Saturday, 31 December 2011

Wedding Blues

The brides looked really lovely in fairytale frothy dresses. The house and the church were decorated in white flowers, white for innocence. But one of the brides had doubts and in the face of God, couldn't manage to get the words out. The father of that bride spoke up. He knew his daughter had some collywobbles. So did her friend/employer, even more than her father. And the bridesmaid who was at the root of the doubts knew that the bride was making a mistake.

I think the guests at Coronation Street weddings must be getting used to weddings getting interrupted and not coming off. We had two this year alone! No wonder Rita hasn't bought a new hat for one in awhile. She's worn that black furry thing for most occasions in the last few years.

Sophie might be over her crush on Amber, but it served to show her that maybe she's not ready to settle down. I do believe she loves Sian and loved her all through everything else she was feeling but at 17, is that enough? Kevin didn't think so. He tried to talk to her in the conservatory with that sad Adele song in the background and then he was the one that stopped the wedding when Sophie was hesitating.

Sophie herself tried to talk to Sian but Sian overwhelmed her with loved up words and gifts. Most of us grownups have been watching this unfold and thinking that we knew 17 was far too young to get married and it will all end in tears and that's what happened. Kevin and Sally both felt that way about it but when the girls tried to elope, they backed off and went along with it. Sometimes  you have to let your kids make their own mistakes but faced with them running way, they were in a hard place. I'm sure both of them felt it was a mistake, too, even before Kevin discovered Sophie was having doubts.

And it most definitely did all end in tears. Wailing, crying, sobbing, shrieking on the street. Should Kevin have interrupted the wedding like that? Did it hurt him like a knife through his heart to see his little girl in a white, frothy, soggy heap on the pavement with her heart in pieces all over the cobbles? I bet it did but I also think he did the right thing.

Sophie had a crush on Sian and she had doubts. By the time she got to the altar, she was over it but the doubts were still there and before her God, she couldn't say the words. She's 17. She's a kid no matter that she wants to be considered grown up. Sian was her first love and it was difficult because coming out as a lesbian is not going to be easy for anyone much less a teenager. All of that is a lot to get your head around at the best of times but at 16 and 17 when your hormones are all over the place and when you aren't as mature as you think you are, marraige a disaster in the making.

It's telling that Sophie wanted to hurry along the wedding to prove to herself that she didn't love Amber. Amber was only winding up Sophie at first but she knew Sophie was making a mistake. I think she just went about it the wrong way, trying to play on her emotions. Or maybe that was the only way she could have done it to really make Sophie think.

Sophie and Sian were a really good couple, I'm not saying thatthey weren't. Best friends turned into lovers and they were really sweet together. But they were still kids. I think the same way about Chesney and Katy, moving in together and planning a baby. They really aren't equipped to handle the really tough times that are going to happen. Relationships are hard work and even harder at that age. Chesney might be more mature than Sophie because he's not had a sheltered life. He's had to learn how to survive in spite of Cilla so maybe he's grown up a bit faster but Katy has been most definitely sheltered even though Owen has brought her up on his own. I don't know if they can survive as a couple, as sweet as they are together.

But this isn't about them, I only mentioned them to point out some similarities and so you know I am not approving of one and not the other as "too young".

I still felt bad for both Sophie and Sian and had to swallow hard a few times watching Sophie in a heap on the ground and Sian crying her eyes out in the car. Sophie is blaming her father but down deep I think she'll realize she really only has herself to blame. She's got to find a way to pick up and make a future for herself. She's had a bad year, too, what with the revelation of her parents' breakup, the tram crash, dropping out of college, falling off the church and now having her relationship blow up. I'd like to see her go back to school and maybe university. She always had the potential before and would have been ok in college if her life hadn't got on top of her.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Streeters!

Wishing everyone that visits us here a very happy holiday season, whichever holiday you celebrate! All the best for a peaceful and happy New Year!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Defending Peter and Carla...sort of

I've been reading a lot of really negative reaction to the pairing of Peter and Carla and I'm here to defend them. Kind of. I am not a fan of the couple. I really prefer Leanne and Peter together but I don't think this is the worst couple "ever", as I've read some people declare. One person even said it was worse than Kevin and Molly.

At the risk of coming over all Panto, Oh No It Isn't! Nothing could be as cringeworthy as "Molvin". That had to be the most ill-conceived pairing every and that is most definitely pun-intended.

I think Peter and Carla do have a certain chemistry and and I like both characters as well, just not as a romantic couple but you have to have triangles on soaps, it's a stape plot device. We could see this one building up for over a year so at least it didn't feel like it was thrown together. Kevin and Molly should never have been a full blown affair. It would have been understandable if Kevin had developed a middle age crush on a cute young woman but all the rest was repugnant even if it did provide storyline fallout and fodder for another whole year.

Some people don't like Alison King as an actor. I didn't at first but she seems to have relaxed into her character and they've written some vulnerabilities into her character as well. I've long been a fan of Chris Gascoyne and I find he has chemistry with whoever he's on screen with. I do find it a bit out of character that Peter would disappear for 24 hours without letting anyone know he was ok, mainly for Simon's sake but he's an addict and I think he's about to replace booze with Carla.

I don't think they'll end up together long term but this will again create a catalyst for the storylines without which we wouldn't have much to watch, now, would we? With Leanne fighting her corner, and Ken lecturing Peter on his failures and Simon's disappointed little face tugging at our heartstrings, we will ride this one out as we do everything else, waiting for the outcome and fallout.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Why Peter and Carla won't work out

Right. So after that blog post from a few weeks back about who Peter will choose and who he *should* choose, he's now gone after Carla. He loves her, he thinks maybe marrying Leanne was a mistake and is going to leave her.

One of the things he said on Friday night's episode was that he was treating her like he did booze, like a bad thing he had to stay away from. That is it in a nutshell. That's why this isn't going to work in the long run.

Peter is a man of addictions and I think Carla is one of them for him. It may or may not really be love but then he really loves booze too, in a love/hate sort of way. He thinks it makes all his problems go away but really, they only make them worse and that's what is going to happen with Carla, too.

Carla understands him in ways that Leanne doesn't because she's flawed like he is. So is Leanne but it's different. Carla has a drink problem and can identify with Peter's. Pity the writers seem to have forgotten that Leanne was once addicted to cocaine but then, that was only a flash in the pan thing anyway and probably best left in the past.

If I was Leanne's friend, and Simon wasn't involved in the equation, I think I'd tell her to leave him and let him stew in his own boozy juices. Love him she may but he's going to drag her down eventually. But Simon is involved and if he's going to have to watch his father's ups and downs like this, at least he's got Leanne to hold on to and help keep a little normalcy in his life. If she can stick it out, that is. And if she can't, then she might almost have a case for getting custody. Too bad she's not formally adopted Simon yet. I know there was talk about it but I don't think it went any further than that.

You know all this business about Leanne having trouble getting pregnant, already having been assured by the doctor that though it may take a bit longer, it could still very likely happen? Don't you think it's pretty obvious that she's going to get pregnant and quite likely Carla will as well? Standard Plot device. They used it before with Maria when Carla nearly took Liam off her. Maybe that's Weatherfield's cure for infertility, have your fella fall in love with Carla and bob's your uncle!

I really don't think Peter and Carla are suited, not for the long run. I think Peter needs Leanne and Simon a lot more than he realizes. I really don't think this relationship with Carla is going to go the distance but whether he and Leanne will manage to salvage anything is still up in the air.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

State of the Street - November 2011

Fiz was sentenced but don't worry, She was later released pending an appeal which of course, she'll get. Meanwhile, Chesney lost his beloved dog and nearly put him and Katy in the poorhouse. One question was answered, I see Ches and Katy did in fact give up their flat to move into Number 5 because that's the flat that Brian and Julie are now renting. I guess they're all sharing the house now. Gonna be a bit crowded when the baby comes along!

