Coronation Street, ITV1, Monday
Misfits, E4, Thursday

After 31 years in 'Coronation Street', actor Bill Tarmey bids a poignant farewell to his popular character in one of those landmark soap scenes

More than any other television soap, Coronation Street has ploughed a furrow of realism, its storylines fleshed out by characters we grow to love – and hate – over the years.

No doubt someone, somewhere, is doing a PhD right now in the social history of post-Second World War Britain as refracted through life in the Rovers Return. And they'd do well to have a special section devoted to Jack Duckworth (Bill Tarmey), whose 31 years on the Street ended last week with one of the most beautiful deaths an actor could hope for.

Jack spent most of his days supping ale or shuffling around after his wife. A rogue he might have been (his philandering began and ended with an affair with Bet Lynch, enough said), but he was most definitely lovable, from his wisecracking to his petty arguments with the late, lamented Vera.

As he admonished Molly for cheating on Jack's all but adopted son Tyrone (Alan Halsall), he summed up his stock attitude towards life, and marriage, that in turn reflects Corrie's truthful spirit. "One thing we managed, me and our Vera," he said, "despite everything, despite a run of bad luck that lasted 40 flippin' years, was we cared about each other."

With that, he was off home, out of the pub where he was celebrating his 74th birthday with a nod from Bill Roache, as if acknowledging Tarmey's contribution through the years. A quick look around the Street, a silent goodbye to his beloved pigeons, and Jack sat back in the chair in which Vera died three years ago to make his final farewell.

And what a farewell. I'm not one for magical realism, but for a soap whose stock in trade is meat-and-potatoes genuineness, there was room at such a moment for the return of a spectral Vera, chiding Jack for looking slovenly and giving him a nudge if he was to catch the next bus ("It'll be here in 12 minutes"), then giving him his last waltz off to heaven.

It would be a hard person who didn't tear up at Tyrone's reaction to finding the slumped Jack. It's clear that Jack's legacy, of naturalistic acting and reacting, is safe in the hands of Tyrone.

Oddly, realism is also the great strength of Misfits, the drama based around five Asbo teens with superpowers, back this week for a second season. Sure, they might variously be immortal, telepathic, able to turn back time, become invisible and turn anyone into a sexual predator (not the most useful, that one), but the young cast delivers its lines with such nonchalance that it all seems perfectly reasonable. Nathan, on discovering his probation worker lying dead in a deep freeze, gives the most throwaway line of the lot: "Oh, hey man, Cornettos!"

The writers should be applauded for the consistent bathos. At the very start of the episode, a mysterious hooded figure, seen only at the very end of Season One as some sort of guardian angel for the misfits, is seen free-running, leaping from rooftop to rooftop until he stands, Batman-like, surveying the city. He must contact them ... by launching a paper plane that hits Kelly in the eye.

Batman is not the only visual reference; we go through Heroes, Star Trek, X-Men, Saw and even a postmodern take on Scooby Doo ("It's the probation worker," says Nathan of his No 1 suspect. "It's always the probation worker"), but it is all worn so lightly that each homage adds to the whole. And the whole is quite something: bawdy, fun, dramaturgically electrifying, and a brilliant put-down of any show that has ever made too much of foreshadowing. "In six weeks it's all going to change," says the immortal Nathan (clearly the most quotable of the quintet). How? "We finish our community service. I'm going to join the circus. They can throw knives at me, stick swords in me, shoot me in the face. People pay good money to see that. And then I'm making serious cash." Quite right: who'd really get all superhero-ish just because they've got some powers?

Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine