Beth Tinker, Celebrity Aunty Hero

Coronation Street – Episode Review – Friday 28 March 2014 – 7.30pm and 8.30pm

It’s always interesting to see how a soap will tackle issues in contemporary society, and tonight’s representation of an “ordinary” person who appears in the public eye and is vilified on foot of doing so was accurate, pertinent and brilliantly executed.

It’s Beth’s moment to shine as the Weatherfield Gazette report on her heroics and reward of £5,000. “Local Hero Saves Maureen’s Bingo Win” reads the headline (not to mention her husband’s ashes!) The “merchandise production executive” is very proud of her achievement, and tells Michelle how she decided to waive her anonymity to let the world see her in the hope that she can inspire others. She gives the bemused barmaid a copy of the article for the wall of the Rovers.

Contemporary celebrity culture has many guises with the dissolving gap between “ordinary” and “extraordinary” becoming increasingly complex. Beth’s description of how her “mate’s cousin’s boyfriend’s Dad” was in the original line up of Duran Duran, and how “She thought she were a right proper celebrity and all that lot, whereas I’m actually one of your punters” is demonstrative of the category of celebrity purportedly famous by association as opposed to those who become famous on merit. As is our daily experience, neither are immune to criticism, as Beth is about to find out.

Things turn sour when Norris reveals that readers have posted mean comments about her on the Gazette website. We are all sadly only too familiar with this phenomenon, and analysing the potential reasons behind it would mean a whole other article. What is of relevance here is that we seldom get to see how their comments are received by the victim, and Beth’s experience offers a welcome opportunity to reveal this.

Norris’ comment, “If you stick your head above the parapet…” is representative of a dominant opinion among too many who feel if you put yourself out there, you somehow deserve to be torn apart. As Beth reads the nasty comments, you can’t help but feel sorry for her. “I don’t get it, I did summat good, summat nice” she observes, bewildered. Kirk talking of badger’s bums in reference to one comment, and Chesney getting the evil eye from Sinead for pointing out another, are sources of humour, but they don’t undermine the message which is, there is a human on the receiving end of thoughtless comments, and people should consider this before posting.

Beth is insecure about her appearance, and even her friends, as a result of the negative attention, as she worries they are hiding behind aliases to insult her. Humanity is restored via Craig who uses the facility of the internet alias for good, posting as Duncan, Doreen and Terry to express his pride in his Mam’s heroics. It must be said that some characters have been on the receiving end of Beth’s unnecessarily nasty remarks in the past, and what I really hope for this storyline is that its value and worth is borne out by showing a permanent change in Beth’s character for the better as a result of this negative experience.

Chesney tells Dev he wants to invest in Prima Doner, and wants Beth to be his “Dragon” with her £5,000, but Sinead feels she’s too fragile at this time to be approached.

Carla attends an abortion clinic with Michelle and voices her inner turmoil over what to do. The fact that there’ll be no picture of the scan which has confirmed she’s pregnant appears to strike a chord with her. She tells Michelle that the pill she’s about to take will change her life which is telling considering the reason she made the appointment was to ensure her life doesn’t change. Michelle offers great counsel, encouraging her to talk about her doubts. These essentially see Carla deciding not to go though with it. In the car, they watch Stella and Leanne hug and imagine a having a little girl “who’d love you more than the world”. While she tells Michelle she never thought she’d be a Mam, Carla’s worry is now that Peter might leave her if she tells him where she’s been.

Having lost their £80,000 investment for stealing, Anna is furious, Gary and Owen blame each other,and Izzy wishes she’d never met Gary. In an attempt to destroy the evidence of his assault, Gary breaks into Phelan’s but finds nothing. Incensed Owen insists Gary answer to him on everything from now on. Anna can cope with shattered dreams, but reckons it would break her if Gary and Izzy were to split up.

Imperceptive of the effect of the recent robbery on vulnerable Gail, David and Kylie continue to fob the kids off on her and embark on a “Fantasy Night Out”. They meet as supposed strangers in a hotel, but the evening proves as futile as trying to establish where Kylie’s alter-ego “Saskia” is supposed to be from, as neither have brought money. With no choice but to go home, they find Gail alone with a cricket bat, and after confessing her fears, Kylie refuses to leave her.

Stella announces to Leanne that she’s leaving for New York. She tells her daughter to follow her heart with Kal, that she’s done all she can for Nick, and that she wants to see her move on and be happy. While she can’t agree to abandon Nick, Leanne promises to look after Eva and stay in touch.

By Emma Hynes

Twitter: @ELHynes

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