Gritty sagas by Corrie blog editor Glenda Young, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Monday, 10 March 2014

In the Corrie producer's chair

I haven't played this game for a while so I thought I'd have a bash to cheer myself up. I'm playing armchair producer again. So in no particular order, here's what I would do if I was in charge of Corrie in 2014:

I'd ditch the current, awful updated theme tune. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the old one. It was perfect, beautiful even. Watching old pre-2010 episodes, the theme tune really does make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. The current tune feels lightweight and jars with cliffhangers at advert breaks.

Having said that, I'd remove the theme tune altogether when a character dies. It used to happen as a mark of respect and I think it is a fitting tribute which should certainly have been used when Hayley died.

I would also ditch the titles - the out of focus shots of what I presume is Manchester really don't do the programme any justice.

Give Deirdre Barlow a storyline!! For goodness sake writers, Anne Kirkbride is an asset - use her!

Send Dev and the twins off with Stella when she leaves. I know Dev has his supporters but he always makes me cringe. The comedy is forced and laboured, the dramatic moments always just miss the mark.

Install a middle aged woman as manager of the Corner Shop - it needs a matriarch character, someone other characters can confide in and gossip with. The Corner Shop used to be a focal point of the show and nowadays we don't see it as much as we should.

Audrey needs a pal. Never mind fixing her up with inappropriate men, I loved her exploits with Alma back in the day, and more recently with Claudia Colby (Rula Lenska). Why can't they bring Claudia back and let's see them let their hair down a bit.

The cast is still too big. I baulked the other evening during the Corrie documentary when a cast of 70 was mentioned. Realistically how can Coronation Street tell 70 characters' stories, even if we are bombarded with five half hours a week?

Cut the episodes back. There are too many and it dilutes the magic. What's wrong with three half hours - Monday, Wednesday and Friday?

More scenes where nothing happens, letting the dialogue dominate.

Get Steve McDonald away from that Michelle! She was no good for him the first time around so who knows why they decided to rehash this one.

Get Gail away from her family, her mop and that awful tabard! Rejuvenate the character!

Put Tracy Barlow back in jail and bring in Blanche's sister.

Get rid of Katy Armstrong. I don't care how, just make it happen.

Do something with the butchers shop - Remember that Sally has money and let's see her do something with it.

Get rid of Sophie Webster. I don't care how, just make it happen.

Don't let Philip Lowrie leave - find something interesting for Dennis to do.

I want to see more of Kal - and I mean that in every sense.

Introduce some interesting older characters.

Finally, spread the action out so more than a handful of characters dominate. I feel that the Windasses, Peter, Carla and Tina are in EVERY scene. Make it stop!

I'm sure some of these will divide opinion, so feel free to add your own thoughts! What would you do if you were in charge?

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Tvor said...

Great post! I agree with a lot of it. As for the corner shop, I don't mind Dev owning it but yes, bring in someone else to manage it. You could put Deirdre or Gail in there and that would solve either of those problems. (but not the both of them or someone's going to end up with another cake-face!)

I'd like to see Eva have a good factory storyline. She's the office PA, surely they could do something with that. She needs more than just being Jason's girlfriend and Tony's backup.

Sean needs a storyline, a proper one, not just mooning over another wrong 'un or throwaway one lines in the factory or the pub.

Anonymous said...

Quite agree - too many episodes and too many characters mean I find it hard to care.
I would certainly ditch Dev and Sophie (never understand what she's saying anyway) but I would add Sean (dull) and Norris (doesn't do it for me any more). I wouldn't bring back Dennis just because I don't think he added anything and the character's been devalued with the Gloria storyline. I agree about a strong female being in charge at the Corner Shop but perhaps it could be someone new with maybe Deirdre back in there as assistant.
I also agree about the credits - get back to chimney tops and the classic theme.

Hing Hoo Ha said...

