Monday, 14 December 2015

The Darth Vader Effect

You've heard of the "butterfly effect" where one small change can have a large and long standing effect? This month, we've had a reappearance of what I like to call the Darth Vader effect where a close family member or, in this case, a close family friend turns out to be the biological father of one of the Corrie characters. The term harkens back to the Star Wars series when Luke Skywalker's mortal enemy, Darth Vader, revealed himself to be Luke and Leia's biological father, Anakin Skywalker.

It isn't new. It's quite well known in the soap world. Aunties or Uncles or mortal enemies (see above) turn out to be the real mothers or fathers of children. (This is rampant in American soaps where long lost children are reconnected with biological parents more often than the Muppets had movie sequels!)  Sometimes a character thinks their parent has died but then they turn up very much alive. This happens on American soaps frequently, too. Sometimes adopted parents, or one of them actually is the biological parent of the adoptee. Often, a man discovers children he didn't know he had, from an ill advised affair or a long lost love.

On Coronation Street, we've had "Uncle" Fred Elliott revealed as Ashley Peacock's biological father from an affair Fred had with a coworker. Ashley was reared by Fred's sister and brother-in-law. I don't recall if Ashley knew he was adopted or not but when the storyline was on our screens in the late 90s, Ashley's "father" had already passed away. Ashley and Fred became very close, a proper father and son team.

When Corrie first aired in 1960, Ken Barlow had a pretty girlfriend. Susan Cunningham. They drifted apart and Ken was shocked to discover that Susan had his son. She'd sent a letter that got lost behind a skirting board before Ken received it. Emily Bishop, who lives in the house Ken grew up in, discovered it and passed it on. The letter revealed the child's existence. Ken tracked Lawrence Cunningham down and met him though Lawrence was revealed to be a bit of a prat. Lawrence's son, James, took full advantage of his new grandfather and engineered a scam through a homeless shelter. Ken has no contact with either of them as a result.

Mike Baldwin is the king of the Darth Vader Effect. All three of his sons were unaware of his existence for a time, and two of them were also unknown to Mike as his children.

After Mike Baldwin's brother died, his sister-in-law revealed that her son, Danny, was Uncle Mike's biological son after an affair they'd had many years ago. Mike was delighted to have another son though Danny was less than impressed. In the end, though, Danny took care of Mike when he had Alzheimer's and was genuinely sad when Mike died. This wasn't Mike's first time discovering an unknown child. His ex-wife, Susan Barlow, left him after apparently having a termination, not wanting to bring up a child with a husband she had fallen out of love with. Turns out she had the baby, a son named Adam, and never told anyone but her brother, Peter. It was quite a shock when the truth came out and there was the inevitable clash between Mike and his old enemy, Ken. Mike also had a third son, Mark Redmond who didn't know Mike was his biological dad until the mid 90s when Deirdre let the secret out to Tracy who in turn told Mark out of spite.

Curly Watts found out he had a daughter he didn't know about. His former wife, Raquel, came to him on the eve of the Millenium to tell him she had his daughter, Alice. Alice knew about daddy but daddy didn't know about Alice which was kind of a rotten thing to do. Raquel was bringing Alice up in France where she was working and had come to Curly for a divorce so she could remarry. Alice would be 18 now!

Don't think the women are left out, either though it's not as common. Women know they've given birth but sometimes the child doesn't know a specific woman is their mother. Leanne knew her mother had left when she was small and was dismayed to find that the new Rovers manager, Stella Price was her mother. (Stella's not an overly common name. I wondered why Leanne never mused "Oh, my mother's name was Stella" in front of Ms. Price) . Other soaps have had aunties or older sisters turn out to be the mother of a niece/nephew/younger sibling, but I'm not sure that has happened on Corrie, has it? Michelle Connor discovered the son she raised for 16 years was actually someone else's child altogether, the babies having been mixed up in the hospital. She never bonded with her biological son and that storyline is really best forgotten.


Johnny Connor, a newly arrived relative of Michelle's family is the latest in the line of men to have surprise children thrust upon them. He had a one night stand with Carla's mother 40 years ago and had always suspected she might be his daughter. But Carla's mother was a drunk and was not a faithful wife to her equally unlikeable husband so he could never be sure. Carla's brother revealed that his mother once told him about the fling though Rob never really believed her. He proposed the idea to Johnny as a fishing expedition and came up with a hefty catch.

It looks like it just might be true though so far, there's no real proof. Johnny will get a DNA test, however, and we'll know for sure soon enough. I'm pretty certain Carla will be Johnny's daughter and then we'll see scenes of her "reeling" when she finds out the truth. As much of a "lad" as Johnny is, it seems like he'd have been a much better father to her than the man that brought her up. He does seem to love the other two children he has, Aidan and Kate. She should be relieved, not upset, but as this is a soap, Carla will go off the deep end again while she gets her head round it but I predict they'll end up with a close father-daughter relationship in time.

Edited to add, thanks to commenters on The Coronation Street blog:
Jason Grimshaw and Julie Carp nearly had sex. Julie's mother, an old friend of Eileen's then revealed that she'd slept with Eileen's father who had seduced her when she was a teenager and Julie was the result. Therefore, Julie and Eileen are half sisters.

Maggie Clegg ran the corner shop for awhile. Her sister, Betty, helped her out. Betty, of course, was Betty Turpin, later Williams who served behind the bar for many a year. It turns out that Maggie's son, Gordon, was Betty's son from a relationship during the war. Betty was unmarried at the time so her married sister, Maggie, raised the boy as her own. As Maggie was leaving Weatherfield, the shop was handed over to the Hopkins family who found Gordon's real birth certificate in the shop flat. Maggie then told Gordon the truth.

Lloyd had a fling with the wife of his best friend, Johnny. He never know that Jenna was his biological daughter until she was nearly 30 when he bumped into Jenna's mother, Mandy at a gig. She was acting a bit odd, not really very happy to see him and eventually, once he met Jenna, Lloyd figured out the truth. Jenna and Lloyd eventually became close before she left town.

Bet Lynch had a son at the age of 16 and gave him up for adoption. We don't know if the boy knew he was adopted but when he was in the army he came to find his natural mother. He saw a tarted up blonde behind the bar who was kind of cheap and a big flirt and decided not to tell her who he was. Later, another soldier came to tell Bet that her son, Martin, had died.

Hayley discovered that she had fathered a son before she transitioned, during a short relationship with a friend. She and Christian found each other but it didn't go very well. Christian was resentful and hateful and even violent when he first found out the truth and a few years later, came back to "make up", and introduce her to his children but really, he just wanted money. In the end, Hayley gave it to him and he's not been seen since.

Audrey had an affair with Ted Page when she was a teenager and Gail was the result. She always lied about who Gail's father was but he came back into their lives and Audrey told him he had a daughter. Ted told Audrey he was gay which rather surprised her. Ted and Gail became close and he gave her away at her wedding to Richard Hillman. He continues to live in London.


Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Where's Alex?

Nessa is the mother of Alex, a 28 year old lad with Down's Syndrome. He's pretty independent and often seemed to cause his mother worry when he'd go off on his own after an argument with her. He'd sometimes end up at his Auntie Cathy's house, looking for a sympathetic smile. We first met him under those circumstances. Cathy let her sister know where he was and that he was safe. Alex showed up again a few weeks later and Nessa came to fetch him that time.

It wasn't the first or the last time Alex would go walkabout, much to his mother's chagrin even if he often complained and moaned that he was 28, after all. And mostly, other than having to be told more than once that he should at least let his mother know where he is and if he's coming home, he seemed capable of looking after himself.

Enter Ken Barlow and Nessa's new crusade to bag herself a new man. Yet another one, if Cathy is to be believed. Seems Nessa regards men like children regard sweets in the candy store window. She just can't resist. So where's Alex now? So much for Nessa's over protectiveness.

The continuity of this is really doing my head in. The first time Alex came to see Cathy, she sent him home on the train. The train, people. And that tells me that Nessa lives a little distance away, perhaps not hours, but in an area enough of a distance from Weatherfield/Manchester to be using faster transport than a bus.

