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Monday 27 May 2013

A Corrie retrospective: 1980s v 2010s

I very much enjoyed reading Llifon's recent blog post on the major events that took place in Corrie during the 1980s. I have very distant memories of the tale end of that decade however from watching a lot of DVDs I know it was a strong period for the street.

This set me off wondering how the Coronation Street of the 2010s will be viewed retrospectively. The one thing that struck me was the sheer volume of high quality, iconic storylines that unfolded in Weatherfield during the 1980s. Is Corrie today capable of matching, or even exceeding that?

From the Mike, Deirdre and Ken love triangle of 1983 and the death of Stan Ogden in 1984 to the Rovers fire of '86 and the long-running reign of dastardly Alan Bradley, Coronation Street really was firing on all cylinders for most of that decade. How much of this is looking back through rose tinted specs I don't know as I wasn't old enough to enjoy these stories as a regular Corrie viewer. However it does seem to me that Corrie did big event storylines in a much more subtle, realistic way. Many events such as the death or departure of a long running character were underplayed therefore having a greater impact.

While many of the events that took place in Corrie during the 1980s are quite major or life-changing, they were spread out over ten years. A huge amount has already happened to the Street residents and this current decade is still young. 

Is it all getting a bit much? Would such carnage and mayhem really strike so many residents of such a tiny back street? I am sure you all have quite strident thoughts on that.

Take Stella for example. In just shy of two years she has found a daughter she abandoned at birth, found out that Karl had a gambling addiction, found out that Karl had cheated on her with Sunita, been knocked down by a drunken Carla Connor and nearly died when trapped in the Rovers fire. Throw in a relationship with a man young enough to be her son and being caught using Gail's mop whilst giving the Bistro a good bottoming and you have a very unlikely, not to mention, very unlucky two years.

I wonder how the immediate post-tram crash years in Corrie will be viewed in years to come. Some telly gets better with age while some does not. Who knows, we may look back fondly on Corrie's sixth decade in years to come, although for me the jury is firmly out.

What do you think?

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Janice. said...

The ratings from the 80s demonstrate that in that decade Corrie was more popular than anything else (even Princess Di's wedding apparently). That is not the rose tint of nostalgia. Perhaps there were less channels to chose from then but the production values, the attention to script, the acting, the development of character were all planned and carefully executed. The 2010s are haphazard by modern standards and will be viewed unkindly in thirty years (if Corrie survives).

Llifon said...

I'm glad you enjoyed my post Graeme! :)

The one thing that's different between both decades is that during the 80s, Corrie was hitting new ground. The Ken/Mike/Deirdre was the first love triangle that gained press attention as did Alan Bradley's torment of Rita. And also, there weren't spoilers like there is today. This was the first time these kind of stories were portrayed. The same can be said about the Free the Weatherfield One story - it was the first time that kind of story was made and it had a great impact. The ones that followed in Corrie like Rita, Gail or Tyrone didn't have the same impact.

Also, compared to the 1980s, Corrie now depends on sensationalism to keep viewers, while in the 80s you only had four channels (3 until 1982), so people watched Corrie because there wasn't anything else on, and nothing that rivalled their slot. Yet, Corrie still attracts around 10 million viewers, whereas during the 80s it had an average of 15 million which is not a huge drop.

You also had great characters during the 80s, that today's Corrie can only dream of.

Misty said...

Janice I think you are so right especially about the attention to script and development of characters. And Graeme the mention of Gail fussing about her mop was not funny because the Gail I have watched for so many years would never do something like that. We as adults really can see the difference between humour and stupidity. Another example of stupidity was when Steve arrived at Dev's house after Sunita died with a bottle and Steve acted like a total idiot towards his friend who had just lost his wife. This is just really bad writing.

David said...

I think the soap genre as a whole has been run into the ground with oversaturation. Corrie is still the best of the bunch, of course.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, Corrie has some similarities from the 80's to now; Nick, Leanne and Peter are similar to Ken, Mike and Deirdre. However I have to agree about St.Ella of the back room, she is used far to much and would probably be more likeable if she appeared less frequently.

Anonymous said...

It has jumped the shark

Anonymous said...

I think it was a lot closer to real life in the 1980s, but then most soaps were. Many soaps require sensationalism as a viewing staple these days. Personally, I've been watching some eps from 1985, and really enjoying them. Gail's feminist stance seems rather unreasonable now, as does Brian's block-headedness (nobody to like much in that relationship at that point), but Stella Rigby blasting in, Percy sticking his nose in and leaving nobody in any doubt about his opinions, the Barlows doing DIY shelving, Mavis's second honeymoon competition shame, the Claytons worrying over Andrea's A levels and Alf considering finally dispensing with the old bacon slicer and updating the Corner Shop have all made for enjoyable viewing. And not a serial killer or an explosion in sight.


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