Friday, 27 February 2015

Which Corrie couples will stand the test of time?

I began to wonder about how many couples would stay together at the point where Tony was hiding in the outhouse on the unexpected return of Ken and Amy. I had, at one time thought that Liz and Tony would stay the course, each having found their match in the other. That was foolish. Tony has too much of a roving eye and Tracy seems to be irresistible to him. I can’t quite remember why Eileen and Tony split up, but I would like to bet it involved another woman or women. Eileen seems to be contemptuous of Tony and understandably so. At first, it might have been that she was a little jealous, just a little, but I’m now certain that Tony holds no interest for her.

Tony is essentially morally bankrupt. He’s a wheeler dealer in his business life and can't resist women. So he probably won’t  stick with Liz, despite his confession to Tracy that Liz was the real thing. Liz will found out about his shenanigans with Tracy and give him the elbow. That is not to say she won’t be upset, because she will. Will Jim reappear? His love for Liz seems to define him but after the Peter Barlow business, maybe his luck has finally run out. Nevertheless I hear this:  "Catch yourself on, Elizabeth. Made for each other, so we were, so what about ya?’

Now that we know that Julie is leaving, that’s that for her and Dev. After an initial doubt, I was soon convinced that they were right for each other and how lovely, especially for Julie that she would find sublimation in having two children to look after. Has Julie ever willfully done anything to hurt anyone? Her sterling actions after the bus crash go a long way to absolve her of any guilt, if she has ever fallen short.

What an inspired move it was to put Sally and Tim together. Can Sally really be that much of a snob if she shares her life with a window cleaner who can barely read or write? I really don’t think so. That said, she does certainly still have flashes of self-importance: her behaviour at the factory for instance, queening it over Alya and being obsequious to Carla. Also her reaction to the red leather sofa, only starting to like it when she knew it was expensive.  I very much hope that when Faye has her baby Sally will be a support both for Faye and for Tim.

I had very much hoped Jason and Eva would stay together, but after Jason’s accusations that Eva was sleeping with Tony, that was that, at least for now. There is still hope though. When Catherine Tyldesley has her baby and comes back after maternity leave, we could see a reunion. Please!

Fiz and Tyrone will surely stay together. Their family unit works well and it seems that both Fiz and Tyrone treat each other’s children as their own. Great for both of them to find the stability of each other after Fiz’s lucky escape from John Stape and Tyrone’s escape from Kirsty.

Sinead and Chesney have a real test coming. As if Sinead’s suffering from a very serious injury isn’t enough to test them, there is now the problem of where Joseph will be. We all know that Georgia May Foote, who plays Katy, is leaving, (but not to ‘take Hollywood, as one newspaper stated) so will Katy take Joseph with her?  Will that make Chesney reassess what is realyy important to him?

Apart from not seeing them very much together, I know I am not alone in not being convinced by the relationship between Leanne and Kal. My bet would be that they will split, as despite their words, neither of them seems particularly committed to the other.

I’m also not sure about Lloyd and Andrea, though they do seem pretty solid. Is Andrea’s star in the ascendancy? I think so …

Maybe Gail and Michael will stick together. It would be hard for Michael to escape now, and besides they are getting married soon. When the revelations about Gandy come out, Gail will no doubt be coming up with even more concerned expressions and some angry ones especially for the imposter.

Anna and Owen are nearly over, so speculation there is pointless. Beth and Kirk have just got married  and I feel it in my bones that they will stay together. Craig is very happy about his mum and Kirk getting together.

Some relationships are too early to call: Steph and Andy/Gavin, Luke and Maria, Jenny and Kevin and Alya and Gary. There is also Billy and Sean and I would be delighted for that one to work.

 And so, to Steve and Michelle. Spoilers on the front of soap magazines say emphatically that they will marry, but that there will be something dramatic happening too. Well, you cannot have a straightforward wedding on the cobbles, now can you? I still feel a little uncertain about this pairing. Michelle became very derisive in her attitude to Steve’s attempts to better himself at college. In league with Liz, both his mother and his girlfriend seemed to take great delight in mocking and ridiculing him.


Best bets then for the Darby and Joan of the Street in coming years, from how things stand now and hopefully two or even three decades down the line, goes to Tim and Sally. Having written that, it surely will be the case that they split up pretty soon, though I very much hope not. I would also like to nominate Beth and Kirk.

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Fab Photo Friday - February 27th 2015

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. It's not everyone who gets to see Sally's Fairy Garden.


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Spot the Corrie prop - February 27th 2015

Congratulations to Pod for correctly guessing that last week's lamp can be found in the Windass/Armstrong flat.

For this week's prop poser all you have to do is tell us whereabouts on Coronation Street you would find this peculiar picture.





