Thursday, 27 July 2017

The End of a Rovers Return Era

Reposted from State of the Street with permission

For the second and final time, the McDonalds have sold the pub and Liz will no longer be ruling the roost from behind the bar.

She first worked at the pub in the early 1990s as a cook, helping Betty Turpin and it seemed to spark her ambition. Newton and Ridley offered her the Queens and she and Jim ran that for awhile but it was her pub, not his and his jealousy killed their relationship temporarily over it. It didn't end well for Liz. She's worked behind the bar at the Rovers on and off but missed out on her chance to be the landlady when Vera and Jack Duckworth beat she and Jim to the post after Bet had to give up the pub, unable to find a financial backer when the Brewery wanted to sell the pub.

This began a period of unsettled life for Liz. Her marriage eventually died, she was involved with a hood for awhile, had an attraction to Des Barnes, nearly reunited with Jim but fell for Jim's physiotherapist. She remarried Jim some years later when he was banged up for killing Jez Quigley but it didn't last. We didn't see a lot of Liz as she first followed Jim around as he was moved to various prisons and later, she lived in Brighton for awhile and spent a lot of time in Spain with her son, Andy. She returned to work for Fred Elliott and when he decided to sell up and travel with his new bride, Bev, Steve bought the bar from him, though it ended being from the Estate of Fred Elliott since Fred died on his wedding day before it was formally sold. Ashley, as his next of kin, finished the transaction and Steve owned the pub, with Liz's name over the door. It was a dream come true for Liz who had always wanted to own the Rovers Return.

There were more ups and downs, a marriage and divorce (Vernon Tomlin), a number of fellas including Harry Mason and Lloyd Mullaney and a near-reconciliation with a newly-released Jim which went badly when he robbed a bank to get the money to buy the pub from Steve for her. she left Weatherfield,  brokenhearted. Steve found a manager, Stella Price,  and then later sold the pub to her and her partner Karl, but that was a disaster which ended in Karl burning down the pub, killing two people. Liz returned a couple of years later to be Steve's business partner when he bought the pub back.

Even though it was Steve and Michelle's names over the door this time, and even though Michelle might tell people she was the landlady, we all knew the truth. That title belonged to Elizabeth Jane McDonald. For me, Liz has entered the Rovers Landlady Hall of Fame, just as worthy as former Queens Bet Lynch and Annie Walker. Lesser landladies, Natalie Horrocks and the hapless Vera Duckworth are not as memorable and we won't even give a side glance at Ms. Price who faltered before she even rounded the first stretch of the track. Shelly Unwin, a manager under Fred Elliott had potential but never had her name over the door and Becky McDonald, Steve's (4th?) wife was far too volatile to be one of the greats. 

Steve's marriage to Michelle has been on rocky ground for a long time and his one night stand with Leanne Battersby and subsequent paternal revelation was the straw that broke the back of that union. Michelle was bent on financial revenge so Steve buckled down and put the pub up for sale. Even though he wouldn't have to fight for the right to see baby Oliver after all, Liz ended up selling her share as well and is taking a job at the medical clinic while Steve still has Streetcars to run with his partner Tim.

It's a shame, really. But with a new producer, things always change. I'm not so sure about the sale of the pub to alcoholic Peter Barlow. Even though he knows that if he drinks again, it will likely kill him after that last binge in the prison drinking bootleg moonshine, the temptation is there. And his partner, Toyah Battersby will be the landlady. A mere shadow of the former greats, is Toyah. Oh, she used to have spark and the Toyah we knew 15 years ago, back when she was a barmaid at the pub, probably would have had us nodding collectively and speculating that she might make a good landlady someday.

Toyah is much changed from those days. She shows the occasional flashback to the Little Madam she was but I can't see that she'll be comfortable behind that bar. She's not blonde for one thing. The best landladies have always been blonde. She scowls. She's a bit of a whiner. She'll probably nag the life out of Peter who will probably start spending a lot of time down in the cellar with the racing form a la Jack Duckworth. She just doesn't have that air of authority. Troublemaking punters won't take any notice when she tries to order someone out of "her" pub.

