Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 19 February 2016.
These two episodes, written by Jonathan Harvey and Jan McVerry were enjoyable, not because of where the drama was headed, but because of the manner in which they were written. The dialogue celebrated normality in the face of far-fetched storylines involving Carla, Tracy, Nick, and Anna, and did justice to welcome progressions such as Norris’s decision to stand against Sally, and the reaction to Sinéad’s photo shoot.
If Sally thinks she’s whistling the people’s tune, she needs to take a look at her sheet music. Fuming at Norris’s efforts to display her in a positive light in the Gazette, and leaving him in no doubt of her feelings on the matter, she then took a dictatorial move by buying half of Street Cars behind Tim’s back so she wouldn’t have to say he was a window cleaner. We won’t ask where she got the money, or point out that more thought was put into Robert’s menu than the sale of half of this business and others on Coronation Street. We are certainly missing the humour of the Street Cars cab office, and may laugh at Tim asking where they’re going, only to be told ‘All the way to the top, Timothy,’ but the manner in which this has come about makes it a rather disturbing development.
Norris would appear to have found his calling. Everything he said about Sally was true, and I loved the scene with Rita in the Kabin where the ‘North West high achiever 1994’ criticised the ‘glory hunter’ with ‘no class’. As Tim explains the concept of democracy to Sally, Norris enters to announce he’ll be standing against her. While Sally has given us some laughs, and I never thought I’d hear myself say this, after tonight, I’m team Norris.
It’s opening day for Kev’s new garage but, as is wont to be, it’s spoiled by something. Yes, Anna learns that Jason has given Phelan a job, has a meltdown, and smashes his van to pieces before attacking him and bellowing into Craig’s face that Faye can never know. The best part of this over dramatic and unnecessary scene was undoubtedly David, unfazed as you’d expect one who has seen as much as he has to be, uttering “well this takes me back”. Brilliant.
While Phelan endears himself at Eileen and “Mike’s”, Anna is promptly dumped. It’s a wonder she didn’t just come out with the truth; Kevin couldn’t think less of her than he did tonight, if that’s what she’s worried about.
Tracy blackmailing Carla to leave town in exchange for her secrecy is ludicrous on a number of fronts. Firstly, the cretin can’t be trusted to stay quiet even if her wishes are carried out, so why does Carla believe her? Secondly, Carla suffered deeply when she believed she was culpable for the Victoria Court fire and spiralled into drinking and gambling as a result. Where is her conscience now that she’s willing to deceive her fiancé in such a fashion? Thirdly, despite all that’s happened her, Carla remains a strong woman. I can’t see her giving up two businesses so easily, especially her beloved Underworld. The dialogue, however, did a good job of conveying the idea that escaping the past would do them both good. I enjoyed David’s advice, to go for it, that he has dreamed of upping sticks and going where nobody knows him and all he has done, and we learned more about Johnny as a person in his Reggie Perrin speech than we have since he came to the street.
It would be exciting to hear Nick and Carla fantasise about where they would go, and what they would do when they got there if there wasn’t a lie underpinning it all. Carla then lets herself into Tracy’s house where she reveals they’re leaving. Tracy gives her a week to tell Nick he’s selling to Robert, or else she’ll reveal all. A thought, what if Carla let herself in to find Ken sitting at the table? How would she explain her presence? In any event, how can you have a fresh start when the reason you’re leaving is in itself a potentially life-shattering secret? This is one of the main reasons why I can’t buy into this storyline.
I’m delighted to see the Nazirs back, and Rana’s debut was a captivating one for more than Zeedan. I was as happy as Yasmeen to see Alya having fun. Her dinner with Rana was chock full of personality and I look forward to seeing more of their friendship.
I’m also enjoying Sinéad’s star turn as a model. Aside from being unable to decide whether Chesney’s possessiveness, or Johnny’s reaction to the photos was more disturbing, the positive feedback from Beth, Séan and Liz was heartening and just what we need more of on the street.
I blogged yesterday regarding my current feelings about Corrie. As far as these episodes go, what consoled me was the elements of normality about them. Tracy was sent packing from the Kabin for reading mags without buying them, Liz got a new hairdo and she was grateful to anyone who noticed, Cathy told us about issues she had with a neighbour, and Jack left his favourite book Six Dinner Sid in school. I also liked the sense of the day beginning and coming to a close from the mass departures for work, to the drinks had in the Rovers at the end. The far-fetched storylines and plot driven developments are not easy to take, but finding the good in episodes is heartening and as important as identifying room for improvement.
This review was originally published on the Coronation Street Blog on 20 February 2016.