Coronation Street, ITV - review: Les Dennis joins soap as thief and Gail's love interest


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The Independent Culture

Was that a religious apparition during last night's Coronation Street? No, it was only Les Dennis peering ominously through Gail's net curtains.

The panto-participant and Family Fortunes host is the latest addition to the Corrie cast. He plays a thief and future love interest for Weatherfield's own black widow, Gail McIntyre née Potter née Tilsley, née Platt, née Hillman.

If the writers can find a way to work in Dennis's famously grating Mavis Wilton impression, before he inevitably meets a violent end, this year's British Soap Award is surely in the bag.

Sadly, I expect all their creative energies are currently being expended, coming up with yet another storyline to explain the absence of Kevin Webster. While the actor Michael Le Vell was standing trial on sexual charges last year, his character was off in Germany visiting his sick father. After Le Vell was found not guilty, he returned to work to film episodes including the one we saw last night, in which Kevin scolded Tyrone for incurring a HMRC fine by missing the self-assessment deadline.

Not the most scintillating storyline, but since Corrie bosses have recently announced Le Vell's imminent departure to seek treatment for addiction issues, it will have to get better, fast. Expect an armed siege involving Kev and a band of tooled-up tax men in the Rovers by June.

Much more diverting last night were some revealing cultural references. Audrey boasted about attending three Chuck Berry gigs in 1964, David and Kylie decided to spice up their love life by dressing up as Mia Wallace and Vincent Vega from the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, and Stella (aka Cindy from EastEnders) showed her age by reminiscing about her schooldays to the strains of "Sunday Girl" by Blondie on the Rovers Return juke box, "Oh, I was a right cocky little piece when I was 16. Thought I could do anything, go anywhere..." "Sunday Girl" was released in May 1979; if Stella was 16 then, that would make her 51 now. Surely not. She doesn't look at day over 48.