Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Preview of tonight's Coronation Street, Weds 26 Nov

Wednesday 26th November
STEVE’S OBSESSION WITH HIS CAR ACCELERATES. Frustrated at Steve’s attitude, Liz continues to hound him telling him it’s time he started pulling his weight and did some work but Steve’s unresponsive. Lloyd tries to talk to Steve, concerned that he’s throwing his life away. But Steve’s only interested in his sports car and when Tyrone breaks the news to him that it needs £2k’s worth of repairs, more than the value of the car, Tyrone’s stunned when Steve tells him to go ahead with the work. Meanwhile Liz dupes Steve and Michelle into working the same shift, hoping it’ll give them a chance to talk. Will her efforts be rewarded?
ALL IS NOT AS IT SEEMS WITH MICHAEL’S SON. When Gavin fails to turn up for his appointment at the salon, Michael gives him a call. At first Gavin shouts at Michael to leave him alone but later calls at No.8 apologising for snapping and suggesting it might be better if they didn’t see each other again. Michael’s gutted and begs Gavin to reconsider. Will he agree?
DEV HAS A CASE OF THE GREEN EYED MONSTER. Dev does his best to sabotage Dominic’s date with Julie by warning him that she’s already got him pegged for marriage and sleeps with 9 cats on her bed.
ELSEWHERE Craig gives Norris his first lesson on his tablet computer and shows him how to download the astronomy app.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Manic Depressive Writes

It's rare that I find a connection between Corrie and my own life.  Weatherfield is a heightened world that exists outside the norm; I have no long-lost relatives, I've never had a baby or been divorced, and a tram has never fallen on my head.  Admittedly, I did once club an ex-boyfriend to death with a tacky statuette, but that was ages ago.

Steve's current battle with depression has hit home quite badly.  I'm suddenly seeing parts of my life on screen.  The doctor's questionnaire, the resigned looks, the fear of madness.  The sheer terror of that first panic attack.  I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety five years ago, and since then I've had it infiltrate every part of my existence.  Watching Steve go through the same symptoms as I did is strange; like seeing myself from the outside.

Depression is different for every person.  The way Steve feels though - the absence of joy, the lack of engagement, the constant desire to crawl under the bed clothes and stay there - it's really familiar.  Depression doesn't make you "sad"; it makes you nothing.  It hollows you out and leaves you empty.  The happiest experiences of your life become irrelevant, and you can't understand why people want to spend time with someone like you.  You're worthless.  Nothing.

I got help.  Thank goodness for the NHS.  I got regular doses of anti-depressants, and I saw a psychiatrist and a counsellor.  I had to give up work but luckily I had a caring partner who helped and supported me.

Which is where Steve's been let down, of course.  Michelle's complete lack of sympathy for Steve is heartbreaking for him and revolting for us as viewers.  Right from the start it's all been about her.  "Steve's not very talkative - it must be because he's going off me!"  She's motoring along in Michelle world and doesn't spot that there is something significantly wrong with the man she supposedly loves; she's not even suggested that he see a doctor.  No, as far as Michelle is concerned, Steve's just doing all this to annoy her.  I hope she stays kipping on Carla's sofa or, better yet, gets a job on another cruise ship.  That sinks.

More upsetting is Liz's attitude, which seems to come out of plot contrivance rather than actual characterisation.  I find it hard to believe that Liz wouldn't be more sensitive to her son's change in personality.  I'd be interested to hear what Beverley Callard - who's suffered from mental health issues herself - would have to say on the matter.

It's good to see Corrie deal with an issue that affects people across the country, but doesn't get the same levels of sympathy that other illnesses get.  "Pull yourself together" is most people's idea of how to deal with it and let me tell you, it's not that easy.  I'm getting better, and I hope Steve does too.

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Coronation Street Blog interview with Antony Cotton

Sean Tully has been unlucky in love to say the least, but there will soon be a new man on the scene. The new man is a man of the cloth, a man of God - in short he’s a vicar.

I was privileged to meet Antony Cotton at Media City as he talked about his new storyline. Sean hasn’t had a meaty story for some time, but it really is his turn now.

Asked why Sean is unlucky in love, Antony gave quite an amazing answer. Sean came into Coronation Street, just as Raquel, played by Sarah Lancashire, left. It is Antony’s theory that the writers carried on writing for Raquel, who they seemed to think had metamorphosised into Sean. Never having written for an openly gay man, they basically wrote Sean as Raquel. So, it stands to reason that Sean is always unlucky in love because Raquel was.

Antony knew that he had to hit the ground running when he first appeared on screen. He said that at first, he would have been happy with three months, but then decided that he had to get himself, as an actor, noticed so that he could extend his time on the cobbles. So, 13 years later – well, something went right.

