Monday, 30 April 2012

State of the Street - April 2012

The Rovers has called Time on Betty. My thoughts and photos here. Sean inherited Betty's hotpot recipe and he's messed it up but Tina saved the day by remembering the secret ingredient - a bottle of stout!

Karl and Sunita are hitting the sheets. Saintly Sunita. Ok, Dev is a prat and he's been treating her like she's "the little woman" but then he always did. He pretends to be so modern and suave but he's got a very sexist attitude about women. Maybe it's just the excitement she is looking for. Meanwhile Karl's robbing peter to pay paul and gambling every penny he can get his hands on yet St. Ella kicked him out and took him back. So much for strong landladies and strong "Northern" women. I hate it when they make women out to be weak.

Sally and Kevin are circling each other again. If Kevin had a tail it would be furiously wagging but I'm not entirely sure Sally can handle taking him back if baby Jack is going to be involved too. That's really the sticking point. Meanwhile the gossip in the factory is in overload and the red wine is having its result in Webster towers. Kevin is bragging that he and Sally are back together which sounds very much to me like a Phrase of Doom. It's one thing to be in love with Kevin and it's one thing to mind the baby now and then, but being a mother to Jack is a whole different barrel of apples. Even if she can find a away around it and grow to be fond of the baby and be a good mother, there's always going to be that pain and memory in the background. Some people can put it away but can Sally?

Terry Duckworth is back like a bad penny and making up to his long lost son who, coincidentally, has just inherited a bit of money. Ching Ching! He's going to open a lap dancing club. You can imagine how that went over. Alarmed Eyebrows at the ready. Protests, fights, oh i don't know, as long as they don't have Cheryl Grey back as a dancer, i'm happy! Terry's ticking everyone off so much he's got himself banned from half the businesses on the Street!

What a hoot Terry is. Crumpling up a photo from a new picture frame and pretending it's Tommy. Like he wouldn't have seen any photos of himself as a baby? Terry is a true panto villain and you can almost see him twirling his moustache, can't you? Causing trouble, shaking things up. I'd like to see him and Owen at odds. I think he'd meet his match there. And that peaceful protest at the building site with the Street oldies up against Terry was wonderful!!! The Bohemian Rhapsody scene was probably the best on Corrie this year! I don't reckon Terry will be here long but it will be an interesting ride while he's there!

Star crossed lovers, Tina and Tommy finally got together. Most people have been saying there was no reason to bring Terry back. On the surface, I would agree but I think he's there to cement T&T together as a couple where she's there to support him. Tommy wanted so badly to have a relationship with his father so he believed all Terry's lies.

The salon wars brewed, bubbled and boiled over and landed Audrey in the hospital with a heart attack. Kylie pushed and pushed David who went along mostly willingly. Lewis was the bone of contention that started it all, because everyone thinks he's out for her money yet again. Whether he is or not remains to be seen but since he's got form, nobody trusts him and I can't blame them. Still, for the time being, Audrey is in the hospital and David has a guilt complex the size of Old Trafford.

Kylie shows no remorse and she's staking a stand at high noon and it's going to push David too far. Down deep, David really is maturing ... a bit and he's only been led around by Kylie. He probably wouldn't have dug his heels in quite as much. Kylie feels betrayed and has walked out with Max, devastating David.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Rovers calls Time on Betty

It's always so much more difficult when you know a television death reflects reality. When Gordon was talking to Rita, Emily, Dennis and Ken, My eyes were filling up, too. These are the most senior cast members of the show and I count Dennis as one of those because he, too, was in the first episode of Coronation Street even if he's been absent for many years.

Dear Betty. The "wake" in the Rovers was lovely wasn't it? We were teased that we might see some familiar old faces but that didn't happen. Shame on you ITV! It would have made it even more special if some of Betty's dear old friends had made the effort to return or even to be mentioned as contacted someone. Surely Bet would have returned? I realize it's all based on actor's availability but it's not as if they didn't have adequate notice.

There were some sticking points, though. There is outrage echoing all over the internet about Annie Walker bequeathing Betty a pub that she didn't even own (the brewery did!). How could Betty see Bet Gilroy in such a state when she could have put her mind at ease? How could Betty, who really didn't like Alec very much, see him run the pub with his name over the door? How could she stand to have Vera lording it over her? No, ITV really lost the plot on this one.

Having said that, Betty Turpin Williams really was the spiritual landlady of the Rovers Return Inn all these years, as the mainstay. It's a nice tribute, having her photo on the wall though the dates should have been 1969 to 2012.

Would Betty really have left her hotpot recipe to Sean? Seems doubtful. Stella kept making remarks about how much help Betty was to her but we never saw them in the same scene, did we? That can't be helped, though, because the actor herself had been ill so the viewer had to presume she was just in the kitchen or having a cuppa in the back room.

I do think ITV let us down, promising all these old familiar faces to return for Betty's funeral. Where were they? Gordon was the only one that came back. 
The reactions of those that knew her longest, Rita, Emily, Deirdre, and her son Gordon, really felt genuine of course, because it's a real good bye to Ms. Driver as well. I thought several times poor old Bill Kenwright was going to break down on screen especially when he read out Betty's letter.

