Thursday, 23 January 2014

Character Study: Nicholas Paul Tilsley

Nicholas, or Nick as we all now know him, is the oldest son and firstborn child of Gail Potter Tilsley Platt Hillman McIntyre, or Gail, to make life easier. Gail married Brian Tilsley, the son of "Saint" Ivy Tilsley (later Brennan) in 1979 and as per usual for soap characters, didn't wait too long to get pregnant. Nick was born on New Year's Eve, 1980 looking into 1981.

The character of Nick has had three heads over the course of his lifetime. Warren Jackson played him from infant to mid teens. Adam Rickett was cast after Nick returned from finishing his schooling in Canada, hoping his pinup good looks would draw in the younger viewers. He stayed a few years, left and returned for a few more before taking off for New Zealand and made a name for himself in a soap there called Shortland Street.  While on Corrie, Adam had a lot to learn about acting and let's just leave it at that. Ben Price is the current Nick, having arrived at Christmas 2009. Coincidentally, Nick Tilsley was born on Dec. 31. Ben Price's birthday is January 1 though he's older than Nick is by 9 years and, to be honest, looks it! Never mind. He's done well as Nick.

Nick was the golden boy, blonde and blue eyed as a child and young adult and the apple of Granny Ivy's eye even if she didn't approve of Gail's motherhood methods. She was apalled when Gail decided to go back to work at the caff and marraige to Brian had many ups and downs though Brian did love his son. During a rocky patch, Gail had an affair with his cousin and about the time she and Brian got back together, she realized she was pregnant and wasn't sure who the father was. When that all came out, Brian left her and took Nick with him, even though the baby, daughter Sarah Louise, was proven to be his. Brian did forgive Gail and they remarried in 1988 but it didn't really go well. After another row, Brian went clubbing and got stabbed to death while trying to stop some thugs from bothering a woman.

At the age of 8, Nick had lost his beloved dad and had a difficult time adjusting.  This was one of the first storylines I remember when I started watching the show in 1989. By the end of that year, Gail had taken up with Martin Platt whom she married. Nick didn't mind Martin and agreed he wouldn't mind being adopted. Granny Ivy was horrified that her precious grandchildren, the last connection to her beloved Brian, would not carry his name. She held it against Gail for the rest of her life.

Nick entered his teenage years with a growth spurt and an attitude problem. He ran away once but came back a few weeks later, broke. He and Martin clashed many times and he seemed to resent Martin's authority when, of course, he wasn't Nick's "real" dad.

When Ivy died, she left her house to Nick on the proviso that he change his name back to Tilsley. Nick felt very entitled, thinking that, at the tender age of 15, he could live in his own house but Gail put her foot down. She did allow him to take back the name Tilsley because he wanted that but she sold the house to Ivy's husband, Don and saved the money for Nick's education. With all the stress and rowing, Gail and Martin's marraige was suffering. When they went to Canada with her new-found brother, Stephen, Nick decided to stay there and go to school. Gail seemed relieved at the distance and Nick seemed to be happy.

About a year later, Nick (now played by Adam Rickett) returned for Don's funeral, having completed his schooling and now was looking forward to some kind of post-secondary college or uni, at least, that's what Gail hoped for. Nick, now nearly grown, handsome and full of hormones, laid eyes on teenage tearaway, Leanne Battersby and fell in love. Leanne would prove to be the love of his life over time but not just yet. The Battersby family were not well liked and thought of as common. Gail was not amused to find that her son had taken up with Leanne but there wasn't much she could do about it. The young couple ran away to Scotland to get married. They kept it secret for a few weeks but it came out as secrets do and Gail was furious that Nick was on his way to ruining his life.

Cue further aggro and tension between mother and son. Never mind. Nick and Leanne settled into married life and lodged at Number 4 with Ashley Peacock. Leanne seemed to take to marraige well and matured while Nick still seemed more self centered.

He nearly got her into a bad situation when he contacted the man in prison who killed his father but pretended he was pretty young Leanne writing so the man would not recognise his name. When released, that man came looking for him and found Leanne but in the end, everyone was safe and by breeching parole, he was back in jail. Nick also did some life modelling at the art college to make extra money and found himself at the hands of a sexy art teacher. He stayed faithful but he flirted just the same and Leanne didn't like it one bit.