Now, Nessa is working at the salon and is quickly getting her feet under Ken's table. Is she taking the train every day to commute to her job? I know people do that, but there's been no mention of it.

And what about Alex? Nessa is so focussed on Ken that she must be leaving Alex to his own devices pretty much all the time, not just in the daytime while she works, but in her leisure hours, too, because she's with Ken a lot of the time, even overnight, now. But still, no Alex. No messages, no texts. I wonder if she let him know that she wasn't going to be coming home?  She doesn't seem to be the overprotective, anxious mother now. I would love to see Alex come looking for her because she didn't come home and didn't let him know she was safe! Tit for tat, right?

Why isn't Alex invited to a meal now and then with the rest of the Barlow family? What about Christmas? If Nessa is going to be part of the Barlow Christmas, will we see Alex, too? Inquiring minds want to know why the Powers That Be seem to have dropped the ball on this. Alex appears to have been used to introduce Nessa into Ken's world and now he's been forgotten.


Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Saturday, 28 November 2015

State of the Street - November 2015

As it's the end of the month, as always, I like to look back on the storylines that particularly made an impression on me, either good or bad, along with a few other random comments.

Roy found Cathy well over a hear after Hayley died. Their friendship started slowly and bloomed into something a bit more. But mere weeks after Deirdre's death, Ken is now stepping out with a new woman. While everyone has their own experience living with grief, it's difficult for fans to accept that Ken would find a way to move on so soon. It happens, though, and more often than you realize. I think I might have been able to accept this if it had been Audrey who, inexplicably after decades, discovered that her friendly feelings for Ken have grown into something more. But the new woman in Ken's life is Nessa, Cathy's sister.

And I might even have been able to accept Nessa if the situation had developed similarly to Roy and Cathy's, with a friendship that turned into more, similar to how it looked like it might with Audrey. But Nessa relentlessly pursued Ken, knowing he was recently bereaved. It had nothing to do with extending the hand of friendship and support like Audrey was doing.

In my opinion, that's the stickler right there, the reason I dislike this pairing so much. You know how people have contempt for "ambulance chasing lawyers", or people that cash in on others' tragedies for their own gain? That's what this feels like. I know Ken was overwhelmed, reeling and very sad and lonely. I don't believe he'd have gone looking for someone just yet. I think Nessa presented herself on a plate for him and he, being lonely, accepted it.

And where's Alex, her son? What does he think of all this? I suppose he's used to his mother chasing men. Nessa impresses me as very self involved and selfish, determined to fill the hole in her own life with someone, anyone single and a vulnerable new widower seemed like just the thing. She's not even that nice. Her crack about Simon needing a good slap instead of being sympathetic rubbed me the wrong way, too. It felt like a reaction to the attention not being on her. The sooner Ken sees her for the selfish cow she is, the better.

Rant over.

I *loved* Liz's revenge on Tony! Perfectly executed. It was a bit odd that she didn't confide in anyone but then it might have been more difficult for her to pull it off. Probably good that Steve wasn't around, too, because I wonder how much more difficult it would have been for her to stick to her plan, while seeing her son get more and more upset with Tony and Liz apparently getting back together.


There are an awful lot of Connors in the show now. The new lot had a bumpy start with clients and cheap material and there still seems to be far too many crowding into the office. Poor Alya had to move her desk out on the factory floor. They made Sally the supervisor instead of the PA but you would think with that many of them, a good PA would be exactly what they'd need. Alya is going to end up being a glorified PA instead of a manager trainee at this rate. Far too many cooks in the kitchen, if you ask me.

Then there's Kate and her fiancee. Kate came in the show all excited because she had a fiancee but now she's getting cold feet about setting a wedding date? They've only known each other 7 months and most of the contact they've had would be over the internet rather than in person. Sounds like rushing in to a committment, to me. I expect that means Caz won't be around long and they'll throw Sophie and Kate together. It might actually work, though. Sophie's been so dreary for so long, with bad choices in women since she and Sian split up. Maybe Kate is a great match. Kate's sparky and lots of fun and Sophie sure needs that in her life.

And now that Sophie is a business owner, that gives her a good future. Not sure why they have her dressing like Carla Connor now though. Hanging around a grubby garage isn't really the place for designer, or at least brand new high street clothing. And where did she get the cash for this new wardrobe? Maybe Sally funded her, to give her that business woman look. It would be just like her.


After all the angst with Simon, Leanne has finally told everyone in the family the truth and she's making an attempt to get Simon the help he's needed for months. About flaming time! That's what has been so frustrating about this whole storyline. I suppose it's realistic, though, because people in that situation don't ask for help when they should. Ken even told Peter and I notice that he didn't jump on a train immediately to come see his song like most parents would. No dialogue that said he offered to, either. One of the reasons simon's in this state in the first place.

Leanne had Simon sent away to Peter for 8 weeks. I did wonder about school. Did he get school work sent to him? Did he transfer to a school there? It's one thing that Maria took Liam out of school to go to Cypress to help her mother but he's young enough that it probably isn't going to have much impact on his progress. At Simon's age, two months means missing a lot of school, the difference between passing a year and failing unless he's a genious. He's clever but I don't see him as a top of the class kid.

I was glad when Zeedan got involved as a big brother sort of figure. That is going to be good for Simon and I hope they don't forget that aspect. What Simon doesn't need is another father figure, not given the history Leanne has with doomed relationships. 

Now the storyline seems to be leading to Leanne and Robert's growing close friendship. While it makes sense, they work together, it's also predictable. Leanne has a new enemy in Tracy but I found Tracy and Robert very tedious together. He's been boring and bland. I don't care how often he says he "gets" her, and how wel he says he knows her, accepts her, warts and all, he doesn't know the woman she is now. She may have had similarities to the woman he married. She was always selfish and sharp tongued but she's grown into a very dislikeable woman, manipulative, aggressive, nasty and vindictive. He's starting to see that.

I think Tracy, like Liz, works better with a bit of a rogue. Nice guys do them no favours and they get bored after awhile. Tracy's clinging on to the past, reaching out to someone she was happy with at one time while she's reeling with the grief of losing her mother.

There were other storylines this month. Nice to see Steph and Luke get something to do even if it was more Luke than Steph. The blackmailing Jamie was suitably icky and pathetic. I thought Steph would have made quick work of him when she found out but she handled it very differently than I expected and it was a good way. She was shocked and hurt, dignified and she used their past against him, played on his guilt. It wasn't enough. He was desperate. She called his bluff and lost but she had him arrested and his girlfriend found out what he was like, too. Maybe this storyline will make naive women think twice about letting a partner take racy photos. You might trust someone at the time, but people break up and the internet is forever.

The Platts have had a bit of a rest, with Sarah away and Gail away some of the time. David and Kylie are still dealing with the aftermath of guilt and secrets and it's having a bad effect on their relationship. David's coping by being cold and Kylie can't get her head around his attitude. But he wasn't the one that took Callum's life, she was, and it's hard for her to deal with the guilt. There are a lot of people out there that believe Callum isn't dead, that he got out before the hole was filled. I can't see how they can leave him there forever. The truth has to come out and that may mean we'll lose Kylie. I'd hate to see that. It was self defence but the coverup is what would do her and David in.

Time will tell.

Christmas is coming. There's always drama along with the happy families. Will we get a Christmas Miracle regarding Hope's illness? I'm betting we will. There will be smiles and probably tears. There will be happy faces and probably one or two lonely ones as the bells ring and the clock rings in the new year.




Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)



Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Revenge is Sweet

One of the staple storylines in a soap is the love triangle. Another is revenge. Sometimes one is a result of the other but not always. The most recent revenge storyline in Coronation Street was about love but also betrayal of a different kind.

Let's recap: Tony Stewart and Liz McDonald are a couple. For the first time in a long time, Liz seems to have picked a man that she was really passionate about. That's probably because Tony had a dangerous edge and Liz likes that in a man. She gets bored with the good guys after awhile. As much as I really liked she and Lloyd together, he wasn't exciting enough for her. Tony was.



Tony also had a good side. He's matured since he and Eileen split up years ago. He finally came back into his son Jason's life and wanted to have a real father-son relationship. He had bridges to build and slowly, he did it. He financed the builder's yard for Jason and he bailed out Steve when the tax man came knocking after Steve's illness caused him to overspend and ignore the pub's finances.

But like most men on Corrie, Tony was weak, too. He started to feel a bit taken for granted, a bit used and he was ripe for the picking when Tracy Barlow wanted comfort after her fiance was nicked for murder and jailed. There is no love lost between Tracy and Liz, long time adversaries due to Tracy's history with Steve so having a fling with Liz's fella just added to the enticement. But Tracy got greedy and started to infect Tony with her need to lord it over everyone. She wanted the Rovers and she knew how to get it, by using Tony as her man behind the scenes.

Tony pretended to be in financial straits which would be solved if Steve paid back the money Tony loaned him. But Steve couldn't afford to do that. Tony found a company that would buy Steve's share but would leave them to manage it. Tony owned that company of course. He bought half the pub and got his loan returned as well. Sweet. Now he had to convince Liz to sell her half and he nearly succeeded.

Michelle was heartbroken that they would lose the pub even if they got to stay and run it. Her BFF Carla offered to buy Liz's share and they stopped the sale at the last minute. The day after the offer was made, Steve and Michelle got married and went on honeymoon so they never found out what Liz discovered the day of the wedding, that Tracy and Tony had an affair and were behind the takeover of the pub. Tracy was so pissed off that they lost the chance of owning the pub at the last minute that she went straight to Liz and spilled the beans. Tony skipped town before Liz could confront him but he knew she knew because of the message she'd left him.

Carla never did actually sign the papers, it turns out, so Liz still owned her share of the pub but Tony owned the other half. Tony came slinking back a few months later, very sorry. Nobody was willing to forgive him, least of all Liz. Tony persisted. He was willing to do anything to win her back and make it up to Steve, too, in the name of keeping peace in the family.

Little by little, Liz seemed to be coming around. She accepted that he regretted his lapse in reason with the affair but it was harder to get her head around the scheme to take the pub away from her and her family but Tony thought he had finally talked her around and so did everyone else. It was almost believable. There were no side looks over Tony's shoulder, no narrowing of the eyes or maniacal wringing of the hands or  twirling of the metaphorical moustaches involved. Bev Callard was far more subtle than that. Viewers thought they caught a glint in her eye now and then but couldn't be sure.

A number of viewers had predicted that she was luring Tony in for the fall, me included. That pub means everything to Liz and she would defend her family like a lioness. For me, the definitive moment was when she told her friends who were trying to make her see sense that she had to do what she had to do. I thought that if it was real, she'd have proclaimed something about following her heart, and a lot more passionately than she was doing. It almost felt like grim determination when she said what she said. I thought "A ha!!! here it comes!"

Sure enough, here it came. After she verified the contract that Tony signed, handing the pub back to her and Steve completely, Tony thought he had proven himself to the woman he loved.  She didn't expect Tony to then go down on one knee and propose but it probably made it all the better. She exposed him in front of everyone in the pub because that's what you do, isn't it! Publicly humiliate someone. And he deserved that at the very least after what he'd done to her.

Tony was shocked. He was confused. He looked around and saw surprise turn to glee on the faces of Liz's loved ones. They weren't in on the plot. Even Liz and Tracy Barlow seemed to be in agreement for once. Liz, a normally honest woman, took a page out of Tracy's book. She schemed and lied like a pro even though it was hard for her.

She persisted and she came out on top. Tony knew he was defeated. He didn't even get angry that he was duped out of the pub. He'd cleaned Tracy's business bank account out to get himself out of that partnership and that's pretty much all he was walking away with. And walk away he did, calling everyone pathetic on the way out. Not much of a dignified exit but it was all he could muster.

The champagne cork was popped. Liz and Michelle celebrated as did Steve who was in Spain with his brother. Liz didn't have regrets. If it had just been an affair... but it was more than that. She found it difficult lying but did what she had to do.

Revenge is sweet.


Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Cathy and Nessa - The Sister Dynamic

Cathy was introduced to us first, on Coronation Street. She was brought in as a recent widow, shy, not very confident and having had her world tossed upside down by the loss of her husband of many years (wasn't it 30 or more?). She probably had the hoarding habit before her Alan died but his death brought it out in full force. It wasn't all just junk either, it sounded as if she had been on a spending spree, particularly in second hand shops, picking up old items that might be useful someday. She was living amidst clutter that rose so high in some parts of her house that she had to climb up to look out the window and, likely do to this over spending, the bailiffs were at the door.

Roy Cropper lent his support and their friendship and his encouragement seem to have settled her down. She's enjoying life again and looking to her future with a glimmer of hope. Tyrone, Fiz and Chesney packed up her living room but presumably the rest of the house was still aclutter when she moved back in. The hoarding hasn't been mentioned and neither have the bailiffs, something that I guess the storyliners have hoped we've forgotten. I expect now that she's moved home, she's making an effort to clear out her house.

Enter her 28 year old nephew, Alex who showed up at the cafe one day. How he knew that she was living there, we were never told but presumably she did mention it to Alex's mother, her sister, Nessa. But Alex didn't tell his mother where he'd gone. He might be 28 but he's also got Down's Syndrome and once we met his mother, it became clear that she's got a tendency to be overprotective of him, something he seems to be chafing against. There may be a point, though, because he doesn't seem to understand how worried his mother would get when he takes off without notice. In my books, if you're living with someone, you let them know if you won't be coming back overnight or if you'll be later than expected.

Now we meet Nessa and we can see that the two sisters are very different from each other. Where Cathy is quiet, artistic, sympathetic and kind, Nessa is jolly, outgoing, selfish and vibrant. Cathy was married for 30+ years, but Nessa, a live wire, was divorced and is being portrayed as a man-eater. She's certainly enforcing that with her single minded persuit of recent widower, Ken Barlow. That in itself will tell you that she's not thinking of anyone but herself. This isn't a friendship blossoming like Audrey's feelings, this is a woman determined to latch on to a single man, never mind that he's still in heavy grief over his late wife. She's acting a bit like a preying mantis, and Cathy, who values her new friend Ken, is embarassed.

Cathy and Nessa have already had a few confrontations over her persuit of Ken and Cathy has expressed several times that this is not a new thing for Nessa. If she was a man, we'd be calling her a ladies' man who can't keep it in his pants. Calling her a "man's woman" doesn't have the same effect so we use a more mysogenistic term "man eater" which is unfortunate but does get the picture across.

Aside from her unwise quest, I do like Nessa. I like the actor and the character's personality that they've created. I also like the sibling dynamic between Cathy and Nessa, the bickering and the exasperation each seems to carry for the other. Siblings are often very different from each other and quite often there is one that dominates and one that feels pushed to the corner, overwhelmed and jealous of the force of the personality of the one that's always the center of attention. As children, that's difficult at times.

It's also not unusual for that jealousy to hang on into adulthood. It may temper down a lot as the siblings mature and live their own lives but there's always that little fleck of it in the background that rears its ugly head now and then. Cathy was probably always envious of Nessa's ease in social situations and jealous that she always had lots of boyfriends and friends where she herself probably only had a couple of close mates. Perhaps Alan was her first and only love. She wouldn't regret that at all, looking back but as a teenager, while she may have been happy to spend Saturday night in with a good book, may still have been a bit green with her sister rushing around getting ready to go out on yet another date, wishing it were easier for her to talk to boys and have them like her as much.

And maybe we'll also find out that Nessa was jealous of Cathy and her long time stable marriage with a man that loved her very much. Maybe each of them regarded things in the other that they wished were part of their own personality or lives. Nessa loves her son but Cathy never was tied down to the responsibility of a child nor had to bring up a child with disabilities. Cathy would have loved to have a child dearly under any circumstances although if Nessa has always been as flighty as she seems, I think probably Cathy was a second mother to Alex.

