Six ruined gowns and a fight... it can only be Corrie
Ahead of the soap's double nuptials, stars Sally Ann Matthews and Catherine Tyldesley talk last-minute nerves with Francesca Gosling
At least seven wedding gowns, a stunt co-ordination team, a fountain heating system and two Hells Angels. No, that isn't a backstage checklist for the latest Hollywood thriller, but just a few of the resources pulled in to create Coronation Street's hotly anticipated double-wedding extravaganza.
Already predicted to go down in TV history, the upcoming saga will see Weatherfield favourites Eva Price and Aidan Connor finally walk down the aisle in a meticulously planned ceremony, alongside Aidan's father Johnny and fiancee Jenny Bradley.
Or will they? As is to be expected from ITV's flagship soap, even the best-laid plans will inevitably go awry.
And on this occasion, it will all go down in spectacularly action-packed style.
With the showdown just days away, launching both Corrie's brand new six-episode weekly bill and a fresh autumn season of dramatic new tales, the brides-to-be share the stories behind the camera.
For Catherine Tyldesley, who plays Eva, filming for the ambitious scenes at the gorgeous grounds of Prescot's Knowsley Hall, even brought her to the brink of a minor breakdown.
"I'm very high up at one point and I'm terrified of heights, so that was a real challenge for me," the 33-year-old remembers.
"Especially when a wasp came. Everybody else thought it was hilarious, but I had a breakdown."
But there were funny moments, too, as she recalls: "They were rigging me up to keep me safe while I was high up, but the dress had such a big hoop in it that I was bent over with three SAS guys behind me. I've got a picture.
"They were the most challenging scenes I have ever shot, but I loved every second of it. It was so fab and we had an amazing crew."
The process also proved to be an exercise in confronting lifelong fears for Jenny's Sally Ann Matthews, who makes a late entry to the venue after a hair-rising motorbike journey, riding pillion with Hells Angels members Tattitude and Toothless.
Reliving the moment, she says: "It was terrifying. I had never been on a motorbike, I'm totally risk-averse, I do all talk and no action.
"I had massive bruises on my knees because the only thing I could equate it to was horse-riding, so I gripped on. I dug my nails in through the leather (of her Angel's jacket) and into his love handles."
Yet, Jenny and Johnny's delayed arrival, after a health scare for poor Rita sees them spend most of the day in hospital, is only one of the many disasters about to scupper the doomed nuptials.
Eva has been planning for the wedding to mark the climax of a co-ordinated revenge plot targeted at Aidan, after she learnt of his affair with her best friend Maria (Samia Longchambon).
But when her fiance (former X Factor champ Shayne Ward) unexpectedly confesses his wrongdoing, it plunges her into a fresh emotional turmoil that culminates in Maria and Eva finally taking it outside. In a water fountain.
Forget Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy scrapping over Bridget in Kensington Gardens, this one is set to be the cat-fight of the year.
And, Tyldesley confesses, it was almost entirely unscripted. "We had a stunt co-ordinator there, but because of the nature of the scene, they said, 'Just go for it guys'.
"So we did - within reason. It was pretty-full on, but we got giggles all the time."
While she assures fans that no humans were injured, filming the soggy scuffle apparently resulted in some serious skin pruning, a fake tan nightmare and six completely ruined wedding frocks.
For Matthews, wardrobe was a much simpler affair, requiring just one elegant gown by designer and friend Suzanne Neville. The momentous day will see a turnaround for the fiery character, who made her Cobbles comeback (for what Matthews first thought would be a six-month stint) more than two years ago.
While Jenny's younger self memorably ruffled feathers across Weatherfield in the 1980s and 1990s, she will put her own ceremony on hold to rush to her former foster mother's side when her ailing health takes a turn for the worse.
"It's a huge spanner in the works when she finds out Rita is unwell. It's a big wake-up call for Jenny and it's quite interesting the direction that she goes in. She's not soft, but you might see her re-assessing and evaluating what's important," says Matthews, before adding slyly: "And then she'll probably forget about it.
While she still regularly exercises her homegrown death glares and "upper-downers" on screen, Matthews admits that a lot has changed for both the sap's notorious wayward teen and the woman behind her.
After a Corrie gap of more than 20 years, the 46-year-old mother reflects: "I spent a long time getting rid of the fact I was was in Corrie.
"I was getting offered rebellious 16-year-olds and I was nearly 30, so I denied its existence deliberately. Not because I was ashamed of it, it was just holding me back.
"When I was asked to the 50th celebrations, I thought, you know what, I'm never getting rid of it, so I might as well embrace it."
While viewers will have to wait and see what really happens on the wedding day and who, if anybody, finally gets hitched, most recent fan speculation has been aimed at Rita's future, with many predicting an impending exit for Barbara Knox.
She cannot comment on the rumours, of course, but Matthews pays tribute to the tireless work that the 83-year-old has been contributing to her own upcoming episodes.
"They are going to be tugging at the heartstrings," she warns.
"It's a storyline that Barbara is so deserving of, it has been so well thought out and she has been very involved in the way it's going to play out.
- Coronation Street double episode, ITV, Wednesday, 7.30pm/8.30pm.
Home and Away
Kat seems to be only too willing to lend Robbo a hand as he attempts to unearth facts about his past, but what are the reasons behind her altruistic act?
Well, the fact he’s quite easy on the eye with a decent physique probably helps. However, when a disturbing clue to his identity turns up, alarm bells start to ring and she decides it’s high time the troubled newcomer took a lie detector test down at the station. Hanging out with a hunky guy doesn’t stop Kat feeling threatened by Ash’s friendship with Tori. Shouldn’t he be just a tad jealous, too? Perhaps his attraction for Tori means he doesn’t care; certainly his efforts to keep her at arm’s length look set to come to nothing.
Meanwhile, Brody’s return from rehab goes far from smoothly, Maggie and Ben worry that Coco is bulimic, Marilyn and John discover that Raffy is academically gifted and Ziggy is kidnapped.
Kim takes it upon herself to be the bearer of bad news this week as she spots Kathy in the Square and decides to bring her up to date with everything that’s happened in her absence.
Kathy struggles to understand why Ian didn’t tell her himself — until Ben makes her realise that he’s probably still reluctant to rely on her after she let him spend nine years believing she was dead.
At least Ian’s family want to be there for him now though, which is more than poor Lauren can say as her guilt over Steven sends her reaching for the bottle. She then faces criticism from Abi over her choices for the funeral, while Max fails to even answer her messages.
And then just to add to the stress, a family liaison officer arrives ahead of the ceremony to reveal that Steven didn’t have a tumour.
Elsewhere, Stacey receives some potentially worrying news about Arthur but feels unable to share it with Martin.
Gethin tells Bex he can’t tutor her anymore, Keegan goes job hunting, and Mick and Linda have their first counselling session, but will it prompt her to come clean about her hospital appointment?
Robert may have fooled some of the village, but it seems Emmerdale’s younger generation can see right through him, as Lachlan suspects him of using Rebecca to get back into the business — and Liv goes a step further and informs the mum-to-be that Robert hates her.
For good measure, Liv then steals his car and a bottle of brandy. That would be a dangerous combination at the best of times, but the bottle has been spiked, and Robert later discovers her passed out in a ditch by the side of the road.
He comes clean to the hospital that the teen has taken diazepam as well as booze, leaving Aaron furious that his sister’s life has been put in danger, but will there be any further consequences?
Let’s hope so, as Robert is about to offer to keep any eye on Lawrence after he receives a letter from Ronnie. Debbie is unsure where she stands following a lunch date with Tom, while Adam’s hopes are raised when Victoria misses a festival to drive him to the hospital, and Arthur worries how Gabby will react when she learns about the damaged memory card.
Maxine inadvertently inspires Jesse to make a start on planning his wedding — and the first thing on his to-do list is publicly “re-proposing” to Darcy.
However, his bride-to-be may have bigger things on her mind after she’s spooked by some information from her private investigator. She reacts to the news by asking Adam for money, claiming it’s for Toby’s treatment, but when the detective fails to get his fee, he puts in a call to Tracey. Meanwhile, Tracey could probably do with some cash of her own as she asks Grace to come to Paris with her, but her daughter has other plans. Elsewhere, Joel moves into the McQueens after making up with Cleo, but begins to realise that he will also be living with the ghost of Bart. Scott is jealous when Brody is included in Damon’s birthday celebrations, and makes up a lie that quickly gets out of hand.
