11 August 2010
Coronation Street, one of my few televisual obsessions, is commemorating its 50th birthday at the end of this year by killing off half a dozen characters in a tram crash.
You've seen the tram in question, presumably part of the Manchester Metrolink, as it travels over the viaduct during the opening titles. The fact that nobody ever catches it from Weatherfield - or, indeed, mentions it - seems to be neither here nor there. Everyone gets on the remarkably efficient bus service outside the salon though.
The tram is apparently set to hurl itself over the viaduct and down on to the cobbles, where the gaggle of death row characters will just happen to be together, ready for decapitation. A more realistic way of causing death by tram would be to make them all attend a Manchester United game and then catch a tram with everyone else immediately afterwards. I've done that. My liver ended up in the luggage rack.
So, who do you reckon is for the chop?
Ashley and Claire seem likely, as the performers in question have been told they're not having their deals renewed anyway. However, this causes the problem of what to do with their two young children, as I expect no soap opera would dare kill off a child in an accident such as this, let alone two of them. The nearest I can think of is Nick Cotton's son dying on that motorbike in EastEnders, but he was about 17 or something.
Jack Duckworth is a possibility as the actor is retiring, but according to the papers (yes, I know) they're going to make the character ill in order to raise the thorny subject of euthanasia.
The other one we know is departing is Janice Battersby. The Zippy-esque actress that plays her is chancing one of those "explore other opportunities" things, which usually means panto and then a guest appearance in Doctors. I doubt that there is a reason not to just add her to the death list, assuming she wasn't there already.
So who else? Well, here are my guesses...
*Natasha, though she won't be pregnant by the time of the accident. I really liked her initially as she delivered witty Corrie pay-offs really well, but now she's gone all clingy and sour.
*Sean, who is becoming more of a caricature by the episode and is really irritating now. And they simply can't bring themselves to give him a regular boyfriend for fear of what the Daily Mail might say, lessening the character's purpose substantially.
*Bill, who has literally no discernible future now that his business is dying and his girlfriend seems to have suddenly done one.
*Trevor, just to put Carla in Gail's league for seeing off gentleman companions forever.
*Kirk, whose thickness surely restricts the storyline possibilities beyond wisecracking with Chesney and packing pants in boxes.
*Ciaran, for being a former member of Boyzone and never mentioning it. Or for being the biggest ham on there since Ashley's last sale at the butchers.
And beyond that, I reckon that they're planning to pension off one of the genuine Corrie legends. One of Ken, Deirdrie, Emily, Rita, Betty or Gail will go. Gail is the outsider for me as it'd be too far-fetched to have her crushed under a flying tram having previously lost one husband to a car crash in a canal and another to falling off a boat. Her record with transportation already isn't good, and this would be a step too far.
It won't be Betty either, as she is never seen outside the Rovers Return, and even then that's only a couple of times a month. Deirdrie is probably a bit young to kill off still, and I think there would be an outcry if Corrie got rid of Emily in such a brutal way. So, Ken or Rita then. Take your pick. My money is on Rita. She's just had six months off and then returned with someone else's face. Her authenticity has gone.
Even though those veterans are regarded as untouchables, I think there are a new breed of such on Coronation Street now. Steve, Eileen, Kevin and Sally, Fiz (who is just superb), Norris, Peter (who is also superb), Michelle, Maria, Roy and Hayley.
With these to take on the baton, I really think Corrie is finally getting to the point where it can dare to get shut of someone from a cobble-laden pedestal. And when better than your 50th birthday? Look out for flying bricks and glass, Rita...