Monday, 31 January 2011

Away from the Street . . .

"Weatherfield, douze points!"
Other than Corrie, the other great slice of joy in my life is the annual festival of horror that is the Eurovision Song Contest. I've racked my brains and can't really come up with any decent links between the two, apart from Keith Duffy (Ciaran) having performed during the interval at the 1997 contest in Dublin.

Maybe I'm missing something obvious. Perhaps Sandie Shaw once worked in the Corner Shop. Or Katie Boyle pulled pints in the Rovers. Agnetha from ABBA sewed knickers in the factory. If you are able to link Weatherfield and Eurovision, please let me know!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Shobna legs it!

The new corner shop uniform was interesting . . .
 A bit of fun for a Friday! I found this picture tucked away in a folder. It shows the lovely Shobna Gulati at last year's Manchester Pride parade. I reckon if you have a pair of pins like that, then why not show 'em off?

In praise of Mikey North . . .

Gary Windass is fast becoming one of my favourite Corrie characters. Thanks to the excellent Mikey North, Gary has evolved from being a one dimensional thug into a young man plunged into self-doubt. North's performance in the 20 January episode of the Street was emotional and riveting. Here's hoping the storyliners have much more in store for Gary.

It has to be said that North's performance was in marked contrast to that of Ben Price, playing the latest elderly incarnation of Nick Tilsley. Price gave us several of his frequent pained facial expressions, grimaces and standard arm-folding routine. For me, this characterisation just does not work and maybe it's time that the character of Nick was sent on another long vacation to Canada.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

John Stape kills Mrs Warboys!

Mrs Warboys - both feet in the grave
It was with a little grim satisfaction that I bore witness to the murder of One Foot in the Grave's Mrs Warboys this week. Victor Meldrew's erstwhile neighbour breathed her last, accompanied by a bowl of Freshco soup, an inhaler plus a rather dodgy photo of her 'son' which was either a thirty year old picture of John Duttine or a doctored snap of John Stape with a stick-on moustache.

However, the episode got me thinking. After disposing of Mrs Warboys, maybe John could also re-visit some other old sitcoms and bump off a selection of supporting characters. How about ...

Nora Batty - John arrives in Holmfirth and mistakenly strangles Nora with her own stockings . . .

"John Stape played havoc with my . . ."
Mrs Slocombe - there's trouble for John when he comes face to face with the blue-rinsed one's pussy and traps it in the lift doors of Grace Brothers . . .

Thelma Ferris - Bob's wife from The Likely Lads comes a cropper when John, slipping out from the bookies for 'five minutes', turns up on Tyneside . . .

Olive - like the back-end of a bus . . .
Olive - more like under the buses than On the Buses as John takes to the wheel of a London routemaster - with devestating consequences.

John's Murderous Adventures in Sitcom Land could just be the ratings winner that ITV1 is looking for. Then again . . .

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Food glorious food!

The joy of a Weatherfield fish supper
Let's face it - Corrie is not exactly known for its cuisine. Down the years we have been presented with some, frankly, horrific meals. The Ogdens were forever emptying portions of flabby fish and chips on to dinner plates. Early 1980s Gail was often 'treating' Our Brian to some hideous leftover from the café. The Rovers always sported that cabinet full of insipid pies and you could always pop over to the corner shop were someone would be blowing fag smoke over the freshly prepared ham barms.

Deirdre dusts off her recipe for faggots in rum sauce
Jackson's chippy, Prima Doner, Wong's chippy, Liane's cheerless Italian restaurant - they have all provided comfort and, probably, botulism for the fair folk of Weatherfield. You can understand why eating out is so popular given Deirdre's recipe for success this week. No, I'm not speaking of her legendary smoked ham. In fairness it's not smoked when she takes it out of the packet but after Deirdre's exhaled on it . . . No, I speak of her offer of providing Ciaran with his tea on Monday - chicken pie with peas and ready salted crisps. I kid you not! Deirdre - a woman so idle that she can't even be bothered to peel a potato. We salute you Deirdre Barlow, domestic goddess of Weatherfield!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Sean Egan - 50 Years of Coronation Street

Like many Corrie fans I was fascinated by the prospect of a warts-and-all stroll through the history of the show, courtesy of journalist and author Sean Egan. He billed this as a 'very unofficial history' which is a fair comment, as it includes selected opinions of some of the people responsible for the programme since 1960.

Some of the stories are well-known. There were attempts at various times to reign in the excesses of Pat Phoenix, especially in light of the somewhat harsh treatment she meted out to any other actors who crossed her. However, of more interest is the tittle tattle that receives little exposure. Back in 1968 there were plans for several Corrie spin-offs, one of which would have seen Jack and Annie Walker running a country pub with Ena Sharples as their housekeeper. Or how about the lengthy three day conference on how to keep the character of Curly Watts in the programme.

Egan also lists, perhaps with a little venom, the many inconsistencies that have sprung up over the years. He particularly disliked the emerging back story of Mike Baldwin, as history was re-written in order to provide him with a family. Egan also flags up one of the current moans of many Corrie fans regarding the bizarre personality change of Tracy Barlow from forthright young woman into a murderous hussy.

Perhaps most interesting are Egan's interviews with various writers and producers, many of whom seem to have barely tolerated each other. John Stevenson in particular comes across as a man who put heart and soul into his relationship with the programme. Overtures to the likes of Stan Barstow in the 1960s failed, in part, as he felt that he could not write within the restrictive nature demanded of him. As an ideas man, he provided producers with a number of potential storylines, including Jerry Booth becoming the Street's first gay character and a pregnant single mum in the shape of Emily Nugent!

There are one or two sloppy errors in the book, most notably mention of Sally Webster marrying Danny Hargreaves but overall this an engaging, thought-provoking and highly titilating romp through half a century of drama both in front of and behind the camera.