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
The crowd enjoy Latitude Festival 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
'I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.'

Is this the end of the Dowager Countess?tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

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.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn