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Friday 15 November 2013

Is Corrie getting better?

I was never really a fan of Phil Collinson. Too many casting decisions and plot lines just weren't in the true spirit of Corrie for me. Stuart Blackburn has been at the helm for some time now, so I'm wondering, are all things Coronation Street on the road to recovery?

It's a mixed picture from what I can see. I know it's easy for us fans to sit in our living rooms and criticise the powers that be because we're not the ones with the power and all the important decision making that comes with it. So here's what I think are the positives and negatives in Corrie at the moment.

One of the biggest improvements as far as I can see is the change in management at the Rovers Return. Liz might not be everyone's cup of tea, but the Rovers just feels so much better now the McDonald's are back behind the bar. The Price family are thankfully being rested following a period which saw them appear in practically every episode. 

Another improvement for me was the decision to split up Sophie and Jenna. Most of us agree this pairing just never worked. The characters didn't gel, there was no spark between them and they had practically no storylines. Jenna can be saved if they concentrate on her relationship with dad Lloyd. As for Sophie, who cares? Getting rid of rancid Ryan was also a smart move; another character who went nowhere.

Roy and Hayley continue to be sublime. I'm not sure how much of that is down to the powers that be though. David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh could entertain and move me reading from the phone book. The bond between Hayley and Carla has also been a highlight for me. Finally, another important change is the transformation in Deirdre Barlow. For a time Deirdre simply existed as a damp dish cloth propping up tedious Tracy. Now Deirdre is funny and random again, she stands up to Tracy and I always look forward to seeing her on screen. Let's just give her a story of her own now, eh Mr Blackburn?

Some things, however, just aren't working for me. Sally and Tim just shouldn't be together. Both Sally the character and Sally the actress deserve so much better. The whole Faye storyline is always a struggle and the addition of evil Grace really hasn't helped things. We know Faye has had a hard life, however we are expected to care for her and see past her unpleasantness, without actually knowing that much about her life before Anna adopted her. Tim is now a wasted character. For a while he was promising, now he's just a flatlining waste of space.

TIna is now being shoehorned into every scene in the style of St Ella of the Back Room. The direction Tina and Peter are going in is repellent. The actress has already announced she is leaving, so why not just let her go? It's unbelievable that Peter would suddenly fall for Ms McIntyre as he is preparing to get married (again). I'm a big fan of Carla and while I might look forward to seeing Mrs Connor show Tina who's boss, I just wish we could have one Weatherfield wedding without this kind of carry on. I don't know what Peter is thinking. Why go out for a hamburger when you can have steak at home?

I'm looking forward to seeing more of Rita and Dennis, but why must Rita continually treat Dennis like a naughty little boy? As a pensioner, why must Dennis always be seeking work? Mary continues to float about in an aimless fashion - let's have her grounded and let's see her softer, human side once again. Todd needs to be less unpleasant and quick - what's the point of bringing him back if all he's going to do is alienate everyone?

Finally, please, please, please give Gail a purpose outside her family! This is not EastEnders! The poor sap spends her day lurching between Nick, Kylie and David. The clock is ticking for Gail. She used to be strong, capable and fearless in the face of Lynne Perrie's erm...face. Now she engages in the battle of the mops with Stella, appears to have no interests other than her sweatily close grown up children and meddles without skill. I long for the days when a feisty Gail battled Alma to keep the cafe's sandwich delivery round. Yes, that's how pathetic Gail has become.

So that's what I think. Over to you: what do you love and loathe about Corrie at the moment?

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Anonymous said...

Sorry but I'm finding it pretty boring at present. Couldn't care less about most of the characters - apart from R and H of course. LizMac and her "love interest" will make me cringe. Where once it was unmissable I can take it or leave it now.

Sam said...

Great post! I think Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson have carried the show for most of the year. I'm ashamed to admit that I never realised how talented these two actors are.

I've loved watching Hayley and Carla's unlikely but beautiful friendship. Julie Hesmondhalgh and Alison King are superb together.

- Deirdre has never been this funny and I agree with you, she deserves a storyline of her own now!

