Saturday, 18 November 2017

Corrie's Bhavna Limbachia wins Asian TV Award

Congratulations go to Coronation Street actor Bhavna Limbachia, who plays Rana Nazir.

Bhavna last night won an award for the Best TV Character in the Asian Media Awards.

You can watch a video of her collceting her award, below, via Debbie Manley on Twitter @debbiemanley

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Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

5 Corrie couples who shouldn't be together

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog October 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There are couples I love on Coronation Street such as Tim and Sally, Johnny and Jenny, Newton and Ridley. And then there are those who, for this fan, just don't work. This doesn't mean that I don't love the individual characters but when they've been put together with, for me, the wrong person, it falls flat and they have no chemistry on screen. You may well disagree and I'd love to hear from you in the comments.  Here then, are my five least favourite couples on Coronation Street.

Toyah and Peter. I've written before about how much I love Georgia Taylor as an actress and how much I enjoy Toyah on screen.  But where's the feisty, fighting Toyah that we knew and loved from back in the Battersby days? Where's the drive and determination gone? Remember when she wanted to be a journalist, an eco-warrier with Spider? Now, that drive and determination has gone into her IVF and baby-making plans, she is consumed by it and it's become dull.  She and Peter have zero chemistry and neither of them look comfortable behind the Rovers bar. Bring back Spider for Toyah. Carla's coming back - will she take up with Peter again? And finally, bring back Liz to the Rovers for us all.

The only good thing about Anna and Kevin together is that Debbie Rush is leaving the show and their relationship will soon be over. Kevin's a Corrie legend, king of the bomber jacket. Anna's the required Street harpie. Apart they're fantastic. Together? Dull as ditchwater.

Oh, please don't hate me when I say that Billy and Todd shouldn't be together. I love watching these two as a couple, I really love it. But I want them to split up before Todd breaks Billy's heart, which he surely will one of these days.  That's the only reason I don't think they should be together because with these two, pain and heartbreak is just an episode away.

I'm going to say it and I'm going to say it loud. I LOVE Kym Marsh in Coronation Street. She's a fantastic actress and her character has grown in leaps and bounds over the years. She deserves every award going for the baby Ruari storyline which broke my heart in a million pieces. Michelle divorcing Steve made sense but putting her together with Robert Preston was a mistake of the highest order. The man is far too boring for someone as bright and sparky as Michelle. He dulls her light, split them up, please Corrie, and let her sparkle again.

And finally, Zeedan and Rana Nazir. She likes girls, Zee, and she's just not that into you. Dump her, get into your Speed Dahl van and drive far, far away.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Friday, 17 November 2017

Rob Mallard signs to Corrie for another year

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog October 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Good news for fans of Rob Mallard, who plays Coronation Street's Daniel Osbourne.  Rob has signed up to Coronation Street for another year.

Speaking to The Sun Online, Rob said: "Well I've just signed my second year so as far as it comes for the next year or so I think I'm quite safe for now but who knows at the end of that?"

And he also said that his character Daniel might get back together with Sinead, even though she's now engaged to Chesney.

He said: "Yeah - absolutely there's a way back because the only reason she isn't still with Daniel is because when they first got together the drama erupted with the Barlows that she obviously got pulled into. Aside from that they had everything going for them. They were both a little bit left of centre, not really part of any crowd - they didn't have an in-group, they found an in-group with each other, and I think they will always have that."

I'm really pleased Rob is staying on the Street. Daniel is a complex, troubled young man, proving that he's more, much more, than his dad Ken's mini-me.  And I really would like to see his mum Denise Osbourne return too.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Harry Visinoni interview on Seb's HIV diagnosis

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog November 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Last night on Coronation Street, Seb Franklin was given the news that he is HIV positive.  Harry Visinoni, who plays Seb, has given an interview to Digital Spy about playing Seb and the HIV storyline.  It's a good read.

In a nutshell, Harry says that producer Kate Oates told him about the storyline in advance and asked if he'd be OK with it.  He says: "Corrie trusting me with this was a great surprise and I was very grateful. It motivated me to hopefully do it well." and "It's the biggest thing I've done in my career by a mile, really."

And he also says that after so many scenes with Phelan, he would love to be involved in Phelan's comeuppance.

"Oh, that'd be the cherry on top to be involved in that storyline. Phelan's comeuppance is bound to be very dramatic. If I had a little role in that, that would definitely be one for the showreel, wouldn't it?"

You can read the full interview here.

Terrence Higgins Trust

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Five things we've learned from Classic Coronation Street this week

(This post was originally posted by GraemeN on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I was overjoyed when the announcement came that ITV3 would start re-running classic episodes of Coronation Street. To begin with, I was disappointed the network wasn't going to show episodes from earlier on - I believe the mid 1970s to early 80s to be the golden age for the show - however I can now see the benefits in starting in 1986. The episodes broadcast this week are modern enough to feature a vast number of characters viewers today will still be aware of, either because they are still regularly on our screens or because their time has only recently been and gone.

Coronation Street in 1986 featured regular characters who still appear today- Ken, Rita, Jenny, Audrey, Gail, Sally and Kevin. The likes of Deirdre, Emily, Jack and Vera, Betty and Hilda are still very much in our consciousness too. Early '86 also began some long running stories, introducing Sally Seddon to enliven Kevin's life for many years to come and most of all, the start of the three year Alan Bradley saga.

I have been tasked with cobbling together a blog on five things we've learned from this week in the life of Classic Coronation Street on ITV3. Week three of these wonderful repeats yet again features far too much Susan Barlow while Saucy Sally Seddon gets down to business at Len's old yard and then does some work. And finally, there's the joy that is seeing Emily "the Bish" Bishop pegging out Curly's boxer shorts. The fast cat.

Before The Bistro came The Bellstaff
Ken's wearing his best sports jacket so you know it's a bit of a do

Even though 1986 Corrie may have lacked the so-called sophistication we have in 2017, they could still push the boat out and go posh when the need arose. And what greater need than celebrating the 21st birthday of Barlow twins Peter and Susan? Yay, more screen-time for my favourite fingernails down a blackboard character, Susan Barlow! Joined by a very blond young man claiming to be Peter (he looked more like evil Kirsty Soames' nasty daddy to me), Ken threw quite the thrash at The Bellstaff. As the manager pointed out, The Bellstaff is an upmarket residential hotel as could be seen by the very 80s shiny set Granada had produced for the episodes. The very forward-thinking Bellstaff even boasted a female DJ grinding out all the latest hits for the teenagers...and Mavis and Emily, skulking in a corner in their party frocks nibbling their nuts.

Of course Ken had a devious ulterior motive for splashing so much cash on the twins. Why would the cardigan wearing bouffant ever dream of doing something nice for his kids? Was he motivated by love and the thought that his late wife Val wasn't there to see her sprogs come of age? Was he 'eck-as-like. He did it to embarrass Susan and her sugar daddy Baldwin by inviting a load of dreadful young actors in to play Susan's imaginary friends from Newcastle and Glasgow. Those that had speaking parts (sadly all too few) had accents from everywhere else in the UK except Newcastle and Glasgow it seemed but Kenneth still rather smugly made his point. That was until Baldwin wiped the smile off his face by delivering Susan's birthday present, a bright, shiny and very tinny looking Austin Metro. How could Ken even begin to top that?

The Changing Face of the Snug

Terry Duckworth in my Snug? Now think on and look sharp!

During a brief conversation with Hilda this week, Betty got all deep and meaningful. Now I love Betty, a street legend if ever there was one, but she spent most of her forty odd years behind the bar heaving her bosom, looking askance or threatening to walk out. However back in March 1986 she enjoyed a period of reflection, noting how popular the Snug was with the youth of the day. The likes of Sally, Kevin, Curly and Terry made a regular beeline for the comfort of the Snug and Betty wondered what the dear departed Albert and Ena would've made of it all, it having been their habitat for much of the past twenty years. Personally I imagine Ena would have been all fire and brimstone while Albert would have conned Kevin into buying him several pints of rum.

I had a moist moment when Betty reflected on the Snug, knowing as I do that within a matter of weeks from now in 1986, the old Snug would be no more, thanks to Jacko's dodgy electrics. For now though on ITV3 it's as hip and happening as the Graffiti Club. You almost expect to see Janet Street Porter hosting a yoof TV chat show in there on the subject of pre-marital doings.

Jessica Midgeley, nee Fletcher

Peter introduces Jessica to the sights of Weatherfield. Well, Emily at least

This past week on Classic Corrie saw the first return of young Peter Barlow since he last appeared in 1978. Back then he was blond and as Scottish as they come. By 1986 he was still kind of blond but now surprisingly English (the Royal Navy will do that to you I suppose). Accompanying him was Jessica Midgeley, his girlfriend of the time who would later become his wife in 1990. Their divorce ten years later brought a now dark haired, very Northern Peter back to Weatherfield. Anyway, young Jessica only popped up for Peter's 21st birthday and then briefly once again two months later for Susan's wedding to one Michael Vernon Baldwin.

Anyway, to quote Victoria Wood's Martha Longhurst, our Jessica wasn't behind mangle when they were giving out stair rods. She worked in a bank after all. Super sleuth Jess very quickly surmised that Ken not only didn't approve of Susan marrying Mike, he actually hated him. Fast work from an outsider, I think you'll agree. She did well to work that out from Ken's 1986 expression, which crept between mild bloating and the guilt of sudden flatulence and back again. A shame we didn't see more of Jessica. Perhaps it's time she paid Peter a visit and gave Toyah B a run for her money. Mind you after all this time and all those head transplants, I'd be shocked if she recognised her ex-husband at all.

