It has been over eight years since Coronation Street’s half hour slot on Sunday nights was spirited away to Friday evenings at 8.30pm.
However, the eleventh commandment, which dictates that thou shalt rearrange thy schedules to accommodate major sporting events, meant that we could revel in the resurrection of Sunday night Corrie once more, and for a whole hour too. Honour thy football and thy soap, they said, and it was good.
Sunday Corrie was always a special thing for me. As the weekend prepared to exit stage left, there remained a final scene to look forward to before the curtain fell. It staved off the back to school or work feeling, as we could escape to Weatherfield for half an hour.
It seemed fitting that Billy the Vicar would be at the centre of the action for tonight’s Sunday service by the wonderful Chris Fewtrell as he grappled with his conscience and the values which define him. I’m really enjoying this element of the Callum saga. It’s not only the fact that Billy believes Sarah is the killer, and is aware that Todd has lied to the police about Tony, he’s battling with what is the right or wrong thing to do; while he sees Sarah as a victim, can he accept a deceased man’s memory being besmirched for something he didn’t do, or live with the lies?
His struggle was further compounded tonight with Marion asking him to preside over Callum’s funeral. And if all that wasn’t enough, after keeping his brother’s existence a secret from Sean lead to suspicions about Todd, these turned out to be well founded, as Billy declares to Todd that he’s falling for him. As he tearfully ended his relationship with Sean, I felt so sorry for him. The fact that Billy is a vicar with a strong moral compass lends a great complexity to the drama as, through him, we can vicariously ask, what would I do in each of his unenviable situations?
Billy has been a firm favourite with me since he arrived on the cobbles in 2014, and the fact that we know him to be an upbeat ray of sunshine ensures he garners great sympathy in his current state. The questionable morals of the soap characters we know and love have brought us some cracking storylines over the years, but I’m enjoying the presence of a good living character and seeing him face the challenge of everything he stands for being put to the test. It helps that Daniel Brocklebank does a consistently brilliant job of bringing this great character to life.
That concludes my sermon for this evening, but don’t forget, we can rejoice at having double Corrie tomorrow at the usual time of 7.30pm and 8.30pm, and on Tuesday for an hour at 8pm.