Monday, 13 July 2015

The Wednesday Play

(This post was originally posted by Scott Willison on the Coronation Street Blog in July 2015.)

(regarding the days that Corrie is broadcast in the UK) 

In the beginning, there were two episodes of Coronation Street, and it was good.  Mondays and Wednesdays, week in, week out, unchanging.

Then a third episode came along.  Ok, we said.  Seems fair.  A Friday episode makes the week nicely balanced.  Symmetrical almost.

Then there were special episodes.  And a Sunday episode.  And two episodes on some days, and that period where it was on a Thursday, remember?  It all got a bit odd.

Finally, the schedulers settled on two episodes on Monday, one on Wednesday, and two on Friday.  Done.

You'd expect all these episodes to be more or less the same, but something odd has happened.  The Wednesday episode has become my favourite of the Corrie week.

Monday and Friday's episodes have a burden placed on them by ITV: get people to turn back to the third channel after EastEnders.  It means that typically, the first episode of the double bill will end on a shocking cliffhanger that means you absolutely, positively have to tune back in at 8:30.  Corrie is the gateway drug for the rest of the evening; ITV hopes that having stuck with Weatherfield right up to nine o'clock you'll hang around and watch the big drama they have lined up afterwards.  It's imperative that you turn away from BBC One after the doof-doofs have sounded.

On Wednesday, though, things are a bit more free and easy.  There's no EastEnders at all.  It's a bit of a fallow night for telly across the board.  It's all a bit half-hearted.  And it means that the Wednesday episode is given room to breathe and have a bit of fun.

Nothing that important happens in a Wednesday episode.  The important stuff is saved for the Mondays and the Fridays, when you can get a shocked face and a tense moment and a "Coronation Street continues in half an hour."  In a Wednesday episode, you can tread water.  Look at this week's episode.  There was the fall out from Julie splitting up with Dev, mostly conveyed through faux-High Noon comedy moments in the street and Ms Carp shouting through the letterbox.  Steve came back, and was upset about Tony owning half the pub, but his frustration was played for laughs.  Even Michael asking for a divorce didn't have the finality or drama it might have had at the weekend; it was a bit light and funny.

The previews for tonight's episode though?  Bailiffs visit Cathy.  Tracy Barlow gets carted off by the police.  The recently released from hospital Erica returns to see Nick.  It's all emotions and histrionics and drama.

Sometimes you want an exploding builder's yard killing a young girl, and sometimes you just want Steve kissing his dog before his new wife.

Thank you Wednesday.

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