Having enjoyed the staticky trumpet arrangement which accompanied the opening credits of late (I call it our ‘dinner music’), I am still adjusting to the slicked-up hi-def rendition of the Corrie theme….
As we open, Maria runs up to Roy in the street, frantically crying out that Tony has a gun, is in the factory and has Carla and Hayley hostage. And that Tony has just killed a man dead on the floor.
Inside, Hayley implores Carla to reason with Tony as he douses the factory in petrol.
Maria enters the Rovers, stunned at first and not knowing what to say. Becky greets her and Maria explains. Becky ushers her into the back where Michelle and Cieran are looking after Liam. Steve rings the police and Maria tells them the story.
Roy Cropper is at the factory door. Inside, Carla pleads with Tony not to set the place ablaze. “Who cast the first stone?” Tony screams at Carla. She says that she did, by sleeping with Liam. Carla urges Tony to blame her, but to let Hayley go. Hayley suddenly hears Roy calling her from outside and shouts back to him. Tony stalks to the door. “What do you want?” Tony asks Roy. Roy attempts to bargain with Tony and get him to release Hayley, since it’s Roy that Tony has a beef with. Tony says he wants Roy to suffer, through losing Hayley to a terrible death. Tony explains the source of his discontent – that he had atoned for his sins and found a woman who loved him, and then Roy took that all away.
Roy says he didn’t figure Tony for a coward and begs Tony not to harm Hayley. When Roy says he’d lay down his life for Hayley, Tony mocks him, saying that’s too easy – it’s not death we fear, but pain. Roy rebuts this, claiming that Tony is a good man because he dove into the canal to save him (after pushing him in). Tony, tired of the chat, tells Roy to stand back and watch them burn.
Maria is filling in the gang in the back sitting room at the Rovers, saying Tony is bonkers – wanting to see baby pictures one minute and the next threatening to shoot them. Ryan wonders where he got a gun. Becky starts to make her way outside, unable to stand idly by while Hayley is in danger. Steve says he forbids Becky to go, which of course doesn’t work. Becky charges out the front door, with Ashley, Tyrone and Gary in tow. Kirk goes into the back to see Maria. Oblivious, the knicker gang are at their usual table, listening to Sean decide that he’s going to London.
Becky finds Roy at the factory door and promises to get Hayley out. She finds a 2-by-4 in the builders’ yard and starts whacking at the door, breaking the glass. Steve is frantic, thinking she’ll be shot. Within, Tony begins droning the Lord’s Prayer as Carla and Hayley weep. Carla badgers him to let Hayley go, forcing him to start over with the prayer.
Outside, the police arrive.
Carla’s pleading escalates, as the neighbours join Becky in banging on the doors and windows. A phone rings inside the factory. Tony makes a sudden decision, rolls Hayley’s chair against a wall, cuts her free and tapes her mouth. He opens the door and fires Hayley out onto the cobbles. Carla, having unscrewed the knob on her chair’s back frantically rubs her roped wrists against the exposed screw.
The police throw up a festoon of yellow police tape and drink tea. Inside, Tony sits down with Carla. “It’s just you and me now, like it was in the beginning,” he tells her, “This is how it ends.”
Darkness falls. The police now have a command post set up, but have yet to take any action. The cops phone Tony. Tony tells them that everyone is to move away from the building and they’re not to call back. He pours himself a whiskey. Carla, trying to get onside, says there is more in the bottom drawer and chocolate hobnobs in the biscuit tin. She suggests that Tony untie her and they can toast Tony’s largesse in letting Hayley go. Tony figures that saving the life of a Cropper might earn one an upgrade to purgatory.
The Rovers gang hear that Hayley has gotten out. She sits on the back of the ambulance, wrapped in a blanket, with Roy at her side. The cops ask her for more detail about the scenario inside. Hayley confirms that Tony shot Robbie.
Carla is crying. “Real tears,” Tony sneers, “who are they for?”
“Us,” she answers. She says that she loved him and they could have been so happy. “I was happy,” Tony snarls. Carla asks if it’s too late to say she’s sorry.
Roy and Hayley walk away from the throng to get some air. Roy tells Hayley that he loves her more than anything in the world. He says he will try and express himself better, and prove his love to her every day for the rest of their lives.
Tony is angrily squishing Carla’s face and holding the gun to her cheek. “Why did you do it?” he hisses, asking why she slept with Liam. Carla scrambles for an answer, suggesting maybe she isn’t right in the head. Tony says that neither of them deserve to live. Carla tells him that the two of them could just leave, go off together, maybe even have a baby. Would that give Tony something to live for? Tony decides the end game is upon them. He lights his zippo, and Carla becomes hysterical. He drops the lighter and a pool of flame erupts. At that moment, Carla finally saws through her bindings, grabs her chair and smashes Tony over the head with it. Knocked down, he grabs her by the ankle, pulls her down into a spoon position on the floor and attempts to hold her there until they both asphyxiate.
Outside, Trev finally arrives, and is shocked to learns of the goings-on from Janice.
Inside, Carla bites Tony’s arm to get away. They scrap, and both realize the gun is on the floor. Carla reaches it first and shoots Tony in the shoulder, wounding him. She hesitates to fire the killing shot, and he Bruce-Lee kicks the gun out of her hand. Carla flees upstairs.
The police and spectators hear the shots fired, and I guess the police decide it’s time to do more than watch and soak bickies in tea.
Carla finds the upstairs door locked and screams in fury. Tony decides he’s going to strangle her so she won’t be burned to death. Carla says she’ll fight him to the death and brandishes a flaming bolt of fabric. Tony corners her, but she hangs off the top balcony and falls, her skid of mismade pink knickers breaking her fall.
Just then, the swat fellows, having decided that there is enough smoke, flame and nonsense to warrant their intervention, smash the door down.
Carla hurls herself out the door and scrambles onto the road, falling into Trev’s arms. Tony can be seen inside, but makes no move to exit. “Run!” (or possible Get out, unlikely ‘Burn’ as first written although poetic). Carla shrieks at him. Tony looks out a final time, and retreats back inside the factory. Suddenly, a series of explosions turn the factory into a huge orange fireball, engulfing Tony Gordon.
Carla, her face streaked with dirt and tears, gasps for breath as they all look on.