Monday, 24 October 2016

You can't please everyone

Last week, Coronation Street yet again pulled out all the stops for a big, fiery stunt along with high drama and emotion. They've been doing this regularly, often a couple of times a year, for most of the last decade. For the 40th anniversary in 2000, Corrie featured a protest to save the cobbles. Literally. The actual cobblestones themselves. For the 50th anniversary, they brought the tram down off the viaduct after an explosion, sideswiping the Kabin and chasing poor Molly right through the corner shop. People died. Secrets were exposed. It was all very frought with edge of your seat stuff. What a difference a decade makes.

It's all about ratings these days, more than it used to be. There's more competition for viewers and all the main networks try to pull out all the stops to lure new punters. They figure exciting stunts will have people tuning in, and for the regulars, they add extra drama to bring an ongoing storyline or two along to a head. If you're a regular viewer, you will enjoy the twists, turns, closure and perhaps opening to new storylines.

If you aren't a fan of a particular soap, you are not very likely to tune in to watch the spectacle like the Powers That Be are hoping. Why would you, if you have absolutely no idea who the characters are and what the storylines have been?  I have rarely ever watched a soap that I don't follow just because they're having a "Big Week" though I do admit to having done so now and then. I did watch the Eastenders live episode for their anniversary a couple of years ago but I used to watch EE in phases in the past so I knew who a few of the longer standing characters were. I watched Emmerdale pull off a wedding disaster involving a helicopter as well but the storylines and character dynamics went right over my head. I didn't start watching either one regularly aftwards. I've tried watching Emmerdale in the past and couldn't get into it. To each his or her own.

Every time Coronation Street pulls off a week of major stunts and drama, the comments pour in. People love it. People hate it. People like some aspects but not others. Par for the course. Some viewers seem to be so critical of what they watch that you wonder why they do. Yet, I do understand. I've been watching Corrie for the better part of 30 years and that's a lot of time invested. It's as much of a habit as it is love for the show but for me, there is a lot of love there and I lean to the forgiving side.

There have been storylines I found boring or ludicrous, or just plain unrealistic. I can be a gold medal nit picker and whinge at the inconsistencies that jump out at me. I *am* willing to suspend disbelief and forgive little glitches and minor "offenses" but only up to a point. I don't want my intelligence insulted. Otherwise, I can enjoy the majority of material that I watch. Coronation Street still does it better than anyone else, in my opinion.

A quick review: This most recent ratings grabber on The Street revolved around the culmination of the storyline that began nearly 2 years ago when Kylie went looking for her son Max's biological father to trace where her son might have inherited ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder). That brought Callum Logan into the Platt-iverse, leading to Kylie's addiction and subsequent absence while the actor was on maternity leave. We suffered through Callum bullying David and the Platts which worked on my last nerve but when Kylie returned, fighting fit, the drama jumped up a notch and about this time last year, Kylie killed Callum defending her sister-in-law Sarah from certain injury and possible death at Callum's hands. The body was buried under the annex, Sarah became emotionally unstable while Kylie and David struggled to keep things together.

The body resurfaced after a carefully constructed car crash stunt and the family managed to weather the suspicions of the police, misdirecting them elsewhere (Tony Stewart) thanks to Todd Grimshaw. Finally, David and Kylie decided to make a fresh start in sunny Barbados but tragically, Kylie was stabbed to death while trying to defend her old mate, Gemma.

David has been plotting revenge on the murderer, a 15 year old lad from Kylie's rough old neighbourhood. He's been obsessed and single minded, with his grief and rage tormenting him. He was going to kill the murderer and himself by blowing them both up. Nothing anyone said to him could connect, not even his mother pointing out that he would kill other people as well and ruin their families' lives like his had been ruined. That didn't seem to have any impact on David, either. But on the day of the trial, things went wrong. He got nowhere near the murderer but nearly killed his own daughter and a neighbour trying to pull her from the path of his car which had flipped over and was bouncing down the road. Another neighbour now has devastating burns on her legs and the reality has finally hit David like a ton of bricks. He's got to find a way to rebuild his life and atone for what his grief and rage drove him to.

Some people thought that the horrific scenes of Anna caught on fire were far too much for early evening viewing. They were more interested in the quieter alternate storyline of Ken Barlow having a stroke after a row with newly returned son Peter. There are always detractors no matter what the story is. I found both main stories to be very well done and the whole week kept me on the edge of my seat. While the Barlow storyline came out of nowhere, David has been breaking apart more and more each week and it's been heartbreaking to watch him. I will look forward to seeing both storylines proceed and can't wait to see where both Ken and David end up.

I have found some of these stunts that end in huge balls of flame to be a bit tedious at times. Not again! you may hear me and a lot of fans cry out. I think that they lose their impact if they're done so often like they have been. It really begins to stretch credibility and even though I did enjoy this week enormously, I hope they back off a little and give us the drama without the fireworks for a change. The tram crash was pretty spectacular but while the special effects were dazzling and the drama was well acted, many of the accidents and fires since then were starting to become kind of run of the mill.

This week's car crash and explosion were done well, technically, and yes, I really was on the edge of my seat but I'd like to see more story, less pyrotechnics, please, in the future.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Sunday, 16 October 2016

David Platt is breaking my heart

Say what you will about David Platt, from cheeky lad to tearaway troubled teen to family man and back to psycho Dave, he's never boring. I've been amazed to see how he's evolved and pulled himself through his troubled years to become a husband and father. He's even managed to have decent relationships with his brother and sister and his mother when you never thought you'd see the day. The only one of his relatives he seemed to pay any notice of was his grandmother Audrey and even then, it was (pardon the expression) hit and miss.

