Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Does familiarity breed contempt on Corrie?

(This post was originally posted by Llifon on the Coronation Street Blog in April 2014.)

While browsing on Digital Spy this morning, I came across an article about the cast of Eastenders getting their photo taken. While I’ve never watched Eastenders, I was always familiar with the characters and would tune in if the episode was exciting. But looking at today’s cast photo I was shocked to see how little of them I actually recognised. The only familiar faces I knew included Dot Cotton, Ian Beale, Phil Mitchell and Sharon Watts. Gone were the likes of Frank and Pat Butcher, Pauline Fowler and Peggy Mitchell to name a few. It suddenly hit me how the show has changed in the last 10 years, not to mention since it began back in 1985. Out of the original cast, only Ian Beale remains.

This got me thinking about Corrie and its cast. The show has been fortunate, or you may think it’s unfortunate, to have cast members that have been with the show for many years. While Ken Barlow of course has been in the show since the beginning, and Emily isn’t far behind him, many others have given a long and loyal service to the show. Rita, Deirdre and Gail have been in the show for 40 years while others like Audrey, Kevin, Sally and Steve have been in the show for 25 to 30 years. Other current characters like Roy, Norris, Tyrone, Maria, Fiz and Dev have also been in the show for many years.

Coronation Street has always had long running characters with even legendary names like Hilda Ogden, Bet Lynch, Elsie Tanner and Annie Walker appearing on the show for over 20 years. Others include the Duckworths, Alf Roberts, Betty Turpin, Mike Baldwin and Mavis Wilton.

I believe for a show to succeed, and Corrie has succeeded (we can’t argue with that), it should embrace change but also keep those familiarities. Over the years, if you popped in and out of Corrie, you were always assured that when you returned, Betty would be dishing out hotpot and Rita would be serving behind the Kabin counter. I think that’s one of the things that attracts me to Corrie – that sense of history and familiarity. 

While other soaps have had huge cast changes over the years, Corrie has always maintained and kept its old guard. But, in recent years we have lost some long servers and over the next decade or so we will lose others. But I think we should be grateful that we have had them for so long!

So what do you think? Are you glad that there are so many familiar faces still in Corrie? Or do you welcome more new faces? Does familiarity breed contempt?

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