Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Weds 22 Oct

Weds October 22nd 2014
JIM’S HOIST BY HIS OWN PETARD. Steve visits Jim and reveals he knows Jim was only using him to get to Liz and how he resorted to blackmail using Peter as his weapon. Furious with his Dad, Steve reports Jim for illegally using a mobile phone to harass Liz. Jim’s incandescent as he’s dragged away by the prison officers. Back on the street Tony and Liz celebrate the fact they’re back together but the mood is broken when Steve arrives home clearly shaken. When Liz then suggests to Tony he should move into the Rovers with her, how will Steve react?
KYLIE CONTINUES TO BURY HER LITTLE SECRET. Feeling terrible, on a come-down from her last drugs hit, Kylie does her best to appear normal in front of David. Alone in the salon she’s about to take her last wrap of speed when Maria arrives with Liam. Kylie quickly hides the drug in her nail box. When Liam opens the box and starts playing with the contents, Kylie goes berserk, making Liam cry. As Maria and Kylie row, David and Audrey return, is Kylie’s habit about to be discovered?
SURPRISE, SURPRISE - CILLA’S BACK. Aware Roy doesn’t like being alone in his flat, Tyrone and Fiz invite him for dinner with Chesney and Sinead. But when there’s a knock at the door everyone’s stunned as Cilla enters, clutching an overnight bag with her wrist in plaster. How will Fiz and Chesney react?
Elsewhere Encouraged by Eileen, Tony finally swallows his pride and apologises to Liz. Will they kiss and make up? Yasmeen, Sharif, Kal and Zeedan put the finishing touches to the new community centre.

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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Blog interviews with Kate Ford and Alison King

What a treat to see Tracy and Carla sitting together! Before the interview began, Kate Ford and Alison King were chatting and are obviously very good friends. The interview was conducted with Tracy and Carla together as they are both inextricably linked by their love of the same man, Rob Donovan - Carla's brother and Tracy's fiancé. The wedding is soon - Tracy, the bride, Rob the groom and Carla, the Best Woman or Best Bird as she refers to herself as.

The trouble with the these two women is that they loathe each other. In fact it might be fair to say that  Tracy loathes Carla more than Carla detests Tracy. Carla is not in the minority here, whereas most people on The Street are alright with Carla, not that she has been a saint, but lately because of her friendship with Hayley and now Roy, we see that though she may be a keen, cut throat business woman, she is also fundamentally a good woman.

In recent months, Carla has lost her baby, her husband, her 'friend' Tina and now she will lose her brother. She must do the right thing by The Barlows, the law and morality, and so she informs the authorities that it was Rob who killed Tina.

How does Tracy react to the news about Rob?

Tracy is raging! She even sets off after Rob, leaving Amy behind. When things go wrong for Tracy she lashes out, which she does anyway when all is well, but this time she becomes absolutely vicious. What's more, she blames Carla for everything. she doesn't stop to think and rationalise, but lays one hundred per cent of the blame at Carla's door. It was bad enough when she found out that Carla was to be Rob's best woman, but after Rob confessed to Carla, Tracy interprets that as being Carla's plan to ruin things for her. In addition Tracy's business hits the skids.

Liz and Tracy have also got a fractious relationship which is about to become even more fractious. Tracy and Tony have an affair which was hinted at a while ago in the advertisement where Liz's reflection becomes the reflection of Tracy, as Tony stands by looking into the mirror. So that will further damage the relationship between Tracy and Liz. Poor Amy!

How about Carla, how does she react to the truth about Tina's murder?

Carla is devastated. She needs time to take stock and understand what has happened since Hayley's death. Her child, her husband and now her brother - all lost to her. Carla does what Carla does when life lashes out - she launches herself body and soul into her business and unlike Tracy's, Carla's business is doing very well indeed. Her business is her saviour.

There will not be a man waiting in the wings for Carla. She needs a break!

She is also blessed in her friendship with Michelle, one of the few really strong female friendships amongst the younger women. Michelle has been a rock and continues to be so. When, in her turn, Michelle experiences problems, it is guaranteed that Carla will be a great support for her. They have had their spats, as do people in life, but essentially they are solid.

Is there any future for Peter and Carla? 

It is very unlikely that there will be any relationship now or in the future for Peter and Carla. Does she still love him? Difficult to say after all that has happened. Carla is numb.

