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Thursday, 7 March 2013

Should Corrie cut down on its cast?

I really think they should. That doesn't mean that they have to cut down on the episodes although I'm sure three episodes per week would be enough.
I'm basing my argument on my other favourite soap which is Aussie soap Neighbours. It airs five times a week, all year round and has a cast of only 25-30 characters. Ok, the storylines are lighter than Corrie and they don't last long, but I do think it's a formula that works. Every Neighbours episode stars about eight regular characters - and it's not the same characters every day.

Every character has equal screentime and for me that makes the show more interesting instead of the same old faces. When I look at episode spoilers here on the Coronation Street Blog, I notice it's the same characters who appear in every episode - Stella, Tina, Fiz, Steve, Carla, Peter, Leanne, Gail, and Tyrone. While others like Kirk, Deirdre, Roy, Hayley and Dennis rarely star in a storyline of their own. 

With a small cast everyone could have equal attention. And thus it's the same characters that get nominated in awards much to fans' chagrin. Both EastEnders and Emmerdale follow the same trend unfortunately.

In 2012, out of around 260 episodes, Stella appeared in 176 and Tina appeared in 150. Kirk and Dennis appeared in 62 and 63 episodes respectively. What a difference eh?

Corrie in the 60s, 70s and 80s had the same average cast as Neighbours has now. Should Corrie revert back to those old days? These days, it includes 60-70 members. Due to this, many characters don't have storylines year after year. Then you've got the same characters appearing week after week and soon enough there's an announcement stating that a certain actor/actress is leaving. Although they don't say it, I'm sure the number of episodes they appear in contributes to their decision to leave. Look at Chris Gascoyne and Alison King - they took a break because they were continuously in the limelight. I know some actors can handle some stories better. While some can handle dramatic stories, others star in humourous ones. Sadly, Corrie lacks the humour these days.
So what do you think? Should Corrie cut down on its members of the cast to like it was back in the day? Is it possible to have 60 people living in one street whereas 30-40 years ago there was only half that amount? Even though there are three more houses and three or four flats, does that mean the number of characters has doubled? I don't know.
It is possible to air five episodes and have a cast of 25-30 members. What do you think? Which characters would you include in that reduced cast? Leave your comments below!

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ChiaGwen said...

Agree, too many of the same characters on screen who can't act while other better actors languish in the background. Having said that I do think the cast should be whittled down and here's my to be whittled list:

Sean, Sophie, Ryan, Paul, Stella, Gloria, Tracy, Rob and Michelle.

Lets see more of the wonderful Beth/Kirk and Craig. I thought of putting Norris on my list but I'd like to see the writers give Craig a storyline working a bit in the shop with Norris and maybe see a different side to his character with him getting to know Craig, other than the nasty insults which are now not funny and often quite vile.

J. L said...

Well Carla and Peter are my favourite characters but they've disappeared.

Alison King & Chris Gascoyne are superb so I really hope they get a good storyline soon. Not a recycled one though.

I also love Roy & Hayley and this is going to be a massive year for them.

The characters that I'm sick of are, Leanne and Nick. I'd jump for joy if they left.

Well I can dream...

Carry On Blogging! said...

Totally agree with you! Far too many people involved these days so it's hard to keep track and as you say, the same characters/actors tend to dominate.

I also have a secret admiration for Neighbours (sshhh!) They seem to operate on the same basis that Corrie used to. I think the powers that be worry that less characters would see viewers switch off, but if the characters are rich enough, the actors good enough and the stories strong, that would never happen.

Humpty Dumpty said...

While there seems to be a cast of thousands at the moment, I wouldn't want to go back to the small rep of 60's Corrie. It's more realistic to have a group of people who are somewhere between the extras and the main characters. Kirk, for example, might never have a story of his own but could pop up in Maria's or Craig's. The actor may or may not be happy with that arrangement but it would work fine for me as a viewer. The characters that need culling are the ones that come up time and again on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Far too may characters now, I agree we could do with a little pruning. I'm always amazed how many people they manage to get into those little 2 bed houses while there are empty flats around the corner. Definitely wouldn't miss Owen,Lizzie, Gary, Shaun, Ryan and Dev. But I would love to see Graham come back. And my fingers are crossed for Curly. Rosie

njblas said...

I guess the theory of a large cast is that the workload is spread evenly but in practice (as has been pointed out) this doesn't happen. While a key bunch get all the limelight, there's a large pool of characters who remain under developed, and consequently we never really get to know or identify with them. The cast could easily be cut back to 40-45 and I think the show would be better for it.

Rachel said...

I'm actually not sure. I can understand that if the cast size was decreased, that not only would some of the deadwood be chopped, but that we would also potentially lose some of the sets. Perhaps there would be more cast interactions with one another, instead of it being plain obvious that there aren't. Sometimes there are two very similar stories that are playing out on screen at the same time - one extremely obvious pair is Jenna and Faye finding out who their biological fathers are. Now granted the circumstances are different, and how both characters have reacted and get to know Lloyd and Tim respectively are different as well. However, there you are... two girls finding out who their real fathers are in less than six months!