We aren't losing Liz from the Street. She and Steve will be living in the Streetcars' flat but it will seem strange not to see her behind the bar.

Let's all raise a glass to Liz McDonald, one of the best landladies the Rovers Return has ever seen.

Thanks to Corriepedia and

Bev Callard speaks about losing the pub and new acting challenges.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Corrie's Chris Harper reveals end of the grooming storyline

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Coronation Street actor Chris Harper, who plays Nathan Curtis, has said that the grooming and abuse storyline "isn't going to go away", as Bethany will have live with the ramifications of the abuse.

In an interview with the Press Association, Chris said this about the grooming storyline: “It’s clearly made an impact. It’s been wonderful how many people have come up and talked to me… People who’ve had abuse in their life or their families’ lives.

“The role has opened my eyes to how much of it exists and how much great work there is to try to combat it.”

Thankfully, the storyline is coming to an end but there's a long way to go yet.

Chris said this about Nathan: “He’s going to have to go down. It’s not been written yet but we’re doing it with full responsibility and awareness. We’ll see him go to trial, that’s a really important thing to see.”

On-screen, he said that the “next turn of the story” would focus on Bethany.

“It’s so hard to discover, for Bethany, that someone she thinks she loves is being cruel. That’s going to be the next turn of the story, following Bethany’s strength and courage in discovering and then facing what’s happened to her.

He also praised the role of the NSPCC and other charities supporting victims of grooming.

“I think what the NSPCC are doing to create an entire generation of kids, hopefully, who are able to spot key signals and stay safe and keep their friends safe, is really important. The whole crime revolves around secrecy and shame and keeping things under wraps.”

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Corrie Canada sneak previews for July 31 - Aug. 4

Without further ado here is a brief sneak preview of what you'll see on  next week's Corrie in Canada.

David isn't happy Shona's back but concedes she may be able to help nail Nathan for Bethany's sake. Craig faces Neil. Adam tries to blackmail Aidan but Eva gets to him first. Adam is quite happy to urge Eva along in her revenge. Phelan takes his mood out on Seb. Nicola decides she needs a DNA test. Brian is now the litter police and falls out with Roy. Alya has a crush.

For more detail and photos check out the Moosejaw Mercury at

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Corrie baddie: "I had to change my appearance to hide from fans"

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog July 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Actress Rhea Bailey, who played baddie Caz Hammond in Coronation Street, says that she used to be shouted at the street by Corrie fans and when she left, she had to change her appearance to hide from fans.

In an interview with the Manchester Evening News, Rhea says:  “People were upset by Caz’s story and I would constantly have people shouting things at me in the street. I changed my hair to distance myself from the character. I’ve changed it back again now and as soon as I did people recognised me again."

Rhea is currently filming for the CBBC Victorian children’s drama Hetty Feather and the new Kay Mellor drama Girlfriends.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Coronation Street's missed opportunities

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog July 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Anyone else wondering how different life might have been for both Johnny and Liz if they'd got together in Coronation Street?

It's something I've thought about many times before, but after last Friday night when Liz acted as Johnny's confidante in the back room of the Rovers, I began to wonder why Corrie didn't put these two powerhouses together.

Don't get me wrong. I love Johnny and Jenny together and there's drama ahead for that pair, I'm certain. Her wedding is one I Do Not want to miss.  But Liz and Johnny together could have worked, I feel and I'm going to put it down as one of Corrie's greatest missed opportunities.

Another missed opportunity, which I've blogged about earlier, has been not seeing Sean and Norris together at home. Their domestic set up could have been comedy gold and I'm sad we haven't seen it.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Could Summer be the making of Todd Grimshaw?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

It's always a good sign when a new Coronation Street character is given a surname on arrival in the street. It suggests a bit of permanence and so I'm pleased to see that newcomer Summer Spellman appears to be sticking around for a while.

I think she might be the making of Todd Grimshaw. We've seen his character change subtly since her arrival as he comes out fighting for what he knows is right - against Drew's nasty, homophobic mum.

Bruno Langley, who plays Todd in Corrie, is interviewed in Soaplife this week about Todd and Summer.