John's funeral was appalling, only in that Sally really made a show of herself. I can understand her anger but for someone that thrives on appearances, she sure made a nasty scene. The man is dead, for whatever he did, his funeral is not the time to muck rake. She didn't like Rosie airing the dirty laundry all over the newspaper. Was doing this any different because she wasn't paid for it and there was no photographer? And the Vicar asking for memories? Surely Chesney who arranged it would have given him a heads up to keep the service short.

It's not even as if John really did threaten Rosie's life, ever. Both times he kidnapped her, he never harmed her. It doesn't make it right and of course Sally was scared witless but she really did blow it all out of proportion but that's typical Sally. At least she finally backed off and realized what she'd done but did she apologize? Of course not, she had time to think about it and when Fiz came back to the Street, she started right up again until Fiz found her inner Cilla and nearly put Sally in hospital and she'd have had it coming if Fiz actually did hit her! I kind of wish she had really. Sophie, Rosie and Rita brought Sally up short and maybe made her think even if she never will change her mind completely.

And nobody really thought Fiz would leave the Street, did they? So what happens next? Surely Fiz must be able to get some job seekers' benefits now she's out of prison, at least until she gets a job with the rapist. Does she know about Frank and Carla? Surely someone has told her. But she's desperate for a job at the moment. Even so, I really don't think she would ever consider working for Sally who's the supervisor nor would I ever believe Sally would actually hire her, having to work under the same roof as the woman who was married to the man that kidnapped Rosie twice, and who she believes knew all about it no matter what she says or how she may have backed off a bit. Sally did recommend Fiz check at Fosterworld but we haven't seen Fiz since. Did she apply for the job? Is she working?

Speaking of flats, Jason's and Tina's flat went forgotten since it was rebuilt in January/February. No word about how difficult it was to sell. Why didn't Jason just move in there since he's been paying mortgage anyway? Rosie might not have liked it but surely it was better than staying in the Grimshaw Boarding House? Besides, rebuilt, it isn't really the same flat he stayed in with Tina. And why doesn't Tina ever mention it? Why didn't she stay there instead of Tyrone's? She must be contributing to the mortgage too so would be equally entitled to it. Now, neither of them have can use it since it's Chris and Cheryl's love nest. For a minute. It was hardly worth them moving in, they moved out again so quickly. I consider it my  Christmas miracle that they were gone before then.

Eileen has been dragged into Pitiful Paul's life again. He wanted her to help him find his wandering wife. But he had the police on it and he could have had the whole Fire Department at his disposal. I guess he really does care for her and I'm sure is a very lonely man. Tugs at your heartstrings doesn't it? I'm sure it's a tough position to be in. The lady playing his wife Leslie is very believable.

Michelle and Ciaran are back and it seems Michelle has got her degree from the S.S. Carribean Cruise line, that offshore floating college where you sing for your qualifications. She's running the factory and loving it and Ciaran's feeling like dead weight. He likes life on the high seas and it just wasn't meant to be. I think even if they had got married, he'd have ended up hating Weatherfield and feeling tied down. It wouldn't have lasted.

I've already blogged about the exit of Cheryl and Chris and Lloyd's hearbreak here.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Peter's choice

Spoilers say Peter Barlow is going to drink again and is going to finally give in to his feelings for Carla.  I know that happy families on soaps are said to be boring and hardly anyone stays married for long. Love triangles are the staple of soaps and with Peter and Carla sniffing around each other for so long, I guess it was inevitable. But it still makes me sad.

I really liked Leanne and Peter and Simon as a family. They've managed to overcome an awful lot and still stick together. They're a far better family than Peter and Carla and Simon would be even if Carla discovers her inner maternal gene. I don't think Simon will take to her easily if it goes so far as to have the three of them move in together. There's no word on the horizon yet what the outcome of this all will be but if and when Leanne finds out about an affair with Carla, will she be able to get past it? Or will she take it as Karma after her fling with Nick?

And does Peter truly love Carla? We know he probably feels she understands him better than Leanne because she, too, has a drinking problem. But then, she's never really completely accepted she's got one and has never stayed sober for very long. She's not a raging drunk, but she does drink too much and she knows it but she doesn't really consider herself an alcoholic, I think.

Carla always seems to me to be the epitome of "The Other Woman" with her dark, exotic and sultry looks. She's not the type you would expect to see in the kitchen with a pinny on, busy baking chocolate chip cookies is she? She always looks more like the glamour girlfriend of a footballer. Leanne, on the other hand, is pretty but less glamourous but does have that homemaker ability.

Both women are strong and both women came from a rough background. Both are flawed and have made some big mistakes in the past but have clawed their way past them to make better lives for themselves. They've loved, lost, loved and lost again. Leanne is softer, less brittle. Carla just might have the edge over Leanne in determination.

What of Peter? Certainly, he's not a strong man. He's definitely got parent issues. He lost his mother when he was a child and his father sent him away to be brought up by his grandparents. It felt like he was abandoned by both parents. He seems to have inherited his father's gene for the lack of ability to resist women and he's carrying a chip on his shoulder the size of the Blackpool tower. He's an alcoholic, one still prone to lapses. He means well, but he doesn't always manage it. He's a screw up and a bit of a nightmare but somehow, I always thought that he and Leanne really fit together.

Carla seems to have touched something inside him. Maybe it's two damaged people reaching out, trying to keep each other from going under. For her, it does seem like she's grown to love him. This is at least the second time she's fallen hard for a man that she shouldn't. The first time, she was with Paul Connor when she fell for his brother and this time, she's gone for Peter who's married. She runs to other men that she doesn't really love (Tony, Frank) when she can't have the ones she really wanted and look how that's turned out? Also, two of her lovers/husbands have died with rumours of a death in store for Frank as well. Should Peter be worried?

Each coupling has their fans. Some do think Peter and Carla are better together than Peter and Leanne but I don't. It makes me sad that the little Barlow family may be split up. I'm also not surprised that Peter will start drinking again, though it's unknown as to whether it will be a long stretch or just a short lapse. Peter being the type of person he is, is more likely to fall off the wagon numerous times. He's weak when it comes to resolve for anything and seems to be able to resist anything except temptation.


If Peter leaves Leanne for Carla, I suppose it will provide storyline ramifications to play out into the future, which is what they need. How will Carla cope with a very unruly Simon who will resent her for ousting Leanne from his life? We'll definitely see little Simon acting out, maybe running away, getting into trouble. Will Leanne fight for Peter? Will she even want to ? Or will the classic soap twist happen all over again, same as when Liam was going to leave Maria for Carla... Will Leanne get pregnant just as the marriage crumbles? Carla may see her nightmare happening all over again. This time, though, maybe Leanne will refuse to take Peter back and raise the baby on her own.

In soaps, it all goes around in circles. There are only so many storylines you can tell but you can tell them each in different ways. People complain about repetitive storylines. Why do they never complain about yet another love triangle? They are the stuff soaps are made of, with standard plots and plot devices. Marriages will always fall to the influence of another woman or man. Babies will be conceived via a fling with someone, usually ill-advised. Alcoholics usually fall off the wagon. Murderers die or go to jail. Long time "villains" (like Mike Baldwin) always have some redeeming qualities. Some people are perpetual losers in love.

Thus, Peter falls off the wagon and is going to have an affair. So it goes.

edited to add: On a very related note, Inside TV has a great interview with Jane Danson and Chris Gascoyne on just this very thing!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lloyd's Heartbreak

Usually when a man gets his heart broken on a soap, he gets drunk, he gets angry and maybe he shags or at least snogs someone else, someone he shouldn't. He might stare off into space moodily. He might snap at his mates. Maybe, just maybe, he might squeeze a little tear out or punch a hole in a wall.

