Where have you seen Audrey's date Henry before?

Eagle eyed Coronation Street fans will have spotted that Audrey's date Henry Wilkins has been on Coronation Street before  He played Harry Potts.

According to Corriepedia, Harry Potts was a corrupt Councillor who popped up to give Derek Wilton a hard time back in late 1992. He also appeared in July 1995, having a run in with the one and only Audrey Roberts.

Harry is played by Russell Dixon who also played Ena Sharples in the stage version of Corrie's 1968 plays at The Lass o'Gowrie in Manchester, January 2012. Find out more.

Russell Dixon also played Dave Barnes on Coronation Street in 1979. Dave Barnes warned Ken Barlow to stop teaching his wife Karen to read and write but Ken refused guessing correctly that Ken would discover that Dave was also illiterate.  Dave broke into Ken's house, frightening Uncle Albert and threatening to kill Ken. Ken caught him off guard and punched his lights out.

See also: Where have you seen...?

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Sumner and Godley Head

Went out to Sumner on New Year's Eve. Very rough and twisted roads along the Sumner waterfront from the quake damage. Took a few pics of the damage to the library building with its fence covered in plastic sculptures. Across the road, a patchwork tapestry had been draped over a container. The containers were everywhere and a huge wall of them (arrowed) were placed for protection against the rocky cliffs.
Then on to Godley Head, the peninsula that heads the entrance to Lyttleton Harbour. This area was used for gun emplacements during WWII and much of the construction is still evident with bunkers and buildings and underground magazines and storage areas. Unfortunately the earthquakes have created major damage to the old concrete structures making them too unsafe for the public to be allowed in.... but, hey, I didn't come all this way for nothing. I snuck in and risked it walking over cracked concrete areas (underground rooms beneath)and down the steps and got a great look at the remains of this fortress area.

Should we call time on Corrie's Ken?

This could be another controversial blog post, I'm not sure. I have been pondering this for a while and I'm seriously wondering whether it is time for Ken Barlow to retire from our favourite cobbled street. 

Yes, I know the character is often regarded as legendary, but the question I ask is why so? Apart from the fact Ken has been present since the very first episode of Coronation Street back in December 1960, is his character that remarkable? I know he has had countless affairs, with children scattered across the British Isles, but does he still have much to offer in the 21st Century? 

I just can't help but think the other mature characters are more integrated into the Coronation Street community and are therefore more capable of still surprising us viewers. Ken seems to be trapped in a cycle of affairs, arguments with Deirdre and mild disapproval of his family and their increasingly depraved antics. While I would miss either Rita or Emily deeply should the time come, I'm not sure I would feel the same about our Kenneth.

Although surrounded by an ever growing and constantly evolving family he never seems that bothered with any of them. This was the man who sent his twins to Glasgow rather than attempt life as a single parent after Val went up with the maisonettes. And when was the last time he mentioned his son Daniel, from his relationship with Denise Osborne? When Peter was close to death following the tram crash everyone else was in bits while Ken looked like he was suffering from trapped wind. I did however enjoy the scenes with mother in law Blanche - she was great at bringing him down a peg or two! Remember his attempts to write a novel?

So should he leave, and eventually he'll have to, how would we like it to happen? I have two suggestions: either he snaps and murders Tracy, leading him to be sent down for his crimes. Or perhaps and old flame could return and release him from his endless Weatherfield misery? My favourite for such a storyline would be the ever lovely Joanna Lumley, returning as Elaine Perkins. That would be terrific!

So is it time Ken left? Or do you see him turning into the 21st Century Albert Tatlock? And if Ken did leave, what would happen to Deirdre? 

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Coronation Street year end awards

As you know, I give weekly awards for offbeat things. Through the year I also make notes on awards for a year end wrap up.  Most of them are not the usual "Best Actor, storyline" etc. though there are one or two of them. They're just for fun and my own opinions. I also make a quick summary of the storylines by family unit, mostly just to jog my own memory.

Who had the best right hook? Who was the most ruined character? (hint, that character was also part of the When Will It Be Over award and also the Worst Suited new couple award.)  The Curly Watts Loser in Love award gets two recipients.

The storylines that I enjoyed the most were: The domestic abuse storyline (hard to watch at times, but so well done), Rita and Dennis's romance and relationship has been a joy to watch, the Salon Wars between the Platts and Roberts over Lewis' involvement in Audrey's life was well plotted and I also enjoyed watching the ultimate downfall of Frank Foster with the trial and his final moments with the big reveal that it was his mother that killed him.

You can read the rest of the awards here.

Also, Michael and Gemma on the Conversation Street podcast have done a fun year end awards/review. Their awards have great titles, too.

Find out who wins Best Lad, Best Lass, who wins the 'Ecky Thump award for best fight, who gets the Wrong 'Un award for best villain.

There is an Ey Up award for best newcomer, a Ta Ra award (best exit), a By Eck award gives us the most shocking moment, and  That's Champion award is their favourite storyline of 2012 and a few more besides.

The award with the best name, though, is the Bobbins award for stupidest storyline and nobody will be surprised to find out that's the Karl and Sunita storyline!

Listen to the rest of them here to find out the other winners and see if you agree.

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Last chance to enter! Coronation Street Blog - Big fat prize quiz of 2012

Deadline for entries is today, Monday 31 December 2012 at midnight.

Here it is! The Coronation Street Blog Big Fat Prize Quiz of the Year! 

It's a quiz all about our Coronation Street Blog and we have these great Lilliput Lane Coronation Street buildings to give to three Coronation Street Blog readers who can answer all 10 of our quiz questions correctly. 

All correct entries will go into our blogger Sunny Jim's gardening hat and three winners will be drawn at random to win a choice of one of the model buildings below - the Rovers Return, The Kabin, or the Duckworths house.

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning your choice of one of the above three prizes, is to be drawn at random after correctly answering all of the following questions.  All of the questions are about the Coronation Street Blog during 2012 and all of the answers can be found on the Coronation Street Blog - you may have to search around a little to find the information you're looking for. 

Email your entries to me at glenda.young@btinternet.com with QUIZ in the subject line. 

Overseas fans can enter, oh yes.  Deadline for entries is Monday 31 December 2012 at midnight.  Entries from moneysavingsexpert, Loquax and all other competition entry websites will not be included.

Good luck!


1. Name the 2012 Olympic gold medal winner who once worked as an extra on Coronation Street.

2. Rachel in London was one of our Coronation Street Fans of the Week.  Which Corrie character is pictured on the photo of Rachel?

