Sunday, 6 March 2016

Top 5 reasons I love Coronation Street

(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora and Rachel Hawkins on the Coronation Street Blog February 2016, reposted to this blog with permission, slightly edited to remove spoilers.)

Guest blog post from Rachel Hawkins.  
Rachel's website is here and she's on twitter at @Our_Rach
Would you like to be a guest blogger? 
Details here.

"Coronation Street.  It’s an institution isn’t it?  The longest running soap in British history has had legions of loyal fans ever since its debut back in 1960.  It’s the one and only soap my mum never misses and one that’s had me captivated since I began watching it as a child.

I’ve had a love / hate relationship with numerous soaps over the years, when I was growing up I was a fully-fledged Soap Opera obsessive (my first e-mail address was soapqueen86 – cringe). 

However, I fell out of love with EastEnders back in 2013 and I ditched the Australian soaps in the early noughties but Coronation Street is the one soap I’ve always enjoyed watching.

With this in mind, I thought I’d compile a list of the reasons why Coronation Street is a winner for me and why I believe its popularity shows no sign of waning despite it being in its 56th year of production.

5. Scriptwriting 
Corrie has been exceptionally lucky with its scriptwriting team over the years.  Some of the lines that have been delivered by the actors are nothing short of genius.  Take Mary Taylor for example, the somewhat unlucky in love, exactly how old is she lodger of Dev’s.  Whoever writes her lines is a comedic marvel.  “I just mated your husband….twice” while discussing a chess match between herself and Roy Cropper.  “Mother wouldn’t even eat a banana in public” she recently informed Michelle and Erica.  The timing in which lines are delivered is superb.   I’ve always admired scriptwriters of TV shows, especially those that work on soaps.  The continuity is so paramount and Coronation Street always ensure they’re consistent with this. 

4. Humour

As aforementioned, we’re often treated to some incredibly funny lines by Coronation Street.  Kudos to the scriptwriting team for their efforts here but of course we also have to thank the many talented actors and actresses who deliver their lines with ultimate precision.  Steve McDonald is a Corrie fave amongst most, including myself.  Simon Gregson who plays Steve McDonald has the incredible ability of delivering some of the most side-splitting lines in the most deadpan way.  Who can forget Blanche, Deidre’s quick off the mark Mother.  Another fantastic Corrie character who had some of the most hilarious scenes during her Coronation Street tenure.   If I’m honest, there’s too many amazingly witty characters to mention.  They’re all fabulous!  I love Northern humour, Phoenix Nights for example is one of my favourite Comedy shows of all time, and for me Coronation Street embodies Northern humour perfectly.

3. Characterisation 

So many characters have come and gone over the last 55 years.  We’ve welcomed them into our homes, got to know them and often fallen in love with many of them too.  It’s always sad when a Corrie fave decides to leave.  I adore Carla.  If I could be anyone in the soap world it would be her.  Coronation Street hit the jackpot with Alison King, she’s been such an asset to the soap.  Michelle Keegan was another actress who helped us to fall in love with her character Tina McIntyre, she definitely left a void when she departed 3 years ago. 
Of course, there’s the characters so many of us love to hate.  Norris Cole perhaps? Despite his obnoxious and often offensive ways, I can’t help but love the character. In actual fact, I’m hard pushed to find many characters I loathe; Tracy Barlow at a push perhaps, but I have to admit, I almost felt sorry for her when Robert dumped her so publically towards the end of 2015.  I’m interested to see how the Phelan and Anna storyline progresses, isn’t he vile?  Lovely bloke in real life but an absolute rotter in the show itself.

2. Easy watching 

For many, Corrie is a way of escapism.  7:30pm comes, the kettle goes on, you make yourself comfy on your sofa, potentially with your snack of choice in hand and you know you’re in for 30 minutes (or sometimes an hour if you’re lucky) of entertainment.  A time for you to potentially forget what might be troubling you and immerse yourself in some drama and some hilarity.  Watching Corrie never feels like a chore like I often used to find with a couple of soaps I watched in the past.

1. Bold decisions
From deciding to attempt live episodes featuring epic stunts through to casting ex popstars into acting roles, never let it be said that the producers at Coronation Street shy away from making bold and perhaps sometimes unpopular decisions.  Some risks have paid off (Shayne Ward), others not so (Sarah Harding anyone?).  I applaud Coronation Street for this.  The transition from musician to actor can’t be easy and soaps are often criticised for introducing popstars into the fray.  Corrie know what they’re doing and if something doesn’t work, they hold their hands up and admit their mistakes. 

By guest blogger Rachel Hawkins.  
Rachel's website is here and she's on twitter at @Our_Rach

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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