Thursday, 19 January 2017

Corrie Canada sneak previews Jan. 23 - 27

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

Simon tells Eva a secret. Eva blackmails Peter. Robert's in love. Tragedy strikes Michelle and Steve. Billy helps Shona get a job. Rana confesses to Zeedan. The gym is visited by the bailiffs. Andy takes delivery of Kevin's truck. Sinead and Chesney are growing apart and Sinead makes friends with Daniel. Bethany falls for Nathan's flattery.

For more detail and photos check out the Moosejaw Mercury at

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Canadian Corrie fans annual pilgrimage to Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Lucky Coronation Street fans in Canada are able to visit the Coronation Street set once again in 2017.  Yes, The World of Coronation Street Tour is now open for bookings.

The tour takes place in June 2017 with Kemptville Travel.  It's definitely worth having a look at the website, even if you're not Canadian or able to go on the tour. 

There are some great photos from previous years visits on the site, showing lucky Corrie fans from Canada meeting and greeting members of the Corrie cast.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

State of the Street December 2016

We reach the end of another month and the end of another year.  I think Corrie is on the upswing and I'm enjoying a lot more of it these days. (whisper...I don't even mind the incidental music!) December was a pretty good month overall with surprises and new beginnings.

Roy and Cathy almost got married but didn't and I think that's a good thing. Maria almost got sent down for Caz's murder, a murder where there was no body or sound evidence, but didn't but she did get sent down for immigration fraud. Doesn't seem fair when Beth only got community service for bigamy. Mary found the son she was forced to give up and may be starting a new life with him in South Africa.

Pat Phelan took advantage of Andy's anger and grief over Michael's death which caused him to attack and try to kill Pat not once, but twice and he's playing him like a fiddle now. Ken Barlow is recovering from his stroke but it may take a lot more for Leanne to recover from the discovery that her ex-husband and her sister are having an affair! Bethany's crush on Gary came raging out of the closet and nearly did her in. Let's hope that cures her of the diet pill addiction and her new friend Nathan can help her find her self confidence (oh. wait...)

2017 will bring many ups and downs to the neighbours of Coronation Street. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Read a lot more detail here on State of the Street.

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Conversation Street Podcast 233 - The Awards

This podcast features Gemma and Michael's yearly awards show. In the past few weeks, fans have been able to vote for such awards as "Top Lad", "Top Lass", "Wrong'un", and "Flamin' Nora". The awards are fun and celebrate the best and quirkiest of Coronation Street.

You voted for them, now the winners are revealed here.  After the awards, Michael and Gemma speculate on what might happen in 2017 and review their predictions from last year.

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

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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Corrie's year of two halves

(This post was originally posted by David (Clinkers) on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Here we are then, that awkward in between bit. Christmas is over but the decorations remain in place in order that we can toast a New Year. We're down to the last slices of festive fowl ("turkey soup anyone? Was that a 'no' ?"), the tree is looking a bit dog-eared and everyone but everyone is foisting their '2016 lists' upon us. 'My Top Ten Favourite Country Crossover Hits 2016', 'My Top Five Dictators of 2016' - that kind of thing.

Well, now it's my turn. Before you start hurling leftover mince pies and relatives at the screen, fear not. I'm not about to arduously offer a week-by-week reportage of all things cobble-based. It's simply a reflection of how I feel at the end of the year. Feel free to disagree. Seriously - let me know what you think! The great thing about this blog is hearing the opinions of other viewers because quite often, there are views about the show that I've never considered.

Admittedly, I am enjoying Corrie at the moment. Whereas it seemed a little leaden last winter, the storylines now seem to bounce along. Yes, they may be dashing past our eyes a little too quickly. The tale of 'Mary and Son' seems to have been introduced and completed within a matter of hours:

Mary: I've got a son that I've never mentioned before. I wonder where he is? Here he is! I'm off to South Africa now to live with him forvever so goodbye.

Or something like that. Likewise there have been a few continuity errors such as Liz spending Christmas in Spain but being back behind the bar a few hours later. Or Andy suddenly becoming Mr Malevolence overnight. All a bit jarring.