Thoroughly agree. Sophie needs to go and Kevin needs to stay in Germany permanently. Develop Sally and Tim. Tone Beth down to what she was when she first arrived, more of her and Craig and her niece. Now Gloria has gone Stella needs to leave also, the character is now just treading water and is pointless. Liz needs to become more than the one dimensional tart with a heart character, she is a well liked character, use her and also Dierdre. Get rid of Eileen who is too bitter and sour faced, has been in it too long now and seems to be going nowhere. Keep Jason and Todd. Lets see more of Andrea, perhaps getting a job at the Rovers when Tina finally goes. A few stories with Steph and her bro and less of the Windbags, dont get rid of them just keep them in the background. Bring in Phelan and his family. Do something with Jenna or write her out. Stop bringing in characters that appear for a certain storyline and keeping them on and then not doing anything with them. More of Emily, Rita and Norris chewing the fat in the Rovers and include Mary if you have to.

abbyk said...

Great ideas, Graeme, but I'd slide your boundaries a bit. There are a lot of characters who have become caricatures. Michelle, Mary, Tracy, Gary -- they are all unrealistic to the point of unbelievable. You can't get real drama, the kind that teases our emotions, from phony characters.

Don't just get rid of Katy, get rid of the entire Windass Armstrong clan. They're at best uninteresting. (That's being kind.)

Sophie should be kept but with serious rehabilitation, i.e., going to university on a career track. There have been far too many young washouts. Yes, David, Maria & Jason have made something for themselves in the trades, but has there been a university grad since Ken Barlow? Sophie was a good student until they shifted her personality. Send her back to school to become a teacher or reporter, anything. Steve Macdonald could be her study partner. Oh my!

Kal does not impress, and his father is unlikable. Keep dad on the back burner as a supporting character and if he stays around, give Kal more relationships. He can start by hiring Jenna.

Mary needs to be firmed up as the Alahan's housekeeper. If they leave, take her with them - she's otherwise pointless. Gail & Sally could take over the corner shop. It would be good for them and us -- they're fun together.

Chris said...

"More scenes where nothing happens, letting the dialogue dominate." TOTALLY agree with this! That was the old Corrie I knew and loved. Too many young people and their melodramas. I do like Tracy though..she has the best lines

Llifon said...

I also agree with everything you've said Graeme! Great minds think alike!

I have nothing else to add! :)

Humpty Dumpty said...

Find some storylines that don't revolve around death, divorce, and dastardly deeds.

ChiaGwen said...

Agree Graeme and have for a long time - get rid of Sophie. Dull as ditch water that character and I cannot understand a word she is saying. Keep Dennis absolutely!! Yes please give Beth, Kirk, Craig and Sinead more air time - could never understand why Kirk isn't shown more often interacting with other characters - remember him and Audrey in the Rovers. Send Michelle packing to help Ryaaaaan overcome his addiction whereever he is. Keep Dev and the twins but have Mary move in to help care for them - good interaction between those two - not romantically but on a professional level. Maybe Mary could work in Dev's shop while the twins are at school, therefore no need for the unintelligible Sophie.

ChiaGwen said...

oops - completely forgot. Get rid of Katy and Izzy - two completely useless characters.

70sStreetFan said...

Agree about the theme music,getting rid of Dev,Katie and Sophie and cutting back on the cast numbers generally. Also agree that Audrey needs a pal. Either Claudia or,perhaps,the character that Sue Hanson played. Both Sues are pals in real life going back to their Crossroads days and she is an actress good at both comedy and drama.
Not sure about Kal.His character seems very dull so far.
re.the older characters,perhaps Roy's Auntie Jean or Mary's mum could be introduced.
Also strongly agree that the action needs to be spread better among the characters. 70 characters,buts it's the same relatively few who tend to get all the storylines.

Wim said...

I agree with quite a bit of your suggestions, but why stop at Katie Armstrong? I'd write out everyone from that clan except for Anna, who has grown on me and whom I think works very well in Roy's Rolls.

And although I hated the character at first, Tim is slowly starting to win me around... I'd love to see his relationship with Sally explored more. They seem like chalk and cheese, but I do believe there are genuine feelings on both sides.

As for Fred's abandoned butcher shop, I want to see Mary open a second-hand book store in there, possibly with a bit of help or support from Ken when he returns.

Oh, and Todd can crawl back under that London rock he came from.

For the rest, we need more Audrey, more Deirdre, more Emily, Norris, Rita chats.

And please do something with Tyrone... he's a lovely bloke but since his big abuse storyline last year he's become like an extra.

bbhilda said...

I too agree with most. My biggest peeve at the moment is the glut of affairs of the heart (or lower), we are so saturated with it to the point of total boredom, and it smacks of laziness, i.e. Everyone must have a sex life, so let's talk about it. We are not all kids in the playground, and don't find it that titivating.
Think about it. Threesomes: Tina/Peter/Carla, Leanne/Nick/Kylie, Rita/Dennis/Gloria, Todd/Marcus/Maria, Anna/Phelan/Owen, Tracy/Rob/Tina, Sally/Tim/and was Kevin, now maybe not, Steve/Andrea/Michelle. Then there are couples, Sophie/Maddie, Liz/Tony, Jason/Eva (which has settled into tolerable) Kirk/Beth (OK, I love this pairing) but the list goes on and on and on.
I admit it. I can't wait for Tina to be murdered! We need to break the monotony. Here's hoping for another serial killer that will take a few more out at the same time!

Zagg said...

Great post. I agree with most of it as well. I'd like to see Sophie and her greasy Maddehhhh gone forever. There seems to be a LOT of people who are unhappy with this character, so why do they keep extending her contract? Is she related to someone who produces the show? I really don't get it.
They really need new businesses to open. The proposed gym seems a bit stupid given that most hang in the pub and are not gym material. The butcher shop remaining empty is silly. Why not a new butcher shop, a drug store, a bakery, any store?
I'd like to see Todd, Katy and Michelle hit the road.

Anonymous said...

I too agree with just about everyone's comments above, most certainly regarding Sophie.
Zagg I was thinking the same. I've been thinking of the word "nepostism" for some time now when I think of Brooke Vincent and the "Sophie" character.
I feel there are too many characters, too many story lines that aren't plausible, aren't thought out as well as they could be if more more time was devoted to individuals, it's all going too fast to be enjoyable.

Anonymous said...

Your posts Graeme are always thoughtful and well written. I appreciate that you are writing first as a viewer and not a blogger for Corrie who feels they have to defend the show or be its apologist. The show is a mess right now and you've hit it on the nail. Too many episodes that spread thin the quality almost to nil and too many in the cast. I would get rid of Sally and Sophie and the entire Windbag/Arstrong Clan. Sally and Sophie have outlived their usefulness and become so boring as well as unbelievable. The Windass/Arstrongs are just disasters. Focus on the characters and let the characters come to life and they will drive the storylines as well as the excellent dialogue we used to have on the show, not the other way around.

Carry On Blogging! said...

I'm with you on that!! It's all v repetitive and the love triangles are becoming increasingly dull

Rosie said...

I would move all the kids out of their parents house.
Tracy, Rob and Amy. Still with Deirdre.
Jason Todd and Eva all in with Eileen (not to mention Sean)
David and his brood squashed in with Gail (though I suppose Gail is in with them now)
Sophie hanging on with Sally (plus 'whoever' in tow)
It's about time they all grew up and supported themselves. They could still be involve with various story-lines but live nearby. This would leave the oldies free to live their lives and have some fun without their kids problems all the time.

Anonymous said...

A serial killer - that's what this Street needs! Like a Jack the Ripper, creepy and very dark, clear out the cast and start anew. Either that or an epidemic or natural disaster!

Anonymous said...

You talk a LOT of sense.

I agree about Sophie, Katie and Dev being axed. Can they kill off Steph as well?

The prospect of a middle aged matriach running the corner shop so that the gossip flows is another brilliant idea.

And also bringing in Blanche's sister would be great especially since Sylvia (the closest the writers have come to replacing her) has now left.

Also, agree about the cast being far too big. Some characters are little more than extras whilst firm favourites are often absent for long periods. They should cut it down to 45.

Also, Steve should ditch Michelle and make the lovely Andrea his wife and landlady of the Rovers Return.

However, UNLIKE you I don't want to see any more of Kal, nor Deirdre - two characters who I would AXE.

Also, the commercial realities at ITV are such that the weekly episode count will not be reduced.