However, the thought of Tina and Peter together makes me feel sick. The storyline is so ridiculous, it's laughable and what you said is SPOT ON.

Anonymous said...

The only reason I try to tune in once and awhile is to watch Roy and Haley and, I'm finding that they're milking this particular storyline for all it's worth, but that's to be expected. I'm enjoying Deidre sans Ken, who can just stay away for all I care. Maybe he can meet up with some woman in Canada and never come back. IMO he added nothing to the show..just because he's always been there doesn't mean he should.
Gail...gone beyond the beyond. No help for her. The actress must be gritting her teeth every time she has to deliver the moronic lines that are being written for her.
Carla - her time is done IMO. Peter and Tina are both leaving so my bet is that they leave the street together next year. Until then we have the character that was Tina, who has turned an odd dark shade of orange, stuck in our faces.
Is Corrie getting better? Meh.

njblas said...

Graeme, your observations are spot on as always! In Australia we are 5 weeks behind, and Liz is due to totter down the cobbles here early next week. In some ways it seems like a backwards move, but I'm sure it will be at least an improvement on The Beige Years of the Price clan. Stella and Gloria already seem like flotsam, drifting around ineffectually until their contracts expire. It has been embarrassing to have an actor of Sue Johnston's talent wasted on such a one dimensional, unlikeable character. I suspect she will be hugely relieved when the day arrives that Gloria leaves Weatherfield for good. Jenna has potential but they need to move fast and give her character some sense of purpose and direction. Sophie has become a tedious dead-end character who only seems to be kept on because the powers that be want to have more than one Webster in the show. I will venture to differ a little to most people by saying I'm actually sorry that Ryan has gone. (He was vastly preferable to the ghastly Rob - why is he still with us?) Although the character of Ryan was not likeable, I thought Sol Heras was doing a good job, and there could have been a future for Ryan had TPTB not lost interest after breaking him up from the pretty-but-pointless Katy. Roy and Hayley are sublime, no question, the absolute highlight of the show at the moment. Deirdre is coming in to her own, yes, but there are some misfires. A recent scene here in the Rovers had her prattling on about crisps in the Rovers while Rita was trying to relate her fostering experiences to Julie and Brian. I guess it was meant to be amusing, but it was excruciating and embarrassing. Less of this nonsense, and more scenes where she takes the wind out of Tracy's sails would be the way to go. Tim, yes I agree, can't get a handle on him or what his purpose is at all. The direction of Rita and Dennis worries me, they seem to be floundering. We need to get their relationship working - and fast. They are both too good to waste. And finally, yes, let's see Gail with some spirit and fire again. The simpering twit she has become is awful to watch...

Carry On Blogging! said...

Thank you! I'm glad we mostly agree! Can't agree with you about vile Ryan though!

Anonymous said...

Very good post. I agree with all that's been said.
Jenna is a character that doesn't do anything at all to interest me, Sophie even less I'm afraid and I dread the return of her 'dad' Kevin.
Sally's just marking time with Tim, but the bit of rough doesn't suit the character of the Sally we know.
Gail I believe ( hope) will rise again. She has been coasting within the world of her family for a bit now, knocked back by her age, loss of meaningful employment and home ownership, lack of male partner, and thankfully for the character, she does have a proper family to keep her occupied.
Can't help but wonder what the writers have in mind for Roy after Hayley, he's not been exactly exciting a character in himself.
I have to agree with those who can give the show a miss now and then, it could be more interesting.

Anonymous said...

Graeme very well said! I completely agree with your comments regarding Gail - they should give her a decent storyline or get rid. Her constant whimpering voice drives me crazy! I'm watching in Canada and am loving having Liz back! She is like a breath of fresh air! Not liking the oranger by the day Tina in every scene and the thought of her and Peter hooking up makes me sick. I also don't see the point of Tim what a feckless character. Faye is bad enough but now they've introduced this devil child. Owen is starting to see through her so I hope her days are numbered.

Carry On Blogging! said...

I'd never get rid of Gail. Helen Worth is fab, they just need to freshen the character up a bit

Shan said...

