Is it just me or have all the big dramas in Corrie over 2014 revolved around characters leaving the show? First Hayley, then Peter, Rob and now Kylie have all exited, thus leaving us with the Nazirs chasing chickens around their back garden and Gail teaching Michael to talk in a childlike simper.
Of course, Kylie is only leaving for a short while (actress Paula Lane is off on maternity leave), but thank goodness she’s not taking that Callum with her. Of all the youngsters introduced over the last year (and by young, I mean anyone under 30), he’s the only one that’s really worked. With his wild eyes and cocky swagger, Callum promises to be a decent adversary for David Platt, who must have now finally come to the conclusion that Chistmas/birthdays are a complete write-off.
As for all the other new, young crowd – well, I’m not that convinced. Luke (too bland to even make it to tonight’s episode) hasn’t exactly set the screen on fire. And neither of the Nazir offspring has much in the way of a personality. In fact, the whole family seems to me like a misfire – maybe it’s the curse of living at No 6 where everyone, from the Mortons to the Windasses, has failed to impress.
Tonight’s episode did, of course, end with most of our Corrie favourites trapped in a private hell. David, who in the past has spread Christmas misery by reading aloud from Grandma Ivy’s diary or by driving his wife into the arms of his own brother, was left weeping at the bottom of his stairs. Roy was looking aloft to the heavens feeling far from festive as he remembered Hayley. And Steve, having criminally rebuffed the advances of the gorgeous Michelle, was seen staring out of the window with just his fragile mental health for company.
Only Kevin and Tim seemed to be having fun as they raced Scalextric around the living room. Before tonight, I’d been wondering which of them would ultimately end up with Sally. Now, I’m hoping that Kev and Tim actually end up with each other.
And so, we near the end of what’s not exactly been a golden year for the Street. Hayley’s right-to-die plight was an obvious highlight, but I suppose the rot set in when Peter slept with Tina at the tail end of 2013, setting in motion an implausible affair that led to an equally unconvincing murder case and trial. Did Rob really have enough of a motive for killing Tina? Wasn’t the whole cover-up subterfuge just a copy of the Karl/Sunita story strand from the previous year?
As for Christmas Day, there wasn’t any of the pathos of Roy and Hayley building snowmen from 12 months ago. But it was definitely the right choice to put Steve McDonald in the spotlight as he tried to hide his depression from family and friends.
When this particular storyline as announced, I thought I’d miss ‘comedy’ Steve and that Corrie would be robbed of a vital source of humour. But the excellent scene from last month in which Steve got his diagnosis from the GP was one of the best of the year, and both Simon Gregson and Kym Marsh have subsequently risen to the challenge of showing different facets to the characters they play.
But if Coronation Street is to see a real return to form in 2015, then it needs to offer up more genuine surprises like Steve’s depression and become less reliant on half-baked murder plots and lukewarm romances for the likes of Alya and Gary or Luke and Maria. At the moment, the Street kind of feels like a soap without a game plan and that’s never a good thing.