Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Kym Marsh wins Rear of the Year Award 2015

Kym Marsh, who plays Michelle Connor on Coronation Street has been voted Rear of the Year 2015.

Kym said: “I’d like to thank everyone from the heart of my bottom for voting for me. It’s totally unexpected but greatly appreciated. I’m very flattered to receive this award, it looks like all those extra gym sessions have paid off.”

Fat Brenda must be fewmin! She's missed out again.
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Coronation Street voted UK's favourite TV show

Coronation Street has been voted the UK's favourite TV show. 

In an independent poll run by Ladbrokes, they aimed to find out what the UK's favourite things are. One of the categories they looked at was the UK's favourite TV programme - and Corrie won it straight.
Despite being a relatively young TV show, Game of Thrones came third with 11.29% of the votes. Downtown Abbey  beat Game of Thrones at 11.48%, and Coronation Street came out as the UK's favourite with 14.04% of the votes.

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State of the Street - June

June on Coronation Street was fairly downbeat overall. There was the aftermath of Kal's death as it affected Alya in particular. Sophie and her family barely had a chance to catch their breath after Maddie's death when they had to deal with Jenny running off with Jack. Faye finally made Anna listen and gave baby Miley to her father and family to raise.

The cracks are starting to show in Simon, after a lifetime of losing people he loves. I fear he's going to make David Platt look like Father Christmas before Simon's even old enough to vote!

Michael has found out about G'Andy and has spent the month dealing with anger and grief, with Gail looking on from across the street in equal measures of hope and desperation.

Kylie's back and Callum's butt is about to be kicked. I hope. Dev's just a romantic fool, "fool" being the operative word. Again.

All this and more detail on The State of the Street.

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Kate Ford on saying goodbye to Deirdre Barlow

With the sad news that Deirdre's final farewell will be on the show next week, here's an interview with Kate Ford, who plays Tracy Barlow in Coronation Street.

How does Tracy take the news about her mum’s death?
Tracy is devastated, she loved Deirdre very much. Over the years, whatever Tracy has done, even if she hasn’t agreed with it, Deirdre has always stood by her and loved her unconditionally. Tracy suddenly feels very alone without her mum.

How is Tracy feeling about her mum’s funeral?
Tracy throws herself into the funeral arrangements, she tries to be very efficient and busy herself with the plans in a bid to block out the pain.

Was it hard to film the scenes of Deirdre’s funeral, given you worked so closely with Anne?
Yes it was very difficult, and emotional at times, but I tried to keep things as separate as I could because it was too painful if not.

Obviously Tracy’s been up to her usual devious tricks of late – does losing her mum make her reflect on her actions and her lifestyle at all?
I think it does, she wants to be a better daughter and a better mother. She does set about making some changes, and maybe trying to call a truce with a certain person, but whether that will last I don’t know.

How does Tracy feel about her dad Ken’s hostility towards her?
She’s angry with him and she doesn’t really understand why he’s being like this. Tracy is mourning the loss of Deirdre too and she really needs some comfort but Ken isn’t forthcoming at all.

For once, does Tracy actually feel guilty when Ken berates her for causing Deirdre so much grief over the years?
Yes she does feel guilty and she vows not to let her mum down again.

See also: William Roache interview

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William Roache on saying goodbye to Deirdre Barlow

With the sad news that Deirdre's final farewell will be on the show next week, here's an interview with William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street.

With Deirdre heading back to the Street, Ken’s planning a surprise party – how’s he feeling about her return?

Ken is thrilled to bits that she’s coming back, he’s really excited and he’s got this surprise 60th birthday party all arranged to celebrate. Then of course there’s this big shock, when their friend Bev arrives to announce the tragic news that Deirdre has passed away.

Does the news that Deirdre’s died come completely out of the blue?
It is totally and absolutely out of the blue, and in complete contrast to what we were expecting, so it is a terrible shock.

How does Ken react? Is he initially in shock?