I will be interested to see if more of the sister dynamic is explored at all, even if just in dialogue during an argument or conversation one of them has with someone else, that will reveal more insight to each woman. I am not sure I'd like to see Ken and Nessa go the distance only because Nessa isn't really that sympathetic by running after Ken. He's a lonely, grieving man and wouldn't have looked twice at her as other than a new friend but she's determined to draw him in and I can't help thinking it will end in tears.

Meanwhile, it's amusing to see Audrey having Nessa, her rival, working in the Salon and flirting with Ken right under her nose. I can't wait for Tracy to find out and I think Nessa might have met her match there. I don't know how long Nessa is meant to be with the show but I wouldn't mind if they kept her on even if the duo with Ken doesn't last.




Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Let's talk about Sophie and Kate

Sophie Webster is 21 and now owns a share of the garage. Let's forget for the moment, the complexities of who owns what of the business. Sophie has been lingering behind the counter of the corner shop for years now and many fans have continually bemoaned the fact that she's lost any ambition. She was a bright little spark in school and was in college when it all fell apart. The aftermath of the tram crash had it's effects on her life and she definitely seemed to be experiencing post-traumatic stress.

To remind you: Her mother had just recently recovered from breast cancer. The aftermath of the tram crash revealed that her father had an affair with Molly Dobbs and fathered a child with her, a child his best friend and business partner thought was his. When Sally found out, the marriage collapsed. The media tends to use the word "reeling" to the point of it being meaningless most of the time, but in this case, Sophie really was reeling in the aftermath and found it difficult to focus on school. Her girlfriend at the time, Sian, became impatient after awhile and Sophie soon left school altogether, to work in the corner shop.

Since then, she's been coasting. We fans have been frustrated that she never went back to school or done something more with her life like travel. I think she tends to be snappish, rude or "mardy" because she's probably not really that happy but now, as a part business owner, maybe this will be the making of Sophie Webster. I think it could be. She'll have those men whipped into shape in no time and have that garage running smoothly and efficiently. At the risk of sounding cliche, Go, girl!

We don't know much about Kate Connor yet, but what I've seen of her so far, I like. She's cheeky, she's a bit spoiled and she's a Daddy's girl, She seems to have a lot on the ball,  a fairly good judge of character and quick to size someone up to find their strengths and weaknesses. She sure had Beth pegged when she had a bit of fun flirting with Kirk!   It strikes me that she and her father are very alike, which is probably why they are close. She and her brother have affection but also have that sibling rivalry, a little sister always taking digs at her big brother, knowing exactly how to wind him up. I think she'd defend him fiercely if the situation called for it.

I'm looking forward to meeting Caz, her fiancee and seeing how that relationship dynamic works. Since Sophie is gay as well, the chances are that the Powers That Be are going to throw a romantic triangle in there somehow. Caz is in the military and is away a lot so perhaps that's the sticking point in that couple and Kate will find herself lonely and looking for company. While it does sound like a typical soap cliche, I think there might be potential in a Sophie-Kate partnership.

What I don't like about soaps is that these things are often thrown together. If this is going to happen, I'd like it to develop slowly. Kate is a few years older than Sophie but not a lot, like Jenna was. I think the two of them could be really good friends and I would like to see it start there and not turn into a romance for awhile. A much longer while than soaps usually play things. I'll probably be disappointed in that wish.

But you know, putting them together just might work anyway. Maybe Kate can give Sophie her sense of humour back. They're young and Kate, at least, clearly knows how to have fun and Sophie has needed that for a very long time. I don't think Sophie and Maddie had that. They always seemed so serious and earnest. It felt like Sophie always took care of Maddie who was younger and vulnerable after a rough upbringing. They were a sweet couple but I think Sophie and Kate could be really good together, as grownups, on a more equal footing. Probably the first relationship of that type since Sophie was with her best mate, Sian.

Right, then. It's very early days and this new relationship may or may not come to pass but at this point, this is me coming out in support of it, if it happens. Sophie has been floundering and I think her time has come. I think I could learn to like Sophie a lot and I already like Kate.

Bring it on.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

State of the Street - October

The aftermath of Callum's death has been mainly Sarah having panic attack after panic attack, hovering dangerously on the verge of spilling her guts to the police and the local vicar, Billy. I didn't think I could take much more of it but thankfully, David managed to get Sarah out of town for a few weeks. He tried to convince her to go back to Italy but Kylie talked her into a holiday. I guess that means Bethany is yanked out of school, just when it seems like she's settling in. That's also illegal in the UK, taking your child out of school Yet, Leanne did it too, with Simon unless she's organized for him to attend school in Portsmouth with Peter.

David has been managing to keep a cool head, even to the point of using dark humour often. But considering David's somewhat psycho past, it's not surprising he's able to keep his nerve. Even Kylie shows signs of shaky nerves now that Sarah's not there and she doesn't have to keep up a front to keep Sarah from crumbling. I was wondering when it was going to hit Kylie. Now that Callum's body is cemented over, though, what's going to happen?

We know, because it's soap law, that the truth will come out at some point. Will it be sooner or later? I wonder if Tony could take the fall for it, since he's the one that blew up Callum's car and he's the one that cemented the body in the hole, albeit unknowingly. He's got motivation because of Callum's attack on Jason and he had some opportunity. If he gets arrested for it, though, would Kylie or Sarah let him take the rap for it? David would, but I'm not sure the women would. It's too bad because it was clear cut self defence, and even moving the body into the kitchen could be explained by not wanting Bethany to see it.

There will continue to be consequences in the weeks to come. Someone's going to crack first, even if it ends up being the concrete.

Tim and Sally managed to get married. Anna, of course, spilled the beans about Sally kissing Kevin. It didn't seem fair that Kevin was immediately forgiven and Sally wasn't. Can't blame Tim for feeling hurt, of course, but it was hardly a steamy affair. Why is it people get that bent out of shape over a kiss? Chesney and Katy broke up over a kiss as well. I'm not saying Tim shouldn't have been upset but refusing to talk and work it through, for what would seem to be a first offence, is hardly logical either. But that's what you get with soaps. It's all about the drama. I'm glad they tied the knot. Sally and Kevin were done and over and I really didn't want them to go over the same old ground time and time again.

Juxtapose this with Gary's reaction to Alya's confession that she had a one night stand with Jason. In the Muslim religion, women are supposed to be a virgin on their wedding night and we have always seen that her religion is very important to Alya. Gary loves her so he respected her wishes and didn't press the issue. Thus the reveal that she had sex with Jason had a doubly hard impact. It seemed like even more of a betrayal and it was far more than a kiss. Gary didn't even thump Jason so you know he must have been in shock. Gary's temper is usually such that he'd have made Callum's beating of Jason look like horseplay! 

Carla's back flying high again, now that she knows she wasn't to blame for the fire and deaths of Kal and Maddie. It's in typical. Carla was hollered at, insulted publically, and shunned when everyone thought it was her. Aside from Yasmeen, I've not seen anyone scream at Tracy Barlow in the street. The only other consequence is Sophie being rude to her in the corner shop but Sophie's rude to most people. Why doesn't Tracy deserve the same pariah treatment? I suppose because it's nothing new, she's already treated like dirt by the community in general. Am I right in thinking that though some people know, Ken doesn't know Tracy caused the fire? He certainly isn't acting like it but enough people know that the gossip must have made the roundsd back to his ears. No wonder Tracy gets away with these things. Both Ken and Deirdre always frowned at her a bit, sighed and maybe acted angry for about a day and a half and then it was always forgotten again.

We have a new family in town, more of the Connor clan, distant cousins. It appears Johnny and Michelle's dad, Barry are first cousins. You can work the rest of it out yourselves. I'm not sure if they're trying to make Johnny a new sort of Mike Baldwin or if Aidan's supposed to be filling that role. Or either of them, for that matter, since Carla has always filled Mike's shoes ably. It feels like there are far too many of them in the factory, now, though, all milling about. Three managers, a trainee manager and a PA (Plus the daughter, Kate, popping in and hanging around) in that tiny office is far too many.

I do like Kate so far. She's got spark and cheek. I love the brother-sister thing going on and she's most definitely the apple of her daddy's eye. She's a bit spoiled and clearly headstrong and seems like fun. I hope she manages to make friends on the street. She's got a fiancee but I'd love to see her become good friends with someone. That's one thing Corrie seems to be falling down on in recent years, female friendships. You do see it but it doesn't seem like you're getting that girl power best mates connection much these days. Let's not put Sophie and Kate together just because they're both gay. Let's keep Kate's fiancee and have Sophie and Kate become really good friends. Or maybe Kate should become really good friends with Alya who certainly needs one. Steph also needs a BFF now that Katy's gone and Tina's dead.

Looks like Mary finally has a storyline of her own and that's a big Yay from me. I've been hot and cold on Mary over the years but they've brought her back to the quirky version with her oddball stories. Putting her in there as the twins' nanny/caretaker shows her maternal side though I would have thought Dev would have offered her the corner shop flat long before now. She must still be living under his roof and it's probably wearing on his nerves! Is there another flat available? Is anyone living over the community centre now? I think that was the last empty one besides the shop flat.

I really hesitate to say too much about the illness that little Hope is going through. I find it isn't a storyline I'm enjoying only in that it's difficult to watch. I know Hope will survive so all this drama makes it feel that much more false. They won't have a child die, it would be far too sad for a soap. They rarely have a child die under any circumstances aside from the rare infant (meningitis, newborn virus infection). I am pleased to see various and sundry in the neighbourhood help out, contribute or offer support. That sort of thing does bring people together, at least in agreement if nothing else. Nobody wants to see a child suffer illness like that. The actors chosen for the storyline, however, are doing a good job with it, very believable as parents thrust into such a heartbreaking situation.

Ken seems to be managing on his own but it looks like he's starting to cling to Audrey's company. Is it a kind of rebound thing? I know that it isn't unknown for someone to find a new partner very soon after a death but fans are not going to take it as a sign of respect for the dearly departed Deirdre. Think on, producers. Not everyone has to be in a relationship and Ken Barlow is a bit long in the tooth to be chasing skirts willy nilly.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

State of the Street - September

The Corrie Live episode and the calamity of Callum seems to have overshadowed most of the month. It's what most people are going to think about, looking back but while this storyline muscled it's way into the forefront, there were other good storylines brewing and bubbling on the back burner.

And back to the Platt storyline. This has been simmering nearly a year. You may remember Kylie being distraught at Max's ADHD diagnosis and seeking out Callum to find out if Max could have picked up the gene from that pool. Things went from bad to worse when Kylie's self esteem took knock after knock and by Christmas she was back on blow and chucked out of the house. David then proceeded to blame her for the next six months for her absence, the absence he insisted on, which left him to deal with Callum who decided he rather liked the idea of having a child, even if he didn't actually want or know how to be a father. He enjoyed winding up the Platts more than any parental desires but he sued for access and planned to go for custody. The storyline dragged on painfully until...

Kylie came back. The action heated up again and the story lurched forward, Callum putting more and more pressure on, dating newly returned Sarah (who equally enjoyed winding up her brother from behind her blinders) and using young teenage Bethany and her crush on him to add insult to injury. Jason got involved because he still feels a responsibility towards Bethany, it seems, if not Sarah and got broken for his efforts. We all knew Callum would ended up six feet under, we just didn't realize it would be under Gail's floor! Adding Jason and by extension, his father Tony, to the mix is adding suspects to the list of who's going to kill Callum (or, now that we know the answer to that) who's going to be done for it.

Because adding Tony and Jason (and Todd) into it could possibly mean that due to fingerprints on the burned out vehicle and Tony and Jason doing the building work at the Platts, the police may see them as having a very good motive for murder even before they find out about the blackmail.

Sarah's the weakest link here, she's a gibbering mess. Kylie is shaky but so far is managing to keep it together and David seems to have nerves of steel and can even make jokes about it all. The fallout of the Platt storyline will continue over October so we're not out of the woods with them yet. Who's going to be the first one to crack? Everyone thinks it will be Sarah but I wonder if it will be someone totally unexpected.

David can't explain to Max why Callum will never hurt any of them again but he does have a pang of guilt or two because he thinks he can't ever adopt Max now. That's horse hockey, folks. He was going to do it well before Callum was even in the picture. If he could do it then, why can't he do it now? Even if the authorities want Callum's permission now that they know he's had legal doings with Max, if he never shows up after a proscribed amount of time, I'm sure Kylie can go ahead with the legalities.

But I digress.

September was also the month when Sally Webster got her comeuppance well and truly. She always used to be ambitious for Kevin when they were married and he resisted her every step of the way. He finally started expanding his business and Sally compared him to her window washer and a little frisson of that old ambition and the excitement of her old hopes and dreams, and a lot of vodka, pushed her into kissing Kevin.

Now a few years ago, Kevin would have been like a dog with two tails at the thought that Sally wanted him again, and would have been in there lickety split. But not now. He's best mates with the window washer and he knows Sally and Tim have a good thing going and he stopped her cold. She instantly regretted her actions and it was a big secret to be locked in the closet until Sophie found out and Anna overheard Sally and Sophie talking about it. Anna and Sally have always had a difficult relationship, Anna being a vague threat because she's the adopted mother of Tim's daughter. Their sniping has always been a source of amusement but Sally went a little too far and a drunken Anna let the cat out of the bag. Tim is hurt, betrayed and has called off the wedding.

I don't know if they're going to manage to get married. Sally has every hope the wedding will go forward but as October begins, days away from the wedding, we don't know if he'll forgive her or not. I hope he does, regardless of the wedding being on or off. If he doesn't show up, I expect they'll be reconciled by Christmas as long as either one of them doesn't do something stupid. It's a soap. Someone probably will. But barring that, I think it's time for Sally to have a little happiness. I get so sick and tired of relationships being destroyed forever because of a simple kiss. It's ok to feel hurt and upset, but to even refuse to talk or work things out is a bit unrealistic.

Roy and Cathy have finally and gently made their way to each other as more than friends. Both of them seem to have come to the point in the aftermath of their bereavement where they have realized it's all right to want to be with someone else. They can move on with their lives. They won't forget their late partners but they can be happy again. It's going to be a very slow process because that's the type of people they are but I think they could be good together. Cathy is similar to Roy in that she, too, is unsure and not very confident, a bit awkward and a bit nerdy. If the actress decides to stay with the show, they can go the distance.

Carla's dealing with the revelation that she didn't cause the fire that killed Kal and Maddie and it's a weight off her shoulders. Tracy, who didn't have a reputation to worry about, nor the goodwill of the neighbours to try to retain, is walking around with the glare of the residents burning in her back as per usual. It's funny. They all seem to be glossing over the fact that she started the fire, albeit accidentally, and just ignoring her for the most part but they all snubbed and/or screamed at Carla in the middle of the road.

Yasmeen is the only one that's really vocal and angry about Tracy, even more than she was at Carla. Maybe that's because she was too shocked and numb at the time and now she's deep into the anger stage of grief. Carla wasn't charged with the fire and Tracy hasn't been either because there's no proof. Tracy lied to the police and even though she admitted it to Carla, there's no evidence to back it up and she pretended to justify it as saving Carla from suicide with her confession.

It's tough for us watching to see Tracy continually getting away with things like that. Ok, she didn't start the fire on purpose but she did break into Carla's with the intent on hurting her. And this new thing with her ex-husband is boring me to tears. He is dull, dull, dull. She cheated on him when they were married and I bet it was because she was bored. She's only clinging to him now because she's in a tailspin after her mother died and he's a link to the past. I have a hard time getting past him saying how well he knows her and accepts her for who and what she is, too. He has no idea. A lot of years have gone by since she left him and she's done a lot of awful things, very likely more than she's told him. Most of them were in callous cold blood, too.

