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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Coronation Street episode review, Friday 30 December 2016

It’s New Year’s Eve on the cobbles, a time for celebrations, revelations, secret escapes and public farewells.

Mary certainly called it when she said it had been a whirlwind Christmas as she prepares to leave for a new life in South Africa with Jude and his pregnant wife. Having warned Jude to look after her, Norris continues to struggle with the departure of his friend. I despaired when Norris descended into a spiteful, sadly nasty individual during the year, believing he was better than that, and so it’s a relief to see his good side shine through at last. 

One of the highlights of the episode is a tender scene in the Rovers in which he grapples with the prospect of losing another dear friend after the departure of Emily. As Mary struggles to hear him, he says the line twice, thus evoking more sympathy. With a light delivery deliberately designed to belie the depth of what she’s saying, she asks why he hasn’t tried to talk her out of it, and in a similar way, Norris asks if she would want him to, and as they evade what they really want to say, it all comes to nothing. It’s a beautiful dance between the pair, and one of their most moving scenes to date. 

She also shares a very touching scene with Dev, and while the children make her a gift and beg her not to go, their recent antics have me thinking she’s better off in that sense at least. For me, this storyline has moved all too quickly, but I’m very much enjoying the fact that we don’t know if Mary is actually leaving.
Peter is caught on the back foot having learned from an angry Simon that his drone picked up footage of him kissing Toyah in the ginnel. As Simon sees it, it’s proof that Peter came back for her, and not him. Instead of simply saying ‘Toyah wasn’t even here when I came back son, she followed me here, remember?’ Peter fails to deny it, and Simon storms out, vowing to tell Leanne at the first opportunity. The verdict is out with regard to Peter and Toyah, as I’m not quite seeing the chemistry there which he had with Carla, Leanne and Tina, but it’s early days yet, and maybe if their secret is revealed, we'll see more of it.

While we haven’t had the (dis)pleasure of witnessing it first hand, it sounds as if life with Jenny and Gemma in Rita’s is colourful to say the least, but Jenny has had enough and Johnny asks her to move in with him. As they plan to celebrate with champagne, however, he’s called away in a last ditch attempt to save a valuable order in time for the New Year’s sales. I very much enjoyed Jenny's reaction as she is told she must step into the breach and entertain Johnny's guests at this and future Victoria Court soirees. Head cocked and standing a little taller, it was a moment worthy of Sally Webster.

The sight of that Seb sets me on edge, and the part is being played brilliantly by Harry Visinoni. I’m surprised Anna let Faye stay at his place to ring in the New Year, and with Kevin also offside helping Johnny with his broken down van, Anna and Jack are alone when she falls down the stairs coming to help him with his drink. When he can’t wake her, Jack walks out on to the street and we are treated to sad little boy close up number two of recent times as he looks up at the fireworks much in the way Liam blinked through tears with his Llandudno snowglobe. It's great to see both boys getting to put in these performances.

I loved the scene in which Eileen casually revealed over the counter in Roy’s that Phelan is to get out of hospital that day, and reality independently and silently dawns on both Andy and Anna as they sit nursing cuppas.

Fear stricken Andy decides to move to Newcastle that very night, but is caught in the act of making arrangements by the man himself. Andy’s panic is palpable as Phelan threatens him with death in the dark of the ginnel, and is clearly uncomfortable as he moves from the Rovers to the Bistro to continue partying with Steph, Luke and Tracy. Claiming to feel queasy, Andy makes his excuses but his loaded farewell to Steph has her feeling suspicious. 

I loved the shot of her standing alone amid the revellers, and I thought the overhead angle as Phelan and Eileen simultaneously pulled party poppers in the Bistro was great, but, the music. As Andy departed in slow motion to the soundtrack of Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts, it then carried on over the above scenes, and an unconscious Anna lying at the bottom of the stairs, and it just didn’t work. If I had been watching another programme I might have thought the combination of that song and the accompanying shots was evocative and nicely done, but this is Coronation Street, and it simply does not fit the programme. Every one of its actors, writers and directors is well capable of giving us poignant scenes without soundtracks; Corrie has been doing it for 56 years.

