(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in July 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Kylie's funeral in last night's Corrie was very affecting. Even my cynical heart - formed out of concrete and razor blades - had a slight crack when Max was wheeled on to talk about how great his mother was before she died. It was a moving and appropriate tribute.
A shame, then, that the good work on the funeral was undercut by the deserted wake. They'd made such a fuss about it - booking the venue, letting Max choose the food - and then when it happened, it turned out the producers had decided to do it on the cheap.
Really? So Nick and Roy - who carried Kylie's coffin - couldn't make it to the actual wake? Nick couldn't get out of his busy schedule of standing around being useless? (And even though Roy was at the funeral, there was no sign of Cathy in support).
It was more than that. Tim and Rita behind the bar was utterly illogical - chattering about being "roped in to help" would make sense if, at any point, we saw Steve, Liz or Michelle busying themselves with other arrangements. Not a sign. Maria (who was attending without Luke, for some reason) took the kids away from the actual burial. Fair enough. But after Max deciding on burger and chips for everyone, wouldn't it be nice to let him actually eat some? (In fact, I didn't see anyone eat anything all episode). It's actually quite life-affirming to have children at a wake - everyone talking about the deceased in glowing terms, while kids play. That's the part of the funeral they should attend, instead of being trapped in Maria's tiny flat.
There was a half-hearted stab at explaining Sally's absence, but it was still ridiculous. She's been mates with Gail for twenty odd years - she'd be there. And Kevin and Sophie, as long-standing friends of the Platt family, should have been there too. There's no chance that Beth, having actually been at the funeral, would then pass up the opportunity for free food and drink - she'd have taken a carrier bag. She would probably have called Kirk and told him to fill his boots, but again, he was conspicuous by his absence.
Given that she was stabbed as the result of a robbery at his kebab shop, wouldn't Dev have wanted to attend as a mark of respect? How about Chesney, supporting his friend Gemma? How about Leanne, who was actually related to Kylie and the rest of the Platts for a while? Hell, just pay a few extras to fill the space in the background - pretend they were Kylie's nail clients or something.
I get it: there are filming conflicts, costings, holidays. From a production point of view, where actors are paid by the episode, it makes no sense to pay a lot of fees so that actors can have a single line or loiter in the background. But the practicalities of production shouldn't be allowed to interfere with the drama onscreen. Make savings elsewhere; film inserts on a different date that can be dropped in later. Kylie's wake was sparse and miserable, and it destroyed the goodwill of the funeral in the first half of the show. It took me out of the moment. The Rovers looked like a ghost town, and surely, that's not what she would have wanted.
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