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Tuesday 12 March 2013

What Corrie needs right now: a strong woman

That's what I think anyway. There's nobody in the cast right now that fits the bill. You know the sort I mean - that strong, determined, middle-aged woman that Corrie has brilliantly portrayed over the years.
I've come to the conclusion after watching Corrie in recent weeks and noticing various comments and posts on this blog that state that Corrie has become 'too young'. Now you would think that me being in my early 20s that I'd love to see a younger demographic in a soap. If so, I would watch Hollyoaks. But no, I love Corrie.

What attracted me to Corrie at first in 2002 was that it used its mature cast in big storylines - characters like Gail, Audrey, Fred, Mike, Ken, Deirdre, Norris, Emily, Jack and Vera. And yes when I started watching regularly, during the Hillman saga, there was one character that shone out to me, and that was Audrey. Not a sexy, young twenty something, but a woman in her 60s who had life experience and also someone who we had grown to love for 15-20 years. In what was her biggest storyline, we saw her life crumble at the cruel hands of Richard Hillman. But yet she rose like a phoenix from the ashes and regained her strength. Another thing that contributes to that strength is the fact that she runs her own business and has done so for many years and has become a pillar of the community. But with Audrey now in her 70s, I think it's time now for another Corrie strong woman to step into the breach.

And while there are middle-aged women in the cast, they lack that strength that Corrie women have always had. Deirdre has become potty (pardon the pun!), Eileen has become paranoid and Gail is penniless. Stella also lacks the strength past Rovers landladies have had.

When Corrie began in 1960, the stars of the show weren't spring chickens, they were middle-aged women. Elsie Tanner, Ena Sharples and Annie Walker topped the bill for the rest of the decade. And over the years they've been joined by the likes of Hilda Ogden, Betty Turpin, Bet Lynch, Rita Fairclough, Ivy Tilsley, Vera Duckworth, Audrey Roberts, Alma Baldwin, Denise Osbourne and Liz McDonald. Strong women that made Corrie what it is. And what it lacks these days.

And other soaps have followed the trend: Crossroads had Meg Richardson, Emmerdale had Annie Sugden, Brookside had Sheila Grant, EastEnders has had Pauline Fowler, Pat Butcher, Dot Cotton and Peggy Mitchell while Neighbours has had Helen Daniels, Madge Bishop and Susan Kennedy. While these soaps have had younger characters, it is those mature women that we love and cherish.

So, c'mon Corrie, let's get back to basis. Make Gail a businesswoman like she was in the 1990s and not a lowly cleaner, get Deirdre to work in the factory as a PA and be reminiscent of Elsie Tanner and return Eileen to that witty and tough as old boots woman we once loved and not the simpering, paranoid harpy she's become.

Maybe Stuart Blackburn has got something up his sleeve, who knows? Do you think Corrie needs a mature strong woman?
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Anonymous said...

I think you'll find Sally fitting into that mould soon enough..hopefully. I cannot see Kevin coming back so they'll have to show that she can stand on her own and be all the stronger for it. We saw a bit of it last episode with her and Sophie (and Jenna) in the Kebab shop.
I do hope the new producer does something other than the on-going boring affairs and baby making that seems to be the norm on this show now.

Anonymous said...

Good post! The original women of Corrie survived depression and WW2. That's what made them strong.

I agree give the audience someone who can kick butt on the outside, yet be vulnerable and understanding inside.

abbyk said...

Agree 100%

It's the character integrity issue I mentioned in a previous post. Gail was never a rocket scientist, but she used to be capable. 2012 comes around and suddenly she's dumber than a box of rocks. You report the skank who defrauded you to the police, and you fight for your house. Sally used to have ambition. She has money, there's a butcher shop sitting empty, and she's what, too busy drinking wine? Arghhhh

**off soapbox**

Carry On Blogging! said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your excellent post! :) And I love that photo of Deirdre smirking at Gail!! I'm all for a strong, successful, gutsy lady of a certain age in Corrie - Can Kathy Burke do a lancashire accent?!

Janice said...

I would say the strongest woman on Corrie is Hayley, but sadly she is leaving.

Chatty Kathy said...

I think that the PTB brought in Michelle Collins (Stella) to fill the role of the strong, tough, self-sufficient and smart Corrie woman, but it's not working. Most fans don't even like her and she's unimpressive on all scores. So their ploy fell flat.

