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

Saturday 24 May 2014

A Street of extremes?

The residents of Coronation Street don't do things by halves, do they? Everything these days seems to be a tad extreme, with characters like Tyrone, Fiz and Maria lurching from one explosive drama to the next. What I'm wondering though is whether it's all really necessary?

Nothing is underplayed these days, everything must rip through the audience, going for broke. It feels like we're switching from one catastrophe to the next with breakneck speed, clattering through these car crash lives like Don Brennan careering down the cobbles and into the viaduct. Gone are the days where small, believable heartaches or tragedies would be played out by our favourite characters in a big way. 

These days everything is played to blockbuster capacity but little time is given over to the subtleties. It's all about the explosive reaction and the ratings grabbing headlines. Here are a few recent examples:

We all knew Maria would be hurt when she caught Marcus with Todd, but was it really necessary for her to morph into Glenn Close overnight? What could have been a really interesting examination of the break down of yet another relationship went completely over the top with her text stalking of Tyrone and Fiz. And now after weeks of this ridiculous storyline all of a sudden she has fled to Cyprus. No doubt she'll return in a month or so and it'll never be mentioned again. 

The Anna Windass story was a similar case. Nothing can just be bad news, it has to be the worst possible situation anybody could ever find themselves in. The storyliners must push characters to the very brink of their own sanity, purely for our viewing pleasure. Would Anna really have slept with Phelan? I don't know. I just can't help thinking there could have been other ways to bring the tedious Windass-Armstrong story to a natural conclusion.

And as for Peter-Tina-Carla. Again, let's push everyone as far as they can go. Alcoholism, affairs, real pregnancies and false alarms. How believable was it that poor, worn out Peter would have been able to get both Carla and Tina pregnant, with the revelations coming on the same night? Urgh. Yes, I know Tina's was a false alarm but to even go there showed desperation. 

Let's look at Carla's time on the show. She's lost a husband in a car accident with Leanne (then a prostitute) locked in the boot. She had an affair with her brother in law who was then bumped off by her crazed, bulgey-eyed Scottish fianc√© who then held her hostage with Hayley before torching the faktry. She's grappled with alcoholism and knocked down St Ella of the Beige. She was raped by Frank Foster and put through the wringer for months on end. She even has to make do with Michelle as her best friend. Surely enough is enough?!

What about Tina? In six short years she's lost her dad to Lake Windermere, survived all that David Platt could throw at her and accused Gail of murdering her dad. She's dated David, Graeme, Tommy, the local doctor, Jason and is currently embroiled in a never-ending affair with Peter. Let's quickly pass over the grim Graeme and Xin wedding debacle. She took on drug dealers, crazy Kirsty and the Armstrong-Windasses when she became a surrogate mother, only ending up trying to keep the babeh. And now she's about to meet her maker.

It's almost as if the writers cannot rely on the simple talents of good acting and strong performances any more. Corrie is lucky to still have some of the best writing on British television these days as well as some brilliant actors. 

That, surely, should be enough to make the show a force to be reckoned with?

Follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82 

Download our App | Follow on Twitter @CoroStreetBlog | Like on Facebook

Creative Commons Licence
All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License


corrierules said...


Humpty Dumpty said...

Again, Graeme, completely agree with you. What the writers don't understand is that, in the end, viewers just become anaesthetised to these high octane dramas.

It's because of the ridiculously extreme nature of the stories that, personally, I can't feel for the characters in them. Lots of viewers adore Anna but she's been part of some very unbelievable story lines. Maybe it's just me but when the storyline goes crazy, I throw all the characters within it out with the bathwater. I've no time for Peter now whereas I used to love him. I won't forgive the producers for that. I could have liked Carla but her life was just one disaster after another. Of course, there are people whose lives are like that but, unfortunately, most of Carla's neighbours had lives like that, too.

Maybe the pendulum will swing back and TV, in general, will be a kinder place. That's when Corrie and all the other soaps will follow suit.

Carry On Blogging! said...

Yup you're right there Humpty. All characters lives dont have to be complete disasters for them to be interesting

Frosty the Snowman said...

I agree. I know times have changed but Corrie is best at a mix of comedy and pathos and strong characters in simple stories and scenes. Now every soap has to be sensationalised with worst case scenario - does anyone ever die at the scene - no - we have to have dragged out deathbed scenes at Weatherfield General with tubes and life suport machines. That the most terrible things happen and are done to each other and five minutes later its all forgotton - makes it all a ridiculous travesty - The Windasses being partly responsible for Joe's demise and within a year or two his daughter agreeing to carry a surrogate child for them. All this sex sex sex is also tiresome, just a bed hopping nethbourhood merry go round resulting in pregnancies but not knowing what to do with the children once they are born and just forgotton whilst the parents go to the pub.

Anonymous said...

