Wednesday, 10 November 2010

BAFTA salutes Corrie!

The great and the good of Corrie!
Like many others I braved the chill of london's South Bank last night for an evening of Corrie par excellence. In all honestly I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Would sitting through the first three episodes of my favourite soap be a case of overkill? I need not have worried. Firstly, it was wonderful to see these black and white beginnings on the big screen. As an audience, our affection for the characters was evident immediately. A warm murumur of "aah" went up as Annie Walker appeared. There was a cheer and plenty of laughs as Ena Sharples strode into the Corner Shop for the first time, with her machine gun delivery telling a tale of crematoriums, bay windows and bleach - and no eclairs!

Later it was the turn of the Corrie panel, consisting of Executive Producer Kieran Roberts, current producer Phil Collinson, David Neilson (Roy), Kym Marsh (Michelle)and the Grande Dame of all things Corrie, Tony Warren. Indeed, Warren ruled the roost in a manner that would have had Annie Walker applauding from the sidelines.

This latter stage of the evening kicked off with a wonderful montage of some of the most memorable events and faces from the past half century. I found this oddly moving and had a bit of a lump in my throat, especially the final scene of Ken Barlow walking down the Street in reflective mood.

Chaired by Radio 4's Dominic Lawson, the panel discussion was a good-natured meander down the years. Phil Collinson, who came across as a man who obviously loves is work, spoke about his reception as the new producer. He mentioned that actors did their very best to avoid in, probably fearing his tabloid persona of "Killer Cull-inson".

Tony Warren had a wealth of stories, many of them known to the masses already, but made that bit more special by having him chat about them in person. There was a lovely anecdote about his never-ending search for the 'right' Ena Sharples, concerning some woman who was whisked from reception at Granada and was made to stand in front of a camera for a screen test. "But I only popped in to meet my daughter" she told the director!

Each panel member chose a favourite scene from the past and so, amongst others, the audience relived Hilda's grief at losing Stan and poor old Roy trying to escape from the Barlows following his "night of passion" with Tracy.

I got the feeling that both the audience and the panel would have happily remained in the theatre until midnight. Perosnally, I loved being amongst a crowd of people who had such great affection for the show and who recognised the in-jokes. It was a cold walk back across the Thames to Embankment station but the memory of an evening full of warmth stayed with me on the journey home.

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