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Preview of tonight's double Corrie - Friday 27 Feb

Friday 27th February
TONY AND TRACY PLAY WITH FIRE. Tracy turns on the charm whilst the police officer checks Tony’s driving licence. Will he let them go or is their dodgy stock about to be discovered? Menawhile dressed up to the nines, Liz waits impatiently for Tony. Back on the street he legs it to the pub, leaving Tracy to unload the van. Will Liz realise what the pair have been up to?
RITA BANISHES JENNY FROM HER LIFE. Jenny explains to Rita how she found Kevin on an internet dating site. Rita tells Norris, Emily and Mary how Jenny tried to wangle £30k out of her but she sent her away with £1k and a flea in her ear and hasn’t heard from her since. Rita calls at No.13 and confronts Jenny, demanding to know why she’s returned after all these years.
FAYE FRETS AS TIME TICKS ON. Alone at No.5, Craig and Faye watch a DVD about giving birth. Faye’s terrified.
ELSEWHERE Maria heads out to meet a friend leaving Luke to re-tile the kitchen. Clearly out of his depth, Luke persuades Owen to tile Maria’s kitchen and makes him promise it’ll remain their secret. But when Maria arrives home early will Luke get caught out? Eileen struggles behind the bar.

Friday 27th February
TONY SIDES WITH LIZ OVER TRACY. Under Liz’s stony gaze, Tony admits that the box contains stolen goods. Angrily demanding he get shut of it, Liz reminds Tony not to bring his dodgy business into her pub. Tony carries the stock over to Barlow’s Buys and tears a strip off Tracy for dropping him in it with Liz. As Tony attempts a charm offensive on Liz, Tracy calls in the pub for a drink. Liz lays down some ground rules, telling her in future she’s not welcome in the back room and must stay on the public side of the bar. How will Tracy react to this?
JENNY’S RETURN HITS RITA HARD. Jenny promises Kevin she never ripped Rita off, she just asked her for a hand-out and Rita refused. When Jenny then makes it clear she’d like to stay the night, will Kevin be appeased?
THE GREEN EYED MONSTER GETS A HOLD OF ANNA. Clearly jealous of Linda, Anna gets dressed up to the nines for a drink with Owen. When Owen demurs that Linda isn’t all bad, Anna’s left crushed.
ELSEWHERE How will Maria react when she arrives home to find Owen tiling her kitchen and Luke nowhere in sight? Will Steph be able to make her see that he was only trying to impress her? Eileen proves a lousy barmaid.

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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Thoroughly Modern Corrie – Weatherfield in the age of Social Media


What really struck me about Jenny Bradley’s return is how much Weatherfield has changed since her last visit. And last Wednesday’s episode – the vehicle for her reappearance – drove the point home faster than a Ferrari that had just passed its MOT at Websters' Auto Centre.


For starters – before sharing a pudding – Kevin and Jenny found each other through an online dating site, now an extremely common way of meeting people but virtually (pardon the pun) unheard of twenty years ago.


“Anyone can look good on t’internet”, teased Tyrone but luckily for Kev, Jenny looks just like her profile picture – which is always a bonus! Tyrone, however, looks nothing like the David Beckham pic on his Tinder profile, or so went the pre-date banter in the Garage.

Elsewhere, Sean’s Social Media strategy to promote his homemade biryani proved somewhat counter-productive:


“Don’t get me wrong – it was a very nice biryani – but once I’d Tweeted it, Instagrammed it, done a Vine of it and Snapchatted it – the blessed thing had gone cold!”

I only use one of those sites (Twitter – and not enough) and so the zeitgeist buzzwords were largely lost on me. But it did make me ponder and then chuckle about what my Grandparents would think of all the modern references.


It’s a changing world – indeed the only constant is change – and it’s fascinating to consider how different the world of Weatherfield is now compared to how it was ten, twenty, thirty, forty and fifty years ago.

If Jenny Bradley had fallen pregnant under Rita’s roof, for example, I can’t imagine she would have announced, “I’m having a baby LOL”.

Faye’s remark about texting the truth to Anna was another reminder of this modern world we live in. In fact, wasn’t it a Facebook rumour that first alerted Craig to the fact Faye could use a friend?


Next week I reckon Nozzer will download Foursquare onto his Tablet and start competing with Emily, Rita and Mary to become Mayor of The Rovers! I’d love to see Sean give Norris a Social Media masterclass. Some digital marketing could be great for business at The Kabin.

Modern technology has certainly changed the way that I enjoy Coronation Street. Catch-up TV means I never miss an episode and with the constant flow of official posts, memes, previews and tweets, I’d know what was going on even if I did.


The advent of blogging and the Coronation Street Blog (thank you Glenda) mean I also have somewhere to share my thoughts about Corrie and a community of like-minded people from all over the world with whom I can discuss my favourite show (thank you everyone).

.

I actually watched last Wednesday’s episode on my laptop while travelling to Manchester to meet my fellow Coronation Street Bloggers for the very first time. That was last Friday and we had a cracking day out.

We even met Corrie’s Digital Editor who does a great job of managing the Coronation Street website and the various social media platforms. I will share some memories of the day if I can tear myself away from Instagramming my tea!

What do you think? Is it a better experience for us Corrie fans in this cyber age of constant and instant information or do you feel that less was more? Feel free to Tweet, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat your thoughts but for those of us less au fait with social networking than Sean Tully, please also leave your comments here.

By Martin Leay
Twitter: @mpleay  

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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Strange Case of Todd Grimshaw


There is a long tradition in literature and drama of exploring notions of villainy, and exquisitely dreadful characters have transferred to and been born on our television and cinema screens. From Dorian Gray to Walter White, we have been presented with complex characters who make us doubt the clarity of the boundaries between good and evil, and pose questions which run to our very core. 

These are not mere mischief makers, but human beings whose stricken moral compasses invoke both an intellectual and emotional response in reader and viewer alike. From the silent battles occurring within us all between who we are, who we want to be and who we should be, and what is right versus what is desired, emerges the concept of The Double where, as Robert Louis Stevenson puts it in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, “man is not truly one, but truly two.”

Some might say that such weighty themes are not the realm of soap, but I ask, why not? In fact, Coronation Street has a history of complex villains, and presents an excellent example in the form of Todd Grimshaw.

Todd is intelligent, quick witted and clever, and has undergone a metamorphosis that has triggered his transition from good-natured individual to a manipulative, scheming adversary. I would prefer if we knew the reason for his transformation, as it would certainly go some way toward explaining it, but it is likely that he experienced some disappointment in London which has induced his current state.

In The Uncanny, Sigmund Freud considers the notion of The Double, and writes “…there are all the possibilities which, had they been realised, might have shaped our destiny, and to which our imagination still clings, all the strivings of the ego that were frustrated by adverse circumstances, all the suppressed acts of volition that fostered the illusion of free will.”

With this in mind, I like to think of Todd as railing against the utter disappointment of his failure to achieve his potential in life, and that his machinations are the result of sheer boredom, bitterness and frustration. He uses his intelligence for bad rather than good, and gains satisfaction from making others miserable. He is therefore a complex character, and while I will shortly question what he has become, his presence has been welcome as far as I’m concerned, not least on foot of what Bruno Langley has brought to the role.

There was a point at which I recall Todd sparkling as something of a Shakespearean fool, and in March 2014 wrote the following in an episode review from that time: “I’ve been singing Todd’s praises lately, and he continued to be exceptional this evening. He is ever ready with a witty aside, some wise words, and is increasingly a source of deadpan humour. Steve faces stiff competition after Carla sings Peter’s praises to Michelle. As he comes up with ideas to treat her, Todd indifferently swats away his suggestions like so many irritating flies. Flowers are unimaginative, the idea of theatre makes him choke on his lollipop, and karaoke at the Hen and Squirrel, where it’s a pound a pint, invokes particular disdain….His insistence that Eileen go through with her apology to Liz is in essence the reason why they make up, and succeeds in making him endearing despite his, at times, deplorable behaviour.”

He appeared at this time like an outsider commenting on the programme from within. His disdain was a source of humour, and despite all his unpardonable deeds, there was nevertheless a goodness at the heart of his cynicism. His lines were metatheatre, and it was a joy to watch.

However, by October 2014, having seduced Marcus and been responsible for almost ruining Jason’s business, Todd’s Machiavellian chickens finally came home to roost and he was completely frozen out by his loved ones. His twinkling disdain for the world around him was royally doused, and despite his genuine attempts to make amends and his sincere remorse for what he had done, he was roundly rejected by all, making him a sympathetic character.

The following month, Todd found a true friend in Roy who advised him to build bridges with those he had alienated, citing it as “good for the soul”. 

Todd took this seriously and attempted to do so. After he cleaned up the cafĂ© following an egging, Roy later declared in front of Todd’s detractors that “everyone deserves a second chance,” and bought him a pint. A genuinely grateful and humble Todd was sincerely relieved at what he considered progress. I wrote at this time, “he strikes me as a character with plenty of potential who could demonstrate positive change from the hard lessons he’s learned. While we’re sadly assured Todd’s difficult times don’t end just yet, let’s hope he’ll come out the other side a fully redeemed individual so that we can see the best he has to offer.”

Unfortunately this has not come to pass.

A good character underwent a metamorphosis which saw him transform into a malevolent individual. However, on realising the full weight of his misdeeds and demonstrating true remorse, he achieved redemption, and I feel a man of Todd’s intellect is unlikely to regress following such an experience. However, despite his subsequent assault and facial scarring gaining him the love he so craved, he seems to have done just that, and is now lashing out at all around him, albeit in a covert way.