Antony pointed out that Sean has not really had a story for a year now, other than being at The Rovers, the factory and at the Grimshaw’s. As long as he’s there present in the show, he’s happy though. Antony enjoys very much living with the Grimshaw’s and working with Sue Cleaver, Eileen, Bruno Langley, Todd and Ryan Thomas, Jason. He says that the writers have the ‘family voice’ exactly right as they do with the Platts.

  ‘I am the older brother they never wanted,’ laughed Antony but actually he is like their older brother and they have simply forgotten that they are not related. In the Grimshaw household Sean was originally a lodger but is now most definitely part of the family. He is Eileen’s rock and someone she could not manage without.

Sean is more than that too. Sean, uniquely, amongst the cast has no enemies in Weatherfield. He is its moral voice and compass. If Sean says it’s wrong, then it’s wrong. 

Who then is the new man in Sean’s life?  Well, Underworld has planned an outing, but gradually everyone drops out except for Sean and Sinead. Sinead is a strange dancer, apparently, but she does manage to get Billy, who is leading his congregation the next day, and Sean, talking. The actor who plays Billy is in the show initially for 6 months. It could be more, but Antony doesn’t know what the writers have in store for Sean and Billy. What Antony does know is that Billy is a very hardworking vicar because his work is a vocation rather than just a job. Billy is also a modernizer, which may well cause conflict with the more traditional members of the congregation.

Interestingly, Antony says that he never watches himself playing Sean. He fast forwards to avoid himself, though he does enjoy watching the rest of the cast.

Asked if there were any downsides to playing Sean, Antony spoke of the vile abuse he receives on social media. He wasn’t specific about the insults but did say that they consisted of the vilest, nastiest insults that anyone could possibly throw at someone. It is then most admirable, under such provocation, that Antony has never once retaliated – in fact he makes a point of never ‘slagging anyone else off.’

On the plus side, and because he is in the show, Antony has several achievements to his name. He is an ambassador for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. He has met the queen, he has been twice to Number 10, under 2 governments, and his mum, Edna, is very pleased by this.

Antony has also done considerable work for LGBT support. Sean has never apologized on the cobbles for who he is and nor has Antony, the character reflecting the person and the person reflecting the character.

Antony’s mum, as mentioned, is called Edna and that is what Antony has called her all his life. His mum would have loved him to call her mum, but it wasn’t to be.

There is a gentle, but solid self confidence in Antony Cotton, which seems to have been with him for some time. As a five-year old, just starting school, he said to the teacher, ‘I have come here to learn how to read and write, no to colour in.’

Asked if he would like to stay in the show until he’s as old as Norris and Rita, there was a definite yes. He envisages himself and Fiz as the future Norris and Rita. Though of course, Sean would be a much more likeable person. 

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Spoilers for next week's Coronation Street, Dec 1 - 5

Without any piffle, here's the storyline for the week ahead on Coronation Street, all wrapped up nicely in 50 words or less.

Week of Monday 1 to Friday 5 December

Note: schedule changes this week.  One episode on Monday 1 December.  Hour-long episode on Wednesday 3 December.  Double episode on Friday 5 December.

Tracy and Carla come to blows, Kevin eyes up new girl Diane, Sean and Sinead hit the town and Sean meets Billy the vicar, Yasmeen wants to buy No. 6.

The full weekly preview, with pictures is right here on
Missed last week's Corrie?

Catch up with the Coronation Street Weekly Updates   


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Monday, 24 November 2014

Preview of tonight's double Corrie - Monday 24 November

Monday 24th November
STEVE CAN’T FACE UP TO THE TRUTH OF HIS CONDITION. Steve lies in bed, utterly depressed. Liz is frustrated by Steve’s attitude, worried about the impact it’s having on Amy. With this in mind Steve plucks up the courage and goes to see the doctor. It’s clear he’s suffering a panic attack but the doctor calms him down and diagnoses Steve with depression. But when the doctor suggests psychotherapy for Steve’s condition how will he react?
GAVIN FALLS FOR MICHAEL HOOK, LINE AND SINKER. As Michael heads out on a fishing trip with Gavin, Gail reminds him that he must tell his son about his heart condition. In conversation Michael explains how he burgled Gail’s house but she forgave him. When Michael then lets slip that Gail sold her house to David so must have some substantial savings, Gavin’s all ears.
TRACY FEELS IT’S HER AGAINST THE WORLD. Tony calls in Barlow’s Buys and offers to supply Tracy with some more gear. Tracy gives him short shrift, telling him she wants nothing to do with him.
ELSEWHERE Julie makes a point of telling Dev about her forthcoming date with Dominic. Dev feigns disinterest whereas Mary’s thrilled with this news. Norris finally tracks down his elusive parcel. He’s touched to discover it’s a telescope from Ramsay that he must have sent before he died.