Now, after the death of his beloved Kylie, he can't cope. He's so filled with anger that he's retreating into himself and pushing everyone away including his children who need him so much. He nearly killed the brother of the young man that killed Kylie and would have if he'd not been interrupted by a nurse. That shocked me, that David could have gone to those lengths, because I don't want his character to leave the show and murderers always have to pay one way or another. Kylie is a case in point, even if she only killed Callum to save Sarah.
This storyline has also brought the rest of the Platts in to try to help David. Even Sarah, David's former nemesis, has shown that down deep, she does love her brother. The scenes between Nick and David have been wonderful. I never thought I'd see those two develop a real brotherly relationship and even his spiky relationship with his mother has softened. It's shown that David does love his mother even though they've had a very rocky relationship, but even his mother hasn't been able to help in spite of knowing what he feels like, she having a spouse murdered, too. 

As I write this, we're about to head into a week where all will be revealed. It appears David is going to try to kill Clayton and expects he will die as well. The video he recorded was one of the best scenes ever on Corrie, loaded with despair and sadness and resignation from a character that spent most of his life as a cocky, cheeky git. He feels his life is over and even the prospect of being there for his children isn't enough to pull him back from the edge.

I have no idea what's going to happen. I'm pretty sure Jack P. Shepherd isn't leaving the show so somehow David will be prevented from executing his plan, no pun intended. Apparently, Gail and Nick are going to take action to keep David safe. Locking him in the basement of the Bistro could work but David is slippery and he'll probably find a way out. Short of parading his children in front of his car or a traffic jam keeping him from his goal, how's this going to come out?

We'll know by the end of the week. Top stuff, Coronation Street, keep it coming!

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Good Night, Jean and Thank you

 By now, you probably know that Jean Alexander has died. Jean played the legendary Coronation Street character, Hilda Ogden who was arguably the most famous character of all time. She may even edge out Elsie Tanner and Ena Sharples as the first one you mention when you think of classic Coronation Street. Jean passed away yesterday in hospital at the age of 90 and the tributes are pouring in.

I like the one in the Manchester Evening News the best, so far. Jean had a long career, starting out on stage with minor tv roles before Corrie but Coronation Street made her a household name. She played Hilda for 23 years. She went on to play Auntie Wainwright on Last of the Summer Wine for 22 years but Auntie W. never hit the same highs as Hilda.

Originally, Hilda was meant to be a stereotype, an abused wife who was a shrill nag. But Jean brought something special to the role and Hilda was quickly fleshed out. She was still a shrill nag and a gossip but she was a downtrodden woman, always trying to make something better out of her lot in life. She was sympathetic most of the time as we watched her put up with a feckless husband and thankless children, battling with the neighbours who looked down on her as common when, in reality, they weren't all that much better themselves, most of them.

Hilda would find pleasure in small things like her "murial". She trilled a song when she was industriously cleaning or just having a good day. She knew who she was and wasn't afraid to stand up for herself though it didn't often do her good. Hilda provided some of the most famous scenes and lines in Coronation Street including proclaiming to her husband Stan, that the taste of her lipstick was that of "Woman, Stanley, woman!".

Who can forget her scraps with Elsie Tanner or the many times she brought Stan's tea into the Rovers since he was too interested in drinking to come home? She was convinced that she could tell someone's fortune through tea leaves. She worked all the hours she could to make ends meet since Stan was workshy more than he earned. Yet she worried when he was ill and she loved to look after her lodgers, first Eddie Yeats and in later years, Kevin Webster and his new wife Sally after they wed. When Stan died, Hilda's quiet grief had most of the viewers in tears along with her.

Jean Alexander was instrumental in creating and shaping Hilda. She was a consumate actress. She kept her private life private and never married. She was more concerned with establishing her career and felt that she would not be able to give enough attention to either a relationship or her career if she did marry and have a family of her own. She mentioned that several times in her autobiography which I read some years ago. It's called The Other Side of the Street: The Autobiography of Jean Alexander and while it's not available on Amazon, you might find it on eBay, or in a second hand bookstore or at the library.

Jean was a nice looking woman, too, but was made very dowdy for the role. There are a few photos on the news site above that were quite surprising. One showed her as she was in the early 60s and you might think, Oh she was older when she played Hilda but when she started on Corrie, she was only a couple of years older than in that photo.

There was a good documentary about Jean as Hilda some years ago. I have it in two parts on my YouTube site, Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I've only "known" Hilda from seeing older video of the show or reading books about Coronation Street's history. I didn't start watching until after Hilda left so she was not part of my Corrie viewing but I can appreciate her pathos and strength and that's all down to Jean Alexander. Maybe my own words don't have the same impact or eloquence as they would if I had grown up watching her on Corrie, but she was one of the stars of the show. Corrie went on without her but I do think there was a little something missing after Hilda moved away, leaving her good friends with a song. "Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye".

Goodbye, Jean. Rest well.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Friday, 7 October 2016

Who's Conning' Who?

Vinny came to Phelan with a scam, pretend to sell luxury flats to naive punters, run off with the deposit money and they're quids in. Phelan snapped his hand off at the chance. But things are not going according to plan. Todd has been keeping a close eye on Phelan, not trusting him an inch and is now on the sales team. He's supposed to be on board and willing to go along with the scam but I'm not buying it. I think Todd is planning to find a way to bring Phelan down from the inside and thus remove him from his mother's and brother's lives. Todd isn't exactly twirling his moustache and looking shifty but he has been caught looking thoughtful after various encounters.

Eileen has gotten involved on behalf of Jason, eager to be part of the exciting project that she believes is real but she's been inadvertently putting expensive roadblocks in the way and Vinny's not happy about it, not one little bit. Phelan has impressed on Todd that you do not want to piss Vinny off, he's connected to some dangerous people. I think Phelan discovered just how real Vinny's connections might be and it has given him pause for thought.

I think Phelan is happy to rip off his neighbours and any other person quick to fall for the ruse but while he's a bully, and he's manipulative and he likes to threaten people, I don't think he's got the stomach for *real* violence unless he was defending himself.