I recently wrote about the importance of experimentation and innovation, so I am not averse to change, but this is not a right fit. It jolts me out of the realism that has formed part of the very fabric of the programme since its inception, and if I had one Corrie wish for the New Year, it's that the inclusion of incidental music becomes a thing of the past.

As this is my last review of 2016, I wish you all peace, health, happiness and joy in 2017, and thank you, as ever, for reading. 

By Emma Hynes
www.emmahynes.net
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites
Instagram: emmalouhynes

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Mary decides to up sticks and move to South Africa when her son she’s never met turns up and asks her to move away. “I’ve never felt so sure about anything in my life,” Mary tells Dev when he asks her if she’s certain she wants to go to South Africa.   Even Norris tells her he’ll miss her. Last New Year Emily went to Peru. Will Mary follow suit and leave the Street? We’ll have to wait and see if Mary’s as sure as she says she is.
Someone who does leave the Street this week is Andy, who kisses Steph in the Bistro then packs his bag and does one. He’s scared stiff of Phelan, who’s out of hospital and straight in the Rovers for a pint and a hard stare at Andy who quakes in his boots.
But it’s not all people packing up and leaving this week, no. Toyah Battersby returned and what a joy it is to have her back.  She’s fleeing her husband who seems a solid, sensible type but there’s no spark of passion between them any more. She’s also been through failed cycles of IVF and you can tell that’s caused tension between them that they haven’t been able to have a much-wanted baby. Anyway, not only is Toyah trying to get away from her husband, she’s also, it transpires, been having an affair with Peter Barlow. I know, I know. How ridiculous and convoluted is that? But we have no choice but to believe it otherwise we might as well give up on Corrie right now.  We have to go along with it, to trust the writers know what they are doing, that the storyliners know where they’re taking us. But still, you know, what are the chances? Anyway, their affair’s a big secret of course, especially from Leanne. But when Simon is given a drone for Christmas he flies it up the street where it takes pics of Peter snogging Toyah up the ginnel. Peter lies to Simon and tells him there’s nowt going on between him and his aunty Toyah but Simon’s not daft, not any more.

Over in the Platt house Gail and Audrey are in Milan with Steven. And while they’re away, Sarah reads Bethany’s text messages and sees a text from FAYe about her crush on Gary. Now that Sarah knows what’s going on in Bethany’s head, she dumps Gary who leaves to go to Germany to spend time with dad Eddie.
Bethany however is in a right old two and eight and swallows even more diet pills. She collapses in the ginnel and a new bloke called Nathan finds her. Nathan works in a tanning salon and pretends to care for Bethany but it’s all a nasty start to Bethany being groomed in a sex gang storyline.  Nathan is somehow connected to another new character Shona who has turned up and Billy is taking her under his wing.  Is the a fallen angel though, or the devil in disguise?  Billy thinks it’s the former and decides Shona is the sign he needs to go back to the church and follow his calling.
And finally this week, just a note to say that Coronation Street is using incidental music more often than I would like. There, I’ve said it. And I hope it stops soon.

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 Jan McVerry (Christmas Day hour-long); Joe Turner (Boxing Day double);  Martin Allen (Friday). 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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Heartbreak Ahead for the McDonalds


There's a very sad story coming up within the next few weeks for Steve and Michelle when Coronation Street explores late miscarriage.  Michelle is going to lose her baby at 23 weeks.

ITV is working with Stillbirth and Neonatal death charity called Sands to make sure they're getting the storyline right.

Kym Marsh, who plays Michelle, said: “I thought long and hard before agreeing to take on the challenge of this storyline. It is obviously a cause very close to my heart having lost my beautiful Archie at 21 weeks and 5 days. I discussed it with my family and friends, all of who were very supportive.

“In the end I felt it was an important story to tell in order to raise awareness of something which affects thousands of women every year.

“I have had to go to some very dark places in my mind whilst filming these heartbreaking scenes but my family, friends and colleagues have been incredible. Losing a child is something that never leaves you so to revisit those feelings as Michelle has been challenging.

“Coronation Street ensured that I had a counsellor on set at all times to go to after filming the scenes but for me the best tonic after a hugely emotional day was to go home to my kids and be reminded of how lucky I am to have them.