Courtney is forced to deny having feelings for Jesse, while Neeta and Hunter are paired up for an art project — and soon find themselves caught up in a playful paint fight.
Sunday, September 17
(Channel 4, 11.05pm)
Jamal (Dev Patel), an illiterate teenager from the Mumbai slums, is only one question away from winning the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? However, the authorities refuse to believe that a youngster from such a humble backgroundhe could succeed without cheating, and subject him to brutal treatment in their search for an explanation. As they interrogate the young man, he reveals his traumatic childhood and the events that led to him appearing on the show. Danny Boyle, the director who brought us Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and the London Olympics opening ceremony, adds another feather to his cap with this astounding Oscar-winning drama.
At times funny and heart-warming, at others tragic and brutal, the film touches on many themes, but is at heart an examination of poverty and love.
Saturday, September 16
(Channel 4, 9pm)
From Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg, Super 8 is athis rollicking adventure set in 1970s rural America that pays homage to ET: The Extra-Terrestrial with and has echoes of The Goonies. In a sleepy industrial town of Lillian,in Ohio, teenager Joe Lamb (Joel Courtney) is struggling to come to terms with the death of his mother. The youngster invests his time inmaking a low-budget zombie film with friends including Alice (Elle Fanning). Just as the camera starts rolling on a night-time sequence, the when they witness a truck drive on to the railway tracks and derail an oncoming freight train.
As they make aIn their hasty escape, the trespassing teens are oblivious to a monstrous creature crawling free from the twisted wreckage.
Sunday, September 17
(Sky Cinema Premiere,
1.05pm & 9.45pm)
Father-and-son actors Kiefer and Donald Sutherland’s first on-screen pairing since 1983’s Max Dugan Returns (they were alsoboth in A Time to Kill in 1996, but didn’t share any scenes) is a likeably old-fashioned Western. Kiefer stars as John Henry Clayton, a civil war veteran-turned-feared gunslinger who decides to put down his shooter and returns to his hometown to make peace with his preacher father (Donald). However, leaving his past behind proves harder than John thought, especially when it turns out that the town is under threat from a ruthless property developer (Brian Cox) and his thugs. And then there’s John old flame Mary-Alice (Demi Moore) and her jealous husband.
Sunday, September 17
In 2015, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras deservedly collected won an Oscar for her film Citizen four, which gained unprecedented access to about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and invited him to recount his version of events, far from the sensationalist headlines. In her new filmRisk, Poitras focuses on another divisive figure:WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in June 2012. Shot over the course of six years, from the WikiLeaks release of the Iraq War Logs in 2010, which led to the court-martial of Bradley Manning, the film explores Assange’s willingness to put everything on the line in the name of exposing “the truth”, as well as his attitude to women. It’s anything but a rose-tinted portrait of an egotistical rebel.
Saturday, September 16
Underworld: Blood Wars
(Sky Cinema Premiere,
12.55pm & 9.45pm)
Following the cataclysmic events ofthe 2012 film Underworld: Awakening, the lycans (werewolves) have massed behind a single leader,Marius (Tobias Menzies), whose tactical genius has wiped out several vampire covens. The bloodsuckers are on the verge of extinction unless they can locate skilled warrior Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and her daughter Eve (India Eisley), whose blood contains the secretcan tocreatinge powerful vampire-werewolf hybrids.
Underworld: Blood Wars is the fifth instalment in the bloodthirsty saga and like its predecessors, the film is a triumph of style over substance.
Saturday, September 16
The Incredible Hulk
Following his exposure to gamma radiation and subsequent physical transformation, Scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) hides in the overcrowded favelas of Brazil, hoping to evade General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt”Ross (William Hurt) and the military. Unfortunately, But US forces track Banner down and the scientist escapes by the skin of his teeth, he kills all of Ross’s men except for highly-skilled Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), who yearns to possess the same ferocity and strength as the Hulk. So, the military inject low-level gamma into Blonsky’s deep muscle and bone marrow body, the catalyst for his metamorphosis into the snarling Abomination.
This version of The Hulk can’t quite match Mark Ruffalo’s interpretation in The Avengers movies, but it’s still more fun than the 2003 Eric Bana incarnation.