The ultimate end came when Leanne found herself pregnant. Nick was adamant that he was not ready to be a father and insisted that she have an abortion. She did, but the marraige broke down anyway. Nick left for Canada to work for his uncle Stephen and Leanne did not go with him.

Nick returned several years later, when his mother married Richard Hillman. He had a fling with Maria Sutherland whom he persuaded to return to Canada with him but  he worked long hours and neglected her so she came back. He didn't return again for another 2 years and soon found himself in a brief fling with Candice, a friend of his sister Sarah and then he took up with Maria again. He worked for Mike Baldwin for a short while, saving the life of his former mother-in-law Janice from a factory fire.

Leanne did her best to break them up because Maria had stolen Leanne's sister's boyfriend but Nick and Maria nearly got married anyway. It was not to be. He took a job in Nottingham without talking to her and she decided he was too selfish and she wanted to stay in Weatherfield. That was that.

In 2009, Nick returned to Weatherfield with a new face (Ben Price). He was almost 30, single and a grown-up business man now. He seems to have developed a somewhat ruthless streak as befits his new image, possibly taking a page out of Mike Baldwin's book, or trying to at least. He decided he wanted to buy into Underworld and when Carla refused, he used machinist Kelly Crabtree to steal information, using bribery and flattery. When he finally gets his hooks into the factory, Carla made him fire Kelly!

About this time, his mother was on trial for murdering her husband, Joe McIntyre. Joe had actually attempted to fake his own death and was accidentally killed but the police weren't buying it. Nick let his brother David talk him into bribing a witness and Nick took the money from Underworld to do it. Not a good move. He and Carla were on the outs but after Tony Gordon burned down the factory and Carla fled to L.A., Nick pulled the machinists together and set up the factory in the premises under the viaduct where ex-wife Leanne had tried to open a bar. Carla returned, took back her factory and there ensued a war with Nick over the staff and business contracts. They eventually settled their differences and Nick took the money and ran.

He ended up buying the bar premises and persuaded Leanne to help him open it as the Bistro. He still had old feelings for her and it turned out, probably due to pre-wedding (to Peter Barlow) jitters, so did she. They launched into an affair that came to a head just before her wedding. Nick was going to tell Peter about the affair but before he could, the Bistro caught fire, exploded and sent a passing tram crashing down over their heads. Peter nearly died and Leanne married him in hospital, much to Nick's anguish.

Nick, selfish as always, decided Peter wasn't good enough for Leanne and started a campaign to lure recovering alcoholic Peter, who was temporarily paralysed, into drinking again, hoping it would push Leanne away for good and back to him. Peter found out about the affair that happened months before and jilted Leanne at the altar when they were going to renew their vows. Nick's glee was short lived though, because Peter and Leanne made up even though Carla was waiting in the wings, just in case.

Nick continued to keep his eye on Leanne but dated hairdresser Natasha for awhile since the one he really wanted was unavailable. Natasha knew Nick was still drawn to Leanne so just when Nick was going to break up with her, she told him she was pregnant. She was but Nick wanted nothing to do with the baby so she had a termination. When Nick had second thoughts about the baby, Natasha pretended she was still pregnant. That lasted a short while until Gail blew the secret out of the water, having snooped in Natasha's medical records. Natasha attempted suicide but Nick found her and got her help in time. He begged forgiveness but knowing he didn't really love her, Natasha walked away.

Nick also had a brief fling with Becky McDonald after her marraige to Steve fell apart, horrifying Gail but Becky and Nick agreed they really would be better off as friends. Still, when Becky found herself drunk and alone on Christmas and caused a fire in her flat, it was Nick that pulled her out, saving her life.

Nick dated Eva Price for awhile but eventually she realized he really wasn't that into her and finally, after Peter and Leanne broke up over his affair with Carla Connor, he got the girl he really wanted.

Leanne seemed to lean back to Nick in rebound and though she insisted she loved Nick, still had a last minute wobble over Peter on her Christmas wedding day to him. Nick, hurt and angry, jilted her but soon forgave her when she professed her feelings for him profusely. They got married and seem to be strong together, now.

