(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2015.)
I'm feeling a bit "meh" about Coronation Street at the moment. There are some good bits and some not so good bits, yet nothing truly awful. I'm in the midst of a Corrie conundrum.
I'll kick off with what I'm enjoying at the moment. Strangely, I'm beginning to quite like Steve and Michelle together. Steve has always been a favourite, Michelle less so. However her unflinching support now his depression is out in the open has been pleasing to see. I actually have less of a problem imagining them walking down the aisle now. Having said that, I stand by my original comments that it would be more truthful to the depression storyline had we seen more of Steve interacting with his counselor. A bit like Tim's reading difficulties, this side of things has been badly handled.
I've also thoroughly enjoyed the ongoing Kevin/Jenny/Rita story. I hope we will see more of this soon. There's always a risk attached to bringing back characters from another era however Jenny has slotted back in beautifully and I really don't want her to leave again. I hope her story is not cut and dried - I like elements of her ginger minx character but I think it's time for some more layers.
I was dubious about Faye's pregnancy storyline but the young actress Ellie Leach has put in some superb performances so far. I hope it doesn't end up going over old ground however as Sarah and Bethany will shortly be back with us it would be absurd for them not to share scenes and experience. I've also loved Craig's involvement in this story. Colson Smith is a great actor and has come on leaps and bounds. Craig has been a loyal and supportive friend to Faye and it's heartening to see a younger character with those qualities.
It has been a joy to see more of Emily too. I have liked her interactions with Billy the vicar and it's good to see her doing something that doesn't just involve making up the numbers with Rita and Norris. I fear that sometimes the character of Emily is treated as nothing more than a walk on part but given the right material Eileen Derbyshire still knows how to play it. Unfortunately the material just doesn't always seem to be there.
I'm missing Eva already. Of the three actresses away on maternity leave, she leaves the biggest gap for me. True, Fiz and Kylie have carried bigger story lines but Eva is such a refreshing presence in Corrie that I think her absence will be the most keenly felt. I'm also missing Carla who seems to have disappeared into the Corrie cupboard along with my favourite Nazir, the sparky, spiky Yasmeen. I'm still enjoying Steph even though her current storyline is irritating me (more later) and I hope we see more of her brother Luke. I'm not sure being saddled with Maria is the best thing for his character but the siblings are a breath of fresh air. Finally, I have high hopes for Roy's upcoming friendship with newcomer Cathy. I can see Melanie Hill having great chemistry with David Neilson and as we have been assured it will not be a romantic storyline we can all sit back and enjoy.
Now to some of my low points from recent viewing. I think my general feeling is that there are currently just too many characters I don't really care about or see myself investing time in learning to like. I think I'll call it Sophie Webster syndrome. On paper they read like a good idea but in practice, less so.
We'll start with the Windass-Armstrong clan. All the stuff with Linda just did nothing for me. I already disliked Owen so this has just shunted him further into the pit of scheming negativity. Anna, who has had her moments is swiftly turning into a pinny-clad shrew who spends her time ferrying plates of food back and forth with a permanent scowl on her face. Katy is pointless but she's away soon so we'll leave that be. Izzy seemed surplus to requirements after her split with Gary so who knows what she'll be before long?
Apart from this lot, the other family dominating screen time at the moment are the Platts. I don't even know if they have a collective name anymore as so many surnames are involved. Platt, McIntyre, Roberts, Tilsley, Rodwell, Carver, Logan, Turner. Phew. I love Audrey's constant support in the background but she needs to ditch them all fast and crawl out of number 8 into a storyline of her own that also does not involve Maria, Ken Barlow or Anna Karenina. Gail and Michael are an excellent match, two big drips. All this stuff with David, Max and Callum is tedious. They all seem to have forgotten that Kylie didn't just leave, David chucked her out. Callum is yet to develop into a character worth keeping, I'm not sure if they are writing him as a villain or a camp comedy element. Whatever, it's dragging on too long.
Talking of dragging on too long, we now come to the ongoing Andy/Gavin saga. It feels to me that the writers don't have enough confidence in their basic plotlines so they must constantly make them even more complex and therefore unbelievable. Kudos to stalwarts Helen Worth and Sue Nicholls for keeping up with this one. I actually quite enjoyed the real Gavin, he was an odious baddie got rid of far too soon. He could've given Callum some tips. Basically it's all just too convoluted and at the end of it I don't really care what happens to any of them. We've been promised it will come to a dramatic head and that there will be repercussions for all. Hooray. More simpering Gail and scenes of Michael clutching his chest. When Gail asks him if it's his heart, it would be the perfect time for Les Dennis to squeak out "I don't really know..."
Less irritating but worth a ponder is the continuing presence of Chesney and Sinead. Why can Coronation Street no longer create and develop nice characters who are also interesting? Why does nice equal dull or old before their time? And when these options run out they can always morph into vamps that bed their neighbours, turn bunny boilers and face horrible deaths which are accompanied by swathes of publicity. Chesney and Sinead should be likeable. We, the collective audience should be fighting for them, willing them on. Not leaving the room to stick the kettle on whenever they appear.
Minor points before I go: I hope we never see Liz's friend Erica ever again. Sharif needs to be bundled into the van that comes to take the chickens away and never be seen again. The chickens can stay. I'm still not sure about Vicar Billy but that may be because he's sharing most of his scenes with Sean. Todd's London backstory - what on earth is it?? Still don't like Andrea.
And on a purely gratuitous note, can we have more scenes written in featuring Gary Windass with his top off. Even at the cafe, I don't care about the hygiene risks. I've been in it, it's not that clean.
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