“I am very proud of what we have done with this storyline and I hope it helps raise awareness and helps people to talk about their own experiences.”

Late miscarriage is not rare but it's also not overly common. At and after 24 weeks, it is considered a stillbirth, which is what Maria Connor experienced when she had to give birth to a baby that had already died. The story will start the week of January 9 and will have a devastating effect on both Michelle and Steve, who we viewers know is also the father of Leanne Battersby's baby. What this will mean for them remains to be seen.

I have to say I have great respect for Kym Marsh. Tackling this storyline would be tough for anyone but Kym lost a child herself at 21 weeks and 5 days a few years ago.  She has relived the most difficult time of her life while filming this storyline but believed it would help others. I know she'll pull out all the stops.


Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter


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Friday, 30 December 2016

Corrie's year of two halves

Here we are then, that awkward in between bit. Christmas is over but the decorations remain in place in order that we can toast a New Year. We're down to the last slices of festive fowl ("turkey soup anyone? Was that a 'no' ?"), the tree is looking a bit dog-eared and everyone but everyone is foisting their '2016 lists' upon us. 'My Top Ten Favourite Country Crossover Hits 2016', 'My Top Five Dictators of 2016' - that kind of thing.

Well, now it's my turn. Before you start hurling leftover mince pies and relatives at the screen, fear not. I'm not about to arduously offer a week-by-week reportage of all things cobble-based. It's simply a reflection of how I feel at the end of the year. Feel free to disagree. Seriously - let me know what you think! The great thing about this blog is hearing the opinions of other viewers because quite often, there are views about the show that I've never considered.

Admittedly, I am enjoying Corrie at the moment. Whereas it seemed a little leaden last winter, the storylines now seem to bounce along. Yes, they may be dashing past our eyes a little too quickly. The tale of 'Mary and Son' seems to have been introduced and completed within a matter of hours:

Mary: I've got a son that I've never mentioned before. I wonder where he is? Here he is! I'm off to South Africa now to live with him forvever so goodbye.

Or something like that. Likewise there have been a few continuity errors such as Liz spending Christmas in Spain but being back behind the bar a few hours later. Or Andy suddenly becoming Mr Malevolence overnight. All a bit jarring.

I never thought I'd hear myself saying that the Platts were probably one of the biggest joys of 2016 but ... err, the Platts were one of the biggest joys of 2016. There has been a wealth of fine acting from Tina O'Brien, Jack P. Shepherd and Lucy Fallon. Let's not forget Paula Lane and that achingly sad death scene. Nick seems to have taken the bus to Idiot Street. When he's not squinting and whining, he's doddering along, getting it wrong. Gail, thankfully, seems to have shrugged off her own personal cloak of idiocy and we can only hope for normal (well, as normal as it gets for Gail) service to be resumed as soon as possible.


At the other end of the scale we have the very unlovely Eileen. This one-woman joy-sapping machine is a megaphone of misery and bile. Okay, she was never exactly the laughing fairy of Weatherfield but she's festered into something quite unpleasant. Oh and stupid. I found myself willing Pat 'soft lad' Phelan to bleed her dry but then realised that we would be left with some bellowing, hollowed out husk, bemoaning her lot for eternity. She needs to lighten up or jog on.

Rita's been great this year. I've enjoyed her and that hasn't always been the case. I'm one of the small number who has never warmed to her sanctimoniousness and feared the worst when poor old Gemma appeared on the Rita Radar. Would the cheque book and 'now listen here lady' homilies be finding a new home? Not at all. Rita's been warm and supportive to a girl who is trying her hardest to shrug off her unsavoury past. The mistakes she made with Tina don't appear to be on the cards again so thank you Corrie storyliners.

The big disappointment of the year, for me anyway, was the departure of Carla Connor. This should have been something special, a glittering finale to a decade of wine, men and knickers. Carla's swan song could have been dynamite - old scores settled, friendships cemented and suchlike. Instead she was married off to Old Father Time in yet another joyless Bistro wedding (they certainly get their money's worth out of that set and it's lovely VISA sign. Did you see it over there on the door, the bar, tattooed across Andy's brow?) Carla shuffled off to live in a tea room in Looe or something. It was rubbish and the character was badly served with this wet story.

