One of the pleasures for me of watching Coronation Street is observing what each different writer does with the storylines of the moment; and when a double episode is written by two different people, I’m always interested to know how they feed into one another. I thought tonight’s worked very well. The first, from Damon Rochefort, was a vibrant encounter peppered with humour and brilliant dialogue, while the second, from Mark Wadlow, had some great scenes and was suitably serious and appropriately slower in pace considering the turn of events.
After Rita finds Jenny in unfavourable lodgings, she takes her back to Weatherfield and into her home, guaranteeing her that she’ll be by her side no matter what; particularly when she sees Kevin and Sophie again. They don’t have long to wait as the stunned pair are stood picking their jaws off the cobbles at the sight of Rita and Jenny getting out of a taxi.
A one-on-one chat with Kevin, in which Jenny explains how her past actions were those of someone suffering from mental illness, and tells him she has recovered but is left with nothing, sees him willing to tolerate her, although he forbids any contact with Jack.
Sophie is less than Christian, a fact which Kevin himself points out, but is not for turning, describing Jenny as “evil”. Sally and Norris express similar feelings, but Jenny is happy to have Kevin and Rita’s support.
With all the tact of a spanner, Kevin uses the opportunity to encourage Anna to bury the hatchet with Phelan on the grounds that it’s making life difficult for him. She quite rightly points out that as he seems happy to take Phelan’s side without any regard for hers, she doesn’t think they have a future, and walks out. All this is rather ironic considering it was the self-same refusal to listen to anyone else’s side of the story but Jenny’s that saw Kevin’s child being kidnapped. Ergo, he has learned nothing.
There are hard lessons elsewhere as Mary feels a deep shame for Adi and Asha having witnessed her “in flagrante” with Brendan. She might be having an affair with a married man, but her inherent honourable nature sees her resign, leading Dev to plead with Erica and Liz to talk her round. The scene in the Rovers in which Mary tells a story about “Mummy” (not Mother, mind) is a delight and is trumped only by a later one with Erica who proves yet again to be a brilliant counsellor. After Brendan’s wife pitches up to the Rovers, calls Mary a trollop, and gives her an almighty slap on the face before Brendan renounces her as a “strange” fan, Erica still manages to make Mary feel better; some feat. Indeed, Erica’s positive, optimistic, carefree outlook and love of live is so refreshing, I enjoy every scene she’s in.
As Mary cuts a sorry dash, crying to the tune of Richard Clayderman, I’m struck by how much we need these silent, prolonged scenes in which pain is permitted to seep from a character’s heart to ours. It is through such moments that the strong bonds between us and them are forged.
Elsewhere, it’s lovely to see Tyrone deliver the good news to everyone on the Street that Hope is in remission. All that was missing was Hope herself, a missed opportunity for a scene in which the parents could’ve expressed their joy upon seeing her, and she could’ve been part of the celebrations. She wasn’t the only one absent, as Tyrone remarked that he hadn’t seen the Nazirs; I was thinking the same myself.
As Audrey recovers on Gail’s sofa from her attack of angina, Luke pops around to see how she is. What a strange, yet compelling relationship this pair have. While she blushes in doe-eyed flirtation before scolding Gail for allowing her to receive male visitors without being appropriately presented, she’s not so concerned when poor Ken calls around. Bouquet in hand, he’s roundly rebuffed as she reneges the expression of love she gave not two days ago. While I felt sorry for Ken, I’m not sure how I feel about this on the whole. On the one hand, I’d like to see them both find love, but on the other, I simply can’t believe that neighbours who have known eachother for so long as friends could develop such feelings for one another out of the blue. Further, did Ken not tell Nessa that he wasn’t over Deirdre yet? It feels more of a convenience than an organic development, and for that reason, I’m finding myself more against than for the idea.
Over at the factory, the Connors receive a visit from Richie O’Driscoll who invites them to his house for drinks this coming Monday. Let’s be honest, the only valid reason for having a party on a Monday night is that it’s to feature in that evening’s double Corrie.
A highlight of both episodes had to be Sally on the campaign trail. She may be determined to make Weatherfield a better place, but by spouting meaningless business speak and patronising all and sundry, I wonder if she’ll get many votes. I’m not a fan of drawn out storylines, but if the election wasn’t for another month, let’s just say you wouldn’t hear me complaining.
Another positive element was the appearance of Norris’s staunch loyalty to Rita and Mary in the face of Jenny Bradley and “Mr. Brendan” respectively. Now, if we could just see him happy for people when things are going right, that would certainly be a welcome development.
This review originally appeared on the Coronation Street Blog on Friday 29 January 2016.