That's why it's refreshing to watch pool Lloyd in bits and pieces. I don't mean that in a smug way. I just mean it's unusual to see a man barely holding his feelings back and it's unusual to see him baring his soul to his male friends and even a female friend without there being any other agenda or mis-placed snogs. You just don't see that side of a male character on a soap.

When it first happened, when he found out about Cheryl and Chris, we saw Lloyd and Steve in the bog of the pub, Lloyd crying in Steve's arms. Have you ever seen that before, one bloke holding another comforting him, in a bog no less? Girlfriends, yes. Absolutely. Then one will help fix the other's runny mascara and shore her up to go face the world again with her brave face on. But two men? Straight men? Never! Most of them are written to be far too macho for that. It's booze and broken knuckles and shattered glass usually.

I also loved the scenes with Lloyd and Becky, who wanted company to drown her sorrows the day she got her final divorce papers. The two of them listened to sad soul music ("What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" comes to mind) and downing shots of tequila while comparing notes. 

I feel so bad for Lloyd! I want to cry every time I see that adorable puppy dog face with tears brimming over. If Lloyd were a woman he'd have had mascara streaks down his cheeks for weeks! It makes it seem so much more real, seeing a man in that much distress over a bimbo that broke his heart. He really loved her, body and northern soul.

I never really believed that Cheryl loved Lloyd genuinely. I believe she liked him but he also rescued her from a bad relationship and I always thought it was more of a rebound than true love on her part. Lloyd was the knight driving a shining taxi. He stood up for her, he loved her kid, he was kind to her and gentle with her. He loved her and she deluded herself into thinking she loved him back.

Nobody suggested that Chris' tumour was to blame for his violence and indeed I don't believe it was. I think that's been going on long before there could have been any inkling of a tumour though medically, I could be wrong. Still, it wasn't brought up as a reason but as he dealt with it, he seemed to be the "old" Chris she fell in love with. In reality, he was milking it, using it for all he was worth to gain her sympathy. Sympathy and the old magic lured her back into his bed but when she found out about the lies, she went crawling back to Lloyd. To me, that's one of the worst things you can do and I'm so glad he didn't take her back.

A man's got to have his pride. He'd never trust her again and he knew it.

Lloyd has always been a really brilliant character and Craig Charles always puts in a hugely impressive performance with dramatic scenes like this. He and Simon Gregson make a superb double act and he pretty much has that sparking chemistry with anyone he's in a scene with. Except Cheryl. I'm sorry to say that I never thought the pair of them had any chemistry but that's also not down to the actress. The writers just created a character that was bland and uninteresting and it all went downhill from there, unfortunately.

Anyway, I digress somewhat.

As much as the whole Lloyd/Cheryl/Chris triangle was dreadful, it did show off Craig Charles' acting chops and gave Lloyd some great scenes, real Classic Coronation Street, I think.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Kirk plays a blinder this week

Kirkeh. He's gormless, he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and he's true, honest, loyal and the best friend you could have. Kirk has been on Coronation Street screens since October, 2000. He is the older brother of Maria and worked at and ran the dog kennel his parents owned for quite some time.

He's shown time and time again that he can be relied on as a friend and brother and this week surely proves it. As someone that's spent most of his life working with dogs, he knew that Schmeichel was gravely ill and he knew that Chesney wasn't ready to hear it. He took the dog to the vet and broke the bad news and supported Chesney even though he knew Chesney was trying to save a dog that couldn't be saved. But he quietly waited until Ches came to the right conclusion and was there to help the lad grieve.

Later, he paid the vet for the cremation and gave Chesney the urn. What a sweet thing to do! Kirk might not always have a clue but he's kind and generous and he can be thoughtful like that.He also tried to lead a prayer moment in the pub in dedication to a great Dane which had Peter, Karl, Dev and Ciaran giggling into their pints along with me and it was a Classic Corrie moment, that!

After the kennels went out of business, Kirk worked with Ashley in the butcher shop, but I don't think he was all that good at it. Probably frustrated Ashley to no end but even so, it was hard for Ash to lay him off when times got hard. I found it very unfair of Ashley not to rehire him. He hired Graeme instead, when Ashley was already trained and he'd promised Kirk the job back if things got better. Probably Graeme was less clumsy with a cleaver, but that's not the point. How could you look at that puppy dog face of Kirk's and not feel bad?

Now he's working at the factory in the packing department. Probably safer than running a machine. This week he also proved that he's not that bad a poker player. He did learn from Les and said he never could beat him, but I reckon Les cheated! Kirk proved he had a great puh-puh-puh-poker face (sorry, couldn't resist the Gaga moment there). He bested the odious Devster and then got out while he was ahead, claiming priorities. He was hungry!

Over the years, Kirk has provided much amusement for this Corrie fan. What of the matching leather jackets he and Jason got? yes, that was a bit boyfriend/girlfriendly but it wouldn't have dawned on Kirk. He's always been the pawn in various schemes, victim of Les, Cilla, and even Tyrone and Jason, his other best mates. Recently he helped Tyrone and Tommy collar a drug dealer to help Fiz out!

Kirk is one of the lads, mates with Jason and Tyrone from away back but makes friends easily. He's the best brother you could every want. He sure has been there for Maria when it counts.

Kirk also took the blame when Gary got into a fight outside the pub, reckoning that Gary already had a record but Kirk, being clean, would get off with a caution. He hardly knew Gary but stuck his neck out because that's the kind of guy Kirk is.

I laugh at gormless Kirk but I also love him. He's such a steady guy, open and kind, honest to a fault sometimes, and he doesn't know how funny he really is. Kirk is played by the talented Andy Whyment. I've met Andy and of course he's nothing like Kirk but when you see him smile, you can't help seeing goofy Kirk. However there's a lot more behind Andy's sharp eyes than Kirk and he doesn't bumble or stumble and man, can he ever sing! That's when you realize just how much talent he really has.

What's your favourite Kirk moment?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Chesney's got to grow up

It's devastating to lose a pet. I feel for Chesney, I really do. He's desperate to hang on to his beloved Schmeichel, but there comes a time when you have to do what's best for the dog and for your family.

This storyline, to me, shows me how young Chesney really is and how much more he's got to mature. It's not a criticism. It is what it is. Chesney has always been an old soul in a young body and has had a rough life. He's been in and out of care and had his mother and Les both leave him. His sister, in his opinion, has ruined her life by hooking up with a nutter like John Stape.

But rather than give the dog up, he and his teen love decided they were old enough to move in to a flat together and have a baby. At 16. I've no doubt they'd love the child, but that's an awful lot of responsibility to carry at that young age. Chesney works in a market stall, not the most steadiest of incomes and Katy was trying to finish school before giving birth.

Now Schmeichel is very ill. Chesney is over his head in debt already, not able to keep up the rent payments on Number 5 while Fiz was in prison. He's been distracted and worried about his sister so hasn't been working. Bills are going unpaid. He swallowed his pride and accepted money from Owen for the back rent but then stole it for the veterinarian bills and is about to rack up more with an expensive operation that isn't going to really help the dog in the long run. Chesney is very emotional but Katy can't understand why he can't take responsibility for his bills and provide for her and the baby. That would be the mature thing to do. Chesney doesn't feel very mature right now but right now is not the time to have a meltdown, not with fatherhood impending.

