Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Corrie Superfan seeks paint drying companion

(This post was originally posted by Stevie Dawson on the Coronation Street Blog in May 2015.)

In its current form, Coronation Street wouldn't be commissioned today. Imagine approaching ITV with a proposal for a new continuing drama called Coronation Street, set on an old terraced backstreet, with a corner shop at one end and an old boozer at the other. Half the cast are at pension age and the proposed storylines include a man keeping chickens in his back garden. The Tony Warrens of today would have a battle on their hands trying to persuade commissioners to put Coronation Street on telly at all, let alone in a prime time slot. And yet there it stands, after fifty plus years, the most watched programme on British television. It's been a while since I've blogged, so here are a few of my thoughts on where Corrie stands at the moment:

Do we really like Corrie that much or are we just creatures of habit?

A fellow blogger vented his frustration on Twitter yesterday about the direction Corrie is going in since the emotional story of Hayley cropper's pancreatic cancer and subsequent death last year. And I have to agree, 'peaks and troughs' seems an appropriate way of describing the quality of our favourite show, which lurches from gripping drama to light hearted comedy to frustratingly dull and badly acted waste of half an hour. Like all soaps, some storylines are dragged out over months and in some cases over a whole year in order for the narrative to develop and seem realistic, but if those months of anticipation are filled with repeated stories and disappointing cliff-hangers, the viewer loses interest and the ending becomes a relief rather than an enjoyment. (Image: Bloggers at the new set earlier this year)

Spoiler Alert

There seem to be more Coronation Street spoilers now than ever before, on Twitter, in magazines and on television. The only problem is, so much effort has gone into making them that they deem watching the full-length episodes pointless. Not only do they show the best bits, but they even show the punchline these days too. By the time we get to the actual episode, we realise that we already knew EXACTLY what was going to happen. No surprises, no twist. Nowt. 

Corrie goes POP

Shayne Ward and Sarah Harding are the latest pop stars to join the Corrie cast, following in the footsteps of now long-serving actress Kym Marsh. My immediate response was to roll my eyes and groan. I've always been of the opinion that the North West of England is brimming with talent and I'd much rather see new faces like we did when Michelle Keegan and Georgia May Foote came on board. However, as was said to me by another fellow blogger when we visited the new set recently, jobbing actors are jobbing actors and we shouldn't begrudge them a job. And as we haven't seen whether Shayne and Sarah come up with the goods yet, perhaps we should give them a chance. 
(Image: Shayne Ward)

Tipping Point

Coronation Street is most loved for it's ability to get the comedy right and portray true northern grit. Even amidst some pretty hard hitting storylines, there's always a bit of light-heartedness in all of the doom and gloom. Major storylines seem to be few and far between at the minute, with Gavin's secret still not out and the Tracy and Tony situation simmering away, there's not really a great deal happening. We've been offered a bit of light relief with Mary's motor-home madness but I could probably have done without the allotment story which has introduced us to a new friend for Roy. We are all invested in Roy's happiness and all of his scenes are brilliantly played, but it's just a bit dull. In the past year we've seen the aftermath of Hayley's cancer death, a disappointing bus crash (again, the spoilers left nothing to the imagination), Sinead's far from emotionally gripping struggle to learn to walk again, and the loss of a handful of characters we probably won't miss. We should brace ourselves for some bad news about Deirdre, and hopefully see the end of some of the slow burning stories I've mentioned, so there should be some great scenes to look forward to. The one surprising development in recent weeks has been Jenny Bradley's descent into mad psycho. It's the not the direction I thought they'd be taking her character, especially with such an interesting history with Rita, and it all seems very familiar.

Stop the Cull

Now that we have a new Tory government in Britain, Armageddon can't be too far away, and it seems to have already begun at Coronation Street. We've lost Owen, Katy, Peter Barlow and others this year, soon to be followed by what will be huge losses. There's talk of mutiny in the ranks at ITV if the press are to be believed so there could be more off-screen drama to come too.

Everlasting Love

It might be a bit hard going being a Corrie superfan at the moment, what with never ending storylines and little left to the imagination, but as always, Coronation Street will recover.

So Graeme, if you're reading this...don't give up just yet.


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