Another fab guest post from Anna Kalinski, who will soon be joining us as a Coronation Street Blogger. Follow Anna on twitter @annakalinski
Weatherfield Gazette to check the upcoming Corrie spoilers this week, I was disappointed to see that Katy is set to ‘break Chesney’s heart’ with her upcoming dalliance with Ryan. Yep. I’m thinking what you’re thinking.
“Oh Dear! I need a DJ at my party! Oh! Wherever will I find one?”
“Oooh! Has he got his deck out, or is he just pleased to see me?”
The interactions are already set up like a low budget 80s porno film. (What? My friend’s dad hid it in a Video Library case. We were 13. How were we supposed to know what ‘Electric Blue’ was? Traumatised. I’ve never since waited in for a sparky without a chaperone present. )
I am willing to wager that if we looked at the broad demographic of Corrie fans and their viewing habits - particularly amongst long-standing viewers - there would be many who do not watch other soaps because they feel alienated by the fake tan of Hollyoaks, the explosions of Emmerdale and the affairs of Eastenders. Cheap thrills have no resonance with most viewers, yet daily we see Corrie edging away from Tony Warren’s kitchen-sink premise and inching ever-closer to ‘A Corrie-mole revealed to the Sun’ territory.
My late grandmother, Hilda-Jean, Lancashire born and bred (she was never going to be from St Albans with a name like that.), would always watch only Corrie because for her it represented what she liked to call “real Lancashire people’s normal lives”. That and she didn’t like Cockneys.
Corrie viewers are traditionally more suspicious of newcomers and sensationalism than viewers of any other soap. Let’s admit it, when new characters start on Corrie, we don’t really like them; at least not before they’ve proved themselves. We start muttering about how we don’t like this new-fangled Stella/Eva/Kylie/Becky. We’ll stop watching at this rate. We’re the soap equivalent of those people who start saying they’ll “refuse to use Facebook if it changes to this new...” but then are happily posting away on it the next month.
However, if there’s one thing of which we are intolerant, it is ‘flavour-of-the-month’ younger characters monopolising the bulk of the airtime with their petty, circular and ultimately hollow dramas. And justifiably so. This week, we have seen some truly diabolical ‘performances’ from Katy’s ‘mates’ as the cast of the Chorlton-cum-Hardy version of Clueless, heralding yet another out of the blue pairing. What-ev-err.
The Katy/Ryan thing is not a storyline. Here’s what’s really happened: Ryan, easy on the eye though he is, is floating around aimlessly. What is a “hunk” without a sexy storyline? The producers have seen the recent paparazzi pictures of Georgia-May Foote glammed up. They of course think, ‘hang about, we can cash in on her if we put a bit of make-up on her, a miniskirt and pop in some Carmen rollers’. They might even get a cheeky Nuts shoot out of her. A Babes of Corrie shoot in a Sunday TV supplement beckons. They need new blood because, of course, you can’t be voted Sexiest Female over the age of 29. I mean Michelle Keegan is over 25 now, almost ready for the knacker’s and so of course will probably be put in a home soon or minced up into the soap equivalent of a Birdseye lasagne. Or Holby City, to call it by its name.
So, the Corrie sixty-minute makeover it is. Nice, fresh-faced homely female character suddenly turns temptress, working her way around the street with affairs and arbitrary pairings with any available male. Who all of a sudden notices her. They do however, usually wait until the actress turns 21. It happened to Maria, Rosie, Molly, Tina, hell, even Sunita, but they were pushing it there. But after that, where do they go? Nowhere. And herein lies the problem. They just drift into overexposure with no real storyline, or find themselves axed.
But, believe it or not, young women can do more than just have affairs and get involved with random wrong’uns. Audiences can actually enjoy the enduring relationships we see on screen: who could conceive of anybody disliking the pairing of Roy and Hayley? Jack and Vera? Ken and Deidre? Because, as in life, if a pairing is right, it will last.
Why on earth can’t Kylie actually continue to grow into a character of substance? Why can’t we see her as a successful mother? Why does Katy have to be incapable of fidelity because she’s young? Is it really so boring to represent young mothers in a positive light?