Carla is anxious about Simon. Before Tina's death and after a shaky start, Carla and Simon began to hit it off. She knows for certain that Peter, Simon's dad is not Tina's murderer, but Peter is the one who has been found guilty in a court of law, even though Ken, was almost certain that Peter would be coming home. No doubt about it - neither Simon nor Amy are going to grow up unscathed.

What was your favourite scene during the filming of all these dramatic scenes?

The favourite scene was out on the balcony with Rob, as the hen night clattered away at the other side of the street at The Rovers, including for our delectation a rendition of Gloria Gaynor's anthem, I will survive.

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Blog interview with Marc Baylis about Rob's confession

Last night Peter was found guilty. He was thrown back into his cell and his future looks much more than just bleak. Beyond bleak because, he is not guilty - Rob is the guilty one. Although he was there when the verdict was passed, it would have been madness to have expected Rob to confess. Carla certainly noticed her brother's desire to get away from the court room as swiftly as possible. How hard it must be to face the fact that another man, your sister's husband, your brother in law, in fact, has been sent down for - we will find out exactly on Friday - many years.

So what now? How long will it take the Soap Gods of justice to put things right?

Rob has a wedding to attend - his own, and never was there a bride more insistent on looking the best that she can be than Tracy Barlow and though it is hard to give anything to Tracy she does indeed look stunning. Amy looks very sweet and is swift becoming Tracy's 'mini- me' in her attitudes and self-absorption.

Tracy arrives in a beautiful horse drawn carriage at her wedding venue. Rob is there a lll scrubbed up very nicely as is his best woman, his sister Carla.

BUT, unbeknown to Tracy, as her hen night is in full swing,that not far away, in Carla's flat, something mind boggling is taking place.

Carla and Rob have endured much to gather and have always helped and supported each other. They know each other very well too and their difficult childhood together helps them to interpret the slightest raise of an eyebrow.

So, Carla realises that Rob must be the killer. She probes and prods until his alibi is in ruins and he actually admits that he killed Tina. It is a mesmerising scene and we were lucky enough to have a preview of what will be screened next week.

I put some questions to the very charming actor, Marc Baylis, who plays Rob with such brilliance.

Why does Rob finally confess?

The burden of his guilt is too much to endure and he has lied so much that Carla's questions make him realise the game is up. Carla backs him into a corner from which there is no escape.

What does Rob believe Carla will do now she knows the truth? 

It seems that he thinks that his confession will remain a secret between him and his sister so is shocked when he realises that Carla has every intention of phoning the police. To prevent her from doing this, he grabs hold of her phone and keys, locking them both in. They can hear the hen night in the Rovers, which forms the back drop to the emotional events unfolding in Carla's flat. Carla is numb for a while when her suspicions are confirmed. A sense of right then kicks in and she has to dowhat is right, even though she knows that her relationship with her brother will be over. She also feels that for Ken and the Barlows, she must speak the truth, no matter what.

How does Rob cope with the wedding, knowing that his sister knows he killed Tina and doesn't intend to keep quiet about it?

He is profoundly troubled, not only because his sister now knows that he is a murderer but also because he genuinely loves Tracy and she loves him and they really do want to get married.

We know now that Rob is leaving The Street, so how does the wedding go?

Not smoothly! You'll see very soon...It has though been an absolute blast being partnered with Tracy. Kate Ford and I live near each other in London, so hopefully we'll keep in touch. I'll miss Ali King, Carla, too. Two fabulous women to work with!

What now for Marc Baylis?

Well, I'm in Sleeping Beauty as Prince Charming over Christmas and I can say that the phone is ringing.

Will you come back to Coronation Street? 

Never say never!

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Tracy and Tony, the affair you saw coming

In a "twist" that we all saw coming, Kate Ford has admitted in an interview with the Radio Times today that Tracy and Tony will have a fling over the winter. Tracy will be knocked for six after finding out that her beloved, Rob, murdered Tina McIntyre and will reach for the arms of the nearest fella. That happens to be Tony.

We've already seen the two of them flirting while doing dodgey deals. We saw the summer video promo showing Tony and Liz looking into a mirror where Liz's reflection morphed into Tracy. How big of a hint was that?

Kate says "It's not the same dynamic between Tracy and Tony as it was between Tracy and Rob. It's a much darker and more dysfunctional relationship. It's much more seedy."

Tony and Liz are currently on the outs but you can see that they'll get back together once each of them swallows a bit of pride. When Liz gets ahold of her, there might not be much left!

