Well Done Julie, You Played A Blinder

When Hayley died in Coronation Street on Monday it was right at the end of the show. Tonight, as Julie Hesmondhalgh had the easier task of playing a corpse, I have to admit a tear came to my cynical old eye. Her performance as someone facing terminal cancer and choosing death with some dignity was brilliant and moving.

It is a situation many of us have faced in one way or another. When my paternal grandmother was near the end, back in 1968, Dad asked me to drive him to the hospital one night and stop to pick up his sister on the way. he did not tell me he had already been to the hospital that day. The senior doctor had called him in and said Grandma was in a lot of pain but an increased her morphine dose would probably be too much for her system to handle. Se was not coherent so Dad had to make the decision, “Don’t let her suffer. Dad and Aunt Millie were going down to say their goodbyes that night. It was hard for both of them.

I could not call Julie a friend but I met her several times and she always struck me as a very down to earth and unaffected person. We chatted about many things, but never Coronation Street which I seldom watch but was always aware of because my wife is a fan. Last time I spoke to Julie was the only time she ever brought up the subject of her work, she was taking time out from the soap to portray the mother of murdered goth Sophie Lancaster in the play The Black Roses, a part for which she won a prestigious theatre award. Her success in that role says a lot about the kind of humane, empathic person she is and those qualities obviously helped her portray the illness and death of Hayley.

We all mock soaps for their ludicrous story lines, wobbly sets and (naming no names from among those who like to have a party down The Queen Vic.) some stupendously bad acting. But there is a lot of talent on the soap circuit too and Julie falls into that category.

The topic of hastening death to mitigate suffering is a moral issue we will never resolve, it is for individuals to follow their own consciences. What is frightening of course is the prospect of governments involving themselves and appointing “death panels” to decide at what point the lives of “useless eaters” should be terminated. This is the kind of question we need to address because many bureaucratic dictatorships masquerading as democracies are thinking in such terms now.

Well done Julie for being part of bringing the issue of ending life to the fore. Next time I see you at one of my son’s gigs, you will be getting a very big drink.

Boggart Blog Exclusive: We Reveal How Conronation Street Kiddie Fiddler Was Caught

Shock news today was the arrest of Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell who plays car mechanic Kevin Webster in the soap. He was charged with several counts of sex abuse on minors

Boggart Blog can reaveal it was Le Vell’s tweet to his fans that put the cops onto him.

It read, “Kevin in working on a fourteen year old Escort.”

Which makes us wonder if those minors Michael allegedly fiddled with were Morris Minors.

Calm Down, Calm down.

Big news of the totally unimportant this week was that the actor Brian “Terry-from-Brookside” has been charged with murder.

Brian, whose second name nobody ever seemed to know was instantly identifiable by his curly hair, shell suits and trade mak moustache.

Was he the inpiration for Harry Enfields character “The Scousers?”
We could not possibly comment.

Apparently however the casting of Brian “Terry-from-Brookside” was inspired in that it set a trend by casting a real life caricature scouser as a soap opera caricature scouser.

The producers of Coronation Street followed suit by casting a real Ulsterman, Charles Lawton, to play Jim “Yer-Man” McDonald, the man with the worst caricature Ulster accent ever so they did.

This week as caricature scouser stood in court accused of murder, “Yer Man” made what must be his final exit from Coronation Street, so he did, by completely screwing up a bank robbery.

If it had been real life he could never have succeeded. Even if he had remembered the subglasses and Terry-from-Brookside style theatrical moustache the clerk would have recognised that exaggerated accten anywhere, so she would.

Two cases proving that just as art imitates life, so life imitates art.

Confessions of an English Teacher (Coronation Street)

Ooer Missis, its all going on down Coronation Street.

Its time to say I think the soap opera writers just push it too far at times. All fiction requires suspension of disbelief but really lines have to be drawn.

At the moment Corrie has a storyline running that involves middle aged but OKish attractive knicker – stitcher Sally trying to better herself by getting a degree in literature (and when you consider some of the types who have degrees in literature, this is a laugh for a start.) Not being the most academically gifted knicker – stitcher in the world Sally was soon struggling with Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Now you would think a character who only exists on television would take to The Tempest, after all, fiction characters are such stuff as dreams are made of. But no, Sally did not get it, so she booked some private tuition with local English teacher John, despite the fact that she tends to fall in love with any man who talks to her in a civil way. Sure enough she only has to hear him say “thou art more lovely and more temperate” to develop a huge crush on John. But this is soapland and ‘ere long cold winds are shaking the darling buds of May. John’s girlfriend Fiz, a fellow knicker stitcher of Sally has noticed the star pupil had a crush on her man and even Sally’s dim witted hubby Kevin is starting to suspect there is something going on. You can always spot that Sally is in love with yet another middle class slime ball, she stops giving Kev his pie and chips and starts trying to make him eat cous-cous.

Meanwhile dastardly John, while teaching Sal about Shakespeare’s Darling Buds has been shaking the darling buds of Rosie, Sally’s winsome sixteen year old daughter who has also been enjoying her private lessons with John who was her techer in school. Sex pot Rosie, not the usual self – obsessed teen has actually noticed her Mum’s crush on John and has taken to ripping her outer clothes off and prancing around in Agent Provocateur undies whenever John is giving Sally one…erm…an English lesson. Sadly for Sally, young Rosie fills her bra better than her Mum ever did.

Meanwhiler, Fiz is fighting for her man and worse, the other knicker stitchers who know Sally is “no better than she ought to be,” and think she is a snob, are on Fiz’s side.

Desperate to get John’s attention focused on her once more, Sally even sprayed Kev’s pie and chips with air freshener lest the smell stimulated in John appetites other than those she planned to satisfy. This gave Kev several kinds of cancer plus grounds for divorce.

Its all went up in smoke on Bonfire night, Sally confessed her love to John, who straight away told Rosie. Soon Rosie will tell Fiz to divert suspicion from herself and everyone will tell Kev who will buy himself another meal of pie and chips. In the ensuing mayhem it will emerge that John has been boffing Rosie. Fiz, Sally and Kev will kill John, the dog Schmichel will eat Kev’s pie and chips and Fizz will develop Lesbian tendencies and eat Rose.

See what I mean? It just goes way over the top. It is pushing the limits of drama too far, stuff like that could only happen in real life.