Monday 24th November
STEVE FINDS HIMSELF ON THE ROAD TO NOWHERE. When Michelle gets a call from school to say Steve has failed to collect Amy, she sets off. Meanwhile Steve sits parked up in his car and tries to summon the courage to text his Mum but can’t bring himself to do it. Discovering the car won’t start, Steve’s forced to phone Kevin to tow him home. Back on the street Liz and Michelle lay into Steve, demanding to know where he’s been and what he’s playing at. Unable to handle their hostility, Steve turns and walks away. The doctor approaches Steve and implores him to talk to his family about his depression. Will Steve finally open up?
MICHAEL HASN’T THE HEART TO TELL GAVIN THE TRUTH. Michael introduces Gavin to Audrey, who’s interested to hear that Audrey owns her own hair salon. However when Audrey quizzes Gavin about his Mum, Gavin’s evasive. In the Rovers Michael admits to Gail he still hasn’t told Gavin about his heart condition, explaining he wants to get to know his son better before he drops the bombshell.
FINANCIAL WOES FORCE TRACY TO MAKE A HARD DECISION. With Beth’s help, Tracy sorts through Rob’s things hoping to sell them in the shop and make a bit of much needed money.
ELSEWHERE Dev calls on Julie intending to admit his feelings but will he bottle it?

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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Happy Birthday Sue Nicholls!

On behalf of everyone at the Coronation Street Blog I'd like to wish the wonderful Sue Nicholls a very happy birthday! 

Audrey Roberts has long been my favourite Corrie character and I hope Sue will grace our favourite soap for many more years to come. 

Many happy returns Sue!

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My issue with Steve's depression storyline

Over the past few days I have been thinking about how appropriate it is for Coronation Street to feature issue-led storylines. Steve McDonald's depression is the most current example of this. It's making uncomfortable viewing, in more ways that one.

When I blogged about Tim's literacy issues last week I received a lot of feedback from people who wished Corrie would ditch the big issues and focus on entertaining us viewers. While I would hate for Coronation Street to turn into EastEnders and I still believe character-led drama and comedy are Corrie's strengths, I think the programme does handle sensitive, thought-provoking issues well on the whole. Whether it be Sally's breast cancer or Tyrone's domestic violence plot, I really do think Corrie has a lot of power when it comes to educating the viewing public. 

Simon Gregson is terrific as Steve. He has brought his character on leaps and bounds since his first appearance as a gobby delinquent teenager back in 1989. In recent times Steve has mellowed from the bad lad we used to love into a softer, middle aged comedy character that most characters on the show send up and in some cases, belittle. I have been quite out-spoken on this blog in the past about the treatment Steve receives from his partner Michelle and to a lesser extent from Liz. Although often played for "comedy", it frequently leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I just don't like it. After all Steve is a successful businessman, a doting dad and a good friend to those close to him. 

I still believe Steve is a good character to put at the centre of a mental health storyline. On the surface of it, he has it all. Things have come a little unstuck of late with his involvement in the Peter and Tina story and that, coupled with turning 40 has hit him hard. I think Simon Gregson is a good enough actor to pull this one off and I know that a lot of research will have gone into writing this plot. There is one thing that just jars for me in all of this and I can't escape it. Michelle. 

It was a mistake to put Steve and Michelle back together. It didn't work the first time and it doesn't work now. Putting it bluntly, she treats him like dirt. Everything is about her. She is rude, obnoxious and always thinks she knows best. She knows something is not right with Steve's current behaviour but she still manages to put herself before anything else. The way those closest to Steve have treated him has made a massive contribution to his current state of mind. The trouble is he won't admit it and they just can't see it.

Stuart Blackburn promoted this as a love story between Steve and Michelle. I'm sure his intentions are genuine and true but I just cannot see this for a moment. A Coronation Street love story is Hilda and Stan. It's Roy and Hayley. It's Alf and Audrey. It's not Steve and Michelle. Michelle is a deeply unsympathetic character and therefore during all of their recent relationship woes, I cannot empathise with her at all. This has a massive impact on the dramatic effect this storyline can generate. Had it been Julie or Sally or even Beth it would have been a richer, more layered story I could believe in. 

When Steve eventually shares his diagnosis with his close family I really hope Michelle and Liz show some remorse and work hard to both help him through it and understand their part in the problem. I also hope the writers see sense and bring an end to Steve and Michelle's relationship. It does neither character any favours. 

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Singers and Musicians wanted for Christmas on the Cobbles

Know your 'Twelve Days of Christmas' from your 'First Noel'? Your Wizzard from your Mud? Your Little Donkey from your Little Drummer Boy?

Coronation Street The Tour wants to hear from you!

I attended a preview of Christmas on the Cobbles on Friday, and learned that they are inviting local talent in the form of choirs, singing groups and brass bands to entertain visitors to the cobbles with carols and festive numbers between 13 and 24 December. 

Singers and musicians "can range from 8 years old to 108" we're told, and will need to be available for a minimum of one performance on either a morning or afternoon between these dates.

To apply to sing or play on the street in the lead up to Christmas, e-mail by 5pm on Friday 28 November.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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