3. Which charity did we donate to in exchange for a VIP blog post from a lady closely associated with Paddington Bear?

4. Which actor from the Man from U.N.C.L.E. joined Coronation Street this year?

5. Name the actor who has played 10 different roles on Coronation Street on TV, and 1 Corrie stage role.

6. Name the town where Fat Brenda's stage play debuted this year.

7. Jack Duckworth was voted No. 1 in our favourite Corrie characters poll. Who was voted No. 2?

8. How many awards did Coronation Street win in this year's British Soap Awards?

9. Name two Corrie actors who have opened new Poundland stores this year, which we have featured on the Coronation Street Blog.

10. Can you spot the prop and tell us in whose house this Corrie tip-top tap prop could be found? It's one we've already featured during the course of the year and so the answer is on the Blog somewhere...

That's it - there are your 10 questions about the Coronation Street Blog - good luck, Corrie fans!  Winners will be announced in early January here on the Coronation Street Blog.

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The sun sets on another year

Another year is almost over. It hasn't been an easy one. My grandmother sadly passed away in January. The next month my job went rapidly south, as did the state of my mental health, almost as I moved into my flat. Moving out of my role in to a less stressful one was the best thing I did this year, even if it meant a severe cut in pay.

On Boxing Day I saw the Hobbit with my parents at the cinema in Geraldine. It's always a novelty to see a film there, even though I've done so a few times now. You get sofas to sit on, a mirror ball and an interval. I was really tired but it was a worthwhile watch. My only criticism was that Bilbo (Martin Freeman) seemed too human. I'm thinking of seeing A Life of Pi but the book was so damn good that I'd be worried that the film might spoil it.

I recently finished reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road. It was grim stuff, but certainly a captivating grim. I was puzzled a bit by the author's stylistic punctuation, or rather the lack of it. Apostrophes were removed from all contractions ending in -n't, e.g. cant or doesnt, and a lot of two-word phrases were fused together as a single word. The world had been reduced to its bare bones, so perhaps he was trying to replicate that barrenness on the page.

Mum has two female friends over from Australia. Their arrival (earlier today) has come at an inopportune time; Mum's stress levels have been off the scale.

Some top-class darts again this morning's semi-finals. Michael van Gerwen, who survived two match darts and a tie-break in his quarter-final, hit a nine-darter and had a dart for another perfect leg immediately afterwards. When I used to follow the game in my teens, nine-darters were so rare as to be almost mythical.

I'm about to go into Timaru with my brother to see in 2013 on Caroline Bay. The highlight of this holiday for me has undoubtedly been all the time I've spent with my brother. We get on really well.

Being a numbers geek, I note that the coming year will be the first for 26 years to consist of four different digits.

Video preview of New Year's Eve Corrie - Fiz collapses

Here's a sneak video preview of tonight's Corrie for New Year's Eve.

Tyrone calls Fiz. She was sleeping on the sofa and drags herself up to answer.  She tells him she can't meet him later, puts the phone aside and staggers away, collapsing!

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Sneak preview of New Year's Eve double Coronation Street

Coronation Street, Monday 31st December

TYRONE RISKS EVERYTHING FOR FIZ. Tyrone calls Fiz and makes furtive arrangements to meet for lunch. When Fiz fails to turn up, Tyrone’s worried. Meanwhile Fiz lies unconscious and alone in No.5, will anyone reach her before it’s too late?
CARLA STARTS TO SUSPECT SHE’S BEEN RIPPED OFF. Carla meets with her business broker, will she discover that Rob doctored the books in order to under-value the factory?
LEANNE HAS A GIFT FOR NICK. It’s Nick’s birthday but is he spending the day with the woman he loves?
Elsewhere the residents celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Rovers.

Monday 31st December

TYRONE PANICS AS FIZ LIES IN HOSPITAL. As Fiz is rushed to hospital Tina’s by her side. The doctor tells Tina that Fiz has carbon monoxide poisoning and may have suffered brain damage. He suspects a dodgy boiler may be to blame. Tyrone’s horrified as he realises that Fiz might die and it could be his fault as he fixed her boiler!
CARLA’S ONTO ROB. Carla interrogates Michelle and Rob over the doctored accounts. As Michelle fears for her job has Carla uncovered their scam?
NICK CELEBRATES HIS BIRTHDAY. Nick opens Leanne’s present, will it be the birthday he was hoping for?
Elsewhere Lewis watches Audrey wistfully as she enjoys an evening with her new date, Henry. Jason gives Stella a hand behind the bar.

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Anti-hunting anti-helmet law campaigner - that's me!

(Images: Alan Moir, Sydney Morning Herald)

On the few occasions I've done a blog-post concerning my distaste for hunting in National Parks, without fail the shooting/fishing fan club immediately leaves a Pollyanna-scold to the effect that I have a great blog when I stay on message, but that I oughtn't to stray into the wilderness of other campaign areas, and that if I do the world will see me as a 'contrarian' - oooooooh - tra la, what measured menace, how awfully scary!

But as I pointed out to interminable 'Anonymous' the other day, this is Australia and contrary to the opinion of pro-hunting anons, I am free to mix up my messages as much as I like, whenever I like, and how I like.

...and with regards to the content of my blog which was clearly perturbing Anon, 90% of the time ‘matters-helmet-law' are the order of the day, but because I'm a regular aussie mum with a tonne of other stuff happening all at once like so many of us, inevitably on occasions I happily deviate and vary my conversation !

I continued informing dear old Anon that back in the day I started this blog as an e-diary (a) to give my family a break from my all-consuming involvement with the senslessness of helmet law and (b) to give me a communicating platform so that I wasn’t muffled to bursting point.

So sorry to all the trigger-happy anonymous' out there, I'm going to continue with my mixed up messages; I am VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED TO HUNTING - ANYWEHRE - ANYTIME - BY ANYONE – period...


- that the O'Farrell government has passed legislation allowing ‘gun’ and ‘bow & arrow’ touting hooligans into our precious National Parks come March 2013 is beyond the pale and worth screaming from NSW roof-tops.

- that the O’Farrell government has done this to appease an extremely minute minority party in a bid to get government electricity plans through the upper house is both cynical and expedient (…and will come back to bite them for sure)

It is salutary to think that while America frantically looks for ways to reduce the number of guns in cirulation, we throw open our picnic spots and camping grounds to anyone licenced to kill...shame, Barry O'Farrell, shame.

Coronation Street predictions for 2013

Another fab guest post from Coronation Street Blog reader Anna Kalinski who is on twitter @annakalinski  

Well you don't have to be Nostradamus to have seen this "shock" coming on Coronation Street.

