Thursday, 27 June 2013

Corrie's 1 O'Clock Club - the next generation

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2013.)

One of the main reasons I love Coronation Street is the longevity of some of the characters. Unlike any other soap opera on television, Corrie really does seem to inspire loyalty amongst its core cast. 

However, those characters who remind us of the glory days are starting to become a bit thin on the ground. Ok, so Ken Barlow is still fairly prominent (despite his yet unexplained on-screen absence). I'm hoping Deirdre will come into her own in the weeks and months ahead. Rita Tanner still gets plenty of screen time, but mainly as part of Tina's never-ending dramas. Audrey and Gail are also very prominent - something which normally makes me very happy indeed. This mother and daughter pairing are a vital link to the past. 

I also consider characters like Sally, Steve and Roy to be from the Corrie golden age - I can't see any of them going anywhere anytime soon, which thankfully is very good thing. But what of the others? Dennis Tanner barely gets a look in, Norris Cole pops in and out (and is normally infuriating) and Emily is appearing less and less. In recent years we've sadly lost several older characters - the Duckworths, Betty and Blanche are all irreplaceable as far as I'm concerned. 

Stephanie Cole has been a great addition as Sylvia however the actress has been on record saying she doesn't plan on being in the Street for the rest of her career.

This has made me fret about the future of Corrie. I do think the majority of the cast are still very talented actors and the powers that be are lucky to have them, however loyalty to the brand is not what is was. In this multi-channel, ever-shrinking world more and more actors are using Coronation Street as a spring board for other projects. It is no longer the pinnacle of what an actor can hope to achieve. I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing either. The last thing I want is for characters to hang around and become stale (I'm naming no names in case I spark trouble on t'internet). Actors moving on creates space for new talent and that's what helps Corrie thrive, however a core cast of longstanding characters is key for me. 

So who is coming up behind? Well it suddenly struck me that there are plenty of young actors currently in Corrie who have already spent more than a decade treading the famous cobbles. Alan Halsall (Tyrone), Jennie McAlpine (Fiz), Samia Ghadie (Maria) and Ryan Thomas (Jason) have all grown up on screen and for me this is invaluable. Some people have commentated that Tyrone and Fiz are the new Jack and Vera. Such comments are dangerous as far as I'm concerned. Yes, there may be similarities, but they need space to cement their own place in Weatherfield history.

While I hope to see veterans like Sue Nicholls, Helen Worth and Barbara Knox around for as many years to come as possible, I think the powers that be need to continue nurturing the younger, yet still very loyal cast coming up behind them. They are the future of Coronation Street and their time spent working alongside some of the original legends is priceless.

So over to you. Which characters (or actors if you prefer) do you see as most important in securing Coronation Street's long term future?

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