Sunday, April 23, 2006

An Audience With Coronation Street

"An Audience With..." is an ITV institution. There's usually a star alone onstage who answers questions put to him/her by members of an audience which is completely made up of celebrities. In between the questions/answers, the subject of the show sings or tells jokes or does whatever they're famous for.

An Audience With Coronation Street is different. Here, the audience take turns to get up on stage. Because the audience is made up of past and present Corrie actors mixed in with a few ITV personalities I recognise, such as sports presenter Jim Rosenthal (above), and hamster faced charlatan Gillian Mckeith, and quite a few personalities I have never seen before. Because the only programme I watch on ITV is Corrie.

So the Corrie stars get to go onstage and introduce nonentities from Emmerdale and that Ice Dancing programme. The nonentities then ask questions of Corrie stars in the audience. We learn that Michael le Vell was advised to trim his mono-brow by Johnny Briggs, and we learn the names of all of Sam Aston's animals at home.

There is a pleasant diversion from all this as William Roache and Sue Cleaver take us on a tour of The Street set. Now this IS interesting. William shows us the house that Len Fairclough rebuilt - it has newer bricks than the houses around it. The telephone in Number 11 is red and always had been red ever since that scarlet woman Elsie Tanner had the first telephone installed in that house. Did you know that Hilda's ducks first belonged to Elsie? And that some of Albert Tatlock's old furniture is still in use in the Barlows?

But enough of that. It's Saturday night and we want to be entertained. So in between all the talk we get the real show...The Music...

1. Richard Fleeshman sings Walking In Memphis as he pretends to play the piano. Now this is the first time I've heard Richard sing and I can sure see what all the fuss is about. He really could be the new Curtis Stigers, yes he's that good. Walking In Memphis is one of my favourite songs, it really gets to the heart of the blues as anybody who is familiar with WC Handy would...No, not WC Fields! This is serious stuff! When Richard stands up away from the piano (as the piano plays on) for the climax of the song, he is a little awkward and unsteady on his feet, reminding me of Nick Cave when he was on heroin. Yes, he's that good.

2. Andy Whyment and Jennie McAlpine perform the Elton/Kiki classic Don't Go Breaking My Heart. Andy's a real star. There was a preview to this show on the other night where they interviewed the Soapstar Superstar superstars Fleeshman and Whyment. The interviewer said is there nothing Andy can't do? Act? Dance? Sing? It's a crying shame he's been typecast in exactly the same role for both The Royle Family and Corrie, isn't it?

3. Wendi Peters performs Judy Garland's Get Happy. Wendi is so lithe and supple the way she glides over the stage. And with that pitch perfect voice, you close your eyes and you could swear it was Judy herself.

4. Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World - a jazzy interpretation by Ray Fearon and Tupele Dorgu. A stroke of genius. Take two black actors who never appear in the same scene together but don't you just know there'll be chemistry between them? They're natural jazz singers, of course. Why stick to the tune when you can improvise like that?

5. Beverley Callard and Simon Gregson perform Guns & Roses' Sweet Child O' Mine. Wow! Doesn't Bev look HOT in her black leather rock chick outfit? And Simon! What a pair of lungs! Just a shame the song only lasts 37 seconds.

6. A grand finale of Richard and Andy's belting rendition of Hey Jude. JUDY JUDY JUDY JUDY BABY! And isn't that Callard's orgasmic scream we hear?

Sorry I didn't mention the tribute to Johnny Briggs but I'm sick to the back fucking teeth with tributes to extremely rich people.


  1. I didn't see it. Shame, because I'm strangely drawn to this kind of programme. Andy Whyment is a bit of a dark horse but nobody else could play Kirk.

  2. Andy's character is brilliant in both programmes. But he can't sing for toffee. And why should he?

  3. If I ever have children, I'll use "...or the Rosenthal monster will come and eat you up" as the ultimate disciplinary threat. Christ on a tricycle, that is one scary photo.

  4. I once saw Jim Rosenthal commentating at an athletics event in Birmingham. Facing the cameras, he was wearing a smart jacket and tie but filthy crumpled linen trousers and muddy walking boots.

    You never normally see what commentators wear below shoulder level so I suppose they think it doesn't matter.

    John Motson, for instance, wears lederhosen under that sheepskin coat.