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Spoilers for next week's Coronation Street, Oct 27 - 31

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 27 October to Friday 31 October

It's Tracy and Rob's wedding - but has Carla figured the truth out about Rob?, Cilla reveals the truth about her illness, and Eileen and Michael hug.

The full weekly preview, with pictures is right here on

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

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Time to hide your cheque book Rita!

Ah, the fragrant Jenny Bradley is to return to Coronation Street. Who can forget that long, ginger mane of hair; those unflattering 1980s anoraks and her own special brand of spiteful teenage poison she brought into our lives.

I love the idea of Jenny coming back to see Rita, with one or two reservations. I hope the writers come up with something fresh this time around, while still referencing the past (accurately). After messing up Rita's character and ruining Dennis Tanner's, I hope the next blast from Rita's past is handled better. I also hope it isn't just another opportunity for our Reet to open up her cheque book and raid her increasingly bizarre bank balance. Exactly how much money did Len and Ted have between them? All they did was fix the Rovers toilets and flog boiled sweets.

Jenny will notice quite a difference in the Coronation Street of 2014, compared to when she last appeared (briefly) in 1993. She will still recognise several residents though, thankfully. Ken, Deirdre, Emily, Gail, Audrey, Sally, Kevin, Steve and Liz will all remember her and her infamous father. Tracy and Nick were both children at the time but they must have memories of it all. And I'm sure Norris will have a few sharp comments for her when she turns up in the Kabin.

The Alan Bradley saga really was Barbara Knox's finest hour. It gave her the best storyline of her Corrie career. For three years the tension slowly built with the viewing public uncovering more and more about the shady character who had entered Rita's life. Mark Eden was superb in the part, smooth, menacing and all too believable. The storyline was probably constructed as a ratings winner to combat the soaring popularity of the BBC's Corrie rival, EastEnders. And it worked. Millions of viewers tuned in throughout the saga, peaking with Alan's demise thanks to a combination of Rita's frightful gold mac and a passing Blackpool tram. 

The storyline even won Barbara Knox the Oracle Teletext Best Actress award. Them were the days!

Jenny was, of course, one of several kids Rita fostered over the years. And bizarrely, we have Brian Capron to thank for this, in a roundabout way. Years before he turned up as Weatherfield's black glove wearing serial killer Richard Hillman, he played Don Worthington, a friendly social worker who brought Jenny Bradley to Rita's door in 1986. Just when you thought the man couldn't wreck any more havoc on the good folks of Weatherfield...

So what will Jenny get up to this time around, and what exactly will bring her back into Rita's life? Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see what's become of her over the past 21 years. She may not have been the most pleasant of characters, but she was part of one Coronation Street's most famous storylines. Revisiting that one will be interesting. 

Is it too much to hope for a cameo from Mark Eden as the ghost of Alan Bradley? Anything is possible these days...

Follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82 

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Coronation Street Blog interview with Marc Baylis – Rob Donovan

Roll up! Roll up! Read all about it – “Boozy Bookie Bludgeoned Barmaid”. That’s how I imagine the front-page headline of today’s Weatherfield Gazette will read now that Rob has literally got away with murder.

On the morning after being named “Best Bad Boy” at the Inside Soap Awards – and just a few days after filming his final scenes as Rob Donovan – I caught up with Marc Baylis at ITV HQ in London. Marc was in fine form as he looked forward to an exciting crescendo for the character of Rob.

Marc Baylis with our blogger Martin

Before the trial, Rob was “pretty sure he’d got away with it”, says Marc. He felt more confident “with some of the evidence given against Peter”. Even so, when the verdict was announced at Weatherfield Crown Court last night, Rob looked almost as shocked as Peter.

Going through the details of Tina’s death in court threw Rob “off kilter” and the resurfacing guilt resulted in him letting “a couple of hints” out of the bag. Rob’s failure to share Carla’s doubts about Peter’s guilt and his insistence to Simon that Peter did not kill Tina have set alarm bells ringing - especially now that Carla knows about Rob’s little pep talk with Simon.

Erratic behaviour such as this will ultimately be Donovan’s downfall. Carla is convinced that Peter is innocent and next week Rob will confess to his sister - “They’ve been through so much together that he doesn’t have to say it, she just knows”. Essentially, Rob “just can’t lie to her anymore”, Marc says. What we do not know is what Carla will do with this information and whether or not she will stand by him and let Peter rot in jail.