Think back. Gary beat the living crap out of him. Did he jump Gary and catch him unawares, with revenge in kind? No he did not. He got back at Gary by using his mother, blackmailing her into sleeping with him so he'd let Gary off the hook. He used the people he knew he could rather than go physically up against a younger man who already proved he could fight back hard. He also hesitated when Kevin gave him a blunt warning not to mess with Anna when he tried to intimidate her and I think he knows Kevin isn't afraid of a fight, either. Again, he tried to blackmail Anna to back away from slagging him off to everyone or he'd tell Kevin about their previous encounter. Bully tactics, right?

He's sly and so is Todd though Todd may be in a bit over his head. Phelan is clearly a master at the manipulation trade. He's got no scruples, even willing to go so far as to pull Alex into his scam though he did seem to be slightly reluctant until Alex insisted.

So how is this all going to end? As far as I know, Connor McIntyre is staying on the show so when this scam all blows up, and it will because that's how things work on a soap, I figure Vinny will be the one taking the fall. I have a feeling that Vinny will double cross Phelan and disappear with the money, leaving him behind to take the heat.  Maybe Phelan will turn Vinny in to save his own skin and will pretend that he knew nothing about it being a scam or that Vinny had a hold on him somehow and forced him into it. He could say that he invested a bit of cash, too, and lost it. Maybe he'll cut a deal with Todd to go along with it since Todd was in on the scam and is as guilty of suckering folk as Phelan.

The part that I found hard to get was the money they're spending just to fool people. They have glossy brochures and a model flat they're building to show people, in a building that... who owns? They have a temporary project office set up outside that old building, too. That's a lot of money spent to rake some deposits in though I suppose it's still going to net them quite a lot, depending on how many they're pretending to sell and if they're reselling the same flats to people.

I'm very interested in this storyline and am enjoying watching it unfold. Pat Phelan is one of the best villains Corrie's ever had and seems to be multi-faceted. He's not really very sympathetic and you don't believe a word he says even if he's telling Eileen he loves her. He's very good at saying what someone wants to hear at the right time. He's expert at timing what he tells to whom, whether it be a "confession" or admission or just bullshit to smooth things over. I love to hate him and that's a testament not just to the writers but to McIntyre himself who can convey 1000 words and the image of the wheels furiously turning in his head with one glance while his back is turned to his prey.

I like that they've paired him with Eileen who is always falling for the wrong fella, this being one of the worst. Yes, she's being played for a massive fool and she's going to pay for it. It was even better having Todd involved in the storyline Fantastic!

I can't wait to see what happens next.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Saturday, 1 October 2016

State of the Street - September 2016

No words can properly express my growing hatred for Nick Tilsley. I despise him. He's controlling, manipulative, selfish, spiteful. Leanne came clean and told him that Steve was the father of her baby. Nick managed to accept the baby as his own when it was an unknown father but having the daddy right across the road was too much for him and he felt like a fool, broadcasting his possession of the parentage in the pub in front of everyone including Steve.  I'll give him that one. I'm nothing if not fair about these things.

But hijacking Steve, insisting Steve should leave town as a condition where Nick himself would continue to claim the baby, and then later pretend to text Michelle the truth just to be spiteful. He never told Steve the text was not the end of his marriage and Steve had to suffer, sweat and dread the whole trip back to Weatherfield only to find out that the contents of the text was innocuous. That was a very dirty trick and totally uncalled for.  It's not as if Steve did anything to Nick personally for Nick to need revenge. Nick called Steve all kinds of horrible names for cheating on Michelle. I so wished Steve had known about Nick shagging his brother's wife in a similar sort of drunken one night stand and his subsequent blackmailing of David into getting a DNA test.

To top it all off, Nick magnanimously decided to continue on and in order to get his head around it all, booked a holiday for he and Leanne without telling her and then proceeding to pack for her as well. Leanne didn't see this as a romantic surprise, nor was it intended to be but swooned just the same when Nick allowed that a holiday and some space would help him find a way to accept the situation and forgive her. She sighed. "I don't deserve you" No, no you don't, you deserve MUCH better.

Bethany's victimization at the manicured hands of Lauren continued all through summer and into the beginning of school and Bethany is showing decided signs of brainwashing. She's getting addicted to the gym in response to Lauren's taunts of her being fat which, of course, she is not. But if someone continues to berate you, and eroding your self esteem, after awhile  you might start believing it. It's classic and it's what bullying husbands do to control and abuse their wives and children.  Bethany finally hit back, literally but it's jumped back to bite her.

Gary intervened with the school who gave lip service to their strict no-bullying policy and he finally insisted that Bethany tell her mother who was anxious and feisty, determined to fight for her chick. Only Sarah doesn't think before she speaks and the school meeting ended up in chaos. Both girls got suspended but it turned out that some other girls came forward and the school realized Bethany was the victim. They've expelled Lauren altogether while showing her father is just as much of a bully.

What annoyed me and which was probably quite realistic, is that Lauren's mother backed up Lauren's claim that all the bullying came from Bethany even though Gary was witness to one incident where Lauren goaded Bethany into striking her. The thing is, when this storyline first popped up, Lauren's mother seemed not to be very surprised that her daughter was accused of bullying but now she's defending her child as a victim, too. Is that continuity fail or is that just the actions of a thick headed obstinate cow? Probably the latter. Everyone wants to believe their own child even if they know down deep the truth of it. I refer you to Callum's mother, Marian, for further evidence of this.

There are two good things about the end of this storyline. One was psycho David threatening Lauren in the salon (Yay!) and the other is the possibility of Sarah and Gary getting together. I quite like that idea. They are about the same age and it's about time Sarah found a decent bloke.

Caz seems to have got over Kate and she's turning her focus on Maria. Maria knows that Caz lied for a long time about her injury but since Maria is not too bright, she believed Caz's tearful admission of just wanting Kate to love her or some nonsense like that. Caz has taken full advantage and is manipulating Maria with a set up robbery and with silent phone calls to scare her just enough to want Caz to stick around for security. It's pretty clear that Caz is developing feelings for Maria though those feelings are probably leaning more towards obsession than true, genuine love or even a crush. Even Kirk figured out that Caz fancied Maria before Maria did.

