Thursday, 6 April 2017
The fall of the House of Barlow
(This post was originally posted by Clinkers (David) on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Well, it has to be said that the Street is an interesting place these days. The last few months have seen the dramatic equivalent of an adrenalin boost for a soap that, during 2016, had shown signs of stodginess. It was sweating like a fat man in a pie shop. And then came Dame Kate of Oates with her lovely new broom.
Twenty years ago the much-derided Brian Park delivered a swift one up the jacksie of a very tired looking Corrie. He despatched characters whose story had long since been told and shook up the lives of those that remained. Fast forward to 2017 and off we go again. Like Park, Kate Oates has taken a wrecking ball to some aspects of the show. The Macdonald Years, at least in their current form, at the Rovers appear to be over. Here's hoping that she doesn't impose another Stella Price on us because that wouldn't be a very nice thing to do, would it boys and girls? No doubt Liz and co will be back at some point but for now, the Steve and Michelle tale needs to be brought to a close. We will miss 'chelle and her 'face like a thousand wars' behind the bar . . . said no one, ever.
More interesting though is the saga being played out at number one. How we were lead merrily down the garden path last year. There was poor old Ken, seemingly on the way out but then buoyed and rejuvenated by the return of his disparate (some would say desperate) family. The matriarchal days of Blanche, Deirdre and Tracy made way for a mellower Peter, angry Adam and his fey winter coat and Ken Junior, the erudite Daniel. Could they all forge a familial bond and relaunch the House of Barlow? Not a chance.
Rather than opt for cosy homespun stories and loving memories, the Barlows have set upon a course of mutual self-destruction. At the centre, as always, in Ken. By that I really mean 'self-centred' because it's always been about Ken, what affects him and what he feels others should be doing with their lives. New Ken is a nasty piece of work though. He's no lovely old grandad, rather a mean-spirited old grump, peering at his family from that horrible chair wedged next to the wall unit.
Ken seems, quite rightly, vexed by his entire brood of whom Tracy has suddenly emerged as the voice of reason. Peter yet again battles his numerous addictions and yet this nicotine-stained middle aged alcoholic manages to attract women left, right and centre. At one end of the scale, Toyah in a floor-length cardigan and at the other, a Stockport bunny boiler with a penchant for taxis.
The we have the unlikely pairing of Daniel and Sinead, the former momentarily bound for Oxford but now happy to shack up with a soap-maker whose soul was rendered dead from years of domestic bliss with 'misery loves company', Chesney. Maybe love will flourish in the corner shop flat but let's be honest, there's not much of a spark there.
As for Adam? Well, in he sauntered, all guns blazing, as Son of Mike. It didn't last long though. Attempts to bully Aiden (Aiden? Adam? Eva? How about we add an Ada for good measure?) failed. Yes, Adam was bested by someone with a winter coat camper than his own. At this rate, we can expect Pat Phelan teetering across the cobbles in a Vera Wang gown by summer. No, Adam tried to play the big man, he cheated at his exams, managed to cause the usually morally reprehensible Todd to sneer at him and worse of all, disappointed King Lear . . . sorry, Ken.
Where's it all going then? Perhaps as the lovely Blanche once mused, to hell in a handcart. A handcart pushed by Ken. It would be a little grim to have him alienate his entire clan and then die, although it would give them food for thought. Ever decreasing circles for Peter, no doubt a period of nastiness from Adam, Daniel trying to teach Sinead how to complete a six piece jigsaw puzzle and Tracy proving that what doesn't come with age is maturity. And I've not even mentioned Amy.
Vive le Barlows! At least for a little while longer.
Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter