Thursday, 30 October 2014

Telling it like it is

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in September 2014, reposted with permission.)

I think it's a brilliant move to give Steve McDonald a more serious, challenging storyline to play out. Simon Gregson has mainly been playing comedy of late and although he is a gifted comic actor I think tackling the issue of depression will really give him something to get his acting chops around.

Depression is frequently discussed on television these days and quite right too. I know Coronation Street will handle this topic sensitively and much research will be done by all concerned. I also think it's a very good idea to turn the spotlight on depression in men, particularly those of Steve's age. 

On the face of it Steve is very successful and you might wonder why he could ever be depressed. He is in a longterm relationship, has a daughter he loves dearly, friends who care about him and two successful businesses. In many ways, these facts make Steve the ideal candidate for this storyline.

Having read a little about this in the press, it would seem the story will focus on Steve's feelings that he has been a failure, particularly in relation to the Peter Barlow business and the lead up to Tina's death. While it will be interesting to explore this, I hope they will also tackle some issues much closer to home.

I've made it clear in the past that I'm not keen on Michelle. She's unsympathetic and sometimes down right unlikeable. Stuart Blackburn describes Steve and Michelle as a love story but I really don't buy into that idea. While support from Michelle and Liz will ultimately play a big part in helping Steve, I hope this storyline also includes Liz and Michelle taking a good look at the way they treat him. 

I've been very uncomfortable in the past with how Liz and Michelle in particular belittle and undermine Steve. The storyline which saw Steve return to education is the best example of this. Instead of supporting his efforts to return to further education (no mean feat as I know only too well), both partner and mother mocked him and showed little faith that he would go the distance. Sadly this story was really only a plot device to introduce Andrea as I'd really like to have seen more of Steve's journey through education. 

The depression storyline, if tackled appropriately, should affect those close to Steve as well as the man himself. If Michelle and Liz are not made to identify themselves as part of the problem, this Corrie viewer will not be best pleased. I look forward to seeing how this brave new story for Steve plays out over the coming months. 

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