What would come as a "shock” to most of us would be if ITV cleaned up their act. There must be some sort of Random Soap Plot Generator out there on the internet, into which the writers input a list of cast members. It obviously generates some automated script print-out with the character names inserted in, y’know, like one of those emails I so often get, saying things like: ‘Anna, have you thought about how our innovative investment fund managers can help you further develop your offshore investments?’ A computer error. Not designed for me, but with my name on it, still. I mean, there can’t be any sort of sentient being involved with the production these scripts, can there, as surely somebody would picked up on it and have intervened by now?

Things hit a new low when, on Christmas day, my brother - who doesn't even watch Coronation Street nor knows Nick Tilsley from Adam (Rickitt) - saw about ten minutes of the Xmas day episode and said, "It’s obvious anyway that he (Nick) won’t get married and will probably end up going off with her (Kylie) at the end of the episode.” Argh. I was almost too embarrassed to defend Corrie.

And now we've predicted the whole pregnancy storyline long before it happened, we’re being teased with the exciting Platt family spoiler. (See what I did there? Teased? Spoiler? Tried to add in a sense of excitement and sensationalism for you? Oh, gimme a break...)

Earlier this week, Inside Soap Magazine lifted the lid on the big new storyline, with Ben Price who plays Nick revealing that 2013 will yield “a shock development early in the year” which “lights a fire under everything.”

Viewers can expect another explosive storyline that will rock the stree--
(Er- hello? Wake up there, you - nodding off at the back- give him a nudge…)

We often say on this blog that “we could have seen it coming” but now’s the time to get it on record. So, what are your personal long-range predictability predictions for Corrie 2013? Place your bets please, place your official ‘told you so’ bets, right in the comment box below.

Think: the Platt family, pregnancy, Kirsty/Tyrone, Carla/Peter/Leanne/Nick-- or the surroga--

(-Ooops, sorry, nearly nodded off myself for a second there...)

What's it gonna be? If you’re finding it difficult, try to ask a small child what they think will happen next. No, on second thoughts, that’s a silly idea. You know how imaginative and creative children can be…

The winner wins.... well, just wins, really, as a winner is wont to do.

I mean, there’s no prize. I've got nothing here for you; you've caught me on the hop. It’s after Christmas, we've got nothing in, save for some sausage rolls in cling film, a chutney/world cheese gift pack and my opened tin of Quality Street which (as I’m on the subject) in a freak manufacturing incident did not include any orange creams so has to be retained for evidence. Which incidentally, reminds me I should really write that letter of complaint. If it goes well, they'll send me a good few cases, I’d imagine, so the winner can have one of those. Can’t say fairer than that. I’ll shame them on Facebook. Always works.

"Dear Quality Street,
Each year, my elderly, frail grandmother, who is also partially sighted, hobbles down to the local shops to fetch back a 1kg tin of so–called "Quality” Street, against all medical advice. She’s on her own now, bless her, and particularly likes the orange cream variety and always remarks that such sweets make her Christmas. So, imagine her disappointment and abject confusion when on Christmas morning I had to repeatedly explain to my tearful and distressed 86- year-old grandmother that...."

(Read it and weep, Nestlé. More controversy, eh? The orange creams are on me. )

In the meantime, the only spoiler round here is Phil Collinson. He’ll probably try and enter this competition, but with his predictable storylines, that’d be considered cheating. Fear not. He wouldn’t even get one of the always- left- over knobbly brown Quality Street out of me with his carry on.

Place your bets…

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Coronation Street weekly awards, December 24 - 28

Secrets and Lies award: Kylie and Nick have a very big secret. Rob is lying to Carla about the factory evaluation. Tyrone is lying to Kirsty and having a secret affair with Fiz. Sophie's got a secret crush on Jenna and Jenna just might have one in return but that's a secret too!

Ulterior motive award: Don't say you did it for Nick, Eva, you did it for yourself and revenge on Leanne.

It's not my fault award: Leanne tore three strips off Peter, blaming him for everything. Well yes it was his fault for running after her the minute Carla left him but Leanne shouldn't have been with Nick anyway.

Ms. Obvious Award: Sophie can protest all she likes. She's clearly got a thing for Jenna. 

Compromise Fail award: Why is it always the women that have to give in and make the first move in a stalemate?

Performance of the week: Jane Danson. Drunk, scared, defiant, angry, emotions of Leanne all over the place. Riveting.

Colly wobbles award: Leanne got the shock of her life when she went to Peter and found Carla back.

Guilt Trip award: Kylie's feeling guilty. So she should, too. But Gail complimenting her only made her feel worse. So she nearly guilt tripped all the way to St. Lucia.

Who's the Daddy storyline cliche: Oh come on. She shags Nick and then (probably) has makeup sex with her husband and you don't think Kylie's going to get pregnant? Spoilers aside, it's inevitable. It's soap law!

Hotel Fail award: Seriously? Would a real hotel desk clerk take visitors up to the honeymoon suite the morning after the wedding (she wouldn't necessarily know it was off) and *then* ask the occupant if it's ok?

Lines of the week:
Mike Baldwin channeling award: Compared to hard case Rob, Mike Baldwin was a pussy cat! Merry flamin' Christmas, Robbo! At least he got taken down a peg or two now Carla's back for good.
Roy "I've got a new recording of Chopin's Nocturnes to enjoy and a weighty Trollop to deal with" (Oh?)
Gail to Kylie "It's not giving in. It's growing up" (so why is it always the women that have to "grow up", not the men?)
Deirdre "We've got to watch the turkey and stuff It's A Wonderful Life"
Leanne to Peter "I think I preferred you more when you reeked of whiskey, cigarettes and sick" and "It's Christmas...talk turkey"
Audrey to Eva "If you lived in Liverpool, you'd have had these (rollers) in since Saturday, Done your weekly shop, and gone clubbing!"
Leanne to Peter. "Is that how it works? First come first served?"
Christmas toast from Craig "To the Zoo!"
Stella to Eva "So you punished her for telling me a few home truths, over bagging a man you couldn't keep!"
Peter "For once, that's not my fault" (oh yes it is! kind of)
Marcus "Did you think it was a phase, my queer years!"
Marcus "Sean you're better than this" Sean "I'm SO not"
Kylie "You don't get rid of me that easy" (apparently he does)

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Sarah and Bethany to return to Corrie in the New Year?

There's a Coronation Street spoiler in today's Mirror that says Tina O’Brien will return in the New Year as Sarah Grimshaw.  She'll bring with her Bethany, who is now 13 years old.

