Wednesday, 29 June 2011

State of the Street - June 2011

This one's got spoilers....Just so you know.

June started off with a bang, didn't it? Becky smashing up the Barlow house when she thought Tracy was the one that was responsible for Max being taken away and John going boom off the roof of the hospital. I really didn't want to see him being carted off in a straight jacket and having him survive means they're going to pull out an old standard soap plot. Fiz is going to trial for being an accessory for the three deaths so having John alive means he'll come back to save her from going to jail and turn himself in. I guessed that and apparently it's going to happen.  Damn, I'm good!

Poor Fiz got arrested for the fraud she did admit to committing. But oh wow, look who showed up! Brian, Stapewick's former coworker, the married one that Julie fancied and I forgot how much fun  he is! What a great Corrie character! He came and went but I hope he comes back. He and Julie are a laugh together. He's almost like a male version of her!

Becky walked out on Steve and I can understand why. Whatever his reasons were, it was quite a betrayal, anonymously tipping off Children's Services. How come buying a child is illegal yet paying someone to be a surrogate parent or paying for a private adoption is not? Yes, i know, they didn't go that route which is deemed legal and Kylie *was* blackmailing them for it. It's a soap, we aren't meant to take it too seriously and it doesn't have to strictly adhere to reality, either. It is what it is. And with Steve finally having enough of her, she spent most of the month lashing out and acting up.  Now it seems as though they're going to share the same living space but apart. Yeah, that's going to work. Poor Stella must be regretting taking the job as manager already!

It's all a Typical Becky Reaction. I know a lot of people are very tired of her and her tantrums but for me, I still like the character and it seems pretty in keeping with the character for her to lose her rag so completely after being so hurt and so let down.

The other thing I do hate about this storyline is how spineless Steve had been with Tracy. It's nothing new, of course he can't stand up to her. He doesn't stand up to anyone but it's annoying that he allowed Tracy to blackmail him and lead him around by the nose because of Amy for all this time. There's a lot of rumours and spoilers around, and I hope they don't come true but i fear they will and it'll be a rerun all over again. For a minute, he managed to stand up to her and what's he going to do? Becky's gone, he gets drunk and sleeps with Tracy one night. Just like what happened when he and Karen had a split. And as much as i dislike Tracy, she apparently loves him or at least is obsessed with him and this is really unfair to her and it's only going to give her more ammunition for revenge.

Kate Ford was only meant to stay six months but they've talked her into a bit longer. Steve needs to get Tracy out of his life and keep Amy. He also needs to start getting connected with a woman that's not going to be so volatile but that seems to be his type. I think he gets it from his mother who likes dangerous men!

Now Steve, finally, has someone new to manage the bar. Probably something he should have done ages ago since Liz had left and I don't think he's really supposed to have a legal licensee who's A. not living there and B. not planning on coming back. Bringing in fresh blood is probably the best thing with his marraige in tatters and you don't want to give Tracy any more room to get her feet under his table.

So what's my first impression? I think Stella is ok. There's been a lot of guff about her accent which doesn't come naturally to her but i don't really find it too jarring. Perhaps that's because i'm not a native of the U.K. and my ear is a bit more forgiving. She's a good actress and she's jumped right in with a local family connection. Yes, she's Leanne's mother and i think that has a lot of potential. In fact i think she's a better actress than we're getting out of her so far, probably because she's concentrating so hard on the accent. Sometimes she seems a bit stiff and I think that might be why. I think she'll settle in once her storyline gets well into gear and it will do in July. She was great standing up to Becky when she jumped into the fray with both feet when Steve was away. She was in a hard spot and knew there wasn't a lot she could do until Steve got back to deal with Becks. I think i might like her boyfriend, Karl, too. He's not bad looking and he's a bit feckless but then again, aren't most Corrie men?

