Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Midweek Musings

Last night I caught up with Monday evening's Coronation Street which focused on Dan Dan the Brewery Man's drunken revenge on Leanne and Liz. Apart from the fact I love Liz, I think Leanne is a great character and Dan was in Bugsy Malone as a child actor, the whole thing bored me rigid. 

I thought the whole denouement was very tired and it felt like we'd been there many times before. I also thought it was a deeply unpleasant, nasty element to reveal to Simon about Leanne's past. It wasn't an easy watch. As with many aspects of Corrie these days, we also knew in advance what the outcome would be. I do think the decision to explore a domestic violence storyline between Leanne and Simon is an interesting direction to go in however how much more pain and suffering can they inflict on either character? As an aside I thought the scene in the kebab shop with Chesney, Lloyd and Andrea was woeful and wooden. 

Anyway, my main point regarding this latest explosive storyline is the pacing. In my mind Coronation Street has two major issues at the moment with the way storylines are paced out across episodes. As with Jenny's balcony breakdown several weeks before, Dan's siege in the kebab shop flat dragged on across too many scenes and episodes. I don't understand why it is planned that way as the pacing was like swimming through concrete. All dramatic tension was lost as we broke away from scenes of Dan stomping on Leanne's phone to Ken enjoying a bit of stuffed marrow chez Barlow. 

By cutting away so many times it prolongs everything but not for the better. It ends up feeling all bloated and sluggish. At the same time, some stories appear and disappear almost within the same episode - Luke's t-shirt fiasco springs to mind. However, in that case I'm quite glad that one did vanish without a trace.

As with many Corrie storylines these days, the after effects of the supposedly ratings grabbing scenes are far more enjoyable. Tonight's Corrie showed that again, with both Beverley Callard and Jane Danson on top form.

Before people start saying I'm nitpicking and I'm never happy, there are some aspects of Corrie I'm loving at the moment. I think Tristan Gemmill is a great addition as Robert Preston Mark II. I know there is a secret wife lurking and it's a given he'll end up as Bistro chef, but I think it is bringing out a different dimension in Tracy and I'm all for that. I also love the friendship between Tracy and Beth. Beth brings another side to Tracy and it rights a very common wrong in Corrie - nobody has any friends!

It was also lovely to see scenes between Ken and Emily the other week. Emily is normally only seen with Rita and/or Norris so it was a treat to see Corrie's two longest serving actors together. Also, although I have found Carla's descent into yet another addiction deeply tiresome and unbelievable, it did give us several cracking scenes between Alison King and David Neilson. Two of my favourite Corrie actors who have developed a wonderful odd couple friendship on screen. It was so touching to see Roy demonstrate how much he cares about Carla.

On a final, less positive note can the writers please stop making Gail a comedy drip of a character? I find it loathsome and cringemaking to watch. Gail, although always being flawed, used to have a spine, run her own business and Helen Worth used to portray her as a character the viewing audience could root for, whether it be her battles with Ivy, her troubles with Brian, Martin or Richard or her dreadful children. 

These days she's restricted to a twittery damp squib. It is so important for Corrie to depict strong, mature women and Gail is one of the few middle aged women in the programme with proper history, so please ITV, don't waste it.

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Humpty Dumpty said...

Nice to see you back, Graeme, and I agree with quite a bit of your blog. I disagree, though, about Robert; it's not believable that he would follow Tracy's life from afar. OK, I know some exes do keep the flame alight for years after the split, but it just didn't seem to work with Robert. Wasn't Rob Donovan supposed to be the only man who ever understood her? If Tracy must have a man in her life, Robert's younger brother who maybe always had a crush on her should have been cast. As far as the pacing goes, I thought Dan's story came to a head too quickly. He could have been a superb villain, evil with Leanne with that threat towards Simon and Mr Nice Guy with Liz. Jenny's story could have been played at a slower pace with more hints about her life. We still don't know why she came back to Weatherfield and whether she was really looking for Kev. All forgotten now. Agree totally about Gail. Could it be that the actors are having so much fun on set that nobody really cares what the viewers think? I'm sure Les Dennis is a hoot in rehearsals. The writers should have kept Gail and Michael together from the beginning and let them move into their own place. A lot of stories could have come out of that set-up, and Gail could have cut the apron strings with her children.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Graeme, you're chanelling my thoughts so I don't have to write them down,bless you... great post. And I thought Jane Danson and Beverley Callard were brilliant tonight. Susan.

Jonathan said...

I though you said you weren't going to watch the show anymore Graeme?

Graeme N said...

Oh I've been back watching for a while. Does this mean you haven't been reading my blogs, Jonathan? :/

Graeme N said...

Thanks Susan! Yes they were!

Anonymous said...

I agree with all you said too Graeme . Jane D and Bev C were also ace . I loved the mum hug from Steve . And the mascara fountain ! I'm totally fed up with Gail . I too cringe when she's on screen . Does anyone know ANYBODY that acts like this in real life , simpering and whimpering and acting like she's 5?

Abercrombie said...

Anon 08.55 - insult to a 5 year old! :)

Anonymous said...

Haha ! True. Mega Soz to all five year olds .

maggie muggins said...

Good midweek musings, Graeme. I too think the pacing of some stories have been odd lately. I wonder if some of them were recorded before others, and slotted in without enough thought and better editing. I'm also uncomfortable with the latest stress on Leanne and Simon's relationship. With all he's going through, does he really have to know this about her past? He's got enough to make him an angry teen.

Oh gosh, how do the writers get Gail out of simpering mode? I agree that I don't know anyone that behaves that way! It's almost like women looked in films in the silent film era. I hope Corrie writers/directors are reading this blog before I throw something at my screen.

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