Friday, 22 August 2014

Should this rover return for good?

I don't know about you but I'm really enjoying seeing Charles Lawson back on screen as Jim McDonald. I've always loved Jim and his relationships with Liz and Steve. Charlie Lawson always steps up to the mark.

Jim is a proper bloke in the style of Len Fairclough, flawed and less than perfect but very watchable. He also has a great screen presence and wonderful chemistry with both Beverley Callard and Simon Gregson. We know that Jim's return is only temporary but he will thankfully share scenes with Liz and Steve before his latest stint ends.

As far as I am concerned there is never going to be any other man for Liz. Despite all they've done to one another over the years, the bond is still there. So the question I'm asking is, would you like to see Jim McDonald return to Corrie on a more permanent basis? 

I'd love to see him get out of jail (it was easy for Tracy, so why not for Jim?) and turf Tony out of Liz's back parlour. Jim is a Corrie legend, going back to one of the programme's real golden eras.

So what do you think? Will Liz and Tony go the distance or would you love to see Jim back for good? Catch yourself on Elizabeth! 

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Roy and Hayley's Woody up for sale

Coronation Street Blog reader Allen De Young has written to tell us that a very well known Corrie vehicle is currently up for sale. 

Yes, Roy and Hayley Cropper's lovely "Woody", a 1963 Morris Minor Traveller is on the market for a new owner. As you will remember only Hayley drove the car on screen as Roy couldn't drive, despite her best efforts to encourage him before her sad death earlier this year.

If you fancy driving about in a piece of modern day Coronation Street history, have a look here. Thanks Allen! 

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From Script To Screen: A Night To Remember

A big thank you to our guest blogger Martyn Hett for this post

Earlier this week I headed to The Lowry to attend Coming Out - From Script To Screen, a discussion on homosexuality in Coronation Street taking place as part of Manchester Pride Fringe. I managed to bag a front row seat, and sat with palpitations knowing that within minutes I would be just feet away from the big man himself, Tony Warren.

Damon Rochefort introduced the event with a montage highlighting Corrie’s best moments throughout the years. It was met with lots of laughter and the fans in the audience were completing the actors’ lines as though they were at a Sound Of Music sing-along. Following the montage, Jonathan Harvey, Debbie Oates, Brooke Vincent, Anthony Cotton and Tony Warren entered the stage to rousing applause and took their seats.

As the discussion began, it was like crack for the superfans in the audience. The chemistry between the writers was infectious, the anecdotes from the actors were insightful and exciting, and Tony Warren commanded the entire room every time he spoke as though he were The Pope.

The Writers

Debbie Oates was a delight to listen to. She was incredibly witty, full of expression and seemed genuinely passionate about the LGBT cause – even claiming to be referred to as ‘Head Of Lesbian’ at Coronation Street. She discussed the unease felt by some of the writers when gay characters were initially introduced, with some claiming ‘not to know how gays think’ to which she responded, “You don’t know how women think either, but you still write for them!”

Damon Rochefort and Jonathan Harvey also provided great insight on their personal feelings towards Coronation Street’s portrayal of homosexuality, with Harvey making the very honest admission that he had previously felt excluded by the soap due to lack of representation. Rochefort and Harvey’s inappropriate jokes had me laughing out loud on several occasions, and the evening seemed to be constructed similarly to Coronation Street itself: the serious made digestible with regular doses of humour.

From a fan’s point of view, it was great to see some of the writers in the flesh, particularly names that I pray for at the beginning of an episode. Between the stories about the lines they can’t believe they got away with (Blanche’s “nasty gash”, anyone?) and their personal reflections on some of the more hard hitting scenes, it felt almost like a night at the Rovers with a group of old mates.

The Cast

Brooke Vincent, who joked about being the ‘nation’s favourite lesbian’, spoke of her fear at being given such a big challenge at the age of 16, her initial reaction being, “Why me?” I got a real sense of personal journey when she spoke, and it seemed as though playing the character of Sophie from such a young age had helped Brooke to develop her own sense of self.

When discussing her character, it was noted that she had been in the soap since birth and that the audience had watched her grow and develop as a person. This raised the interesting point that Sophie had not been brought into Coronation Street especially to be gay, and that the audience had had a chance to explore sexuality through the eyes of somebody they had witnessed growing up.