Schmeichel was the only stable thing in his childhood for awhile. It's understandable that he'd be emotional. But if he believes he's old enough to be independent, to be a father and hold up his end of a relationship, he also needs to realize that he has to make hard decisions. Sometimes it's kinder to put an animal to sleep when there's no hope. It's the right thing to do. Everyone else knows it but Chesney can't accept it. It's as if he's reverted to being 12 again and there are no parents left to make him understand that. He won't take advice from Owen who wants to help but has his daughter to think of first.

Poor Ches. I feel bad for him but he's got to grow up and face the reality of the situation. It's going to be the most difficult thing he's had to do to date but we all know it's going to have to be done. Perhaps this will push Chesney into adulthood a bit further. He's going to need every ounce of it he can get with all his other problems on his young shoulders.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

State of the Street - October 2011

The buried fact of Jason and Tina owning the flat over the Kabin has finally reared it's ugly head but only so that John Stape would have a place to tie up Rosie and try to persuade her to testify to his crimes so Fiz will get off. Yeah, right. It was contrived of course but then you could make the argument that a lot of the Stapewich Chronicles was. Now, after yet another kidnapping,  Rosie can be smug and bray that she told them all so, yet again. Because it's all about Rosie, right?

It was kind of funny watching John and his flow charts and diagrams and explanations, trying to teach Rosie all the facts surrounding all the murders and crimes. Yet again, though, John continued to blame Rosie for it all, didn't he? She was to blame for his downfall. It wasn't my fault, M'Lud! Why didn't John just write a letter and send it to the judge or something? That would be too easy.

Except now it's all over but the legalities. It's so frustrating watching a trial when the testimonies all get twisted and turned around on the testifiers. You can see the case building up and you can see all the people that mean well have what they say turned into a death sentence when we all know Fiz is innocent. Innocents don't usually get sent down but Fiz was convicted on circumstantial evidence on the same day John's car crashed, persued by enraged Kevin Webster (but then, when isn't he enraged?). He manage to gasp out his confession to Fiz and hold his baby before he died and the lawyers are going to have to hash it all out but you know Fiz will walk free. There's too much reasonable doubt.

Fiz blamed herself. And in a way, she's right. She got sucked in by Stape and he manipulated her emotions. If she hadn't taken him back, she wouldn't be in this position.

Kevin thought he was in there with Sally after spending one night with her. He made up with Pam and let her take Jack for the night so he and Sally could talk. Of course he thought she was going to take him back and he got a shock. He thinks it's only because he told Sophie and jumped to conclusions but of course he is again not accepting responsibility and he's using guilt, bringing the girls into it as well. I do get the feeling Sally's conflicted but in my opinion, I really think she needs to be apart from Kevin. I'm not altogether sure Jeff is the right one but he might be ok for an unserious relationship. A bridge, so to speak. Now Kevin's back to glaring at Sally from the garage or across the Rovers. I don't want them to get back together but in true soap fashion, that could still happen after the long game.

It seems Tracy is having twins and Steve, probably out of excitement, thinks it's a good idea that he and Tracy give it a try together. He just doesn't want her to have an abortion or run off with Amy. And she's being all mature and reasonable, making out she's a changed woman. Now we all know that's bollox and she's a nightmare, evidenced by her throwing Becky's infertility in her face. Poor Becks, I do feel sorry for her. She may have been somewhat the author of her own misfortune, with her jealousy and stealing the money to pay Kylie off after the crash but it takes two and Steve isn't completely blameless in their breakup either.

Where *is* Kylie anyway? And David? They've dropped off the face of the earth and back into the forgotten storyline cupboard after one visit with Max awhile back. Presumably, she's still visiting the lad. Is David as well? He should be so he's not a stranger for Max. Inevitably, Kylie will probably get Max back. I predict a Christmas joyous return.

Carla hit rock bottom, and is dragging herself back up. It's hard for her to keep relying on people, she's not used to that. Now she has to battle Frank in a he-said she-said rape charge and she's got to battle his mother in the factory and Frank is doing everything he can to get his revenge to ruin her. I don't think Carla is going to give in though, she's risen from the ashes before and she'll do it this time. Frank raped her and he will pay for it. Setting up on his own, nicking her laid off workers, taking business away. Will Frank be able to ruin Carla altogether? Of course not. She'll fight him tooth and nail and she'll come out on top in the end, I'm sure of it.

In the meantime, Peter keeps sniffing around her and to me, that's really sending mixed signals. How on earth is Carla supposed to move on if he keeps hugging her and caring for her? Under normal circumstances, if they'd only ever been just friends without either of them having feelings for the other, it wouldn't be a problem but her feelings are well known and he shouldn't be encouraging it, not just for her own sake either but for the sake of his wife! I can't blame Leanne for going off on him. Her jealousy isn't unreasonable this time around. He's got form.

Why did Eileen have to get involved with yet another loser? It's too bad because I did like Paul but chronic losers in love are never going to be happy. The storyline has a twist, though. His wife his Alzheimer's. So it's ok to carry on with someone who's wife keeps forgetting all about her husband anyway? That's pretty low, isn't it? I mean, I can see how hard it must be for him and how lonely he feels with his wife physically there but not. Still, though, he should have been up front about it. It's a tough spot to be in and purists would say he's married and that's an end of it. But sympathetically, and emotionally, that is one man that badly needs a mate. Eileen's right, though, they'd end up in bed. And because this is a soap, she'll justify it through her sympathy for his plight and that's exactly what will happen.

And in case you've been away, or hiding in that storyline cupboard, you already know we've lost Betty Driver at the age of 91. She will be missed very much. Betty could steal a scene with a raise of an eyebrow and a reshuffling of her blouse over those matronly bosoms and light up the bar with a laugh. Her character's death will be written into the show and we'll have a proper sendoff for her on screen. I shall start stockpiling hankies now, I think I'll need them.

So all that hullabaloo about bringing Pam and Bill back on the show to what... shove them back in the cupboard again after Bill has a heart attack? What the heck was that about? Was that putting the spin on the bad publicity because they were unceremoniously let go? TPTB (The Powers That Be) didn't want to seem like they were being callous so they tossed the fans a bone? Will Bill and Pam be back? I'm guessing probably not or only briefly if we are to see a wedding. They'll have the ceremony and fade away yet again. Why bother? Well I know why. It was contrived so that Sally could give Kevin a pity shag giving Kevin a reason to leap to all sorts of conclusions.

Sally, luv, cut out the dead wood. Kevin is dragging you down. I think these two are going to be the Ken and Deirdre of the future. Don't know what to do with them? Get them back together or split them up. Surely there's more to them than that? Maybe they should have put Sally together with Paul the fireman, dealing with his tough marital situation. Or maybe Anna could have developed sympathetic feelings for Kevin instead of Owen? What would you do with these characters if you wouldn't put them back together?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Goodbye Mr. Chips

I can just see the writers in the back room of a pub somewhere in deep Salford, a bottle of the hard stuff on the table, a laptop open, and pissing themselves laughing at all the twists, turns and bizarre little details they've come up with while writing the saga of Stape. This was their final shot, the worm at the bottom of the bottle of tequila.

For those that don't know, there were two classic movies (based on a book) about a much beloved teacher called Mr. Chips, the name John used to book the flat viewing. The most famous of the two was called Goodbye Mr. Chips. Brilliant!

We've seen the end of John Stape. For real this time. I always knew he'd be back after that swan dive off the hospital roof, but I actually thought he'd do the right thing and turn himself in. Or, if he was that concerned about going back to prison, (or the psychiatric ward) why didn't he write a letter? He certainly spent enough time documenting all the timelines on charts! But noooo. John had to commit one last crime and kidnap Rosie, who of course would go along with any scheme he would dream up. Wouldn't you?

Ludicrous of course. And contrived. But oh, so appropriate for the ending of a story with more twists than the F1 track in Monaco. "Pour another round, lads, what else can we dream up to do with John Stape?"