The Mirror says that next year’s return is being masterminded by Corrie’s new producer Stuart Blackburn,who is taking over from Phil Collinson.
This is interesting, I think, especially as we wondered here in this blog post about a shock storyline for the Platt clan whether Bethany and Sarah would be getting killed off.  Hmmm.... I wonder?

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Falling Short Of Mt. Bibi: The Bennet Plan

Naftali Bennet sounds good, but what about "Rabbi" Bibi and his Beis Din? After all, real Zionism is just another blend of Torat Eretz Yisrael. [If only they knew that.]


I am a despairing Israeli voter, I tell Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett. I am not lunatic left, but I believe in the kind of enlightened Zionism that is now going down the drain. I believe in the Jewish and democratic state that is evaporating. And I believe in the partition of the land, which you are trying to put a stop to. Plus, when I see the limpness and the wretchedness in my own camp and the energy and momentum in yours, I am horrified.

What can you, Naftali Bennett, tell me and people like me who see the end of our Israel in the rise of your Israel? Can you persuade me and my readers that you do not herald the end of the state we have so loved?

Since becoming a political star, Bennett, 40, has gained a bit of weight. After a long day of tiring campaign appearances, he sits across from me at a cafe somewhere in the center of the country. He orders a spicy Asian dish and types a fast facebook status on his laptop - in support of Avigdor Lieberman and against the State Prosecutor's Office. Then he looks at me with the eyes of a dedicated troop leader in the Bnei Akiva national religious youth movement, and tries to assuage my concerns.

"Zionism arose thanks to secularism," he says. "The dogmatic religious establishment in the Diaspora was not capable of initiating Zionism without [Theodor] Herzl's secular involvement. But secular Zionism was an existential Zionism that saw the state of the Jews as a refuge state.

"A state that is 64 years old cannot continue to exist on the ethos of a refuge state, on security alone. After all, if this were the reason for our existence, there are many places that are safer for Jews - like Melbourne, Australia, or New Jersey. They don't send children to the army there, and missiles aren't flying there. Therefore, the time has come to move from the existential Zionism that you come from to a Jewish Zionism. It is necessary to base our national life on a Jewish basis, and it is necessary to give the state a Jewish coloration.

"I don't support religious coercion, but I do believe that Judaism is our 'why': Judaism is the reason for our existence and the justification for our existence, and the meaning of our existence. I know that for your 'tribe,' this is difficult. It is difficult because your tribe established the state in a secular-socialist spirit. And as you see the society changing and the state changing, you feel like you are done for. Your feeling is that the home that had been your home is no longer yours.

"I am not indifferent to your distress. I am also personally connected to your ethos. When I was a child, I had Yoni's letters [the reference is to war hero Yoni Netanyahu] and [military commando] Meir Har-Zion's book next to my bed. So for me it's not tactics and it's not cosmetics. My whole life I've had one foot here and one foot there.

"You are right," he continues. "What is happening is a revolution. Behind the success of Habayit Hayehudi there are deep forces that are changing the face of the country. But for me in particular, it's important to be a bridge to you. One of the biggest challenges from my perspective is to connect you to religious Zionism, too."

But you are about to annex 60 percent of the area of the West Bank, I persist. Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Benjamin Netanyahu all refrained from taking this extreme step. Implementing the Bennett plan will bury the two states once and for all. Implementing the Bennett plan will perpetuate the occupation and make Israel a leper apartheid state. Though you are a high-tech person from Ra'anana who has seen the world, I continue, you are entirely ignoring the world. You will bring disaster down upon us by causing the international community to condemn us, and by causing a third of all Israelis to be entirely alienated from that new Israel you will shape.

The chairman of Habayit Hayehudi tells me the international reaction concerns him, and therefore he will not annex most of the territories right at the start of what will be a long process. He believes that, ultimately, the world is busy with the economic collapse of Greece, the United States' fiscal cliff and the slaughter in Syria, and thus it is possible to bring the world to come to terms now with facts on the ground and firm Israeli decisions. Back in 1981, when then-Prime Minister Begin was about to apply Israeli law to the Golan Heights, Shimon Peres and Amos Oz also warned him that it would lead to Israel becoming a leper state. He passed the Golan Heights Law, we received a few criticisms - and we carried on.

Bennett says the internal Israeli rift disturbs him far more. Consequently, he will conduct a dialogue with the center and the left just as he is conducting a dialogue with me right now. But after making the "right" noises, Bennett straightens up and declares we tried Oslo and we tried the disengagement - and we've seen what has happened. If a Palestinian state were to arise in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank ), it would threaten Israel both with missiles and refugees. When he is abroad and when he reads The Economist magazine, it seems to him, too, that the establishment of Palestine is inevitable. But when he drives to Jerusalem via Ariel, he understands that it is not going to happen.

It is not going to happen, he emphasizes. The 400,000 settlers in Judea and Samaria do not make this possible. And when the number of settlers reaches a million, there won't be a person in the country who does not understand that this is the reality. There will be a million - no doubt about that. After the annexation, the economic dynamic will have its effect and people will flock to those areas, which will become an integral part of the State of Israel.

But this does not mean apartheid. On the contrary, he says: The Palestinians will be able to travel in all of Judea and Samaria without barriers and without seeing any soldiers on the shared high-speed roads that will serve both them and the Jewish settlers. They will have freedom of movement and they will have jobs and they will have economic prosperity. They will elect themselves, they will pay taxes to themselves, they will run their own lives in every respect. And in the end, Jordan will be Palestine. There is no chance that, between the river and the sea, a Palestinian state will arise. The two-state solution is dead. There is no need to bury the two-state solution because it is already buried.

Refusal debacle

And what if a different decision is taken, I inquire. If the moment of evacuation comes, will you refuse to obey the order or not refuse to obey the order? Will you behave the way you told ‏(Channel 2’s‏) Nissim Mishal [and refuse], or will you behave the way you promised two days later?

Bennett talks with surprising frankness about the difficult days he endured after last week’s refusal-to-obey-army- orders tempest. He admits that, when he said what he said, he spoke from the heart and expressed his true feelings. But last Saturday he thought it over quietly and concluded that since he is now a leader, responsibility of a different sort is incumbent upon him. He cannot bring about the shattering of the Israel Defense Forces or destroy proper governance and statesmanship.

What will he do when a leftist soldier refuses to obey an order and attributes his refusal to Naftali Bennett’s statement?

He still believes that evacuating a Jewish village or an Arab village is terrible, and the act of expulsion of Jews or Arabs from their homes is an act that should not be carried out. However, if the government takes the decision, he will implement it. And he won’t follow the instructions of the rabbis who preach refusal. In the difficult clash between contradictory values, the unity of the state and the army prevails.

And what about the rule of law, I ask. Where do you stand regarding the supremacy of the law and supremacy of the court?

Now the gloves come off. Bennett’s eyes glitter. In his opinion, the constitutional revolution was a terrible mishap. It has paralyzed the country and it is still paralyzing the country. What former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak did, says Bennett, was to pour sugar into the motor. Judicial activism has meant that, today, it is impossible to do here what Finance Minister Pinhas Sapir did when he established the national water carrier. The Supreme Court justices and the attorneys general are silencing the whole system.

Take the case of Maj. Gen.Yoav Galant, says Maj. ‏(res.‏) Bennett. Let’s assume that Galant was the better candidate for chief of staff, but because of fear of the High Court of Justice, the better candidate was disqualified. Who takes responsibility for the damage this caused to the State of Israel and for the soldiers who are liable to get killed? This is an intolerable situation of authority without responsibility, and there is a need for a comprehensive reform. It is necessary to change the way judges are selected and the way attorneys general work. If he has sufficient political power, Naftali Bennett will bring about a judiciary counterrevolution.

I first met Bennett six years ago. He had returned, appalled, from the Second Lebanon War and wondered what he should do as a citizen in the wake of the war. The Bennett of 2006 was levelheaded, determined and rather impressive. And he wasn’t alone, either. At that time, quite a number of reserve soldiers, reserve officers, academics and businesspeople − from the right and the left − felt they had to rehabilitate the country from the ruination they had just experienced.

However, while the protesters from the left lost their way or went home, Bennett first went to Benjamin Netanyahu as his chief of staff. He then went to the West Bank and founded Yisrael Sheli in 2010. Recently he took over Habayit Hayehudi and became the surprise of this election. He has managed to do for religious Zionism what no shining star has ever done for secular liberal Zionism.

So, when Bennett closes his laptop, shakes my hand and vanishes into the night, it is clear to me that his narrative is not only the story of his upsetting success. The narrative of the 2013 election is also the story of our failure.

Who should be the Corrie poster girl in 2013?

Us Corrie fans are always moaning on about which characters get too much screen time and which we feel like we never see. Looking back there is a clear pattern in recent years of certain characters hogging the limelight and appearing never to take a holiday - dare I mention Becky, Tina or Sean?? 

What normally happens is a character or actor will be so prominent they soon burn out and leave (Becky) or drift into the infamous Corrie cupboard (Sean). For me at the moment Tina McIntyre is in danger of burning out. She has been fairly prominent since first arriving on the Street five years ago and seems to be constantly to the fore. There doesn't seem to be the same rotation of cast members as in the old days and even then if Elsie Tanner or Bet Lynch tended to dominate, we never seemed to mind as much. Funny that!

So my question is, who do we think will be the Corrie poster girl for 2013? I say poster girl as I do believe the female characters dominate the show, and rightly so. Here is my shortlist of potential candidates for further discussion:

1. Tina McIntyre - We may as well get her out of the way immediately. I have a horrible feeling we may be seeing another full-on year for Tina as the surrogacy story drags on and probably peters out. Do we think this storyline may prove one step too far for our T?

2. Sophie Webster - We haven't seen that much of the Street's resident Christian lesbian of late. I had expected more of the Sophie/Ryan story than we actually got, but I shouldn't really complain as what we did get was extremely tedious. With a possible new romance on the boil (unless Kevin gets in the way - double eww) it would look like Sophie is coming back to centre stage. Sian who?

3. Kylie Platt - Now I love Kylie. She has really grown on me. And as I've said before I prefer Kylie to her sister, Becky. Kylie has been on the back burner a bit of late but her recent troubles with David and fling with Nick are set to bubble on and explode in the New Year. While I'm all for Paula Lane coming to prominence, I can't help but wish they had come up with a more original plot for her to act out.

4. Eva Price - I'm undecided on Eva. I know she has her fans amongst both blog followers and contributors but for me she is still a bit of a caricature and I just can't abide her spoilt nature. And I would never go so far as to compare her with the lovely, much-missed Raquel. There is no comparison! To be fair though, she is far superior to her on-screen mother, St Ella, who will hopefully be quickly forgotten when she departs in 2013 (fingers crossed!)

5. Hayley Cropper - I know she is a bit at odds with the others mentioned here, but Hayley does sum up Coronation Street for me and I just adore her. I would love Hayley to feature in a prominent story when Julie Hesmondhalgh returns from leave. It feels like ages since Roy and Hayley have had a big meaty storyline. I would love the Croppers, and Hayley in particular, to shine in 2013.

So that's my shortlist of possibles. What do you all think? Who would you like to see come to prominence next year? Anyone I've not included on this list? Are you crying out for more from Izzy, Katy or Fiz? Or what about Julie? Let's have your thoughts!

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Top 10 things I'd like to see in Corrie in 2013

Here they are, Flaming Nora's top 10 things I'd like to see in Coronation Street in 2013.

1. Fat Brenda working on the Streetcars switch.

2. Kirk and Beth get married, with Craig walking his mum down the aisle.

3. St Ella gets sacked, takes the taxi of shame away from the Street which then crashes into the Weatherfield Wayfarer and kills her so she can never, ever return.

4. Underworld being run by Carla, solo, successfully and happily. She goes on to make a fortune, takes on extra staff, extends the factory and has to fight off a take-over from Glam Rags, a rival knicker company from Macclesfield.

5. Liz McDonald to return and have a fling with Ken Barlow under Deirdre's nose and behind her back.

6. Eddie Windass to return and fight Owen for Anna's affections.

7. Spider Nugent to return to look after his Aunty Em.  He brings Toyah with him, of course.

8. Norris to finally, finally, come out of the flamin' closet!

9. On a more serious note, a HIV storyline to be tackled properly and sensitively by our favourite soap.

10. Ted Page to return. Remember him and how good he was?

What would you like to happen in 2013 in Coronation Street?

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New! Coronation Street 2012 Weekly Updates for Kindle

If you're a fan of the Coronation Street weekly updates - which have been going strong since 1995 - then you'll be happy to hear that 2012 Corrie weekly updates are now available for Kindle.

2012 Corrie weekly updates for Kindle. Buy it here.
Or if you're in the UK, here.

Unofficial Coronation Street weekly updates from 1995 to 2012
18 years in 18 lovely, fan written, e-books
All the wit and warmth of Weatherfield, none of the waffle

Written by Coronation Street Blog editor, Flaming Nora.

Available from
amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

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Coronation Street fan convention, Saturday 5 January

As part of Lassfest, there's going to be a Coronation Street fan convention, Corriefest, which runs on Saturday 5 January in the Lass o'Gowrie pub in Manchester. You'll need to buy tickets in advance as it will sell out.

Buy tickets here.  Follow Corriefest on Facebook

Coronation Street Live! and Corriefest will be presented in support of Myeloma UK, with any profit after event costs going to support Myeloma.

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Can you spot the mystery Corrie woman?

Can you spot this Coronation Street actress who first turned up in Corrie as a midwife back in 2006 when Sunita gave birth to twins Asha and Aadi?

She now plays a character who is in complete contrast to a caring, professional midwife! 

You can watch her in action on YouTube here.

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Coronation Street 2012 review - the good, the bad and the ugly

Here it is, all in one blog post, my very own highlights and lowlights of Coronation Street 2012.   If I had to sum up 2012 on Corrie in one sentence it would be this: "I hope 2013 on Coronation Street is a heck of a lot better, Mr Blackburn."

Highlights - Sally Webster falling for freaky Frank Foster despite her knowing the rape rumours, and telling everyone: "I'm a good judge of character".  Oh, how we laughed; Frank's rape trial begins and the truth about Peter and Carla's bonk-fest comes out; Tyrone and Kevin shake hands and start speaking to each other after months of being too hurt, too proud, too macho to forgive and forget; Faye kills Owen's fish by chucking creosote in the fish pond, forcing Anna to realise she has more on her hands than she first thought with little FAYe. And more than she bargained for with Owen, who hits FAYe; Steve and Tracy get married. Becky keeps tight-lipped at the ceremony but lets rip at the reception saying: "Revenge is all the more sweeter now he's chained to the cow." That's when she waves Tracy's medical records and drops the bombshell about Tracy losing the twins by falling down the stairs; Becky leaves and flies off to Barbados with Danny and his kid, leaving Max with Kylie; Eileen becomes a carer for Paul's wife, Lesley who has early-onset Alzheimer's Disease; Tyrone wonders why cop girlfriend Kirsty's always in a bad mood. It's too much for Tina, she moves out of No. 9, convinced that Kirsty is out to get her; Milton arrives from America and takes a shine to Sylvia, much to Roy's surprise. "He actually appears to like her!"
Lowlights - Sunita starts work as a barmaid in the Rovers Return after handing in her notice to Dev in the Corner Shop. Sunita behind the bar just didn't work, did it?; Norris and Sylvia battling it out in the music competition at the Rovers Return; Steve splitting No. 13 in half with Tracy and Amy living upstairs and him downstairs.

Highlights - Frank Foster's rape trial. He offers to buy the factory from Carla for a pittance and she refuses; Paul and his wife Lesley who has early on-set Alzheimer's Disease, move in with Eileen; Rosie Webster leaves Weatherfield to star in a reality TV show in that London. Jason's bereft. Who will he play 'Bedtime with the Beckhams' with now?; Beth, Craig and Darryl the rat move into No. 13 with Tracy and Amy when Steve moves to live in the Streetcars flat; Katy does a runner, unable to cope with the pressure of being a new mum to baby Joseph; Roy turns down Milton's plans to turn Roy's Rolls into a steam train theme restaurant, Beef Encounter.  And Sylvia turns down Milton's invitation to live in America, telling Roy: "I can't be doing with faucets and closets and pants, not at my age,"; Julie thinks she's pregnant and Brian accuses her of having an affair because he's had the snip; Lewis returns to lure Audrey again; Audrey and Gail go power-walking - watch the FAB YouTube.
Lowlights - Surprisingly none for this month. February was clearly a good month for this Corrie fan - but there are portents of things to come which don't look good.

Highlights - Frank Foster's killed by his own mum, Anne. Sally's knocked into a coma by Anne and recovers, of course; Dennis proposes to Rita. The Street is set to get its Mrs Tanner back; Deirdre starts pottery classes and bonds with Beth's son Craig over their love of pots; Lewis starts work at the Bistro; Steve and Ken bond. Ken tells Deirdre and Tracy he's sick to the back teeth of them both and staggers out with his suitcase full of pullovers and cardigans and moves in with Steve.
Lowlights - Karl gets Tez the TV man to put a satellite telly in the pub causing interference with Streetcars' reception; Karl's gambling debts become apparent; Karl and Sunita start flirting in the Rovers; Sunita gets drunk and dances on a car roof; Tina and Tommy start dating; Amber leaves. Shame really, she was good once upon a time.

Highlights - One of the saddest stories of the year... Betty Williams passes away and son Gordon Clegg returns to Coronation Street to break the news; Terry Duckworth returns when news of Tommy's windfall from grandad Horton reaches him; Ken helps out on the Streetcars switch when Fat Brenda goes on her bikini body bootcamp; Audrey and David fight over the salon causing poor Audrey to have a heart attack; Carla grits her teeth and bears it when Sally offers to buy half the factory. "In a lot of ways," says Sally, "I'm the answer to Carla's prayers."; Eileen's at her wits end when Paul's wife Eileen, who has early-onset Alzheimer's Disease, goes missing; Little Simon comes out with the classic question to Carla: "What's a black widow?" when he's caught up in a custody battle between Leanne and Peter; Julie finds out she's not pregnant after all and gets the vey sad news she's got a growth on her ovary; Norris, Mary, Roy and Anna stage a sit-in at Terry Duckworth's lapdancing club Se7enth Hea7en and sing the wonderful Queen song Bohemian Rhapsody.
Lowlights -Rewriting of Coronation Street history by saying Betty Williams was bequeathed the Rovers Return in Annie Walker's will. Shame on you, Phil Collinson' Stella throws Karl out when he nicks takings from Rovers Return to fund his gambling habit; Stella takes Karl back; Sean becomes the recipient of Betty's secret hotpot recipe. Sean?; Weatherfield in Bloom story - it didn't flower for this fan. 

Highlights -
Sally and Kevin try to reunite but fail when Sally can't accept baby Jack and his shifty-eyes; Julie has her ovaries removed in hospital; she'll never be a mum; Horrible highlight of the month - Kirsty starts hitting Tyrone and whacks him twice this month; Paul the fireman's wife Lesley Kershaw, who has early-onset Alzheimer's Disease, dies after being electrocuted by a toaster;  Gail in the Bistro has got a bobbly tabbard. There's nowt worse; Nick finishes with high-maintenance Eva and brands her evil, vindictive and unhinged after she puts chilli in the hot-pot.
Lowlights - Rick the drug dealer comes looking for Terry and Tommy and no one, but no one, thinks to call the police; Kylie starts work in a lapdancing club, Nick finds her and drags her home to make up with David; Mary babysits little FAYe.