The other nays for me included the Kirk/Beth bigamy shenanigans. Although well-acted, it was another of those 'grafted on' stories that felt uncomfortable. Cathy didn't really work too well either as she's portrayed as being both brittle and needy. Hooking her up with Roy felt wrong but we can now all rest assured that the relationship is over. Can't we?The potential Audrey & Ken hook-up was a bit of a mess too but thankfully Dame Kate of Oates seems to have tossed that story into the Corrie Cupboard.

Big hurrahs then for the seamless dispatching of Sharif Nazir, another character who suffered from an overnight personality change. Hopefully this has freed up Yasmeen for greater things. She deserves it. Let's hear it too for Erica, a character that has had to take on both Dev and his sly children. In an ideal world, she would buy the Corner Shop and run it on her own. Erica doesn't need the encumbrance of the Alahans. The fresh lease of life for the Barlows has also been, to date, a joy. Adam and Daniel seem to be positive additions to the clan and Peter's always good fun.

Thumbs up for Leanne, if not for her bizarre pregnancy waddle. Presumably the M & S mac is acting as a restraint. Let's hear it for Gemma, Eva, the underused and soon to depart Steph, wily Jenny and the superb Tim 'n' Sal. Bouquets for one and all.

What are you wishing for 2017 then? For me, a phasing out or revamp of Maria would be welcome, a new direction for Chesney and Sinead (or a Weatherfield Wayfarer out of the Street altogether), the option not to take the obvious route re David and Shona (how old is she anyway?), Eileen to be buried in a landfill site somewhere on the outskirts of Rhyl, Gail to get married before Easter, at least one scene to show that Nozzer is sharing a house with the Odd Couple, Kevin to marry Anna if only so that we can chortle at Sally's outrage . . . the list goes on. And on.

I'll leave it with you then. What was hot and not in your Corrie world in 2016 and what is on your wish list for 2017? Play nicely!
David, twitter: @bridglondon

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Spot the Corrie prop - December 30th 2016

Congratulations this week go to our blogger Tvor who was the first to spot that last week's classy, coffee cup can be found in Nick's Bistro.

For this week's prop puzzle, all you have to do is tell us whereabouts on Coronation Street you would find this golden chalice.



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Coronation Street fans vote for Becky, Janice return

WhichBingo polled 1,000 members of the public to find out which soap character they would like to bring back. 
 
At the top of the list is Becky McDonald, followed by Janice Battersby at number 3.  

In at number 5 is Tina McIntyre. But, er, isn't she dead?
 
Down at number 10 is Peter Barlow but as he's already back it makes me wonder when the poll was carried out.
  1. Becky McDonald – Coronation Street 247 24.5%
  2. Grant Mitchell – Eastenders 230 22.8%
  3. Janice Battersby – Coronation Street 223 22.1%
  4. Pat Butcher – Eastenders 188 18.6%
  5. Tina McIntyre – Coronation Street 175 17.3%
  6. Nasty Nick – Eastenders 171 16.9%
  7. Mandy Dingle – Emmerdale 170 16.8%
  8. Fatboy – Eastenders 167 16.6%
  9. Peggy Mitchell – Eastenders 139 13.8%
  10. Peter Barlow – Coronation Street 133 13.2%
  11. Stacey Slater – Eastenders 117 11.6%
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Saly Lindsay: "I'd never say never to Coronation Street return"

Sally Lindsay, who played Shelley Unwin in Coronation Street has been rumoured as returning to Coronation Street in the tabloids this week. It's not exactly true and isn't a reflection of what she actually said.

Sally told Woman's Own: "I always say never say never but at the moment, no, I love Coronation Street and I had a wonderful time there. I don’t watch it now though, it’s like looking at your old workplace."


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Coronation Street 2016 review in just 12 words, 12 pictures

Here it is, the end of year review for Coronation Street. All wrapped up in just 12 pictures and just 12 words.

