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

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Is the end nigh for Corrie?

No of course it isn't. As much fun as today's article in The Guardian was, it didn't make me weep at the thought of Corrie's demise. A few of the facts were pertinent but I don't think Stuart Blackburn will be hurling himself off t'faktry roof any time yet.

What the article did press home though was that despite a soap running for eons, when the axe decides to fall then fall it will. For UK viewers, the two dramas that bit the dust big style were Crossroads and Brookside. Can Corrie avoid the disaster that brought these two former soap stalwarts to a sticky end?

Crossroads ran, originally, for twenty four years until ITV pulled the plug in 1988. What killed it? Partly laziness. Although Crossroads came up with decent storylines, they would often run out of steam or were just badly thought out. Introducing a character with learning difficulties was radical in the early 1980s. Crossroads did it but teamed the character up with the local strumpet, Sharon Metcalfe. It made no sense. The show also continually tried to re-invent itself in the wake of Noele Gordon's sacking in 1981. For many she was the whole reason to watch the show. With the character of Meg Mortimer out of the way, successive producers faffed and tinkered with the programme. They tried to send it upmarket, ditched the jangling theme tune, wheeled in a bunch of actors from The Archers - and so lost their core viewers. Characters disappeared and were never mentioned again, plotlines withered on the vine. The end came at Easter 1988 but the show rose again, like the un-dead, in 2001. It wasn't too bad but ITV decided they wanted more 'camp'. In came Jane Asher and some truly horrible storylines and in 2003, Crossroads died forever.

Corrie has nothing to fear from any of the above. The show is what it is and has no need for a re-boot. Also, the emphasis of the programme does not rest on the shoulders of one particular character. The great and the good have departed the cobbles but the Corrie continues.

Perhaps a more worrying tale lies in the demise of Brookside. The soap spent twenty one years on Channel 4 and in its imperial phase, boldly went where no soaps had gone before. Quite rightly it was lauded for being more grounded and socially aware than Corrie. Sue Johnston shone in a particularly grim rape storyline. Depression, AIDS, drug use and homosexuality all featured. However Brookie prided itself on not having a pub as a focal point. After a few years this started to look odd as there was no central place for characters to meet. The producers invented The Parade and soon realised they could bomb, burn down and detonate the place every other week. Suddenly helicopters were crashing into the shops, every house had its own siege, everyday housewives suddenly morphed into lusty lesbians overnight, there was incest, religious cults - all life was on Brookside Close. By 2002 the programme was looking ridiculous. Channel 4 dumped it in a late night spot where it died, un-noticed, in 2003.

Of course, Corrie has never reached this level of demented storytelling but on a smaller level, there are only so many fires, car crashes, sinister murders and vengeful partners that we can cope with. The show does need extreme drama but it should be used sparingly. Judging by some of the comments on the blog, the things we have enjoyed most in the past few months include the re-birth of Deirdre as a sharp-talking battleaxe-in-waiting and the sad yet exquisite story of Hayley's demise. These are areas where Corrie truly excels. Let's have more.

To me, it doesn't feel as though Corrie is about to topple over a precipice into the soap void. It has probably had a wobbly few months but seems to be in rude health once again. We should also remember that however bad things might be, at least we won't have to contend with Danny Dyer running the Rovers!

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


70sStreetFan said...

I seem to have been reading articles forecasting the Street's imminent demise for the last 30 years- yet it remains the UK's most popular soap opera and indeed tops the overall ratings many weeks during the year.
I don't really see any parallels with Brookside,as it was a show that had been in decline for many years. I always find it amusing that Phil Redmond is often wheeled as some kind of authority on soaps as he presided over this decline,and his other brainchild Hollyoaks is hardly important either culturally or as a ratings force.
Despite being a lifelong fan of the show,I'm also it's sternest critic when it's getting things wrong.However,I don't feel the programme has any huge problems currently. Eastenders apparently has,and this has prompted much discussion in the media. Because of this,and the well documented off screen issues, the Street seems to be attacting additional scrutiny at the moment. But,I think the show itself is in relatively good shape.
So fear not...

Anonymous said...