Mrs Ogden's Tater Hash

Never a fan of kippers, yet Kev still ended up with old fishwife Anna Windass

There was a beautiful, quiet little scene this past week which showcased not only that less is more but more importantly the absolute quality of Jean Alexander as Hilda Ogden. Even after 22 years as the famous Weatherfield char, Jean could still tug at the heartstrings like no other. This week in 1986 Mrs O was having words with her lodger Kevin Webster about his dubious new girlfriend, one Sally Seddon. Hilda didn't like the cut of Sally's jib (in hindsight she wasn't far wrong) and our Kev didn't take too kindly to Mrs Ogden's comments. Kevin stormed out and was found slumbering in the back of Mike Baldwin's Jag the next morning at Brian's garage. Although how Kev ever managed to get any sleep stuck in those tight 1980s jeans I'll never know.

Anyway, Kevin returned to a quiet, dark No. 13 Coronation Street to collect his belongings, only to find Hilda sitting in Stan's old chair, close to tears at the prospect of being left alone once again. Despite stiff upper lips from both parties, it wasn't long before the mood changed, Kev was sitting down to a plate of Mrs O's famous tater hash and all was forgiven. It was simply done, very real and brought a tear to my eye. It also highlighted what a nice, genuine lad Kevin once was which makes it such a shame that the writers have since turned him into such a hot-headed, morally questionable so and so.

The Wonder of Bet's Weave

Bet, an explosion of back street glamour and radiance. She's the one in the wig

And finally, Bet's wondrous wiglet deserved its own on screen credit this week. In early '86 Miss Lynch was still sporting a rather modest, almost natural looking behive do. I liked this do of choice as it left the way clear for our Bet to react drily and ever so slightly camply to all the comings and goings around her. However the end of one recent episode saw Bet and Gloria glammed up and off out on the toot to the aforementioned birthday bash at the Bellstaff. What a vision. Bet emerged with golden locks tumbling from ever orifice. How was that even possible, viewers asked themselves? I did a quick calculation and there's no way on earth that what was previously a-top Bet's bonce could now be so resplendent around her shoulders. Even more surprising was that none of the regulars, not even our Betty, batted an eyelid.

In a brief scene later on, Audrey hoped Bet would be her first customer when she opened her new front parlour salon. All I can say is, good luck Aud, you're going to need it...

Until next week!

Classic Coronation Street is broadcast on ITV3 every week day at 14.40 and 15.15, repeated from 6am the next day.

You can follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Conversation Street Podcast 279

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the  episodes that aired up to last night's Canadian Corrie can be heard here.

On our latest podcast, we discuss the episodes of Coronation Street shown in the UK between the 30th October and the 3rd November. Though it didn't really feature on Corrie, this week was Halloween, and Seb's certainly in for a fright when he hears he's got HIV. Meanwhile, the Wicked Windass Witch of Weatherfield gets arrested when the police find the earring that Pat planted at the solicitors' office, and David - who we think may be slowly transforming into a werewolf from the chin outwards - starts to get suspicious when he sees Gary and Nicola together. After Street Talk, we've got a bit of a different feature discussion to mark Halloween, as we do our best to make tenuous links between Coronation Street and the Harry Potter series. Which houses would the Corrie kids be sorted into? Who'd teach each subject? What are the most terrible punny names Michael can think of for alternative book titles? If you're a Harry Potter fan, you'll hopefully have a bit of a giggle in this segment and if not..well, if you skip ahead about 50 minutes we'll promise not to put a curse on you. In The Kabin, we rate Corrie's chances in next week's Inside Soap Awards, then finish things off with some listener feedback and - of course - some discussion of this week's biggest Corrie cast news in a Kabin Extra section at the end.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Thursday, 16 November 2017

State of the Street - October 2017

Time for a rundown of some of the top stories of the month and a few opinions thrown in for good measure. While it was a pretty dark month overall, there were a few things that made me smile including seeing how happy Gina was after a bit of rumpy pumpy with Dev.

October started off with Nathan's trial. Great stuff there, good performances all around. Even though we all knew he'd be found guilty, it was still interesting to see how he tried to play the jury, twisting everything and making himself look the victim! Bethany was brave and stuck to her story and all the other evidence stacked up and convicted him.

Rita's health was a worry but it all turned out ok in the end. It served to remind us just how good Barbara Knox is when they give her something more to do than sell sweets and roll her eyes at Norris. The odious Colin is still lurking around like a bad smell. Has the sale of the Kabin and Rita's flat gone through? Could a tumour be enough of a reason that would allow her to break a contract? She certainly wasn't in her right mind.

