Friday, 25 January 2013

Well Done, Mr. C

I've been reading blog comments and forum comments on The Coronation Street Blog criticizing some of us bloggers as being "bitter" and negative towards Phil Collinson. Some have pointed out that while overall, that blog seems to be negative towards him and his tenure, he did end up helming Corrie to an NTA this year.

I've never really come out for or against Collinson before now, not that I can remember. I know that I tend to be more neutral about such things but thinking of the storylines over the past couple of years since he's been at the "con" makes me realize I've liked an awful lot of what he's done even if there's been things I didn't like as well.

He gave us Natalie Gumede and this great storyline she's in with award winning Alan Halsall. It's a pity we'll lose her but it's Soap Law for villains. He has given David and Kylie some great stuff and I've always enjoyed Lewis' storylines. He also married Roy and Hayley well and truly. 

He gave us a new Mrs. Tanner for the Street and I loved Rita and Dennis' romance. I can't say I've been over fond of Tina and Tommy's capers with the loan shark though I enjoyed Terry Duckworth's return prior to that. I don't mind the surrogacy storyline aside from Tommy sulking all over the place and I always enjoy Gary and Izzy. 

Obviously the tram crash was another highlight as was the Peter and Leanne and Carla fallout. I've enjoyed watching those three and Nick's part in the ensuing tales. He was the producer during much of the truly bizarre John Stape/Colin Fishwick twists and turns. I really enjoyed seeing what was coming up next in that storyline, too.

He's been roundly criticized for bringing in Michelle Collins as Stella to run the pub. I dislike Stella because she's a dull character and not very well acted. She doesn't have the kind of chemistry that past landladies have had. She is thrust into all kinds of storylines where she doesn't belong and it really felt like she was being pushed on us and that was to force us to like her. I've gotten used to her but I still don't like the character or the actor over much. Score one against Collinson for this.

Score another one against him for bringing back the detestable Tracy Barlow. I won't even get started on that one. He's completely ruined Sunita with that horrible affair with Karl, another waste of talent on both parts. Oh, and the Graeme and Xin method of exiting the lovely Mr. Proctor was ill-thought out,  too.

The icky Molvin storyline was absolutely awful and I hated it from start to finish but we also got some great fallout from it and Molly's death with the breakdown of the Webster marraige and Ty and Kevin's friendship which has only recently been tentatively mended. That has to be a neutral score there.

I liked the introduction of Mandy for Lloyd but so far this Jenna and Sophie thing isn't very believable for me. I didn't care for the Alzheimer's storyline though the actor playing Lesley was very, very good. I thought it was out of character for Eileen to be involved with that whole situation the way she was.

Frank Foster was a cold and calculating villain and his mother was a joy to watch in her bitchiness and ultimate breakdown. While having Carla raped wasn't very enjoyable to watch, we did get some excellent performances and it was the ultimate straw that broke the back of Peter and Leanne. 

There were storylines that left me flat (Marc/Marcia), characters I don't/didn't like and actors I don't feel have a lot to contribute. That's normal, isn't it? There are far more that I do like, both storylines and actors. Other wonderful characters that have either been introduced or developed further include Marcus, Julie, Brian, Beth, Craig, Eva, Gloria (and I look forward to her return!), Gary, Izzy and even Owen though he isn't a likeable person but well performed. All good things.

There have been annoyances and downright irritations during Collinson's tenure but overall, I have never been tempted to give up Corrie for a dead loss and overall, I've enjoyed far more of it than not. You can't please everyone with everything you've done.

What I've disliked, others have enjoyed and vice versa so from me, well done Mr. C.

Friday, 18 January 2013

It was a cold day in Weatherfield

(Cross posted to the Coronation Street Blog and Bluenose Corrie Blog)

As you may or may not know, I contributed to the Coronation Street Blog along with  a number of other people. Today, thanks to the lovely Flaming Nora, editor of the CSB, some of us bloggers were very lucky to be part of a group visit to the ITV studios in Manchester. There are loads more of my photos here.

Here we are, chilly and cold and very happy. Left to right, Pickled Jo, Mersytart (also blogs as Scott Willison), Mr. Tvor, Tvor, Flaming Nora front and centre, Sunny Jim, David/Clinkers peeking from behind, Craig247, Mark Llewellin in back, Kathryn S, Rebecca and Chewy.

We had a look around the street set which was rather frosty around the edges. It had snowed a bit overnight but not so bad as to hamper the trains, luckily. Our guide from ITV showed us around and later, saying he was chilly, took us inside to one of the studios where we got to see a few of the iconic sets such as the pub, the Kabin, Underworld and a number of the houses sets. We were unable to see the other studio with the rest of the sets as they were still filming there.

While we waited to get onto the property, Sue Nicholls drove up and waved at us and as we trooped up to the Street, Shobna Gulati walked by and said hello and hoped we enjoyed our tour. I peeked into the green room as we walked by and spied Jack P. Sheppherd and Ben Price.