We've got a new Connor on the scene with more of his family due to arrive in October. I'm reserving judgement for now. Aidan seems ok but we don't know him yet. He seems to have taken the factory in hand quite well. The character hasn't really been fleshed out. I suppose that will start to happen soon.

Leanne and Simon's story was a bit difficult to watch, only because it was well done but sad. Who couldn't see it coming after all these years of that child surviving trauma after trauma. He said to Leanne that everyone leaves him and that's true from his perspective. Now she's shipped him off to Peter who's back in Portsmouth after his first foray into the Caribbean, where he was supposed to be for six months. I don't think it was six weeks, was it? Not much more. I expect Simon will come back  all settled and on an even keel for awhile. I still think he'll go totally off the rails when he's about 15 or 16, probably drugs seeing as he's the child of an addict.

Tyrone and Fiz have a long and tough road ahead. It's not going to be easy watching them worry over a sick child. It was difficult enough to watch Hayley die of cancer, something that touches so many lives. Having a story about a sick little girl seems to be a bit too realistic though I have no doubt the powers that be will handle it carefully. I also think Hope will survive in the end. I really think they won't go so far as to have a child dying of cancer on screen. I wonder what kind of effect all that pressure and worry is going to have on Fiz and Tyrone's relationship, though, and I suppose that will also be a large part of the story.

I am continually impressed with Colson Smith as Craig. What a belter he is! They seem to have toned Bethany down a shade so she might work out ok. I'm still not keen on Sarah but then I never was. I'm really going to miss Lloyd, not so much Andrea. She was ok but I never warmed up to her over much.



Thursday, 24 September 2015

#CorrieLive - Top Marks

Coronation Street broadcast live last night and there was a lot of publicity leading up to it. Fears, anticipation, and Old Trafford all factored in. (There was a football match less than a mile away, the media howled about hearing the noise from the crowds). The actors that were interviewed in various media outlets all expressed pretty much the same thing: I hope I'm not the one that messes up, I'm nervous but excited, too.

It would be different, broadcasting television live vs being on stage. For one thing, on a stage, you're in one small are, with actors coming on and off as per their cues. For another, in a stage production, you get to do the same lines over and over every night and each night's audience is a few hundred to maybe a few thousand, depending on the venue. Television broadcasts to millions. And there are multiple sets, indoors and outdoors. The technical logistics alone must be a nightmare. For the cast, the ones that have done stage work understand how it feels but even for them, the idea that one little mistake will be splashed all over the media the next day must be daunting.

I'm happy to say that the actors all hit the mark and nobody made a mistake, that I could tell. There were several storylines running, with the Platt vs Callum Logan one taking centre stage. The three regular cast members, Jack P. Shepherd, Tina O'Brien and Paula Lane, were superb, the best I've ever seen them. I was especially impressed by Tina because she's never really had high drama or heavy stuff to do. Teen pregnancy, yes, but even then her young age and inexperience showed. I never rated her over much as an actor but last night sure proved she's come a long way. Her confrontation with Callum was harrowing and her shock afterwards was dead on. (pun intended. Sorry).

Paula Lane and Jack P. Shepherd have put in powerhouse performances before and this one pushed the envelope even further. Top marks to them, I say. There was some petty media remarks about being able to see "Callum" breathing on the floor after Kylie killed him and one newspaper called Sean Ward's acting wooden. A. I don't care if someone sees an actor breathing even if their character is supposed to be dead. As long as it isn't great gasps, I'm sure the actor is doing their best to keep it minimumly obvious. Get a grip. and B. I didn't think his acting was wooden, though during this storyline it's pretty much always been a bit camp and over the top. I and most viewers never really bought into him being frightening. He's no Jez Quigley.

I really didn't expect Kylie to be the one that killed Callum though I have known for months that Callum would end up dead. It's just a soap rule, not any inside knowledge. Callum had to go. End of story. I thought perhaps Gemma, as the "expendable crew member", might be the one to do it. Now Kylie has killed someone and though it was to save Sarah, it's still manslaughter. She'll have to pay at some point.

One sub plot that was contrived and faintly ridiculous was the Dynamic Duo, Tony and Todd, stealing Callum's car that David had conveniently started and left running while they tried to get Callum's body out into the boot. T&T ran over to the car and Tony ran his keys over the hood. Good grief. My jaw dropped and I rubbed my eyes. No, he's not 12, he's a 50+ year old man. That was his revenge??? Todd, that bright little spark, had the idea to steal it and blow it up. Better than Tony's idea, but still not really that damaging to Callum himself. Too bad they didn't wait a few more minutes. Callum would have been in the back of the car and would have been blown up along with the vehicle. That would have been much more understandable.

It was manipulated so that David and Kylie had to put Callum's body down that manhole pit under Gail's new granny flat. You remember, that manhole that Tony conveniently found the other day? Veteran soap watchers know that sort of thing doesn't get mentioned for no reason. It was pretty obvious right then and there where the body would be buried.

I read a comment on the Coronation Street blog to the effect that Tony's fingerprints would be on the car, what's left of it, (and Todd's), and Tony would probably be filling in the manhole with concrete the next day. That kind of action could be misconstrued as guilt and Tony has good reason to want Callum gone after Callum nearly killed Jason. I wonder if Tony's going to get stitched up, leaving Kylie feeling even more guilty.

Ok, enough of the Platts.

Let's turn our attention to Roy. Monday, Cathy took Roy to Blackpool which has a lot of memories for him, and her too, from what she said. Still, she was willing to make new memories with him but he was clearly shutting down, not handling his own memories and grief too well. When she suggested a paddle in the water, he vanished. I did find that to be a major WTF moment. They were out in the middle of the beach. She turned her back for about a minute. There's no way Roy could have disappeared without a trace in that space of time. She'd see him walking away back to the road, surely. The sand didn't open up and swallow him whole.

Be that as it may, he went back to Weatherfield by bus and was so distraught he took it out on the bus driver and was driven to exclamation marks when he finally got a web chat agent, aiming to complain. I love that Carla was the one that put his world to rights. When he paddled in the water with Hayley before she died, Hayley wanted him to do it again someday, with someone else. When faced with the opportunity, as Carla said, he actually wanted to and it scared him. He wasn't able to face it so he fled. He is starting to have feelings for Cathy as she is for him and it's a major turning point for both of the, learning that they can move on with their lives with someone else, while never forgetting their beloved spouses.

I did feel bad for Cathy. It wasn't her fault that her choice of a surprise touched a still-raw nerve with Roy. She had no idea and didn't ask anyone else before she arranged it. She had good intentions and Roy knows that. At last they started to communicate and maybe this will be the start of something beautiful. It will be difficult to see Roy with someone else but I think Hayley would approve of Cathy. I hope it lasts but Melanie Hill is a popular actor. I guess it will depend on how long she plans to stay with the show.

In other news, Sally got her comeuppance for the kiss she had with Kevin. She and Anna have been sniping more than usual at each other over the past few shows and then, with Sally's sheets conveniently hanging out on the line to hide Anna who was in the Nazir back garden on a break from wedding planning, Sally and Sophie spoke about the kiss. Anna heard it all and Anna has always been one for being unable to keep a secret, especially one as juicy as that. She got drunk, Sally took one shot too many and the truth came tumbling out.

It *was* just a kiss and it's frustrating on one had that a relationship busts up over something that minor. That also happened with Chesney and Katy. He wouldn't forgive her so she ended up with Ryan anyway. In this case, the difference is that Sally was the instigator and Kevin is Tim's best mate. It's not just that your fiancee betrayed you, but your best friend broke his loyalty as well. I do hope they get back together eventually, though. Sally and Tim are Corrie gold.

There were also a few smaller moments. Craig got stood up on a date after dressing up very sharp. And Steve hiding away, drunk, unable to face saying goodbye to Lloyd was explained by Liz as probably related to his recent struggle with depression. Her worry for her son was evident while Lloyd comforted her. I always liked Liz and Lloyd as a couple when they were together. It was a nice scene, that.

