(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2013.)
Do you ever feel like you've been somewhere before? I had a strange dream last night that Coronation Street had run out of storylines so the powers that be simply took all the old scripts out of the archives, added a few references to the credit crunch and One Direction, spruced it up with some product placement and trotted it out to the poor viewers.
What a horrible nightmare. Sadly, though it seems to be coming true. Ah yes, a fire at the Rovers Return! What a great way to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Gail and Sally can sit on the cobbles and toast their marshmallows while St Ella hides under a pile of manmade fibres with that bloke who used to be the totty in Taggart.
I can just see young Philip Collinson sitting in his office, stroking his white cat, sipping his Aqua Libra (ooops, more product placement) and wondering just how he can sign off his triumphant reign at the top of ITV's flagship soap. Perhaps he was watching Celebrity Big Brother at the time and caught a glimpse of Julie Goodyear, poor thing.
"Get it! Got it! Good!" he cried, and dug out his 1980s Coronation box set. Two and a half minutes later and the episode was written and ready.
One question remained though and that troubled him. Who could star in this Towering Inferno? It would have to be someone who hasn't had enough screen time of late. Suddenly he knew who it had to be. St Ella of the Back Room! But of course. Coronation Street fans' favourite. Young Philip knew it had to be St Ella - it would firm up her rightful position in the Best Actress category at the 2013 British Soap Awards. It was all coming together nicely...
...Oh, how I wish this was far from the truth and just a bit of a laugh, but sadly I'm not so sure. It really does pain me to say it but I'm really disappointed at the prospect of another Rovers fire. If you haven't seen the first one back in 1986, do track it down. It was well written, expertly handled and felt completely real, and a tad scary. It showed a community pulling together. I'll always remember those first few quiet moments as we saw images of a sleepy back street Weatherfield - it was haunting, hard-hitting and it worked. So why the need to rehash it in 2013?
I know television ratings are of paramount importance these days and stunts like this are apparently necessary in making sure Corrie maintains it's share. However as far as I can see it is all a bit cheap, blatant and unnecessary.
How's that for a legacy, Mr Collinson?
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