I have to say it irked me to no end seeing John hiding behind a tree when Fiz arrived at the courthouse. I called him more names than can be uttered in polite society. He skulked and lurked and you could see the madness in his eyes but that's not why he couldn't persuade himself to do the right thing because when has he ever?

Everything he's ever done was self serving. I won't go into the history because I've done that many times. You can tell he'd gone completely bonkers.  After all, he'd been hiding out in Anglesey. Case proven, M'Lud! Actually, I jest. It's quite pretty there and in fact, the actor himself spent some time there over the summer so sightings of John Stape near the battlements of Beaumaris Castle could be true!

With his deathbed confession (to the lovely DC Redfearn, no less!)  leaving things up in the air while the solicitors and police mull things over, are we to be biting our nails worrying whether there will be a miscarraige of justice? Oh, of course not! It's a soap. Fiz is innocent and justice will prove her so. Besides, even though John is dead, I refer you back to the aforementioned charts and lists and the quizzes he was making Rosie write up in the flat. Surely that backs it all up so it's not just Fiz's word even if Rosie's word is considered hearsay?

Maybe now that John is gone,  Fiz can find some sort of life for herself. I'm sure it will be a long time before she can trust anyone. Chesney and Katy have been living at her house, maybe they should all bunk in together with both babies and be one big happy family for awhile. It will keep her mind off things.

I've enjoyed the Stape saga, though I know some have not. I loved the farce, the black comedy, the ludicrous twists and turns and I've enjoyed hating John Stapewick. Kudos, Graeme Hawley, you were brilliant!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

We'll all miss Betty Driver

Another of Corrie's legends has passed away. Betty Driver died on Saturday morning and the Rovers Return will never be the same. I know I'm a bit late jumping onto the blog wagon with this but I still wanted to mark her death on this blog. I've been reading everyone else's and didn't get round to it, I guess.

I've been watching Corrie since 1989 and of course, Betty has always been there. She harumphed, she criticized, she scolded,  she joked and had a laugh. She was always a comfort and had a wise word for those who needed it and always took pride in her hotpots. I wonder if anyone has ever counted over the years how many times Betty has quit the bar in a huff, waiting until someone inevitably came on bended knee to beg her to return? Quite a few in my short memory, mainly via Alec Gilroy and the Duckworths but a few others have been on the receiving end as well.

She did not suffer fools and she told it like it was. Yet she was kindness itself. One of my favourite Betty moments was her cuddling poor devastated Claire Peacock after Ashley's death. Another of my favourites was when Betty dressed up as the Fairy Godmother for the panto the other year.

The tributes from castmembers current and past are pouring in and rightly so. She's worked on the show longer than most and has surpassed prior legends such as Pat Phoenix and Julie Goodyear and Jean Alexander. 42  years is nothing to sniff at! Rest in Peace, Betty love.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Stella, we hardly know you!

Like Flaming Nora over at Coronation Street Blog, I've been willing to give new Rovers licensee Stella a chance. I've not got prior "history" with Michelle Collins since EE was never a regular show for me and I can barely remember her on it as Cindy Beale. (It's only been shown in Canada sporadically over the years).

At first, I found her a bit stiff and awkward. I didn't find her put-on accent that bad though again, it felt a bit stiff but I thought she'd relax into it as she got more experience and I do think that's happened a little. I can't say I'm overwhelmed by her acting skills and her obviously unwrinkled and frozen features hamper her emotional scenes. (yes, I know that's a bit catty but it's sad that female actors feel the pressure to have plastic surgery or freeze their features with Botox in order to look younger)

But have I grown to like Stella Price? I can't really say. She's not really been on the screen all that much since all the fanfare of her arrival back in early summer.

Stella had a few weeks of storyline where Leanne discovered that Stella was her mother. Angst, tears, anger, longing looks. Then Stella and her fella Karl went on holiday. Gee, how many jobs do you get where you can take off weeks after you start?

Stella came back and there was a bit more angst between she and Leanne and then she got knocked over by a drunken Carla. She lie in hospital a week, woke up, sat on the sidelines of the pub or lounged in the back room where we hardly saw her. Things seem to be better between she and Leanne but, Oh Wait! She and Karl are off on holiday again so she can recover. She's been employed as bar manager for about 4 months and between hospital and holidays, she's actually done her job for about half that time.

So what was the point of her big arrival? But how can we warm up to her if we aren't given the chance? You can hardly make fans and influence people if you're never there. Is Ms. Collins finding this acting gig more difficult than she expected? The Powers That Be were fully supportive of her when the media and fans showered criticism on her for her acting and accent but how are they feeling about her performance now?

Stella needs more storyline than reciting her past history and being a stereotypical advise-giving Landlady. She is the Landlady of the Rovers Return, the heart of the show. She needs to be front and centre and involved in storylines, not just on the peripheral. She needs to make friends. Stella has made a connection with Carla, maybe the two of them can be mates. Carla certainly needs one and Stella really hasn't made any close friends yet.  She needs to let her hair down with a bottle of wine and a few of the other ladies on the Street. I think Gail could use a gal pal. She's got Sally but you never see them hanging out much anymore. Maybe Stella could give Gail a few hints on how to handle a stroppy daughter/daughter-in-law!

I do like Karl, he really seems like a natural and he's obviously devoted to Stella but we need to know a bit more about him, too. Stroppy daughter Eva is just annoying at the moment though I did like her new friendship with Kylie. They seem suited as mates. Let's see them hang out more.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Webster Chronicles, Part 753

Last week, Sally called Kevin "devious". She's right of course. He always was. He was always able to use passive aggression to work his wiles on Sally and it looks like he's tried it again. Did you notice that look of triumph when she said he could stay one last night? How he preyed on her emotions and they ended up in a clinch? Kevin always thinks sex solves everything. And if it doesn't, a healthy serving of guilt just might do the trick.

Even when Sally had found out about the affair and the baby when Molly died, Kevin sunk his teeth in and tried everything he could to keep Sally from throwing him out and he used the first opportunity that came along, his injury, to get his feet back under the table. Surely, she'd realize what she was missing and they'd get back together? Surely?

He keeps saying "I made a mistake" Well... yes he did but it was a very big one and yes, both of them are guilty of affairs in the past and have overlooked and/or forgiven the other for it but this one seems different, deeper. Sally knows Kevin would have left if he hadn't found out she was ill. That's probably the part that cuts the deepest. I never felt Kevin was truly in love with Molly and finding out about Sally's illness thumped him back to earth brutally but it was too little too late.

It's the thing that bugs me most about soaps, the never ending back and forth between a couple that's "meant to be". Horse hockey! When couples have gone through what they have in real life, there would be no going back. The writers say the fans want the couples to stay together so they put them back together and then break them up again because happy couples are boring to watch on television. So instead, we have endless circles of the Websters. Ken and Deirdre are another couple like that. It's almost as if they don't know what else to do with the characters on their own. If one actor isn't leaving the show, the writers will inevitably put these "star crossed" couples through their paces endlessly.

With that in mind, not because she should take him back, but because the writers will make it happen, Sally will probably take Kevin back in the end and raise Jack with him. More fool her. And him, probably.

Read a character study of Sally Kevin and a blog post about the loves of Sally and Kevin, Part 1 and Part 2.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

State of the Street - September 2011

September was a bit grim wasn't it? Car crashes, Rapes, Bickering.

More drama for Leanne and Stella. This might be the turning point, the accident. Leanne even turned to Stella after a row with Peter over Carla. Leanne and Stella and Eva will be one big happy family soon I suppose. Well, maybe not Eva and Leanne. I think that's going to be a rockier road.

