Personally, I've never been a big devotee of other drama series and so don't know a great deal about their respective fanbases. I'm an avid follower of BBC Radio 4's The Archers. The show's fans are doggedly 'brand loyal' but are also the first to rip the programme and its characters to shreds when they see fit. The everyday story of country folk arouses fierce passions and fans can quite happily (or unhappily) drag an argument out for years.
Does EastEnders bring about a devoted loyalty amongst its viewers? I was trying to imagine a similar bunch of fans, treading their way carefully around the Albert Square set. They would pause for a moment and point at the spot where Pauline Fowler died under a Christmas tree on Christmas Day. There would be a reverential silence as they stared at the section of road where Frank Butcher mowed Tiffany down on New Year's Eve (and the moment when this particular blogger gave up on the show forever). Maybe they are ushered on to the Queen Vic set in order to bellow 'get outta my pub' at each other. Who knows? Somehow though, I don't think they do. I could be wrong but although the BBC soap commands high viewing figures, I never hear people speak about with the same affection as they do for Corrie.
As devotees we may be a little different from our counterparts on other shows. Doctor Who fans can, and I have experience of this, be a little scary. I recall being slyly drawn into a conversation about some long-forgotten assistant and then harangued about my comments. They were busy arguing about the logical physics of the programme whereas I simply mentioned that Sarah-Jane had some nice blouses.
Similarly I once sat back and watched a bunch of Prisoner Cell Block H fans almost come to blows during a screaming session about who was the show's best lead character. None of this resonates with my experience as a Corrie fan. Yes, we can all disagree about which residents we feel need to be booted off the cobbles and resurrected for further glories. Some of the storylines leave us frothing at the gills. The difference seems to be that it's all done with good humour. To date, I've never become immersed in a slanging match about Elsie Tanner's golden years or who was the best Tracy. I've yet to encounter one fan telling another to 'shove a pikelet in it, Martha Longhurst' or having a Gail'n'Eileen-style catfight about the relative merits of successive Underworld bosses.
Thankfully . . . well, as far as I know, we don't tend to dress up in character either. Whereas some enthusiasts might don a extra-terrestrial wig or a day-glo space suit, I've yet to encounter a middle-aged man dressed as Renee Bradshaw.
Are we more placid than our comrades who follow other programmes? I'd like to think so. We take our pleasures in the ordinary, some might even argue, mundane joys that life in Weatherfield offers. I guess that I'm a happy Corrie fan though - not always but mostly. Last week's meet-up with my fellow bloggers was a total joy and served to remind me why I enjoy our cobbled world so much.
Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.
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