Rob hopes that Carla’s family loyalty will outweigh any feelings she once had for Peter and Marc notes that Rob “has brainwashed himself throughout the whole event and he’s trying to brainwash her as well”.

Tracy’s hen do, Rob’s stag do and the wedding will all take place next week. It won’t be a wild one for Rob, who Marc explains is “trying to be angelic”.  Instead of going out with the lads, he will have a few drinks with his ‘best woman’ Carla and Michelle because Rob “wants the whole wedding day to be absolutely magical”. Perhaps his secret will be exposed at this point, which would leave Carla contemplating an interesting dilemma on the day of the wedding.

It is somewhat curious that despite Rob’s murderous ways, there is still a likeability factor about him. When Rob was revealed to be Tina’s murderer, Marc says the reaction from fans was “the polar opposite” of what he expected – “for some reason it has made people like Rob more.”

Rob Donovan is not the archetypal soap villain. One of the most interesting aspects of his character is that he does feel guilty for what he has done. Rob tried to stay away from court in order to “carry on his denial” but was hoodwinked into attending the trial in a show of loyalty towards the Barlow family. This led to “all the guilt layering up within Rob again” and explains his recent slip-ups.

Rob has redeeming qualities in his obvious love for both his sister and his fiancĂ©e. Marc regards this loyalty as key to Rob and feels “that’s why the storyline is working”. “We’ve tried to be as delicate as we possibly can. I’ve stated a lot to people that we don’t need too many shots of Rob being dastardly in the background… and not too many guilty looks.” “I kind of wanted to keep it away from being too much of a soap villain”, he continues, and instead show “as much of a real person as possible going through that situation”.

I was intrigued to know at what point Marc discovered that Rob was to be Tina’s murderer. Marc recalls there was a month after “Michelle (Keegan) found out that Tina was going to be killed off until I found out that Rob was the murderer”. He laughs that everyone was walking around work going ‘I hope it’s not me’. “It was a dramatic month”, he says – “more dramatic than the actual material on air!”

As soon as the murder storyline came up, Marc “knew that there was a timeline” which he believes has been “timed to perfection”.  He has had “a brilliant two and a half years” and although he would have liked to have stayed on for longer, he is “very happy to be going” because of the strength of the material that leads to Rob’s exit. 

Marc feels “really lucky to have had this storyline”. He is clearly philosophical about the end of his time at Coronation Street and immensely proud of what he has achieved. He describes the scripts he has been given during Rob’s exit storyline as “by far the best material that I’ve had since being on the show”.

He is quick to praise Michelle Keegan for her portrayal of Tina and express his pride at being involved in the departure of such a massive character. He considers this a “compliment”, noting that as an actor “you want to be there with good material”.

Next week Rob and Tracy are due to have their fairytale wedding. Marc talks about “the romantic picturesque life that is being drawn up” for Rob and Tracy but can’t reveal whether or not they will actually tie the knot. Being soap land, “it doesn’t necessarily go to plan”. Peter Barlow can definitely be struck off the guest list, though – that we do know.

Rob really does want to marry Tracy – “as far as they are both concerned they are meant to be together”, says Marc, “so it’s exterior events that take over”.

The wedding venue is “the most beautiful location that you will ever see and it’s them always punching above their weight”. What I really want to know though is whether the harpist has been booked and whether “Firestarter” will be performed!

The wedding was filmed at Capesthorne Hall in Cheshire, which is where Simon Gregson’s wedding reception was held in real life. “It’s just absolutely stunning,” says Marc and he enthusiastically describes the huge lakes and lawns and the horse and carriage that have already been revealed in the publicity shots.

Marc says that he and Kate Ford “have had an absolute blast playing each other’s partners” and if it wasn’t for Rob’s actions, he believes Rob and Tracy could have gone on to live “not necessarily happily ever after, but as happily ever after as Rob and Tracy could be”. It would be a tempestuous Burton-Taylor type of relationship but it would never be boring.

The outfits at the wedding will be traditional. Kate’s dress is white and “absolutely stunning” while Rob has “gone for the long tails”. It is difficult to see how there can be a happy ending but whatever happens in the next couple of weeks, Marc likes to think that Tracy loves Rob so much that she would wait for him.

Marc feels that Rob getting together with Tracy marked a turning point that saw Rob “really become accepted on The Street”. He is very honest in saying that before Rob and Tracy were put together, “it felt like we didn’t quite know what to do with Rob”. However, “as soon as they got together, it just worked”. I agree that Rob and Tracy are extremely well matched and I’ve enjoyed the dynamic between them. It is shame to break that up. Tracy has actually become almost likeable as a result. Almost.