Meanwhile, Frank and Carla's relationship blew out of the water. Frank can hold it over Carla that he took the blame for her dring driving and that relationship went from bad to worse, ending in the rape. Nobody likes to see that sort of storyline. It was tough watching when it was Toyah and it's tough watching now. Because she can't have Peter, Carla took on Frank and then dumped him almost minutes before their wedding. Well, with anyone else, that would have been the smart choice. Back out before it's too late. But control freak Frank didn't take it very well truly believing she was having an affair with Peter and Carla got the worst of it. What is it with her and controlling blokes?

A bit more about this over on this blog post. The more i watch of this, the more i'm very impressed with all the performances and how it was written. Will Peter and Leanne fall apart over his defence of Carla? It looks like it at this point and I can see how she'd be suspicious. You need to trust your husband but he's sure putting out a lot of wrong signals and she knows how Carla feels about him. Frank hissing poison in her ear, too, is adding to the problem. What could really break them up is Peter getting pissed that Leanne won't trust him. Frank is pathological, isn't he? That could be his undoing.

Of course it's another round of Becky, Steve and Tracy. I don't know if i can stand it! Tracy gloating. Becky glaring. Steve looking gormless. How can he stay upright without a spine? I suppose he's got lots of practice. As much as i like Katherine Kelly, this storyline is getting dull. We know she's leaving so wouldn't it have been better to cut and run now rather than drag it out? They'll probably put Steve and Tracy together which is absolutely awful but what else could they do? There's nobody left to put him with and there are children involved. She's not going to soften, not really, she's only pretending so she can get her claws into him. He's going to be saddled with yet another loose cannon woman and will wonder why it all went so spectactularly wrong. Let's just hope he's not wondering it after that blunt instrument comes out of the closet.
I like Kirsty and i think she's probably quite good for Tyrone but she has an awful lot of hair! Would a police officer really have that much hair? And why did they have to hire a Cheryl clone? Though I have to say, I like Kirsty. She's feisty and strong and probably very good for Tyrone. Will it last? Who knows. It's Tyrone's first foray out of the gate since Molly.

Meanwhile, Tina and Kirsty are at loggerheads over car parking mishaps and Tina's being a real cow, as per usual. I used to like her but she's getting up my nose now. She's not very pleasant most of the time. I do think Kirsty wouldn't block someone in even if she thought it was Tina's car. She's a police officer after all so it made no sense that she wouldn't have noticed Rita's car there. All these accusations Tina keeps making, I hope Kirsty arrests her for slander! That would teach the opinionated little madam. And if Tyrone is going to be Kirsty's boyfriend, Tina isn't going to have a home very much longer if she keeps this up.
Two storylines started the month, then dropped suddently out of sight.

Once the Keystone Cops kidnapped the drug dealer and Norris managed to get him jailed, Fiz was free to release her inner Cilla and I guess isn't having any more bother since she's not been mentioned or seen. I am looking forward to having this all over with and Fiz coming home. She's innocent and will be set free at some point. I'm not going to spoil how it comes out if you don't already know but it will finally be time for Fiz to look to a new future with her baby.

One visit with Max and we've not seen barely hide nor fingernails of David and Kylie aside from the brief mobile nail pimping in the pub once, I think. You didn't really think David and Kylie would move out, did you? Not when the welfare of wee Maxie was at stake and after all, Gail would brick them in the house rather that let another one of her precious little boys leave the nest! I don't know why the Social Worker was worried about all that change for Max. Coming back to his mother and another new home etc, what's the difference which new home it is? Gail's or a new flat? I'm sure we'll get back to this, in fact, I'm predicting that will be one of the Christmas Storylines, Max coming "home" to his mum.

Friday, 23 September 2011

It's Grim up North

You don't see Carla crack very often but ripping at clothes and sobbing in Maria's arms this week, the poor woman was in bits. I know the rape storyline was controversial but I think it's been done really well, with a lot of realism and sensitivity. It's made for a fairly dark week on Corrie but I don't think it's been over the top, either. Coronation Street does drama very well and in spite of all the loud and obnoxious headlines you see in the tabloids when the spoilers first come out, the storylines are usually always handled with a much more even hand.

We didn't have to see the actual event to know what happened. We saw the aftermath, the police and doctors and questioning. We saw Frank released pending further inquiries. And we saw Frank push Peter into an assault that would further back up his own claims that Carla and Peter were having an affair and setting him up for this charge. Frank really does believe that Carla and Peter have and are continuing to have an affair, I think, but using that as an excuse to say they were setting him up for a fall is just him justifying his actions, I believe.

Frank was so creepy! He almost immediately had himself convinced he'd done nothing wrong yet you could still see flickers of doubt cross his mind now and then. Down deep he knows what he's done but he's not going to admit it, even to himself. He is determined to take his revenge, mainly on Peter so far. He whispered to Peter that Carla had "it" coming, he then hissed that Carla liked it rough so that's what he gave her, and he got what he wanted. Peter blew his stack and got arrested for laying a beating on Frank.

Meanwhile, Carla has made amends with Maria, the only person that really knows what Frank can be like. Her newly patched up friendship with Leanne is probably not going to stick together, not with accusations and suspicions still very much forefront in Leanne's mind. It's pretty hard to believe in Peter when you know Carla wanted and probably still does want Peter and his actions seem to be a bit more than necessary for a mere mate. Even if Leanne believes that Peter hasn't actually had sex with Carla, she'd be stupid to think he doesn't have feelings for her.  Peter and Leanne's marriage had a big crack in it when he found out about her affair Nick and it's been in a fragile state ever since. Could this break it irreparably?

It seems like Peter does have some feelings for Carla even though I truly believe he does love Leanne and his little family. I think he is attracted to Carla and maybe even loves her a bit. Infatuated, perhaps. It's a very strong pull. Leanne really is his true love but if he can't get Carla out of his head, it's going to go pear shaped and fast. I really hate to see he and Leanne break up because they really are good for each other but on soaps, there can't be a happy relationship for long.

The performances have also been riveting, I think. All four of the actors are really giving it their all. I'm sure it must have been a huge challenge to do. Carla isn't really one of my favourite characters but I have grown to like her over the years. Peter and Leanne are two of my favourites and I always enjoy their storylines. I hope they really show all of the bumps and struggles Carla is going to have getting over this, between the rape itself,  the trial and dealing with Frank (and his harridan mother).

"Confident Carla" is going to take a real knock back and we should see how she manages to get back on her feet again. Will we see the same old Carla after awhile? The one with the brittle shell? Or will she finally reach out and take the support offered and accept new friendships so she won't be so isolated. Having Maria on her side is a good first step.

Over the next weeks we'll see if Frank is actually charged and if he is, I expect we'll see a trial. Maybe Carla will manage to stitch him up or trick him into a mistake that will help her case. He did rape her. He can't get away with it. It's a soap law! But it's not over by a long shot.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Who should Peter choose?

This sort-of triangle has been brewing and bubbling under the surface for a year. Every now and then it breaks the seal and bubbles over. It started off last year around this time when Leanne was busy getting ready to open the Joinery with Nick and Carla's drinking was getting out of hand. Peter was helping and supporting her but in secret, because she didn't want anyone to know. We could see Carla developing feelings for Peter, whether that was a false dependency or not, it was hard to say.

She even made a pass at him, just weeks before he was due to marry Leanne but he gently rejected her. She used her knowlege of Nick and Leanne's affair to try to drive a wedge between them and it's because of her that Nick and Peter were in the office at the club on the night of the tram crash. She'd encouraged Nick to spill the beans to Peter and he'd taken Peter in there for a quiet word just as the explosion and crash trapped them in there.

