Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Five lessons for the Corrie powers that be

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in May 2014.)

I quite frequently long for modern day Coronation Street to be more like it was, back in the day. We all keep watching through habit, affection, loyalty and those brief moments that shine through amidst all the explosive drama.

I do often wonder if the powers that be read the comments on this Blog. 

If they do I want them to watch a few clips of past glories. Images, dialogue and performances that scream Coronation Street to me and why, despite the modern scavenging for ratings, over the top storylines and characters interchangeable with other programmes in the soap genre, I still hold Corrie so close to my heart. 

For all the Michelle Connors they throw at us, there will always be Annie Walker. For all the funeral punch-ups they subject us to, there will always be Hilda crying over Stan's specs. For all the Corrie cat fights that are here today and forgotten tomorrow there will be clips of Elsie, Bet and Rita showing them how it's really done.

So here for me are a few reasons why Corrie will always be great and a few lessons the powers that be can still learn.

Take this scene from the first ever episode. It sets everything up so well and it's all in the dialogue and the cracking performance of Violet Carson, hitting the ground running as Ena Sharples.

The Rovers Return has always been the centre of Corrie. It needs a strong Landlady and that Landlady needs a rival...and there were never finer competitors than Annie Walker and Nellie Harvey:

Corrie is all about the female characters for me. Strong, yet vulnerable, they rightly dominate the men and the show itself. We've seen many cat-fights in Corrie's 53-year history. While I love a bit of a scuffle on the cobbles, they just don't seem to live up to the hype these days. This next scene, from not all that long ago, is a classic - two legendary Corrie women at the top of their game:

As viewers we always need couples that stay together long enough so we can root for them through good times and bad. Today for example we have Tyrone and Fiz and Maria's daft texting meltdown. Or there is the ever expanding, ever imploding Windass-Armstrong tedium. For me, you can't get better than the Ogdens. They were often down, but never out:

Finally, everyone always has to leave in an explosive fashion these days. All I have to do is mention the increasingly bloated Peter/Tina/Carla love triangle which will hopefully be burst with a pin soon. It's supposed to pull in more viewers and prove so memorable we're talking about it for the days and weeks to come. I'm sure social media will be ablaze in the aftermath, but personally I'll just be glad when it's done. My favourite Corrie exit is very simple but very atmospheric. Leaving in a black cab doesn't have to be dull, as Elsie Tanner shows us here:

I might be sentimental and we might never see such wonderful characters again, but I honestly do believe there are qualities in all of these clips that can still form the basis for Corrie in 2014. Memorable moments these days are rare, but I'll keep on plugging away as I'm sure improvements will come.  

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