Saturday, 29 August 2015

Doing a Talk on Corrie

Sheffield, my hometown, is having a bit of a festival moment. As a result, I’ve been asked to do a talk. The only trouble is I don’t know when, but have been told to be ‘ready to roll’ from about 19th September.

There are several things that I could talk about but only one that I would really like to talk about –Coronation Street, of course, and our wonderful blog in particular, with  much gratitude to Glenda for starting the whole thing off.

My plan for the talk is essentially this -:

·      Beginnings - Tony Warren - his vision
·      Facts and figures – audience viewings, number of hotpots sold etc.
·      Issues raised in Corrie
·      The women  - in general
·      Characters – Elsie Tanner, Ena Sharples, Hilda Ogden, Emily Bishop, Bet Lynch, Rita Tanner, Deirdre, Carla Connor, Mary Taylor – detailed character analysis and their individual speech styles
·      The men – holding back the women – general theme.
·      Details of men and their secondary role – as envisaged by Tony Warren
·      How the show has changed or not, through the decades.
·      Snobbery surrounding soaps, lighthearted comparison to the great dramatists
·      And then finally, some clips – including-: death of Stan Ogden - Hilda and the glasses, Death of Martha Longhurst, rows between Ena and Elsie. And some modern stuff.  There is SO much, it is difficult to be sure that you have the best bits.

I would be very grateful for your assistance here, my fellow bloggers and our much valued and loyal readers. Is there anything that you think is CRUCIAL in a talk about Corrie that I have not touched on?

Btw did you know that in 1990 Hilda Ogden was the 4th most recognizable woman in Britain, after the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Di?

And this – Blanche Hunt – ‘Good looks are a curse Deirdre. You and Kenneth have been very lucky.’

Very much looking forward to your comments. Thank you.
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Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is incorporated in your themes but Corrie has always been about class mobility or the difficulty of it in British society. Ken trying the better himself through education has been a spectacular failure (he ended up as trolley pusher for Fresco). Various smart kids on the street have been marked for success but end up not fulfilling their potential (Todd, Amber, Rosie). Some try to rise above their station through the trappings of middle class life , Sally and her conservatory, Hilda and her muriel, Vera and her stone cladding. Even the ones who have crawled out of the estate, such as Carla, find themselves being dragged back down again and again through alcohol or gambling. Some, like Leanne, tried to rise above her upbringing by embracing it, becoming an 'escort' with an agency but realized she was regarded as no better than a streetwalker. Good luck with your talk and hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Your outline sounds great! 2 questions: how long do you have to speak and who is your audience? Depending on the answers, you might consider adding something about how Tony Warren channeled gay male identity through female characters in an era where representation of gay male stories was taboo. Look forward to hearing more about your talk. Hopefully you'll blog about it!

Llifon said...

That unique mix of humour and drama.

And its longevity and what do you think has contributed to this?

Cobblestone said...

Wow! Ruth, that's not so much an outline of a talk as a programme of study for an entire course! You've covered so many valid and interesting points but my advice would be to drop some that you think are not as important as others. It's best not to try to cram everything in. It'll take ages to deliver (before you even reach the clips!) and your audience will feel a little overwhelmed. (I speak as a former university lecturer who has blundered into those same pitfalls) I'd also suggest that instead of playing a series a clips at the end, you use the clips illustratively as you go along. This breaks up what would otherwise be a very long block of text. Many people, especially nowadays, have short attention spans and don't find listening for long stretches easy. Incorporating the clips would be a way of introducing a visual component into the talk itself. No matter how interesting your talk is, they will start to fidget unless you break it up a bit.
I wish you every success with the talk. What a fantastic opportunity to 'spread the word'!

Humpty Dumpty said...

Sounds great and very best of luck with it. Perhaps you could mention how Corrie was born in the era of 'kitchen sink' (Elsie and Dennis Tanner) and 'angry young men'(young Ken Barlow); the class divide between educated aspirational middle class v. traditional working class (Ken v Len Fairclough. You could mention the soap bubble that Corrie resident live in eg: the Nazirs and Ken would be living in leafy suburbs in real life but that doesn't fit the script. Such a lot of material, Ruth! Hope you have a ball.

Sally Dee said...

Hi Ruth, This sounds like a great opportunity, thanks for including us readers. The unique format of soaps & Corrie's longevity allows us to follow the arc of human development as a young character retires or even dies. Perhaps you could consider an example of how a character stays true to their core personality yet changes in response to their life's circumstances - an arc of redemption? grief-driven acceptance and peace? limited growth due to traumas? Just thinking of this component might inform the already full list of topics you're considering.

And I think ELK's comment above is interesting, would love to hear about that myself.

Enjoy yourself! - xx, Sally

Tvor said...

Excellent! And you know what? Rather than worry about getting all the best and classic bits in, why not base it on your own personal favourites?

ruth owen said...

Anonymous, many thanks. As yet I don't know how long I will have for the talk so I'm making sure I have plenty of material. I could though probably talk about my all time favourite, Elsie Tanner, until the cows come home. Great point about channelling male gay identity through the women - will definitely point that out. As to audience, I imagine it wil be members of the public, no particular demographic. Thank you again.

ruth owen said...

Yes Llifon, , the unique mix of humour and drama and the reasons for the show's longevity - great points, many thanks.

ruth owen said...

Cobblestone, thank you so much for your thoughtful and incisive points. I must not drone on and excellent idea to incorporate the clips into the body of the talk. I confess to having included too much and will now, with confidence, chop it down. You're of course right about it being an opportunity to spread the word and I will be nothing if not an evangelist. Very grateful for your valuable input.

ruth owen said...

Humpty, thank you very much for your point on kitchen sink dramas and Angry Young men. What you said put me in mind of Stan Barstow, Alan Sillitoe and and co too. Great stuff - thank you!

ruth owen said...

Fabulous comments Sally Dee! Yes indeed, tracing the development of characters is a great idea. Thank you so much!

ruth owen said...

Tvor, you're right. In the end to make the talk 'work' I have to be interested and enthusiastic in what I'm saying. Excellent advice and thank you!

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 16:30 - those are great points. I'd love to read a blog post on class mobility.

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