I love Corrie, but I think once Haley is gone I'll pack it in too. EE is very close to jumping IMO. They are making one blunder after another trying to re-write Albert Square - bringing back old characters trying to re-gain their audience base and it's too late.
I thought Corrie made a mistake bringing back Tracy Barlow and I think they're making an ever bigger one with Liz coming back behind the bar but that's just my opinion.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Coronation Street is about a neighbourhood and we need to get away from family sagas with repetitive themes. Give some characters a lifestyle that affects other residents by making them envious or angry. Think here of Elsie with her fellas and Mike Baldwin with his cash. In time, maybe another street could get tagged onto the action - a new development of larger houses with more shops. Tyrone and Fiz will want to move to a house with a bigger garden at some point; they can move round the corner. Corrie can survive with a bit of imagination and, of course, the support of the advertisers.

Joseph said...

There absolutely can be a danger that channels will suddenly pull the axe on a long-running soap. It happened in America continually. Though most of the soaps were, admittedly, crap, there was one soap that was on a creative high.

Corrie is in no danger of that as of yet. Even without Hayley, the show will thrive.

The show in more danger than us is EastEnders. I mean, I don't know who writes the show now but my god the storylines are crap! And bringing back characters like David Wicks and Peggy Mitchell (although I think that was a cameo appearance) isn't going to work. The sticking point must have been when Pat died. From what I've read, and from what Barbara Windsor has said (and I don't think she has any reason to lie) Pam St Clement was forced out of the show. I don't know whether it was some stupid attempt to make the show 'younger' but it evidently didn't work.

I can't see Corrie getting rid of much loved characters such as Emily and Rita - SB doesn't seem to be like those producers - so that shouldn't be in any danger. And for those of you who are thinking about not watching after Hayley's gone, I think you should give it a chance. JH wanted to leave, and this was really the only viable option. Kinda like why they killed Matthew on Downton Abbey.

Anyway I don't think the end is nigh at all for us. We'll be safe for a good 10-20 years yet. Perhaps longer if we're blessed with good writers.

Anonymous said...

The most interesting part of the article were the comments from Professor Geraghty. Corrie needs to remember how to do things small, if it wants to survive. Petty feuds, jealousies or triumphs can be an endless source of material for decent writers. There is a limit to the number of fires and explosions before the whole thing starts being ridiculous.

Annie said...

After Hayley goes, Roy will be the one to watch. The year after his tragic loss will be something to behold, I'm sure.

I'd stick around, post-Hayley, if I were you! :)

Dilly Daydream said...

Why on earth would anyone stop watching once Hayley goes? That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!

Hayley has been in the show for a relatively short time; she is a good character but certainly not one of the greats (IMO).

Life will go on after Hayley, trust me.

Helen said...

I think you feel this way now, Anonymous; but it's very hard to break the 'Corrie' habit.
I tried about 15 years ago when I thought the writing was rubbish, and yet, here I still am.
Characters come and go, sometimes regrettably, but there are always new and often excellent actors in the wing.

Rosie L said...

I quite like it when there are guest actors involved, they come in, stir things up a bit, then go. I get a bit fed up of the same few characters suffering all the trauma and trials. Cut down the number of residents and bring in short term guests I say.

Anonymous said...

No I think Corrie is 100% safe,easy.I am absolutely hooked by the Nick/Kylie stuff at the minute,it is my favourite storyline by an absolute mile.I can't wait for it all to kick off,it's going to be amazing.Especially with Jane Danson being involved,she's an excellent actress,who also happens to play my favourite character.In the 16 years she's been playing Leanne,she has never let me down

But as long as we have the legendary characters(the ones who have been in it for over a decade) I think we'll be fine

Anonymous said...

I love following the day to day joys and tribulations we can all relate to - most of us never meet even one murderer our whole lives! Also love stable long-term relationships with fun ups and downs that don't necessarily lead to cheating. I do like Rosie's idea of more short term guests, and we're definitely overdue for a Canadian or Australian..

MICK said...

It's worth remembering that the main reason that Crossroads ended is that the powers that be were embarrassed by it and wanted to kill it off.

Central were desperate to get rid of it after taking over the old ATV Midlands franchise.

Times change though and I'm sure in a digital TV age, ITV would now kill for the sort of ratings Crossroads was getting.

Corrie is in no danger of being axed yet but no programme can last forever and I really do feel that they need to move away from these OTT, sensationalistic storylines.

Viewers want to see believeable down to earth characters in a working class Northern setting with a sprinkling of humour - a winning formula which has served Corrie well for years.

The current producers would do well to remember that.


You might also like...