David Platt’s Crisp Packet: Trick or Treat?

Coronation Street Double Episode: Friday 1 November, 7.30pm and 8.30pm

Kylie and Gail are concerned about how low Nick is, and both acknowledge that only Leanne can save him. Kylie, always with Nick’s best interests at heart, wants her to return for love and not pity.

Leanne meanwhile announces to Gail that she came back for her son and the Bistro; bit of a change from Wednesday when she said she didn’t know why she was back and had to return to find out.

Simon begs Leanne to bring him to Faye’s post-Hallowe’en party, but both her and Peter are busy, and Nick is too ill. Ever the astute kid, he asks if Nick isn’t up to it, or if Leanne’s not up to asking.

Leanne gives in, and drops him around to Nick who’ll take him to the party. It isn’t just the Platt family in shreds tonight as poor Gail’s Egyptian cotton sheets are torn to pieces for Simon’s mummy outfit.

Preparations are also underway over at the Windass’s, and Tim asks, “what’s so scary about a bin liner?” He obviously never went door to door in the 1980s when bin liner based costumes were omnipresent and eternally versatile. Tim agrees to buy her a costume, but predictably forgets, and it falls to Anna to find one at the eleventh hour. She promptly gives him a wallop, telling him she’ll be lucky if there are any left, that it’s the busiest time of year. The fact that Hallowe’en is actually over seems to have escaped her, and surely she’d be lucky to get anything. She succeeds however, and Faye is Morticia Addams for the night. Why Anna allows Tim to take credit for the costume is slightly baffling, as she normally takes great pleasure in getting one up on him.

As Kylie observes, Grace arrives dressed for the West End. She seems intent on causing trouble, and embarks on a vendetta against poor Simon on foot of his home made costume; lucky for Faye she was spared the bin liner. Grace also notes Nick’s weakness and plays on it, turning up the music when she sees he’s not coping, and pushing Simon to the point where he runs to go home. He trips and spills a drink on Nick who snaps and roars at Simon and the rest of the guests, and breaks Amy Barlow’s broomstick in two. Leanne walks in mid tirade, and drags Simon out with no sympathy for Nick. Again, Kylie is the only one who really understands him, and goes to see if he’s okay. Meanwhile Grace smiles smugly at her handiwork.

“Mum will kill me” Amy frets over her broomstick. “No she won’t” says Tim to which Sally replies, “You don’t know her mother.” Cue amusing Tracy related broomstick quips throughout.

Both Faye and Anna are consistently rude to Sally, but she’s the only one speaking the truth; “It’s funny your name is Grace”, she tells the Bride of Frankenstein, “cos you haven’t got any.” She accuses her of being nasty, together with Faye, and even though he surely agrees, Owen makes little of her by ordering Tim to “get her home mate”. Sally promptly calls him a sexist pig, makes her exit, and leaves us with a giggling Anna and Owen, a sneering Faye and Grace, and the distinct feeling that there probably aren’t four more unlikeable characters in the programme; although spelled G-R-O-C-E, Faye’s use of the word is somehow apt.

Grace’s paltry apologies seem to work on Anna, but when she tells Faye that Simon ruined her party and needs to be punished, her apprentice doesn’t seem too convinced.

Hallowe’en doesn’t only continue over at the Windass’s, as Liz confesses that sombre David is creeping her out at the other end of the bar. “They used to say he can move things across a room just by looking at them”, she tells Eileen. Not only has David overheard, but he obliges by mysteriously transporting a crisp packet across the bar without touching it; and I thought the prospect of him as a brain surgeon was frightening.

Friday’s episodes thankfully heralded the return of the humour and fun that has been sorely lacking of late. Liz visits grumpy Eileen in the cab office on the pretence of looking for Steve to try and convince her to come out. Eileen cheekily suggests he’s “hiding under an invisibility cloak”. Can you imagine a better superhero power for Steve? Perfect for escaping when his latest madcap scheme, or ill advised deed has been found out; although it’s likely he’d be too mischievous to be trusted with it. Eileen tells Liz that even if Antonio Banderas were to turn up wearing only baby oil and a smile, he’s unlikely to tempt her out. If his latest chewing gum ads are anything to go by, she might actually stand a chance of this becoming a reality.

Liz succeeds in inviting her over and tells her not to worry about money. The prodigal landlady is a joy to behold behind the bar, and her return is central to facilitating much needed light heartedness and fun. Her witty conversation with Sean, and subsequent boozy evening with Deirdre and Eileen offered the levity the soap needs at present considering the amount of grim storylines afoot. The anxious manner in which she tries to tap Gail for information on her present family situation is a funny sight. Sean’s dialogue was wonderful tonight, from describing his Sound of Music outfit as “a triumph of modern costumery”, to telling Gail she was “down with the gays” after she made a “friend of Dorothy” joke. He even says of Eva’s downsides, “Eva’s got her knockers”. We can’t argue with that.

Meanwhile over at the Bistro, landladies past drink wine and gossip with Tina. Gloria describes Liz as “scrag end dressed as lamb”, and Stella retorts, “must be like looking in the mirror.” Such an interaction makes me feel glad that they’ve moved on from the Rovers. I never felt their coolness and often callousness had any place at the heart of the Street, and this is reaffirmed by witnessing Liz in her rightful place at the helm. Tina’s stories of the Rovers and her love life apparently make Gloria feel like she’s in an episode of Sex and the City. She’s clearly never watched one.

Roy’s thoughts are elsewhere as he continues to visit Hayley in hospital, and is happy to find out that she will be coming home next week.

Gail has some home truths for Leanne, reminding her of her own behaviour, and she’s not the only one. Gloria tells her that dropping into Peter Barlow on the way to her wedding to Nick makes them quits in her eyes. It’s strange that Leanne doesn’t show any reaction to the news that Eva, her own sister, tried it on with Nick on their wedding day. In any event, Leanne has been given food for thought, and she finds herself around at Nick’s telling him she loves him. As they embrace, I’m left with the distinct feeling that I’d rather it was Kylie.

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