Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A matter of age

(This post was originally posted by Michael Adams on the Coronation Street Blog in June 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)

I can't help but feel that the surge of complaints regarding the Bethany Platt grooming storyline are unreasonable. I've blogged in the past about the rising numbers of younger viewers watching Coronation Street and setting up their own fan accounts, primarily on Instagram. I've also seen pages set upon on Facebook and Twitter, and even on YouTube were 'edits' and reviews are made. It's this younger generation that are increasingly becoming less self-aware of the dangers of the internet, because they have been brought up into a generation where technology is everywhere and is part of everyday life.

The roots of Bethany's story were when she started vlogging about beauty products at Nathan's request. To him, this was free promotion of his 'tanning salon', which is an obvious front to hide the horrors happening in the flat above. To Bethany, she was becoming a popular social media star overnight and was enjoying this - much to Nathan's delight as this meant she put further trust in him.

To the younger generation of fans who are forever creating new pieces of content on Instagram, it is so easy for them to fall into the wrong hands, and this is Coronation Street's response to that, to make the viewers who idolise Lucy Fallon as Bethany Platt, realise the harsh reality of life online.

What angers me is that older fans, who are definitely of a pre-internet time and are mature enough to understand the dangers of the online world are criticising the storyline, saying that it is unbearable to watch and not relevant, almost as if producers are taking the story too far. These are the people watching the programme through rose tinted glasses! They think that Bethany is stupid for believing Nathan's lies, but that's because they have never been in the same situation as her and never will be either. The younger fans however are worryingly more likely to be exploited online, and Coronation Street is giving this horrible scenario the exposure it deserves, to raise awareness of what is only going to get worse if action against grooming is not taken.

It always upsets me when people complain to Ofcom because they simply "do not like" a storyline, especially when its a storyline that is highlighting a major issue from today's society. If we don't talk about this, who will? And it's almost always a matter of age. I see no problem whatsoever with Corrie running such a story, and I have no doubts that it will have been a major talking point in some households where children find themselves using the internet frequently. This storyline has the ability to change and save lives!

Rant over! You can find me over on Twitter @MichaelAdamsUk

Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter


Peter said...

This 'rant' is grossly unfair. How do you know that all the people who are complaining about this storyline are of 'pre internet era'? Seriously, how do you know? Nor can you say for certain that all the people who complain to Ofcom about the storyline are doing so just because 'they don't like it.'

This storyline has divided the viewers. It's incredibly tough to watch and I am now one of the loyal viewers who says it's now got too tough. It's repulsive and awful and terrifying and this is a soap opera that yes, is watched by countless fans of a younger generation but is it appropriate? Probably no, it isn't appropriate.

However, I will say that it has been portrayed well and would appear to be very factually accurate - perhaps that is why it has been so tough to watch? And yes, I don't think Corrie should shy away from issues such as this either. It's just this storyline is perhaps a step too far.

I am 32 years old. I would like to think i'm not that old to think that because I do not like a storyline (or am particularly enjoying it), that I have become too old and therefore my opinion isn't worth anything or is simply irrelevant - an argument you insinuate as part of this post which I also find to be highly disrespectful.

Tvor said...

The person that wrote the original blog post is of the younger generation, probably younger than you. I am likely close to what he thinks of as the "pre internet" generation. I certainly remember life without the internet. I feel that people from my generation are horrified, not because it's inappropriate, but because most of us have children or young family members and know how easy something like this could happen to our loved ones. We were brought up with the warning "don't get in a car with a stranger" yet now people meet strangers online and then in "real life" all the time. Men like Nathan aren't anything new. Pimps have been around to prey on young women for a very long time. Bethany might not have been put out on the street to get clients but Nathan is pimping her out just the same. There have been corrupt police officers forever too so why not have one in the storyline? The blog post may be using generalizations but it's his opinion. I don't think it's unfair, but it's from a younger person's point of view, too.

Anonymous said...

I am 72 years old, so definitely in the group being accused of not understanding the importance of a storyline like this. Yes it is shocking, and hard to watch, but it is going on in every town and city throughout the world. I recently watched 'Three Girls', and while I was shocked by what happened to the girls in Rochdale, I was even more shocked at the end when they posted the names of all the towns since then where they had uncovered similar atrocities. Coronation Street is one of the most widely watched shows in the world, if this storyline makes even one girl realise what she is into, and is moved to get help, it will have been well worth it. Yes we enjoy the humour in the show, and they have tried to balance off this story with Brian and Cathy (success of that is debateable), but Bethany's story is real life these days, whether we like it or not. Kudos to Coronation Street for tackling it.

Mary Ziegler said...

Coronation Street are tackling issues that when we first started in myself, 50 years ago, were unheard of.

Bravo to them for bringing to light the horrors of this current story with Bethany. It's not easy to watch of course..just as Fizz's child having cancer was not easy. Having been in Fizz's shoes with my own young child I felt they portrayed it well and brought to light the reality of such a tragic event that sadly is all too real for many people.

I say they are doing a great job and anybody who is offended may need to switch channels.

Peter said...

I don't actually have a problem with Coronation Street tackling this storyline whatsoever, just to clarify (though I do feel it has gone too far on this occassion.) My issue is with the OP insinuating that anyone who doesn't like it is basically old and therefore not worth listening to. That is what is offensive.

Anonymous said...

the storyline is great, hard to watch just as Sarah's teenage pregnancy story was hard to watch all those years ago
best line was Audrey asking Bethany 'is he sharing you' - the look on her face...

Daithi_c said...

Great acting, horribly true-to-life storyline.
I like the parts where you can tell that deep-down
Bethany knows things are wrong, but doesn't have
enough experience, or confidence (which Nathan has
been eroding to make her dependent on him) to think
for herself and see through his flattery and lies.

Perhaps it's just been going on long enough to make
the points, and I hope and trust that it will be wrapped
up soon, and we can get back to hating Pat again
and wondering when Andy's body will surface... ;)

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