The question is: What is significant about today, Friday, 9th December?
Well, I think I heard a solitary voice in the back row shouting out the correct answer – yes, it’s the 44th birthday of none other than Coronation Street.
With that in mind, I thought it might be an opportune moment to take a very quick retrospective look at our longest-running serial drama.
Unfortunately, many of those early stars of Weatherfield are no longer with us – the likes of Violet Carson, Lynne Carol, Pat Phoenix, Jack Howarth, Bernard Youens and the memorable Doris Speed, who was the original landlady of the Rovers, Annie Walker, and Arthur Leslie, who played her long-suffering husband, Jack.
|Stan and Hilda Ogden|
The eighties were a golden era for the nation’s best loved soap, as the programme perfected the careful balance of comedy and drama with which it is now synonymous.
The 1980’s were also the time in which many of the programme’s best-loved characters came into their own - and cemented their place in the hearts of the nation’s affection.
The cobbles have probably seen more action and excitement than rush-hour on the Piccadilly line, with events of the past 40 years including arson, murder, hoards of affairs, car crashes, hostage situations, a fair share of marriages and plenty of comings and goings.
In brief, Coronation Street has become – and will remain – a staple in the diet of the British viewing public.
Happy birthday, Corrie!
Meanwhile, let’s now take a sneak look forward to early in the New Year.
Blanche (admirably portrayed, of course, by Maggie Jones) is struggling to come to terms with the death of a friend and the imminent funeral, when she learns that she has inherited her friend’s dog.
All seems sweetness and light until it becomes apparent that the pooch is less than keen on poor old Ken! Can’t you just imagine how Kenneth will deal with that situation?
Meanwhile, the ever-protective Eileen (Sue Cleaver) is anxious to ensure that Sarah (Tina O’Brien) doesn’t ruin the life of Jason (Ryan Thomas) the same way that she did his brother, Todd.
Jason, however, is ever rebellious and delivers a shocking announcement, leaving Eileen somewhat panic-stricken and eager to atone for her over-reaction.
Now, if you hanker after seeing more of your soap favourites on the small screen each week, then your prayers may well have been answered with the latest announcement from ITV .
The brand new live entertainment show Soapstar Superstar, that begins in the New Year, will not only feature many of those familiar characters that we love so much, but will also mark the return to television of another favourite and soap fan, our Cilla – yes, Cilla Black – who will take up position as a panellist on the programme.
Cilla, who last appeared on ITV more two years ago, will be one of the judges commenting on singing ability, styling, confidence and all round performance, of the soap stars showcasing their musical talent live in the studio.
Of her return, she said: "I'm really excited about this show, and it's great to be back on ITV screens. Taking part in Soapstar Superstar will be lots of fun, not least because I'm a huge soap fan, but also because I hope I can understand a little of what the performers are going through and guide and advise as best as I can."
Executive producer Rachel Ashdown commented: “This is a high profile show featuring the cream of soap’s singing talent. Cilla will bring authority, real credentials and years of top quality experience to pass on to our performers. We are delighted she will be part of this major television event.???
Each night, Soapstar Superstar will see 10 popular soap stars showcase their musical talent live in the studio competing for a big cash prize for a charity of their choice. Viewers vote for their favourite performance, leading to a cliff-hanger every night.
Facing the ultimate sing-off are:
- Nicholas Bailey (Dr Antony Trueman, EastEnders)
- Richard Fleeshman (Craig Harris, Coronation Street)
- Michael Greco (Beppe di Marco, EastEnders)
- Shobna Gulati (Sunita Alahan, Coronation Street)
- Lee Otway (Bombhead, Hollyoaks)
- Roxanne Pallett (Jo Stiles, Emmerdale)
- Lucy Pargeter (Chastity Dingle, Emmerdale)
- Wendi Peters, (Cilla Battersby-Brown, Coronation Street)
- Andy Whyment (Kirk Sutherland, Coronation Street)
- Sammy Winward (Katie Sugden, Emmerdale)
Eat your heart out, X-Factor!.
BBC’s midweek hospital drama has already had its fair share of guest appearances this year, but what will next year bring?
Well, for starters, ex-Hearsay singer Kim Marsh is gearing herself up to appear at the end of January. She will be playing Myrna Morrison who accompanies her sick boyfriend onto the wards.
Our next guest star is famous for her appearance in the OXO adverts. Yes, you’ve got it, Linda Bellingham will put in an appearance as Katelyn Lucas – an ex (and now reformed) drug addict whose two sons are admitted to casualty after a fight.
Rosie Marcel - who appeared last month as Surgical Registrar Jac Naylor – is also set to re-appear at the end of January. Jac is a very ambitious character who is keen to fill the job full time… Watch this space…
After a few issues and various e-mails ravenously requesting Emmerdale gossip, I’ve finally done enough digging to come up with something juicy for you…
Avid films fans among you will readily recognise this face from film-land. Actor Nick Brimble arrives in the Dales early next month as Turner’s son, Terence.
Nick – who starred as Little John in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – finally comes face to face with his screen sister, Steph (Lorraine Chase), who has recently been making serious allegations against him regarding their rough childhood.
An insider told me: “Terence is embroiled in a huge storyline from the start and will quickly become an integral part of Emmerdale.???
How will Steph feel when she confronts her estranged brother? What will Turner’s reaction be when he sees Terence after all this time? You haven’t long to wait…
Insiders tell me that last year’s X-Factor contestant, Rowetta, filmed her cameo appearance on Wednesday for the ITV2 spin-off show, Footballers’ Wives: Extra Time.
My source told me: “It was absolutely marvellous to have Rowetta on set. She was very professional and made a fantastic job of it.???
Extra Time will air alongside the new series of Footballers’ Wives in the spring.
The cast of BBC’s daytime medical drama today finished filming for the Christmas period, but don’t fret – they’ll be back to work again in January.
In the meantime, there’s a special treat in store for you.
On Wednesday 11th January and Wednesday 18th January, you will be able to sit back and watch a double dose of Doctors!
Christmas brings an explosion of passion between Becca and Justin, but Becca is quick to deny her feelings for him. While passions between teacher and pupil are left simmering, Becca is determined to put things right with husband Jake and they try for a baby.
Justin, however, is equally determined not to let things lie and tensions between the two soon reach boiling point.
After a dramatic and horrifying end to the year Russ and Sam Owen struggle to keep their awful secret, but before too long, the ordeal bears terrifying consequences for their younger sister, Nicole when Andy returns to wreak havoc with their lives.
A new year brings fresh complications to the already tangled love life of student Jessica. When Mark, her supposed ‘ex’ turns up looking anything but dumped, the romance between her and Gilly is almost thwarted. Desperate measures are called for, but leading a decidedly dodgy double life can only end in disaster.
Meanwhile, Gilly’s mate Rhys is getting dangerously close to Sarah - his younger sister’s best friend - but her Mum is hell-bent on stepping in between the potential lovers, whatever it takes…
Over at the Loft, Max and OB are smitten with new mystery girl Clare. She is clearly not all she seems. Still, Max is in for the ride of his life with or without his best mate.
Sounds like plenty to look forward to one way or another.
That’s it for this time.
See you again soon.