Coronation Street is fundamentally about families and interesting things happen in families. Not just people having affairs. Sometimes, women do stay faithful and most times drama does not have to be out of the ordinary for it to be extraordinary.
There were high hopes for new Corrie producer Stuart Blackburn (mind you, any port in a storm...) but here he is doing it again with recent spoilers of fires, deaths and suicide. Alas, we have again been underestimated. Blackburn can trust Corrie viewers. We’re not like all the rest. This is why we are so hard to please and exactly why we want characters to earn the crown and prove themselves to us. We will tune in for gritty, working-class character-based drama- if we are given it. We don’t need shocks, bombings, fires or sexy pairings. That’s not why we’re here. It never was.
The past few years have been increasingly difficult for families. Given its prominence, how disappointing that Coronation Street hasn’t really been able to provide at least a degree of social commentary, and by this, I don’t mean picking a controversial issue such as rape, and plonking it amongst all the other ‘A Weatherfield Gazette please, Rita’ sorts of goings on in the street in a token attempt to be seen to be “tackling tough social issues”. I mean something that we can look back upon and say that it genuinely reflected British society as it was back then.
With 2.5 million unemployed, when you lose your job, the owner of the local café doesn’t pop up and give you a few hours just because you asked. You aren’t made redundant one second, then the next, a card conveniently goes up in the window of your local newsagent and you’re hired without interview. In fact, it has the opposite effect of providing social commentary, for such scenes make it implicit that ‘it’s easy to get a job if you’re looking’ and reinforce already deeply negative stereotypes about the jobless. I don’t know what these positions are paying, but presumably a good solid twenty-five quid an hour to pay the rent or mortgage on a house and support a family, whilst leaving enough disposable income to keep buying these laptops? Though presumably, people struggling doesn’t provide enough material from which to create any sort of engaging drama. Alan Bleasdale might disagree.
Corrie suffers greatly from such lack of strivers. I’m not saying families don’t break up. They do. 1 in 3 families is estimated to be a stepfamily. And yet another trick missed. Here on Coronation Street, family dynamics are glossed over unless it’s affair-related. Aadi and Asha take to Karl like a duck to water; did they even notice? Amy welcomed Becky as a second mother without a glitch. It’s all a bit Wife Swap.
Families are immensely complex, intense and problematic and there is scope to explore this and to give women in particular, opportunities to take on roles of substance and show their mettle and of course, to provide a forum for quality characterisation without resorting to courting the bad boys or the tabloids. Because we’ll never get another Jack and Vera at this rate…
You can follow us on Twitter @CoroStreetBlog and Facebook: CoronationStreetBlog
All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License
Our Top 10 Blog Posts in last 7 days (automatically updated)
If you're wondering where you've seen Dan's daughter Lucy before, then wonder no more. Lucy was played by actress Sammy Olive...
Dan the Brewery Man brings his daughter Lucy to meet Liz next week on Coronation Street . And as you can see from the picture above, Liz ...
Here are some sneak peek pictures for the Coronation Street episode to be shown on Friday 7 August. When Carla catches Sally snoo...
Coronation Street's live episode in September this year is in celebration of ITV's 60th birthday. We already know that it'll...
What is going on with the current Coronation Street schedule? Just a few days after our blogger Merseytart wonderfully sang the praises o...
Craig Charles, who plays Lloyd Mullaney on Coronation Street, has filmed his final scenes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Lloyd has left the ...
Tony might have disappeared from Liz's life on Coronation Street - for now - but he'll be back. Beverley Callard, who plays Liz,...
There's a live hour-long episode of Coronation Street coming our way in September this year. It's to celebrate the 60th birthday o...
Sarah Harding, who appeared as Joni Preston on Coronation Street last week, will not be returning to the show, says The Sun today. Mr Cu...
ITV today has announced that two more Connors are to come to Weatherfield in September. Next month sees Michelle's cousin, Aidan play...
