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So, we’ve just witnessed another major week for Corrie. When I viewed all five episodes in Manchester a short time ago, I thought they were brilliant, and was looking forward to seeing how they would be received by fans. In fact, I was still on the edge of my seat viewing last night’s double in which David made his escape by tricking Gail, managed to get the car started and sped it full of petrol down the street as Lily escaped Fiz’s care. It was the sight of his daughter in the road that saw David jam on the breaks and flip the car over on top of her and the heroic Gary Windass. It was a lucky escape for them, but not for Anna who caught fire in what was a rather traumatic scene. It was gripping, shocking and dramatic and very strong stuff indeed.
A number of us have written about the change in the air, including my fellow blogger Clinkers who has also articulated his thoughts today, and which are very much in line with mine.
It was as if this week was a showcase of what we might come to expect from new producer Kate Oates and while cars naturally won’t be exploding in the street every night, the evidence of a positive shift can be found elsewhere in the drama.
For me, the hallmarks of quality were found in the performances, dialogue, direction, pace, characterisation, the sense of community that was created, the return of Peter Barlow and the lack of spoilers. In fact, the only thing I didn’t like was the music at the end which didn’t feel very Corrie, and I don’t think ever will.
This wasn’t just a big week for Corrie though, but ITV in general with Emmerdale also staging a special set of episodes. Like Clinkers, I found myself watching the latter for the first time which had me pondering if I was proof that hype really does work. I thought the overall idea on Emmerdale was brilliant, and that the week had some great moments, but I think I would need to watch regularly when normal services resume to really know if I’ll be adding it to my appointment to view television. This, I suppose, leaves the jury out on whether 'explosive' weeks succeed in winning new viewers. But, what does it matter? Both Emmerdale and Corrie draw in millions of loyal fans for every episode regardless.
The argument against such weeks is that they are sensational, and a departure from the norm arguably for the sake of hype and ratings. But sometimes the hype is deserved, and I have no objection to them, because they are engaging and enjoyable, and a great excuse to show what the programme and actors are capable of. Also, while they shake things up a bit, it all has to go back to normal. It must. And for me, there was even enough ‘normal’ Corrie in there despite the shocking elements to assure me that, exploding car aside, things are very promising. In fact, there was more ‘normal’ Corrie in there than there has been in some time.
The week leaves some characters in interesting positions. How will Anna fare? Gary and Sarah are close relatives of the injured and injurer, will this allow their love blossom, or prove an obstacle? What is Peter Barlow hiding? What will happen to Ken? You’d have to think from the way it ended that David is cured of his desire to die in the pursuit of revenge for the sake of the kids, but what will the consequences of his actions be, for both him and others? What will Clayton’s verdict be, and how will David react?
There is just so much of interest to tune in for, but more than that, this week and those directly prior to it show that it is all likely to be handled very well.
I'd also like to mention that today marks my three year anniversary of being a member of the team on this wonderful blog. I continue to feel very happy and privileged to bring you my thoughts on our favourite programme, and to share in yours, and long may it last.
Read my interviews with Chris Gascoyne, Bill Roache, Helen Worth, Jack P. Shepherd and Ben Price.