The door to the Rovers Return on the outside set was open! The wall behind it is decorated so that if they film someone going it, it looks like it should but did you ever wonder what is inside the actual buildings? Many of them are just shells with the doorway decorated correctly. Here's a photo of what's inside the Rovers.

I've been on the outside set a few times before and inside the studio once before. Many of the rooms have changed since then and it was great to see the Kabin which I had not seen my last visit. Our guide related lots of interesting information like how they make sure the room or kitchen of a house matches the personality of it's owner and what the way a room is decorated can tell you about that person. The somewhat chaotic mixture of patterns and lines in the Windass house was devised when Tracy Barlow lived there, just before she murdered Charlie Stubbs!

After we left the set, Mark escorted us on a 2 hour tour around Manchester and Salford to show us locations that have been used for filming over the years including the location used for the Red Rec,  and the Salford Quays area including a walk near the new Corrie studios still under construction by the BBC Media City.

Huge thanks go out to Mark Llewellin for his time and effort and for the tour,  and to ITV for escorting us around and telling us loads of interesting things about the show including the fact that orange is used on every set where there has been a fire!

There are loads more of my photos here.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Goodbye Hayley

News broke this morning from ITV that Julie Hesmondhalgh has decided to leave Coronation Street to persue other projects full time. She's only just back from an extended leave during which she'd done a play and as it was successful, realized she wanted to do more of this. I truly don't believe this was any decision on the part of the new producer that started this week, either. I'm sure this comes straight from Julie herself.

This makes me very sad. Roy and Hayley have the most stable relationship on Coronation Street and are one of the most loved couples and characters. I can't imagine Roy without Hayley and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. ITV will have plenty of time to plan her exit since she's not going until the end of the year, I'm guessing in a dramatic Christmas exit.

I do hope they won't break up this couple. It just would not do to have them separate and divorce. Given that, it is probably inevitable that Hayley will die somehow, either by illness or accident, leaving Roy bereft. I feel gutted already, just thinking about scenes where she'd die in his arms! I hope at least, that his mother, Sylvia, is still in the show as Roy will need the support.

The character of Hayley was a bit of a ground-breaker back in 1998 when she was introduced as a transexual. Julie H. did lots of research and made friends with several trans-gender folks, ensuring she got the character just right. The publicity around the character and Julie's involvement in several charity and support groups helped change the laws around being able to change the gender on birth certificates and other rights. We were all rewarded when Roy and Hayley were finally able to marry legally two years ago!

One of my favourite Hayley moments was when she was in Amsterdam and Roy came to see her. He finally got the courage to ask her to come back to Weatherfield and be with him and she hesitated at first but came after him to the airport. She caught his eye through the window and wrote on the glass in lipstick "I'm coming with you" and Roy's face broke into the most heart warming smile, full of love for her.

Another wonderful moment was, just after their first "wedding" in the cafe, when Hayley told Roy that she changed her name by deed poll since they weren't able to marry legally at the time.

Hayley had a wonderful relationship with Becky McDonald, who fiercely defended her on more than one occasion. Hayley and Roy maintained faith in Becky and gave her the confidence to "grow up" as it were. The only really regrettable storyline was giving Hayley a long-forgotten son, Christian and that storyline has been pushed into the closet as best forgotten all around.

Her red anorak is now iconic, her frumpy dress sense and clip cloppy shoes echoing along the cobbles are her signature style. Her giggle and sunny smile to anyone and everyone and her dignity in the face of insults and adversity are legendary. Hayley always finds and brings out the best of people, she forgives and understands. She supports. She mothers lost waifs and strays. She's ever the optimist. All of these qualities are those that make me admire her greatly. She is a good example of womanhood to follow!

I know the Street will go on without her but there will most definitely be a Hayley shaped hole in it for a long time to come. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

State of the Street - December 2012

December sees the return of Carla and Peter and Carla hasn't been too successful beating the bottle. Five minutes back and she's popping the cork! I don't blame Leanne for being pissed off at Carla for trying to pick up Simon at the school while drinking. I'd have had a go at her too and I have to say, that was a great fight!

Peter was only planning to visit and they were going to move to L. A. permanently but you knew that wasn't going to happen. Peter stayed so Carla left and came back in a Christmas Eve surprise. While she was gone, though, Peter wasted no time trying to make inroads into Leanne's feelings. Sort of felt like "Carla Who?" Peter's not happy about Leanne marrying Nick and Peter's appearance has sparked up that old Black Magic in Leanne's heart and doesnt Peter know it!

But it's annoying too. Peter couldn't live without Carla. He had to have her even over the needs of his son and within minutes of seeing Carla run for the airplane he was making doe eyes at Leanne again, pretending he just had her best interests at heart but he moved on her fast when he caught her drunk, disorderly and very vulnerable on the eve before her wedding to Nick. Yes, she was making a mistake but Peter so obviously had ulterior motives telling her that.

