Friday, 15 April 2011

Corrie’s 'tribute’ to my crazy place of abode

I wish Coronation Street would get back to what it does best – great character-driven philosophical comedy-drama, rather than the mad storylines of recent months.

The tension between Sally and Kevin is probably the only bit of action anchored in any sort of reality just now.

And Sally, in dissing Kevin so acidly recently, paid a sort of tribute to the marvellous town where I live, New Brighton – once the leading seaside resort in Northern England.

Sally suggested that Kevin move far, far away from her: “Australia, New Zealand - New Brighton would be good!”

If you come from North-West England, as I do, you do get a kick whenever your place of abode is mentioned in Corrie. I have often heard my home town of Wigan mentioned - usually witheringly as a place someone in trouble might run away to. Fair enough.

But until last night’s (Thu 14 Apr) episode, I don’t recall any character ever mentioning New Brighton, which in recent times has been a faded seaside resort perched on the northern tip of the Wirral peninsula. Most definitely on the road to nowhere – except perhaps perdition.

Well, for the past seven years I’ve lived in New Brighton, and I’m glad I chose to do so. The local people are fantastic characters, if a little unhinged.

And the place has a surreal, magic realism feel to it – ideal for me.

Years ago, New Brighton had a pier, a tower taller than Blackpool’s, regular services from the Mersey ferries, and an open air swimming pool that was the biggest in Europe.

Sadly, the features mentioned in the above paragraph are long gone, but there is still a theatre in New Brighton and it was recently rebuilt in spectacular style.

There’s also a Napoleonic fort on the beach. The sands are now very clean indeed. There’s still a funfair and other seaside attractions. And donkey rides have come back, thanks to my friend Tallulah Swells.

But - and this is truly remarkable – there is now underway a simply HUGE redevelopment of the seafront.

In one of the last major civic renewal programmes to be signed off in Britain before the recession struck home, New Brighton is getting – a new swimming pool and leisure complex, a cinema, a hotel, sailing centre for the marine lake, plus new bars and restaurant.

Best of all – and causing rapture in a Natural Born Pie-Eater such as me – we are also getting a new Morrison’s supermarket! (Morrison’s understand pies).

All things considered, New Brighton is way too good a place to banish a cheating little sh*t such as Kevin Webster to. Dump him in Australia, Sally!

But I digress. I hope Corrie returns to doing what it does best. What gives me some cause for hope is the arrival of that fine actress Stephanie Cole, playing the ogress mum of oddball Roy Cropper.

Will her character live up to the very high battleaxe standards Coronation Street has set over the years?

Ena, Blanche, Phyllis, and the one in the wheelchair whose name I have forgotten …