Overall, though, aside from the jarring rewrite of history, I thought the tribute to the character and actor was very nice. And the quote of the week must be:

"Steve, me duck, Who would I be if I wasn't cookin' hotpots for me friends?"

Here are some pictures from Betty's life in the Rovers.

Betty and Bet Lynch, circa early 1980s.

Betty chiding Chesney over the bar when he tried to be served.

Betty comforting Claire Peacock after her beloved Ashley died in the tram crash.

Betty with Bet Lynch, early 1970s, looking very disapproving

Betty and Audrey with Alf when he received his OBE. Betty was his Mayoress for a time.

Betty having fun with Becky at a hen do.

Betty, the panto Fairy Godmother

And Betty's final send off.

Good night Betty

There's a profile of Betty up to 1995 on and one on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The life of Tommy Duckworth

Now that Terry Duckworth is back in Weatherfield and becoming aquainted with his son, Tommy, let's have a look at Tommy's history.

This is Tommy Duckworth's mother, Lisa Horton on her wedding day to RTerry. Terry brought Lisa home to meet his mum and dad in 1992. Lisa was already pregnant and Terry was going to be charged with GBH. Jack and Vera took Lisa in. Her parents, Jeff and Doreen, lived in Blackpool but didn't approve of Lisa's choice in fellas (would you?) so she preferred not to go home. Terry got sent down for 2 years but they organized a wedding so they could be married before the baby was born.

Here they are on their wedding day. Just before all hell broke loose. You see, Vera thought it was cruel for Terry to be handcuffed to a police officer while he was being married and after, out on the church steps she persuaded them to unlock the handcuffs for a couple of photos. Terry took the opportunity to run, telling Lisa he loved her and off he went.
The police suspected Vera was in collusion with her son but we know she was just as silly, sentimental, soft-hearted woman. Terry was caught eventually and banged up and Lisa stayed in Coronation Street rather than live with her disapproving parents, giving birth to Tommy on September 9, 1992 with Vera by her side.

Awww, wasn't he a cute baby? It wasn't long before things went wrong. Lisa struck up a friendship with neighbour Des Barnes which Vera thought was wrong even though nothing was going on. She let it slip to Tommy who called some mates and had Des beaten up. The penny dropped and Lisa realized what Terry really was like and wanted nothing more to do with him. She and Vera fell out and Lisa took V's beloved grandson home to her parents in Blackpool. Des soon followed her there and told her how he felt about her. She moved back in to his house, much to Vera's horror.

Vera thought it was very wrong of Lisa to take up with another man. She was still married to Terry and Terry was that little baby's dad! 

Sadly, a mere few months later in February 1993, Lisa went out to buy a bottle of wine. But when she ran across the street, a speeding car hit her. Terry was allowed to see her in hospital, cuffed again to a guard of course and rowed with Des over her bedside. She died of her injuries and Terry was carted back to jail. Jack and Vera insisted on taking Tommy home. Vera quit her job at Bettabuys to raise her grandson for Terry until he was released in spite of the financial hardship it caused.

Terry had other ideas. Pretending he thought raising a baby at their age was too much for them, he gave custody to his in-laws, Jeff and Doreen, but the Duckworths found out that the Hortons paid Terry to have Tommy, something they couldn't afford to do. In effect, Terry sold his son to the Hortons. Vera's heart broke and Jack, furious at his son, knocked him over and disowned him.

A few years later, Terry brought Tommy back but only because he tried to get more money out of the Hortons and they weren't having it. It didn't last long. In the end the Hortons paid Terry 10,000 pounds and he signed a custody agreement. They were to raise Tommy until he was 18.

Jack and Vera visited Tommy in Blackpool many times over the years. We saw young Tommy again during one of their visits in 2000. We heard nothing until, in 2011, Tommy turned up on Tyrone Dobbs' doorstep, looking for Jack. He knew Vera had died but he didn't know Jack had as well, because he'd been backpacking around the world and hadn't been in touch with his other grandparents much.

Tommy moved in with Tyrone and Ty took him on at the garage, first as a valet and now he's training Tommy to do some mechanic work. Tommy dated Amber for a little while but he's fancied fellow housemate Tina since he met her. Tina has finally come around and they have found a mutual attraction. They both united in distaste and suspicion over Tyrone's new girlfriend Kirsty who's managed to get them both out of Number 9. They both share Jason's flat over the Kabin, with Jason living there as well for the moment.

Terry is back and Tommy wants to believe the best of his father for the moment. We all know that's going to go badly wrong. Terry will end up getting Tommy into all manner of trouble and will end up betraying him, probably running off with Tommy's inheritance from Granddad Horton. I think Terry's return is meant to cement Tina and Tommy's relationship. I don't expect Terry to be back for long.

Tommy seems a nice enough lad, though still young and a bit immature. Not quite as feckless as Jack was, but he's always up for a scheme or a good time. Tina is gobby and rude and often speaks before she thinks. I wonder if they could be the next version of Jack and Vera? Alas, in this day and age, young actors don't stay with a role for 20 or 30 years like they used to. There's so many more opportunties so very likely we won't be seeing this couple around long term. It's too bad. They seem well suited at the moment. It will be interesting to see how their relationship develops.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

What's next for Steve and Tracy?

 Tracy Barlow is not my favourite character. I would imagine that most people feel the same way though there may be a few people that "love to hate" Tracy. I just flat out hate her and I wouldn't be upset in the least if she were to disappear again. I don't like dumping on actors but I never found Kate Ford's acting skills to be much more than two dimensional. There isn't a lot of depth but I will also admit, in the last few months, she's not been as difficult to watch as she used to be.

This is not to say that Tracy is any more sympathetic. No matter how much they may try to show a vulnerable side to her, she's a detestable person. She may love her child but she's too selfish to be a good parent. She uses her child for whatever means necessary, usually to try to interfere in Steve's life or as emotional blackmail to get one or both of her parents to do something. We never see her hugging Amy, or being tender to her either, do we? A few people felt bad for her when she lost the twins but she was more upset because she thought it meant she'd lose Steve and she showed that she hasn't really changed at all by accusing Becky of pushing her down the stairs.

As the Chinese proverb goes, be careful what you wish for, you might get it. She wanted Steve McDonald most of her adult life. She got him finally and it blew up in her face because her scheming and lying came back to bite her. Leaving them married might have been Becky's spiteful revenge but where does it leave them now? Steve can't get an annullment because she refuses and he'll have to wait a year to apply for divorce. Surely you can get a divorce quicker with cause but I suppose he can't afford that and to be sure, Tracy would take everything she could.

Steve has had the blinders pulled off brutally and is back to hating Tracy. Tracy seems to be biding her time,  still hoping she can win Steve around. Please, powers that be, don't let him knuckle under to her!!! He only deluded himself when she was pregnant, wanting a family and the new babies. He's already proven he can be a good father on his own. Tracy will never give Amy back to him as long as it means she's got a hold over him. So what's next?

I'd really like to see Tracy find a new man, someone to really sweep her off her feet but I really can't see that happening because even if she puts on a good first impression, her real personality is bound to come crashing through eventually. She's destined not to have a happy ending but we could see the back of her if she rides off into the sunset in a black cab with some bloke, leaving Amy behind with Steve. In an ideal world. It's more likely she'll do something that will land her back in jail which would be more fitting. If that happens, this time the conviction has got to be rock solid.
And as for Steve? I think he needs to give up weddings. Seriously. Six weddings to four different women. (Two to Becky, one that didn't actually go through and two to Karen) That's a Coronation Street record. Gail's second up with five weddings to four men and Deirdre has had four weddings to three men (with Ken having four weddings to three women). Steve either has to find the right woman or give it up, become a single dad and a monk. Yes, I know, that'll never happen. His problem is that he keeps getting involved with women who are very similar to his mother, hot tempered, stubborn and volatile. He's very much like Liz in that he likes his partners to offer a bit of danger, and excitement. Someone like Michelle was too boring for him even though her life was a depressing nightmare while they were together (children mixed up at birth which seems to have been forgotten thankfully, siblings dying, you name it.).

Monday, 2 April 2012

Sophie adrift

How do we solve a problem like Sophie Webster? Does she have a problem? I think so. She's drifting with no discernable goal in life and her future at the present time is murky.

Back in the day, Sophie was bright. She read Jane Austen and quoted her, she always did well at school, she was funny and she was sparky. Then Rosie started demanding attention, causing family ructions and Sally seemed to spend her time focusing on her older daughter. It was all about Rosie, all the time and Sophie didn't seem to get a look in. She might get a word of praise but Rosie always stole the show.

Sophie realized she was gay. That certainly got her parents' attention for about 10 minutes until Rosie's latest hangnail diverted it yet again.

Then the tram crashed, and the news about Kevin and Molly exploded into Sophie's life. She didn't deal with it well and went into a tailspin. She lost interest in college and dropped out, saying she found it too hard and she hated it. I think it was the stress, more than the coursework. Sophie was always a good student but after everything turned upside down, perhaps this wasn't such an unexpected turn of events. Her self esteem suffered causing her to be more jealous over Sian. She developed a crush on Amber and had serious second thoughts about marrying Sian and when Sian left her after the aborted wedding ceremony, Sophie seemed to go underground.

Now we only see her occasionally. She still works at the shop but is drifting, with no particular purpose in her life. If Sally and Kevin get back together after this latest crisis, I'm sure she'll be quite pleased but I think she needs something more.

I'd like to see her go back to college ideally, and then maybe to university. She could meet someone new to love, or maybe a teacher can open up new challenges for her. She could find something to be enthusiastic about again, find new joy in life and spread her wings a little. She needs a good mate, too. A best friend now that Sian is gone and her sister Rosie has flown the coop as well. Maybe someone to share a flat with, in the Corrie tradition of two "barm cake" girls giggling over boys/girls in their flat.

There is  definitely a need for something to perk her up and revitalize the character.

What would you like to see happen to Sophie?

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