Monday, 2 May 2016

New play from Coronation Street writer Jonathan Harvey

Coronation Street writer Jonathan Harvey has a new play. It's called Our Lady of Blundellsands and this is what it's about...
Sisters Sylvie and Garnet live in a house by the sea. Sylvie’s not left the house for thirty years, spending her day cocooned in a haze of cheap wine and fading memories of her time in the sun – Miss New Brighton 1969, a guest appearance on Z Cars, modelling as the Virgin Mary for a stained glass window… Her boys are coming home for Garnet’s 70th, but Garnet’s just had some bad news. Is it time to reveal that this is a house built on lies?

There's a play reading of at the Liverpool Everyman theatre on Wednesday 11 May.  Find out more here.

As well as writing for our favourite soap, Jonathan Harvey has written 18 plays including The Cherry Blossom Tree and Canary for Liverpool Playhouse, Beautiful Thing and Boom Bang a Bang for The Bush, Out in the Open for Hampstead Theatre, Guiding Star and Tomorrow I’ll Be Happy for the National Theatre and Mohair, Wildfire and Babies for the Royal Court Theatre.

He has won the John Whiting Award, the George Devine Award, two Manchester Evening News Awards and an Evening Standard award, as well as being both Bafta and Olivier nominated.

Jonathan’s play Beautiful Thing was made into a successful film for Film Four. For TV he created the sitcoms Gimme Gimme Gimme and Beautiful People as well as writing for shows as diverse as Rev, Shameless, At Home With The Braithwaites and Tracey Ullman’s Show. For the past 12 years he has been on the writing team for Coronation Street.

His novels include All She Wants and The Girl Who Just Appeared.

His new novel The History of Us is out in the summer.

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Preview of tonight's double Coronation Street - Monday 2 May

Monday 2nd May
STEVE SHARES HIS WORRIES WITH LIZ As Michelle busies herself planning Carla’s wedding, Steve moans that they’ve spent little time together since his return. He confides in Liz that Michelle seems to be avoiding him and Liz has to mask her concern. In the cab office Tim advises Steve that he should channel his inner caveman and show Michelle what she’s been missing. Liz confronts Michelle and demands to know if the reason she’s avoiding Steve is because of Will. How will she respond?
NICK FACES HIS FEARS Nick attends his appointment with the consultant and admits he’s scared he might lash out at Carla like he did with Leanne. The consultant recommends an MRI scan but points out that given his brain injury, it’s impossible to give an exact diagnosis. Nick leaves, upset. Gail presents Carla with a photo album to welcome her to the family and Carla is touched. She tells Nick she’s never been happier and he forces himself to hide his anxiety.
SOPHIE’S SUSPICIOUS ABOUT CAZ As Sophie heads out of the café, she bumps into Kate and Caz coming in. Caz yelps, making out Sophie caught her injured ankle. Sophie’s incensed and confides in Kevin she never touched Caz’s ankle and she reckons she’s playing on her injury in an attempt to hang on to Kate.
ELSEWHERE In a bid to take his mind off Tony’s death, Phelan persuades Jason to accompany him to the County match. 

Monday 2nd May
MICHELLE’S GUILT GROWS Michelle admits to Liz that she kissed Will but then came to her senses and has been feeling guilty ever since. Liz assures Michelle she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to Steve and she mustn’t let a stupid kiss ruin their marriage. Tim gives Steve caveman lessons.  Unimpressed, Sally tells Tim to stop embarrassing himself. Steve suggests to Michelle they have a quiet night in together but Michelle doesn’t appear to be very keen.
NICK LOSES IT AGAIN At Carla’s insistence, she and Nick try on their wedding rings. Nick’s overcome with emotion. In the Rovers, Gail fusses over Carla and explains how she didn’t initially welcome her to the family as she thought she was a murderess but now she’s changed her opinion. David drags Nick into the Rovers back yard to ask what the consultant said. Will Nick tell him the truth? Having returned home, Nick attempts to make a cup of tea but when he accidentally pours boiling water on his hand, he loses his temper and hurls the mug at the wall. Carla’s horrified.
RAIN STOPS PLAY AT YASMEEN’S BBQ While Yasmeen chivvies Sharif in the kitchen, Zeedan and Alya set up the barbecue in the garden. Alya admits she’s invited Rana along. Mary, Cathy and Rana arrive for the barbecue. Having discovered that Rana’s a nurse, Mary quizzes her about her many ailments. As the heavens open, despondent Yasmeen ushers her guests inside while smug Sally waves to her from the comfort of her conservatory. Yasmeen fumes.
ELSEWHERE Sophie questions Caz about her accident. Caz is evasive leaving Sophie even more suspicious and she voices her suspicions about Caz’s accident to a defensive Kate.

