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Sunday 16 December 2012

Last Tango in Weatherfield?

I have really been enjoying the series Last Tango in Halifax, penned by Sally Wainwright. A big part of my enjoyment is seeing some brilliant, former Coronation Street actors on screen together, all on top form. I have always been a fan of Anne Reid, Sarah Lancashire and Roy Barraclough so it's terrific to see them all working together. 

It has been over forty years since Anne Reid played Ken Barlow's first wife, Valerie. Since then Anne has appeared in a myriad of productions and is always worth watching. I loved her work with Victoria Wood, most notably Dinnerladies. She was also memorable in the film The Mother, co-starring with none other than Daniel Craig. Sarah Lancashire has also carved out a very successful career since playing the iconic Raquel Wolstenhume. And Roy Barraclough was well known as Les Dawson's sidekick before he enjoyed longterm success as Alec Gilroy. 

It is often remarked that when soap opera actors leave a longstanding role they risk a life in the wilderness. Being well known as a particularly high profile character can have its plus points when you're in a show like Coronation Street but it can also scupper the chances of a future career should you opt to leave. For every Sarah Lancashire there's a Tracy Shaw. And of course some actors choose to leave the limelight altogether, like Neville Buswell, before he returned as Ray Langton for his swan song in 2005.

So why are some actors successful when they leave the Street, while others vanish without trace? What are your favourite pre and post-Corrie performances from some of our favourite actors? And who would you like to have seen more of once they left the Street? 

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Anonymous said...

IMO the ones that have made a successful career after they leave the Street, can actually..act, unlike some (Tracy,Katie,Steve,) or they become typecast and couldn't get a job on another programme (Except if you're bessy mates with the producer)..And one last character who I think would have never gotten another acting gig is...Ken..there, I said it. This man has the emotions of one of Deidre's pottery mugs-he delivers each and every line the same..upset,angry,happy,depressed..BORING!.
Look what happened with Helene F..left the street..what is she doing now?

Carry On Blogging! said...

Oh I do agree with you about Ken! As much as I like having the character there as a link with the past, the other originals (Emily and Dennis) are much better characters and actors. I remember thinking that his reaction to the news that his son might die was as if someone had offered him a cold cup of tea!

Janice said...

It seems to me there are three characteristics needed for a successful actor: charisma, craft, and range. The actors who strip for the press every five minutes are on the soap because of charisma alone. You know they will never amount to anything past their Corrie contracts. Craft: the ability to display nuanced emotions. I used to think Helen Worth was an exceptional actress and too good to confine herself to Gail. But perhaps she is lacking range, which is a skill of inhabiting different characters. I have been impressed by Suranne Jones since she left Corrie.

Humpty Dumpty said...

I agree with Janice about the necessary characteristics. Bradley Walsh made a very charismatic Danny Baldwin and he has been amazing as DS Ronnie Brooks in Law and Order; Suranne Jones is always excellent. Helen Worth is good at what she does, but the outstanding actress for me is Sally Dynevor. She can do comedy, tragedy and as a character has aged very successfully. I would have thought Sally could have made it beyond Corrie - tv and stage - but it's a regular job which is not to be sneezed at. I'm really not sure of my ground here but are drama schools, where you learn your craft, what they were? If you start your acting career in a tv soap, will your training be enough to take you beyond that?

Carry On Blogging! said...

Helen Worth did do a few things before Corrie (including Doctor Who I think) but maybe she stays because she likes it? Well that and a regular pay check.

I do really like Suranne Jones - I think she's very versatile. I would love her to come back to see Steve at some point in the future. He was at his best when with Karen.

And I agree, Sally is terrific :)

Tvor said...

I think it comes down to talent. And yes, i do think being typecast can make a difference but look at Jean Alexander who was quite successful in another television show and she's as well known for that character as for Hilda Ogden. Well... maybe Hilda is still the best known but she did quite well because she's a good actor.

There are a lot of talented actors on Corrie but then they do get comfortable in a stable job and paycheck and prefer to stay in that comfort zone.

Anonymous said...

As others have said the ones who are successful after leaving the Street are those who can act. Many of the actors just play themselves. It's not quite as easy as that as they have to act angry, sad or drunk, (though ome can't do that), but it's not a huge stretch for some.

Anthony Cotton played "Sean" in Queer as Folk and for me, the shock of Helen Flanagan's appearance in the jungle was that she was Rosie Webster.

MCRTourGuide said...

Did anyone spot the potential TV in-joke re Anne Reid's Last Tango in Halifax character Celia?

Previously married to a womanising, unfaithful, graduate-with-potential called Kenneth.



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