From Russia with Love

Coronation Street Episode Review – Wednesday 4 March 2015

Anna and Owen attend a meeting about a forthcoming school trip to France, but their proximity to an uncomfortable Jackson and his family is too much for Faye who leaves upset. Craig continues to be a marvellous support to her, and their friendship is lovely to watch, despite the unfortunate circumstances.

David agrees to let Callum see Max, but when he arrives to pick up his son, he’s not happy to learn he’s actually at a friend’s house. David tells Callum it was a test to see if he’d turn up. Katie is the only one who seems to believe in him, but her plans to have him over for dinner are thwarted when he insists she go out with her Mam and sister instead. The ladies have an enjoyable evening, and things even appear to have thawed between Owen and Linda as they laugh at old holiday pictures, but Izzy still won’t entertain her father, and Anna is angry that he’s enjoying himself playing happy families.

Over at the community centre, Roy prepares for his first cooking class, and shepherd’s pie is on the menu. One of the myriad things I love about him is that he always knows more about his subject than most, but as he imparts his knowledge of international variants of the dish to Alya, I’m infuriated to see her openly sneer at him. Roy being made little of by others is a very unwelcome pattern I’ve observed of late. A few weeks back the staff of the Bistro had a meeting in the café while it was being renovated and we saw Nick and Steph look disdainfully in his direction. On Monday he became the butt of a joke which amused Gary, Tyrone and Kevin no end concerning a computer game he had understandably never heard of, and we then had to witness Sharif and Michelle snigger at his attempts at driving.

As I’ve observed before, characters like Roy are not found in every programme, and their welcome inclusion is what makesCoronation Street special and important. If we are to openly demean such characters rather than embrace their originality and excellent qualities, then it does a disservice to both the character and those who are disdainful towards him. Superior characters like Roy should be uniformly celebrated. The scenes aren’t funny, there is a meanness to them which doesn’t sit well with me and they patronise a man who is clearly above such treatment. I hope we see the last of them, as Roy deserves more respect than that.

In any event, with only one allotment space available, Sharif or Roy must triumph via an interview. Determined to succeed,Roy studies for the “high stakes game of horticultural mastermind” describing it as “a kind of gardeners’ high noon without the firearms.” While Alya’s expression frustrated me earlier, she did give Roy the vote of confidence over her grandfather which was a welcome touch.

Meanwhile Steph insists on being with Andy when he faces Gavin who is furious having uncovered their fraudulent activity. Such is his disregard for Michael however that he couldn’t care less about his father’s illness, blanks him to his face in the Rovers, and blackmails Andy and Steph by demanding £5,000 to keep quiet. Andy’s fondness for Michael comes out and it’s clear that he would be a better son to him than Gavin ever would, the latter only seeing the money making opportunities the situation presents. However, no matter how nice Andy is, or Steph for that matter, it’s hard to see how anyone could accept either of them in the event that his true identity is revealed. Despite their affability, the gravity of the deception shouldn’t be underestimated.

Eileen continues to wow behind the bar at the Rovers, specialising in frequent breaks, insulting customers and putting them off buying drinks. I did laugh out loud at Michelle and Steve confessing to being afraid of her, and while a game of rock paper scissors dictates that Michelle do the firing, she fails miserably.

Failure isn’t an option where Ken is concerned. Ever waging war against any mode of intellectual suppression, he insists upon saving Audrey from trashy romance novel Slender Hearts Run Free by presenting her with the less slender Anna Karenina. Judging by her stunned expression, there’s a better chance of Ken donning his kimono and getting lost in the pages of her romance novel than there is of her reading a word of his.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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