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Sunday, 1 May 2016

A Bit of A Do

As I write from Dublin, reunited with my cat and sofa, I find myself incredulous at this weekend’s brilliant trip to London. My friend and fellow blogger Graeme has already written a lovely blog about our adventure at the UK Blog Awards 2016 on the night of Friday 29 April, and to it, I would like to add a few words.

As I strolled around sunny Camden town on the afternoon of the ceremony, I contemplated the night ahead, our immense achievement, and how proud I was to be representing the blog that means so much to us all.

After 2,000 entries and tens of thousands of votes, we had made it to the final, and I was very much looking forward to sharing the night with Graeme and intrigued as to what the evening would hold.

As I have said here and elsewhere, I very much felt we had already won, with our name to appear in lights twice as one of ten blogs in both the Arts & Culture and Most Innovative categories. I consider this to be an immense achievement, and as Graeme and I met in the stunning Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge, and joined the other finalists in our finery, the momentousness of our achievement became even more apparent.

The bash was glitzy and glamorous, and Graeme and I marvelled at our surrounds while having a lovely catch-up as we enjoyed florally adorned canapés and prosecco. Both delighted to be there together, we spoke of how proud we were, the responsibility we felt in representing our editor Glenda, our fellow bloggers, those who voted for us (thank you!) and the blog itself, and, of course, had a delicious natter about Corrie.

We took deep breaths as the time came to take our seats, and while I usually baulk at anyone tapping away at their phone while I’m trying to enjoy an event, it was the done thing here, and so I was delighted to be able to keep our bloggers and readers up to date as the event progressed.

With its origins in individual diary-style posts, and a creative endeavour at heart, I have become increasingly aware of the commercial side of blogging, and the extent to which individuals and companies are embracing it as a vehicle to capitalise on and further their successes, sell products and strengthen their corporate identities. Each category was split into individual and company nominees with an award for each, and as I leafed through the programme, I pondered where we fitted among them. There was nobody similar to us, that’s for sure, and I felt I could identify more with the clear excitement of the individual winners which seemed fitting considering our own position. We had been placed in the company category where we didn’t really belong, on account of the fact that there are more than six of us writing for the blog, even though we are simply a proud group of passionate volunteers. I also thought about the first question I was asked on arrival: 'Are you a blogger or a brand?'

This disarmed me slightly, and I hesitated. Victoria Beckham I’m not, so I went for blogger, which is after all what I am. It wasn’t until afterwards I realised I was probably supposed to choose ‘brand’, because our blog had to be entered as a company. It made no difference, as everyone mingled together, but my confused reaction to this question and my answer were perhaps symbolic of our unique position.

We write this blog because we love Coronation Street, interacting with other fans, and providing an alternative space for people to write about, ponder, consume, and talk about the programme. We don’t make money from it, and are not trying to attract and retain readers for that purpose. We are, and always will be, a blog written by fans for fans.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with blogging for commercial purposes. However, I wonder if another category might make for a positive addition to the programme; if not that of fan site, then perhaps non-profit. This would mean the UK Blog Awards could continue to highlight and celebrate the diverse voices and creativity which lies at the heart of blogging while recognising bigger team efforts without a commercial imperative.

Graeme and I had a brilliant time at the awards, and after much fun and laughter, our carriages finally threatened to become pumpkins as Big Ben tolled. We said our farewells, for now, and hoped to see each other again soon.

Two messages I took from the speakers on the night were the importance of focusing on relationships, and how, despite blogging being a solitary pursuit, the words we weave alone in our bedrooms can touch others, and Friday night was proof of that.

