Thursday, 16 July 2015

Former Coronation Street writer criticises soap scripts

Kay Mellor was a Coronation Street scriptwriter in the 1980s. Speaking at a Masterclass session at the Haymarket Theatre in central London on Tuesday, she criticised current Corrie scriptwriting.

The MEN reports Kay said: “I just felt that the writing wasn’t as good as it used to be. I watched [the funeral scenes] and I have not watched Coronation Street for years. When I used to watch Coronation Street it was fantastic, they were just brilliant and I don’t think there is the craft there that there used to be. I did feel as if it was a missed opportunity.

“I did feel they were trying to crank up emotion and it was a false emotion. I should have been in a heap really, there should have been something more and I just felt as if it was engineered. It felt false somehow.”

Kay is mum to former Corrie star Gaynor Faye, who played Judy Mallett.  She slammed the show and described scenes filmed for Deirdre Barlow’s funeral this week as ‘engineered’ and ‘false’.

She added: “When I joined Coronation Street, I was the only female writer in the room, mainly it was men. I used to think I was the token woman.

“Those men were very powerful and knew their characters inside out and loved passionately writing for them and I used to read those scripts and believe you me those scripts used to be brilliant.”

Kay has also written BBC’s Fat Friends, ITVs Strictly Confidential and BBC drama The Syndicate.

While I think Kay brings up some interesting points in her argument, I do take issue with the bit where she says she hasn't watched Coronation Street for years. How then can she feel she can come in after years away from the show to criticise it? 

For this Corrie fans, the Deirdre funeral scenes were done beautifully, just lovely.  But they should have been separate from the other nonsense on the Street - the Callum storyline especially. It was horrible having Deirdre's funeral interrupted by comedy Callum and his Power Rangers pyjamas.

Last night's episode, written by Chris Fewtrell, had the intensity, drama and passion of a classic Corrie episode. The long dark night of the soul at the Barlows is an episode that will live on and be remembered.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why do people do this? She's rather let herself down badly over this. You don't slag off fellow writers in this way. Especially when it includes the likes of Damon Rochefort, Jonathan Harvey, Jan McVerry, Chris Fewtrell et al...

Disappointing.

Scott Willison said...

If she thinks Corrie is bad, clearly she doesn't watch her daughter in Emmerdale.

Anonymous said...

I think it was I advisable of Kay M to speak about the writing of Corrie . Surely some of those 'powerful men are still writing for Corrie . The Deidre part of Corries recent episodes have been a joy to watch . It's when they make the mistake of sticking it together with irrelevant and ridiculous stories like the Bethany / Callum one that the side is truly let down . Last nights episode was wonderful as it stuck to the main of Memories of Deidre / Annie. Personally I loved the references particularly her 'pottery' and the 'egg cup' Hilarious . Well done to all :))

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I agree with her. When plot dominates character, as it does now on Corrie, the results will always suffer. Too often now characters are twisted out of shape to serve a plot that has been foisted on them. There are many characters on the show now who are impossible to define. Everyone knew who Annie Walker was or Ena Sharples or Stan Ogden but could you accurately describe Maria or Jason or Chesney?

It's not the actors' fault, nor the individual writers' but down to the raw materials of the show. If you don't have strong characters to work with, and you're not truthful and consistent with those characters, then you're coming from too weak a starting place to do well.

Corrie is at heart a show about a community but if that community is composed of amorphous nobodies who will shift and change to serve the plot - despite the best efforts of the actors and writers - then it's going to struggle. Wednesday's episode was so strong because it focused on the characters who've stayed sharp and true and so it felt like real people in a real situation but even then it had to skirt around details like Tracey having murdered someone in cold blood.

AmandaB said...

I totally agree with her comments. The scenes dealing with Deidre's death and funeral were not what I expected, they should have been heart wrenching and they weren't. Most on the blog were saying how they weren't looking forward to the scenes because of how upsetting they would be.......well disappointingly they weren't.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with her.

Llifon said...

I have to agree with her. They maximised on her death for dramatic purposes. They did the very same thing with Betty's death, and it was unnecessary.

I should think that Kay Mellor would be pleased with last night's ep.

Humpty Dumpty said...

The funeral episode was low key and I'm guessing that Anne Kirkbride's family asked for it to be that way. Much has been made of how the producers and the family liaised over this event. If I have any criticism of Wednesday's episode it's the final scene where Ken says 'goodnight' to Deirdre. It wasn't really as powerful or tear-jerking as I'd hoped. Perhaps if he'd kissed the photo and said 'Sorry for everything, darling', we might have had a glimpse of Ken's very private feelings of guilt.

Anonymous said...

Her comment about being the token woman on the writing team is odd as Adele Rose was on staff at that time as well.

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