I didn't dislike the Price family as much as everyone else, though toward the end of their tenure at the Rovers, I did find it become annoying how everything on the Street was focusing around them. I think they could have been a good family if they had been brought in elsewhere, not as owners of the pub. The original storyline of Stella trying to find Leanne was a good one.

Gail definitely needs something new. I find her character very childlike and her voice and delivery is just making things worse.

The only hope that I can gain from the whole Peter/Tina storyline is since there are rumours that she will end in a whodunnit storyline, Rob will be the one to kill her, sticking up for his sister, and he'll somehow rope Tracy into helping him. Then either they can both head off to jail leaving us forever, or since I don't mind Rob too much if he can get a good storyline, he can frame Tracy and she can leave our screens forever, while he gets to stick around.

Anonymous said...

The Roy & Hayley story though wonderfully acted is being over exposed. Its v depressing to watch. Welcome back Liz just wish Vernon would rejoin her as i found him hilarious!! Peter & there anyone on the street she hasn't slept with apart from Norris & Denis ? I knew she is leaving in new year....didn't hear that Peter is also????

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of the above pretty much. Too bad the writers don't see this blog. LOL..we have orange Tina, and beige Stella, then I guess Liz would be fire engine red. The storyline with David kicked out of his own home and not allowed to see his kids is absurd. It wasn't that long ago when Gail slept with her mother's lover, yet that was forgiveable? I also wish Sophie was gone, how did she get her contract renewed? Do these PTB not watch their own show? Do they not read fans comments anywhere on the net?

Anonymous said...

Roy and Hailey are the only two really likeable characters on the show but I am getting bored with this storyline, how many times can Hailey say that she wants to do it her way. It should be a very poignant storyline but its being milked for all its worth. Quite why the prattish Todd has been brought back I am not sure but it looks like another disaster. And get rid of the Platts, so bored with their same old same old stories.

Anonymous said...

I stopped watching Corrie simply because the plot lines were really ridiculous. I check the blog each week to see if things are getting more interesting and fun, but it seems everyone is fighting, sniping, or just being downright stupid. Put some fun back in Corrie and let's have a wedding that goes off without any fuss and intrigue!

Rebecca said...

Graeme, I have to tell you that I smile every time I see the phrase "St Ella of the Backroom!" I am looking forward to seeing the end of St Ella, her mother, and her orange friend.

The MacDonalds being back in the Rover's has been so much more fun to watch for me. As far as I'm concerned they never should have left. It would be nice if Steve really took to the college classes he's taking and showed up everyone who's laughing now. He's smart enough to run two successful businesses, why is it so far fetched that he do well as an adult in college?

I hate to admit it, but Tracy is becoming more tolerable to me lately. It's not that I like the character, it's that I like watching Deirdre, Liz, and (occasionally) Rob put her in her place. I guess it's just nice to see her missteps not go unchecked.

Defrost Indoors said...

With Liz back, it feels like things are back to normal, even though it will only be a matter of time before she's in another inappropriate romance.

Where have Gary and Izzy been? Victims, I suspect, of the kid trap -- a baby storyline is always good for lots of drama and handwringing, and then once the dust clears you're left with an invisible baby and nothing else for the characters to do.

Agreed that Tina is being shoehorned into everything, and what was the point of the whole shop window incident? Tracy and her ugliness and vendettas are beyond boring now; ditto with Tina and her bossyboots behaviour.

The writers have dropped the ball with Faye. She is much-hated in our house, and for all the people complaining "oh she's just a troubled child" we've never been given any hint of why Anna would be so attached to the horrible creature. We've never seen any sort of warmth, love, vulnerability or anything -- just sulking, scheming, eyerolling. Even Tracy has shown a softer side, especially when crying over her love life with Deirdre.

Humpty said...

