Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Corrie Superfan seeks paint drying companion

In its current form, Coronation Street wouldn't be commissioned today. Imagine approaching ITV with a proposal for a new continuing drama called Coronation Street, set on an old terraced backstreet, with a corner shop at one end and an old boozer at the other. Half the cast are at pension age and the proposed storylines include a man keeping chickens in his back garden. The Tony Warrens of today would have a battle on their hands trying to persuade commissioners to put Coronation Street on telly at all, let alone in a prime time slot. And yet there it stands, after fifty plus years, the most watched programme on British television. It's been a while since I've blogged, so here are a few of my thoughts on where Corrie stands at the moment:

Do we really like Corrie that much or are we just creatures of habit?

Our Blog team on a visit to the Coronation Street set
A fellow blogger vented his frustration on Twitter yesterday about the direction Corrie is going in since the emotional story of Hayley cropper's pancreatic cancer and subsequent death last year. And I have to agree, 'peaks and troughs' seems an appropriate way of describing the quality of our favourite show, which lurches from gripping drama to lighthearted comedy to frustratingly dull and badly acted waste of half an hour. Like all soaps, some storylines are dragged out over months and in some cases over a whole year in order for the narrative to develop and seem realistic, but if those months of anticipation are filled with repeated stories and disappointing cliff-hangers, the viewer loses interest and the ending becomes a relief rather than an enjoyment.

Spoiler Alert

There seem to be more Coronation Street spoilers now than ever before, on Twitter, in magazines and on television. The only problem is, so much effort has gone into making them that they deem watching the full-length episodes pointless. Not only do they show the best bits, but they even reveal the punchline these days too. By the time we get to the actual episode, we realise that we already knew EXACTLY what was going to happen. No surprises, no twist. Nowt. 

Corrie goes POP
Shayne Ward
Shayne Ward and Sarah Harding are the latest pop stars to join the Corrie cast, following in the footsteps of now long-serving actress Kym Marsh. My immediate response was to roll my eyes and groan. I've always been of the opinion that the North West of England is brimming with talent and I'd much rather see new faces like we did when Michelle Keegan and Georgia May Foote came on board. However, as was said to me by another fellow blogger when we visited the new set recently, jobbing actors are jobbing actors and we shouldn't begrudge them a job. And as we haven't seen whether Shayne and Sarah come up with the goods yet, perhaps we should give them a chance. 

Tipping Point

Coronation Street is most loved for its ability to get the comedy right and portray true northern grit. Even amidst some pretty hard hitting storylines, there's always a bit of lightheartedness in all of the doom and gloom. Major storylines seem to be few and far between at the minute, with Gavin's secret still not out and the Tracy and Tony situation simmering away, there's not really a great deal happening. 

We've been offered a bit of light relief with Mary's motor-home madness but I could probably have done without the allotment story which has introduced us to a new friend for Roy. We are all invested in Roy's happiness and all of his scenes are brilliantly played, but it's just a bit dull. In the past year we've seen the aftermath of Hayley's cancer death, a disappointing bus crash (again, the spoilers left nothing to the imagination), Sinead's far from emotionally gripping struggle to learn to walk again, and the loss of a handful of characters we probably won't miss. 

We should brace ourselves for some bad news about Deirdre, and hopefully see the end of some of the slow burning stories I've mentioned, so there should be some great scenes to look forward to. The one surprising development in recent weeks has been Jenny Bradley's descent into mad psycho. It's the not the direction I thought they'd be taking her character, especially with such an interesting history with Rita, and it all seems very familiar.

Stop the Cull

Now that we have a new Tory government in Britain, Armageddon can't be too far away, and it seems to have already begun at Coronation Street. We've lost Owen, Katy, Peter Barlow and others, soon to be followed by what will be huge losses in Carla, Lloyd and Julie. There's talk of mutiny in the ranks at ITV if the press are to be believed so there could be more off-screen drama to come too.

Everlasting Love

It might be a bit hard going being a Corrie superfan at the moment, what with never ending storylines and little left to the imagination, but as always, Coronation Street will recover.

So Graeme, if you're reading this...don't give up just yet.


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Llifon said...

Well said Stevie!

There are spoilers everywhere you turn, not just on This Morning as it used to be.

Maybe Corrie would be better if they didn't publish spoilers, but just a short synopsis of every ep like you get in newspapers.

There are a lot of characters, especially young ones, that appear to be going nowhere and frankly should be given the chop.

Like you say, there are only about 10 characters atm that I'm invested in and yet they're background characters.

But we shouldn't take Corrie for granted. It's been going 55 years yet look at The World Turns in the US that was axed after an incredible 54 years.

C in Canada said...

Why is that man sniffing his armpit? lol

Flaming Nora said...

Actually have a lump in my throat after reading your words, Steve. We all care so much for the programme, care for it and about it and that's why we're being vocal in our support for it - we KNOW how good it CAN be.

Anonymous said...

It might just be commissioned today but perhaps only if Sheridan Smith, Mark Benton, James Nesbit and Benedict Cumberbatch agreed to take part.

As a longtime fan I've got bored with the show. I haven't watched a full episode for weeks. I vaguely know what's happening through this site or the TV magazine, I have little interest in the characters and I'm not encouraged to watch in order to see some new 'rough totty'

Zagg said...

I just had a conversation about this last evening. My girlfriend and I were commiserating over the laughable/pathetic Erica is pregnant story line. Then we branched into what the hell is wrong with this whole show...people leaving, silly additions etc... It all boils down to BAD writing and BAD direction from Blackburn. He is ruining this show.
At the end of a very lively bitch session, we did agree that even though we are dismayed at the present show, there is no way ever that we will stop watching. Too many years invested to give it up.
So, I can wholeheartedly relate we really love it or are we creatures of habit? I guess it is 50-50 on some days...20-80 on others.
I just wish they would get their s**t together!

Anonymous said...

It seems to me the spoilers are redundant. Even just by reading the official synopsis of an episode I can usually guess what the resolution is going to be. Plot lines are rehashed, characters so one-note that no has a struggle to anticipate. For example, this week's summary/preview posted on this blog asked: Will Tracy exact her terrible revenge on Carla? For the last fifteen years all Tracy has ever done is exact revenge, so why do I need to watch to find out the answer?

Anonymous said...

I've generally enjoyed Stuart Blackburn's tenure more than Collinson's, but the last 6 months have been dire. We've been stuck in a waiting room at No 8 watching the scene so brilliantly described by Clinkers play out over and over again hoping that something meaningful will eventually happen.

Meanwhile other characters are ignored. I've concluded that SB is like a kid at Christmas who gets a new toy, plays with it and then goes back to his dull pet rock, in this case the Platts and Tracy Barlow.

In a couple of weeks we'll have the fire and Kal will die and we'll be expected to care. But why should we? I really like Leanne but I don't give a stuff about her and Kal because the writers have given me no reason to. The whole thing is unbalanced and I'm struggling to care about a lot of it.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 21:35 - brilliant comment

Anonymous said...

Spoilers or no..I watch once in a blue moon, get frustrated and then tune out for another 6 months or so, only to tune in to the same sad old storylines staring one of the Platt's, or Sophie's new girlfriend. Sad state of the street..that should be a blog on it's own.

Anonymous said...

What saddens me about the show is there so much focus on certain families (like Gail's and Anna's) yet other likeable characters like Jason, Kirk, Luke etc. are pushed into the background. Erica being pregnant is an insult to all of the viewers intelligence! The actress who portrays her is 52 for heaven's sake come on! Then we have Todd who should either leave the program or have a half decent storyline. He is a very nice looking young gay man yet he has absolutely no social life and just hangs around his Mum so unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

Next year, it will be 50 years of Coronation Street in Canada. I regard it as I do my own children - I may not approve of everything they do, but I don't love them any less.

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