>But here's the thing. On that aborted wedding day, Nick and David's wife, Kylie, had a drunken one night stand. Kylie's baby could be Nick's and David has been wreaking havoc taking his revenge on his brother.

In a confrontation, Nick was determined to tell Leanne and everyone else what happened but, panicked, David caused the car nearly to crash. While catching their breath over the near miss, a large truck crashed into them, leaving Nick in a coma. It was a close call and even though most of his physical injuries are healed, he has brain damage that may or may not ever be repaired. He can be surly, stressed and he has trouble holding his temper. He's not himself and Nick is worried he'll hurt Leanne even more than when he lashed out and slapped her on Christmas Day. 

He knows Kylie's baby isn't his and he knows David's part in everything. He can see that Leanne is pulling away from him, though she professes that she still loves him. The disappointment, stress and resentment has added to the personality change caused by the damage. Will Nick pull out of this or will he remain a "bad boy"? I think he will improve over time, gradually but it's going to be an uphill battle for both him and all the people he loves. Whether he will ever forgive David is yet to be known. I'm guessing not.

Nick has always had a selfish streak, most likely because his mother Gail has always treated him like the golden boy who could do no wrong. It's kind of creepy the way she still fawns over him!  Everyone knows Gail can't seem to let go of the apron strings but nobody can really accuse Nick of being a Mama's boy. He respects his mother but is pretty much his own man.

He's been a bit less arrogant in this latest incarnation and his brain injury seems to have humbled him quite a bit. He was never all that close to his sister and brother, mainly due to the age difference and living away from home for much of his adult life but he still felt some degree of loyalty towards them up until now, as far as David is concerned and David has always resented Nick so their relationship will likely  always be difficult.

Whether Nick and Leanne will keep their marraige intact after all the stress remains to be seen. Nick isn't always a very likeable person but he's a good, classic Corrie character.

Thanks to Corriepedia, and several of Daran Little's excellent books.

Monday, 20 January 2014

I'm in floods, me

I've just seen tonight's two episodes, ending with Hayley's death.

All I can say is that it was full of love, pain, dignity and grief. Perfection from David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh. It will break your heart and impress you in equal parts. If they don't win awards for this, there is no justice. That is all.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The year of the Platts

2013 was definitely the Year of the Platts on Coronation Street. What began on Christmas Day, 2012 had repercussions that are still having an impact today, early in 2014. I, for one, have enjoyed the ride!

We began with Kylie and David "on a break" and Nick jilting Leanne at the altar, having discovered that she'd ran after Peter earlier that day. She could possibly be forgiven, as Peter, thinking Carla had left him, made a beeline for the other woman he knew he could charm. Carla came back, Leanne was a distant memory but she didn't know it until she went to Peter to offer to call off her own wedding and saw Carla behind Peter. What to do? Marry Nick anyway and hope he never found out. Fail.

Nick and Kylie had a one night stand to soothe their pain and it all kicked off from there. Nick and Leanne made up and so did Kylie and David but, this is Soap land, and one of the prime Soap Opera Plot Devices states that if you have sex with the wrong person, you will get pregnant. Yep. And ironically, the main reason Kylie and David had temporarily split is because he wanted a baby and she didn't. Now she's up the duff and doesn't know who the daddy is.

Thing is, she'd confessed all to her mother-in-law, which was probably not such a good idea and was then persuaded not to give up the baby like she planned. It might be Nick's but it might be David's. Kylie began walking the tightrope.

David found out and went right off the rails, but since he couldn't face losing Kylie, who should carry equal blame for the fiasco, he directed his rage against Nick, the older brother he'd always resented anyway. He tried to ruin Nick, both in business and in his marraige to Leanne (which had taken place a few weeks after the jilting), all the while playing up to Nick's sympathies and pretending to be the concerned brother. That culminated in a near-fatal car crash when Nick finally figured out David was behind all the tricks and confronted him. David tried to take control of the steering wheel to stop Nick from telling all to the family. They came to a stop in the middle of an intersection and a large truck (lorry) was unable to stop and smashed into them on Nick's side of the car.

I still don't believe that David tried to kill Nick even though everyone else has accused him of that (once the truth finally came out because it always does). But even so, his actions did result in the crash so he was still responsible for Nick's injuries.  Nick survived but is suffering from brain damage which has caused him to have uncontrolled rages and is breaking down his marraige as Leanne struggles to cope.

