Planes, Brains and…not very many Laughs

Coronation Street, Wednesday 30 October, 7.30pm

As Halloween approaches on the Street, Faye sets about arranging her party. Sally and Tim can’t come, as they’ll be spending the evening with Brian and Julie – a dinner party straight out of a horror film, and Tim’s worst nightmare. However, despite ordering Faye to arrange it, Grace announces she can’t make it either, and the party is promptly changed to Friday on her account. This now means Sally and Tim can go, much to Anna’s annoyance. However, Grace’s manipulation of Faye doesn’t go unnoticed by Owen who tells Anna that she has nobody to blame but Grace. Faye’s friend may continue to impress Anna, but Owen is not convinced.

Eileen is none too happy to find Lloyd in the pub when he has turned down her offer of a drink earlier in the day, but they make up over pint of Newton and Ridley’s finest, and all is well with the world.

Beth asks Sinead to sew underwear for her on the sly to help her win Employee of the Month, and thus £100. We wouldn’t expect vanilla Sinead to approve of her aunt’s scheme, and she predictably says no. In an effort to convince her, Beth reminds her of the things she has done for her in the past, like covering for her when she’s out with her mates, writing a note pretending to be her Mam to get her out of PE, and offering her a spray tan. Is this a different Sinead we’re hearing about? She sounds infinitely more exciting, but there is absolutely nothing about her character that would indicate any of these would be plausible. However, she bizarrely agrees to help her cheat, resulting in uncharacteristic behaviour that is difficult to believe in.

Halloween can be a scary time, but surely the most terrifying prospect from tonight’s Corrie was the sight of David Platt looking in The Kabin window asking Rita, “You ain’t got any jobs for fighter pilots or brain surgeons have you?” Hasn’t the Demon Barber of Coronation Street done enough damage over the years? Think of the mayhem he’d unleash if he had access to brains or planes. Thankfully there are no such vacancies. Rita sympathises with him without knowing the full story, and despite being tempted “just for the look on your face”, he doesn’t tell her. Rita finds herself in the Rovers with Liz as both try to piece together the truth without much success.

Liz acts as voice of reason to stubborn Tina who finally pays for the window damage to Barlow’s Buys, and despite Tracy’s insistence, Rob doesn’t charge her for the laptops Tracy broke deliberately.

Domestic bliss continues for Tina and David, and he even jokingly proposes marriage til he’s reminded that he’s already married to Kylie. Out of work, he certainly looks the part of house husband with his tea towel slung over one shoulder and the dinner on.

Stella is thrilled to get a call from Leanne to say she’s coming back. Over at the Bistro, Gail tries to push Gloria for news to no avail, and is firmly told, “same family, different branch”. If that’s her attitude, why are they all working together to keep the Bistro going?

When Leanne does arrive back on the cobbles, the first thing she sees is Nick, Kylie and the kids going into the house. Judging by her face, things aren’t going to be straightforward. Gail is delighted to see her, but fails to pressurise her into visiting Nick straight away. She runs to give him the good news, but can only tell him that Leanne has promised to visit him later in the day.

Gloria asks her why she’s back, and is told she is there “to find out”. When Simon arrives with Peter, he runs into Leanne’s arms. It is disappointing and implausible to witness Leanne unwilling to commit to Simon about their future. Was it not this type of uncertainty which she was at pains to remove him from? “We’ll just have to wait and see” is a reply heard by Simon many times, and now he is hearing it from the mother who promised a secure future for him.

As Nick waits anxiously for her visit, Kylie is there to reassure him, and convince him to be patient, advising him not to mess things up by rushing to see her first. She continues to be a rock for Nick, tying his shoelaces, offering him a friendly ear, and being the voice of reason as Gail irritates him and fusses around him.

Leanne is finally on the way, but first she encounters David drinking from a bag of cans on the steps of Underworld. What’s all this about? Two minutes ago he was giving Nigella Lawson a run for her money in Tina’s cosy kitchen, and now he’s drinking on the street like he has nowhere else to go? Leanne confronts him about what he has done to Nick and congratulates him on destroying their lives. Despite the pain he claims to be in, he seems nonplussed, and she marches on to confront Nick.

Kylie’s success at getting meddling Gail offside when Leanne arrives is sadly the only source of humour in this episode. Nick tells Leanne he wants them to try again, and she tells him she can’t. Her reason for coming back was to find out “what I can and what I can’t do”, and Simon is mentioned as an afterthought. She says she can’t move back in with Nick, and might never be able to, leaving him despondent.

It was a grim note to end what was frankly a grim episode. Coronation Street has always been famous for its ability to combine laughter and drama, and this is central to its appeal. I live in hope that there are happier times planned for its characters so it retains the tried and tested formula we know and love.

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