Friday, 18 November 2016

Carry On, Kate


I quite like Coronation Street at the moment. There seems to be the renewed vigour on screen that the arrival of a new producer always seems to bring. Let's hope this freshness continues for the foreseeable future. For too long I felt Corrie was resting on its laurels, not taking any risks, storylining by numbers and growing pretty stale. I did a spot of moonlighting with both Emmerdale and EastEnders and while neither kept me hooked, they did seem to have the edge on Weatherfield.

I've always felt that Coronation Street lacked the ability to surprise us. Spoilers are everywhere, storylines are leaked well in advance and nothing is left unknown. In long running, continuing drama, the occasional shock or surprise is enough of a hook to keep both regular and occasional viewers watching and coming back for more. That's why I thought EastEnders tactic of surprise cast returns with no prior publicity worked so well. I've read that Kate Oates is also a fan of the odd surprise but claims Coronation Street faces a huge struggle with the amount of interest from the press. She has managed it recently though, particularly with Ken's stroke and Anna's horrific burns as a result of David's car crash. While Anna's horror was a bit too much for me before the watershed, it did keep me gripped. The star storyline for me was Ken's shock stroke following a brilliantly acted scene between Chris Gascoyne and Bill Roache. It raised the bar.


The very recent return of both Adam Barlow and Daniel Osbourne feels like another fresh start for The Street. Both characters are of interest and while fresh and new, bring with them much history. It was laid on pretty thick last night with strong nods to the old Ken/Mike Baldwin rivalry already mooted. Adam failed to make an impression on me during his previous visit to the cobbles over a decade a go but I'm willing to try again. For me, the arrival of Daniel is the most interesting development and I can only hope it will mean we see his mother Denise again at some point down the line. Hopefully Kate Oates can tempt Denise Black away from Emmerdale...I think the bulking out of the Barlows is well timed. They've been a bit lost in the fast moving Corrie machine since the loss of both Blanche and Deirdre and now seems the right time to bring them back centre stage.

The arrival of Toyah Battersby is also something I'm looking forward to. Georgia Taylor is a fine actress and a more mature Toyah, reunited with Jane Danson's superb Leanne is bound to be worth watching. Another development I'm pleased about is Gemma moving in with Rita. Rita always flourishes with younger cast members and there's a delightful "odd couple" feel to this pairing. I admit I didn't warm to Gemma at all for quite some time, but as with all rough diamonds in Corrie (Becky, Kylie etc) they bring them in and polish them up into something worth watching. 

What do I not like? The Maria and Caz storyline is going nowhere and has failed to ignite at all for me. Caz is just annoying, she's not a decent villain at all. And I really do wonder whether Maria has had her time. I don't feel any of the recent plots she's had have worked. The Phelan story is also dragging for me. I caught myself wondering the other night if Eileen could really be that gullible and stupid...and yes, of course she could. It just doesn't make for an enjoyable watch though, something is missing. I do like the direction it's taken Todd in though. I think Bruno Langley has worked wonders to turn his character around. When he first came back he was completely unlikable and barely human but this has changed. Yes Todd is still a chancer with a mean streak but we've also been allowed to glimpse his vulnerability and we need that in our Corrie characters if we're to root for them and care what happens in their lives.

I'll be glad when Michael goes as while I don't mind Les Dennis at all, his character is as much use as a damp tea towel. There are still too many rather beige younger characters - Andy, Luke, Sophie, Kate - that serve no purpose other than to give the older cast a break from the testing filming schedule. I also feel that nobody knows what to do with Tyrone and Fiz following that fairly ponderous Hope cancer story which has completely vanished without a trace. I'd like more Mary and Norris, more Erica and Liz coiffing red wine in the Rovers back room and for the producer to work out what to do with Robert Preston. I'd like to learn more about what Jenny Bradley got up to in the twenty years she wasn't mentioned and I'd like Yasmeen to get more screen time as an independent, middle aged woman with a brain and and a backbone. I'd like Roy to ditch Cathy and Alex and move Brian Packham in and I'd like Emily to return from Peru with Spider in tow

And while we're at it, can Audrey find permanent happiness with Freddie and let's leave the on/off romance with Ken alone now he's got a new Barlow dynasty? I loved seeing Aud off out on the toot in Freddie's sidecar and we need more of this rather than constant embroilment in the Platt dramas. And can I just say, Gary Windass is far too good for that Sarah Platt. And Zeedan should not marry that piece Rana. I'm already constructing a storyline in my mind for Zeedan and Gary but that might be too much for Yasmeen and Anna given what they've got going on. I'll keep that to myself for now...


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Anonymous said...

I loved reading this and agreed with almost every suggestion and point raised! My one question is what's wrong with Rana?

amanda50 said...