While Nick recovered, he insisted that David do a paternity test on the little baby girl that Kylie produced. The test was sloppily done, in my opinion with only a sample from David and the baby sent away. Why not one from Kylie and Nick as well? Nick would have been happy to contribute and he could have managed a few strands of Kylie's hair from a hairbrush. Never mind. It turned out that David was the father, much to Nick's disappointment.

When Kylie found out about the test she went ballistic, realizing finally that David had known all along about the paternity issues and that he was behind the hate campaign and accident.  She outed David in front of the family at baby Lily's christening in classic soap style.

The whole family turned against David. The only reluctant friend he had was Tina but even that friendship caused her own relationship to blow up so she pushed David back out again. Rather than see him homeless, Audrey took him in at Gail's request even though Gail wasn't ready to forgive him. Maternal instincts are strong!

Inch by inch, David has been working his way back into his family and job at the salon. He's very, very contrite and remorseful but Nick was having none of it and insisted on the family taking sides. You can't blame him, he feels David has ruined his life. Kylie was angrier and angrier and when she saw that the family was beginning to warm up to David again, albeit reluctantly, it was her turn to go off the rails.

Kylie never had any self confidence. She never thought she was worth having a good life because she was brought up to believe she was less than nothing. She thought having a family of her own, a home, a job, all of that was too good to be true and now she's been made to pay for it. She spiralled downwards into a bottle until she hit bottom. Finally, David and Kylie were able to be honest with each other. Kylie took her share of responsibility for her fling with Nick and she and David have reconciled, much to Nick's dismay.

It's not quite over. Nick is still struggling and he's pushing his beloved Leanne away because he fears he'll hurt her after lashing out and slapping her on Christmas Day. She's just as determined to stand by her man but it looks very much like things will get worse before they get better. I'm glad they're not having Nick experience a miraculous recovery. It's far more realistic and it's continuing to have twists and turns. I have been speculating for the past few weeks that Leanne will have a fling herself, probably with Kal, Nick's new trainer. After many months of worry, stress and anxiety, and add Nick's rejection of her at the moment, and she's ripe for it.

Will Nick and Leanne manage to come out of it happy? It's hard to say. Nick has loved Leanne all his life and surely would want nothing more. If she has a fling, he'd be devastated but would probably blame himself for pushing her to it. We'll get more huffing and puffing from Gail who would certainly believe that Leanne is no better than Gail ever thought she was for hurting her baby boy yet again.

I have enjoyed the storyline, long though it was. All the actors involved were excellent and I felt that even Kylie's weeks of self destruction was completely understandable and far better than just one or two drunken nights with epic hangovers.  I realized that on top of the storyline covering Hayley's terminal illness, Corrie has been rather grim overall of late, but with performances like these, in both storylines, it's Corrie at its best.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

State of the Street - December 2013

Coronation Street this month was dominated by the PlattTilsley storyline and watching Hayley's downward progress. There were little things, big things, other things and small things as there always is. There was a wedding and we have been launched into a classic Soap storyline of an affair on the cusp of beginning and we had the ending of another relationship.

Hayley struggled through chemotherapy all month though it wasn't until the end of the month that they started making her look a bit more frail and pale. Not even a word about losing her hair or tossing her cookies and with the kind of cancer she has, it would have been all guns blazing as pancreatic cancer is very aggressive and so would be the treatment.  Her erstwhile son came back looking for her. She finally got to meet her grandchildren but it cost her 5 grand. Christian certainly played all his cards didn't he?

It's been suggested that he sucked Hayley in, even going so far as to borrow two kids but before you buy into that, remember he'd shown her the photos of the kids the first time he showed up and he didn't know she was ill then. I think he returned the second time, even before he knew of her illness, intent on getting cash out of her and using his own children to do it. I don't think we'll see any more of him now. He was as thoroughly contemptible the second time as the first and as he was when we first met him years ago.

Hayley finally got angry and scared and her cheery optimistic facade cracked just after their lovely and memorable last Christmas together. She accused Roy of burying his feelings but she's every bit as guilty of that, whether she's doing it for his sake or her own or both. Phew, that was a difficult episode to watch. This storyline hits so close to the bone for a lot of people, some of whom just cannot watch. It's difficult for me, too, but the performances are the best I've ever seen on Corrie. I can't look away, even with tears running down my face.

