Carla Connor banished her blackmailers in this evening’s Coronation Street by facing up to her scandalous past and refusing to be bossed about by the baddies, and in the process inadvertently showed us why she should be running the Rovers Return.
Ringing the bar bell and commanding the attention of a pub packed with punters, Carla fronted up to what nasty Jordan and Chelsey were trying to fleece her for keeping quiet about – that during her breakdown last year she slept with Jordan in exchange for a place to hide in a dingy squat.
Scuppering the dodgy duo’s grand plan sent them packing, restored her self-worth, and earned her a round of applause and outpouring of support from the locals. It felt like witnessing a bit of history in the making – the moment where Carla took control and made that famous bar her battleground, channelling the gallery of strong women who have done just that over the last 60 years.
You can imagine the likes of Bet Lynch and Liz McDonald owning their mistakes and shutting down the gossips in such a powerful way, commanding respect and sending out a message clearly stating: Do Not Mess With Me While I’m Behind These Pumps.
Carla is only pulling pints as a favour to dad Johnny Connor while he’s on holiday, but she seems such a natural fit for the soap’s most prestigious precinct we’re half-hoping Johnny and Jenny extend their stay in France a bit longer. No offence to the current landlord and lady. And won’t they have to be in isolation anyway when they return to Weatherfield?
For years Carla was the glamorous, no-nonsense queen of the Underworld knicker-stitching empire, where she proved she knew how to run a successful business and keep lively employees in check. A mix of Karren Brady and Stephanie Beacham in gloriously trashy 1980s drama Connie.
Post-roof collapse and mental health struggles it feels like too much has happened at the factory for her to go back there, but this has left the character somewhat rudderless without a full-time job to keep her focused.
Her impressive handling of those Brightwell estate ne’er do wells had me imagining her breaking up brawls between pie-eyed punters, throwing troublemakers out of the double doors and shouting ‘Yer barred!’ in that unmistakable husky voice, and making an entrance at the start of the evening shift in a power suit with a lick of lippy, greeting her public with a raspy ‘Right, what can I get you?’.
Corrie producer Iain MacLeod has expressed his personal desire to see Carla rediscover that unshakeable confidence and become a power player once again. “I’ve got an appetite to see her back in the saddle and regain her status as Queen of the cobbles,” he told us.
Is there a long-game plan to install Carla as the next landlady? It certainly feels like it. Where else could she be placed after the factory? The kebab shop? The Kabin? Carla running the Rovers feels right.
Of course there’s her and partner Peter Barlow’s joint history with alcohol addiction to consider as a potential obstacle, and the fact Peter’s already owned the pub with old flame Toyah Battersby.
After so many break-ups and make-ups Corrie appear committed to keeping Carla and Peter together, which is the right thing to do. But I can’t help wondering if they did hit the skids again, Carla could go it alone, convince Johnny to retire and throw herself into managing the iconic boozer.
And who doesn’t want to see her in leopard print and a blonde Bet beehive hair piece?
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