Eileen was on her way to be a Corrie legend, raising her sons alone, and doing it well, supporting herself and her family, and taking no cr*p from anyone, and well liked by viewers. Then the Corrie writers decided to turn her into a jealous, insecure, whiny mess who was so desperate for a man that she would give up her own job to undertake the arduous task of caring for his wife who had Alzheimers. The old Eileen would never have done that. She would have had too much pride.

I just can't see Gail or Sally as the Strong Women of Corrie. Gail was/is a terrible mother and she's now the biggest hypocrite on the Street with her dealings with Kylie. And Sally? Sure, if you want someone who always backs the wrong horse, always thinks she's right when she's so wrong, and loves to cause trouble for no reason with her caustic tongue.

Actually, besides the "old" Eileen, who is currently unavailable, the only strong middle-aged Corrie woman right now is Anna Windass. She's changed a lot since Eddie left and all for the better. She even came in second in Graeme's Mothers Day Poll, after Audrey. So apparently the character has earned respect. I quite like her myself and right now she's our only hope to fill the Strong Corrie Woman role.

maggie muggins said...

Totally agree with Llifon's blogpost, and what everyone said! Can't add a thing, except I hope the writers are reading this!

Beth said...

Loved the post Llifon and there is nothing I would love to see more than a strong female character to grace the street again.

But there is something in what anonymous 2 said, that the early Corrie women were portraying Britain as it was. Tough women who had lived through hardships, war, poverty and could pull themselves and their families up by their bootstraps when needed because they'd seen tougher times. Today life isn't like it was. Community isn't like it was.

After I read Graeme N's post about the Rovers fire yesterday I went and watched the episode on the original fire and a few more around that time. Characters were far more rounded, real. Once created there was no u-turns like there is today. There's no wonder we harp on about the good old Corrie days. Mrs Ogden had very strong values and morals about Sally and Kevin living together and wasn't afraid of voicing it but kind in her advice to Kevin. Another episode I watched from further back was when Annie Walker tore a strip of Bet and Betty for squabbling with Hilda over a sideboard in the Rovers, saying it was her home and they wouldn't expect her to behave like that in theirs.... - quite marvellous stuff! Hmmm, then I thought of St Ella who would have rolled her eyes and folded her arms and wondered if Phil Collinson had seen an episode of Corrie before 1990 and the cardboard cut outs that are up for awards by comparison and felt depressed.

Hilda, Elsie, Bet, Annie would have swept the board at any kind of soap awards. Put everyone to shame.

Moral of the story - don't watch old episodes it'll make you depressed at the state of today's street :(

Anonymous said...

There couldn't be a strong woman these days because the point of them was to enforce a moral standard, as Beth said in her post. They were the voice of the viewer, so would, for example, remind Katy that she moped around droning on about wanting a baybeh, so she shouldn't be all of a flutter having caught a glimpse of Ryan's boxers. When half the street have the morals of alleycats, strong women won't work.

Glenda Young said...

Brilliant, Llifon. I agree - of course! Even Emily is never seen these days.

Ginger Beer said...

Oh I dunno - there are still strong women in the Street, they just haven't been centre stage very often these days. Audrey is my favourite character and she's still the strong leader to whom all the members of the ever-turbulent Tilsley/Platt tribe ultimately defer. Deirdre is still the steely matriarch at the core of the similarly turbulent Barlow clan. Rita is still perched on her throne as the Dowager Duchess of Weatherfield, dispensing her largesse and no-nonsense advice to the young 'uns and Emily remains the warm, moral heart of the Street.

I have high hopes for the future development of Eva, actually, if she hangs around long enough. I can see her slowly transmogrifying into a Bet Lynch type character, endlessly falling for the wrong man and being disappointed in love, eventually becoming Queen of the Rovers.

Anonymous said...

Why should they have to suffer on Coronation Street? There's a money fairy that everyone can visit whenever they're short of cash to go on vacation, or go out to eat. Gail, who is in dire straights has no worries visiting the market and bringing back enough for 2 slap up meals with wine to go along. Nobody does without..the weddings are extravagant affairs and the expense spared. Chesney is supporting a wife and baby but can toss a few hundred to his sister and then 50 more a week later so his wife can go out with her mates. And the clothes? Do any of the women on this show even skimp when it comes to their wardrobe? You'd think they were all living in the land of plenty. It's like 'Fantasy Island'.

Anonymous said...

But, but, but....Sean needs a new fella.
THAT'S the direction the producers are going...not the strong, independent woman route.


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