Wednesday, 31 March 2010

State of the Street: March 2010

The main story this month was Joe's death and Gail's arrest.

Gail keeps getting herself in deeper and deeper and finally, she got arrested. Lying about sending the texts and getting caught with the fact that Joe was already dead. There was the insurance policy. Did she tell them about that? She said she never saw the document, and she didn't, but Joe did say there was life insurance she could claim in 7 years so she must have realized there was some. And why didn't the police try to confirm her signature was indeed a forgery? Joe hadn't been practicing it for that long, surely an expert could have figured that out.

There was that couple in the Lakes that saw them rowing. More circumstantial evidence. And yet, she still can't help herself. She still continued to lie to keep David out of trouble too regarding the mobile phone he tossed in the water. Gail feels so guilty that i thought she was going to take the blame even though it was an accident. There's nothing she could have done. Thinking if she didn't cover for Joe, he might not be dead but he died probably less than an hour after he sailed away. And thus starts the replay of Deirdre Raschid's I Didn't Do It stretch in prison only this will be more than two weeks and her roomie to start with isn't another Jackie Dobbs. Thank God!

This incarnation of Nick isn't bad at all though he's a smug bastard. But then the last incarnation was as well but only because he couldn't act anything else. At least Ben Price can act! So can Michelle Keegan who's really been playing a blinder as a grieving and angry Tina. And you know, I don't even blame Tina for hurling all that circumstantial evidence at the police which caused Gail to be arrested. She was honest, she told it as she saw it even though we know it to be incorrect.

Jack P. Shepherd is the real acting star in this storyline. He's just gone from strength to strength and he's really enjoyable to watch. Did you ever think you would see David defending his mother? He's gone from hating her guts to being her staunchest defender. I can't get my head around that. All is not lost though, he spends the rest of his time sniping at Golden Boy Nick and trying to coerce witnesses. The old David is still in there but he's doing it for the *gulp* right reasons!

And just a word about that appalling funeral. I know Joe didn't have a lot of mates on the Street but Gail certainly did. Where was Emily? Jack? Sally and Kevin? You'd think they'd have gone for Gail's sake. As usual, staffing for major events like this always seems to be lacking. At least Deirdre said she'd have gone if the Simon crisis hadn't been ongoing. And don't the police usually show up at funerals on soaps when there's a suspect involved?

Was it me or was it a very strange type of eulogy for Gail to talk about Joe's depression. Makes it sound like he killed himself when he didn't. Tina couldn't hold herself and her grief and anger back and it all kicked off. Gail and Tina arguing and everyone else got into it, Jason and David scuffling, Audrey hollering. As Dev said to Norris, and Audrey also said, decorum, people. Decorum.

Becky miscarried and Steve didn't know why she didn't just go to him straight away. But remember, this is Becky, what other reaction did you expect? She shuts down and self destructs. She doesn't think she's good enough and doesn't think she's worthy. But absolutely brilliant scene with Liz and Becky where Liz told her about baby Katy. See? Your mother-in-law isn't so awful after all? And indeed, the advice was good, don't let it split you and Steve apart, hang onto each other. I did have a problem with Becky jumping into the sack with Steve a day or two after losing the baby, medically, I mean.

From a baby unexpected and lost to another one that seems to be here for the long haul (and will they show some scenes with Becky emotionally congratulating Ty and Molly?)

Molly finds out she's four month's gone. That's a long time to have skipped a period and not realized. You're usually even past the morning sickness phase by then so she must not have had any other than that one morning where she almost fainted. Probably, she just put it all down to stress.

But Kevin burning the scan photo and telling her to get rid of the baby was pretty brutal. Molly still thought that a baby would bring him back to her. When she realized it wouldn't, that seems to have turned the corner on her emotions. Even if he backed off a bit, he still doesn't want the baby and after all, it might not be his. Doesn't stop him from obsessing about it and Tyrone talking about it 24/7 isn't helping. She might think odds are in Kevin's favour for Daddy status, and frequency wise, they are, but it doesn't always work that way. After all, how many times have you heard "But we only did it once!"

Kevin has no intention of leaving Sally. He knows where his heart is and it's not guilt, like Molly thinks...he never stopped loving Sally. It was infatuation with Molly. Full stop. In the end, Molly goes back to Tyrone because it's safe and she doesn't want to be alone with a baby and maybe it's a little bit for revenge having Kevin watching them bring up a baby that might be his. You just know the secret will come out at some point and Tyrone's heart will crack in two. I hope the baby is his and he kicks out Molly and raises the baby himself.

From there, we go to another "baby" lost but found again.

All along, i didn't trust George. I really wondered if he had plans to take Simon away from Peter. For a short while there, i thought it was just concern when Peter went back to booze but that didn't last long and George was back to getting temporary custody orders and whisking Simon away, not just to Spain but to Blackpool, too, but that backfired when Simon ran off, every parent's nightmare.

