Saturday, 7 February 2015

Empathetic Street


David Neilson is a marvellous actor. Yet again last night he stole the show with his moving, touching and incredibly human performance as Roy Cropper. The scenes leading up to Roy scattering Hayley's ashes were beautifully played.

Everything about our Roy is pitched perfectly, David never ever puts in a below par performance, and that's after nearly twenty years in the role. His recent storyline with Gary Windass was on the controversial side, splitting opinion both on and off screen but the character of Roy was true and accurately portrayed throughout. Roy is also now one of the few Corrie characters who can move me to tears, often when I least expect it. I empathise with Roy in a way I do with few other Corrie regulars.

I was thinking about what an emotional programme Coronation Street can be for its loyal viewers. I guess continuing drama is in general as the viewing public often see the same faces in their living rooms for decades and you can't help but form attachments to many of the characters. However I always think the longevity of both Corrie and many of its characters make it extra special. 

Thinking of the classic Corrie scenes that always bring a tear to my eye is not difficult, however most involve longstanding characters. Hilda, clutching Stan's spectacle case, sitting alone in number 13 after his funeral. Rita and Mavis parting company after working together for 25 years in the Kabin. Audrey saying a tearful farewell to Alf and then Alma. Elsie Tanner walking out of Weatherfield for one last time in 1984. And of course Hayley's exit in early 2014.

All these examples have something in common - strong women showing their vulnerability. The question is, do today's strong Corrie women elicit the same response? Jane Danson has terrific acting talent but Leanne is quite often particularly unlikeable. Alison King is a joy as Carla but surely this character's emotional roller coaster of a life has now stretched credibility to snapping point? Helen Worth brings Gail to life with such ease, even after all these years but Gail is a character that, despite her long history, I really do struggle to empathise with, mainly because she's prone to simpering daftness. Michelle and Eileen are both typical strong Corrie women but I find it difficult to form emotional attachments to either these days.

And what of the younger generation? Fiz, Sinead, Katy, Maria, Izzy, Sophie and the rest. Unfortunately the only reaction most of these younger characters elicit from me is irritation. Sinead's speech to Roy the other night was one of the few exceptions, mainly down to the fact it was beautifully written. Eva, Steph and Julie are all superb modern Corrie women but sadly they are just not being given the chance to sink their acting chops into great material. I just don't buy into their stories as I did with the likes of Rita, Audrey, Alma or Elsie. 

Times change and viewers look for different things. For me though, nothing can beat the likes of Phyllis Pearce, quietly facing up to old age with dignity or the vulnerable, idealistic Raquel chasing her dreams. 


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13 comments:

Clinkers (David) said...

Lovely stuff! I remember Phyllis and her sad little speech about growing older. Shame she never got more of the meaty stuff but thankfully she was much more than a 'comedy old bag'.

Graeme N said...

Thank you. Jill Summers was super, she made so much out of her role as Phyllis. Always beautifully played and very real.

Tvor said...

I'd agree, not a lot of the younger actors have yet to really move me to tears, even the ones that have been around awhile and have history. An exception to these, at least for me, are Becky as played by Katherine Kelly and Kylie as played by Paula Lane. Yes, both characters could be over the top and grating, but they were also given storylines that were dramatic and heartbreaking at times and both actors could take that material and bring a tear to my eye.

Graeme N said...

Yes Tvor, both are great actors I agree. I miss Kylie at the moment - The David/Callum stuff is wearing thin without her

Humpty Dumpty said...

It's tempting to say that the young actors are simply not experienced enough, but Sally was young once and she gave very moving performances. I discount the young ones these days as they seem to be brought in on the basis of their looks. More worrying is the fact that Anna, Mary, Tracy have no chance of maturing into strong women. Whether it's the writing or the acting, I don't know but I couldn't care less about any of them. Jane Danson is really being wasted and I bet she won't be around in five years. The one character who should be a strong woman is Gail but she's utterly ridiculous and the accolade goes to her mother, Audrey.

Humpty Dumpty said...

This is the second time of trying to post so apologies if the previous one appears at some point. The gist of it was:

The younger actors seem to be brought in on the basis of their looks so it's very hard to care about their characters. Mary, Anna, Tracy have had too many personality transplants to be believable. If you can't believe in a character, how can you care about them? Gail has been utterly ruined. She could be a strong woman and, with her dysfunctional family, she ought to be the matriarch keeping them in line. She acts like an older sibling, though, so that accolade goes to Audrey. Oth,it's good to have a Gran who isn't as bad as her grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of what Humpty says, but I also worry that there's a tendency to idolize mother and wife figures, as opposed to independent women characters. Even the recent storyline with Roy deprives him of being other than a wuss. Btw, I'm a woman.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth,I think Yasmeen is developing into a more empathic character than the likes of Anna.I'm like her more and more with Roy as unlike everyone else she tells him what happened with Gary was not his fault but Gary's!
I also wish that Tyrone would get off his hyporcritical high horse about Steve causing the accident.It wasn't so long ago that the same mob believed he was capable of domestic abuse and now he's joining the same mob against Steve who's also a symapathetic character.

abbyk said...

Before it became all Tina all the time, Michelle Keegan had a very sympathetic, strong younger character. And I think, given the right stuff, Alya and Steph could go the same way. That said, I can never get enough Royston.

vintgal003 said...

I certainly have gotten most attached to (of course) our dear Roy & Hayley....miss her so..... Of earlier departures however....I truly enjoyed Alma, Vera and Mavis....

Anonymous said...

Nothing against Jennie McAlpine but I must say I do not miss Fizz whatsoever. I found the last while all she seemed to was sit in either the pub or Roy's constantly nagging Roy.

Graeme N said...

Fiz did irritate me a great deal around the time of Hayleys death, particularly when she tried to make it all about her after she found out how Hayley died.

Tee from Canada said...

I agree about Fizz. Not missing her at all, sorry to admit. Here's hoping she will have a better storyline when she returns. Without the moaning.
On a side note, I read comments all the time on this blog; but I wish commentors would leave a nickname, instead of using anonymous. I never know if the same 'anonymous' posts more than one comment.

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