When something really big happens, you don’t do anything. You are dumbstruck, literally - bang. If it’s something as awful as that, you don’t scream, you don’t shout, you don’t cry, you are just literally struck dumb. So that’s how I played it. Then there are some lovely scenes with Bev where it unfolds and she talks about how Deirdre died, which was was very peacefully, so that’s a blessing for Ken. Then of course it moves into a phase where Ken can’t understand why she stayed away so long. The funeral is coloured by what Bev tells him about why Deirdre stayed away so long, which he thought was himself. He thought she’d gone off him, found another man, or something like that. But it turns out the reason she stayed away was because of Tracy’s awful behaviour, she was so embarrassed about Tracy having the affair with Tony and upsetting her best friend Liz.

Does that make Ken angry with Tracy?
When he hears the real reason she stayed away he gets very angry, because he has been deprived of the last few weeks and months of life with the person he loves, Deirdre, all because Tracy misbehaved. So he has this double emotion to deal with, tremendous grief at the loss of Deirdre, and colossal anger at Tracy. The denying him those last few weeks. So all through the funeral, he’s got this mixed feeling, anger at Tracy and grief at having lost Deirdre, and also the added grief at not having been with her at the end in the last few weeks of her life. So it gives it another dimension at the funeral.

Does Ken break down at any point?
Ken isn’t the sort of person who shows his emotions. For most of it, he’s on the verge of tears but he’s just keeping it under the surface. However then there comes a point where he’s given her glasses. As an actor Ken is given the glasses of Deirdre, which is highly emotive as glasses are very personal, they’re very close to the person, but of course when I got the glasses, they were also Anne’s. Anne had worn those glasses for twenty years, so there was a complete merger for me, there was no Bill and Ken and Deirdre and Anne, it was just one. I felt the loss of both. From an acting point of view it made it totally simple and totally believable and very easy to play. From the grieving and sadness point of view, it made it totally real. It was the only time there is a blurring of the edges between the character and the actor - it was just one, it became complete oneness, which is interesting and helpful.

When you played the scenes after the funeral around the Barlows table with Peter and Tracy there was a lot of emotion, was it confusing at times?
I just dropped the confusion and I found instead of trying to think of it, and think of the confusion, let it be, and let it be one. And it was one. It was the only time, ever, that you could say that Ken and Bill are the same: that was the moment that it was so. It was really, really interesting from that point of view.

Was it nice to have Chris Gascoyne back filming and to do those scenes going over the Barlows’ troubled history with Chris and Kate?
It was wonderful to have Chris back. I love Chris dearly, he’s such a good actor, and such a beautiful person. There was a lot of sad, but sort of joyful moments, heart-warming moments that have come out of those scenes and from having Chris back. I think, from Annie’s point of view, she’s had a wonderful send off, both as a person in the memorial service, and from the story that plays out on screen. Everybody loves Annie, they really did, and the stories show and respect that. It was good to play.

After the funeral there are some classic Barlow scenes where everyone’s rowing – can you tell us a bit about what happens?
Well, it is classic Barlow really, nothing ever goes smoothly and the funeral is no exception. So really Ken has three things going on, which is quite tricky; he’s got the grief of losing Deirdre, the anger at Tracy, and then his son Peter doesn’t turn up when he’s meant to be a pallbearer. So poor old Ken’s trying to think of his eulogy and he’s got all those mixed feelings going on. But that’s good; it’s good writing and a good story, it gives it a three-dimensional aspect.

The row leads to a lot of conversations about the past and Deirdre. Are the issues resolved between them by the end? Are the Barlows almost brought back together by their grief?
It’s very interesting and it’s what is great about the Street itself. It goes back so far, it draws on its own history. So when we have a row, it isn’t a row just about the situation, you draw on all that’s gone on in the past. Ken has always got at Tracy for her behaviour, quite rightly, and so that all comes out. He really goes at her; how she never listens, she never cares, brought her misfortunes on her own head, and I say awful things to her in the church. Deirdre spent a lot of time trying to excuse Tracy’s behaviour, which was inexcusable, so it causes a lot of grief for her and that makes Ken very angry. It was an exploration that went into the relationships between Ken, Peter and Tracy, and Peter and Tracy as well. Whether it’s sorted by the end and they can accept that nobody’s perfect you’ll have to wait and see. Ken hasn’t behaved well, Peter hasn’t behaved well, Tracy hasn’t behaved well. So at the end of it hopefully they can come out more cleansed, as it were, maybe clear the air a bit.

