Friday, 3 July 2015

The Wednesday Play

In the beginning, there were two episodes of Coronation Street, and it was good.  Mondays and Wednesdays, week in, week out, unchanging.

Then a third episode came along.  Ok, we said.  Seems fair.  A Friday episode makes the week nicely balanced.  Symmetrical almost.

Then there were special episodes.  And a Sunday episode.  And two episodes on some days, and that period where it was on a Thursday, remember?  It all got a bit odd.

Finally, the schedulers settled on two episodes on Monday, one on Wednesday, and two on Friday.  Done.

You'd expect all these episodes to be more or less the same, but something odd has happened.  The Wednesday episode has become my favourite of the Corrie week.

Monday and Friday's episodes have a burden placed on them by ITV: get people to turn back to the third channel after EastEnders.  It means that typically, the first episode of the double bill will end on a shocking cliffhanger that means you absolutely, positively have to tune back in at 8:30.  Corrie is the gateway drug for the rest of the evening; ITV hopes that having stuck with Weatherfield right up to nine o'clock you'll hang around and watch the big drama they have lined up afterwards.  It's imperative that you turn away from BBC One after the doof-doofs have sounded.

On Wednesday, though, things are a bit more free and easy.  There's no EastEnders at all.  It's a bit of a fallow night for telly across the board.  It's all a bit half-hearted.  And it means that the Wednesday episode is given room to breathe and have a bit of fun.

Nothing that important happens in a Wednesday episode.  The important stuff is saved for the Mondays and the Fridays, when you can get a shocked face and a tense moment and a "Coronation Street continues in half an hour."  In a Wednesday episode, you can tread water.  Look at this week's episode.  There was the fall out from Julie splitting up with Dev, mostly conveyed through faux-High Noon comedy moments in the street and Ms Carp shouting through the letterbox.  Steve came back, and was upset about Tony owning half the pub, but his frustration was played for laughs.  Even Michael asking for a divorce didn't have the finality or drama it might have had at the weekend; it was a bit light and funny.

The previews for tonight's episode though?  Bailiffs visit Cathy.  Tracy Barlow gets carted off by the police.  The recently released from hospital Erica returns to see Nick.  It's all emotions and histrionics and drama.  Sometimes you want an exploding builder's yard killing a young girl, and sometimes you just want Steve kissing his dog before his new wife.  Thank you Wednesday.

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Llifon said...

Brilliant! :)

Llifon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humpty Dumpty said...

I hadn't realised the pattern but now that you point it out, you're absolutely right about Wednesday. I often can't be bothered to watch two episodes on one night. My routine is either catch the last ten minutes of the first episode or nothing at all. The cliff hanger will be resolved in the second episode so that's the only episode worth watching. Wednesday's episode was great. Every so often we get a version of Gunfight at the OK Corral - Ena/Elsie, Steve/Dennis ... Great comedy touches.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree! I would far prefer Corrie to be like Emmerdale and on five different nights of the week, rather than have the double episode.

C in Canada said...

Here in Canada, it's on every weeknight, and if you missed it during the week, they show every episode in a marathon on Sundays!
So we only have to go Saturday's without any Street.
Works for me!

Anonymous said...

I had never thought about that aspect of Wednesday episodes until Jordan, who has taken on the Wednesday reviews, mentioned it in his last blog. Thanks so much for expanding on the subject! Your analysis of competing ITV and BBC schedules illuminates the situation for those of us watching from elsewhere. As a shy fan of your writing, can I just say that I always appreciate your blend of sharp wit and reason?

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