Coronation Street – Wednesday 20 November – 7.30pm
Like a nervous teenager, Peter Barlow makes small talk with Tina as she calls in to bring Simon to school, and ends up distracted at the factory as a result. This doesn’t go unnoticed by Eva who remarks that he is quiet, but she gets minimal response from him. Carla is similarly withdrawn, and Kirk offers his services as a reputed great listener. As Beth’s boyfriend, Carla notes “with her gob I would’ve thought that was a pre-requisite”. Back in the office and contemplating Kirk’s blank face, she tells Peter he has a “heart of gold but the brains of a rocking horse”.
His capacity for verbal reasoning slated, his numerical aptitude is next. Beth is miraculously in the lead by 5 in the Employee of the Month competition, and Sally overtly questions his counting skills. It’s hilarious when Carla announces Sally is to manage the factory while herself and Peter are on honeymoon, and Eva switches sharply from an incredulous “what?” to an exaggerated “yay”. Sally is predictably overjoyed at the prospect of her management role. “I don’t know what to say” she beams, then “yeah I do, in your face Tinker”. Sally and Fizz are the only two employees invited to Carla and Peter’s wedding, leaving many of them looking longingly at the beautiful invitations.
Kirk is not the only number cruncher as Nick works on his speciality; the accounts. Leanne shows him her “Staff Wanted” poster, as she feels an extra pair of hands is needed at the Bistro. However, it’s not long before he becomes angry and frustrated with what he perceives to be overspending. Leanne and Gail try to encourage him to take a break and, feeling useless, he says he’ll go shopping like a “kept spouse”.
There are panic stations at Bessie Street when Tina turns up to collect Simon, and he is nowhere to be found. Meanwhile, crimes against limericks were being committed:
There once was a man called Dave
Burgers and fried Mars Bars were his fave
Got too fat, died of a heart attack, and couldn’t fit in his grave.
More bizarre than this ditty of Simon’s was the sight of him trotting happily alongside Nick while everyone, including the police, were on the lookout for him. This was difficult to swallow for a number of reasons. Simon loves Tina and knows it’s her job to pick him up every day, so why would he go with Nick without sparing a second thought for her? Isn’t he old enough and clever enough to know to say something rather than just head off with Nick? Considering recent events, Nick isn’t exactly someone Simon feels comfortable with at the moment, and it is difficult to see how all three wouldn’t have spotted eachother at the school.
Peter and Leanne are both relieved and upset when they stumble upon them opposite the Rovers, and Nick is completely confused by the drama his actions have caused. Both Peter and Gail tell Leanne that the situation is getting out of hand. Nick, affected by what has happened, acknowledges that “normal doesn’t apply to me anymore”. Leanne calls around to Peter and agrees that things can’t continue as they are with regard to Nick and Simon. As she returns to the flat to talk to Nick, she finds him looking up statistics on the amount of marriages that fail on foot of one of the couple suffering a brain injury. She dismisses his research but does tell him that Simon will be staying with Peter and Carla for a little while longer. Not only that, she has suggested that someone else be present if Nick and Simon are to spend time together. Nick is very upset and believes that Leanne’s sacrifice of Simon makes her Nick’s carer rather than his wife.
Anna wants to use up her sausages (ahem) and tells Faye she can invite Grace for dinner. Over at Roy’s, Sally drops in for a side order of friction with her sticky bun. Anna asks her honestly what she thinks of Grace, and Sally says she doesn’t trust her but maybe Anna should talk to Tim. The girls drop in after school and tell Anna about Nick and Simon. Grace finds it funny and Anna is not impressed. Faye shows her good side by genuinely sympathising with Simon. However, when they are alone at the table, Grace berates her for doing so, and asks “who feels sorry for losers?” She walks out despite Faye begging her not to, and when Anna arrives perplexed with two milkshakes, dejected Faye asks her to leave her alone.
In the aftermath of her and Brian’s fostering interview, an oblivious Julie begins to feel daunted by the responsibility and their suitability as foster parents. Brian slithers his way through the morning, allowing her fret and worry. While she is reassured by the girls in the factory, she continues to be unaware of Brian’s sabotage, and we feel so sorry for her. When Sally reminds her that “nothing worthwhile is ever simple”, her enthusiasm and confidence is restored. She sparkles once more as she browses magazines in Roy’s with a view to redecorating their spare room in preparation for their foster child, and tells a squirming but silent Brian, “This is our destiny”.
As Brian commends Tina for how she coped with the Simon situation, it prompts Todd to ask Brian and Julie if it’s likely to put them off fostering. On the contrary, responds Julie, who remains buoyant. Todd astutely recognises Brian’s discomfort and confronts him. He reaches new lows as he announces publicly that he spoke to Trudy who advised that Social Services will not be proceeding with their application. When pushed for more information by Eileen, Julie and Todd, he does an about turn and says he’d rather not conduct a post-mortem in the Rovers. “It’s not your fault” Julie tells him when in fact, it is precisely all down to him. When Eileen tells her it’s their loss, it’s heartbreaking to hear her reply, “Really? Funny, it feels like mine.” As Eileen expresses her disgust following Julie and Brian’s departure, the look on Todd’s face tells us he has his suspicions, but for some reason does not reveal them to Eileen. Hopefully he hasn’t identified this as a situation he can work to his advantage, and instead puts his idleness and intelligence to good use by avenging Julie and exposing Brian for the coward that he is.
By Emma Hynes