The biggest revelation of the evening for me was Anthony Cotton. Anthony discussed the abuse he regularly receives from members of the gay community who claim he has “set the gay cause back 25 years”. I’m ashamed to admit, this was an opinion I had shared until recently. As somebody who has always been flamboyant, I am no stranger to internalised homophobia. However, it wasn’t until recently that I realised that my disdain towards flamboyancy in the media was actually a projection of my own self-hate.

Anthony touched upon this when I questioned him on the issue of homophobia within the gay community. His answer was eloquent and heartrending, yet at the same time encouraging, particularly for somebody like myself. He mentioned that he had never featured on the front cover of a gay glossy, which instead tend to favour “naked straight men with boxing gloves in front of their willies”. These in turn become the role models for younger gay men, meaning the character of Sean becomes less aspirational. Couple this with people’s inability to distinguish between fiction and real life, and it becomes pretty clear to see that Anthony has suffered. Nevertheless, Anthony spoke of his achievements and the importance of representing every part of the spectrum, and it turned out to be one of the most poignant moments of the evening.

Tony Warren

From the moment Tony Warren entered the stage a sense of admiration and respect could be felt across the entire room. You could hear a pin drop when he spoke, and the same Tony Warren who refused to come down from the filing cabinet at Granada was clearly still present, albeit older and wiser.

Tony discussed a story conference in the early days at which he stood up to speak against anti-gay language being used by saying, “Without a poof, none of you would be in work this morning!” When his colleagues responded by saying it wasn’t directed at him, he simply said, “Call my brothers, and you call me.” It was a stark reminder of how difficult it must have been for somebody like Warren in those days, and brought the earlier discussion about internalised homophobia back into the forefront of my mind. How have we gotten to the point where we are attacking each other when people such as Tony faced daily battles simply to exist in society?

In response to a fan question about Coronation Street’s perceived ‘lateness’ when it came to representing the gay community, Tony mentioned that there were underlying fears that advertisers may have pulled out had Coronation Street introduced a gay character any sooner. Never one to leave the tone too serious, he then joked that we had come a long way since then as the current sponsorship seems to feature two gay meerkats raising a baby together. The audience was left in stitches.

Given that Coronation Street has pretty much dominated my entire life, this event was a dream come true; after all, it gave me the chance to publicly fangirl over my favourite writers, members of the cast and Tony himself. But the event also raised several important issues on the historical struggles faced by the LGBT community, as well as the rather different struggles faced by people such as Anthony today.

Thanks to Damon Rochefort for putting together such a wonderful event, and thanks to Tony Warren for making my dreams come true by posing for a photograph with me at the end. It was most definitely an evening I will never forget.

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Fab Photo Friday - August 22nd 2014

It's Friday again so it's time for this week's fab Coronation Street photo. Here's a popular couple from the past (not with me but others seemed to like them, I always thought Mavis was wasted on Derek and should have plumped for Victor), who are up to something odd.

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Spot the Corrie prop - August 22nd 2014

Many congratulations if you spotted that last week's manky oven mitt can be found in Lloyd's flat.

For this week's prop puzzle all you have to do is tell us whereabouts on Coronation Street you would find this stripey storage solution.

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Preview of tonight's double Corrie - Friday 22 August

Friday 22nd August
LEANNE REACHES BOILING POINT. Leanne’s incensed when Kal and Eva claim she’s been unfair about
Nick faking his seizures. Rubbing her nose in it, Nick mocks Leanne as she sweeps up outside the kebab
shop. When she lays into him in, Nick feigns a dizzy spell. Kal and Sally rush to his aid as an irate Gail
confronts Leanne. Leanne’s had enough and storming into Kylie’s birthday meal at the bistro she starts
smashing bottles and demanding Nick tells the truth.
MADDIE TAKES DRASTIC ACTION TO SAVE ECCLES. Sophie and Maddie are babysitting Amy and Simon.
Fed up of Maddie giving Simon all the attention, Amy deliberately unties Eccles outside the shop.
Deirdre’s distraught to discover Eccles is missing and Sophie and Maddie set off in search. When they
find her injured in the alleyway Maddie rushes to the garage and gets Carla’s car which she was valeting.
JIM CALLS IN A FAVOUR FROM PETER. Peter begs Jim to reinstate his booze supply. Sensing his
desperation Jim agrees to supply more alcohol in exchange for a favour, he wants Peter to persuade
Steve to visit him.
ELSEWHERE Lloyd and Steve think up pranks to play on Neil to teach him a lesson.