Can't stand the daughter, Eva. I am not sure why she's there. Do we really need another mouthy cow stirring it with the locals and throwing herself (no doubt) at all the available men? We've got Tracy Barlow for that and Kylie if she puts her mind to it. And Becky. Oh, and Tina. Sheesh. I suppose she's there because she's going to be Leanne's half sister and they've already established an enmity between the two women. Down the road, as is again, a standard soap plot, the sisters will probably make it up but not for awhile if the spoilers have any say in the matter. If Eve does indeed go after Nick, that's going to rub Leanne the wrong way and drive another wedge between Leanne and Peter who will probably take refuge in Carla. And so it goes around and around. 

Graeme and Xin *finally* left. It's unfortunate that they had to lay this dreck on us for Craig Gazey's leaving story. He's worth so much more than this. It would have been more believable if they had introduced Xin a lot earlier and we'd seen the friendship between the three of them grow and develop. Then it would have been more of an emotional wrench for both Tina and Graeme to realize Xin would have to leave the country and give them a lot more motivation to enter into the fake marraige. But no, they dropped us into it and though the actors did the best they could, the vast majority of fans have really disliked the storyline. I'll miss Craig Gazey and Graeme and wish him the best but I'm glad to see the back of that storyline. Seeing the back of that story seemed to give Corrie a bit of new life, brightening it up.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

John Stape: It wasn't the end

It ain't over til it's over and the saga of John Stape ain't over yet. Why? Because John Stape miraculously survived a fall six storeys from the roof of the hospital and was last seen staggering towards the ferry to Ireland. I wanted him to die, but that wasn't in the cards.

The saga continues back in Weatherfield, because his long suffering wife, Fiz, is suspected of being an accessory in the deaths of three people for which John is responsible. All she's really guilty of is fraud, no matter what her excuses were for claiming Joy Fishwick's money. That probably wouldn't send her to prison on it's own but murder? Off with her head!

Well, no, not really. But she is going to have a difficult time proving her innocence because there are no witnesses. We know that John accidentally killed Joy Fishwick, trying to keep her from calling out to a neighbour at the door. The police will be thinking that Fiz encouraged John to kill her so they could get their hands on the money.

We know that Colin Fishwick died of a heart attack at John's feet. He hid the body but didn't kill the man. You could make a case for it though. If John hadn't stolen Colin's identity, Colin wouldn't have been there and been upset and furious. The police reckon Fiz helped John hide the body in the first place. I'm not sure a post mortem at this late date would show that Colin had a heart attack but it might.

I'm not quite sure how they reckon she was an accessory to Charlotte's death, though. Admittedly, Charlotte was hammered by Stape before the tram crash but Fiz was attending a hen do at the time in front of many witnesses. After the crash, she went looking for John and then went into labour.

Because John didn't die, I'm going to speculate that he's going to find out about Fiz's trial and come forward and turn himself in. I'm sure John, no matter how far into insanity he's twirled, would not let Fiz go to jail for crimes he committed.

We all rue the day poor Fiz re-involved herself with that man. She gave him chance after chance and nobody could understand why. Love Schmove! He continually lied to her and badgered her into letting him do whatever he decided he wanted to do, illegal or not. I won't go into all that again. I've been pretty up front about that.

But I've enjoyed the ride. I don't know how it will all come out but it's soap standard issue stuff that Fiz won't be convicted for a crime she didn't commit. Somehow she'll get off, whether they capture John, whether he turns himself in or there just won't be enough evidence. It'll be a bumpy right in the meantime until we get final closure on Stapegate.

Edited to add.... DAMN I'm good! Seriously, I did NOT have any advance notice, I'm just a really good guesser!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Corrie Originals

I was looking up the character name of the recurring character of the detective who's been on Corrie recently in conjunction with the Stapewich mess that Fiz is in.  That's D.C. Redfern, if you're interested. Anyway, I was scrolling down the cast list on and the name of Dennis Tanner slid past my view.