I think in an ideal world, perhaps, there would be some sort of rota of characters, in that so many characters would appear on screen for a specific length of time before their screen time got replaced by another character, and so on and so forth. Presumably when you don't see a character on screen, we imagine that they're still going on with their daily lives but there's just nothing exciting or upsetting or dramatic to be shared with the audience. Of course, it would take a lot of work to schedule, because you wouldn't necessarily have Carla & Rob in every Underworld scene, but you'd expect to see Dev at least hovering around in the background of the corner shop if two characters ended up in there having a conversation while shopping on occasion! And then again, you wouldn't want it obvious who's on the "A" cast, "B" cast, and "C" cast for example; you wouldn’t always want Audrey and Gloria on screen at the same time, nor would you want Norris on screen to immediately become off screen when Owen takes stage, you'd want to mix it up and perhaps once in a while have a mixture of characters in a storyline. Having watched Sylvia, Roy, Ken & Dennis in the casino today, for example, why didn't they slightly change the storyline and have the setting in the bookies and involve Peter?! (I know, he knows them and would have suspected something almost immediately...but creativity!)

Holly Marie said...

I would've said no.... until I saw that picture featuring the whole cast! Didn't realise there were that many. I guess there's a couple I wouldn't mind seeing the back of. And having so many people, and so many things going on, sometimes storylines get neglected for a bit, and then suddenly get brought back up again. Like the current Kirsty/Tyrone story, some days it's all dramatic and then suddenly you hear nothing all week!

Funny we talk about Corrie having too many characters... whilst Hollyoaks seems to be losing most of theirs (not exaggerating, HALF the cast has left or died recently! and there's still another 3 to leave apparently!)

Anonymous said...

Half the cast could go and no one would even miss them IMO. Why do characters leave and then come back? There are the main characters who get the meatier storylines and then, as if to say..sorry we really should pay attention to some of the actors/props, the writers throw some ridiculous plot together at a moments notice, shove it into our face for a couple of weeks, the story flops and it's over in the blink of an eye.

Anonymous said...

Agree it's too big and too many dead-weights that are simply not interesting, such as Tracey, Owen, Stella, Rob, Michelle, Rye-yan, I could go on... Interesting look at that mid/late 70s cast photo compared to the top image, there were very few young people.

abbyk said...

Yes, the cast should be cut. Critical roles, such as Rovers landlady/lord, kind retiree, major employer, solid working class family,... need to be filled with well developed, believable characters, but minor roles don't. The supporting roles (Beth, Kirk, Ches,...) should be just that, support for the main characters, fleshing out their family and work relationships. Anyone pointless or redundant (Rob, Tommy, Ryan, Mary, the Armstrong/Windass clan,...) should be eliminated to make screentime available for developing the core roles. Edit ruthlessly!

In the 00s, Betty was a supporting character. She had no leading stories, but her presence set the tone for the Rovers and she was a good friend to many. Do Beth and Craig truly deserve more screentime?

IMHO, Stella, as the Rovers LL, is weak. The Rovers is the show's central meeting place and the person who runs it should be involved in her community. After a year, she has no social connections outside of her ridiculous family. That's not going to change and she should be replaced. Sophie, a formerly promising teen from a central family, needs to be given purpose, either from a return to school or training for a career or going back to the worthwhile charity work. Gail needs a flaming job and it's time for Steve to grow up. It might not be bad if the men were smartened up a bit. Strong women shouldn't be stuck with fools.

*stepping off soapbox*

Frosty the Snowman said...

Frosty has long said that there is now a burgeoning cast with constant new characters being introduced while still keeping on and on the stale old ones. Like the tram crash the upcoming fire is the perfect excuse to do some paring down but as much publicised only Sunita's character is to go. We have Stella's mother, Anna's , and now Beth's cousin is to turn up and become a character. Meanwhile old favourites like Rita, Dennis and when did we last see Emily - are just wallpaper.

Frosty the Snowman said...

Above should be Faye's dad added to cast - finger slipped on keyboard!!

Anonymous said...

Controversial I know - but I would cut the cast by half and cut the episodes per week by half.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely cut the cast.
Get rid of at least 10 characters and use the rest of them properly

Anonymous said...

I agree that a couple of characters like Dr Carter could be culled, but the problem is not that the cast is too big. It's too many episodes, poor storylines, flip-flopping characterisations, overuse of some characters, unlikeable characters and poor acting from some of the cast.

You can't compare Coronation Street with Neighbours, where most of the cast are teenagers and move on in a couple of years. Too much has befallen most of the long serving cast members in Coronation Street.


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