It's a requisite part of any continuing drama that the characters will eventually have to be killed off. Not everyone of course. The very nature of drama means that those we have known and loved, or even loathed, will never pass away quietly under a snowy white duvet, friends and family gathered around, teary-eyed yet thankful for a life well-lived.
The fire at t'Rovers had very little appeal. Even the hopeful prospect of St. Ella of the Back Room perishing like Joan of Arc is perhaps not that great a draw. Death in Weatherfield is not what it used to be.
Personally, for shock value alone, I'm taken back to episode 1772, broadcast in January 1978. The day Ernie Bishop met his maker. The preamble to his demise has been well-documented over the years. Actor Stephen Hancock was less than happy with the programme's slightly odd idea that certain members of the cast were paid regardless of the number of episodes they appeared in. Hancock was not one of the lucky few and having been told by Bill Podmore that this system would not change, the end of Ernie Bishop was nigh.
The general agreement amongst the management was that Ernie would have to die. It was unlikely that the character would have had an extra-marital affair, given his Christian beliefs, so death was the only possible exit.
Death, in most dramas, tends to be overplayed these days. We get used to characters falling from rooftops, being clubbed over the head or exploding in sets that require a makeover. These kind of endings are simply run-of-the-mill. Using the death of a little loved landlady in order to build a shiny new Rovers, if it turns out to be true, will be shockingly ordinary.
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