As her and Nick's Christmas wedding approached, we all waited with bated breath. Would she marry Nick or would his heart be broken yet again? Yep, thought so. Peter tried to work his magic and nearly succeeded and if Carla hadn't come back when she did, it's very possible Peter would have been quite happy to have her back.

But since she did, Leanne went running back to Nick at the last minute and she would have gone through with the wedding but spiteful Eva couldn't stand it. She had to spill the beans and blew the whole thing out of the water and even then, tried to get hold of Nick in case he needed a shoulder to cry on but Nick found comfort in Kylie who needed comfort from the vileness David was heaving at her during the stag night.

Personally, I don't want Peter and Leanne to get back together. He's done too much to hurt her and it's so hard to come back from that again. But there's Simon and that's a strong pull, too. Peter has been maintaining the Zen calmness all through this but it's amazing how fast he went running back to Leanne when Carla left him. I do believe he loves Carla but Leanne has a lot of pull for Peter as well.

David has a bee up his arse about being a father to a tyke of his own and Kylie has discovered she's good at something and wants to build a career on it. What's David's hurry, really, when both of them have barely cracked the edge of 21. They've got years to make more babies. David pushed and pushed so hard that Kylie ran, as was her usual M.O. and right into the arms of Nick who was in great need of comfort after ditching Leanne. What's the end result? Yep. A shag under the Christmas mistletoe.

Now, anyone who knows anything about soaps knows where this is going. A shag with the wrong person almost always results in pregnancy and with Kylie almost leaving David and returning, you can bet there was some make up sex. It'll be a case of "Who's the daddy" and even Kylie won't know. That's just the way these things *always* work so it's no spoiler. It's anyone's guess how this will turn out if Kylie goes through with the pregnancy. I think if she gets pregnant and terminates it and David finds out, that's her out on her ear and there will be no going back, not after Tina did the same thing, but I don't think they'll do that to David twice and where would be the drama in that, after all? 

It was inevitable. Fiz and Tyrone, Redux. After her strong support in his time of need, you knew they would get together. I did wonder if Tyrone has a death wish, though, what with Kirsty's propensity for using bunt objects and booted feet. I mean, if you were with a partner that beat you, would you start up an affair with someone they already suspected of doing just that and who lived 2 doors down? Probably not but poor Tyrone is about to go under and Fiz is his lifeline.

But then Fiz ended up unconscious on the floor, overcome from a gas leak after Tyrone fixed her boiler. Was his repair faulty or did Kirsty find out about their affair and try to kill Fiz? As we end the month and year we are going to have to wait until January to find out. It could just be that Ty made a mistake but it could be the mistake that gets him caught out by Kirsty if she wasn't the culprit herself.

January sees their scheduled wedding. Will they or won't they? Some comments I've read indicate people think the storyline will be over one way or the other by then but I don't think so. I think it's still got a ways to go and a few more twists in the road, especially if they don't get married. Then Tyrone still needs to do something so he won't lose Ruby and he'll still be tied to Kirsty but Kirsty is bound to find out about Fiz soon, at least. 

We had a little comedy this month too, with Dennis the lollipop man feuding with Steve the taxi man. So Dennis is banning Steve from the Kabin and Steve is banning Dennis from his cabs. I think Steve is the winner here, doesn't Dev still sell cigs? Mike Baldwin always shared his custom between the Kabin and the corner shop for his cigars. Steve wouldn't have to go far for them at least. It's all a bit silly but a little light hearted silliness is waranted when there's a lot of aggro going on and I absolutely loved Dennis' cohort Malcom, the leader of the lollipops.

Kirkys Turkys was also fun. I don't know why some people look down on stories like this one. Back in the day, this is the kind of story Corrie would have on a regular basis, someone with a hair brained scheme to make money and have it all go pear or, in this case, turkey shaped. I am surprised that one plug from Beth's flat could keep the electricity running in the old butcher shop including an industrial freezer. How come the circuits in the flat didn't blow out? It's quite a load on them. Anyway, good fun all around and it gave us some good lines.  I won't forget that army of frozen turkeys floating down the canal in a hurry!

Speaking of silly, though, what the hell is that with Stella shagging Jason???? No No No NO NO! Talk about the worst rebound affair ever! It's ludicrous!! Even getting to see Jason in his wherewithall isn't worth it and it's got nothing to do with the age difference.  It feels like a rebound on both their parts with the additional advantage of Stella being able to rub Karl's nose in it.

Oh yes, and reminiscent of the past, there was Emily, babysitting, and nodding off on the sofa. The last time that happened, Richard Hillman snuck in and nearly killed her, first with a pillow and next, with a crowbar when he also killed Maxine. You'd think she'd have had all the doors locked and would stay alert but Fiz had no problem slipping out the back.

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