Now, at the end of the month, it looks like Maria is trying to put Caz off. She isn't going to stand for her under the same roof if she knows Caz is infatuated. Awkward! But Caz, as we know, is not going to take rejection lying down and she's got her hands on Maria's new credit card while Maria is in London helping that gay husband, the one we thought everyone forgot about and who is pretty much just a convenient plot device.

Who's going to be Maria's saviour this time? Will it be Luke or someone new? I'm not sure I care, only in that Maria always seems to be the author of her own troubles. I like the actor and she's good when she's given something to do which isn't too often so she's under appreciated. I also like the actor playing Caz. If I like the actors in a storyline, often I won't mind it even if it's a bit silly.

Craig had a rough month, too. Poor lad found his biological father who turned out to be a wrong'un. No surprise there. But he also found out his mother and father were still married. Oops! I find it hard to believe that absolutely nobody in Beth's family knew about that wedding or non-divorce and let her go through with a new marriage. I know that you have to show proof of a divorce to get a new marriage license so she obviously lied there, said she wasn't married before. Bigamy is a crime but Beth only ended up getting a small fine and community service. She'll still have to shell out for a divorce, though, if she has any chance at all to get Kirk back. Understandably, Kirk is devastated. That's a pretty big secret to have kept from him. I think he'll take her back eventually but she's going to have an uphill climb to win his trust back again.

There's a major retcon afoot, though and I hate when they do that. We've been introduced to Sonia, an old and trusted friend of the Nazirs who turns out to be a long time mistress of Sharif who still loves his wife and has no intention of leaving her for Sonia. That's certainly taken him down in my estimation of him. Alya has found out, kind of, though Sharif has lied and said it was a one off years ago. She believes him and has used the information to blackmail him out of cash to invest in reviving her offshoot project of bespoke high end undergarments at the factory while Sonia is pushing Sharif to leave his wife, or at least buy her one of the new flats. Looks like Sharif is going to lose that money and his wife because this affair will come to light sooner or later. They always do. I expect he'll be kicked to the curb and leave the show most likely. I do hope Yasmeen stays, though, I really like her.

Phelan's scam with his mate Vinny is making it's way down the twisted paths. They've managed to woo Sally into backing them for planning permission and Phelan's managed to fob off Eileen's interest with a pretend fancy job title, with the added bonus of causing so much tension between mother and son that he's succeeded in driving Todd out the door. Unexpected bonus, there. Vinny is turning out to be quite the hard man, though, and I wonder if Phelan has jumped into something that's going to be a bit over his head in the end.

Throwing Todd into the mix is genius. I don't for a minute believe that Todd has reverted to type and is taking pleasure in ripping off his neighbours. I think he's trying to bring Phelan down from the inside but I don't think he'll manage it before all of Jason's money is gone. Unless we find out we're losing the character of Phelan, I expect Vinny will end up being the fall guy, someone that will take the blame for ruining Phelan and Jason both. Or, at least, someone that Phelan can successfully blame for it, clearing his own name and character so that he can stick around and cause more chaos in the future. I'm really enjoying his character, in a love-to-hate way. The actor is amazing and the character is so slimy and slick and he's always thinking, always working an angle. He's great!

By the end of the month, Sarah has conveniently come into money and has signed a contract for a flat, too and Todd is in a tail spin. But Phelan, the genius manipulator, sorted that out. Todd insisted that he and Phelan pay Sarah back out of their share but then Phelan pledged some of Todd's profit to one of Billy's charities. That keeps Todd on board rather than being a loose cannon and had the result of getting Billy and Todd back together.

Why? Because Todd got caught trying to push Billy into a break up with the church by calling the Bishop and pretending to be a parishioner complaining about Todd living in the vicarage. Billy is already very cautious when it comes to the church and his own lifestyle and relationships in general, as a result. This time, I really do believe that Todd does genuinely love Billy so I'm glad they're back together but how is Todd going to juggle what he's doing with Phelan with his promise to be a better man with Billy? By lying and pretending he didn't know it was all a scam? Probably and if Vinny ends up taking the ultimate fall, he might get away with it.

One thing that did come out of this is that we finally, *finally* discovered what happened to Todd in London that made him so cynical and amoral. He fell in love with a married man, a man with a wife and kids who finally left his family for Todd. But he was diagnosed HIV positive and ended up going back to his wife, leaving Todd heartbroken and unable to truly trust again. I'm glad they finally came up with something believable.

David is drowing in his own rage and anger in the wake of Kylie's murder. He's stalking Macca online and he is keeping his children at arms' length at a time when they need him the most. Gail is worried and well she should be. Now we know that Clayton has cut a deal and will be charged with manslaughter which will bring him far less time inside. Turns out, he's only 15 and I would imagine that time will be in a youth facility. The jury could still convict him of murder apparently but even if that doesn't happen, he will probably get convicted on the lesser charge. How any jury could believe that someone stabbed in the heart was an accidental death, I don't know but these things happen all the time. Deals, I mean.

Audrey and Freddie are circling around each other. Freddie is still grieving and feeling guilty about being attracted to Audrey so he's running hot and cold. Audrey has had the bad luck to be drawn to another new widower but I'd rather it be Freddie and Ken. That seems to have been dropped cold. I wonder if fan reaction had anything to do with it? I like Freddie and I think he's a far better match for Audrey than Ken was.

Cathy and Roy are lurching along. Their crisis of the month was her finding out that her late husband, the one that had the affair with her sister, also fathered Alex. What did Cathy do? Take it out on Alex and Roy. She really was awful to them. I think Roy realized what she was doing but he couldn't do anything to help and she held that against him, too. Called him all sorts. Yet, he still thinks he'll marry her and wants to do it in December. Tyrone didn't believe that Roy truly loved Cathy but apparently he does. She isn't Hayley but nobody could be and Roy is taking Cathy for her own individual qualities. I think it's tough sometimes, though, you can't help compare, can you?