What i found unbelievable was maria has buried a husband, then had a twisted relationship with tony..... And the way that ended.... Yet she held it together then.... And nearly hss a nervous breakdown because her gay fiancee goes off with another man!!!!!! Need a new producer quick.... Show has gone downhill since that guy Stuart took over... Oh and can't wait to see back of tina.... Sick looking at her...

Anonymous said...

IMO it's all be about Tina these past 6 years with a few mundane plots thrown in around her here and there. Maybe with this character gone, there might be a way back for Corrie, but I doubt it. Even with Tina meeting the grim reaper, the ratings are down. I don't watch it anymore. I used to love this show but it's just sensationalist crap nowadays. Characters switching personalities overnight, prat falls and ridiculous OTT storylines. Too bad and it really is a shame because once the viewers are gone, they're not coming back. Some drastic housecleaning has to be done.

abbyk said...

The character scenes were there, but they were overwhelmed by the dramatics. Between dry heaves, we got the wonderful thank you from Jason to Eileen, and then the I am so proud of you son moment at the builders yard. Gail & Sally's quirks poured out in new their jobs, although with Gail, it was not as the pre-Natasha competent administrative help. Flatmates Steph & Tina as well as Leanne & Eva were also enjoyable together; wouldn't mind seeing more of those pairings, too bad Peter & Kal have to ruin it. Kirk was a big brother hero -- Maria went over the top, but Kirk was family the way family should be. Yeah, even David Platt picking up on Maria's situation was good and could have been expanded.

The scale is so tipped to the dramatic that you miss this gentle stuff because your brain has tuned out. I have to rewind these character scenes because nail files and dirty dishes are the only way to deal with PTC, Michelle's arm folding, instant insanity, dodgy goods, face sucking adults behaving like impulsive teenagers and all the other OTT malarky.

Anonymous said...

Graeme, I love your listing of Carla's catastrophes, with friendship with Michelle achieving status as the ultimate trial. Haha, good one!

Talia said...

Thank you again Graeme for your most interesting posts, and everyone above me, you've said all I would say, but better.
I haven't watched the street now for three weeks; the programme change due to hockey broadcasts had me forgetting it was on, but that would never have happened before; I'd have done anything rather than miss one episode.
Corrie's southern rival began a few years ago to lose the attention to details and continuity too,not to mention the dark and dismal story lines, and look where they are now.
Please someone, take the street back to the way it was.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant post Graeme; couldn't agree more. If I may, I would like to add the car crash which left Nick with brain damage. I found that incident to have been over-sell considering that David was not seriously hurt as well. I know Nick hit his head because his seat belt was not fastened at the time but for me anyway I think this ongoing personality change is a bit over-the-top.

Anonymous from Canada

Anonymous said...

The worst problem with addictions is that it keeps requiring more to get to the same high. If it were possible to find a place of satiation and equilibrium and stay there, then alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sex, & Corrie wouldn't be so bad, but we become inured, and require more; or so the writers seem to think!

Carry On Blogging! said...

Thank you Talia, very kind of you to say!

Anonymous said...

Graeme a good post. If I make a criticism there is a tendancy posts in your to make out the Corrie of the past was better in all ways to now. Now having watched the Corrie of old on YouTube I don't think that is entirely the case as there were characters and story lines that were irritating or just plain dull.

Talia said...

Graeme, I always look forwards to your posts, and I think I'm not alone in saying that!
This board keeps me in touch with Corrie, even though I've had to stop watching it lately.
I wonder that some might ask why I bother to comment on something I've not watched, and the answer would be that I've invested years and years in watching this programme. I've known and loved, so many characters, and now feel they are like strangers.
They do things too often that I don't like and that I know they wouldn't have done. I think the street's become more sleazy and sensationalist than it's ever been, just for the sake of ratings.
Not the actor's fault, they are, most of them, superb. I know the show can get better and I'm not ready to give up on it as if it was a first-run new series I didn't like.
Rant over.
Thank you Graeme.

Carry On Blogging! said...

Anonymous, I take your point. I do prefer Corrie from the old days but it was sometimes far from perfect too. I always try to give credit to current storylines and performances where I see fit

Anonymous said...

Anoynmous,I have a feeling even after she's gone,Corrie will still be all about Tina for months with the 'whodunnit'storyline whereas in the past,these storylines were resolved quickly.I'm also getting bored with the fact that every sensational storyline involves either the Platts or the Barlows.From the way their dragged out sensationalized storylines dominate epiosodes,you would think they're the only ones on the Street.Well to me it feels that way sometimes

tryfanofduncton said...

Hi I only discovered these Corrie blog pages over the weekend while laid up with a dose of flu! It helped pass the time to reply to a lot of comments on some old storylines particularly those involving my favourite character, Maria, who always seems to attract negatives from online forums!! I have tried to keep my comments free of bsd language , personal insults or unsuitable content but, viewing these pages this morning I see most of them have noe been removed!!! Could you tell me why please?


You might also like...

Coronation Street Books for Fans