Lastly, we say goodbye to Lloyd and Andrea, off to start a new life and family in Jersey. I never warmed up to her, I have to say. She was ok, I didn't dislike her, but I didn't find her all that interesting either. It never felt like she and Lloyd had that special chemistry. Lloyd will be missed. He was truly a nice guy. I always liked that Lloyd was able to show emotion, and even cry when it was called for. I like that he was confident enough to show his emotions rather than suppress them. He was funny, he was loyal, he was steady. I loved the friendship he and Steve and Eileen had together and that's a cornerstone of comedy that really will be lacking in the show.

Wow, a long blog post this time but there was a lot to say. I really enjoyed the live episode. Sure, there were a couple of things that clunked (Tony and Todd especially, and the Keystone Cops scrambling to get rid of Callum's body, fending off the neighbours several times) but I can't fault the actors or the production (aside from a few seconds of silence when the sound didn't kick in straight away). There was romance, excitement and heartbreak.




Tuesday, 1 September 2015

State of the Street - August


The Platts are still in the forefront, love it or hate it. The custody battle is getting darker, scarier and more violent. First, Max finds a loaded gun hidden in the back of the top shelf in the closet. That in itself tells you that Callum really has no clue how to be a parent. Bad enough to have the gun and loaded, but to store it in a child's bedroom? It was the turning point for Sarah, though. She may have known down deep that Callum was everything David and Kylie said he was but she was in denial until that child pointed a loaded weapon at them all after already having seen Gemma's bloody face as a result of a deal gone bad. She couldn't deny it anymore and common sense finally won out over her delight in winding up her brother. It's not fun anymore and a child's safety was at risk.

The problem is, by the time she told her family what happened, Callum had plenty of time to get rid of the gun and replace it with a toy and persuade Max it was a toy and all a game. The hole I see in this storyline is that I am pretty sure Sarah saw him unload the gun and give the bullets to Gemma to get rid. Even if a child didn't know it was a real gun and was convinced it was a toy, why wouldn't the police pay more attention to Sarah's word? He wouldn't have told Gemma to get rid of the bullets if they were toys as well.

So this drags out a bit more. Now Jason's involved. The more he sees of Callum and how he sees him upset Bethany and Sarah, the more he's determined to put a stop to it and Jason's not scared of Callum no matter how many warnings he got. Jason knew what Callum was and knew he'd have dodgey friends but Jason is a hero and is willing to take the risk. It just happened to turn out very badly for him and Callum had him beaten nearly to death. Callum did have his thugs do most of the work while he watched but got a few kicks in himself but he didn't know Max saw what happened. Wasn't he shocked when Max was scared of him? He had no idea why. At least it wasn't too long before Max told what he saw and they took him to the police.


Of course Callum can still manipulate Bethany and scare her into telling what happened, after drugging Sarah to make Bethany bend to his will. He proceeded to scare her into telling the police that Max lied. Why would Max lie? His fear of his father is genuine and Kylie and David could tell. Why isn't Social Services involved here? Two incidents in less than a month should have negated that visitation order and thrown any possibility of a custody claim out on its ear. They'd be able to better tell whether Max was lying or not and might even take Max out of the home and bar Callum from seeing him. No matter how Callum tries to work the situation, no matter how many alibis he sets up, or people he blackmails into lying for him, that child is at risk and until the situation is sorted out, in the real world, Child Protection would be all over this.

Next, Tony attempted to give Callum a bit of his own medicine. Rather than this be a repeat of Jim McDonald after Steve was beaten by Jez Quigley, Liz managed to pull Tony off before any real damage was done. It was a joy to see Callum terrified and wheezing. Not so brave when you're alone, are you?  Even if Tony did get banged up for beating Callum, I could accept it if Callum went to prison, too. If Callum and Tony are both inside, and in the same prison, I expect Callum will keep a wide berth. Tony has dodgey mates, too and I think Tony and his mates can easily take Callum and his little friends.

It's all contrived to extend this storyline out to the live episode airing near the end of September. I don't know, but I think this will come to a climax during that episode. Lord, I hope so. I'm ready for this to be done. I'm ready for Callum to pay for everything including beating Jason.

Carla has been struggling with what we know as misplaced guilt and her gambling is getting worse and worse. She does it so that it distracts her from the dark thoughts in her head and her life and business is going down the tubes as a result. BFF Michelle doesn't know what to do to help and Nick, fighting his attraction to her, does what he can to support her but she's hell-bent on self-destruction. Still, Nick and Carla do take the plunge which is probably a huge mistake at this point since Carla's got more baggage that is good for any relationship right now.

Is Nick trying to be the knight in shining armour and hoping to rescue her? Is that the main attraction here? I know she's gorgeous but he's known her for years, both before, during and after her other relationships. Why now? And what about Erica? Well, everyone knows she and Nick were never meant to be a full time relationship anyway and it was pretty much doomed from the start the minute they decided to make it more than just a quick fling. Erica's not stupid. She can see what's happening. It's off and Nick and Carla are on at Nick's insistence. Carla reckons she's a car crash and will break his heart. He's willing to take the chance and yeah, she's probably right.

Now we have a new Connor on the scene, Aidan who is a cousin to Michelle and her lot. Carla would have grown up with them all and knows him well. Nick seems to have pushed Aidan into saving Underworld but Carla's still drowning in guilt and gambling. It has to break soon. Aidan seems ok so far but the instant clashing with Robert makes no sense at all. I could understand it if they were fighting over the same woman but they don't seem to be. It feels really contrived and cliche and I don't know what the point is.


And poor Simon is really bouncing off the walls. It started with a bit of shoving, then kicking and hitting. Blood is being shed and Leanne is getting more bruises than a scratch and dent sale! Simon seems to be sorry but then he also seems to be manipulating her when he placates her and whines and cries.

It's all good and then it happens again and yet Leanne still says nothing to anyone and doesn't get that child the help he desperately needs while pretty much rewarding him for bad behaviour with free lunches for him and his mates or buying him things she said he couldn't have. I think she's hoping for positive reinforcement for the good days but it seems to me it's having the opposite effect. Simon looks up to Zeedan and I think he'll be instrumental in resolving all this but he'd better get his skates on. And even with Zeedan's help, Leanne needs to get Simon to a counsellor but I bet she won't.

Tracy's ex-husband has come swanning back into her life and is it just me or is he every bit as boring as he was when she was married to him before? Yes, he's a good man but badly matched with Tracy. She wants to be a better person and she might be able to turn herself around but she's never going to be a domestic goddess or earth mother. She's always going to have a sharp tongue and a lot of fire and I really think she'll be bored stupid with Robert after awhile. And it also seems to me that her attachment to Robert has more to do with her devastation over her mother's death.

He might have held a torch for her for years but she hasn't given him a second thought until she saw him again at the funeral. Maybe he's what she needed at that time, I suppose, but I can't see it going the distance. She says he knows her but he doesn't, not really. He *knew* her but even then, when they were married, she hurt him badly, something he likely didn't see coming. If that was the case, how could he say he knows her now or then? She's been through a lot and done a lot since their marriage and I can't see how someone who hasn't seen you through all that can say with confidence that they know you.

I expect he'll be instrumental in the truth coming out about the fire. You can see that the more Carla sinks into her misery and wallows at the bottom of the barrell, the more Tracy feels guilty herself. The charity auction for Maddie nearly did Tracy in as well as Carla. I think this relationship between Tracy and her ex is doomed. I may be wrong but I don't think so.

I think Robert would be a much better fit for Leanne. Now, having said that, we do know that Leanne tends to go for bad boys, too but as she gets older, she probably is ready to settle down with someone that doesn't have the drama and baggage that would drag her down. Yes, maybe Robert and Leanne will end up being boring, much as Kal and Leanne were kind of, but I think they would be better suited than Robert and Tracy just the same.

Fiz and Tyrone are going to have to face seeing little Hope through a serious illness. I doubt they will have Hope die but it will be a heart wrenching time of it. I'm not so sure I want to see this. It was hard enough to see Hayley slowly fade away from cancer, something that a great many of us have had to deal with in their own lives. To see a child go through that, even if she doesn't die, is a bit much, I think. It could very well turn away a lot of viewers.