Those are the major focusses of the month, with a number of smaller things that aren't all that important at this point. Not yet, anyway.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Thursday, 1 September 2016

State of the Street - August 2016

Kylie was laid to rest with pop music, burgers and controversy. You couldn't have it any other way, could you? David is angry. Very angry. He's trying to hold it together for his children but it all leads back to Callum, I expect. He can't be angry at Kylie for starting it all off with Callum and he's got to blame someone. He tried to ban Gemma from the funeral but was made to see sense there. He insisted none of Kylie's other old mates could come. They didn't but sent flowers which ticked him off and about the time he was doing an Irish step dance on the flower arrangement, Todd started in on him.

You see, Sarah figured out Todd thought she'd killed Callum after her incoherent raving while she was in the middle of a breakdown and she managed to convince him she didn't do the deed. She didn't, however, explain the truth so Todd thinks she's covering up for David. That might not be such a problem except he lied to the police to protect her, blaming Jason's father, Tony and because of Phelan's manipulations (though he doesn't realized that aspect of it), Jason left town and proceeded to get drunk in Thailand, fall off a wall and get hurt, all because he thinks his father killed Callum. Still with me?

Anyway, Sarah finally told him the whole truth to keep him from going to the police and he's promised to keep schtum though she had to work hard on his emotions for him to agree to it. We'll see how that works out for him. Meanwhile, David is struggling and it's only his little ones that are keeping him going as he tries to get them and himself through Kylie's and Lily's birthday. Some days it seems he's doing ok and others he finds he's just in a daze. Pretty normal, I'd say. Poor Max is feeling it terribly, too. I would love to see Nick have a bit more interaction with Max, he's the only one that truly knows what it's like to lose a parent to a violent act. As for David, we all know what happens to David when the anger boils over. It's not going to be pretty.

Steve's in a pickle. What else is new? His one night stand with Leanne has left her pregnant and Michelle is so broody that she's done a reverse on her previous stand of no babies and decides she wants one herself. Steve didn't want one let alone two though he might not have minded one if it had been Michelle getting pregnant by accident. Now, though, with Leanne keeping hers, he can't handle the idea of both of them producing a spare heirs each but it's too late. Michelle's pregnant, too. I wonder if the stress will send Steve back to up his meds or if that will be conveniently forgotten.

Cue the next 8 months or so of Steve ducking, diving, gurning, and trying to keep his wife from finding out about the other baby momma. Add into that mix that Liz knows and she's glaring and shouting every time she gets a minute. Leanne knows that Liz knows so she's cowering under that same glare. Michelle doesn't know, not at this point. She and Steve have promised, no more lies but he's pretty sure he'd lose Michelle if she found out about it even if They Were On A Break.

And then there's Nick. He's decided Carla was just a bad dream and like always, he comes running back to Leanne who, though she's tempted, decides she better run the other way because of the baby. Only Nick found out and persuaded her to stay and he'd raise the baby anyway, suggesting she lie and agree to tell everyone the baby is his, after a mad night shortly after Carla left. Gail nearly worked it all out and was very suspicious and superbly horrified. Except Leanne doesn't like lies anymore. Not big, emotional ones like this at least and she's going to cave in any time now.  Meanwhile, Michelle is the still in the dark seeing as Liz knows, too. Boy is she going to be pissed. That might be one lie too many.

And all that business between Robert and Nick was cringeworthy. Far too much testosterone being flung about and I have no patience for pissing contests and stags butting heads on the side of the mountain. Get over yourselves. I still think Robert and Leanne would have made a better couple than Nick and Leanne but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. I do hope they aren't going to put Robert and Tracy back together, because that never worked, either. The whole premise of him holding a torch for her all these years never rung true to my ears. Now that he can see what she's really like, surely he won't find any urge to rekindle those embers? There's been no hint but Tracy still throws longing glances his way when she spots him from afar.

Craig has decided that being a police officer is a much better option than being a starving artist. He's probably right, at least as an income to pay the bills and build on a pension. But here's the problem. You can't have an immediate family member that's been convicted of a crime and Beth seems to be hiding something. Beth has never told Craig about his father so it will probably turn out that he's in the nick.  The thing is, I used to have the distinct impression that Craig didn't know who his father was. He's never known him, that's for sure. I wondered if Beth never put the father's name on the birth certificate. If she didn't, how would the police be able to find out who Craig's dad was? Then, it logically follows, he does know the name of his father even if he's never laid eyes on him. Kind of unfair if they hold that against him but rules is rules.

I love, love, love that Gemma is getting a proper storyline. She's making a big effort to turn her life around and it's really funny, watching her try to do good deeds, succeeding in some and annoying the heck out of people when she doesn't succeed so well. I like that Rita, once she found out what Gemma was doing, seemed to be supportive. Rita has often been behind young women, having faith in them and helping them grow their confidence. Gemma's face just lights up when she does something that makes her feel good about herself. She always has shown signs of having a good heart but she's been a survivor and had to be tough. I hope she sticks around. The character is a total delight and the actor is fantastic. It really looks like she's having a ball playing Gemma, too!

Aidan and Maria. Really? Two people that have barely said a word to each other the whole time they've known each other and they end up shagging on the sofa after a drunken evening of sob story wallowing about their respective partners. I don't buy it and I don't see where they're going with this. I never really thought Eva and Aidan were that great a couple but then that's because he was always portrayed as a playboy and not really all that committed to her and him trying to avoid moving in with her only cements that impression.

Maria and Luke were ok, a bit boring, but she seemed to look down on him. He's younger than her and it felt like she didn't really respect him as a grown up, an equal. Surely they aren't going to put Aidan and Maria together so what was the point of the fling? Aidan is running around in a panic all the time and insisting Maria act normally. Seems to me he's the one that needs to settle down but Eva is so daft she's not going to notice.

