Monday July 21st 2003
What a superb episode that was - Coronation Street at its best. For
those of you who didn't see it, the main story line revolved around
Roy Cropper - he is 'married' to transsexual Hayley who is away looking
after a sick relative. Roy is seen as an oddball because he is a genuinely
Tracy Barlow - the bitch from hell.
Tracy has accepted a bet (for one penny) that she can get Roy
into bed - just to prove that
(a) she can and
(b) all men are the same.
In the previous episode, at her step-brother's wedding,
she persuaded Roy (who normally never touches alcohol) to have a glass of
champagne. She then topped it up while he wasn't looking and slipped
a date rape drug in it. At the end of the episode Roy was almost comatose
and Tracy was publicly playing the good Samaritan in taking him home. This
Monday's episode started with Roy coming to in Tracy's bed, with underwear
all over the room and Tracy asleep beside him. Roy, who couldn't ever
cheat on Hayley is horrified and tries to quietly leave the room - not easy
when he is still feeling the effects of the drug. He manages to get
out of the room but at the bottom of the stairs is seen by Tracy's Dad (Ken)
and Mum (Deirdre) and Ken's grandson (Adam). This isn't too
bad until Tracy appears and says 'You weren't trying to sneak off without
saying good bye you naughty boy'. Other story lines cross this one,
but the Roy and Tracy story is the main theme through the episode with a
distraught Roy refusing to open his cafe, trying to scrub himself clean in
the shower, blaming himself for drinking and losing control - even though
Ken comes and says it was Tracy's fault, that it was for a bet and that nothing
happened. Roy is beside himself for what he has done to Hayley and
apologises to Ken and asks Ken to apologise to Tracy. Ken, who knows
Roy and knows his step-daughter only too well, tries to make Tracy apologise
to Roy and to put the record straight. Tracy, who is annoyed that she
is getting the blame, refuses and Ken throws her out.
It isn't the story line which makes this episode so good, but
it is Coronation Street's treatment of it - this was Corrie at its best.
At the beginning you feel so sorry for Roy but the moment when he is
seen by Ken, Deirdre and Adam is pure comedy - and this is what makes
Coronation Street so good, its juxtaposition of the sad (tragic even) and
the humorous. Pathos is certainly a major strength of this series.
It is also good for its different take on a topical issue - it is raising
the issue of date-rape drugs but it has changed the context and applied them
to a man. In this case it is a man who feels destroyed and whom we see trying
to scrub himself clean in the shower and the image is all the more powerful
Coronation Street is so much stronger when it isn't trying to
be 'dramatic' and compete with East Enders. The humour of the Corrie
team is what makes Corrie so watchable - it has a long history of comic duos
- The Ogdens, Reg and Curly at the supermarket (and wasn't Ken Morley brilliant),
Bet and Alec of the Rovers (Roy Barroclough - another comic genius),
the Battersbys (perhaps), and now Jack and Vera Duickworth (with Steve
and Karen McDonald lining up to be the new Duckworths).
A message to the writers - please don't try to compete with East
Enders. When you stick to doing what Corrie is best at you knock Eastenders
out of sight - and Monday night's episode was one of the best of your best!