Friday 22nd August
NICK AND LEANNE PUT THEIR PROBLEMS TO BED. The Platts are aghast as an hysterical Leanne denounces Nick for distressing Simon with his fake seizures. Will Nick confess to his stunned family that he has indeed been lying? Alone Nick and Leanne have a heartfelt talk. Will Nick accept that Leanne’s future is with Kal and agree to a fair divorce settlement or will hostilities continue? Meanwhile Kal’s son Zeedan phones, but hangs up at the mention of Leanne. Do the couple face fresh opposition?
MADDIE FACES THE WRATH OF CARLA. Carla’s furious to discover Maddie has taken Eccles on a mercy
dash to the vets in her car. Maddie grovels to Carla, explaining her good intentions, will Carla agree not
to call the police?
PETER DOES JIM’S BIDDING. Peter doubts he’ll be able to coerce Steve into visiting Jim, but Jim refuses
to give him another drink until he manages it. Peter phones Steve and begs him to come and see him in
prison. Will Peter agree?
ELSEWHERE Lloyd and Steve stake out Neil’s house from their car and are highly amused when a
children’s clown they booked knocks on his door.

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Thursday, 21 August 2014

More Corrie news from Stuart Blackburn

As promised yesterday, there was a second part of the interview with Stuart Blackburn on Digital Spy. There were some interesting glimpses into what's in store for several characters including Tim who, in addition to being involved in Faye's storyline, will have something else revealed about him of a less comic nature.  I was also quite happy to hear that a reunion between Kevin and Sally is not on the books. I personally feel they're done and yet another reunion would be tedious.

Regarding the Platts, he assures us Paula Lane will return from her maternity leave and he's also quite chuffed at how well Les Dennis is working out as Michael Rodwell.

Antony Cotton's Sean is going to have a new romance but as always in a soap, there's going to be complications. "It's a really serious love story, as Sean is absolutely going to fall for this person. The only problem is who he falls in love with and what that means for the relationship - can it ever prosper?"

Katy Armstrong is going to take her future into her own hands and there will be someone from her, Izzy and Owen's past coming back into their lives. Could that be Owen's ex-wife? Cilla's coming back and she needs help and maybe we'll find out why Todd has changed so much. When asked, Mr. Blackburn says "At some point yes, but we're not there yet."

He also defends the decision to let Philip Lowrie (Dennis Tanner) go by talking about it being the result of bringing the old Dennis back, the one that schemed and ducked and dived. His fate was a result of that but he doesn't seem to write off ever having him back again if they come up with a good storyline for Dennis. Nice piece of deflection, or as we in Canada say "stick handling". 

Nick's future may not be quite so grim though they're going to be realistic and not make his brain damage vanish without a trace and there might even be a new love interest. Steve's mid-life crisis isn't gone and that may lead to a bumpy road for him and Michelle but it sounds like they will manage to see it through.

All in all, a few interesting bits and pieces in this interview.

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Coronation Street fan of the week - Kenneth in Michigan, USA

It's time to meet another Corrie fan of the week.
Would you like to be our Coronation Street fan of the week? 
Click here to find out more.

Kenneth with his dog Watson, an English Setter
Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Kenneth T Morris from Bay City, Michigan and I have a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology.  

How long have you been watching Corrie?
I started watching Corrie in 1990, when I retired.

Who are your favourite female and male characters - and the reasons why?

My favourite male character is Steve, god bless his addled mind and Becky, who was a real character through and through is my favourite female.

What's been some of your favourite Corrie storylines over the years?
Favourite story line was Hayley's death.  Could there be another?  

And what would your fantasy Corrie storyline be?

I would love a story where Gail meets a man who would be good to and for her.

Have you any snippets or news about meeting any of the Corrie cast, or trips to the set, etc., that you'd like to share?

Being here (in the US) and not there, I have not met any actors.

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