Friday, October 05, 2007

Violence on the Streets of Weatherfield!

Wednesday night’s punch up between local bad boy builder and returning street bigamist was one of the more violent happenings on the street coating the cobbles with Barlow blood. Shocking as it was, Coronation and Rosamund are no strangers to bloodshed. From serial killers to domestic abusers Coronation Street characters have lived out violent scenes ranging from the realistic to sensational, humerous to the disturbing. Surely, Weatherfield is the UK’s answer to Cabbot Cove, the most dangerous small town in the US.

It seems to me that if you want to get punched up, murdered in a blind rage, smacked around or hit by a lorry (The Street’s favourite dispatch) take up residence in any one of the empty flats on Coronation, Rosamund, Crimea or Victoria and your prayers will be answered.

This leads me to the top ten violent scenes in Coronation Street as I see them.

10. Mad Maya Arson

If I were dating Dev and he ran around on me I would certainly be really angry especially since he kinda pseudo-stalked me to get me to go out with him. If I were Maya, I would be amazingly angry, being a hot, successful young lawyer, I could have any man I wanted. But, to date Dev and then suffer the injustice of him dumping me for a shop girl! Well, I would get so mad. First I would steal the woman’s birth certificate and marry seven illegal immigrants, then I would beat the girl up, tie her to a chair and then burn down the building with both of them inside it. That will show him!

9. The Shooting of Earnest Bishop

What did Earnest ever do to anyone? In fact, the man deserved a medal for marrying Emily. He was a church deacon for goodness sake! Well, on January 11th 1978 Coronation Street saw the most violence it had ever seen. Earnest was shot, kind of accidentally by two men trying to steal the pay roll. It didn’t look like they were going to shoot him. However, when Mike Baldwin burst in through the office door, the thief discharged his weapon. Down went Earnest and Emily has not recovered since.

8. Brian Tilsley Gets it in the Gut

On February 18th 1989 Brian Tilsley met his maker with the “help” of a sharp knife and bad boys. Coming to the aid of a woman outside a nightclub (Brian was tossing it about a bit after his marriage to Gail ended) he got stabbed in the stomach and died from his injuries.

Could you imagine if those were your options? Marriage to Gail OR death. What would you choose?

7. Katy Does in Dad

Teenage girls have such complex emotions. With the hormones, school, family pressure, affairs with men old enough to be their dad. Katy’s relationship with Martin Platt was a really problem in the Harris household and it would prove to be their undoing. When Katy got pregnant with martin’s baby her parents took extreme measures to end the pregnancy and the relationship. They lied to Katy telling her Martin was having an affair. On March 4th 2005 Katy confronted her father in the Webster’s Garage where we worked and in a fit of frustrated anger Katy picked up a huge wrench and used it to bash her father’s head in.

I have to say that I watched that scene with my mother hanging open. Back then, I had never read a spoiler and had no idea it was going to happen. The whole scene was excellent and I knew something bad was going to happen.

6. Hillman on Bishop

As many people know, Emily is not my favourite character. I find her annoying. So, imagine my glee when I found out that she got bashed over the head on January 13th 2003. But really, that isn’t the best part of that scene. On this night Richard Hillman murders Maxine Peacock. But before he does he says, “You should have stayed at the party, Maxine.”

5. Man on Man oh Man!

Boy did we have a fight on the street the other night (October 17th in Canada, January 8th 2007 in the UK). The boys like a punch-up but that was a pummeling. Mistaking Peter of Tracey’s one-night-stand, Charlie flew into a rage and beat the crap out of him. It was ugly. Charlie didn’t have a scratch on him. It made me wonder if Charlie was indeed a bit psycho. Sorry, Glacia, but that was nuts.

4. Handbags at Dawn

Yes folks sometimes the chicks get in the mix on the street and there has been some good scratch-ups. Generally, the Coronations Street women are quick with the quip and scalding comment. That normally put an adversary in their place, but sometimes, words just wont due. We have seen Tracey Barlow go after Karen (or vice versa). Gail and Eileen have thrown down. Who can forget Tracey trying to rip Maria’s hair out? And Even Sally Webster has mixed it up on occasion. That occasion was in the pub and the victim was Janice Battersby. Who, by the way, totally deserved it.

3. The Father/Son Rumble

Jamie Baldwin is a lover not a fighter. More specifically, he is a mother lover … his mother. Not surprisingly his father isn’t thrilled with how close Jamie and Frankie have become. Someone was going to get a beating, and that someone was Jamie. Danny beat him up and then tossed him in the water outside the posh flat. Jamie looked terrible and Danny felt terrible. All I could do was yell “Not in the face!”