But before that, when George wasn't letting Peter have Simon back, they kept talking about getting Social Services involved, but where were they? Once the police had been called, surely the Social would have been alerted that there was a child custody issue brewing. George had valid concerns but only once Peter started drinking again and he had no right to handle it the way he did, not with a responsible Leanne also in the picture to look after Simon and certainly not without consulting his wife. I don't know if we're going to see any more of George and Eve now they've been banished but I'd be interested to find out if Eve makes George's life hell for what he did behind her back.

And in summary...

John Stape...lying always comes back to bite you in the ass. Binman Trevor. Carla's got him but Janice wants him. Lucky Carla. He *is* very good looking and so nice and tall! Rita's back, yay! Mary's starting to show (even more) cracks in her veneer. Kelly's gone after a blatant set up. Carla was a bit harsh calling her a self deluded slapper, even if that's the truth. She wasn't a nice person but I liked her for being all high heels, cheap plastic jewelry, short skirts. Highly inappropriate for a factory and always amusing to see what she was going to turn up in.

Dev and Sunita are back together. Love them or hate them, i do like them as a couple. He's really been at loose ends since they split up before, he's getting too old to play the playboy and it made him look like a buffoon. He's at his best with Sunita. Jesse and Eileen are not back together even though she made the attempt. But all those longing looks at Julie's backside finally spurred him to try it on with her and she couldn't keep it quiet, not in all good conscience and rightly so! Jesse was run out of Dodge City, plastic props being flung at his back.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Here's to the young and the not so young cast members!

First of all, I'm posting an excerpt from a comment made by "John" to a post on this post in Glenda's Corrie Blog:

"According to one article I read yesterday, the new producer, Phil Collinson, thinks that Corrie has gone too far the way of Hollyoaks with so many young actors, and would prefer to concentrate on more of the older characters. Personally I am all for that, albeit mindful that the older characters just aren't willing to work quite as hard as they used to."

First of all, I wonder if he was referring to "older" with regards to age or "older" with regards to seniority. The two are not necessarily the same thing. I would certainly consider characters with a history going back 15 years or more "older" characters. Those characters have been around a long time, long enough for us to "know" who they are and become part of the fabric of the Street. I would count in that number characters like Leanne, Tyrone, Janice, Ashley and Eileen in addition to age-wise older characters like Emily, Rita, Norris and Ken. Even David and the Webster girls fit in there as their characters have been on the show since birth even if not played by the current actors.

I have found over the past year or two that the older characters, age-wise, are actually being featured more often. With a cast this large, it's a juggling act but we've seen a lot more actual storylines with these cast members. There was several storylines, some still ongoing, with Norris, Emily, and Rita, regarding the arrival in Norris' life of both Mary Taylor and his half-brother, Ramsay Clegg who also had a blooming friendship, and possible romance with Emily. In fact, Norris seems to have been featured in major and minor stories for well over a year or more. In addition to the aforementioned, there's also his mini-feud with Graeme, his attempts to find a replacement for Rita in the shop and upcoming stalking storyline with a returned Mary.

We saw Rita find a late-in-life romance only to have it dashed on the rocks of scandal and death (Colin Grimshaw). Ken seems to get a proper storyline every year. Last year, he had an affair and is now embroiled in his son Peter's alcoholism storyline as well as in the recent involvement with George Wilson, Simon's other grandfather. Deirdre has featured in this as well albeit as a supporting character though i think she's due to have her own storyline again rather than be the reactor to one of Ken's. Maybe the upcoming death of her mother may spur on a storyline about dealing with grief though the return of her daughter, Tracey, will probably take her attention away from that in the long run. Even Betty has had a couple of small storylines (Panto, and Oldest Barmaid)!

Gail Platt, though not as senior in age, is a very long standing member of the cast and has been in a front burner storyline pretty much ever since the Hillman storyline with one thing or another and the closet doesn't beckon yet either. Sally and Kevin, "middling senior characters" have also been in major storylines though some, like Roy and Hayley are sadly underused. I also like that there's lots of focus on long standing members/character even if they aren't over 45 or 50, such as Steve, Ashley, Janice, Leanne, Lloyd, Peter and Dev who now has Sunita back.

I don't really see the problem focusing storylines on the "younger" aged actors as they will carry the story into the future, many of them. Once upon a time it was Terry, Martin, Kevin and Sally. Then it was Steve, Andy, Tracy, Leanne, Toyah, Fiz, Tyrone and Jason. Now it's Sophie, Rosie, David, Graeme and Ryan. With luck, we may see some of the small ones grow up and be the next generation of tearaways. (Simon, Josh, Freddie, Amy and the Alahan twins, Aadi and Asha). I never really mind the younger set providing the acting is decent. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it really isn't much more than gurning, screeching and posing.

Given that, I hope the new producer doesn't take all the focus away from the younger characters as some of them are really good actors and can carry a storyline very well. And as John says, some of the more senior actors don't really want major focus, as they are at that stage of "not quite ready to retire" and still like a bit of pin money.