Philip Lowrie plays Dennis and he is also the same actor that played Dennis when Corrie first started in 1960. In fact, he was in the very first episode along with current long standing record-breaking William Roache. Now, I know Mr. Lowrie isn't going to break any records as far as that goes, but isn't it cool that there are now two actors who originated their roles over 50 years ago who are on the current cast list playing the same characters?

There's a third actor, Eileen Derbyshire who has been playing her role for over 50 years as well. She first appeared as Miss Nugent on our screens in January, 1961. That's quite an achievement! In fact, if you watch episode 4 of Coronation Street, you will also spot a woman with Leonard Swindley (see photo right) and he distinctly refers to her as Miss Nugent though it's not the same actor, just a non-speaking extra. So you could argue the case of Miss Nugent being a character in the show even before Eileen Derbyshire played her as a speaking part.

I think that it's wonderful that the original actors have been available to revive old characters such as Dennis Tanner and, a year or so ago, Jed Stone. There aren't too many of them left alive from those early years or who are able to revive the part.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Corrie's "big" week - Yay or Nay?

There's been a lot of negative comments about the Street lately but for the most part, I don't agree with them. This week has seen the culmination of two major storylines with the inevitable slide down the slope to the end of another one. In all cases, the acting has been excellent and I have nothing but praise for the performers. In most cases, the writing has been good, too, even with a few plot holes but nothing really that I can't overlook.

Let's get the one negative out of the way first. Graeme and Xin have been limping along this week. They've been filler in between the other two major storylines and it's been dull, dull, dull. Torn between two lovers has been Graeme's theme this week and I just don't care. No criticisms to the actors but they're so much better than this drivel but the whole storyline has been an epic fail all along, all in the name of an exit storyine for the wonderful Craig Gazey who was wonderful as the quirky Graeme, double act to first, David and then, Ashley.

There. That's that done and dusted.

On to Fiz and John. I've enjoyed this storyline and all it's twists and turns from the start even if I've loathed and detested the character of John and hated what he's done to Fiz. All the emotional blackmail, the manipulating, the selfish obsessive single mindedness he laid on her infuriated me, as it was supposed to. The story and the actors kept me rivetted to the screen. This week has been a fantastic denouement. The digging up of the body was horrific. The van accident looked a bit lame but didn't you think John reading Paradise Lost in the loft was a touch of genius?

Stape babbling on about them being able to run away, insisting he had a plan but never really explaining it because, of course, he didn't really have one. He was just in the throes of madness and desperation, completely out of control. Oh, Sally Webster is never going to let anyone forget she was right about him all along! I hope she's a bit more sensitive to Fiz, though.

The kidnapping of the Hoyles and Chesney might have seemed hokey and people have pointed out that though he did seem to manage to visit once a day to feed them and let them have "comfort breaks" that wouldn't be nearly enough. Point taken but I'm willing to overlook that. You would have thought that Chesney would have been able to break through the door eventually or, even though the room was soundproofed, one of the neighbours would have heard the banging on the basement door at least. Surely it wouldn't have been a steel door?

That aside, of course we knew Chesney would get out in time to stop Katy from terminating the pregnancy, that's just a soap standard plot. Having that bubbling in the background the first few days added to the urgency. I can understand Owen's horror finding out his 16 year old daughter was pregnant and, Owen being Owen, isn't going to be the most sensitive Dad about it all. Emotional and sick, Katy would be likely to lose a bit of faith in Chesney with her father insisting that Ches ran off on her. Young love won out in the end. Is that a good thing? Time will tell.

Then we come to the final confrontation at the hospital. I wondered why Fiz took so long to ring the nurse's buzzer! But then Fiz wouldn't have heard the full confession. She did ring it, finally, but it took her long enough! The stupid thing was there should have been police all over that hospital and some stationed out front of her door. John never should have got in the room much less get out of it!