2. The Blind Rage of Ken Barlow

So, Ken Barlow may be a mild mannered man, but he must be a tiger in the sack because we have seen that man loose it a couple times. Once after one of Deirdry’s affairs he tossed the table across the room. He flew into a fit of rage because Deirdry went off with Sameer. But, the most shocking was the apex of the Ken, Deirdry and Mike Baldwin triangle. This story line is probably on of the best known and most referenced in all soap operadom. It is a defining story line of Coronation Street. Would that we all could live this drama of passion and heartache. But, would we want to.

The night Ken finds out about Deirdry and Mike is one of the juiciest scenes in the soap and I have watched it several times. Ken finds out about Mike. He and Deirdry start a screaming match. Mike comes to the door. Deirdry runs to the door, opens it slightly and in a panicked voice tells Mike and Ken knows. Ken comes to the door, slams it shut. Mike is left banging and shouting on the other side. Ken grabs Deirdry and slams her against the door.

The best thing about this scene is that it is filmed from above. Almost like we are kids on the stairs watching this all unfold.

1. The Attack of Toya Battersby

One night coming home from a club Toya Battersby had a very bad night. The Street very rarely does a story about sexual assault in comparison to American soap operas where sexual assault is commonplace. In fact, sexual violence is, in my opinion, far too common in most American TV and movies. The most obvious example is that the Law and Order people felt it was necessary to have an entire series dedicated to “sexually based offenses. I find it disgusting. To me, it is clearly misogyny.

On the way home on April 13th 2001 Toya was attacked in the street and left for dead. Jason Grimshaw found her the next day while jogging. What made this attack so different than a close call Deridry had years in 1977 was the fast that Toyah knew her assailant but had a hard time remembering who it was.

What made this really different from sexual violence in American soaps is that she didn’t later marry her rapist. Nor did he go on to be one of the shows biggest heart throbs.

Peter Barlow was accused of this crime but was cleared by Weatherfield’s CSI unit. Peter later saved Toyah when she was alone in the house with Phil Simmonds the real assailant. He had gone to visit her, but during the visit she realized that it was him who raped her. There was going to be more violence, but Peter burst in.

Coronation Street’s violence is well placed and I think we are all scandalized or satisfied when we see it. Personally, I don’t think it is ever unnecessary for the development of a plot line or used to simply shock an audience, for that you have to look elsewhere.


MJ said...

Brilliant "blow-by-blow" account, Debbie!

Anonymous said...

Nicely done!

Always liked our Toyah, would love if her and Spider returned to the street. (what was cooler than Spider calling Mrs. Bishop Aunty Em?)

I'd completely forgotten it was Jason who found her, he was something of a star athlete in school back then and was heading out to do some early morning road training.


S. Poole

Anonymous said...


This was really a cool read - thanks!

I saw the Ken & Deirdre incident on some DVD I was able to get access to - it was very well done, and then I found out that Ken decided to throw her up against the wall and throttle her. He told the director, who thought it was a great idea. They did NOT tell Deirdre in advance. So her reaction was genuine fear.


Michigander Fan

Lori said...

I had to laugh at the Katy write up,, not sure if that was a typo,, was your mother hanging open, or your mouth? Great post though, brought back some great memories!

Jacqueline said...

The most obvious example is that the Law and Order people felt it was necessary to have an entire series dedicated to “sexually based offenses. I find it disgusting. To me, it is clearly misogyny.


I thought I was the only one.

pip said...

Great summary, Debbie. I was only familiar with about half of these scenes, so it's wonderful to now understand some of the historic ones better.

I can see how Ken could be a smouldering cauldron. He's just far too rational and controlled under very trying situations.

Coronation Street is to be commended for never crossing the line into gratuitous violence. They show enough and no more. I have to admit that at the end of tonight's episode, when it seemed Tracy was about to plunge the knife into Charlie's (deserving) gut, I held my breath and almost covered my eyes.

I'm glad other people don't like Emily; she gets on my nerves, too.

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary Debbie! I knew Peter had helped Toya but I had forgotten how. I also have always found Emily annoying.

eps said...

I have to admit - shallow that I am I got stuck on #7
picturing your "mother hanging open". I loved that.

Tvor said...

Excellent post! Richard's thwacking of his ex wife upside the head with a shovel was pretty nasty too. but i think you're spot on with your choices.