Brilliant summary of where Corrie is at the moment, I totally agree with every word.The suggestion of Brian moving in with Roy isn't something I'd have thought of, but now you mention it - genius idea!I'm delighted to see the Barlow clan take centre stage with the promise of some interesting twists and turns to come.Les Dennis leaving can't come soon enough for me, and the sooner Caz disappears the better, neither character has worked for me.The cobbles of Coronation Street deserve better.I love this blog, thanks to all of you who make it such fun to read.

Anonymous said...

Loved all of your comments except Les Dennis - I really liked him with Andy - not crazy about him with Gail, but then again, anybody with Gail doesn't work. Rana, I'm not too sure about, but we'll wait and see. I still think that TPTB need to seriously think about finding you a position in the writers/plot liners. Graham, you are spot on 98% of the time. Thank you for taking the time to write..

Ancient corrier said...

Oh Graham, you've done it again- read my mind.
As soon as I heard Brian was coming back I hoped he would end up in the cafe with Roy.
I agree with above, you should be on the writing team.

Tvor said...

Lovely! I agree about Rana. Never warmed to her and I always felt like she went after Zeedan to play along with his crush on her. I liked the Caz and Maria storyline at first but it's blooming lacy with plot holes now and I just want it to be over. I have enjoyed the Phelan storyline all along and still do. He's a fantastic villain and unless he crosses the line, i.e. actually kills someone, I hope he's around for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Graham, spot on! I agree with absolutely everything you said!
We could be well rid of Kate (pointless character) Fizz and Maria.
You should be a writer.

C in Canada said...

I'm also in complete agreement with this post, well done!

Cant' stand Caz OR Maria, both are terrible actors and their voices (and terrible acting) just grate on me.
I used to love Fiz, but as you say, they don't seem to be going anywhere. Aren't Fiz and Tyrone engaged? When's THAT wedding?

Phelan can go. Anytime.

I have also noticed a change in the way the scenes are shot, from a filming standpoint. There angles seem to be different, and instead of sharply cutting from one scene to the next, they are trying to blend them together. A character talking to someone leaves that person, walks across the street as a cab pulls up and the character for the next scene gets out of the cab, that sort of thing.
It works.

Anonymous said...

Disagree regarding Luke being a 'beige character.' For me he always lights up the scenes he's in, and works well alongside lots of different characters. Though I don't recall one single storyline of Luke's, so he often comes across as being a talking extra. It would be great if the writers could elevate his role.

Kat said...

What gets me is the lack of continuity. Fiz and Tyrone were supposed to be scrimping and saving after his Christmas overspending. She barely let him to go the pub for a drink because it would cost too much. Now you see them both in the pub or the cafe all the time and you never see or hear them talking about money issues. Their issues wouldn't have gone away in just a few months.
I'd like to see mention of that pop up again.

Anonymous said...

Graeme, you shouldn't be a writer as they have almost no control - exceрt during their single eрisodes once in a blue moon. No, you should be chief storyliner (like a chief whiр), or better still рroducer! At the very least chief continuity editor :)

Rapunzel said...

Fantastic blog. I found myself nodding along. I wonder whether the back stories we crave from new or recently returned characters get lost in the pressures of time. However all I needs is a conversation in the Rovers. There should be a checklist of details right up front that the writers are required to weave into future episodes.

I almost did a "tick" in the air when Adam mentioned that Ken had spent a year looking after him. I'm glad that's not being ignored even though we know it was a contrived off/screen absence story. My challenge now is for TPTB to explain what was so serious that Adam had to be cared for for that long AND how that has shaped him as a character.

Avon Blake said...

I don't mind the Caz/Maria storyline but I'm glad that it's only one part of the long running Maria/Aidan and Eva saga and that's it's nearly over. Maria and Aidan have amazing chemistry so bring on the next chapter of the storyline.

Rebecca said...

Hey, leave Luke alone! I think his biggest problem is that they saddled him with Maria. Give him some space from her and he's everything Audrey thinks he is. I really you like him with his sister and would like to see more of that.

Avon Blake said...

Maria dumped Luke several months ago and he's still quite boring. Don't blame he's poor character on Maria.

Anonymous said...

Unless yasmeen is going to live to be over 120...i wojld hardly describe her as middle

Cobblestone said...

They're also prepared to shoot much longer, dialogue-heavy scenes rather than the short, cut-away scenes we've had do the last few years incase they weary the attention-span of the MTV generation. Lends itself to tauter, more intense scenes where appropriate (Davis, for example).

Graeme Naylor said...

Thanks for all the lovely comments and feedback on the blog - glad most of you seem to agree with the majority of my thoughts!

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