Historically, Corrie has always managed to balance things out fairly well. Sometimes, these days, they do seem to focus too much on the "flavours of the month" until the audience get sick of seeing the face on their screen constantly, even if they're good actors, while leaving other, equally good or better actors in the closet. It might not be a matter of paring down the younger vs. the older cast, but paring out the dead weight, which can come in all ages, and redistributing the balance a bit more.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

By George, I think he's got it

Little Simon's missing in Blackpool and Peter's frantic. George is feeling pretty guilty and so he should be. He reckoned Peter wasn't fit enough to look after a 6 year old and here that very same 6 year old slipped away while he was rowing with his wife about not letting Simon go back to his dad. Simon's not stupid, he knew George's lies were just that.

We've already seen Peter nearly drink again, with all the upheaval over George taking Simon but Leanne made him see that he can't backslide if he ever wants to have Simon back. Thankfully, he agreed and this scare of nearly losing Simon again might be the trick that keeps him off the booze this time.

So now, every parent's nightmare. Simon is alone in Blackpool and the search is on. Deirdre voiced a very scary concern that someone could have snatched Simon. It could have happened because it does happen all the time. Going by the spoilers that all had headlines about Simon missing and possibly kidnapped, if I hadn't seen Eve and George, I'd almost have bet money that Eve had taken Simon in order to give him back to Peter, but it doesn't look like that's what happened. Simon, of course, will be found because this is a soap.

George is trying to get full custody of Simon and there's to be a court hearing. Will his quest succeed? Of course not! As I said, this is a soap and the viewers wouldn't stand for nasty George taking little Simon away from his daddy. I wondered how George could have got a temporary order through the courts without Peter being involved at all or without Social Services being involved. It might have been legal, even if a hugely speeded up process. Admittedly, stretching it a bit, George was right to be concerned when Peter started drinking again, and when he checked out of rehab early, but George has been plotting this all along to make up for being estranged from Lucy all those years.

Next week's spoilers say nothing about a court hearing so I'm guessing that George backs down. I would imagine his wife tore a strip off him for it as well and if he wants to save his marraige, that's another incentive. I know if I was Eve, I'd have not only taken a strip off George but torn him a new one as well. All that conniving behind her back and deciding they would have permanent custody of an active 6 year old without consulting her at all? Them's fightin' words/actions, them is!

Great location shoot, I always like it when Coronation Street goes on the road like that. Blackpool, of course, is a favourite and we've seen storylines there many times over the 50 years.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Graeme Proctor, an old soul in a young body

When Graeme Proctor first appeared on our screens, he was a cell mate of David Platt's in the juvenile detention centre. He was clearly a pyromaniac and most definitely way off the wall. He provided a quirky, nonsensical mirror to poor David's angst. Lucky for us, he must have struck a chord with the viewers and the producer because his character was returned to the canvas of Coronation Street.

We know Graeme is not a sweet and innocent boy, but he does have that childlike quality. He comes across as naive but does have "street smarts" and often it seems like he "didn't get the joke". Then you see a twinkle in his eye and a sly near-wink and you know he's actually taking the piss. Nobody can tell me his dressing up as a near-replica of Liz for Teresa's Slapper and Vicar party wasn't a mistaken understanding of the concept of the party. He knew that was Teresa's intent, for people to imitate Liz, but I think he didn't realize that Liz wasn't in on the joke.

He seems a bit thick, yet he has a keen sense of observation for what's going on around him. He's pragmatic, earnest, optimistic and kind. He's basically honest and working on turning his life around yet isn't adverse to a bit of dodgey dealing now and then. I like to think of him as the Greek Chorus, always watching human nature around him and he's often spot on in his observations. Most people in his world think he's weird but he is only eccentric. He is helpful to his neighbours and willing to lend a hand or a shoulder.

Recently, there was a scene where he and Kirk had been out together. I thought, wait, isn't Kirk a good 10 years older than Graeme? Graeme can only be David's age (David just turned 19 at Christmas past) since he was in juvvy with David who was under 18 at the time. Kirk never hangs out with David, after all. He's more of an age with Jason and Tyrone, his usual buddies. Kirk is older than Maria who is about 26 or 27 by now. (She was about 17 when she first appeared in 2000.) Mind you, Kirk is probably only about 15 emotionally, most of the time, though can surprise you sometimes in his maturity.

But that had me thinking. Given Graeme's nature, it feels like he really is an old soul in a young body. He certainly is wise beyond his years. We don't know a lot about his past but a few remarks have led me to guess that his childhood family life was probably not all that pleasant. It led him to a habit of setting fires and he still swoons when he gets a whiff of charred wood. He's determined to stay on the straight and narrow, however.

Craig Gazey plays Graeme Proctor which skill and finesse. I'm sure he must have a lot of fun with it and he has superb comic timing. He keeps Graeme reined in just enough so he's eccentric and yes, sometimes, weird but not over the top psycho. He gives Graeme self confidence with a dose of yearning to be accepted. He's already winning awards and I foresee many more in his future. He's a perfect, classic Coronation Street character and I really hope he's around for a long time.

You can read a great interview with Craig over here.

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