I never thought I'd hear myself saying that the Platts were probably one of the biggest joys of 2016 but ... err, the Platts were one of the biggest joys of 2016. There has been a wealth of fine acting from Tina O'Brien, Jack P. Shepherd and Lucy Fallon. Let's not forget Paula Lane and that achingly sad death scene. Nick seems to have taken the bus to Idiot Street. When he's not squinting and whining, he's doddering along, getting it wrong. Gail, thankfully, seems to have shrugged off her own personal cloak of idiocy and we can only hope for normal (well, as normal as it gets for Gail) service to be resumed as soon as possible.

At the other end of the scale we have the very unlovely Eileen. This one-woman joy-sapping machine is a megaphone of misery and bile. Okay, she was never exactly the laughing fairy of Weatherfield but she's festered into something quite unpleasant. Oh and stupid. I found myself willing Pat 'soft lad' Phelan to bleed her dry but then realised that we would be left with some bellowing, hollowed out husk, bemoaning her lot for eternity. She needs to lighten up or jog on.

Rita's been great this year. I've enjoyed her and that hasn't always been the case. I'm one of the small number who has never warmed to her sanctimoniousness and feared the worst when poor old Gemma appeared on the Rita Radar. Would the cheque book and 'now listen here lady' homilies be finding a new home? Not at all. Rita's been warm and supportive to a girl who is trying her hardest to shrug off her unsavoury past. The mistakes she made with Tina don't appear to be on the cards again so thank you Corrie storyliners.

The big disappointment of the year, for me anyway, was the departure of Carla Connor. This should have been something special, a glittering finale to a decade of wine, men and knickers. Carla's swan song could have been dynamite - old scores settled, friendships cemented and suchlike. Instead she was married off to Old Father Time in yet another joyless Bistro wedding (they certainly get their money's worth out of that set and it's lovely VISA sign. Did you see it over there on the door, the bar, tattooed across Andy's brow?) Carla shuffled off to live in a tea room in Looe or something. It was rubbish and the character was badly served with this wet story.

The other nays for me included the Kirk/Beth bigamy shenanigans. Although well-acted, it was another of those 'grafted on' stories that felt uncomfortable. Cathy didn't really work too well either as she's portrayed as being both brittle and needy. Hooking her up with Roy felt wrong but we can now all rest assured that the relationship is over. Can't we?The potential Audrey & Ken hook-up was a bit of a mess too but thankfully Dame Kate of Oates seems to have tossed that story into the Corrie Cupboard.

Big hurrahs then for the seamless dispatching of Sharif Nazir, another character who suffered from an overnight personality change. Hopefully this has freed up Yasmeen for greater things. She deserves it. Let's hear it too for Erica, a character that has had to take on both Dev and his sly children. In an ideal world, she would buy the Corner Shop and run it on her own. Erica doesn't need the encumbrance of the Alahans. The fresh lease of life for the Barlows has also been, to date, a joy. Adam and Daniel seem to be positive additions to the clan and Peter's always good fun.

Thumbs up for Leanne, if not for her bizarre pregnancy waddle. Presumably the M & S mac is acting as a restraint. Let's hear it for Gemma, Eva, the underused and soon to depart Steph, wily Jenny and the superb Tim 'n' Sal. Bouquets for one and all.

What are you wishing for 2017 then? For me, a phasing out or revamp of Maria would be welcome, a new direction for Chesney and Sinead (or a Weatherfield Wayfarer out of the Street altogether), the option not to take the obvious route re David and Shona (how old is she anyway?), Eileen to be buried in a landfill site somewhere on the outskirts of Rhyl, Gail to get married before Easter, at least one scene to show that Nozzer is sharing a house with the Odd Couple, Kevin to marry Anna if only so that we can chortle at Sally's outrage . . . the list goes on. And on.

I'll leave it with you then. What was hot and not in your Corrie world in 2016 and what is on your wish list for 2017? Play nicely!
David, twitter: @bridglondon

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The cobbles without Mary? Unthinkable!