Agree with all your blog, Graeme. I'm cynical, though, about Roy and Hayley. I think they would still be minor characters if JH hadn't decided to leave. I had an awful thought reading your comments about Peter and Tina. Is she going to get pregnant and is that why she leaves? Odd that we've been told a year in advance Tina's exit will be a who-done-it. Perhaps it's a red herring. They got it completely wrong with Faye. We don't know anything about her and she's never been given the chance to open up to a teacher or social worker. That whole family can leave and wouldn't be missed. Sally's character suffers because they don't know what to do with her until they know whether Kevin will return. Tim is a useless storyline but it fills the gap for the time being. Brian and Julie could have been brilliant - a wasted opportunity. The one character I am really upset about is Peter. Something went wrong when he came back from America. It's true he lost his sparring partner in Ken where you could see Peter's vulnerability, but they could have moved Deirdre into a 'parent' role and let CG's talent shine through. He always had a witty turn of phrase but the spark seems to have gone. We've just learnt that Jason's dad is coming back and will take up with Liz. That doesn't sound very thrilling, might have been more fun with Deirdre. Altho' Corrie is definitely an improvement on last year, there were still some duds which we've discussed on this blog. Bringing Liz back has worked. Stella? Who?

Zagg said...

What a good blog. I agree with all of it. I am not sure if the show is really better at this point. Every time I think it is, we get walloped with a ridiculous scene ie: Gail and Kylie conspiring two feet away from Nick like he's not there, Tina throwing the brick, Nick at the Halloween party etc... I mean why did Simon need to have someone escort him to a freakin party across the street? There were plenty of adults there to chaperone.It was just so silly and contrived.Sure...make the brain injured dude go to a noisy, hectic kids party...what could possibly happen? Duh...We actually laughed at the whole ridiculous scene.

What's not working? Tina in every story (don't even get me started on the future Peter/Tina thing), Gail and her fluttering eyes, Jenna and Sophie, Sophie and Jenna who cares, Tim and anybody who cares, Faye and Grace, haven't we suffered enough? Tracy Tracy and Tracy. Enough of this ridiculous cow.
What is working? Roy & Hayley of course, the absence of the Price family, Deidre, Liz back behind the bar (although for the love of God, please cut her hair!!)the absence of Michelle, Sinead (she's cute with Chesney and not such a downer), the absence of Izzy & Gary and Tommy and Katie. Evil David all pathetic now, I actually feel sorry for him.
I wish Julie would get a good storyline that gave her some real happiness. I wish Sally and Dev would get together, they're both pretentious enough for each other, I wish Eileen would not be so downtrodden ALL the time, I wish Lloyd would get a GOOD storyline and I wish that Tracy would just go away, get run over, drown in the canal, get eaten by Eccles, anything would do.

Anonymous said...

In Canada we're behind, Jason's brother hasn't returned yet. Love the Roy and Hayley storey, well done. Liz returning, fine, but get real, the night she came out with the girls showing almost to the nipples, please. Overkill. Gail must have that face down pat, reminds me of a toad and she is smart, why is she stumbling around like she had the accident.For someone who has lost money as many times as she has she still has her house,now David's, not in the real world. Glad to read Jason's dad is coming back and is a villan, hopefully he gives Carl a run in the bad guy dept. When Kevin comes back I hope Tyrone will have grown as a character and stand up to him, he's been doing everything and needs to be on an equal footing with him.The only child on the show is Steve.

Anonymous said...

I think Collinson was a disaster, not least because it was under his watch that Roy and Hayley were so underused. However, the Street needs to find the courage to do things small. Having every wedding turn into a "Will they won't they cliffhanger" is becoming tedious in the extreme.

How about someone being annoyed about not getting an invite or something going wrong. (I know someone who nearly missed their wedding because the taxi to take them to the registry office didn't turn up).

