Coronation Street episode review, Wednesday 17 May 2017.
It’s not unheard of for our cast of cobble treaders to swap jobs on the Street, and so it is in the finest Corrie tradition that Jordan and I exchange review nights. Yes, I will now be bringing you my thoughts on Wednesday’s episode of Coronation Street while Jordan dishes up a double helping on Fridays.
I’ve always liked the Wednesday episode. It’s not merely the cobbled road that must be crossed to get from Monday’s dilemmas to Friday’s drama, but rather stands unique in its own right. It allows for some creativity, as it doesn’t necessarily need to build to a cliffhanger, and so there appears more room to manoeuvre, to build in some great dialogue, funny turns, and conversation for its own sake. To me, it’s the Wednesday episode that has the capacity to feel the most ‘Corrie’, and tonight’s was a prime example.
We can always be assured of a sparkling script when Damon Alexis-Rochefort’s name appears in the opening credits. From Mary’s florid orations, to Steve’s beleaguered wise-cracks; from Audrey giggling at topped up bubbly, to Rosie’s frothy musings, it skipped along, light in pace, heavy on conversation, and had me feeling like a guest just out of shot in every scene.
Baby Oliver’s naming ceremony (not a christening, mind) is at its centre, and the opportunity presented by family get togethers to show Corrie at its best isn’t passed up. The fact that cards were being purchased in the Kabin, and flowers were being prepared in Preston’s Petals, further installed it as the centre piece.
Someone’s Star Wars themed ceremony in Chorley isn’t the only thing that hangs in the balance however, as Phantom Menace Nick is a no-show and the celebrant is set to run out of time. As David goes to counsel his drunken brother about how lucky, and foolish, he is, Sarah visits the Rovers and accidentally lets furious Liz in on the secret do while Steve gurns. Little touches like Alya saying to Kate “you knew about this?” and Kate replying, “of course I did, I work there” before recoiling from the bar, made it all very natural despite the drama. As Liz and a reluctant Steve crash the bash, and arguments ensue over Oliver’s rightful parentage, Simon speaks from experience and warns that kids aren’t prizes to be won at a raffle.
In the end, we don’t get to see the ceremony itself, but rather an angry Leanne railing at Nick back at the flat where he reveals, via a receipt with the time on it, that he knows her alibi for Peter is a lie, and she needn’t rely on him if she goes down for it. It seems Leanne’s continued faithfulness to his arch nemesis is harder to swallow than a bottle of whisky, and he drunkenly slopes off to bed. For me at least, it feels as if this pair have the staying power of Sally’s (not a) Banksy mural, and may be similarly destined for the plughole.
Another show highlight is Mary’s musings on mother, and the holiday with Norris that was snipped shorter than the lilies she brandishes with worrying vigour. There are shades of Wednesday Addams in Amy’s revelation, that Nana Blanche used to put on Hitchcock’s horror The Birds when she had trouble sleeping. Arguably less terrifying, but still a frightening prospect, is Mary’s new role of carer for Norris when he returns with a neck brace after she abandoned him following an accident involving a cow pat and some geese.
Tracy’s oscillating reactions to the whole thing are a delight, and her joy at realising Ken has transferred the money which will enable her to stay in business is rather charming. The character of Tracy has been toned down a lot over the past few months, and it’s really working for me. I’m not talking performance-wise, as Kate Ford is consistently brilliant irrespective of the scenarios her character finds herself in, I mean the actual dialogue she’s being given. Her deadpan humour and oddly refreshing cynicism are much better when they don’t veer into panto territory, and long may she reign.
Sarah puts another foot wrong as she thinks a visit to a wedding fare will bring her and Bethany closer together. This leaves Nathan masking his anger that it will interfere with another party he had planned. I’m sure I’m not the only one dreading what the next evening at his apartment might bring, but as I’ve reiterated in other reviews, this important storyline is being handled so well by all concerned.
Elsewhere, Kate continues to worry about Johnny as Jennybradley, in a vodka induced star turn, contradicts his assertion that he has spent the morning making wedding plans, leaving him with no excuse for his tiredness.
After a frankly hilarious exchange between David and Rosie, during which he exits stage left at the claim the conversation has reached peak stupidity, she flirts with Adam before urging him to do something about it if he really believes Daniel pushed Ken. These are an odd couple, but there’s some chemistry there I think.
For me, normality is always the star of the show when it comes to Coronation Street. It’s found in great dialogue, little exchanges, and attention to small details that all add up to form the sum of its parts. When realism and normality are the focus, then we gain peak enjoyment from the drama that perpetuates around it. Tonight’s Corrie was a perfect example of just how effective and joyous this combination can be.
This review also appears on the Coronation Street Blog.