All the dirty little secrets came out and Leanne has been resentful and defensive about Carla all year. Peter has always been awkward around Carla but has always been faithful to Leanne. Lately, Carla's feelings have simmered over again and we saw Peter and Carla in a smokin' hot kiss in the flat while Leanne was in hospital, having lost her baby. Was Peter really giving in to his inner feelings or was he feeling guilt and pain over the loss and needed someone to reach out to?

Because she can't have Peter, Carla is feeling cornered into marrying Frank, a man she doesn't love, in much the same way as she married Tony Gordon after losing Liam. Now she's got all that guilt over having run over Stella and destroyed the betting shop and she's trying desperately to get Peter to see that he loves her, not Leanne. Is this yet another reaction to knowing she's marrying someone she doesn't love? Does she truly love Peter or is it still that dependency attachment and infatuation?

That's what I believe. I think Carla became infatuated with Peter and is attracted to him but I don't think what she feels is true love. She's always hankered after men that she couldn't have and married the ones she didn't really want as compensation.

Does Peter secretly love Carla? I don't think so. I think he does care for her and I'm sure he is attracted to her but I really think his heart and soulmate is Leanne. When he tries to talk sense to Carla, it seems to me that he isn't really torn between two loves and is staying with Leanne out of a sense of duty or guilt. He loves Leanne and they are a strong couple. Sure, he messes up sometimes as does she but they're good for each other and they're there for each other and they both know it.

I think Peter would have liked to be mates with Carla if Leanne hadn't been so insecure about it, but who could blame her? She knows Carla wanted her husband and she knows Carla still does. Women know these things. Should Peter have told Leanne that Carla was still after him? Probably, but it wouldn't really have helped the situation. It would only serve to push it back into out and out war and when they've all got to live and work and drink on the same Street, it's counter-productive.

So, I think Peter should choose Leanne. There maybe Peter/Carla fans out there, though. Anyone? What's your argument if you are on that side of the fence? (and I refuse to make those silly co-joined names of the couples, k? Just sayin'!)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

State of the Street - August 2011

Where last month was Barlow month, this month was Fiz month. Make sure you remember, she's got a suspended sentence on the fraud charges, that was thrown in there but the murder charges still stand. I guess they figure they could get her on that so more or less forgave the other charges that she actually admitted to. We have seen her dealing with the drugs dealer, Ruth and, having snitched, she's now terrified for her safety and that of her baby. It might be prudent to give that baby back to the Croppers now. I do wonder, though, as much as these women threaten to hurt Hope, if they actually would harm an infant. I think there's some that would be hard enough or damaged enough but overall, I don't think most women would have it in them to hurt a baby. Fiz can't be sure though.

I know a lot of people are tired of Becky but I'm not and I find it sad though inevitable that she and Steve have split. Now she has to face the prospect Max back on the street again with Kylie, Becky's worst nightmare. Meanwhile, Kylie and David are trying to modernise the salon with spa treatments that Kylie is supposedly learning in college. I think they've only just told her about them. It's good fun to watch though. Poor Kylie jumped from the frying pan into the fire with her attitude, lashing out and blackmailing Audrey. I knew from the first I would enjoy Kylie and Gail at each other's throats and I've not been proven wrong. I'm also not surprised that Kylie and David make such a really great couple. Kylie just goes from strength to strength as a character, played by the most excellent Paula Lane.

Seeing Becky bond with Hope was nice, too. The media of course screamed that Becky was going to run off with Hope when all she did was consider it but in the end only went to the park with the baby for a bit. I never thought she'd do it. You really do have to take the tabloid headlines with a grain of salt sometimes. It's a shame that there are people willing to sell storyline leaks to the tabloids and it's shameful the way the tabs try to manipulate readers.

And it looks like we'll soon see the end of the Gray family. I won't be sorry to see the three of them go. Dull, boring, pointless, just like their name. Gray. Dropped the plot of Chris's domestic violence though when he first came on the scene, Cheryl did say it only really started when he was unemployed and feeling very down on himself. I suppose you could use that to get round the apparent turnabout. Now he's grappling with a brain tumour. Heavy stuff and really, the actor isn't a bad one. But the problem is he's acting circles around the one that plays Cheryl. So the Gray family will be leaving and Lloyd is going to be stuck living with that awful bright pink sofa and that tatty pink flowered wallpaper! No wonder he'll be hiding out for awhile (in real life, the actor will be off for a bit filming a new series of Red Dwarf)

Frank is another character I don't really care about. I don't imagine he's in it for the long haul and he's being set up as a villain but having him pant after Carla like a puppy in heat is unworthy. No complaints about the actor, he's fine. But villains need to have a bit more about them and I just don't buy it. He doesn't have that edge like Tony did or even Richard Hillman. And for a smart (supposedly) man, he's pretty stupid. He proposes, in the middle of the pub which is pretty much tradition on Coronation Street, and when she turns him down, he figures she's still in love with Peter. Which she is. But when cornered, she says she'll marry him and he goes all gooey eyed.

Marc decided to come out on, coincidentally, Manchester Pride weekend. Sounds like calculated timing on the part of the Powers that Be. It was a brave move but unfortunately, everyone's including Audrey's reactions are more often the usual. At least, though there were a few jokes made at Marcia's and Audrey's expense, they weren't really mean spirited. Stella showed perfect landlady aplomb, she's probably seen it all anyway and Mary just wittered on idiotically as usual. I'm starting to this this character is past her sell by date.

Back home, once the shock and initial anger wore off, Audrey was calm and honest with Marc about not being able to cope the way she thought she should and the way she wanted to and tried to but couldn't, knowing that she just couldn't do what she knew was the right thing. It's sad to see her heart broken again but she handled it all the right way at least, rather than screaming and shouting though still angry at the start.

The storyline might have been ill-conceived and badly cast but I thought the concept was good. And, while these situations often will have a happy ending, (think of Roy and Hayley's situation which is different, but not all that dissimilar in some ways) having it end this way shows that things don't always get tied up in neat little packages, Happy Ever After and it was the right ending for a storyline like this that involved a character like Audrey and was very true to the character herself.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Character Study: Gail Potter Tilsley Platt Hillman McIntyre

Many Coronation Street fans these days regard Gail Platt as a bitter, miserable, bossy woman, a clone of her horrible mother-in-law, Ivy Tilsley. I think Gail is a wonderful character and she's one of my top characters. She's also another one, like Sally Webster, whose personality hasn't really changed all that dramatically over the years, just progressed in a logical pattern due to life circumstances.

Gail Potter was the second child of teenage Audrey Potter. Audrey had a son, Stephen, a year or so earlier and was forced to give him up for adoption. She dug her heels in and insisted she keep her daughter. Audrey was not the most responsible single mum and Gail pretty much raised herself with some help from Audrey's parents while Audrey spent her time gadding about and chasing boys. Gail was the responsible one, and as a result, Gail had to be tough, strong and independent. What Gail missed most was the security and support of a real family.

When we met Gail, she was 16 and working in the Mark Brittain warehouse. She was soon living on her own, sharing a flat with Tricia Hopkins (photo above), and later with mate Suzie Birchill. Gail liked to have fun but always seemed to be the more sensible of the two, going along for the ride rather than instigating the escapades. She had her heart broken early by an older married man, Roy Thornley, the first of many. Career wise, Gail has often been in a supervisory position, even at that young age. Clearly she had the personality for telling people what to do!

She met her future husband, Brian Tilsley and he appeared to be everything she wanted. Good looking, with a full time job and a loving family, he was the ideal man; someone she could settle down with and have a family of her own. Gail's strong and bossy side soon came out, trying to force spendthrift Brian to save every penny for a house and her independent side surfaced when she insisted on working, even after her children were born. She had to stand her ground many a time over the years against her interfering mother-in-law who never really approved of her.