Things got very dark for Phelan and he's crossed the line from psychopath to murderer. He's now on the slippery slope to either death or prison and it's expected he will cause a bit more destruction on the way down. I've been enjoying this storyline immensely, due to the capable hands of Connor McIntyre in particular.

Billy and Todd had their hands full with Summer. Sally's campaign for Mayor was far too low key and a bit unbelievable in that there were no other qualified or ambitious candidates running against a semi-experienced ex-councillor and a man dressed up as a bee. It shows the level of intelligence of the voters when the bee nearly won. I didn't find it credible in the least other than Kirk finally realizing that he'd be terrible at the job and didn't really want it anyway.

All these and more are discussed in further detail over at State of the Street.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Nicola Thorp Interview: Baby bombshell for Gary

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog October 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

What’s Nicola’s first reaction when Gary confronts her about her being pregnant?

Nicola completely denies it at first and tells him the dates don’t work and that it must have been her ex boyfriend, Scott’s baby. She is so worried because it was a one-night stand and she recognises what Gary and Sarah have is something really special. She doesn’t want to get in the way or cause harm to their relationship so she throws him off the scent.

Does Nicola have a soft spot for Gary or was it just one night?

Yes, Nicola does have feelings for him but Gary made his really clear. Probably the reason why she doesn’t tell Gary that it is his in the first place is because she cares about him. He opened up to her about his PTSD and his job in Ukraine; she is really attracted to bad lads but she sees him finally getting his life together and she doesn’t want to ruin that for him. Secretly, or maybe it is quite obvious to the audience, she has feelings for him because he is such a strong, caring and protective person and she has not had that in her life recently.

How does the first conversation go between Nicola and Gary?

Gary says that he is relieved, understandably. There is a little bit of sadness from Nicola that he reacted like that because the way that he comes to find her, he finds her address and seeks her out, she finds it quite romantic. She thinks he might have come over to see her again romantically. But when he says he is relieved, Nicola has to put on a brave face. She thinks she has done the right thing at first because she wants to do the best thing for Gary.

Nicola and Gary then have a heated exchange in the street where Nicola tells Gary the truth that he is the father. Why does Nicola change her mind?

Nicola starts to feel guilty about the fact that she has not told Gary the truth because she believes that a child has a right to know it’s father and she is wrestling with the guilt of that, particularly due to her own story of paternity. Her entire life she was lied to about who her real father was - for better or for worse! She knows she doesn’t really want to do that to her child and she doesn’t know how to deal with that.

She tells Gary but is she worried about the rest of the street finding out?

Nicola really doesn’t want Sarah to find out, she wants to be quite respectful despite going to bed with her boyfriend! The other people she is worried about is Gail, Audrey, Bethany - any of the Platts! She is quite scared of them. And also, she wouldn’t want Anna to know she was pregnant but she feels guilty carrying her grandchild without her knowing.

The Platts are quite a family to take on, aren’t they?

They really are, they are quite a strong unit. We will have to see because often people like that can be united by common enemies and particularly with nobody really liking Phelan and Nicola being new to the street. Nicola wants people to like her and she doesn’t really understand why everyone doesn’t like her because of her association with Phelan but she is starting to figure it out bit by bit.

Speaking of common enemies, Nicola is spinning a tangled web with Gary being a Windass and Anna’s son?

Nicola can see there is something that Gary is not telling her about Phelan and this makes her feel even more strongly, the mystery behind this guy and his fire, his temperament. Also, Nicola has suspicions about Phelan and Anna knows the truth about Phelan and they see each other as enemies at the moment but I hope one day they know the truth about each other because I think they would be a formidable force.

Could we start to see a different side to Nicola?

Nicola had every intention of coming to Weatherfield and being quiet and getting on with her own life but now everything is starting to unravel. This safe social worker who is quite nice and doesn’t want to get involved in drama - the moment that Gary kisses her is the moment that changes everything for her.

Has it been good to play such dramatic storylines so early on in the role?

Nicola is so much fun to play and to be stuck in at the deep end. Everyone has made me feel so welcome on the street and so safe to try stuff out. I feel like I am given full rein to play Nicola fully and I’ve had some really big emotional scenes with lots of crying. This pregnancy storyline has been really fun to play with incredible actors. I love Connor to pieces because he is the one that brought me in and now I am getting to work with Debbie Rush and Mikey North.

What’s the best thing about working with Mikey North and Debbie Rush?

Debbie is hilarious and we care about our storylines so much and being true to our characters. Mikey North, we get on really well and love having a laugh on set. He’s made me feel like one of the lads... or I’ve made him feel like one of the lads.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter
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