All this pandering to the insatiable desire for "explosive" storylines will eventually result in the end of soaps in this format.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Graeme, you've got your finger on the pulse of the viewers and you've sparked another interesting discussion.
Lately I've been wondering why I feel dissatisfied, even annoyed with Corrie. I think it's because there are so few likable characters. [I've even personally felt Hayley's exasperation with Roy! His principles seem to override his logic at this critical time.]
When I think about who I'd enjoy hanging out with, almost no one comes to mind. The old saying about choosing our friends, but being stuck with our relatives doesn't quite apply on a TV show. The only choice is to watch or turn it off. If we watch we're stuck with whoever the producer and writers give us, doing whatever implausible things they conjure up. In real life, we make allowances for our family, mostly because we know how damaged they are, from growing up with disfunction. (We're all "walking wounded".) In the case of our friends we feel that their faults and flaws are offset by the qualities we chose them for. When they overstep the mark, we either have it out and forgive, or end the relationship.
On Corrie I find it increasingly hard to like more characters than I dislike. I don't know what the formula is, or what the magic number may be, but if, at some point, I'm so incredulous, annoyed, exasperated, disgusted, and other equally unpleasant feelings, more than not, then I'll be forced to choose my only other option, and turn it off.
Please, hear my pleas, Mr. Blackburn and staff, show us some of the redeeming qualities that make us care about these people and their stories. Make me love Rita, Dierdre, Liz, Steve, Lloyd, Eileen, Gail, Leanne, Peter, Carla, etc., etc. again!!

Hannah said...

I think corrie Is exellent as it is but if I had to choose something I would love to see sarah and Beth back they were amazing and it would be fun to see sarah shouting at David for causing the car crash and putting nick in a coma I am also a bit upset stella and gloria are going I have always been the biggest fan of stella since the start I can image stella saying goodbye to leanne and they will both be in floods of tears because stella has only known leanne for about 2 and a half years

Rosie L said...

You would think with all the problems this dysfunctional family have, Sara would want to be there for them, though on second thoughts..... Would you?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Corrie is getting any better. It seems to have a similar tone and pace that it did a year ago. What it lacks right now, that it had a year ago, is a really gripping story. The show has some strong material, like most scenes with Roy and Hayley, but there's too many throw away stories right now. The balance seems off. Just when something seems to be gathering's dropped days, sometimes weeks. And characters keep going missing. Tyrone should have had a follow up story after his ordeal with Kirsty, it didn't have to be huge or drawn out, but he went through a year off hell, capped off with stint in jail. As soon as Kirsty was gone, he just vanished. Maria and Marcus? What a rubbish year for them, the actors deserve something to do. Mary finally gets some real development as Dev's friend, now rarely seen. Steve is used as un-comic relief. Gary used to be interesting, not anymore. Chesney, Katy, and Sinead...yawn. Craig Tinker? He's good when used, he just isn't. The same goes for a good chunk of the cast. They should start using their talent pool better.

And then there's the stories to come, which does nothing to make think Corrie is going to get any better. Peter and Tina...just icky, they should both know better, this is just typical soap writing. Have Tina burn as many bridges as possible before leaving the street (and knowing Corrie is will probably be in a hearse). Carla should be the shows diva, Tina shouldn't have a hope of getting between her and Peter. I expect the storyline will feel contrived and forced. And the bullying storyline...well...I am biased since I think any airtime given to Faye and Grace is a waste. Corrie seems to have trouble with these kinds of stories, they end up looking like badly done EastEnders.

But, as much as I did not think they needed Liz back, I'll admit it's worked. Keep her, Eileen, and Deirdre together in scenes and it's gold!

Anonymous said...

Nice to see you again Phil.

Carry On Blogging! said...

It looks like we're all gagging at the thought of Tina and peter! I agree more Deirdre, Liz and Eileen scenes would be great

Carry On Blogging! said...

Anon @ 19.28 - I agree, whenever the word explosive is used I groan!

Anonymous said...

I certainly am gagging at the thought of Tina and Peter! I am also cringing at the way Tina is being forced into Peter and Carla's lives when she's had naff all to do with them for 5 years.

Anonymous said...

I'm worried how little Eva is in it at the moment. Catherine Tyldesley has massive (pun not intended) potential... Loved those scenes when she went mental at Sunita; and she does the comedy well too. A real Corrie icon in the making.

70sStreetFan said...

The biggest problem remains that the cast is way too big.So many potentially interesting characters just don't get a look in. Also,too many one dimensional "bad" characters like Tracy,Grace,Rob and now Todd. Also,too many big sensastional plots. It's the truthful ones like Hayley's story that capture the public imagination.


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