Meanwhile, Maria took in Caz who has her completely fooled as to her real bonkers personality. We've already seen Caz lie to try to keep Kate, and to try to stop the inevitable court martial. She's aggressive and she's jealous. She's got all the ear markings of a potential obsessive stalker and Maria wants to be very careful. Maybe Aidan will be the one to rescue Maria from whatever Caz ends up doing? That's a thought.

Audrey seems to be stuck between two grieving widowers. On one hand there's Ken who's interest is growing and on the other, there's Freddie who likes her but seems to be keeping her at arms' length which you would expect so soon after his own wife died. But Freddie is starting to turn Audrey's head his way more and more and Ken keeps having to look on from the outside. He burned his bridges when he got involved with the Loch Nessa monster and by the time he'd recovered from that disaster, Audrey seemed to be cooling down a tad. I actually think Freddie and Audrey would make a great couple rather than Audrey and Ken. Freddie makes her laugh and Ken is just too serious and his idea of fun and hers are miles apart. It's still all very low key, though. I don't know if this is heading to real romance or not.

I can see why Ken would be attracted to Audrey. Apart from the fact that Audrey is a nice looking woman, she's not as well educated as he is and he always has gone for that, someone to reinforce his view of himself as Educated with a capital E. Audrey needs someone to take care of her and have fun with her. Alf Roberts was so not Audrey's type but he was devoted to her and though she may have married him for the security she needed at the time, she did grow to love him deeply. I just can't see Ken being devoted to Audrey. He couldn't even manage it with Deirdre much of the time! It's just not in his nature. He knows he wasn't a great husband and he knows he didn't appreciate what he had until he lost it. Leopards don't change their spots.

Billy and Todd are now a couple. Todd has even less respect for religion than Sean had so I don't know how well this will go. You don't have to be a believer but you do need to respect your partner's beliefs. I certainly don't want Todd to see the light because he's too much fun to watch as a bad boy. I think probably Billy and Todd are a bit of a better match but even then, still not sure it works. I do like Billy as a character and maybe he can bring out the better man in Todd. 

Last but not least, Phelan is still scheming. He got rid of Jason and he's managed to get rid of Sean once the whole Todd-Billy thing came out. That probably would have happened anyway because it can't be easy for Sean to be in the same house as Todd and worse when Billy is there. Still, a few sly words from Phelan and Sean's ultimatum went badly against him. It was ill advised anyway. Todd is Eileen's son and since he's been a good boy lately, that trumps the lodger no matter how much he's loved, too.

Phelan is also trying to get his hands on Jason's inheritance and a pal has come up with a scheme. Build a show-flat to lure in investors and then shut it down, where all the deposits are lost and a mint is made. Surely that's illegal but here's assuming Vinny has a loophole to prove to any investigations that it was just a failed project and the contracts signed will probably have a clause about a non-refundable deposit. They need start up money and Vinny either isn't using his own because he doesn't have it, is also using some of his own or is too smart to use his own.

This is just the kind of scheme Phelan enjoys but it took a bit of work to persuade Eileen to persuade Jason to let the money go. It's all happening, though, so we'll see where this is going. Will it work or will it backfire on Phelan? Todd will probably be the one to bring him down somehow but it's difficult to know how that will happen just yet.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Nick Tilsley, Master of Passive Aggression

Watching Nick lay a shedload of guilt on Leanne this week and then proceed to flirt with the hen party, keeping a close eye on how Leanne was reacting had my blood boiling. I've often seen Nick use passive aggressive methods over the years to manipulate Leanne and it is really a nasty side of his personality.

Leanne kept pushing him away because she's pregnant with someone else's baby so he made his speech, forlorn face, resigned to her never loving him back as much as he loves and always has loved her. Never mind, I'll get over it. It'll take time but if that's what you want, I'll go along with it. *sigh*  All the while, Leanne's tearing up and feeling more and more guilty because she does love him and wants to be back with him but can't deal with telling him about the baby.

And that's another thing. I do believe that Leanne is the love of Nick's life. He has loved others, and I believe he did love Carla. She was even more hard work than Leanne could be! But for him, it always comes back to Leanne. But while I do believe she was over the moon about him when she was 16, caught up in the excitement of it all, running away to get married, I also don't believe he was the love of her life. He was just her first love and I always felt that when he insisted on her having an abortion when they were first married back in the 90s, he broke something in her. Add on to that, he put her in harm's way when he set her up to be the one that met the man that killed his father. That hurt and betrayal never really left her and he never truly apologized for it, either.

Every time Leanne went back to Nick after they'd both grown up, it felt like she was either running from commitment (the affair when she was about to marry Peter) or rebounding (after her divorce from Peter). I felt like she settled for Nick. She does care for him, he's familiar and safe in her mind, and she probably does love him after a fashion but Nick pushes and manipulates and uses passive aggressive methods to do that.

Now it seems she's planning to leave town, likely the best move considering she needs that distance from Steve and Michelle and it's not really a spoiler to guess that Nick will come running to persuade her to stay. Then when he finds out about Steve being the father of the baby, it'll all start up again. Snarky remarks, testosterone pushing him to lock horns with Steve on the mountain top, metaphorically, because it's all about him, always has been.

I'm sure there are Nick and Leanne fans out there, but I'm not one of them. If Robert hadn't turned out to be a bit of an arse, I'd have said they would have made a much better couple and I'd certainly bet Leanne could stand up to Tracy better than Carla did. You don't mess with a Battersby. Alas, I think Nick and Leanne are probably Corrie's Ken and Deirdre for the new era, the couple that will go around and around, on and off many times over the years and end up settling for each other in their old age if both characters stick around.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Achilles Heel

With the latest rumours suggesting that Charlie Lawson may bring Big Jim McDonald back to Coronation Street, there are fans jumping for joy and other fans cringing. I'm one of the former. People accuse the character of Jim as being a "one trick pony", coming in to do the same things over and over. He'll try to get Liz back, she'll be tempted, he'll mess up, argue with Steve, probably do something stupid and leave. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And maybe it will go down like that, with lots of Jim's sayings to pepper the pot. "The Big House", "So it is", "I'll tell ye this and I'll tell ye no more", "Ach to be sure" and calling Liz "Elizabeth". It ought to be a drinking game! Fans of Jim squeal when one of his familiar sayings slips out. You feel let down if one's missing, in fact.

