Saturday, 12 November 2016

Filling in the gaps on the cobbles

(This post was originally posted by David (Clinkers) on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2016, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I was about to put pen to paper, metaphorically of course, to wax lyrical about certain Corrie scenes when Flaming Nora beat me to it and summed the situation up wonderfully. Have we all been thinking the same, confused thoughts this week?

I speak of the random and presumably conscious coupling of Michelle and Robert. Please - where did that come from? All it seems to have delivered are several odd, jarring moments between two characters who have barely ever spoken. I was trying to recall anything as perplexing in Corrie's rich and varied history. One occasion that sprang to mind was the funny but totally weird episode where Gail pied Deirdre in the face. Here were two Street residents who had barely charged a scene in thirty years going at it hammer and tongs. Followed by . . . absolutely nothing. Random.

However, the Robert/Michelle shenanigans (shall we call them Rochelle? No, let's not) are not the only storylines that seem to have been parachuted in apropos of nothing whatsoever. As funny as they were, the scenes featuring Steve, Tim and the footballer felt distinctly odd. In the story came and then out it went. Likewise the clunky kebab shop vignette this week with Dev dressed like a fan on his way to a Doctor Who convention and an over-acting man who actually uttered the line "you haven't heard the last of this!" like a scene from a long-forgotten 1970s B-movie. Add to this, a badly acted scene during one episode this week and it all makes for rather strange times.

There may, possibly, be an explanation for all of this random behaviour though. We don't know how much filmed material has had to be dumped due to the imminent departure of Sharif. A few odd moments may have been cobbled together featuring whichever actors were available at the time.

Strange they may be but utterly necessary if each episode wasn't to fizzle out after fifteen minutes. At least the Corrie team has been creative about how to solve the problem. Creaky old Aussie soap Prisoner Cell Block H had a similar problem back in the 1980s. When a filmed storyline was declared litigious, the producers simply chopped as many scenes as they could. This led to a character (played by the wonderful Vivean Gray - Mrs Mangel of Neighbours fame) appearing without any introduction, delivering a few lines and then disappearing and never being mentioned again. Thankfully times have moved on as have production values.

Are we set for more tales of the unexpected down Weatherfield way? I'm looking forward to ten minutes of Rita and David discussing a Spode tea service, Peter and Fiz recreating moments from the US election, Audrey challenging Johnny to a darts match and Liz sat in t'back room gently humming to herself until the commercial break. Stay tuned.

Clinkers to Riddle, twitter @bridglondon

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