(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2017, reposted with permission.)

I can no longer imagine Weatherfield without Mary Taylor. As she and Norris sit in the outside space behind The Rovers Return, the pair are a little awkward together. Mary’s impending departure to South Africa, with her newly discovered son, Jude, is causing the difficulty between them.

‘I do love a firework display – very dramatic. A fitting backdrop to my Weatherfield departure,’ states Mary. She asks Norris if he’ll visit and assures him, over his worries about high temperatures, that the air-conditioning is very good. But, apparently, his sinuses wouldn’t allow such a trip.

When Jude arrives, Norris excuses himself and Jude makes it clear that he has no wish to pressurise his newly found mum, into doing something she doesn’t really want to do. To the viewer, her denial rings a little hollow. She tells him, ‘You’re not pressuring me. This is the start of a whole new chapter of my life.’

Time to go now and in The Rovers most of Mary’s friends are gathered and ready to wave Mary on her way. In the background, The Supremes are singing Where did our Love Go? Is this song significant? To whom does it relate? Or is it purely coincidental?

Hugging Norris, she tells him, ‘I’m just a phone call away.’

‘Right – bye everyone,’ says Mary.

Outside The Rovers Erica kicks off with, We’ll Meet Again, as others join in. The taxi leaves with a very upset looking Mary inside.

We then see Norris, sitting on his stairs, distraught. It seems he had under estimated the strength of his friendship with Mary, who has succeeded in making Norris a more likeable person.

And then – there is a loud hammering on Norris’s door. It is Mary. She couldn’t go through with it. ‘This is my home, everyone I love is here.’ She is back. Jude understands. And I, for one am mightily relieved.

As Rita said to Johnny, ‘Happiness is a slippery fish – grab it with both hands.’ There’s a lesson for all of us there.

Ruth, twitter: @Ruth1722

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Incidental music on Coronation Street - Yay or Nay?

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I'm hating the increasing use of incidental music in Coronation Street and I want it to stop right now. 

But if Corrie are going to continue using it, then do it right - make it appropriate. 

Play The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba every time Liz walks from the back room into the bar at the Rovers Return.

Play Sisters by The Beverley Sisters every time we see Toyah and Leanne together, with a repeat of the refrain: "...god help the mister who gets between me and my sister and god help the sister, who gets between me and my man." 

Play This Charming Man by The Smiths when Roy Cropper's buttering the bacon barms in Roy's Rolls.

Play Lovely Rita The Beatles every time the big red one marks up the papers in The Kabin.

Our blogger Emma ran a poll on twitter on Christmas Eve with the majority of those voting objecting to the use of incidential music...

What do you think? Incidental music on Coronation Street - Yay or Nay?

And can you suggest any more relevant songs for your favourite Corrie characters?

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Monday, 16 January 2017

Coronation Street 2016 review in just 12 words, 12 pictures

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Here it is, the end of year review for Coronation Street. All wrapped up in just 12 pictures and just 12 words.

January: Peru
Read a fun and quick review of January on the cobbles here

February: Ping-pong

Read a fun and quick review of February on the cobbles here

March: Finger
 Read a fun and quick review of March on the cobbles here

April: Teamwork

Read a fun and quick review of April on the cobbles here

May: Secrets
Read a fun and quick review of May on the cobbles here

June: Funeral
Read a fun and quick review of June on the cobbles here

July: Murder
 Read a fun and quick review of July on the cobbles here

August: Villainy
Read a fun and quick review of August on the cobbles here

September: Revenge
Read a fun and quick review of September on the cobbles here

October: Fire

Read a fun and quick review of October on the cobbles here

November: Return

Read a fun and quick review of November on the cobbles here.

December: Freedom

Read a fun and quick review of December on the cobbles here.

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Corrie Canada weekly awards for Jan. 9 - 13

Best Dressed award: Gemma and her Boxing Day glitter. and special mention to Eccles the Elf!

