(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in July 2015.)
I absolutely loved the scenes in Monday's Coronation Street which focused on Deirdre's funeral. William Roache, Kate Ford, Eileen Derbyshire and Beverley Callard all pulled it out the bag to give Deirdre Barlow the send off she so richly deserved.
It was wonderful to hear Eileen Derbyshire's voice ring out in the church as Emily delivered her reading. It was a shame it had to be interrupted by Tracy's shenanigans but there you go. I also loved Ken's eulogy. William Roache delivered it superbly and Damon Rochefort did an excellent job at referencing the past while still keeping it believable and very real. It was full of emotion, touching and funny at times. Perfect. So too was Liz's chat with Ken in the backyard, putting her grievances with Tracy to one side for the greater good.
Unfortunately one element of these funeral episodes really got under my skin. I understand that these days Corrie can't just focus on one issue for an entire episode. It's possible the powers that be don't believe a modern audience would stay with the programme for the full hour if all it did was depict the funeral and send off of a much loved, long-standing character. I know other scenes must be written in to provide a contrast to the main event.
I don't blame the writer for the choice of storyline chosen to compliment Deirdre's funeral. I know these decisions are taken elsewhere. The Callum storyline has been dragging on for eons and I cannot wait to see the back of it. I don't even care how it ends. Callum isn't a character I love, like or can even tolerate. He's not even a baddie I love to hate. I just can't stand him.
The sight of eye-rolling Bethany and Gemma necking back shots at the bar of that grotty boozer jarred horribly with the otherwise respectful, touching and fond farewell to Deirdre. It just didn't work and I really, really disliked it. It brought into sharp focus that characters like Deirdre are in short supply these days. Deirdre was wonderfully warm, funny and passionate but also deeply flawed. Those flaws never meant you couldn't side with her though or cheer her on as she fought her corner.
The trouble with the likes of Callum, Sarah or Bethany is that no matter how outrageous or badly behaved they are portrayed, there just is no light and shade. As a viewer I wouldn't side with them or cheer them on. There is nothing to cheer about.
I did raise a glass to Deirdre tonight, one of a quickly diminishing breed.
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