Thursday, 16 April 2015

A Storyline Idea - ready for the writing on Coronation Street

 Having worked with young people for the whole of my career, I have often wondered why Coronation Street has not plundered the issues concerning this demographic more thoroughly. Yes, there was a bit about Faye being bullied online, though its effects weren’t fully explored.

 There have also now been two teenage pregnancies and two teenage births. It is very early days for Faye, but we also have an example of the relationship between a very young teenage mother and her child, also now a teenager, and we can see very clearly that it’s not all bad. In fact, some might say that Sarah and Beth have as good a relationship as any mother/child relationship, or at least not much worse. There is the advantage too of possible similar interests, which might deepen their bond. On the other hand there might also be the disadvantage of the closeness in age, making the mother’s authority less effective. But then, anyone who is or has been a parent to a teenager will know that it presents its challenges.

 It will be very interesting to see how the Faye and her baby storyline develops. It feels at the moment that although she is exhausted and undergoing a relationship breakdown with Owen, Anna will hold on to Faye’s child and will be dead set against putting the child up for adoption. Should the unlikely decision be made that baby Miley  (Faye’s choice of name) be put up for adoption, there is no doubt that there would be many couples desperate to adopt her. Apparently, there are very few babies available for adoption in recent times in Britain. Even Madonna and Brangelina looked abroad.

There are though, many more issues that the writers could explore. One in particular that I have encountered so many times to be a problem in young people is eating disorders. The media would have us believe that the vast majority of those affected by anorexia or bulimia are girls, which is, in my experience and the experience of my colleagues, not actually the case. The majority of those affected by eating disorders are indeed girls, but the media fails to take into account that approximately 35% are boys or young men. Or even older men.

This leads me to suggesting that one of the youngsters could carry an eating disorders storyline. It is important too, to understand that it is not only those young people who may be perceived to have a weight problem who fall victim to bulimia or anorexia. It might be an idea to engage Bethany, Faye, Alya or Sophie  in such a storyline or Craig maybe or Gary even.

It is, perhaps surprisingly, the case that it is not always young people who are affected.  Often, older people become embroiled in these debilitating diseases. Having taught mature students for many years, as well as 16-18 year olds, I am only too well aware that older people are affected. So maybe Maria, Tracy or Michelle could be flung into the diseases’ grip. Perhaps Steve, even? After all, eating disorders are psychiatric illnesses. Aren’t the politicians, currently vying for our votes, raising awareness about mental health issues and trying to break down the stigma attached to mental illness? Well, by means of Steve’s depression, I would claim that Coronation Street has done more than the politicians and got there before them too.  So come on Corrie, get in there with the prevalent problem of eating disorders and beat the politicians to it, once again.   

Ruth Owen
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Frosty the Snowman said...

Surprised Sarah or Gail has not had any contact with Faye or Anna, or even mentioned it. I dont think Bethany and SL's relationship is at all realistic. The way they eye up men together is a bit tacky as well.

Anonymous said...

Excellent article Ruth! Ironically, I have been watching Fat Friends (an excellent series shown in 2000) and one of the characters who is trying to lose weight for health reasons teenage daughter (15) was discovered to be anorexic. Hopefully the producers will read your article and build a storyline around it.

ruth owen said...

Many thanks Anonymous. Yes I do hope they read it and turn it into a storyline.

Zagg said...

Frankly, I think Sarah and Bethany have a horrible relationship. It seems very much devoid of any parenting. And if Bethany is a product of Sarah's parenting skills, then she failed miserably.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Bethany is very young and enjoys her freedom. When she's older, she'll realise that the lack of parental control in her childhood has led to a dead-end life. Bright kid, poor exam results, rubbish jobs. Whose fault will that be? Mum's, of course. This is history repeating itself. Gail used to berate Audrey for not giving her time and attention. I don't quite buy the brilliant career Sarah had in Milan if Stephen was so ready to sack her. Maybe we'll find out that Sarah has been rather exaggerating her career and a Sugar Daddy has been paying for the flat.

The storyline I would love to see is one about young carers. They are a very unpublicised group of youngsters. I'd like a mother to move on to the Street and everyone believes that the young daughter doing the shopping is covering up for an alcoholic mother. The residents then find out that mother is bed ridden and doesn't want outside help. I've worked in education and social welfare posts and know that, all too often, families keep their problems to themselves and the result can be poor school attendance and little free time for the youngsters. As you say, Ruth, Corrie can be brilliant at getting messages across and there are so many storylines they could explore.

Anonymous said...

Good post, Ruth. I taught high school for 34 years, and encountered more students with eating disorders than with pregnancies.

Anonymous said...

Very true how common it is, unfortunately... hard to portray realistically. Carla has always struck me as someone who would have some food issues.. she seems to get all of her caloric intake from red wine!

Frosty the Snowman said...

Frosty would like to see the story of a drug deal gone wrong, Stary Eyed Callum falls foul of another drug dealer and he kills him and the whole Platt family, apart from Audrey who is safe in Grassmere Drive - lots of annoying character all gone in one foul swoop - result!

Anonymous said...

Frosty,your storyline for the Platts made my day!
With them gone,then other characters would finally be seen and heard!
However if there must be another storyline with Bethany,how about her wanting to know her father Neil Fearn's family?Her grandmother Brenda Fearns who was feautured after Neil was conviently killed off and I think was taken advantage of by Sarah, must be better now after her mental breakdown and would want to meet her granddaughter again?

Anonymous said...

I believe that Bethany has an eating disorder. She has been getting bullied and they have called her fat, she also has refused to eat on numerous occasions and has been exercising a lot. Im not sure if this is going to be just a one off thing due to the bullying or if they will turn it onto an eating disorder storyline

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