so much to fans. Excited, enthusiastic and well informed throughout, she has a lovely knack of being at the centre of something without making it about her, and as such, viewers will undoubtedly have felt they were sharing with her what was clearly an enjoyable visit.

Viewers in Ireland can see Access Coronation Street with Lorraine Keane on the UTV Ireland player.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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

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Coronation Street hen parties - the top 5 best ones, ever

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

It's Carla's hen party tonight in Coronation Street and things look set to go wonderfully wrong.  All the hens dress up as Carla wearing black too!

Let's have a look at some of my favourite hen parties from the past in Coronation Street.

1. Carla's hen party before she married Tony Gordon. Memorable for the most wonderful bit of dialogue when Deirdre finds Carla upset, having a cigarette outside of the Rovers. Deirdre asks Carla if she's OK.  Her reply? "Nothing that a bit of lippy won't sort out."   (Apologies for quality of picture).

2. Deirdre's hen party in the Rovers before she married Ken for the second time. All the hens wore a t-shirt with one letter from Deirdre's name on the front.

3.  Hayley's hen party held inside Roy's Rolls with a salsa dancing session and all the hens dressed up as nurses.

4. Sunita's Hindu hen-do in the back room of the Rovers. She tries to teach the girls how to dance Bangra style.

5. Liz McDonald's hen night before she married Vernon.  Looking at these old pictures makes me realise how much Deirdre is missed.

Any more Corrie hen parties you'd add to the list?

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Tuesday 24 May 2016

Top 25 Favourite Corrie Females - No. 5

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)


Duration: 1964, 1972-
Played by: Barbara Knox
2012 character poll position (women): 3

A personal favourite of mine, Rita first appeared in 1964 as an old friend of Dennis Tanner. She was not seen again until 1972. Over the course of 44 years, flame-haired Rita has matured from saucy songstress to pillar of the community.

After a fling with Ken Barlow, Rita fell for Len Fairclough. They had a tempestuous on/off relationship with Elsie Howard being a thorn in Rita’s side many times. After breaking off their original engagement in 1974, Rita and Len married in 1977. Rita had to drag Len from his bachelor life and forced him to make renovations to their house. Happy with her house, Rita’s mothering instinct came to the fore. Failing to adopt, the Faircloughs became foster parents to the likes of John Spencer and Sharon Gaskell. Their marriage lasted for six years, before Len was killed in a car crash. Rita was devastated when she learnt that he was on the home from seeing his mistress.

After being wooed by Tony Cunliffe and Alf Roberts, Rita became involved in a serious relationship, this time with Alan Bradley. Between 1986 and 1989, Alan cheated and stole from Rita and when she confronted him, he tried to kill her. She escaped to Blackpool and when he chased her across the promenade, he was fatally hit by a tram.

Rita eventually recovered and married Ted Sullivan in 1992, but he died of a brain tumour three months later. After Ted she had numerous gentlemen friends that included Fred Elliott, Alec Gilroy, Anthony Stephens, Archie Shuttleworth, Colin Grimshaw and Lewis Archer.

In 2011, Rita reunited with old friend Dennis and he moved in with her and they fell in love. They married in 2012 during the Diamond Jubilee weekend. Happy initially, Dennis soon grew tired of Rita’s nagging and always having to ask for money. He found solace in Gloria Price and she persuaded him to dump Rita and whisked him away to Spain. Dennis returned a few months later with his tail between his legs and tried to win back Rita’s heart. When she was on the verge of forgiving him, she caught Dennis punching Norris and stealing from the Kabin. She gave Dennis his marching orders and they divorced in 2015. 

Since 1973, Rita has been behind the local newsagents counter, called the Kabin. Her scenes with her loyal assistant Mavis Riley (1973-1997) were mainly of a comedy purpose and this is repeated today with her partnership with Norris Cole. In 2009, she decided to retire and sold her share of the Kabin to Norris and went on a cruise. But when she returned, she found retirement boring and lonely. Norris persuaded her to be his assistant. But Rita still rules the roost!

Childless, Rita has become a mother figure to many over the years, notably Sharon Gaskell, Jenny Bradley, Sally Webster and Tina McIntyre.

Are you, like me, a Rita fan?

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

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Has Carla and Roy's friendship rang true for you?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

An interesting discussion has broken out on our twitter feed @CoroStreetBlog about Roy and Carla's friendship.  It's a relationship that has always felt rather forced to this Coronation Street fan. I kept quiet about that for a long time because I love Roy and I've grown to love Carla - but the two of them together? Nope.