Highlights -Rita and Dennis are married; Eileen goes back to work on the Streetcars switch after being sacked by Carla at Underworld for taking the day off to attend Lesley's funeral; Gail gets promoted from Bistro cleaner to waitress. "How's the duck?" a customer asks her. "Quacking!" she replies; Jason goes on a date with Eva: "You're a cracking bird!"  He's quackers!; Little Simon gets drunk on a bottle of wine when he's caught up in the custody battle.  
Lowlights - Jubilee Street Party was a damp squib. Too much dressing up in costume, not enough Corrie; Sunita and Karl fumble on a dirty weekend then Dev asks Sunita to marry him; Audrey spots Maria falling for Marcus; Steve puts No. 11 up for sale forcing Beth and Tracy to put prospective buyers off.  This could have been funny but fell flat for this fan; Nick tells Leanne: "I've always wanted to be a dad", conveniently forgetting he once made Leanne have an abortion.

Highlights - Izzy tells Gary she's pregnant but not everyone's pleased as Owen erupts with macho concern: "You've only been back together five minutes and he's not long been off his rocker!"; Lloyd returns; Tracy moves in with Emily and makes Norris' life hell; Mary cosies up to Roy in the cafe while Hayley's out dancing. She puts Roy off his chess move and he dribbles piccallilli on his bishop; Peter and Carla leave for a few months. Never easy to watch but compelling all the same, Kirsty's violence continues. She smashes Tyrone's framed photograph of Jack; Marcus moves into Maria's flat and cooks dinner for Kirk who mistakes it for a date. "It wasn't a date," Marcus reassures him to which Kirk replies:"It wasn't? But we had napkins!"; Ryan Connor returns all buff and hunked up. He's a cocaine freak and tries to rip off Underworld for compensation after faking an accident in the packing room.
Lowlights - Carla's brother - who had been talked about in the past and called Darren - turns up and he's now called Rob.  Lots of hype leading to lots of disappointment for this fan; Streetcars have a fiasco fight with Fare Ladies when Tracy tries to sabotage Steve's business.  Not even the wonderful Eileen, Steve and Lloyd could save this storyline; Little FayE gets bullied at school; Everything and anything with St Ella in it, which unfortunately was rather a lot, yet again.

Highlights - Steve uses Ryan to help him get back in Michelle's good books and under her duvet; Tina finds out that Kirsty's abusing Tyrone but he won't let her help him; Hayley has to have a word with Mary to stop her crushing on Roy.
Lowlights - Sylvia leaves to live in America with Milton. She was wonderful - please bring her back!; Izzy and Gary agree to having a surrogate baby with Katy; Tracy goes to hospital with a kidney infection. "She could die!" sobs Deirdre. Oh, if only; Kevin's DIY keeps Paul the fireman awake so he has to sleep on Gail's sofa. This storyline was just like Gail's life itself - so much potential, so little satisfaction; Sunita loans Karl loadsamoney so he can buy 250 Chinese smoke alarms from his mate, Tez.

Highlights - Lloyd gets more screen time when his long-lost love Mandy and her daughter Jenna turn up. He's shocked but pleased when Jenna turns out to be his own daughter; Golden Glo enters the Rovers into Lancashire Leisure's Pub of the Year competition. The storyline was a bit naff but full marks to Corrie for giving Gloria Price more time on screen. This fan thought she was fab; Kirk and Beth get together and share a snog at work. Kirk tells Beth: "You smell better than a pie," and "You smell more gorgeous than the top of a dog's head!"; Wendy flamin' Crozier returned and put a spring in the step of Ken Barlow and his brogues; Never easy to watch, but Kirsty's violence escalates. This time, she loses control with little Ruby and registers her birth certificate with 'father unknown'.
Lowlights - The surrogancy storyline ploughs on with Owen controlling Tina and Tommy, offering them £5k and his flat to move into; Tracy tarts about with Ryan to get back at Michelle and Steve.  This storyline did improve, but took its time to do so; Maria goes through breast cancer scare and confides in Marcus. What should have been oe of the year's most dramatic storylines fell completely flat for this fan.  

Highlights - Deirdre's suspicious about Ken meeting Wendy flamin' Crozier. She yells to Rita: "I think Ken's up to his old tricks again!" to which Rita replies, with a touch of Cagney to Deirdre's Lacey: "GET IN!". Deirdre yells at Rita to put her foot down. "Overtake that van!" to which Rita replies: "I haven't overtaken anything in 50 years!"; Mary starts her theme nights at Roy's Rolls while the Croppers are visiting Sylvia in the States.  Mind you, these theme nights might have started off well but they ended up being repetitive and naff; Audrey returns from her holiday alone after Lewis does a runner from the Eurostar. Miss Diane from Crossroads turns up looking for Lewis, too.; Kylie starts work at the Bistro; Steve convinces Ryan to propose to Tracy in a packed Rovers after she pretends she's pregnant with Ryan's baby. I loved this.  
Lowlights - Stella; Maria and Marcus snog.

Highlights - Wendy flamin' Crozier tries and fails to get her claws back into Ken when he falls asleep on her soft furnishings; Lewis decides to get revenge on Gail and starts by trying to charm the pants off her: "You're the Koh-i-noor of Coronation Street."; Michelle returns from Ireland; Always difficult to watch and it keeps getting worse - as the acting keeps on getting better.  Fiz gets her finger sewed into a gusset as Kirsty's campaign of evil steps up a gear.
Lowlights - Ryan gets Sophie knocked over playing with the traffic while he was high on drugs; Gloria leaves under a cloud and in the back of a cab after setting the honey-trap for Lewis.  Bring back Gloria! Now!; Surrogacy rumbles on and and on and on; Marcus decides he's not gay. Kirk's not the only one confused and asks Marcus: "Did you feel yourself slipping away or did you find it happening when you weren't looking?"; Five-a-side football match between The Weathy Arms and the Rovers Return. So full of comic potential, Corrie did these sort of things wonderfully in the past. Not any more; Eva, Rob, Steve and Michelle kick-off in a Sheffield hotel.  Again, this should have been funny, the potential was there. What happened?; St Ella gets anointed with holy water from above when the bathroom springs a leak. It was like Lourdres had come to Salford.

