How long have you been writing about soaps and
how did you get The Guardian gig with 'World of
I wrote my first soap
column 'World of Lather' in 2000. It was just a fluke really.
I loved television and I loved the Guardian Guide and wanted a
regular column so when I heard the previous soap critic Jim
Shelley was leaving to go the The Mirror I plagued Tim the
editor until he gave in and let me do it. I remember writing a
load of nonsense off-spec about Jack, Vera and Kevin and
e-mailing him saying 'I can begin NOW!' The poor man gave me
'World of Lather' just to shut me up.
Q: How and when
did your interest in soaps begin - and
I've been watching Corrie since I was
old enough to sit upright in front of a television. Over 30
years. Rita Sullivan is a bit like my other mother. I remember
the wild excitement in my house in the 70's when Deirdre was
having an affair with Mike. And when Emily's husband got shot
at the factory. Or when Gail and Brian Tilsley were married.
Life was incredibly boring back then, we watched TV night
after night after night. Glamourous women like Elsie Tanner
and Bet Lynch always seemed be in the middle of a feud or a
break-up. I was entranced by this. I look at myself sometimes
dressed to go out and think 'Oh god, that's just Elsie Tanner
Q: Which one's
your favourite soap and if it's not Corrie, why do you think
your choice beats Corrie?
Corrie will always be where my heart is.
Eastenders is really quite strong right now but Corrie
genuinely makes me laugh and has people I'm quite involved
with. Like Eileen Grimshaw and Lloyd and Steve. I would watch
whole episodes of those three just sitting in the minicab
office bickering about who should make tea. There's a warmth
in Corrie dialogue that's unseen anywhere on TV. I think the
writers really nail how people speak in North-West England and
how we relate to each other. We're not touchy-feely people,
we're more likely to sit and slag each other off with a
twinkle in our eye.
Q: Who do you
most love writing about in Corrie in your 'World of
Blanche. I love her. The problem
is, however, that her lines are so good it's difficult to
write anything about them without spoiling the effect. They
stand alone perfectly. I could fill up my column simply with
things Blanche has said and my readers would be happy, but
this would be cheating. Stuff like, 'Good looks are a curse
Deirdre. You and Ken should count yourselves very lucky.' Or
to Roy and Hayley: 'HE'S A LOONY, SHE'S A MAN.'
Q: If you could
be a Corrie character for a day who would you be? Who would
you be for a year?
I'd be Maria 24 hours to
see how it feels. I'd love to be so blissully ignorant and
completely gullible about life. The Tony/Maria storyline has
tested my patience to its edge. I'd be Carla for a year. I
love Carla. I got very wrapped up in her affair with Liam and
really wanted them to be together. I loved her when she turned
up last month and saw Tony with Maria and sneered, 'Ere, get
rid of Miley Cyrus.' Perfect.
your top three favourite Corrie characters of all
Elsie Tanner. Steve McDonald. Rita
Q: What's been
your favourite Corrie storylines over the
Richard Hillman - the whole saga.
Especially when he started convincing Audrey she was going
senile. I was livid. He'd crossed a line for me then. I wasn't
so bothered about him trying to kill David and Sarah Lou.
Killing David would have been a favour to us all.
Q: Are there any
of the classic Corrie actors from the 1960s onwards who are no
longer with us that you would have loved to have met?
I loved Hilda and Eddie Yates. When I was tiny
I couldn't quite understand why they stayed together when they
bickered so much about what needed doing around the house and
where the money was going. Now I'm grown up, I understand
completely. They were actually completely in love.
Q: Do you know
any Corrie spoilers you can tease us with - or is it more than
your job's worth?! ;-)
The thing people
don't realise about me is that I'm not interested in spoilers.
I just watch the show like everyone else and write about it. I
don't do 'soap gossip'. I hate knowing what's going to happen.
Plus people always ask me to tell them storylines so I tell
them and they look sadly at me and say 'Oh that's ruined it
for me now.'
Q: What do you do
when you're not writing World of Lather?
main job is as an author. I've written eleven novels. I do comedy satire. If you like Corrie, you'd
like my novels. Diary of a Snob: Poor Little Rich Girl is out
now and I'm writing the sequel Money Can't Buy Me Love at the
moment. My novels sell allover the world so the whole thing
keeps me busy. I work on newspapers and TV and Radio as a pop
culture critic. This month I've been working on XFactor and
Radio 5 and filming a lot of Christmas TV shows.
Q: And finally,
Grace, the answer to the question that we all want to
know. What's your favourite seat on a double-decker
Downstairs right at the back in the
corner. I like it there as you're quite safe and snug plus you
can listen to everyone's conversations. I like
With many thanks to Grace Dent and Thea
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