The camping storyline was ok, a bit of fun and a bit forced. It was lovely to see Craig have a holiday romance, though, wasn't it? Caitlyn's dad was played by a man who came to fame through the X Factor talent show and he was quite good as the officious, know it all Dougie. It was odd that Sinead just decided to drop the crutches and was able to skip around the campsite without even seeming to be taking a lot of care how she went. Miracle! All in all it was all right. A bit of diversion from the angst going on back on the cobbles at least.

In spite of some storylines dragging on way too long, Coronation Street has been very good overall this month with some wonderful dialogue and writing and great performances. I know people are sick of the custody battle and Callum. I was really getting tired of it until Kylie returned and it's getting more interesting now that it's speeding up and heading towards an end. I'm pretty sure it will be all but over by the end of September. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Rob Vs Robert, who's the best match for Tracy Barlow?

Spoiler alert!

Rob Donovan will be back on our screens later this year, pulling strings and yanking chains from inside the prison walls. Not sure if it means he's getting out and will be a regular again or if it's a temporary return. In any case, I'm excited! I grew to really like the character. I thought he was probably the best match for Tracy ever and I thought his chemistry as Carla's brother really worked. There's no further news on exactly what his storyline is going to be other than he knows a big Connor secret and is going to be using it to his advantage.

But it's bound to throw Tracy into a confused hot mess, isn't it? She's just getting back together with her ex-husband Robert. She says Robert knows her better than anyone. I would argue that point. I think, for the woman she is now, that trophe goes to Rob Donovan. Robert knew her in her early 20s and the worst thing she ever did to him, that we know of, is cheat on him with his best friend and lealve him. Not a nice thing to do to someone but he would have taken her back. She must have been bored with him to do it, she certainly seemed so when she first returned to Weatherfield.

Since then, let's see what Tracy has done:

Affair with Dev, who had previously slept with her mother, though she didn't know it at the time. She then destroyed Dev's clothes when he ditched her.


Had a one night stand with Steve, got pregnant, pretended Roy Cropper was the father after making a bet that she could bed him. She drugged Roy, lied that they had sex and the very thought of it, plus the pregnancy presented to him, had Roy on the verge of suicide. Did Tracy care? Did she heck. She offered to sell Roy and Hayley her baby for cold hard cash. She did take Amy back after having a flicker of maternal instinct. We're still not altogether sure how strong that is!

She tried to sabotage Steve's second wedding to Karen. She was obsessed with Steve and that lasted nearly 10 years. She even finally managed to get him to marry her after he split from Becky but she miscarried twins and blamed Becky for it after she'd fallen down a staircase during an argument with Becky. Her lies were exposed on her wedding day and she lost Steve for good.

She pretended she was physically abused by Charlie Stubbs and then killed him in cold blood because he'd had an affair and was tiring of her. She lied in court, persuaded her mother to lie as a witness but got sent down anyway. She nearly was responsible for Gail getting convicted of Joe's murder by lying to the authorities that Gail had confessed. She only got released on a technicality.

She tried to steal her grandmother's boyfriend because she thought he was rich. He wasn't.


She accidentally caused a fire in Carla's flat when she nearly committed murder a second time. She put a candle down under a lampshade to pick up a weapon and she almost bashed Carla over the head but heard someone else in the flat first and she fled. The candle caught the lampshade and the flat on fire and though Carla and the other occupant, who turned out to be Tracy's daughter, got out safely in the end, Kal Nazir was killed as was Maddie Heath. She might not have done it on purpose but she was responsible.

The list goes on but those are the worst things she's done. Rob knew about a lot of them and he loved her and her sharp, nasty tongue anyway. He was a bit of a scallywag himself and I think he knew her, accepted her, and loved her though even she went a bit far for his taste now and then and he was always able to rein her back. He got on great with Amy and eventually, Deirdre. We have yet to see Robert interact much with Amy though Ken thinks the sun shines out of his backside in spite of the disappointment that he lied about being married. That's not an issue now because he and his wife are finished.

Robert may end up being Tracy's conscience about the fire but Rob still has her heart, I think. Robert came back while Tracy was in shock and grieving over her mother's death. I think he's about the past for her, someone to comfort her. He held a torch for her all these years but never had the gumption to come back and try to win her back. Now she's vulnerable so I think he took advantage of that, not in a manipulative way because I don't think he's that sort. I think he saw the opportunity and took it, unable to resist his heart on his sleeve. But I still think, between the two, that Rob is a better match for Tracy.

Having said that, Rob may have other ideas. Tracy was the one that dobbed him in to the police, mainly to save her own skin over the stolen goods though she said it was for Amy, too, and that might have factored into it a bit. He won't be so inclined to pine for her but who knows? Prison is lonely. He may have forgiven her and won't be very happy if he finds out about Robert.

If Marc Baylis isn't returning for the long term, it may all be a non-issue. If he doesn't get out of prison, which will be tricky since he did confess, then I suppose Tracy won't wait for him and stick with Robert but I think Robert would be better off with someone else.

Hey... Leanne's single.....

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

What does Sarah have to lose? Plenty

Sarah has now seen the truth about Callum, a truth she probably already knew down deep. Callum accused her of knowing what he was really like and being attracted to the excitement of it. That could be true. We're all pretty sure that she only started going out with him so she could wind up David and we are definitely sure that's why Callum did it initially. As he said, it would also have looked good in court in his bid to win custody of Max.

I still fail to understand how a man with his background could possibly be considered for full time full custody of a child even if he did pretend to have cleaned up his act. Surely the police or Social Services would be investigating both he and David very closely in this matter. If nothing else, David should have got his lawyer to hire a private investigator to prove Callum was still dealing but reality doesn't really have much of an impact on soaps so we'll just leave that there. It is what it is. Kylie can only testify that he was dealing back at Christmas when David kicked her out. She was getting drugs from Callum up until then. Callum can then say he stopped after she left town. Again. unprovable in court.

Now, though, Bethany has seen and heard many things that can prove Callum's activities and has been coerced into it herself. Dropping a package of money off isn't illegal but handling a package in return which had drugs in it most certainly is. Could she say that she didn't know what was in the package? Possibly. A photo of her smoking a spliff is a misdemeanor at worst. So Bethany really doesn't have anything to worry about, I don't think. Sarah though, is frantic. She knows Callum has evidence against Bethany and thinks Bethany could be sent to juvenile detention. Callum's pretty threatening and considering the state of Gemma's face, and the fact that David has been roughed up in the past, Sarah knows his threats are real and dangerous. She's not just scared for Bethany in a legal sense but for all of their physical safety if she goes to the police.

Callum still deals drugs. Callum had a loaded gun in his flat, in a child's bedroom closet, no less. Callum is blackmailing Sarah into keeping quiet. I don't really think he wants Kylie back romantically, that suggestion the other week was more in aid of getting Max than it was getting back the "love of his life". Callum wants full time custody of his child. Does anyone see the problem here? I still don't really understand why he wants Max full time, given the kind of business he's doing.

I don't think he had a shocking childhood which might lead him to the conclusion that bringing up a child in a criminal environment isn't such a bad idea. Callum's mother, a teacher, seemed quite nice and respectable and it follows, somewhat logically, that he probably had a decent bringing up rather than a rough childhood on a dodgy estate, or shuffled in and out of care or something similar to the childhood we know that those like Tyrone, Fiz and Chesney had. Is his mother afraid of him, too, rather than testify that he shouldn't be a full time dad? Or is she just wearing massive blinders, thinking her son isn't a bad boy, just a bit naughty and his recent jail sentence was a miscarriage of justice.

I would suspect, in the long run, that Sarah will do the right thing and go to the police. It may even bring Bethany and Sarah back to a more even relationship.  Callum is going to cross the line at some point soon, before the custody hearing. I maintain my prediction that he will end up dead. Any number of Platts could be suspect but the guilty party will be an expendable crew member as per the Soap Laws, probably Gemma. Callum's a baddie, even if he's not a very convincing one, and will pay for his crimes.

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