How do you think Ken and Tracy are going to get on living together?
Deirdre was always in the middle sorting them out. She was always the only one who defended Tracy totally. Ken would go at her, but Deirdre defended her. At the moment there’s peace, probably Ken and Tracy are closer than they’ve ever been, for the time being anyway [laughs]. For how long that will be, I don’t know.

On top of this, Tracy’s ex husband Robert arrives. Is Ken aware he’s present at the funeral?
I don’t know if Ken’s aware of that at the funeral, but he certainly comes home, and he’s there. He comes home after the funeral to find Tracy and Robert on the sofa - ‘cavorting’ is the word he uses - which is not really appropriate on the day of his wife’s funeral. He’s very cross, he tells Robert to get out and he doesn’t want to see him again, so it’s not a good start for Robert.

What were his feelings about Robert in the past? Did Ken like him?
Ken didn’t know much about Robert because Tracy was living away when it all happened. I don’t think Ken had any particular feelings about Robert from the past, but seeing him in his living room when he comes home from his wife’s funeral, cavorting on the sofa with Tracy, that is not on. So Robert does not get off on the right foot.

Can you give us a hint about what’s coming up for the Barlows?
There’s lots more exciting things coming up for the Barlows. We’ve got Robert turning up chasing Tracy, then we’ve also got Simon misbehaving. Simon’s not very happy when his Dad comes and then goes again. Simon’s showing signs of his troubled upbringing, it’s not surprising, any child brought into the Barlow household is bound to suffer some deep psychological scarring! I think it’s good that they’re showing he’s got some scarring, because you can’t come through what he has unscathed. He’s lost his mother, he’s seen his father drunk, he’s been through so much, it’s bound to have an effect. I think it’s very good that we’re exploring that. Then there’s also little Amy, on the other hand, who is coming out as quite a little tough character. She’s becoming a mini-Blanche, which I think is great too, because that strength would mean it’s her way of dealing with all the awful things that have happened. It’s good stuff.

Do you enjoy working with the youngsters who play Simon and Amy?
They’re both brilliant. They’re so sweet. They come up after scenes and say ‘Well done’ and give you a hug. Alex is a dear little lad, and little Ellie, she’s wonderful.

See also: Corrie writer Damon Rochefort on writing Deirdre's final farewell

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Damon Rochefort on writing Deirdre Barlow's farewell

With the sad news that we'll be saying a final farewell to Deirdre Barlow next week on Coronation Street, Corrie scriptwriter Damon Rochefort talks about writing Deirdre's goodbye.

"Even if you’ve never seen a single episode of ‘Coronation Street’, a pound to a penny says you’ve probably heard of Deirdre Barlow. So to the millions of fans who have followed the character through her 42 dramatic years on the show, the death of actress Annie Kirkbride earlier this year was shocking and tragic.

So when I was asked to write Deirdre’s funeral episodes some months ago, I was touched and flattered, of course, but well aware of the level of anticipation from the show’s fans that the character had the send-off she deserved. Being a lifelong fan of the show myself, even if I’d never worked on Corrie, I’d want exactly the same thing. And it wouldn’t be just the fans, either. Annie was a hugely popular cast member and it was important to me that our colleagues on the show also felt I was doing this iconic character justice. So too her husband David and all her friends and family who thought so much of this wonderful woman and the character she so brilliantly portrayed.

No pressure there then.

A few years back, I wrote Deirdre’s mother Blanche’s funeral episode after the sad passing of actress Maggie Jones. In that episode, I wrote for Annie – as Deirdre – a eulogy for her mother which I’m relieved to say was incredibly well received, mainly because Annie delivered it so perfectly. Now I had to do the same for Bill Roache as Ken, as he delivered a eulogy to his wife, taken from him far too early. Bill and Annie were incredibly close colleagues for 42 years, an on-screen husband and wife for many of them. How to fit all that history into a eulogy lasting a few minutes on screen?

And how would daughter Tracy react? A woman who has literally got away with murder and been the bane of many street residents’ lives for years. Would the ice queen finally crack? And what of grand-children Amy and Simon? Her best friends Liz and Eileen? Surrogate mum Emily? The wider community?

