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Wednesday 26 March 2014

Is Coronation Street taking things too far?

The rather depressing news this morning that Anna Windass is to take up the horrible Pat Phelan's indecent proposal has made me ponder on Corrie's moral compass once again. I know the Street must move with the times to stay relevant and attract viewers to make it viable, but storylines like this really worry me.

The Windass family have dominated of late thanks to the unpleasant Phelan and his gob on a stick of a wife, the charmless Valerie. Both characters make great Corrie villains but am I the only one thinking this latest plot development is taking things too far? I get that Anna is the proud protector of her family in its time of strife, but need the writers ratchet it up any further?

It just really does seem in bad taste and not at all family viewing. Corrie has always tackled difficult issues and in the main it handles them well.

I might just be an old fashioned pessimist but the powers that be seem to be going all out to shock and titilate to keep viewers hooked. In the past few weeks we've seen Marcus and Todd cheating behind Maria's back and the ongoing Peter-Tina-Carla debacle. It all feels too much and too far removed from the original concept of the programme.

In my view there is almost too much scandal, too much inflated melodrama and well, just too much going on. I fear the normal, day to day believability is suffering as a result. I'm not saying everyone should be lovely and warm and that storylines should revolve around the daily grind all the time but Corrie should be reflecting the lives of working class, every day folk and I worry that this is on the slide.

In the old days their was a strong moral centre to Coronation Street and that's one of the things that made it so special.

So is Corrie losing its moral compass? Are the powers that be in danger of shocking us all once too often for their own good? Comments please!

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Anonymous said...

Once everyone has had it off with everyone else, it will be impossible to create quality sexual tension between any two characters. It's all getting a bit naff.

Another thing: I was very happy to hear they were introducing more black and Asian characters, but all at once??? It ended up looking like a PC exercise to wind up the Daily Mail. And why no Chinese or Jewish characters? It's basically Salford!

Frosty the Snowman said...

While sex is part of every day life and people have affairs, our favourite soap seems to be sex driven rather than character driven these days and I often wonder if it goes out too early at 7.30 pm. We have Todd and Marcus being caught naked and Todd hiding his appendage behind a cushion, within the week David and Kylie are caught in the same way with David hiding his appendage, then going on about their sex games, Tina and Peter constantly in bed, now Anna is going to shag Phelan in some kind of tacky Indecent Proposal story. Frosty is no prude but it seems the writers are obsessed with sex and there is more to life and storylines. Corrie is being cheapened.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Judy Mallett also prostitute herself for the sake of paying off debts, or do I remember this wrongly?

Anonymous said...

The idea that Corrie has 'lost its moral compass' makes it sound like the show used to be clean, virtuous family viewing, which I'm sure was not the case relative to social mores in the 60s and 70s. [Think Suzie Birchall seducing that hapless Steve away from his date and into bed at Elsie's or Ray Langton's affair or Arnold, the petshop owner, who was also a bigamist, to name a few.] In fact, part of the show's power has always been to expose the limits of petty, small-minded moralism, especially when it's part of a lifestyle that revolves around neighbours who have nothing better to do than gossip. That's why Hayley's storyline was so powerful at the outset, because we got to see bigotry played out across a spectrum of characters, from Les Battersby to Mike Baldwin. Therefore, I don't think the problem in this case is simply that Anna Windass succumbs to Pat Phelan's indecent proposal, but that we are unlikely to see the consequences played out in moral terms, at least not complex or long-term ones that involve other members of the street. Norris now wears the mantle of old biddie/street gossip, but unlike Hilda Ogden, he rarely strives to outgrow that mantle. It's hard to get a moral dialogue going when the participants are already caricatures.

Anonymous said...

Let's see...I'm fast-forwarding through the Peter-Tina-Carla debacle, Owen/Gary vs Phelan BS, Todd/Marcus baloney and will certainly do the same with Anna prostituting herself for the good of the family.

I think it would be great if Anna/Owen faked the 'dirty' with Pat, have the encounter on video and throw it back in his face. THAT I could understand.

