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...
I'm occasionally on Twitter @GraemeN82
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