Tear Jerk award: Lily pretending to talk to Mummy on her phone and David continuing the conversation. *gulp*

Throwback award: When the barman asked Peter what he would have, he answered "Now, there's a question". (Elsie Tanner's last words on the show in January 1984)

Post Mortem: Toyah and Toby raking their marriage over the coals.

Teenage hell award: I feel for Bethany and her emotions and her crushes. It's all very realistic. She's really just a kid trying to figure out what growing up is all about.

It's Not The Size Award: Andy sold the tablets which he must have had in that big duffel bag, three times the size of the doctor's bag where he took the tablets from and which would have held far more than just tablets. The envelope with the money wasn't large either. Why the huge bag?

Infantile behaviour award: Nick going ballistic over a cassette tape, making assumptions and causing Leanne more stress. I think Peter won that battle reminding Nick that Leanne has already had one miscarriage.

Continuity fail: Liz was supposed to be in Spain on Christmas Day but was behind the bar on Boxing Day. Toyah told Roy that Leanne was in hospital. Simon told Peter Leanne was visiting Janice. Which is it? If the visit thing was a lie so Simon wouldn't worry, that's just wrong. He's not 5 even if they still sometimes write him that way.

Musical ambiance: Phelan is threatening Andy out back of the pub to "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" (a bit of Canadian content, by the way, Bachman Turner Overdrive)

On Christmas day's episode, a choir sang "Last Christmas", a song from Wham and George Michael. Nobody would have guessed that he would have passed away that day. Boxing Day in the pub, Michaels' version of Last Christmas was on the juke box. I wonder if that was dubbed in at the last minute? Seems odd they'd have used the same song two days in a row otherwise.

Lines of the week:
Tracy "Why do joggers look so smug?" (Nick jogging across the road). Peter "It's nothing to do with jogging. He was born smug" (yes. yes he was)
Peter "'Barlow', Viking word for 'Welcome'" (and now we know why he wasn't bothered at Toyah showing up!)
Peter "It's Christmas Day and I have got a brain!"
Michelle "I've had toothbrushes with more culture than you" Sally "Oh Carry on, it's just chip paper in the window of life" (none of this made any sense and it all felt very awkward!)
Todd "Is Jason coming home for the wedding, because you'll want some guests"
Norris "Look at us. Three wise men and a Mary"
Jude "Merry Christmas, Mum"
Leanne "Praise the Lord, the Spirit of Christmas is resumed"
Bethany "What kind of stupid idiot falls for her mum's boyfriend. Twice" (an emotional teenage girl, that's who)
Tyrone "I don't like jelly. You can't trust it. It's the way it wobbles"
Peter "I can explain. It's not what it must have looked like" (playing tonsil hockey is playing tonsil hockey no matter how you try to explain it)
Norris: Emily to Peru and now you (Mary). It's beginning to look like you're all trying to get away from me" (what was your first clue)

I have to say, the New Year's episodes felt a bit choppy. There's confusion over Leanne's whereabouts which must have been around a lie to Simon as to where she was. Cathy hasn't been seen since the wedding and shows up in the pub alongside of Roy. Little Jack was still up when Kevin got the breakdown call for Johnny and, after cutting directly to the pub, it seemed like it was 10 minutes to midnight. Quite late for a 5 year old to still manage staying awake.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

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Innovation Street

(This post was originally posted by Emma Hynes on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

Change across the course of a life is inevitable. As adults looking back on who we were and the people we have come to be, we can see that while our foundations remain part of us and often inform our personalities, to them we have come to add history and experience as our lives have unfolded, and we are forever going into the unknown. At 56 years of age, Coronation Street is no different. Through its lifetime, it has successfully adapted to a vast range of societal and technological changes to remain a televisual stalwart, and this achievement only magnifies with each passing year as things increasingly come to feel all the more disposable and transient.

Even though, in many ways, Corrie no longer resembles the programme it was at its inception, the strong roots planted in 1960 by Tony Warren have strongly supported it and enabled it to grow and blossom across the years to arrive at what we see today.