Another quandary when actors die unexpectedly is that we write scripts many months before transmission. The public knew Annie was dead. But on screen, in episodes written long before this shocking news, Deirdre was staying at her friend Bev’s, a story we had used to cover Deirdre’s absence on the show when Annie had been taken ill. Now she would never come back. The only task left was to give Deirdre a funeral with all the emotion and – this being Corrie, the humour – this iconic TV legend deserved.

One key when writing these eps was Tracy. Deirdre was pretty much the only person who ALWAYS forgave Tracy. The one person Tracy could turn to when she had alienated everybody else. How would this self-absorbed, callous character react when her lone supporter had gone? The answer came, strangely through a song. When I was deciding which songs Deirdre would have at her funeral I spent an afternoon listening to many. And when I put on ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and heard the lines ‘I’m on your side, when times get rough. And friends just can’t be found…’ I knew I had a wonderful scene. Tracy, weeping, staring at her mum’s photo on her coffin, as the congregation sang these magically apt words which summed up Deirdre’s unfaltering support of her daughter.

Then there was the humour. During Blanche’s memorable time on the show, she famously used to go to strangers’ funerals with her cohorts from the one o‘clock club. It was one of her hobbies. At Blanche’s funeral, the one o’clock club tipped up – led magnificently by June Whitfield – and provided some excellent light relief. Why not have a gaggle of these old dears turn up at Deirdre’s funeral too, in memory of Blanche and out of respect for her daughter? And why not cast a real choir as the one o’clock club members, so the songs would really raise the roof of the beautiful church we were going to shoot in?

For the rest, I’m afraid you’ll have to watch the episodes. Us writers like to hold a few surprises back.

Co-incidentally, we shot Deirdre’s funeral scenes either side of the weekend of Annie’s memorial in Manchester Cathedral. An emotional time then for cast and crew, these last couple of weeks, as they said goodbye to both Deirdre the character, and Annie their beloved colleague. So when you see the on screen tears and emotion from cast members when Ken says his final goodbyes to Deirdre in these upcoming episodes, you can be assured of one thing - it won’t all be acting…"

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Deirdre Barlow to die on her 60th birthday

Coronation Street favourite Deirdre Barlow has been off screen for some months now since her famous “jelly shouldn’t run it should wobble” line. Actress Anne Kirkbride sadly passed away in January and now the character’s passing will be fondly marked in episodes to transmit the week commencing Monday 6th July.

As Ken happily plans for Deirdre’s homecoming, with a surprise 60th birthday party, old friend Bev Unwin, with whom Deirdre had been staying, arrives on the street to break the news of her death. A devastated Ken suddenly finds himself planning a funeral rather than a celebration as Deirdre’s friends and family are left reeling.

In an emotional episode written by Damon Rochefort, due to transmit on Monday 13th July, the residents will pay their respects at Deirdre’s funeral. Viewers will also see Ken’s son Peter Barlow briefly return to the show as Ken, Peter and Tracy spend an evening dissecting their troubled family life and reminiscing about the legend that was Deirdre Barlow.

See also:

Interview with Kate Ford (Tracy Barlow) on saying goodbye to her on-screen mum

Interview with William Roache (Ken Barlow) on saying goodbye to his on-screen wife

Interview with Corrie scriptwriter Damon Rochefort on writing out a legend from the show

Deirdre to die on her 60th birthday, July 8 2015.

Peter Barlow and Bev Unwin are returning.

Coronation Street build their own graveyard to film Deirdre's funeral

Tracy's ex-husband Robert Preston returns.

The funeral has been written by scriptwriter Damon Rochefort
Deirdre's death has been explained here.

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Spoilers for next week's Coronation Street... Deirdre dies

Without any piffle, here's the storyline for the week ahead on Coronation Street, all wrapped up nicely in 50 words or less.

Week of Monday July 6 to Friday July 10
Note: There's an extra episode on Thursday July 9

Bev arrives on Deirdre's 60th birthday with the sad news she has passed away.
Elsewhere next week, Callum wants Kylie back, Roy helps Cathy declutter, Simon continues to test Leanne, Carla starts gambling, Michael and Eileen grow close,

The full weekly preview, with pictures is right here on Corrie.net

Missed last week's Corrie?
Catch up with the Coronation Street Weekly Updates  

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