He says that Todd "...knows Summer's a very special kid and he genuinely feels that he and Billy are the right people to care for her, as her father wanted, although her homophobic gran, Geraldine, is dead against it.”

How come Todd and Billy go to Drew’s funeral after Geraldine banned them?
“Todd manages to convince Billy by saying he should stand up for what he believes in. Summer’s dad Drew made it very clear that after his death he wanted Todd but especially Billy to have a relationship with Summer. Todd makes Billy see the light.”

How does he feel when Summer delivers the eulogy?
“Proud. Anyone who hears a little girl stand up and deliver a eulogy about her father is bound to be heartbroken. But he is also so proud of her.”

How do Todd and Billy feel when Summer is so dismissive of them?
“Things get misconstrued. When Summer says she doesn’t want to live with them, it’s very disheartening because they had made up their minds to raise her together.”

Meanwhile, Todd’s now working with Adam Barlow in his lawyer’s practice…
“Yes. He was a lawyer’s clerk in London so he knows about all this kind of stuff. Why not use what he knows to make a bit more money? Adam [Sam Robertson] is a dubious character, but Todd knows that in order to raise this child and get his own place with Billy he needs money.”

Does Todd trust Adam?
“He doesn’t even trust himself most of the time, so why would he trust anyone else, especially Adam? Billy’s also wary of him working with Adam and makes Todd promise he’ll only do ‘above board’ stuff.”

How does Summer become Todd’s first client?
“It’s something to do with how her dad died. Todd sees he can use this opportunity to make her realise that he and Billy are the best people to have her – like her dad wanted. He listens to her and makes some headway as she starts telling him how she really feels.”

Would Todd be a good parent?
“He’d make a good father to Summer and he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her. It won’t be plain sailing, though.”

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Amanda Barrie interview: Being loved as Alma

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog July 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

There's a wonderful interview with Amanda Barrie in which she talks about how being in her 80s isn’t stopping her living life to the full

She’s still working and has recently appeared on The Baby Boomers’ Guide To Growing Old, BBC’s fly-on-the-wall documentary, The Real Marigold Hotel and Holby City.

The interview in The Glasgow Evening Times is well worth a good read. It outlines Amanda's history from when she first shot to fame in the 60s in the Carry On films, through her marriage to Robin Hunter and then again to Hilary Bonner in 2014.

Speaking about her sexuality, Amanda says this: “It was difficult when I was on Coronation Street. I was always worrying it would come out, because at that time, there were people there who might not have been prepared to work with me. It’s changed so much in 16 years – I watched Corrie the other night and virtually everyone seemed to be gay!"

Read our blogger Graeme's interview with Amanda Barrie

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

5 Things we Learned in Corrie This Week

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog July 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

It's been another cracking week in Coronation Street this week. Time then, to take a look at 5 things we learned in Corrie this week.

Memorial plates for a rare breed otterhound exist.  Can't think why Sally wasn't overjoyed that Gina had bought one.

Steve McDonald once had a thing for TV AM Weather Girl Wincey Willis. He even wrote love letters to her.

Not only is he the most handsome man in soap but actor Daniel Brocklebank, aka Billy the vicar Mayhew, can actually sing!

The contrast in colour between Gemma's face (where she's plastered in orange make-up), and her neck, (where she's not) increases each time this wonderful character is seen on screen.

Not even being stabbed by a broken bottle in a drug dealer's hand and having his life saved by his love rival Daniel can make Chesney interesting. Now, I like Ches. But he needs a proper storyline, please.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

Conversation Street Podcast 262

Gemma and Michael's podcast for the  episodes that aired up to last night's Canadian Corrie can be heard here.

This week on the podcast, Chesney runs into the business end of a broken bottle, thanks to a drugged up Rich in the Bistro and Daniel saves his life. Eva's revenge campaign takes to the streets with a vengeance. Bethany gets bad news. Adam and Todd start up the law business. Billy and Todd crash Drew's funeral and later make plans to make a home of their own. Summer and Todd have a conversation. Jenny finds out the truth and she and Johnny reconcile.

Remember, you can also listen to Conversation Street on iTunes (leave a fab review if you do!)

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter
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