Coronation Street at Christmas (2010)


 As the festive periods hits Weatherfield (fake snow and all) like chlamydia and hangovers on New Year’s Day, there is a mild sense of humour and goodwill on the street. Starting with Shaking Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone, we have my personal favourite character of all time, Deidre, trying to tell her daughter not to create any more fights. A bit like telling Naomi Campbell to put down a phone as a violent weapon me thinks.
 Deidre also makes a reference to Blanche, which was a wonderfully schmaltzy moment. This could only be bettered by the line from Deidre to narcissistic Tracy that Blanche died, whilst Tracy didn’t see her daughter for several years because she whacked Charlie Stubbs over the head with a blunt instrument, suitably explaining why Tracy couldn’t relate to her pain. This was humour at its zenith. Equally strong were Ken and Deidre’s scenes together. Their chemistry adds a nuance to every scene. I particularly love their argument over a Deidre (a large glass of red) in the Boxing Day episode.
 
 Just as brilliant as any of the Barlows domestic scenes are scenes involving the Fishwicks’ Christmas. John hiding in the car of his deceased psycho’s mother is sensational. The scene where John is eating dinner with the Fishwicks, whilst they discuss their daughter, Charlotte, singing Cry Me a River is black comedy of its best. Who said serial killers storylines can’t be funny? When John was discussed by Charlotte’s father as the wings beneath her wings it was a wonderful cliché. As per usual, the writers sure know how to whack the lines out of the park when the father deftly states that is “coincidently the next song.’ Having survived the tram crash, the hands of the law, Charlotte’s funeral and now Christmas, the scriptwriters finally decide that enough is enough. So John this week contemplates suicide by sleeping pills as a result of his visit to the local GP (overworked throughout the year; practically a series regular).

Personally, I am aggrieved that the odd-looking Charlotte has left the show, albeit by violent death. She could have dueted with Rita for A Winter’s Tale, and bought some joy to the bleakness of watching Rita’s face in HD.

Becky displayed a vast collection of cheap-chic clothing over Christmas, and ever-varying emotions. Her Angel costume was better than any of the creations that Julien McDonald could possibly have designed, and far cheaper. These scenes between the McDonalds, over the year have been incredibly entertaining to watch, no end in fact, however less could be so much more. The revelation story (where Tracy discovers Steve and Becky have ‘bought’ Max) proved a bit passé considering Tracy had barely time to tap her stilettos on the cobbles before discovering her arch enemies dirty laundry. Oh and don’t get me started on the Tyrone storyline. Maybe I’m emotionally dead, maybe in fact I don’t even care.  Luckily Tyrone scenes were far and few between. Any more of those scenes and I would have been reaching for the gin, just like Steve McDonald. The dramatic bust up between the three in the alleyway of the Rovers Return and No.1 Coronation Street was gloriously OTT, if, again, ridiculous: truly reminiscent of the original Sharples/Tanner magic.

After the tinsel and ill-will of Christmas Day comes the melodrama of Boxing Day. Amy hides in the Rovers (I’m unaffected for her well-being) and Sally takes ownership of the kitchen at No.13. The most surprising element to these episodes is that Sally possesses a comedic side when dealing with cheating husband Kevin. It is just buried by her irritating over-pronunciation and over-emphasised facial expressions. I can imagine the writers putting Sally and Tyrone in some sort of awkward clinch for Valentines Day ’11. If they do they definitely need to have a David Platt/Rita Sullivan / Len Windass/Tina McIntyre love square storyline to maintain the humourous nature of the show. We may hope for some deliciously awkward Kevin and Tyrone garage scenes as well. There’s plenty of material for 2011 from the looks of it.

And so ends another Christmas in Coronation Street. Cracking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHDWi_x2QX4– Rita in action.

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