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Sunday 14 July 2013

How can Underworld be flourishing?

I just don't understand it. How can the Coronation Street faktry be doing so well during the economic downturn? Apart from a convenient plot device to allow the gruesome Rob and Tracy more airtime, I just don't get it.

People have long commented on this blog that back street factories like Underworld are few and far between these days. Tough economic circumstances across the country are forcing many of these small businesses under. Corrie has been somewhat slow to react to the recession on screen, however while it finally has got its act together, I think it has picked on the wrong business. Yes, it looks like Barlow's Bookies has had its day.

Bookies are still ten a penny as far as I can see, and most people would still buy a lottery ticket, so why would Peter's business suddenly go wrong? Meanwhile Carla's little empire is going from strength to strength and other businesses like Nick and Leanne's "posh" Bistro don't appear to be faltering either.

So how can Underworld be so prosperous? As long as the Connors have been in charge it seems to have lurched from one financial crisis to the next. It's been burned to the ground by a mad Scotsman (no, not me) and has such a high staff turn over I half expect to see Emily Bishop stitching gussets next. The current workforce aren't exactly go-getters either are they? Fiz has put in about two and a half shifts in the past 10 years and as for what Beth and Kirkeh manage to get up to in Packing, heaven only knows. Most of the staff spend longer on cake runs than they do behind sewing machines.

As for the current management, well they leave a lot to be desired. Carla has swapped Mike Baldwin's bottom drawer bottle of Scotch for a case of Pinot Noir and spends most of her time refereeing tedious fights between boyfriend Peter and boring brother Rob. And as for Michelle? As I've pondered before, where has her sudden business acumen come from? She's gone from crooning in back street bars and pulling pints to scoring major knicker orders faster than a script conference can cry "this character desperately needs a new direction!" 

No, as far as I'm concerned this current knicker stitching boom in Weatherfield is just all thong, I mean wrong. It can really only be a matter of time until the bottom falls out of the market...

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Humpty Dumpty said...

My high street has several franchised/branches of turf accountants. Peter's business is an independent enterprise like the other shops on the street. I'm no expert but I would have thought it was very difficult these days for an independent off-course bookie to survive. Why not close up shop and take a pitch at the races? The question is how has he survived as long as this, likewise the factory and the bistro.

Stevie said...

Ha! You know what soaps are like. Residents who are apparently poor are suddenly flush enough to move to London or halfway across the world!

I got the impression Underworld is struggling though? A conversation between Carla and Michele last week suggested were orders weren't flooding in and Michele was working her socks off to bring in business.

In any case they can't be doing too well. With their workforce the products surely have no frills...

Sam said...

To be honest, I'm glad the factory is doing well for once. How many storylines have we had involving Carla struggling to keep the factory going? Too many.

I also don't mind the Peter and Rob scenes. Both actors work well together along with Alison King and at least it's a change from tedious 'love triangles'.

The only problem I have with this story is the ghastly Tracy and Rob pairing!

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. Bookies are taking over some High Streets. I don't suppose you can expect creative types to be able to reflect anything of the real world, but the Faktry, its storylines and bosses have been pathetic for years. It's the same with the Bistro. It competes with the Rovers and whenever it's mentioned, I get distracted by thoughts of how on earth it can be successful.

The Corner Shop rarely gets a mention, probably because Dev is so terrible and I think the Street could and should bring back its retail tradition. Freshco, minus Reg Holdsworth, could be good and the Square Dealers and WARTS were always a source of humour.

Joseph said...

I've been wondering the exact same thing. It's just bordering on unrealistic that Underworld is still around, at least in its current form.

Anonymous said...

Well, Peter summed it up..'people will always need knickers' or some such. Ridiculous of course but anything goes on matter how ridiculous. Carla was on the verge of losing the faktry last month..she couldn't even afford to replace the stolen silk and now?..major coup and they're booming. Michelle could give Donald Trump a few lessons on how to make millions..she's a bonafide genius.

Frosty the Snowman said...

There is a Paddy Power on almost every High Street in Brtain these days and everyone including good old M&S buys knickers from faktrays in the Far East these days. The whole faktray business is now nothing short of ridiculous, a place where nobody seems to do any work, and then they go out on strike when they are displeased about something. Burn it down for good I say.

David the Wavid said...

The well has clearly run dry with the factory and yet it limps on from one Mike wannabe to the next, with no real story purpose other than to keep half of the street in employment. They wrote out the original factory in 1989 when it passed its use-by date and the show improved without it so why is Underworld seen as a sacred cow?

Shan said...

I always figured it just had to do with employing enough of the street characters in one place to continue the stories. If there was no factory, all these characters would go off on their own during the day and no one would head to the Rovers for lunch or into the cafe for a cake run, thus inserting themselves into the current story lines.

The.HR.Doctor said...

I think the retailers (Bistro, Rovers, Dev) on the Street survive because no-one on that Street ever ventures beyond the borders of that Street. Occasionally, they go into town (wherever that may be). They're always sitting somewhere on the Street.

I can't remember Anna Windass or Norris ever left the cobbles - a funeral or a wedding, perhaps.

Merry said...

I'm an American who is new to the show and have been curious about these cakes the Underworld staff are always running out for. Are they cupcakes?

Also, I was wondering whether the slang used in the series were realistic. I realize the dialogue has been sanitized for TV, and that a conversation spoken on a real Manchester street might contain a few more swear words, but by and large do the turns of phrase spoken on CS ring true?

And one more...the underworld staff address Carla as Mrs. Connor, even though she is younger than many of them. I realize she's the boss, but that seems really formal. I don't think I've ever had a boss that I haven't called by his/her first name, at least not as an adult.


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