The task of ensuring Corrie’s continued survival should not be underestimated. Imagine trying to stay true to a much loved and revered show such as this while taking it forward in time and all under the watchful eye of millions of viewers who love it as much as we do and all have our opinions on what works for us and what doesn’t. In such a scenario, the necessary space to experiment and innovate is not found in the quiet of a laboratory, or a household kitchen, but on a very public stage where the newest character, storyline or family have the potential to invoke the ire of unhappy viewers. I therefore respect the bravery involved in trying something new at the risk of it not being received well.

As an episode reviewer for this blog, it is essential to be honest, however, and if there is something I don’t feel is working, I will always say so. It is important to be respectfully critical where it warrants it but, as above, I welcome the risks taken, as without them, the programme could not develop.

We have witnessed a few innovations of late. One is the use of some interesting new camera angles which I definitely think are adding something, and I enjoyed the Christmas antics in the Rovers with Steve’s new camera where the actual action was interspersed with the footage being recorded and the associated sound. There is another, however, of which I’m not a fan, and that is the introduction of incidental music. Indeed, our editor Flaming Nora has also written a blog today on this very subject.

There have been a few episodes of late where music akin to a soundtrack has been added to scenes as opposed to appearing naturally as it might on the jukebox in the Rovers, or on a radio in someone’s house. We heard it when Liam shook his Llandudno snowglobe as he thought of Maria. Then, during the hour-long Christmas episode, it became even more obvious. Carolers were strategically placed on the street corner to croon 'Last Christmas' over the cobbles as Norris went about his business. While they appeared wedged in for the purpose, at least they formed part of the scene. It jarred, however, when they could be heard loudly but faded out when Andy appeared. Perhaps they walked off? Although considering what followed, probably not.

‘It’s Beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ was a fitting soundtrack to the Platt’s opening their presents, but only because I was happy to believe they were listening to it on the radio. However, when it continued at full pelt as we cut to Tim grumbling in the garden, and on to Nick and Leanne chatting in the flat, I was less comfortable with it. The entire episode was filled with carols and Christmas songs which was lovely, but those instances where it was acting entirely as a soundtrack across different locations and scenes didn’t work for me. I’ve been thinking about why this might be, and have concluded it’s because reality and normality lie at the heart of Corrie, and this takes it somewhere otherworldly. It jolts me out of the realism which has been part of the show since the very beginning, and so it changes the very feel of the programme for me, which I don't like.

While I definitely wouldn’t be sad to see this new element dance off into the night, what I do commend is the bravery to try it out, and in being critical of it, I simultaneously welcome the move to try something different. Change is crucial to survival, and nothing or nobody can change without being granted the freedom to experiment and to make mistakes. It’s only through this that innovation can occur. Without taking such chances, we could be deprived of hitherto unknown triumphs that enhance our viewing experience and ensure we keep watching.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites
Instagram: emmalouhynes

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Sunday, 15 January 2017

My Corrie Awards and year in review

(This post was originally posted by Tvor on the Coronation Street Blog in January 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I like to keep track of things through the year on Corrie and make up a fun awards post. My awards are not generally the usual Best Actor/Actress etc. though there is a bit of that. Mine are a bit more fun, I think. I have also included a potted review of the major storylines and the storylines by house/family and have a small section on things I think might happen in 2017.

Have a look on State of the Street here. You will find out things like who were the most doomed couples, which storylines were something new that hadn't been done before, What were some surprising twists, and who won the John Stape trophe.

There were, of course, soap cliches with the "You could see that coming" awards including Leanne getting pregnant from a one night stand. There's a long list of Deja View (Vu) awards for repeat storylines such as Bethany getting a crush on her mother's boyfriend again.

Further on, there is a list of major storylines, and a 2017 speculation list, some of which is pretty much a given (Robert and Michelle, anyone?) and some are just things I'd like to see like Fiz and Tyrone getting married.

Lastly, by the family/house, you can read a quick list of some of the things that happened for each group living or associated with that family or address. I make notes through the year so I don't forget and make up new awards or get rid of old ones that don't apply. It's all in fun and something I like to do each year. I hope it amuses you!