Stuart Blackburn has stated that he would like Rob to return at some point.  According to Marc “the future is a blank canvas” and he is definitely not against coming back “if it’s right for everyone”. In the more immediate future, he is appearing in pantomime as The Prince in “Sleeping Beauty” in Bromley. There can’t be many soap murderers who are cast as anything other than the panto villain. This is testament to that likeability factor I was talking about.  

Other than that, he is “happy to go where the wind blows”. “It’s a really weird change”, concedes Marc who compares his newfound freedom to “moving out of home” or the feeling he’s “just finished university”.

Marc has invested in his own camera and microphone and for his leaving present, his Corrie colleagues clubbed together to buy him a lighting rig. As a result, he will now be able to “put tapes together and send those out”.

He would love to do an American drama and was considering going to the States in the New Year for pilot season. However, he will stay in the UK and see what opportunities arise here. He’ll certainly be able to get down to Villa Park more often and is looking forward to watching Coronation Street as a viewer again.

Emotionally, it must have been difficult playing the part of Rob in recent months. Marc says he has “never had to work so hard” but it has “been made easier by the material”. He was worried about burning out but thankfully made it through unscathed.

Rob’s final scenes were shot at nighttime, which makes me think he might do a moonlight flit. Marc recalls that “it wasn’t the easiest of shoots” with the elements against them. But cast and crew were determined to “get the work right, through to the end” so that Rob’s final scenes bring the storyline to a powerful conclusion.

The whole way through, I’ve been considering whether Rob Donovan is an evil murderer or just an ordinary guy who found himself in a difficult situation and made a bad decision. I think the latter but I am curious to know how far Rob would have gone to protect himself. Would he, for example, have sold Carla or Tracy down the river if either of them had been prime suspect for Tina’s murder?

“Absolutely not”, says Marc emphatically. “The whole concept of this storyline and Rob and Carla’s relationship is about the truth and the loyalty and there is a lot to do with family values and morals”. It seems strange to think of a murderer as having morals but Marc believes he would apply the same principles to Tracy.

Rob Donovan arrived in Weatherfield, just over two years ago, an ex-con determined to build bridges with his estranged sister and turn his life around. He found love, remarkably, with Tracy Barlow and when Tina threatened to ruin all of that, he snapped. It is hard to predict how anyone will react if they fear that what they love most is about to be ripped away from them.

Will Rob pay the price for his crime? One way or another, I am sure that he will. And I hope Peter’s conviction will be overturned. Rob has become a very strong character and he will be missed.

It has been reported that Rob’s exit will be screened on Bonfire Night with explosive fireworks guaranteed. I suspect therefore that Corrie fans will remember this fifth of November for some time to come.

By Martin Leay
Twitter: @mpleay

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Monday, 20 October 2014

Where have you seen Mrs Waddle before?

If you're wondering where you've seen Mrs Waddle before, then wonder no more.  Mrs Waddle is played by actress Karen Ford who has appeared in Emmerdale, Doctors, The Bill and has a wealth of theatre experience too. 

Check out her details here.

See also: Where have you seen?
Michael Rodwell's Aunt Barbara, Peter Barlow's cellmate Clelland, Carla Connor's solicitor Pauline Mansell, Pat Phelan, The Corrie clairvoyant, Eric's wife Doris, Audrey's date Henry, Lewis' friend Patrick,The Corrie Registrar, Marcus' friend Aiden, Kirsty's parents, Jenny Sumner, Corrie's prison Governor, Sunita's Aunties, Ken and Deirdre's pottery teacherTommy Duckworth,  Mrs Hargreaves who died in Audrey's salon, Sally Webster's fella JeffJoy Fishwick's investigator, Charlotte's Parents, Ken Barlow's grandson JamesKen Barlow's son LawrenceDr Matt CarterSaucy CharlotteIzzy's dad Owen Armstrong,The Corrie coppersColin FishwickTrevor the binmanConnie RathboneUncle Umed,Julie Carp's mumLuke StrongSophie Webster's boyfriendEileen Grimshaw's dadNorris' girlfriendGraeme Proctor,Molly's Aunty PamMaria's mum and dadGail's dadScary BrianTina's dadTony Gordon's henchmanLittle Simon Barlow

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