Cosy crimes and gritty sagas by Corrie Blog editor Glenda, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Saturday 20 April 2013

In the Strasse where you live

I caught some of BBC Radio 4's documentary Coronation Strasse today (still available on BBC I-Player) which recounts the success of the German soap Lindenstrasse.

The series was inspired by Corrie and has been on-air since 1985. Interestingly, Lindenstrasse credits its success to the telling of straightforward human interest stories, rather to the 'nuts and sluts' approach favoured by many of their contemporaries. Certainly the Lindenstrasse approach seemed to find favour with the assembled UK soap gurus.

Whether or not Corrie would benefit from a 'back-to-basics' approach is debatable. These days, the basic art of story-telling seems to lose out in UK soaps. With up to five episodes to fill, there seems to be a constant need for visual stimulation. Writers and producers are therefore constrained by the requirement of blockbuster storylines. It is the kind of thing that Channel 4 drama Brookside was ridiculed for a decade ago. For them, a never-ending diet of sieges, murders and a helicopter crashing into the shops every other week finally did for the twenty one year old soap. The somewhat earthy drama of 1982 left the screen as a faintly ridiculous, hollowed-out shell of its former self in 2003.

BBC Radio 4's The Archers, of course, has to rely on the power of the spoken word only. For them, an exploding village pub or the prospect of a herd of angry cows ploughing through Lynda Snell's back garden is not an option. Without the visual outlet though, the emphasis is firmly on the characters and their traits. All of them are damaged or weakened in some way or another and more often than not, the listener is prodded into recalling those foibles.

As a Corrie viewer, I do enjoy the odd set piece. However, the regular occurrences of murder, fire and infidelity are wearing a little thin. There are only so many times that t'faktry can be torched, that Tracy can be a scheming bitch or that Eileen, glowering through yet another relationship breakdown, can be of any interest. Maybe we could find out a little of Mary's back-story or discover what happened during Dennis Tanner's missing years. We need a break from pyrotechnics and marriage merry-go-rounds.

Lindenstrasse gives a nod to Corrie for its own success. Is it time that Corrie went full circle and re-discovered its own roots?

You can follow us on Twitter @CoroStreetBlog and Facebook: CoronationStreetBlog

Creative Commons Licence
All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License


Anonymous said...

Absolutely time! The visuals do not make credible or enjoyable sensational crummy storylines and/or dialogue. Good article, David.

Anonymous said...

I agree w/ Anonymous - you said exactly what my Corrie fan friends have been talking about for some time. Corrie writers...are you listening?

abbyk said...

In the past 3 years or so, we've had a tram crash, two young women who can't conceive, a bunch of babies, one of which was the product of an affair, 2 jilted brides, a fire in the Rovers, a couple of murders,...

In the same time, Gail remained unemployed, Sally got divorced, Lloyd found a long lost love and a child he never knew, Amy's custody went a convicted murderer instead of the father who raised and adored her, Dennis returned from roving, bright students Chesney and Sophie dropped out,... These emotional, DRAMATIC(!) issues were explored in less time than a quick one at the Rovers. Sad.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Corrie has never gone short of high dramas, but if we look at the events of the '60s, '70s and '80s we can see that the vast majority of story-lines were of the mundane, human variety: Annie Walker was threatened in her bedroom, Lynne Johnson murdered in Len Fairclough's parlour and the warehouse burned in 1975, Ernie Bishop was shot dead in a wages snatch in 1978 and a lorry crashed into the Rovers in 1979, the Rovers burned down in 1986 and Alan Bradley terrorized Rita in 1989, but all these major dramas were interspersed between absolutely loads of "Annie is acting up at the Rovers/Stan has stubbed his toe on a paving slab/Percy is avoiding Phyllis/Curly has bought a new telescope/Mavis is torn between Derek and Victor" style stories. I really miss all that.

Glenda Young said...

I listened to this on the BBC i player and quite enjoyed it. I loved how the creator said he watched his girlfriend watching Corrie and knew she was watchign something very special!

Anonymous said...

I've given up hoping Coronation Street will return to its roots.


You might also like...

Coronation Street Books for Fans