When I admitted this on twitter yesterday, a few fans naturally said the opposite, that they enjoyed the friendship. But one person came out of the woodwork to admit that like me, they too have struggled to accept these two as friends.

I think part of the problem, for me, is that Carla was thrown together with Roy by the powers-that-be at Coronation Street to make Carla appear more fluffy than she actually is. 

ITV admitted that here.
ITV's drama director John Whiston said about Alison King: 'She is a consummate actress but somehow she was not breaking through in the research. We thought, 'What can we do to show a different side of her? She had a soft spot for Roy Cropper - this strange character we all love. That boosted her image and it showed she must be a nice person to like Roy.'

So, has it worked for you, this friendship between Roy and Carla? 

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Yay or Nay - should Gemma move in with Eileen?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There was a lovely scene in Cornation Street on recently when Gemma returned to chez Grimshaw to collect her scrunchie she'd misplaced after her night of rumpy-pumpy with Jason.  Eileen answered the door to her, invited her in and then proceeded to give Gemma chapter and verse on the Grimshaw family history. 

She chided Gemma for not thinking more of herself before launching into the back story of the Grimshaws, all wrapped up neatly in a couple of sentences. It was, I thought, a very telling scene.  Poor Gemma didn't need to hear all of that, she'd only popped in for her scrunchie.

But as one Corrie fan pointed out on twitter today, this could be the start of a relationship between Eileen and Gemma.  And indeed, once Jason Grimshaw leaves the show (find out more on that here), there'll be a spare bed in Eileen's house.  Either Todd moves back in there, or Gemma does.  And on that note, where exactly does the Toddly-boy live?

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Monday 23 May 2016

Roy Cropper returns to Coronation Street this week

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog May 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Yay! After months away from the show while actor David Neilson starred in a stage play, Roy Cropper returns to Coronation Street this week.

On screen, Roy's absence has been explained with him away in Hastings looking after his poorly mum Sylvia.

However, his return is set to cause a bit of drama when he finds out that Cathy has let Alex move into the flat above the caff. 

I've missed Roy a lot and will be glad to see him back.

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Corrie Canada Weekly Awards for May 2 - 6

Garden Party fashion award: Mary is all dressed up for a party!

Caveman Fail: Tim tried to show off in front of Steve. It only got him a dressing down. Steve tried it too. He got shot down and all.

Pants on Fire award: Nick is lying to David and Carla about his health. Is Caz lying about her injury? Her story doesn't quite add up.

Ghosts in the Annex award: Jason keeps remembering his dad and Sarah feels Callum's ghost.

Taking your life in your hands: Tim dared to criticize Eileen's telephone manner!

Double standard award: Michelle is upset that Steve told Tim about their non-sex life. You can bet she was telling Carla about the very same thing, though.

Lines of the week:
Tim "I'm just going to take Steve upstairs and show him where the magic happens" Sally "WHAT????"
Tim to Sally "Shouldn't you be annoying the neighbours?"
Audrey "If I can't make an effort for me grandson's wedding, it's a rum do"
Yasmeen "The fact that it will annoy the hell out of Sally Metcalf is a bonus"
Gemma "Everyone deserves to say goodbye to the ones they love"

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Sunday 22 May 2016

Ben Price on his new film made by Coronation Street team

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog April 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Ben Price, who plays Nick Tilsley in Coronation Street, has been talking to Metro about a new film that's he made with some of the Corrie cast and crew.

Ben has written and directed a second short film starring his Corrie co-stars Jack P Shepherd (David Platt) and Ian Puleston-Davies (Owen Armstrong). The film's called Taubman and it follows a man with Jewish roots attempting to obtain a passport in a futuristic looking environment from a controlling beurocrat who is seeking to refuse him.

Ben says: "All the people at Corrie worked on this. It’s done completely with the talent at Corrie – the edit, the sound, the music, the look – that’s all down to the people that work here. It’s an amazing collaboration. They’re not really my films, they’re everyone’s.

"This is a film from all of us at Corrie which is not confined to what we have to show on ITV. You make what you make, this is our film – if people don’t like it, they don’t like it. You just have to try. Anything that comes from it, it’s all a bonus. I love being at Corrie and I love doing this – to do both, we’re all very lucky!

Read the full interview and watch film clips here.

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

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