Nor do I think the opening titles or theme tune are all that important in the scheme of things.

It won't make viewers switch on or off.

Carry On Blogging! said...

How could you possibly axe Deirdre?!

Carry On Blogging! said...

Not another Richard Hillman please! :)

Carry On Blogging! said...

Thank you :) I try to be balanced in my views, there's still a lot to love about Corrie but equally I'm not afraid to say if I think they are getting it wrong

Unknown said...

Love the post - there are many things I agree with and disagree with naturally and thus I shall digress lol. Getting rid of Katy Armstrong is too easy! I get that when characters get annoying it's easy to just simply say "AXE 'EM" but I think Georgia May Foote is a good actress and given the right material will do well. She was good in the beginning, since her split with Ches she has become annoying and that little annoying voice in the family quarrels that are given to her to give her something to say - they're not necessarily relevant. Yes Gail & Deirdre need a storyline - WOW, it amazes me how Corrie have such legends/long reigning characters and do such little with them. Deirdre more so then Gail - as I had enough of her with the whole Platt drama nearing the end of last year. Also, I understand that a matriarch is wanted/highly needed in Corrie but what about a male matriarch. What about the lonely, maybe widowed elder male who runs a business but also cares for the "young'uns" as he could never have kids of his own or his kids had abandoned him since his wife passing etc... Basically a male version of Rita, the cuddly old Grandad, I think that would be really nice to see. Dev is annoying I give you that, but I find some of his comedy scenes quite funny, and unfortunately his dramatic, emotional scenes are also funny, not done very well but again it's too easy to just axe them all. Dennis Lowrie shouldn't leave, it's laziness on behalf of the writers to just axe him - although he is due to return for a short while, it still doesn't feel right. I don't personally feel that the current producer is doing that great of a job - some episodes feel flt and have no bit to them. Writing wise Corrie have the best writers but the material isn't up there. I get they are trying to compete with other soaps and the grittiness that harbour but Corrie has lost some of what it was, it's a shame to see to be honest. Tina is irritating and again her sudden transformation encourages my belief that SB isn't doing a good job with Corrie. It's all boring me now. Yes keep the twists, the secrets, lie - of course it's what makes the show but where are the drunken nights out and lengthy chats in the pub? Where are the emotional chats about old days or trips out into town etc... I will say though that Corrie have been introducing alot more location shots, showing more of Manchester, and I have liked that alot. Even when Sinead & Chesney went looking for Roy, they showed a 2 minute scene of them walking the streets of Manchester, it;s the small things like that, that adds to the essence of Corrie and make it feel more real! Jimi Mistri tries to hard with Kal I think, he overdoes the boisterous stuff and it comes across forced and not genuine like Steve & Lloyd's friendship. I would also like to see more partnerships though. Audrey with Claudia would be great. And what about Sally & Gail spending some time together, David getting a friend. Fiz letting her hair down and stop moaning. And I feel that characters such as Julie are just overpaid extra's. I expected more from her with the fallout of her and Brian but we just saw her family grow tired of her constant weeping and that was the end of it. Maybe the show is too plot driven but the plots aren't that great for me. It's too slow paced and people lose interest before it's begun, I know I started to with the whole Windass/Phelan debacle.

I will always love Corrie and it is and I'm sure will be my Number 1 soap for may years to come but I really want to see a reappearance of Jackie Dobbs, however briefly, I wanted to see Tyrone and her make up and have a nice mother and son bond, something different on the street. That's all.

Rant over! *sigh of relief* ..

Anonymous said...

I would make the actors sign an iron clad agreement that they are not to change their skin color for the duration of their contract. WTF color is Tina now? Burnt Umber? Orange or tangerine? I'm glad she's going.
Stop with the personality flip flops and please send that annoying Sophie Webster somewhere. She can go where Kevin went which is...who cares?
Ken Barlow should be permanently exiled to Montreal.

Defrost Indoors said...

At least they have stopped bringing babies into the mix every five minutes. OK, Carla is pregnant, but let's hope she's the only one this year!

