It was Michael’s dignity in need of crutches on Friday’s double Corrie as things went from bad to downright awful for Phelan’s ‘marshmallow’ adversary. His instincts may be as sharp as a putdown from Leanne, but his ill-advised actions let him down every time.
Climbing into the back of Phelan’s van to spy on the pair as he chauffeurs Eileen to the bank is his latest stunt, but forgetting to close the door sees him presented to the pair like the booby prize nobody bought a raffle ticket for. Leaving his wallet behind gives Phelan an excuse to drop around to Eileen, and results in Michael hobbling in to find the pair embracing.
Les Dennis provided a great comedic turn when, having attacked the nonchalant Phelan with his crutch, it remained aloft as he fell to the floor. The combination of bemused Phelan and haphazardly incensed Michael makes this storyline most amusing, but at the same time, Michael has our sympathies. As he rummages in his wallet to check Phelan hasn’t stolen anything, and the latter raises his hands aloft to Eileen in mock despair, I’m thinking how much the street needs the polite disaster that is Michael. He may be hangdog and beleaguered, but the comic turns add a dimension that makes him very watchable and sympathetic.
In any event, Michael is promptly dumped. As he drowns his sorrows in the Rovers, Phelan plays a master stroke by consoling Eileen before confessing his feelings for her. Playing the old ‘I’m so stupid, I’ll see myself out’ card, he cleverly leaves her bewildered on her sofa, mulling it all over while quaffing cabernet.
Gail can barely conceal her excitement on hearing news from Liz of the split, and plots her move before another woman steals him away. Audrey’s response is gold: “Gail, you might need to brace yourself for this one; he really isn’t that much of a catch”.
Phelan’s dialogue throughout these episodes, together with Todd’s very witty speech in which he likened shrieking Eileen to a budgie, added immensely to my enjoyment of them.
Like any great villain, Phelan is ever on cue to take full advantage of the situations which present themselves, many of which he has created, and the ease and appropriateness with which he responds make every triumph seem so simply won. Connor McIntyre remains ever the delight, and while we’re in no doubt regarding what Phelan is capable of, there is humour to be found in his exchanges and the manner in which he plays the ringmaster with aplomb.
Poor Kylie. Imagine being called to a nail appointment without being told until you get there that your client is actually deceased? Derek Griffiths makes his Corrie debut as husband Freddy, and the scene in which Kylie applies lipstick to wife Sadie was a touching one.
It’s not her last shock of the day however, as she returns to the salon to find Gemma begging to be allowed take up the work placement she’s been assigned there.
With everyone demanding she leave, she begs for a chance to turn her life around, pointing out that Kylie has succeeded. The arrival of pregnant Sarah is a game changer as Gemma threatens to tell Callum, and reveals she was speaking to him but days ago. Ever the cool opportunist, David sees this as a way to show others that Callum is alive, and convinces Audrey to give her a chance. Later, as David lets Kylie and Sarah in on the plan, they remark how he scares them sometimes, and he notes, “I scare myself”.
I know some viewers have complained of Platt fatigue, but I’m showing no signs of tiring. David’s self-conscious dialogue and performances are a great source of entertainment, and I’m enjoying the fact that everything he has been through and done is being embodied by his character in such a fashion. I’m also happy about Gemma’s return and look forward to seeing where it goes.
Rana’s flirtatiousness attracts another willing sparring partner in Jason, and she’s radiant when Zeedan warns her about him and the two have a tête-à-tête in front of her. Ever astute, she also notices Alya’s discomfort and insists on being told everything. While she doesn’t seem overly concerned by Alya’s confession, and is more interested in knowing what it was like to be with Jason, she still offers words of comfort by pointing out, we all make mistakes. Her real interests lie elsewhere, however, namely in the Bistro kitchen where she pops back to seduce Zeedan with a kiss. I’m enjoying Rana’s lust for life, but I’m not sure if she’s one to be trusted.
Marta remains a worry, and Billy drops over to the O’Driscoll’s to ask after her with Eva concealed in his car. Learning that she has returned to Poland, he gives Eva the news, but she’s not convinced, as she believes she saw Marta looking out the window. Billy convinces ‘Batgirl’ that it would be a bad move to confront them again at that moment in time.
Tim’s patience is wearing thin with Sally and her campaign as she forces him to pose for photos while she’s on a cake run. Meanwhile, Norris targets the Bistro to recruit voters and is sent packing from the ‘greasy spoon with delusions of grandeur’. I can’t think of anything less likely to make me want to vote for someone than to be interrupted by them while dining out.
Nor is he welcome at the Rovers where Jason tells him, ‘I think you should give it a rest, I’ve come here for a quiet pint’. Sally wonders why Norris won’t accept the inevitable, pointing out ‘I’m a woman, I’m married to a working class man and I even have a lesbian daughter, what have you got?’ What he has is ‘every intention of wiping that smug, sanctimonious smile off your face’. I do love Sally, but it’s hard to argue with Norris on that one.
I very much enjoyed these two episodes which had an ideal mix of light relief and drama, and were strong on characterisation with some lovely dialogue and great performances.
This episode review originally appeared on the Coronation Street Blog.