As far as being a one trick pony, when I look back, there are many, many characters that are just the same. Stan Ogden, anyone? (Drink, cower under Hilda's wrath, cook up schemes, evade work where possible. Repeat. And the same could be said about Jack Duckworth)

But the main reason I would love to see Jim back for a visit is the chemistry that has always been there between Lawson and Bev Callard as Jim and Liz McDonald. It's there with Simon Gregson as his son, as well. They all three just leap off the screen when they're in scenes together. It's not just familiarity that comes with acting together for a long time, either because it was evident even in the early days of the McDonald clan.

Jim and Liz were always a fiery couple. Jim had a quick temper but Liz had a volatile one as well. She was never cowed by him and stood up to him frequently, especially if she was defending one of her lads against their father's rages. It became too much, Liz started to look elsewhere, and they divorced but Jim is the love of Liz's life. He's edgy and a bit dangerous and she likes that in her men. I think that's why she seemed so suited to Tony Stewart. They are exciting and she knows they're probably going to let her down in the long run but she just can't resist.

Jim swept her off her feet as a teenager and they married when she got pregnant. She may have regretted that she was more or less a single parent because of his duties in the army but they had that passion that never really left and that's the passion she remembers when he comes around, even after years away. They fit together like two halves of a pair of scissors. 

Will we see Jim return? There's always a possibility as long as Jim is alive and the producer and writers cook up a story. As much as Steve and Liz keep washing their hands of Jim and his monumental mistakes, Jim is still Steve's dad and Liz will always be in Jim's heart. She'll always be tempted even though she knows he's not good for her. Jim is Amy's granddad and they love each other. I think conversations between Jim and Amy as she is these days would be a joy to behold.

I'm definitely in the Yay camp. I'll tell you this and I'll tell you no more, Bring Back Big Jim!

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Sunday, 31 July 2016

State of the Street July 2016

Kylie's dead! In a media onslaught, the week or so before the event, ITV released a whopper of a spoiler and  revealed that Kylie Platt was going to die. We knew Paula Lane was leaving the show and as far as we knew, Jack P. Shepherd was not so nobody could figure out how she would be leaving. It didn't seem likely she'd leave her family voluntarily again so now that we knew she'd die, it made sense. But how did she die? That was the question and speculation was rife.

I won't go into the episode where she died in too much detail, I've already done that here. I only have to add a few more observations about the way they filmed it. I've seen criticism about there not being very many people around or traffic for that time of evening (the EMTs declared her dead just before 5 or 6 p.m., without going to check, I forget which). In the real world, of course the street would have been busier. But this is television and that's not the story they wanted to tell. The shrank it down to focus on David and Kylie, family, one or two friends and the people who had other involvement in the story.

Sally is Gail's best friend. Freddie was Kylie's newest friend and a friend to Audrey. Gail had to be there for her son. Roy is the local first aider but you could see his face drop when he saw Kylie. He knew there was no hope. The few we did see during and just after were shocked to their core, breathless with the profound tragedy of a young woman dying from such senseless violence. Guilt from Craig over what could have been done to prevent it. Relief from Beth that her son didn't try to be a hero and get hurt himself. And Gail's recollection of her own role having to tell her child when his father was killed in a similar manner, urging David to make sure his children understood. It was heartbreaking.

The death was shocking and the aftermath was interesting to watch. Would David go right off the rails? No, he actually held it together, for his kids and for the family but it was eating him up inside.  Jack P. Shepherd had grown up on the show and turned into a real powerhouse actor and his performances this month as he reels in shock and tries to pick up the pieces of his life were superb.

What will happen to Max now? I do hope David goes ahead and adopts him or else Callum's mother might get her hands on him, as Max's only living blood relative aside from baby Harry. I should think if it ever did go to court, they would understand that it would be important to leave Max with the only family he has ever known, close to his sister and baby brother.

Leanne jumped into bed at the end of June and the identity of said man was not revealed to the viewer. Could it be Nick? Robert? Those were the two most likely candidates by all accounts but there's a third man thrown in that mix. It would never have been Zeedan, that was always a big, fat, red herring.

A couple of times in the week before we saw Leanne and Steve chatting which was a bit unusual. They've known each other nearly 20 years but have never really been anything more than acquaintances but with Steve and Michelle "on a break" over her near-fling with Will, Steve turned to Leanne's friendly shoulder. Nothing weird there, you say? Ah, but nothing on a soap happens without reason and that was the clue to the unseen mystery man.

Yep, Steve is the father which makes me laugh. Both times he was "on a break" in the past, once from his marriage to Karen and once from Becky, he had one night stands with Tracy. Tracy never expected to be able to get pregnant because of her kidney but both times she did. Amy was the first result and twins, sadly miscarried, were the second while his serious  attempts at daddyhood with Becky were fruitless. It turned out she was unable to carry a pregnancy though she could conceive. The same thing happened with Karen.

Here's another one night stand for Steve with a woman who didn't think she'd be able to get pregnant or carry a baby successfully. Super Sperm Steve to the rescue just when he's getting back together with Michelle and it looked like Leanne might reunite yet again with Nick (don't get me started on that one!). Leanne is determined to go through with the pregnancy if at all physically possible. Of course, coincidentally, Michelle wants to get pregnant, too, something she was dead set against up until now. And of course, she'll find out about Leanne. That sort of thing always comes out eventually. Whether she has her own baby remains to be seen but there's a very good chance they'll end up pregnant at the same time.

Doubtless, the stress of all that will NOT actually send Steve back into a bout of depression which would be realistic but he'll be twitching and gurning through the next 9 months with Liz shouting and glaring at him from behind the bar. Not a bad thing, I love Liz!