I agree about Maddie and Sophie. It seems like some characters, such as David and Kylie, are permitted to grow and change while others like Sophie seem to get stuck in ruts wiht no changes or maturity. Even Tracy (who they could totally get rid of) pulled it together enough to open a business. I feel like fast-forwarding through anything involving Sophie or Maddie because I simply don't care, and it's an irritant. I can already predict how it's going to go: feisty troublemaker, wrong side of the tracks, blah blah blah, will get into trouble with thieving, substance abuse and the like, then maybe be redeemed (or not). It'll be Becky all over again but not handled nearly as well.

We need a blog on how Fiz has lost her fizz. Ever since Stape appeared, she's gone from funny, sparky, bolshy girl to gloomy shouty mopey! This happened even before Hayley's decline and death. Bring back the girl with the kooky earrings and watering-can handbag!

I agree we should see more of Mary with the Alahans. For a woman in her late 40s or whatever, it's odd that she should hang out so much with a bunch of pensioners. I think her upbringing has made her very comfortable around older people, but it's making her even weirder, and she needs a solid girlfriend.

I agree that Gail needs a new direction away from her kids. I like the Platts but it always feels like their storylines drag on longer than everyone else's. That whole arc with the Christmas Day infidelity, pregnancy and aftermath seemed to go on forever. I know it sort of had to, because we had to wait until the baby was born, but the aftermath with the couples getting back together and splitting apart went on for years, or so it seemed, and the will-they won't-they stop-and-start with Nick and Leanne was pointless.

Beth said...

Graeme N, if it were up to me you'd get the job! :) Totally agree!!

Adam Rekitt said...

I think I have said before that you should be producer!

I'd add that the Street desperately needs an outspoken, middle aged or older woman, whether that is the Corner Shop matriarch, Audrey's new friend or an entirely new character. The only thing that would have been interesting in the Peter/Tina storyline is what Blanche would have had to say about it. There is no-one to tut tut about the goings-on of the younger cast.

I'd like to see more character development. I agree about Liz and I think Mary is better as a well meaning person, who can be sensitive but also gets it comically wrong sometimes.

Finally, if the Peter story ends where I think it does, Carla needs to be given a new lease of life. Instead of hanging round in grotty flats with a deadbeat man, she needs to get together with a very attractive 40ish, maybe one who's middle class and has a caring job - a bit like Ken Barlow but less wet. Anyway not a rapist or adulterer. Carla needs to become more of a business tycoon - maybe Sally asks for here help in setting up a business or perhaps Carla starts a charity for young unemployed/disadvantaged people and gives Sophie (if she stays) a job.

Carry On Blogging! said...

Thank you but I don't think they'd let me loose at the controls!!

Carry On Blogging! said...

Defrost indoors - I agree totally about Sophie and Maddie. I really don't like how the supposedly Christian Sophie treats her mother with such little respect.

Anonymous said...

I very much agree Graeme N.
I don't like the way the writers bring to light a facet of a character, such as Sophie's joy at being a Christian, and then fail to allow the vein to run in continuity through the character's actions and personality.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure that I am the only one who thinks that Dev is the best character. Oh well...

Carry On Blogging! said...

Well he's not the worst character...

Anonymous said...

How could I axe Deirdre, Graeme?

The answer is easily!

The woman has no purpose in the street since Blanche went?

In the old days she was the street's totty. Nowadays, she's the middle aged desperate tart of the street who throws herself at the feet of any man with a pulse. The xmas scenes where she was going round the pub snogging anything with a pulse, for example, I found cringeworthy and embarrassing.

And just rather sad in fact.

The character has changed (nothing like she was in the 1970s and 1980s) and not for the better.

Also, her knock about routine with Ken is old hat. I'd leave Ken wherever he's supposed to have gone and send Deirdre on a one way ticket to join him.

A lot of actresses would have probably quit the part long ago seeing as the character's been little more than a 50 word extra for most of the past decade.

Can't remember the last time she even carried a major storyline it's so long ago.

Carry On Blogging! said...

I think that is all more to do with the writers and powers that be than the actress herself. Perhaps she no longer wants to carry a major story, however I'm sure she would be super if she was given the chance


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