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Sunday Comments January 15

Norris looks a bit sad at the choir singing "Last Christmas", I suppose he's thinking of Emily as well as his crumbled friendship with Mary. Mary doesn't want to know when he tries to make up so it's just Roy, Brian and Norris in the cafe for Christmas dinner, the last one in the cafe perhaps. Norris is determined to make up with Mary while Brian and Roy are chomping at the bit and the roast potatoes. He didn't have much luck and Roy and Brian both came to help. Nice scene with Norris admitting to his friends that he knows his faults and telling them what he admires about Mary. She must have been listening in at the door. His words melted her heart.

Mary went to the cafe with them and they reheated dinner for their feast. She and Norris took on the wishbone. She gets to make the wish. She thinks she has everything with her friends, family, love and loyalty but wishes she could have been someone's mum. Wishes do come true, people. A young man came to the cafe. It's Jude, Mary's son and he even said Merry Christmas, Mum, virtually guaranteeing he won't reject her. Awwww!!! Brought a tear to my eye, I tell you.

Jude made sure to tell Mary he had a good life, a happy one. It was very difficult for Mary to relive the past and he was very kind and patient with her. Mary called Norris in as a reinforcement. Will she tell him the truth? No. She didn't. She spun a story about being in love with a sailor who died and Norris let her do it her way. Jude wants her to move to South Africa with him and live with his wife and children. What a huge step! Mary would get to be a grandma!

Jude addresses Norris' worries about Mary moving away with a virtual stranger and he makes sure to have his say as well. Tracy was quite complimentary to Mary and I think she'll miss Mary, actually. Mary's ready to leave on New Year's Eve. I wondered if Dev would be there and he was. The twins didn't want her to go, that was tough. Poor Norris is feeling lonely already but was Mary disappointed that he didn't try to talk her out of it? Sounds like a little part of her was feeling a bit nervous maybe.

Christmas at the Grimshaw house seems a bit subdued. Billy's missing the busy church day he would have been having. Billy went to a service after Todd urged him to go and got caught up in advising the new vicar! He really does miss it, doesn't he? He found a woman in the back of the vestry hiding out and it turns out to be that Shona from the pub the other night, drinking the communion wine. She had a bust up with her ex and doesn't talk to her family. Billy took her home to Number 11 for Christmas dinner. But there was a man that took particular notice of them on the way out. Would that be Nathan, her ex?

Phelan is still in hospital, inexplicably. And, inexplicably, Eileen proposed to *him*! Andy's having a really bad day. He's skipped out on dinner at the Britton's and next, putting those stolen drugs in the orange juice and appeared to be on a murderous mission to the hospital but a loved up couple put the kibosh on that. Todd was shocked when he heard the news. Later when Billy got home with Shona, we saw that the man from the church followed her and Shona definitely recognized him. Is this another scam? Remains to be seen. But Billy has finally had a rejuvenation and feels like he's called back to the church, much to Todd's disappointment. I wonder if this will break them up?

Andy found a way to get the orange juice to Phelan pretending it was contraband with gin in it. Only problem is, he decided to share it with Andy. He promises they'll be quits after Andy sells the tablets, he can walk away free and clear. Andy managed to spill the drinks. Phelan caught on, he's not stupid. Andy cleared out of the flat with a big bag. The bag was three times the size of the doctor's bag that he stole the tablets from. Why did he need such a large bag for a small lot of pills? Never mind. Phelan isn't going to let Andy off so easy and you knew that was coming.

Come New Year's Eve, Andy's mood hasn't improved and we find out that Phelan is getting out of the hospital. He did, and went straight to the pub. He and Steph are joined by Luke and Tracy in the pub. That's just so weird. It was amusing having Steph and Tracy exchanging age insults. I think Tracy got the worst of it. Andy nearly plotzed seeing Phelan in the pub and then tried to find a mate he could stay with. Looks like he's planning to leave town but he might not get away if Phelan has anything to say about it. Them were very threatening words, Phelan had for Andy. Will he run anyway?