Phelan keeps trying to get his hands on Jason's bank account and continues to be thwarted by Eileen even though she doesn't realize she's in the thwarting business. He's playing a long game, however, and is determined to find a way but both a returned Michael and a suspicious Todd are both keeping an eye on him. Todd might be a bit distracted, though, now that he and Billy have admitted their attraction to each other once Billy and Sean have split up.

Bethany has continued to be bullied and has ruined her GCSE tests because of that and all the upset at home. It's too bad. Young people on Corrie rarely seem to get to university for one reason or another, even the ones that have potential or are even accepted at a school. I have high hopes for Craig. I hope he doesn't let me and his mother down! I know something will happen to give Bethany relieve and triumph over the bitches but I can't think what it will be at this point unless they finally just get bored and turn on someone else.

Sally and Tim continue to delight me. I loved Sally and Yasmeen's ongoing feud. It seemed like Yasmeen was still having a hard time dealing with Kal's death so turned her focus on Sally who was mildly irritating as a neighbour. Yasmeen seemed to decide to put her energies into making Sally look a fool and causing all kinds of trouble. The fun part of it was that often Sally would come out on top and Yasmeen's dirty little tricks would be foiled. It all culminated in Yasmeen holding a rival party which flopped and her subsequent invasion of Sally's party caused an uproar over the Mayor's dog. It all led to the two neighbours finally finding common ground and making peace.

Simon's not an angry child anymore. In fact, he's so completely changed that it feels like the powers that be have completely forgotten his previous anger issues. Counselling is good but is it really a miracle worker? It was with Simon who is helpful, cheerful and a lovely young man with absolutely no spark of temper in the least, even when you would have expected a flicker or two with a subsequent scene of him trying to control and get over the anger as he had been taught in his sessions.  When Leanne told him she was pregnant and wouldn't say who the father was, didn't anyone else expect him to lose his nut and accuse her of being a slag and as slut like he did last year? I still say that kid is going to end up going off the rails by the time he's 18.

Caz's lies were discovered and Kate has finished with her. I've never bought into that relationship, nor were we meant to. It was all a long game to get Kate and Sophie together but it's not over yet. Caz is desperate to win Kate back and she's woven Maria into her web of lies, playing the sympathy card. To tell you the truth, this storyline has been dull as ditchwater though I do have to say I like the actresses playing Caz and Kate quite a lot and would have liked Caz and Kate's ups and downs if it hadn't been so blatant that they were going to split them up and put Kate together with Sophie right from the start. That's not a bad thing, mind you. Sophie has become so dreary over the years that someone fun like Kate is just what she needs to bring some fun into her young life again. Let's just hope it doesn't have the opposite effect and Sophie doesn't drag Kate down into dreary-dom instead.

Jenny and Johnny may be considering a reboot of The Spy Who Loved Me! They're on and off and on again all month, including an unseen shag on the factory floor apparently. We only got to see the big kiss by the sewing machine. They're going to keep things under wraps and Jenny is going to be Johnny's eyes and ears with the rest of the staff. This is more like the old Jenny of long ago. Mischievous and a bit scheming, liking the challenge. It feels like she's back to her old self again and she's going to be fun to watch.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Friday, 15 July 2016

RIP Kylie Platt

I've just finished watching two very emotional episodes of Coronation Street. I don't think I've seen better performances all year.

As I speculated yesterday, Kylie got stabbed while defending Gemma from Clayton. I was leaning towards David being threatened but it was Gemma after all and the yobbo tried to rob the shop after Gemma gave him short shrift earlier on, full of the confidence that Kylie'd given her. He returned, tried to rob the shop and Gemma wrestled him out the door, getting knocked unconscious for her trouble but Kylie came charging around the corner to help her old mate and got it in the chest. No surprise that Clayton was carrying a deadly looking knife. His sort usually do.

I thought, Oh heck, that stab wound is right at the area of the heart, she won't last long. Surprisingly, it wasn't instantaneous and she had enough time to tell David everything she wanted to tell him, pouring her heart out with his tears washing her face. That sounds so dreadfully theatrical, doesn't it? My tears were flowing, too, I am not afraid to admit.

It seemed to take forever for the ambulance to come. But wait, she fell about 30 feet from the medical centre. Surely they have doctors in there? I don't think they could have done much either, but perhaps they could have eased the pain a little if nothing else.

When she died and David howled, I gasped and was in floods. I've seen the best performance from Jack P. Shepherd in particular tonight and I've seen Jack P. Shepherd put in some mighty ones over the years.
All around, everyone was amazing. Between Gail's heart breaking for her son and the daughter in law she grew to love to the neighbours being profoundly shocked. Roy attempting to help but seeing there wasn't a thing he could do. Craig feeling horribly guilty that he didn't do more when it kicked off. We all know he's just a kid himself and I bet Beth is thanking all the Gods and Goddesses her son didn't try to be a hero. I hope he can help and be a credible witness but Gemma survived so she will be able to tell the police Clayton's name.

I'm also very glad that Gail brought up the similarity to Brian Tilsley's death and how she made a mess of telling Nick about his father. Nick was about the same age as Max and Sarah Lou was probably close to Lily's age. Gail is going to have flashbacks about that one for some time to come. She admitted she didn't handle telling Nick the right way and urged David to be very clear about Kylie's being dead, not just gone away. I think he did a pretty good job. He did tell the children she was dead though in heaven waiting for them. There may or may not be a Heaven but children don't have to think about that aspect.

This is the kind of Coronation Street that we fans want. I know they can't do high emotion like this all the time, but it's what they do so well. When we see the mundane and the rushed, the over-sensational and the underwhelming, we get frustrated because we know it can hit these stupendous heights of greatness. And it was great. Top stuff.

David has to find a way to carry on. He's got kids to keep him going, often that's the only thing that gets a person through something like this. I expect he'll go off the rails at some point, raging against the night in his grief.

Well done to all involved. Rest in Peace, Kylie.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

You might also like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...