Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Does Corrie still promote a sense of community?

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in December 2012.)

A really interesting comment came out of my recent blog post on the number of times Coronation Street is broadcast each week. One of the anonymous comments raised the issue of whether Corrie 52 years on still has a sense of community. Mr/Mrs/Ms Anonymous argued that it couldn't reasonably maintain this due to the huge cast the show currently boasts. I have pondered this for a while and I'm still not sure where I stand on this topic. Let's take a look at the Street's community back in the early days and see how it compares to the 21st Century.

Certainly the original Coronation Street, brainchild of the fabulous Mr Tony Warren, focussed on a small, close-knit community where everyone knew everybody's business and people were always there to help in times of crisis. Also, the very nature of the street itself meant that many people's lives were hemmed into a small, almost claustrophobic space. However, even though the basic premise of Corrie remains the same as it always was, does the community still exist?

I think a recent example of Corrie's strong sense of community was the 50th anniversary tram crash story. This really did bring every character together in one story, with everyone pulling together like the old days. However was this a one off? Going back 20, 30, 40 years, it would be true to say the majority of the regular cast would share scenes together, if not storylines. These days with a cast totalling around seventy actors, this would be impossible to achieve. To me, this is a great shame as I think there are many great actors and characters in the Street that either never get to appear in stories together or very rarely get a look in at all. Certainly to me it feels like characters such as Stella, Tina, Peter, Carla, Leanne and Michelle dominate the show while others are left out in the cold.

I guess you could also argue that Coronation Street is now reflecting society as it is today. How many of us know our neighbours well or would count them as friends? Personally I wouldn't want to get to know mine, but that's another story!

So do you think Coronation Street still features a community in the original sense? Do you think the current Corrie cast is too large? Who would you like to see getting more screen time in the year ahead? And who deserves an extended stay in the Corrie cupboard?

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