Saturday, 19 November 2016

Family fortunes in Weatherfield

No don't worry - this isn't some two thousand word homage to Les Dennis (aka Dead Michael) and his years as host of ITV's plodding quiz show. Although, let's face it, he was arguably more at home in the role than his predecessor Max Bygraves but that's not our concern.

Happy is the family that reunites in the hallowed wards of Weathy General. It took a major stroke for the disparate elements of Ken Barlow's family to come together. There they gathered, the alcoholic, the murderess, an oily businessman and a college scarf on legs. What's not to like? The Barlows are together in a way that they haven't been for many years and interesting to see the pendulum swing away from matriarchal element of the family.

When it comes to family though, Corrie sometimes conveniently forgets those that went before. Or even goes as far as not bothering to even come up with a story. Who exactly then, is missing in action?

Step forward, well she would if she still existed, Debbie Webster, Kevin's long and definitely lost sister. Last seen in 1985, Debbie would now be around the fifty mark. Did she marry? Did she have kids? Has she still got her hair dragged into a ratty pony-tail? Poor old Debbie goes unmentioned and unloved by Kev who, it has to be said, has managed to erase his brother Carl from his timeline too. Remember Carl? No reason why you should. He was the product of Bill's marriage to useless hairdresser Elaine Webster and grew up in Germany. Carl would be thirty years old now. What's he like? Could he do a 'Peter Barlow' and return without so much as German accent?

Kev managed to forget his sister and Sally did the same with hers. The very unlovely Gina tottered around the Street with her hoop ear-rings for a short period in the late 1980s and then was suddenly no more. There have been a few brief mentions but what we want to know is, has she remained chavtastic? Comedy gold could ensue if Sally was suddenly confronted by her sister from the wrong side of the tracks. Let's imagine Gina as a throbbing mass of middle-aged sexuality in leggings, maybe with a couple of nice tattoos. Then again she might be a biology teacher from Macclesfield.

Missing relatives is one thing but other Street residents seem to never have had any. Liz McDonald arrived in Weatherfield with no past whatsoever. There were odd mutterings about her mother Nancy who, despite living nearby in Southport, couldn't rustle up enough interest to visit her daughter. Is Nancy still alive? Did she go into hiding to avoid her daughter's accent? Did she pass on her clothes to Liz? We assume that Liz was an only child. Understandable.

Look around the cobbles and there are non-families everywhere. Remember Dev's mother? If memory serves me right, she was played by Souad Faress (Usha from 'The Archers') and looked about six months older than her son. No mention of her for years. Likewise Dev never speaks of his own daughter Amber or his even older child, the name of whom he has no doubt forgotten. Didn't he have grandchildren too or am I just inventing things? Great-grandchildren?

The real Corrie enigma though is Rita. Dear old Rio Rita. In over forty years, the poor woman has only managed to notch up one - yes one, relative. Admittedly she's about 150 years old so her parents must be long gone. Her Uncle Sam rolled up on her wedding day but he didn't look much older than Reet. We surmise that she has no siblings, cousins or indeed anyone in this world. No wonder she's spent decades hurling her cheque book at surrogate kids. For pity's sake, let's see her on't th'interweb, attempting to track down another Littlewood. They must be out there somewhere.

A moment of quiet contemplation then for those never seen or those not seen for eons. For Mary's monster of a mother, Erica's ... err, monster of a mother. Fiz's older brother Billy, Sean's mum, Andy McDonald forever languishing in a Spanish bar, Audrey's forgotten son Stephen, Gail's forgotten dad whats-his-name, for all of Beth's family (bring back gran), Steph and Luke's parents (do they ever visit?), Tracy's former in-laws, beige Andy's ma and pa . . . and on it goes. While we don't need all of those mentioned to suddenly pile up on a forty-seater coach yelling 'Surprise!', it might be nice to delve into the forgotten families of Weatherfield now and then.

Clinkers to Riddle, twitter: @bridglondon

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Anonymous said...

Never hear Izzy mention Katy or Owen. I would love to see Owen Armstrong back on the Street. Maybe he could help to take Phelan down.

Pat said...

I would love Sunita's aunties, Upma and Grishma, to come and visit Aadi and Asha. I thought they were really funny. They could also teach those kids some manners while they are there.

Cobblestone said...

Oh no, not the Aunties! It would be the thin end of the wedge, resulting in Uncle Umar returning. Please, no!

Emma Hynes said...

This made me laugh out loud David, thanks! So much history to plunder. It's great.

Tvor said...

Didn't Dev's Uncle die while Dev was out in India? I think Anna's mentioned a sister once or twice. Don't think Fiz and Chesney really ever were that close to their brother Billy though Chesney had a case of hero worship the time billy came to his mother's wedding. At least Leanne does mention Toyah on a regular basis (and we're getting her back, but even if we weren't, she and Janice get name checked now and then).

What annoys me, even more than the non-mention of family is during a crisis when some family members would normally come to help or attend a funeral etc and there's not even a message from them. I do think Sally went to her sister's after she went through chemo to recover as the excuse the actress needed for her own recovery.

Tyler Smith said...

BRING BACK UNCLE UMED! Also Grishma and Upma, and the Tinker clan. I would love to see a bit more of Sally's family and maybe even Sean's...

Anonymous said...

you have to remember that people on this blog are coronation street fanatics and remember stuff the general public have either long forgotten or aren't even aware of. The show is made for a wide audience and they can't just cater to us, they have to consider the relevance of mentioning characters or the story potential of bringing old ones back. Corrie is a fast moving show, there will soon be six episodes a week so obviously mistakes will occur (like Kevin forgetting his son) but more often it's a case of there being no reason to retread old ground, the show survives on reinvention and to an extent renewal. I hope we see that the return of Adam and Daniel will be a success but I don't think it is definitive proof that bringing oldies back will always work. Ken's extended family has always been more relevant and believable, so it doesn't feel like too much of a leap, but I think could feel over-whelming to a less knowledgable viewer, especially so if you were to bring back someone like Sally's sister, for whom nobody has any reference point for anymore. The show does well in referencing Andy frequently because it is relevant to both Steve and Liz that they are family, it's also pretty handy when the actors have to take a break (same goes for Adam and Ken not so long ago). I do agree though that it is wise for the writers to play with the rich history the show has to offer as long as it's appropriate and can generate good stories. I'd personally like to see a return of Graeme, child in tow, but I think it's probably fairly unlikely.

Anonymous said...

as a side note: though I reckon it's probably sacrilegious to mention it here, Eastenders has done fairly well with this kind of endeavour of late.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see Graeme return, child in tow, however since Tina is no longer on the street, I doubt very much that he would. But that said, I think I would have preferred anybody returning instead of Adam Barlow, he is trying so hard to be sinister than I'm just not buying it or his acting. Chances are the weirdo that peers through the window if probably after Adam and not Peter.

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