Eat that, EastEnders! Rounding off a fantastic week of death and disaster in Coronation Street’s 50th Anniversary celebrations, Corrie does an hour-long live episode.
If you were holding out any hope for an eleventh hour save for Ashley Peacock, sit yourself down love, this isn’t good news. That beam – you know, the one that fell on Ashley at the end of the last episode – well, it did for poor Ashley. He’s gone now, taking Fred Elliott’s special sausage recipe to the grave.
But not without leaving a voicemail from beyond for a devastated Claire. Oh, it’s tempting to be glib about such melodrama, but I recently discovered a voicemail from my father on our answering machine and I can vouch for how unsettling these things are and how you find yourself listening to those messages for comfort in absent moments. So for me, this was an especially touching part of the story.
Less touching – and here I will be mightily glib – was the hastily-arranged hospital wedding between Peter Barlow and Leanne Battersby. Inspired by Peter’s desire to give his son stability in case he croaked before the weekend, the marriage to Leanne would give her custody of Simon.
Here’s the thing – I don’t, and never have, cared for any of the characters in this triangle. They’re all just awful. And as for Simon, well it’s not his first disaster, is it? If I were related to that child I’d be checking his scalp for Satanic marks. House fires seem to follow him around, don’t they?
Anyway, after dredging up a priest/minister (who knows what denomination the Barlows are?), the race against time to join the Barlow and Battersby Clans is underway. This is complicated by Peter periodically blacking out due to his failing ticker. Shockingly, he flatlines, and Leanne turns banshee. We can only assume that she was seriously pissed that she didn’t get her honeymoon.
Now, with the exception of poor Squashley Peacock, you’ll notice a running theme – it’s the cheaters, adulterers and philanderers who get it!
Which brings us to the death of Molly. Tyrone and Kevin are at the hospital with baby Jack, and Kevin’s desperate to get Tyrone out of the way so that he can offer to donate blood for his son. Meanwhile, back at the corner shop, Sally is at Molly’s side comforting her as it becomes increasingly cleasr that she’s not going to survive.
Molly’s desire for a deathbed confession bring out the worst in Sally. Molly She takes forever to confess that Kevin is Jack’s father, but when she does, almost with her last breath, a stunned Sally withdraws her hand. Frightened, Molly grasps for that contact between the two, but Sally – shaking with rage – simply stares at her. There’s plenty more scope for this story to turn nasty when Sally finally catches up with Kevin again. What’s really intriguing me is whether the Webster’s will stay together and raise baby Jack.
And finally, John “Can’t Kill For Toffee” Stape, the world’s most inept criminal, goes to the hospital in time to witness the birth of Fizz’s child, then he dashes home for a bit of corpse disposal. Except, being Stape, it doesn’t work out as straightforward as he might have hoped. That’s right, while dragging Charlotte’s body into the alley, a policewoman happens upon him, and he pretends to have ‘found’ the body. “It thought it was an old coat”, he deadpans. Except the medics discover Mad Charlotte’s got a faint pulse. Not enough of a pulse to cry attempted murder, but definitely problematic for Stape.
With soaps doing these live episodes, we’re all sitting waiting for somebody to fluff their lines. I’m almost convinced that Vicky Binns dropped the ball with her wheezing and gasping masking some forgotten dialog. At the same time, you can’t deny that this episode was full of tension and drama from start to finish. Corrie captures the whole spectrum of human behaviour yet again.
I do think it’s funny that the casualties are mostly people who’ve been actively involved in affairs recently. But then, find me someone in Weatherfield who isn’t a two-timer! These 50th Anniversary episodes have been amazing, and I have to give credit to new producer Phil Collinson and the whole cast and crew of Coronation Street for giving us some top class entertainment! Well done!