Thursday, 29 May 2014

'I was Born Gobby'


Well, I missed out blogging last week – I think, because Corrie had started to depress me. This week it’s been going all guns blazing, with five nightly episodes set during the same, dark and dangerous night.

It’s all been a bit fraught, really.

Emily stuck to her sweet sherry in the Rovers, even when offered something stronger, during Tracey and Rob’s engagement party. Earlier in the day she’d taken a rather large consignment of Tina’s clothing in bin bags for her charitable causes. Tina was having a big clear out, but Emily didn’t think there was anything strange about that. Young ones don’t make clothing last, do they? They don’t hang onto anything.

Norris was agog with goings on. He knew that all the furore in the backroom at the Rovers was to do with Peter telling Carla – at last – about his ongoing affair with Tina, and how he’d almost – very nearly! – ran away to Portsmouth with her that very day. Carla went bananas – tooting her foghorn like crazy - and Norris was relating every single word he could pick up to the others in the bar.

Best moment in the whole recent slew of episodes: Peter – quivering, equivocating, simmering in his own alcoholic sweat – and being told that he’s a jellyfish. What an insult!

Everyone’s been having an overly-dramatic time. Even if they’re not being pushed off rooftops or having their skulls smashed in by handy crowbars. Even if they’re not slipping out of their own party to drive a vanful of stolen goods halfway across Manchester. It’s just one of those weeks when everyone’s sub-plot comes to a head and gets twined into a noisome fugue with all the other strands. So, while Tina overbalances on the edge of a rooftop (it was the weight of her gigantic earrings that swung it, I think) across the road there’s another long storyline reaching its climax as Anna decides to come clean to Owen about what she was forced to do with his sleazy boss. That scene went about as well as could be expected, with Owen turning in a performance rather like William Shatner’s in ‘Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock’ when he finds out what the Klingons have been up to.

It’s one of those hectic, bloodthirsty, ratings-hungry weeks on Corrie when they try to be Eastenders – a bit like the week with the crashing tram in 2010 – when you’re not quite sure who’s going to survive the special episodes unscathed. I must say, it isn’t my favourite kind of ‘event televsion’. It’s all infidelity and murder and sneaking around. I’m more on the side of the characters who seem to be the heart of the Street, to me – Norris, Emily, Mary and Kirk. They’re the kind of old fashioned characters, who’d never dream of running about with deadly weapons or stolen consignments of hairdryers or checking into mucky hotels for dubious purposes…

All the same, I can’t help feeling for Tina. Her sense that time was running out. She had nowhere to go. It was a singularly cruel ending for a character, I think. And it was compounded by her strange resurrection on Wednesday night. There was a touch of ‘Fatal Attraction’ in some of those moments: the way she rose up from the cobbles in order to give another monologue – ‘I was born gobby, me’ – it was almost uncanny.

There are two more nights of this stuff left.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Latvia or Bust

Latvia or Bust

Carla went to hospital and had her scan, but she had to go by herself. Peter is off the wagon and dancing alone in rough Manchester boozers to Thin Lizzy. When Carla gets the snap of her baby in the womb, she’s startled to see that it seems to be smoking a fag and drinking a vodka miniature.

Elsewhere Izzy has confessed to nicking a hundred quid from the money they raised on the fun run in Hayley’s memory. She only did it out of desperation, hoping to pay it back fast. She gets a hard time from the other girls in the knicker factory for going as low as it’s possible to get. Julie has a face with a tragedy-stricken look at the best of times, but standing there waiting with the gigantic cheque (of the type Terry Wogan always has on Children in Need) she looked even more stricken than ever. And I must admit, though sometimes it seems as if the actress playing Izzy seems like she’s in another show to the rest of them (being less deliberately over-the-top) she was acting her heart out in these scenes where she confesses and apologises. It was actually quite touching.

Which is more than I can say for the rest of her family. The Windasses are getting dull: we need a breath of fresh air.

I enjoyed seeing Todd getting punched in the face by Tyrone in the Rovers. It’s spoiled by the fact that Tyrone’s just being twisted round crazy’s Maria’s little finger.  What I could do with is another slanging match out in the street and a few more tart rejoinders from the joyous Sean.

When in doubt, Corrie storyliners – send everyone out on the cobbles and get them shouting at each other. Get all this subterfuge and subtext out in the open and let them have a good scrag fight. Corrie always had a touch of pantomime about it – with verbally-quick characters slagging each other off while everyone crowds round to watch. Those are the moments worth waiting for. Just something to let the viewer know that the programme isn’t taking itself far too seriously… something it’s been veering close to of late… with all the wincing and issue-related stuff. Luckily, last night, we had Aunty Beth preparing to jet off to Latvia, where she’s going to have her boobs enlarged.

The scenes with her lovely, caring family trying to talk her out of it were delightful. Again, Kirk quietly nabs the week’s best line. He describes how his bust-obsessed girlfriend did a collage to show him how she’ll look after surgery: sticking her head onto Pamela Anderson’s body. ‘But she got the scale all wrong and it looked like something out of ‘The Fly.’’ But still, he stands back and lets her zoom off to catch a flight to the Baltic States in order to satisfy her urge for transformation.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Relieving Herself During the Fun Run

Luckily, the Bank Holiday episodes saw Corrie’s more gruesome sub-plots taking a breather. We got a break from Peter, Tina and Carla’s horrid triangle and the menacing texts from crazy Maria. The only good bit with Maria this past week was her getting wind that Marcus was back in town and starting another shouting match on his doorstep. It was worth it for Marcus in his underpants alone.

Most of Monday’s episodes was about the fun run, with many of our favourite characters queueing up to run 5k in memory of Hayley. You could see the row between Steve and Lloyd ending up more or less where it did, with poor old Lloyd in the hospital. I was more concerned – I must admit – about Julie (is that her name? The slightly daft one who’s Eileen’s sister?) when she ducked into the bushes, desperate for the lav while her friend kept a watch out for her. Something went awry with the sequencing of scenes, because it seemed like she must have spent about forty minutes relieving herself in the undergrowth.

Thank goodness there was no funny business with Nick. He did his run and everything was fine. Cal even let him reach the finishing line first. But Cal’s in a funny place right now, having done the dirty deed with Leanne and then backed off a mile because he’s decided he thinks she’s tacky (or something.)

Someone please stop Dev from over-acting. Or just acting at all. Please. His completion of the fun run has to go into the top ten of Dev Alleran’s stupidest moments. He’s increasingly like someone from the Muppet Show.

Oh, and wasn’t Rita brave? The way she girded her loins and hardened her heart when she took Dennis Tanner into the back room of the Kabin. He was miserably contrite. He thought he was on the point of her taking him back. But she gave him a week. And she never wants to see him again.

(Whenever Rita comes on I think about when my Mam came to visit us once, and we were having her birthday dinner in Taurus on Canal Street. She was saying, ‘Doesn’t the DJ look just like Rita Fairclough?’ And it turned out that the DJ was wearing one of her actual frocks. He’d bought several of them at a charity auction.) I love the fact that Rita is rocking the drag queen look these days. She’s really embraced it. I think it’s what keeps drawing Dennis back to her bat-winged embrace.

We need more of Mary. She rarely gets enough screen time. The Corrie storyliners have got to get onto this. She is a wonderful comic creation. Every new scene brings revelations. Her sudden blaring foghorn voice when the race began was brilliant last night. They need to get her embroiled in a proper story, I think. She’s a character of the old school, and I hope they don’t let her remain a marginal comic figure, elipsed the dullish and melodramatic lives of the Street’s bedhopping misery-gut characters.