Click on a name to find out more about your Corrie favourites!
aidan connor alan halsall alex bain alison king alison sinclair all about soap awards amy barlow amy kelly andrea beckett andrew paul andy carver andy whyment anna windass anne kirkbride antony cotton audrey roberts awards barbara knox barlows battleaxes becky mcdonald behind the scenes ben price ben tagoe bet gilroy bet lynch beth tinker bethany platt betty driver betty turpin betty williams betty's hotpot bev callard bev unwin beverley callard bill roache bill tarmey billy mayhew billy the vicar blanche hunt brooke vincent bruno langley Callum Logan can i visit the coronation street set Canada canadian coronation street fans cardy o'donnell carla barlow carla connor carmel morgan catherine tyldesley cathy matthews celebrities on coronation street characters joining coronation street characters leaving coronation street charlie condou cherylee houston chesney brown chris fewtrell chris gascoyne claire king classic corrie clothes worn on coronation street colson smith competition conversation street coronation street art coronation street fan events coronation street fan of the week coronation street fans coronation street funerals coronation street history coronation street in canada coronation street look-a-like coronation street map coronation street men coronation street merchandise coronation street news coronation street spoilers Coronation Street The Tour coronation street weekly update coronation street weekly updates coronation street writers craig charles damon rochefort daran little david neilson david platt debbie oates debbie rush deirdre barlow deirdre hunt deirdre Langton deirdre perm deirdre rachid Dennis Tanner dev alahan eileen derbyshire eileen grimshaw ellie-louise leach elsie tanner emily bishop emily nugent ena sharples exclusive interview famous people who have been in corrie fat brenda faye windass fiz brown fiz stape flaming nora florizel street flying ducks gail hillman Gail McIntyre gail platt gail potter gail rodwell gail tilsley gary windass gary's army diaries gay and lesbians gay men in coronation street gay men in soaps gay women in soaps granada manchester coronation street set granada studios gurn of the week helen worth hilda ogden hilda ogden's curlers Hope Stape hot pot how to contact coronation street inside soap magazine izzy armstrong jack and vera duckworth jack p shepherd jane danson jane danson's husband jason grimshaw jennie mcalpine jigsaw jimmi harkishin job vacancies at coronation street julie carp julie goodyear julie hesmondhalgh julie jones julie walters kabin karen mcdonald kate ford katherine kelly kathy jones katie mcglynn Katy Cavanagh ken barlow kevin webster kim crowther kirk sutherland kylie platt kylie turner kym marsh kym ryder leanne barlow leanne battersby leanne tilsley leanne's real mother les dennis lisa george liz mcdonald lloyd mullaney maggie jones malcolm hebden maria connor maria gordon maria sutherland mark llewellin maxine's bench michael le vell michelle connor mikey north mikey north miley windass minnie caldwell Morrissey mothers on the cobbles new set newton and ridley nick tilsley nick's bistro nigel pivaro no.1 Coronation Street no.11 coronation street no.13 coronation street no.3 coronation street no.5 coronation street no.6 coronation street no.7 coronation street no.9 coronation street norris cole norris cole's brother nuttalls brewery odd side of the street official coronation street website oldham coliseum on location outside broadcast paddy mcguinness pat phoenix patti claire patti clare paula lane peter barlow peter gunn pets on coronation street phil collinson Philip Lowrie pickled jo pictures of the coronation street set pigeons pillars of the community platt family props qasim akhtar returning characters rita fairclough rita littlewood rita sullivan road to coronation street rovers bosses rovers fire rovers return rovers return barmaids rovers return fire rovers return landlady roy and hayley roy cropper roys rolls ryan thomas sally webster sally and tim sally dynevor sally webster sally whittaker sam aston samia smith sarah platt schmeichel sean tully simon barlow simon crowther simon gregson sinead tinker sophie webster state of the street steve mcdonald storyline speculation storylines streetcars stuart blackburn stuffed marrow sue cleaver sue johnston sue nicholls sylvia cropper sylvia goodwin terence maynard terry duckworth the corrie years the kabin the road to coronation street through the years tina mcintyre todd grimshaw tony warren Tony Warren inspiration tours of coronation street tracy barlow trafford set tram crash tricia hopkins tyrone dobbs underworld underworld sign unofficial book vera duckworth victoria court fire walking tours weatherfield weatherfield arms weatherfield council weatherfield county weatherfield county football club weatherfield fire station weatherfield gazette weatherfield haulage Weatherfield Open Days weatherfield style weatherfield wayfarer wedding wedding dress weddings weekly awards weekly update where have you seen william roache William Roache Interview window cleaners writers for soaps