It's been very difficult watching Hayley get weaker and watching Roy watching her as well. He knows what she wants to do and he knows he only wants every last minute she can be with him. I'm sure he realizes that she wants that too, but quality of life is a big thing for Hayley. I don't know if she really will take her own life but it's starting to look like she just might. It would be even more controversial than just the discussion of it. We've only got weeks to go so we'll know soon enough.

David and Kylie and Nick and Leanne are in quite a pickle. Finding out that David knew and set out to destroy Nick, putting him in the position where the car accident happened, his lies and betrayal have really hurt her and have sent her in a downward spiral of pain and self pity. Everyone else is finally in a place where they can start to look forward, maybe even forgive David in time though never forgetting. Nobody can beat themselves up more than David is with himself but Kylie can't pull herself out of it, drinking and causing all manner of upset.

She's even spilled all the beans about her fling with Nick and David more or less causing the accident. He might not have caused the crash per se, but he did cause the car to go out of control and come to a halt in a dangerous position in the road in the way of a truck that couldn't stop in time but I still don't think he meant to try to kill Nick. I do feel bad for Kylie in some ways. She's had a very rough life and just when she thought she could be happy, something happens that makes her think it was all too good to be true. She believes that she doesn't deserve to be happy so she's going about proving that she's as bad as everyone else, including she believes she is.

I think she'll reach bottom and maybe then will reach out to David again because she really does love him and he wants her. Meanwhile, Nick and Leanne separated for about five minutes due to Nick trying to spare Leanne the struggle. Poor Nick, he feels so out of control and unable to do anything about it. He's causing Leanne undue stress and so he's finally pushing her away. I keep coming back to the feeling that Leanne is going to have a fling, someone that can make her happy for awhile and since Peter is already occupied with thoughts of Tina, I think it's going to be Kal. That's my prediction.

Peter and Carla's wedding was good fun with the bride getting legless. Carla did look lovely. You would expect that. However, it went downhill from there. Peter couldn't keep his eyes off Tina, not after that kiss in the smoking shelter the night before. How romantic, a smelly grubby back yard under the stars. And by the end of the month, they'd had sex on the sofa and elsewhere while Carla was with her dying friend. Peter seems to be completely unrepentant no matter what he seems to be telling Tina. He's not upset at cheating on Carla, he's more concerned with trying to keep it from her. I can't help thinking that this wouldn't have happened had Ken been around this year. He tends to be Peter's moral compass or at least that little conscience on his shoulder. This won't end well. Carla should remember the last time she married in December. That really ended in a bang with murderer Tony blowing up the factory! 

After all that bullying story with Grace and Faye, we've not seen Faye all month. That really *is* grounded isn't it! Seriously, though, aside from seeing her with the police and being told she's grounded, there have been no repercussions. Have we seen her apologize to Simon? We never found out if Grace was cautioned by the police as well and there has been seemingly no threats or glares from her at school. Faye worried that nobody would speak to her or want to be her friend if she wasn't Grace's friend. Has that happened? Inquiring minds want to know.

We finally met Steve's new friend from school, Andrea. More scowling and arm crossing from Michelle who really isn't very nice at all these days. She's miserable and sour and I really can't see what Steve sees in her. He went for Becky last time he was with Michelle because Becky was a lot more fun. Michelle dragged him down with all her problems then and she's doing the same thing now. 

Brian and Julie have split up as well. That makes me sad. They were a really wonderful couple, really great Corrie characters. Brian isn't particularly likeable but he's not meant to be and he and Julie together were just superb. I always maintained that they were the Mavis and Derek of the new millenium. Brian pompous and Julie wittering but Julie, of course, has much more style and independence than Mavis.

I guess now she and Eileen can be moaning singles together. I do like how their sisterhood has grown. I'm refusing to discuss Todd because I really dislike the personality they've now given him. He was snotty  on his last visit but he's descented into what we like to call a "piece of work" and perilously close to unredemption.

January is going to be sad, with Hayley's death and frustrating with Tina mooning around Peter.

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