Bodice Ripper, Wallpaper Stripper, Day Tripper

Coronation Street Double Episode: Monday 4 November, 7.30pm and 8.30pm  

Frantic redecoration is Roy’s only concern tonight, as a worried Anna tells Mary himself and Hayley haven’t been right since they fell out. Mary describes the book she has lent Hayley as a “bodice ripper”, and we’re surprised to hear Emily is next in line to read it; no doubt Norris will see it as his duty to take a sneaky peak. While Roy is out, Anna and Mary conspire to help him. Mary volunteers to fall on her sword, and that she does, as a furious Roy returns, admonishes her and slams the door in her face. Seeing how distressed he is, Anna persists, confiding in him about her Dad’s struggle with cancer and the importance of making the most of the time they have left together. She urges him to consider how they are spending it for fear they’ll regret wasting it. Agitated Roy says he wants to spend it with her, that’s the whole problem. Confused, Anna continues, urging him to think of Gary’s experiences in the army, and how his inability to talk about them left him unable to cope; “Heads are not built to lock things up like that” she tells him in a welcome soft hearted moment for a woman who unfortunately shows more negative traits than positive of late.  In a very distressed state, Roy blurts out Hayley’s plan to take her own life. Very upset that he has betrayed her confidence, he insists that Anna tell nobody, and when alone, appears to suffer badly at his perceived betrayal. He invokes such sympathy as he struggles to cope with not only the fate of his soul mate, but what is an inexplicable decision for him.

Mary is faced with another challenge as she must suffer a sniffy visit from Gail who considers herself to be slumming it at Roy’s Rolls, apparently requiring a much needed break from fine dining. She’s promptly knocked off her perch by Mary’s indifference, and Eileen’s big news; Todd is coming home. To soften the obvious blow, Eileen enquires weakly after Sarah Louise. Gail brightens up and speaks of the letters she sends her, complimenting herself on her turn of phrase as she puts pen to Basildon Bond. Eileen mocks, and Gail warns her that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones; an observation that turns out to be more premonition than advice.

Full of excitement, Eileen is rolling out the proverbial red carpet for the return of the prodigal son. Her idea of making a cake is knocked back by Jason who describes them as “like concrete, only harder”; coming from a builder, they must be bad. As she talks up his success in London and bemused at the effort she’s going to, he anticipates her next request for a favour; “build a helipad in the back yard so Todd can land his copter there?” There’s no soft landing for Eileen though, when Todd’s hitherto unheard of boyfriend Alex bursts into her house demanding to see him. Both herself and Jason are shocked to hear how Todd never showed up at the airport when they were due to travel to New York together, took his money, and subsequently dumped him by text. He wants the £500 he has lent Todd, and to know why he has done this to him. He describes a lazy, selfish liar who has been sacked. These home truths are too much for Eileen and Jason who throw him out.

However, when cagey Todd does arrive, he arouses enough suspicion to make them doubtful of their earlier defence of him. Jason urges Eileen not to make excuses, but she sends him packing to the pub, intent on handling it her way. Alex is already there, and Liz and Sean give the new arrival the once over. He’s not long burning his bridges as he insults Manchester and by extension, Sean. Unfazed, Alex turns his attention to Jason, and apologises for his earlier behaviour. We hear that Todd was cheating on boyfriend Jules with Alex and was dumped when he got caught. Nosey Sean can’t help but butt in and reveal that despite Jason and Eileen advising him to the contrary, Todd was expected home after all. Alex storms back to Eileen’s. Having listened to Todd’s persistent lying in the interim, Eileen now appears to believe Alex’s version of events. She promptly writes him a cheque for £500 and apologises; “I brought him up better than this.” It appears his situation is everyone else’s fault; the recession got him sacked, Jules’ possessive, controlling behaviour caused him to have an affair, and Eileen putting him on a pedestal and expecting too much for him meant he had no choice but to lie. It’s all too much for Jason who goes to stay in Eva’s. It seems a shame that Todd has to come back transformed for the worse when there are more than enough characters of the same ilk at present.

Speaking of which, Grace and Faye are marched around to apologise to Nick by Sally. It was the E-Numbers in the pop that did it, according to the ever resourceful Grace who subsequently manipulates Faye into coming between Sally and Tim. “Sally’s so smug it makes me sick” she scoffs when in truth Sally is her least smug in a while and Grace may as well be talking about herself. Sally, intent on bonding with Faye, though heaven knows why, invites them over to watch a movie. The two little sneers trot around sniggering, and are told that Dirty Dancing is on the menu. However, the more Sally thinks about it, she realises “I’m not sure you’re ready for male buttocks”, and instead says she’ll get Spiceworld out of the attic. “I wish my Mum was like you” coos Nasty Spice, and we wonder exactly what upbringing this manipulative little bully has had. Her meddling proves incessant as she urges Sally to go out for sweets and treats.

As Sally chats to Sophie over at Dev’s, the girls are plotting and scheming in an effort to come between her and Tim. Alone in the house, it doesn’t take much for Grace to convince a malleable yet uncertain Faye to call Tim and pretend the house is being broken into while they are left alone, and that they are afraid.

Tim comes to the rescue, and plays an Oscar winning role as pot / kettle, telling Sally off, turning her down when she asks if he’d like to watch a movie with her, and telling her not to wait up as he storms off. Please.

Sally can be malevolent and nasty at times, but she has my sympathies here as all her genuine best efforts are thwarted or sneered at. The only thing I don’t understand is why she persists with the girls when they acted so badly at the Halloween party? Seeing Grace’s manipulation of Simon and Nick first hand, does she not at least smell a rat about the attempted break in?

Meanwhile, an anxious Nick ensures that Leanne knows what she’s getting herself in for. As she affectionately calls him Grandad (weird), she says she’s willing to take her chances. She’s reminded of the effect all this is having on Simon to which she replies “it’s temporary, he’ll be fine”. You keep telling yourself that Leanne, but if Barlow’s Bookies was still open I’d say you’d get good odds at this rate on him becoming the future David Platt. Her sincerity turns on a dime when Kylie tries to help Nick and she tells her to get out of her face. It’s disappointing that Nick doesn’t step in to defend Kylie considering how consistently loyal and good she has been to him since his accident.

She considers herself a bored single Mum and is desperate to get back to work so she can get dressed up and have adult interaction. Her attempt to convince Leanne falls flat as she is described as “the dirty little slag who slept with me husband”. Leanne has a short memory, and its insults like this, considering her own past and behaviour, that make her infinitely unlikeable.

Over at the Bistro, Nick struggles but Leanne is encouraging for once. When a large divorce party of ladies arrives, it proves too stressful for Nick despite his initial enjoyment of their flirting. Gloria calls Kylie and when she arrives, Leanne is disgusted. It’s not long before Gloria manages to convince Leanne to let her work there, selling the idea to her as a chance to punish her with all the awkward shifts. The offer is put to Kylie who says, “I’m game”. Gloria just can’t keep her serpent tongue in check and replies, “Well we know that love, but do you want to come back and work here or not?” I know Kylie is desperate to work, but considering the insults she has been subjected to tonight, I think I’d be looking in the Kabin window for other vacancies.

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