January: Peru
Read a fun and quick review of January on the cobbles here

February: Ping-pong


Read a fun and quick review of February on the cobbles here

March: Finger
 Read a fun and quick review of March on the cobbles here

April: Teamwork

Read a fun and quick review of April on the cobbles here

May: Secrets
Read a fun and quick review of May on the cobbles here

June: Funeral
Read a fun and quick review of June on the cobbles here

July: Murder
 
 Read a fun and quick review of July on the cobbles here


August: Villainy
Read a fun and quick review of August on the cobbles here


September: Revenge
Read a fun and quick review of September on the cobbles here

October: Fire

Read a fun and quick review of October on the cobbles here

November: Return

Read a fun and quick review of November on the cobbles here.

December: Freedom



Read a fun and quick review of December on the cobbles here.


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Today: Jennie McAlpine and Keith Duffy in All Star Family Fortunes

Coronation Street stars past and present - Keith Duffy (Ciaran McCarthy) and Jennie McAlpine (Fiz Stape) - take part in All Star Family Fortunes, on ITV today at 1.05pm.
 

Jennie and Keith team up again (it's a repeated show) with their relatives to guess the answers to surveys of 100 people in a bid to reach the final round, where they can win up to £30,000 for a charity of their choice. 

Presented by Vernon Kay. 

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Preview of tonight's Coronation Street - Fri 30 Dec

Friday 30th December
ANNA HAS A NEW YEAR FROM HELL When Seb calls at No.13 and invites Faye to his family’s New Year’s Eve party, Anna reluctantly lets her go. Without Faye and Gary, and Kevin out
on a breakdown,  Anna is alone with Jack when she tumbles down the stairs in the dark and lies unconscious in the  hallway. Unable to wake her, frightened Jack lets himself out. In the Rovers, the regulars count down to midnight as Jack stands alone on the street, clearly scared. Will anyone come to Anna’s rescue?
IT’S DECISION TIME FOR MARY When Jude calls in the Kabin, Norris quizzes him closely and makes it  clear he’s to look after Mary properly in South Africa as she’s a dear friend. As Mary, Dev and the  twins share an emotional farewell, Mary secretly starts to wonder if she’s doing the right thing.  Mary’s friends gather in the Rovers to wish her well. But is Mary getting cold feet about the whole thing?
IS PETER BUSTED? Clearly hurt, Simon tells Peter he saw him kissing his new girlfriend and realises  she’s the reason for his return, not him. Peter’s shocked.
ELSEWHERE Andy’s scared witless as he questions his future on the street. Desperate to get away, Andy phones a mate in Newcastle and asks him if he can crash on his floor. Whilst Steph, Tracy and Luke celebrate New Year in the bistro, Andy slips out. Will he make his getaway?
When Jenny moans to Johnny about how difficult she’s finding it living with Gemma, Johnny
suggests she moves in with  him. Will Jenny agree?

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Thursday, 29 December 2016

Coronation Street Awards 2016

It's the end of the year so I thought some awards were in order. These are my own personal awards - other bloggers' views may (will) vary. I’ve followed the format of the British Soap Awards categories, and added some from the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, as well as some of of my own. Without further ado, lazengentlemen, please put your hands together for (drum roll) Philip Schofield holding a large gold envelope....

Best Soap - Coronation Street (duh!)
Best Actor - Jack P. Shepherd (David Platt)
Best Actress - Alison King (Carla Connor)
Villain of the year - Evil Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre)
Minx of the year - Jenny Bradley (Sally Ann Matthews)
Best newcomer - Rob Mallard (Daniel Osbourne)
Best Comedy Performance - Patti Clare (Mary Taylor)
Best Romantic Partnership - Todd and Billy (Bruno Langley and Daniel Brocklebank)












Best Comedy partnership - Tim and Sally (Joe Duttine and Sally Dyvenor)
Best Dramatic Performance, male -  Jack P. Sheperd (David Platt)
Best Dramatic Performance, female - Tina O’Brien (Sarah Platt)
Best Young Performance - Colson Smith (Craig Tinker)
Best Single Episode - Carla's departure/the car crash
Best Storyline - Callum in Gail's manhole













Best Comedy Storyline - Sally's campaign to become a councillor
Forgotten Storyline - Liz's relationship with older dad, Chris.
Most Boring Storyline - Caz stalks Maria
Scene Of The Year - David crashing his car on the way to court
Stunt Of the Year - Anna being set on fire.
Sexiest Male - Jason (Ryan Thomas) and his ironing




















Sexiest Female - Eva (Catherine Tyldesley) and her many red dresses




















Best Guest Star - Matt Millburn (Tommy Orpington)
Best Dressed - Gemma Winter (Dolly Rose Campbell)






















Best Exit - Michael Rodwell (Les Dennis)
Best Return - Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne)
Storyline I'm Most Looking Forward To In 2017 - the return of Dozy Plebster (Helen Flanagan)

Who would you give awards to?

