Thursday, 19 February 2015

Empathetic Street

(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in February 2015.)

David Neilson is a marvellous actor. Yet again last night he stole the show with his moving, touching and incredibly human performance as Roy Cropper. The scenes leading up to Roy scattering Hayley's ashes were beautifully played.

Everything about our Roy is pitched perfectly, David never ever puts in a below par performance, and that's after nearly twenty years in the role. His recent storyline with Gary Windass was on the controversial side, splitting opinion both on and off screen but the character of Roy was true and accurately portrayed throughout. Roy is also now one of the few Corrie characters who can move me to tears, often when I least expect it. I empathise with Roy in a way I do with few other Corrie regulars.

I was thinking about what an emotional programme Coronation Street can be for its loyal viewers. I guess continuing drama is in general as the viewing public often see the same faces in their living rooms for decades and you can't help but form attachments to many of the characters. However I always think the longevity of both Corrie and many of its characters make it extra special. 

Thinking of the classic Corrie scenes that always bring a tear to my eye is not difficult, however most involve longstanding characters. Hilda, clutching Stan's spectacle case, sitting alone in number 13 after his funeral. Rita and Mavis parting company after working together for 25 years in the Kabin. Audrey saying a tearful farewell to Alf and then Alma. Elsie Tanner walking out of Weatherfield for one last time in 1984. And of course Hayley's exit in early 2014.

All these examples have something in common - strong women showing their vulnerability. The question is, do today's strong Corrie women elicit the same response? Jane Danson has terrific acting talent but Leanne is quite often particularly unlikeable. Alison King is a joy as Carla but surely this character's emotional roller coaster of a life has now stretched credibility to snapping point? Helen Worth brings Gail to life with such ease, even after all these years but Gail is a character that, despite her long history, I really do struggle to empathise with, mainly because she's prone to simpering daftness. Michelle and Eileen are both typical strong Corrie women but I find it difficult to form emotional attachments to either these days.

And what of the younger generation? Fiz, Sinead, Katy, Maria, Izzy, Sophie and the rest. Unfortunately the only reaction most of these younger characters elicit from me is irritation. Sinead's speech to Roy the other night was one of the few exceptions, mainly down to the fact it was beautifully written. Eva, Steph and Julie are all superb modern Corrie women but sadly they are just not being given the chance to sink their acting chops into great material. I just don't buy into their stories as I did with the likes of Rita, Audrey, Alma or Elsie. 

Times change and viewers look for different things. For me though, nothing can beat the likes of Phyllis Pearce, quietly facing up to old age with dignity or the vulnerable, idealistic Raquel chasing her dreams. 

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Anonymous said...

Why do the attribution credits keep showing August 2013? That's obviously not the date these recent blogs were posted on the "Corrienet blog".

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the correction.

Tvor said...

Thanks for the heads up. I copy and paste the "blogging rights" and was using a different file than usual.

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