In addition to the wonderful encouragement and support I received from family and friends, I was overwhelmed by the good wishes online for Glenda, the blog, Graeme and I on Friday. I have never had so many Twitter notifications as the good luck messages poured in throughout the day and evening. It was so heartening to know that everyone was behind us, and even though we didn't lift a trophy, I most certainly went to bed a winner that night. 

Our wonderful editor Glenda, my fellow bloggers, and all of our readers are kindred spirits who have been brought together by Corrie. But I think Friday night proved that it goes beyond that, as our love of this common interest has seen us form friendships and connections with others, many of whom we have never met. To have such a thing in our lives is an award in itself.

By Emma Hynes
www.emmahynes.wordpress.com
Twitter: @ELHynes

To see a few more photos of our night, take a look at my album here, with more pictures to be added.

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Tonight: Mikey North stars in The Chase Celebrity Special

Mikey North, who plays Gary Windass on Coronation Street stars in The Chase tonight - Sunday 1 May 2016.  It's a Celebrity Special version of The Chase and it takes place at 6.55pm on ITV.

Mikey will be appearing n the show trying to win a cash prize for charity.  He'll be on the show with The Saturdays Una Healey, Boxing Champ Carl Froch and TV Presenter Alison Hammond.

The show is hosted by Bradley Walsh, who of course played Danny Baldwin in Corrie.

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Norman Bates with a Briefcase - new Coronation Street fan book

I'll be talking about my new Coronation Street companion book tomorrow on the radio.  The newly released paperbook is called Norman Bates with a Briefcase and it covers all of the drama of Richard Hillman's reign of terror in Corrie.  

Find out more about the book and how you can get hold of your copy, here.

Actor Brian Capron, who played Richard, has written the foreword to the book too.   

Brian Capron says: "Glenda has produced a brilliant account of the rise and fall of Richard. Reading it brought back so many memories, particularly filming the deaths of Duggie, first wife Patricia, Maxine and the vain attempts to kill poor old Emily. Eileen Derbyshire is the sweetest person and we used to laugh and chat together whilst waiting to film a scene and then I'd say, 'Come on Eileen, I've got to try and murder you now!'"

So tune in if you can to BBC Newcastle tomorrow, Monday 2 May. I'll be on the Anna Foster show on BBC Radio Newcastle. It starts at 10am Bank Holiday Monday. You can tune in online here.

In the radio interview talking about the Richard Hillman book, I'll also be revealing details of something very special indeed for Carla Connor fans...


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Who's the right man for Audrey - Freddie or Ken?

Now then, I like Audrey Roberts. I also like this new fella Freddie on Coronation Street.  And I'm quite fond of Ken.  But who would YOU like to see Audrey go on a proper date with and start a relationship with?

I vote for Freddie, he's far more fun than Ken will ever be.  Audrey is a flighty piece and there's still a lot of life left in her. She doesn't want to be tied down to Ken and his cardigans, just yet, does she?

You can keep your Ken. Let Audrey have a fling with Freddie, I say, and the sooner the better!

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Cath Tyldesley: “Without Corrie, I’d be a very bitter drama teacher.”

There's a long interview today with Catherine Tyldesley, who plays Eva Price in Coronation Street.

Cath is about to get married to her fiance Tom in a few days time.  The interview is nice becuase it focuses on her home life with Tom and their baby Alfie.  She also talks about playing Eva in Corrie, of course.

She says that on set she's always singing with Shayne Ward, who plays Aidan Connor. “Yes. But me and Shayne just sing all day every day anyway, to be honest. And anything – Motown, pop, musical theatre, even Disney. It drives the others mad.”

Have a read of the full interview here.  

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Corrie weekly update - brown sauce, tea bags and a fighting Vicar

Corrie weekly updates from 1995
All the wit and warmth of Weatherfield, none of the waffle

Available from
amazon.co.uk or amazon.com


Now then, I’ve never had much time for Eileen Grimshaw and she’s plummeted even further in my estimation this week after she asks Phelan to move in. Eileen ignores Todd’s pleas not to rush into things with Phelan but Eileen, as always, ignores the voice of reason.  Phelan’s been centre stage of the cobbles this week. First, he breaks into Jamila House and smashes the place up, so that he can go in there to fix it up again. He’s hailed as a hero, but Todd’s on his case, he knows there’s summat fishy about Phelan after he sees him hanging around outside the community centre just minutes before the break in. 