The mirror image is a classic trope when it comes to The Double, and as villainous Todd stares at his reflection, scarred and bruised, he is faced with his Jekyll and Hyde duality. Instead of rejecting it on foot of his recent redemption, however, he resigns himself to inflicting continued pain on others.

My problem with this is that his scheming appears devoid of worthy purpose, and his motives are far too weak to do a man of his intelligence any credit. Like Todd himself has failed to fulfil his potential in life, I feel his characterisation is heading the same way; art is imitating art.

Now you may say that Todd is simply a bad person who likes to do cruel things, but I feel there is more to him than that. A character of such quality with depth and dimension who acts with intelligence and who has shown feeling and remorse  deserves a storyline to match, and for me, his current schemes are simply beneath him.

Todd’s malice is borne out of a poor motive, and therefore doesn’t ring true for me. Bring back the metatheatrical jester who doesn’t claim to be anything he isn’t unless for playful purposes, who offers an alternative window on the street, and puts his cynicism and intellect to good use. Have him retain his relief at his redemption. Show that he has learned a lesson from the pain of rejection, and allow the scars of recollection rather than those inflicted physically to guide his actions.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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The many men of Eileen Grimshaw

With the news that Eileen Grimshaw is going to get a new fella, it's time to look back at those who have been loved and lost by Eileen.   
We know that Jason's dad is Tony Stewart - and has been played by two different actors. Eileen caught Tony in bed with another girl when she was pregnant with Jason. Tony proposed to Eileen when he found out she was expecting but she turned him down.

Todd’s dad was dependable and was making plans for them as a family when Eileen got scared and legged it. She regretted it afterwards. We've never seen Todd's dad, have we?

Dennis Stringer. Dennis took Eileen to Paris for her birthday but soon broke her heart when he fell for Janice Battersby. He left Eileen and moved in with Janice but he died in a car crash shortly after.

Harry Flagg, She dated Harry briefly after Jason and his girlfriend Candice put a "lonely hearts" ad in a paper on her behalf but they've decided they are just friends.

Ed Jackson.  Ed was revealed to be Ernest Bishop’s killer from almost 30 years ago.

Phil Nail. Eileen and Gail both became attracted to reflexologist (aka Phil the foot-fiddler) Phil Nail when he started working at the Rosamund Street Medical Centre, Gail was the one who eventually won his affections.
Pat Stanaway. Pat the Irishman (no, it's not a game) turned out to be dating six other women at the same time he was seeing Eileen.

Jerry Morton. Eileen dumped him after he had no time for her.


Jesse Chadwick. Eileen let Jesse move into her home, and she put up with his annoying parrot. However, she wasn't happy when Jesse began using her newfound sister Julie as his sidekick.  She dumped after he had a big win on the horses and used the money to take his parents on holiday.

Paul Kershaw. Paul the fireman was married and his wife Lesleby had Alzheimer's Disease, early on-set dementia. Paul proposed to Eileen and said he wanted to divorce Lesley. Eileen struggled to come to terms with Paul continuing to work in the fire service following the fire at the Rovers. Paul and Eileen agree it is best that they separate and Paul gets a transfer to North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

If I've missed any of Eileen's many men, do please let me know!

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Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Weds 25 Feb

Wednesday 25th February
IT’S A CLOSE SHAVE FOR TRACY AND TONY. Tony sets off with Tracy to buy a job lot of stolen electrical goods. He promises Liz he’ll be home in time to take her out. Tony and Tracy meet up with an old mate of Tony’s. Tracy plays hard ball but they eventually strike a deal. However as Tony and Tracy prepare to leave with their van load of knock off goods, a police car pulls up beside them.
RITA IS HAUNTED BY A FACE FROM THE PAST. After a chat with Sally, Sophie gives Kevin her blessing, telling him he can go out with Jenny if he likes, she just doesn’t want to see him get hurt. Kevin’s pleased at her change of heart. Having ascertained that Rita is away, Jenny agrees to accompany Kevin to the Rovers. But Rita returns home early and insists Norris, Emily and Mary join her for a birthday drink. As Rita approaches the bar, how will she react as Jenny wishes her a happy birthday?
LLOYD AND STEVE EACH BLAME THEMSELVES. Still clearly awkward with each other, Lloyd tells Steve he doesn’t want any bad blood between them.
ELSEWHERE Jason mopes in front of the telly whilst Eileen fusses round him. Todd’s quietly jealous, his hatred of Eileen growing. Liz worries that they’re short-staffed at the Rovers. When Eileen offers her services, admitting she could do with some extra cash, Liz takes her on. Will Eileen prove to be a hit behind the bar? Handing Luke the key to her flat, Maria leaves him to crack on with the tiling.

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