Anonymous said...

Time to switch off again for a while I'm afraid, until we get an imaginative producer who will develop characters and allow them to achieve something in life, instead of wall to wall affairs, which ultimately result in babies ( bet Anna ends up pregnant, money on it).

So it is. said...

I find it impossible to believe that anyone in this day would consider a soap of any caliber or origin as "family viewing". The time slot might cause confusion but I believe it's meant to cater to older viewers who'd rather turn the telly off after 8.

In the same vein, soaps have always been charged with taking things too far. If folk on TV took to calling the police or suing someone who has wronged them rather than beating the tar out of them, starting their business on fire or pushing them down the stairs, there would be moaning from boredom.

However, speaking of boredom, I'd have to agree that this constant focus on story lines that promote the adage "sex sells" is getting very dull. It is especially unappealing when rather than "titillating" viewers it makes them fast-forward while reaching for a sick bag.

Humpty Dumpty said...

I'd rather hoped that Fiz and Tyrone would grow into a strong, decent partnership, prepared to speak up against the wrong-doings on the Street. Not going that way by the looks of it.

The moral compass doesn't really apply to this latest Anna saga IMO. You need to be rooting for favourite characters and hoping they beat the bullies. We should hate Phelan but one, we don't know enough about Phelan to care about his down-fall and two, we don't care about Owen and co whether they win or lose the fight with him. I certainly don't give a bean about Anna's predicament. But I do take your point, Graeme, there's too much of 'viewers will be shocked!' headlines in the soap mags. Well, actually, we're not. We're sickened or alienated and often just plain bored.

One of the problems is that Corrie concentrates too much on family sagas. There isn't enough street-wide interaction for people to get enraged. Somebody breeding illegal dogs or being cruel to animals, for example, would bring the Street together. There could a story about a young carer looking after her sick mum and the residents thinking the parent is a druggie. Mum refuses support from social services in case the child is taken away so the likes of Emily, Rita and co step in to help. But, as mentioned above, we need producers and writers with imagination.

Anonymous said...

As usual you are absolutely right Graeme. These stories have been running since day 1 (Remember Elsie Tanner and rumours of her GIs), but never so relentlessly and without any disapproval.

Anonymous said...

Sally did the same thing with her boss so Rosie could go to Oak Hill, so no, Corrie's moral standards haven't slipped - it's always been sleazy. Would anyone watch it if everything was Roy and Haley all the time? No. What bothers me about the Phelan/Anna is that people are so outraged. Remember when Anna first came to the street? She was no shrinking violet - conned Joe MacIntyre out of new cupboards - so I think it's just up her alley.
Owen was just as bad. A sleazy con man who had Steve's dad beaten up by a couple of his cronies. Leanne is an ex prostie/druggie/arsonist/you name it but she's written so cleanly now that it's unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

I probably won't be watching, this storyline is ridiculous, as with Peter and Tina which makes no sense. They have yet to show why Tina would be so in love with Peter and some of the scenes are embarrassing to watch.

Todd/ Marcus at least makes sense but the way it's written makes it hard to watch.

I had hoped the Owen/Phelan thing would have gone differently since Phelan "came back", but it's actually worse.

Anonymous said...

Where are the day to day stories ? I agree writers are going too far and seem stuck on the same kind of story line - affairs and sex. I'm sick of how each storyline drags on. I, too, will be turning the channel. It gets boring. Bring Norris, Emily and Rita back into the day to day goings on. Corrie of yesteryear was much more entertaining and so much more pleasant to watch than other garbage on tv. It's becoming just like the other crappy shows.

Chris said...

Corrie's moral compass went out the window when they let Tracy Barlow walk free after committing pre-meditated murder.

John McE said...

I hope we don't have to see them at it... it'd look like two beached whales!

Anonymous said...

But what's worse... seeing two beached whales or a middle-aged Peter's awful tattoos and fake-tanned Tina who could be playing his daughter! Both are enough to induce a certain symptom of food poisoning or stomach flu... but I suppose we've all been sufficiently warned.


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