Tracy, Luke, Steph and Andy went to the Bistro in spite of Robert sacking Steph and he didn't say anything. Luke got smashed, Andy makes excuses to leave. Looks to us like he's going to do a runner just at midnight, leaving Steph on her own.

Smug Nick is out jogging on Christmas morning. Peter tells Tracy he's going to be away somewhere in the evening, she assumes it's sponsor things to do with AA. But it's his new girlfriend! Nick doesn't know that, though. He sees Peter making a call and Leanne taking one. Coincidence? He thinks not. Before Leanne and Nick could get away to Liverpool to Toyah's, Toyah came to them, wearing her pyjamas, even! Big blow up with her husband, she says she's left him and on top of that, it's her fault. She's been having an affair! She and Leanne go off to sort themselves out while Nick and Simon head to Number 1 and crash Christmas dinner there. Tracy makes a few noises but nobody else is really bothered. Nick just stews in the corner glaring at Peter.

It's back and forth. Circumstantial evidence is reinforcing Nick's suspicion that Peter and Leanne are having it off with Peter running out for a cig, straight over to Victoria Court, after Leanne texts Nick that Toyah is in the shower. Nick freaked out because he realized that cassette tape was missing and that pushed him over the edge. He attacked Peter out on the street! I laughed, though, for all Nick's pushing around, Peter's one smack in the gob floored Nick which he wasn't able to do to Peter at that point. He did get one good blow in though he had to take a running jump to do it and Peter's next punch ended the fight because Leanne came out. All over a cassette tape with a tag to the love of his life. It did give Leanne pause and he lied over what it meant. He got the final shot in, lecturing Nick about causing Leanne stress when she'd already lost one baby.

Peter said he was going to a meeting but ended up in a bar. Don't do it! He didn't. But we found out who the love of his life is. Toyah!!!!!!! I guessed it weeks ago, just an educated guess from long years of soap watching. They ended up in a hotel (what excuse did Toyah use to get away?) and some of us are treated by a look at Peter's tattoos. It's been a long time! They're going to come clean or so they say.

He created a lot of worry staying overnight and everyone worried he was still in love with Leanne who's just fed up with the lot of them. Even Simon can't understand why they just can't all get along. After he got back he assured his father all was well but Ken is suspicious. He's right but for the wrong reasons. Toyah had lied as well, saying she'd gone back to Liverpool but she didn't because her husband showed up to try to talk to her and was there when she got home. One of the weak spots seems to have been a failure to get pregnant and that is certainly something that can cause a lot of stress in a relationship. Toyah and Peter didn't get to tell Leanne and Nick about their relationship because Leanne had to go to the hospital with a really bad headache.

Nick blamed Toyah for the stress so she tore a strip off him. It turned out Leanne has a kidney infection and high blood pressure. I guess Toyah and Peter's secret will stay secret for awhile no matter how much Leanne tried to get it out of her. I guess for the time being, Toyah and Peter will be skulking in the ginnel, stealing kisses but someone knows their secret. Simon caught them on the "sky cam" on his drone!

The next thing we know, Toyah is still on the Street planning to visit Leanne in hospital but later Simon told Peter Leanne was visiting Janice. Did they tell him that so he wouldn't worry or is it a continuity fail? Shouldn't be hiding things from kids, I say. Simon did confront Peter about Toyah. He tried to explain it as trying to make her feel better, a hug turning into a "sort of" kiss. Tonsil hockey is a long way from a sort of kiss. Simon didn't take any of his faff. He's threatening to tell Leanne, the last thing Peter and Toyah want because of the extra stress.

Bethany's got a new smart watch. Lily's got a magic phone and she can talk to Mummy! God, wasn't that a tear jerker? David pretending along with them and Max, too, because he knows more than Lily really. Sounds like Audrey and Gail went to Milan for Christmas to see Steven. That's probably a good idea for Gail who's grieving, getting away from the normal routine. Leanne bought Nick a baby buggy? Oh well, I guess she certainly believes in equal parenting. Simon and Max turned it into a water pistol war!