Rachel Stevenson - on twitter

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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Last Christmas and other unexpected plot points

This year, the Christmas Day episode of Coronation Street opened with a choir singing a very nice accapella version of "Last Christmas" which was originally recorded by the pop group Wham, with lead singer George Michael. By the time the episode aired in the evening, the world had found out that George Michael had died so it was particularly touching. For me, more so because after hearing it a few days before, it had been stuck in my head for days! I wonder if that was an omen or just coincidence?

But on last night's Corrie in the pub in the second episode, the Wham version was played. That was a bit jolting and I wonder if it was dubbed in at the last minute as a tribute? Certainly, the day before, fans on social media had picked up on the coincidence. I found myself thinking surely they wouldn't normally have used the same song two days in a row?

In other surprises, I really never expected Maria to be sent to jail for the immigration charge. I don't think she'll be in jail for the whole year. I reckon she'll be out before Easter but it did seem a bit harsh sending a single mum to prison the day before Christmas for a non-violent crime. Surely they could have ankle-tagged her and let her stay home over the holiday?

Mary's story with her newfound son was my favourite Christmas storyline. It was really touching to see her smile when he introduced himself and called her Mum straight away and then seeing her face when she realized she was going to be a grandma went straight to my heart.  If she doesn't change her mind about moving to South Africa, I will miss her very much. Maybe she'll go and stay to see the baby born and after a bit, come back. I'd find a Weatherfield without Mary much lacking. I did feel a brief pang for Norris with another friend leaving him behind, after Emily's departure last year at New Year.

I'm sure Steve or Michelle mentioned that Liz was gone to Spain to spend Christmas with Andy but there she was on Boxing Day behind the bar. Seemed a bit odd that she wouldn't take a couple of extra days off.

Peter and Toyah? I find them an odd couple, too, though I did guess weeks and weeks ago that she was his new girlfriend. Toyah would have known about Peter's past and his faults through Leanne for years. I did enjoy her tearing a strip off Nick in the hospital but it got me thinking, what was it in their past for which  Nick thought Toyah was raking him over the coals? The only thing that came to my mind was him insisting Leanne have an abortion before he then left her back in the day. I know he's done other stuff but that, for me, at least, would have been the start of the "I hate my sister's partner" mantra. I do like both actors, however, so I'm sure they'll do the storyline justice.

I'm also concerned as to the 180 degree turn that Andy's personality has undergone. Murderous intent? Stashing a few packets of pills in a carry on bag three times the size of the doctor's bag from where he took the pills? Yet, no news of a drugs theft has made its way through the gossip mill, via Rana since she works there. Eva's bought Aidan a kitten. That's even more committment than he's ready for with her. He is in love with Maria but I notice he's not finishing with Eva now that Maria's been sent down. More and more I dislike that character as an arrogant, selfish prat but I don't mind the actor. I can see Johnny's point of view. Why would Aidan prefer Maria over Eva who's gorgeous and has a big, kind heart? I think it's the knight on a charging horse, saving the damsel in distress that's the attraction.

There's always a public argument so the Nick and Peter thing didn't bother me except to make me dislike Nick even more. It was nice to see a house full of Barlows. Nice to see Mary so happy with her friends being supportive. Sarah and Gary are on and off more than a light switch and that's getting tedious.  Eileen has proven her stupidity with men continues by proposing to Phelan. Billy had a revelation and is going back to the church. I think it suits him but I wonder if this is going to be the thing that comes between he and Todd permanently. There wasn't a lot of pubbage this year, I notice, which was different. There were a few scenes but in the past, quite a lot of action would be based in the pub on Christmas night and Boxing night.

 Overall, though, Christmas on the cobbles was ok.



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