That aside, didn't Graeme Hawley play a blinder! That last scene on the roof was spellbinding! It was already obvious that he wouldn't die. There was a point to mentioning earlier in the week that he had his passport with him but the thing is, there would be no use. If he tried to run and leave the country, the minute he tried to use it, he'd be caught. I still wish John had died. It feels like unfinished business that he is out there somewhere. Fiz can never really move on with her life and she'll be looking over her shoulder always.

Lastly, we've got the crisis in McDonald Mansions. The truth burst out of the closet about Kylie selling Max to Steve and Becky and the Social Services investigation was put into motion by Steve himself, not the usual suspects, David or Tracy though Becky doesn't know that. Steve had had enough of it all, he'd reached the end of his rope, financially and emotionally and called up the Social after night of drinking. David has been obsessed with getting Max back for Kylie for weeks and she's been trying to cover the fact that A. she isn't being bullied by Steve and Becky B. she blackmailed them for the money and C. She doesn't really want Max back. She says he's better where he is and though she says she wants him back, it feels more like she's saying it because that's what David wants to hear. It doesn't seem to me that her heart's really in it.

I don't think Kylie ever really bonded with Max. The circumstances of her childhood, with abuse and neglect, didn't really give her any idea of what a parent should be like and though it didn't sound like she was pregnant from her abuser, she certainly was a wild child and probably got pregnant after a drunken night out with someone she probably barely knew. It doesn't seem to make a lot of sense why David is suddenly all fired up about being a step-dad but you may remember how gutted he was when Tina aborted his baby. Maybe it goes back to that, and maybe David really does want to be a dad.

He didn't even blink, hardly, when he found out Kylie got money for Max but he still doesn't *really* know the truth about his grasping wife. Will he? Will it bother him? Maybe not, considering what he's been like in the past. He would probably understand where she was coming from and she could probably convince him well enough that she was in no fit state to be logical anyway.

Now Max has been taken away while they investigate the problem. That's another apparent plot hole. It doesn't seem like they would do that normally if Max is in no danger but Becky trying to take Max back from the foster family certainly didn't help matters. Katherine Kelly has been playing a blinder this week. Up to tonight, she's been quiet, tense, anxious but has held it in. Finding out someone turned them in, with all the jealousy she's had over Tracy, flipped the switch. And let's face it, Tracy could easily have been the one that anonymously tipped off the Social even if, this time, she didn't do it. Becky thought she did, though, and that was all it took.

When Karen snapped over Tracy, she burned a car and Tracy thought she'd killed Amy. Becky took a sledgehammer to the Barlow house though not to Tracy herself. Are we spotting a pattern? Tracy likes to wind up her so-called rivals for Steve and it always lands her with a backlash far worse than she expected. Tracy didn't cause this outburst, mind you, but because she'd spent so much time blackmailing and emotionally throwing the red rag in front of the Becky Bull, it was Becky's natural conclusion and after a slow burn and a confrontation with Kylie, who rightly pointed out she would never have deliberately caused Max to go into care, she was off with a sledgehammer.

Ken should have called the police the minute that glass broke. David had a great time recording it for evidence. oh heck, Becky, don't break the Barlow table! That's original props, that is! But Steve was too late confessing to save the table.

I can understand Becky leaving him no matter what Steve tried to say to justify it.  I can  understand why he got to the end of his rope and really, it's better that it's all out in the open. Tracy can't hold it over their heads anymore which can't be a bad thing. But why did the Barlows NOT have Becky charged for the damage? (or maybe they will next week and if not, they better take it out of Steve's hide!)

Aside from the Graeme and Xin filler, and a few plot holes, It's a big Yay from me. I'm used to soaps and plot holes and you need to suspend disbelief to some extent for storylines like this. They kept me interested, they kept me coming back every night to see how it would all come out. I was most interested in the Stapegate story, with the McDonald's coming in as runner up.

Judging from a lot of comments this week that I've read on t'other blog, there will be a lot of negativity but surely there are a lot of kudos out there too?

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