Bethany was hugely rude to Gary and was warned by Sarah. Gary tried to talk to Sarah like a grownup. She seemed to be calling a truce by saying she is bored with winding him up and admitting to Faye it was a stupid crush but you knew it was difficult for her. Anna and Faye are having their Christmas with the Platts. The day seems to go pretty well, with Gary and Sarah loved up and David and the kids having fun but Bethany is taking more diet pills and Sarah caught a message from Faye on Bethany's new watch, which she wasn't wearing and the secret about her crush on Gary is out. All Bethany had to do was pretend the guy she had the crush on was also called Gary but no, it all kicked off.

Bethany ran off and that strange man from the church found her, thinking to see if she needed help. She didn't. She brought the big bottle of pills and it looks like she was going to take them all. Later, we hear her vomiting in the ginnel and looking very rough and down she went. That same man, called Nathan, found her and then Tyrone happened along and got her to the hospital. She woke up and didn't know where she was. Scary prospect.

The whole truth eventually came out and there we are. The hospital is going to recommend Bethany for councelling which she does need at the moment. She admitted that Gary was merely a friend and a supporter. She needs less stress and Sarah has the solution. Sarah then finished with Gary. Again. It never seems to end, this on and off again thing between them. It's getting tedious. I reckon Bethany won't let them be unhappy but Gary's only got so much patience. Later, Bethany took chocolates to Tyrone but found out it was Nathan and he works at a tanning salon to thank him. He was very nice but I'm not so sure he's in Gary's league.

Anna and Faye are moving in with Kevin who just got an emergency call that Sophie has had to have an emergency appendectomy which isn't cheap in the US. Coincidentally, Kevin has spent a big chunk on a new tow truck. Gary's taking off, as well, going to visit his dad in Germany. Anna is not pleased that Phelan will be home. Seb has finally shown up, having been more or less incommunicado the whole holiday and he wants Faye to stay over at his. Sounds like Anna isn't having it but did book at taxi to bring her back later after midnight. Kevin has to leave Anna on her own to go rescue Johnny.

Jenny and Johnny are planning a New Year's Eve party. Jenny continues to complain about Gemma using her things so Johnny invited her to move in. Not sure if that was her intention but she was pretty happy he invited her. Johnny has to leave on an emergency work thing so Jenny has to host the party on her own. She didn't mind, playing lady of the manor while Johnny had to struggle with a flat tire. Jack was up when Kevin left, which seemed to be nearly midnight. Mere minutes later, he was downstairs on his own in the dark so there must have been more of a time spread than we were shown. He went for a drink, broke a glass and Anna went crashing down the stairs in the dark. Oh dear. Poor Jack didn't know what to do and decided to go for help. Surely there would be someone around.

In the pub, Liz has gone to Spain to see Andy for Christmas but she was back behind the bar on Boxing Day. Steve is still stalling over Michelle's Christams present because of course the tv is at Tim and Sally's where Sally thinks it's hers. Steve gave her the globe after all. You can imagine how that went down. Sally bragging about her new television made Steve realize what had happened. The truth came out adn Sally wasn't best pleased and she wasn't going to give it up. Michelle took (i think) Tim's laptop as hostage and pointed out it was Tim that chose the globe for Sally after all! Ouch.

On Christmas day's episode, a choir sang "Last Christmas", a song from Wham and George Michael. Nobody would have guessed that he would have passed away that day. Boxing Day in the pub, Michaels' version of Last Christmas was on the juke box. I wonder if that was dubbed in at the last minute? Seems odd they'd have used the same song two days in a row otherwise.

Sally's windows and garden have been trashed. She puts it down to the bane of being a politician. I figure it's just chance. Nice to see Toyah visiting Roy as an old friend. Eva bought Aidan a kitten. Somehow I don't think that would have gone over too well. I see Cathy has made an appearance in the pub on New Year. Wonder where she's been hiding out. We haven't see her since the wedding.

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter

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