Highlights - Kirk and Beth and Craig spending Christmas together; Horrible to watch but the Kirsty and Tyrone storyline will deserve every one of the soap awards I trust it will win in 2013; Dennis and the Lollipop men taking on Streetcars; Gail being manipulated by Lewis as he exacts his revenge on her; Nick and Kylie shagging on what should have been Nick's wedding day to Leanne.
Lowlights - Corrie Christmas was a bit of a disappointment.  Same old Leanne/Nick/Peter/Carla roundabout; Kirkys Turkys didn't quite defrost into a decent storyline.

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Coronation Street Weekly Update - Tinsel, Turkey and Trouble

Corrie weekly updates from 1995 - 17 years in 17 e-books
All the wit and warmth of Weatherfield, none of the waffle
Available from
amazon.co.uk and amazon.com

Greetings and welcome to the Coronation Street Weekly Update. Find out more about the Coronation Street Weekly Updates and why they've been written for th'internet since 1995 at http://www.corrie.net/updates/weekly

It’s been a wicked winter in Weatherfield this Christmas. First let’s kick off with the big Christmas story that was Nick and Leanne’s wedding. As it’s soap, things were never going to go smoothly and this was no exception.

After a drunken hen night with Eva trying to get Leanne so wrecked on cheap booze that she wouldn’t be able to get up the next morning to face her own wedding, Leanne got up fine. But then it all went downhill.

En route to the church in the back of a taxi, Leanne called at Peter’s house to give him last dibs. He was almost ready to take Leanne back and had suggested much the same to her the night before as he tried to snog her in the back room of the pub after Leanne came back from her hen do, all smudged mascara and skew-whiff tiara. And Peter was tempted, oh yes he was tempted, but in between him declaring undying love for Leanne in the back of the pub and Leanne offering herself to him in her wedding frock and winter bolero, something had changed. Something had happened. Someone had returned from LA. Yup, Carla’s back and Peter’s head has been turned once again. Leanne let rip at Carla, telling her she’s Peter’s second choice but Carla already knows.

So Leanne hops back in the taxi after being snubbed by Peter, sniffs, puts her bolero straight and the cab drives on to the wedding venue, some fancy country house, where Nick’s waiting for his bride. As they’re just about to exchange vows, Eva pipes up from the pew. She can’t keep quiet that one, not with a crush the size of Salford she’s got for Nick. She tells the congregation that Leanne offered herself to Peter who didn’t want her and now she’s settling for Nick. Well, that’s it. There’s tears and tantrums in an ante-room and the wedding’s off, everyone goes home. Everyone that is except for Nick and his sister in law Kylie who end up using the honeymoon suite to get jiggy together. Nick because he’s just been jilted by Leanne in a very public way and Kylie because David has been horribly cruel to her and she doesn’t know where her head’s at.

It’s a secret Nick and Kylie will have to keep but Kylie finds it hard and plans to run away to live in Barbados with Becky. She soon returns though, and David vows to make her happy, while Nick looks like he’s seen the ghost of Christmas past, present and future when Kylie waltzes back into the Platt living room. Gail, if she should ever find out (and she will, because this is soap) will most certainly Do Her Nut.

Kirk, Beth and Craig have a lovely Christmas together with Marcus and Maria, they make such a lovely family these three, and I do hope 2013 sees Kirk and Beth wed.

Over at Underworld, Rob’s cooking the books to make Underworld appear less valuable than it is so that he can go in there with a low offer to buy it off Carla. She knows Rob’s up to summat but isn’t sure what, yet.

Elsewhere this Christmas, Marcus entertained his parents who turned up to have a look at Maria. He was wearing a very bad Christmas jumper, was Marcus. If he’d still been gay he would so never had worn it, that’s for sure.

Fiz’s boiler breaks and Tyrone fixes it but he hasn’t fixed it properly and it’s leaking carbon monoxide into the house only Fiz doesn’t know that yet. She thinks she’s coming down with a bug and stays at home while all the Owens go off to the Lakes with Chesney and baby Hope.

And finally this Christmas, there was a love triangle with a difference developing when both Kevin and Sophie Webster develop a crush on physio Jenna.

And that's just about that for this week. Remember, you can sign up to get these Corrie weekly updates by email at http://www.corrie.net/updates/weekly

Find out about the Coronation Street writing team at http://coronationstreetupdates.blogspot.com/2008/11/exclusive-all-current-corrie-writers.html

Glenda Young
Blogging away merrily at http://flamingnora.blogspot.com

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Wish I could dart back up to Wellington

I was looking forward to Christmas as a chance to unwind, but instead the tension here has ratcheted up to the max. The situation between my brother and (let's face it) his ex-partner has gone from bad to worse. Something happened the night before last which I can't write about here. It meant I spent most of yesterday away from my family - a welcome break for me.

Yesterday I met Phil in Timaru. We played mini-golf again. I lost again, this time by five shots (60 to 65). In 1989 it cost $2.50 a round. Last year it was $3. Now it's $5. Everything else at the carnival has also gone up this year, including the darts game which doesn't seem to have increased its cash prizes to compensate, so I didn't play.

Talking of darts, the World Championships are taking place in London and I've been watching some of the games on my parents' Sky. Whether you think it's a sport that requires pinpoint accuracy and steely determination, or a game played by 21-stone beer-swilling halfwits sporting tattoos and blinging jewellery, you can't deny that it works well on TV. I'd prefer it if they cut out the American-style cheerleaders and breaks after every set (they managed without such gimmicks in the nineties) but the game does produce its fair share of characters and dramatic matches. The requirement to "check out" each leg with a double (one of the thin slivers on the outer edge of the board), or the bull's eye, certainly helps in the drama stakes, as does the format of sets and legs which can result in an engrossing tennis-style tie-break. And the game does require the use of brain cells occasionally. Take a check-out of 126. Logic would suggest that to finish on a even number you should aim for even numbers, but your best bet is to go down for 19s. Of course, for us mere mortals, finishing 126 in three darts would be such a monumental task that you'd just try to make a decent score and reduce the target to something manageable. When I used to play (some time ago) both of us would often be left desperately hammering away at double one.

Phil talked about the difficulties in buying property in Auckland. "I can't believe how racist I've become," he said when bemoaning the influx of Asian investors who keep driving up prices. From that point of view, my move to Wellington was a positive one, even allowing for all the earthquake stuff. I'd quite like to fly to Wellington right now, but I've looked on the Jetstar site and flights at such short notice at this time of year are pricey as you'd expect, so I'll tough it out here for another four days.