Then, when news reaches the Grimshaws that Tony has died, Phelan’s the one who’s leading the family in their grief. He especially comforts Jason, which is rather creepy although endears him to Eileen even more.  Todd, Jason and Phelan go to Tony’s flat to clear his belongings and pick out a suit to bury him in. When they enter the flat, it’s in disarray, as if Tony has just stepped outside and left things as they were. Jason picks up a bottle from the kitchen worktop. “He loved his brown sauce,” he muses, tears in his eyes. This was a wonderful bit of comedy in another wise nasty, dark scene as Todd tries to stop Phelan getting his claws into his brother as he wallows in grief. 


Later in the Rovers, Eva’s comforting Jason over the death of his dad but Jason loses his temper with her.  Aidan storms in to find out what’s going on and the two lads end up fighting at the bar. In storms Phelan to lift Aidan off Jason, and then Johnny Connor storms in (there was a lot of storming), punching Phelan’s lights out. (We cheered at this point). And then, oh then, Billy the vicar wades into the fight and splits Phelan and Johnny from killing each other. “You!” he yells at Phelan. “Get over there! And You! He yells at Johnny, “Get over there!”.  Billy’s got his dander up and there’s testosterone flying all over the bar.  It was all rather good stuff.

The reason Billy’s in such a bad mood is because he’s pestered this week with text messages from someone he doesn’t want to be pestered by. The pesterer then turns up in the shadows on the street demanding money from Billy, which he hands over in secret.  The same lad turns up again and Billy refuses him money this time. Who is the mystery stranger and why is Billy enraged?

At Roy’s Rolls, Alex tells Cathy that his mum is moving to Scotland with her new fella and he doesn’t want to go with them. Cathy wonders if Alex can stay with her and Roy – when he returns – in the flat about the caff.

Audrey agrees to go to the Rovers with Ken for a quiet drink. It’s a drink that Ken’s been trying for weeks to have with Audrey, but alas it’s not to be as Ken would quite like.  Freddie turns up in the salon and asks Kylie if she’ll accompany him to the Rovers for a quick drink, so the salon staff all troop in there together.  When Ken turns up looking for Audrey (“It’s not a date!) on their date, he finds her being friendly with Freddie. I like Freddie. I like Audrey. I hope I see a story forming.

Elsewhere this week, a vapid character in a nurse’s uniform sucked the life out of the screen every time she appeared.   

Finally this week, there was a lovely scene between Carla and Nick, and that’s not something I think I’ve ever said in a weekly update before.  Nick continues to have trouble as the symptoms of his brain injury return. He goes to the doc who says he needs to speak to a consultant. He confides in David that he can’t tell Carla because it wouldn’t be fair on her.  Threatening to call off the wedding he says “If I can’t be proper husband, I can’t marry her at all.” Oh dear.  This was just after he’d met Carla in the Bistro and she noticed he wasn’t drinking. She joked with him about this and they talked about their wedding. “Till death us do part,” he says to him to which he replies, “In sickness and in health.”  “Yeah, but we’re both as fit as fiddles aren’t we?” she smiles. Oh, if only she knew.  Later, in Carla’s flat Nick goes out running for the second time in the same day, as a way to vent his frustrations.  “Run like the wind,” Carla tells him. “Run to the top of a mountain and pull me down a star.”  “I was thinking of five times around the Red Rec.” Nick replies. And it’s wonderful dialogue like this that proves exactly why I love Coronation Street.

And that’s just about that for this week.

Remember, you can sign up to get these Corrie weekly updates by email at http://www.corrie.net/updates/weekly/subscribe.htm

This week’s writers were  John Kerr and Jayne Hollinson (Monday double); Mark Wadlow (Wednesday); Joe Turner (Friday double).  Find out all about the Coronation Street writing team at http://coronationstreetupdates.blogspot.com/2008/11/exclusive-all-current-corrie-writers.html

Glenda Young
--
Blogging away merrily at http://flamingnora.blogspot.com
Website: glendayoungbooks.com


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