She and Brian even split up for a time after she turned to his cousin for comfort when her marriage was going through a rocky patch. A single mother, something she never wanted to be, was a hard row to hoe and in the end, she and Brian reconciled. She soon realized she made a mistake. She couldn't be the wife Brian wanted, someone like his mother who would cook and clean and look after him and his children above all else. After a massive row over a potential divorce, however, Brian was killed in an alley outside a club and Gail was now a widow.

Not only did she have to deal with her own and her children's grief, but she had to deal with guilt and even worse, Ivy's grief and anger. Strength and determination helped get her through this period and she soon found herself leaning on young Martin Platt who was a great help with young Nicky.

Even though she found love again, Gail's stubborn streak caused many a ruction in that house. She was always afraid she'd lose Martin to a younger woman and nearly terminated a pregnancy because she didn't want the young man to be tied down but he persuaded her to have the baby, David. They married, Martin adopted Gail's two children and they bought a house on Coronation Street, all of which Gail had initially not wanted to do, preferring the safe to the unknown. Martin's optimistic youthfulness was good for Gail, it helped lighten her a bit and he was more than willing to take on his share of responsibility.

But in the end, Martin let her down and did indeed leave her for a younger woman. Gail then had to deal with the shock of having her 13 year old daughter become pregnant. Gail was not only a single mother again, but helping to raise a grandchild.

She lost one of her best friends to cancer and it wasn't long after that when she married again, a man she thought would give her the security and love she was always looking for. He turned out to be a murderer, nearly killing her whole family and leaving her in debt and doubt about herself. Is it any wonder she started clinging to them and insisting she knew what was best for them?

The next really serious relationship was with Joe McIntyre, who was the father of David's first proper girlfriend, Tina. Gail really liked Tina who seemed to be good for David though didn't change him all that much. Joe and Gail seemed to be a good couple but Joe is also prone to depression and after a back injury, got hooked on pain medications.
Even then, Gail seems determined to try to make a go of it though her trust was severely dented. Joe also had money problems and signed his soul to a dodgey loan shark which came back to haunt both him and Gail. It's didn't end well.

Joe and Gail got married but, desperate for cash to pay off the ever increasing balance he owed to the shark, he first borrowed money from his father-in-law, Ted and then decided to forge Gail's signature on a life insurance policy. He attempted to fake his own death, but drowned when the boom of the little boat he'd restored swung around and knocked him overboard. Unfortunately, Gail thought he'd gone ahead with the plan and disappeared and, with David's help, covered up Joe's disappearance. This led the police straight to her door when the body bobbed up in Lake Windemere with injuries that were also consistent with someone bashing him on the head with a rolling pin.

They arrested Gail on circumstantial evidence and sent her to trial with the aid of additional lies told by inmate Tracy Barlow who pretended Gail admitted the murder to her. Tracy was hoping for a deal to get out of prison early!

Luckily, though at times the trial seemed to go against her, she was found innocent.

It wasn't long before her Ivy instincts kicked in. Golden boy Nick was seeing hairdresser Natasha and she was pushing Nick into a committment, which Gail thought was inadvisable. Then Gail found out that Natasha wasn't pregnant after all and had terminated the pregnancy but told Nick she was still with child. Gail tried to force Natasha to tell the truth and assuming she had, burst Nick's bubble herself. Natasha tried to kill herself but survived though Gail didn't seem to feel a lot of guilt over  her part in it all. Natasha took verbal chunks out of Gail before she left the area which caused Gail to lose her job because she'd snooped in Natasha's medical records to unearth the secret.
She seems to have made peace with her mother over the years but the old bitterness still bubbles over once in awhile. She's also finally met her biological father, a lovely man called Ted Paige who lives in London.

When her own life has been filled with turmoil, she pins all her hopes on her children, her only constants in life. She's become the woman she always swore she wouldn't, her mother-in-law Ivy! Ivy doted on and spoiled her only son but Gail's children were part of her survival instinct, they are what got her through so much tragedy.

Gail grew up knowing she could only depend on herself, that's where her "I know what's best for you" attitude comes from. She wanted nothing more than to be the mother that she didn't have but has gone too far the other way and over compensated. She was determined that her children would never have to fend for themselves but never figured out how to let them go and do just that when they were old enough. She has hung on too tightly and seen her offspring slip through her fingers and in David's case, go right off the rails at times. With David's marraige to the grasping, greedy Kylie, Gail just might have met her match. 

She makes excuses for them and seems to have blinders on to their negative traits because she feels guilty about making decisions that affected them badly. The Gail we know today is a product of years of guilt, tragedy and survival. She has built a wall around her heart and has made her children her life, even when there's a man in her bed, to the point where she's got blinders on to their faults because it's too hard to face her own. (Martin Platt should be thankful he got away!)  As she gets older, her choices in men haven't really improved and her blinders seem not to have shifted any when it comes to her boyfriends' faults until it's obvious and even then, she'll do everything she can to hold on until the bitter end. She's buried three of her four husbands.

She's had a number of friendships over the years. Her first best mate was Tricia Hopkins. The young women shared the shop flat and worked together and played together. After Tricia moved away, Suzie Birchill became Gail's mate. Suzie was a lot more outgoing and determined where Gail tended to be The voice of Reason. I think Gail had a lot more fun when she allowed Suzie to lead her astray to some extent but the girls got into a lot of mischief as well. Who can forget the time they decided to clean out Elsie's chimney and plopped a brick through Hilda's chimney instead, throwing soot all over Hilda's house!

Eventually, though, Suzie ruined the friendship herself when she tried to chat up Gail's husband, Brian and she was out of Gail's life. When Gail moved to the Street and bought Number 8 with Martin, she and neighbour Sally Webster were pregnant at the same time, she with David and Sally with Rosie. Though Gail is the older of the two, the women bonded over their pregnancies and have been really good friends every since. Gail was also close to Alma Halliwell Sedgewick Baldwin when they worked in the cafe for years and Gail was heartbroken when Alma died of cancer.

Gail has a few enemies as well, the main one being Eileen Grimshaw. Gail always felt superior to Eileen though I don't know why. Eileen might have two children by different fathers but so does Gail! (Three by two different men!) The arms-length acquaintance turned into high end rivalry and nearly a charge of aggravated assault when Gail's daughter, Sarah, was Eileen's son Todd's girlfriend. Eileen accused Sarah of luring Todd away from higher education but when Sarah got pregnant by Todd and was subsequently dumped by her when he admitted to her that he was gay, the two mothers had it out in a hair pulling barney on the cobbles. Literally, in wonderful Coronation Street tradition!

Gail has done a lot of jobs over her lifetime. She worked in Mike Baldwin's retail outlet and she's worked in the Rovers and the corner shop. The cafe took up many of her years and caused more than a little contention between her and her first husband, Brian and his mother Ivy who both felt she should stay home to raise her little'uns. Gail was even a partner in the cafe but sold her share to Roy Cropper after Sarah got pregnant and she needed to spend more time with her family. Gail has also worked in the medical centre but lost that job due to her interference with Natasha's medical records. She is now helping her son Nick at his bistro, cleaning mainly.

What will happen to Gail next? She's most definitely replaced what is missing in her life by interfering in her children's lives. She and son David have come a long way from the days when he pushed her down the stairs in a rage. He still holds a lot of bitterness against her but they have made a sort of peace. Most of the time. But her relationship with David's new wife is rocky at best. She's long since made peace with her mother and they've supported each other through good and bad.

Gail is still one of my favourite characters. She's bossy and interfering, she's strong and determined. She's a survivor because she's had no choice.

You can see other character studies here. 

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