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Tuesday 20 May 2014

Why I'm sorry to see Corrie's Jenna go

Yesterday it was announced that actress Krissi Bohn would be leaving her role as Corrie's Jenna Kamara this summer. As we've not really seen that much of Jenna I guess it shouldn't come as much of a surprise, however I found myself getting very vexed over this latest exit.

First and foremost I feel sorry for the actors. Krissi Bohn has done her best in the role of Jenna and she's always impressed me even though she's been given very little to do. The character had great promise at first I thought, however she was underused and saddled with the really poor Sophie Webster plot and that didn't help. There were no attempts to revive Jenna's fortunes on the back of this and I struggle to believe the Corrie writing team couldn't come up with something interesting for this promising character to do.

I also thought Jenna had great chemistry with Lloyd, played so brilliantly by Craig Charles. They were very believable as father and daughter, yet again, sadly the actors were never given much of a chance onscreen to show this. Craig Charles was interviewed when it was announced he would be getting a Corrie family and you could tell he was thrilled to have a family and that it would also be Corrie's first proper black family too. Two years down the line and the writing is on the wall again. Mandy and Jenna were a definite improvement on the last characters Lloyd was involved with - Cheryl and her son Russ - remember them?

It just felt that the actors were employed without the powers that be having a clear idea of what to do with them. When Jenna told her mother she was gay and entering a relationship with Sophie, there were initially very powerful scenes between mother and daughter. I can't remember now what they were up against, however this storyline seemed to be rather quickly brushed under the rug for the sake of something else. The fact I can't remember what that something else was speaks volumes.

The Corrie cast is far too big. There is no chance, even at five episodes a week, that every actor will get their chance to dominate in a high profile storyline. Despite this, the cast just seems to get bigger, even with characters leaving fairly regularly. There is about to be another deluge, with Kal's family arriving left, right and centre. I wonder how long they will last?

Even worse, the cast continues to be huge while it seems a smaller and smaller number of characters seem to dominate endlessly. As much as I like Chris Gascoyne, Alison King and Michelle Keegan, they do seem to feature really heavily. It's no wonder Gascoyne and Keegan are both leaving.

While it is reasonable that more senior members of the cast do not want to appear so regularly anymore, there are still plenty of other characters that are more than capable of carrying bigger storylines. As well as Lloyd and Jenna, there are super characters like Beth and Kirk, Deirdre, Jason and Eva and Sally and Tim. We see them in the background or in storylines that never seem to lead anywhere but I think there should be room made for them to tackle more challenging stuff. Even much respected cast members like Sue Nicholls, Philip Lowrie and Barbara Knox are only used these days as foils to younger characters like Tina and Maria.

Anyway, back to my original point. I always think it's a rather lame excuse when statements are released saying that a certain character has been taken as far as they can when really, they haven't actually gone anywhere at all.

I do think Corrie needs to look at its casting decisions and its cast in general otherwise things will never improve.

I hope Craig Charles stays in Corrie despite the ever fluctuating characters around him. He's an asset I wish Krissi Bohn well with whatever she does next. She is a good actress and deserves something that shows off how talented she is.

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Peter said...

I didn't realise Chris Gascoyne was going, although I found out last week what happens t him immediately after Tin's death.

Re Jenna, it seems Corrie bosses re ditching the largely-safe characters - Brian, Dennis, Marcus, Katy and now Jenna in favour of sex, sex, sex. OK, a gay man who decide he likes women, but then men again slightly disproves my theory, but if you did a timeline of Corrie over the past, say, three years, by character, I bet Carla would be way ahead - first, all the business with Foster, the affair with Barlow, then the wedding and marriage, now Barlow falling off the wagon, AND the upcoming murder.

You wondered what Jenny/Mandy were up against when Jenna announced she was gay - was it the Paul-Eileen-Leslie an Karl-Sunita stories?

If Jenna's being ditched because there's nothing for her to do except serve bacon barms, then ITV only has itself to blame. Like you say, the cast is very big.

Presumably, Jenna going will put Lloyd back where he was before he discovered her and Mandy, while we have to suffer another quirky Asian family. To be honest, I'd prefer an Asian character to start quoting the Koran at Norris than the very dull and stereotypical Kal and his father.

abbyk said...

Beautiful, Graeme. It is so frustrating to see characters with such potential ditched for more of the same old same old (i.e., vile pointless Tracy, flaming hot affairs, failed marriages no one bothered to save,...). Lloyd is probably my favorite character and he deserves more connections. His relationship with Jenna is wonderful to see every time they are together, which is sadly rare (imagine how much better you'd feel if you got to see them kicking back together even a quarter as often as you are forced to see Peter & Tina smooch, whine and grovel).

Post Sophie, I've enjoyed Jenna and wish Krissi Bohn well. I hope they write her out on a positive, like a chance to work in her field abroad. It would be great if she could be called back as a recurring character for visits or even written back in as a permanent character once they figure her out. Hey, writers, Jenna goes on a medical mission and regains her credentials through good works. She comes back with a kiddy and a job, and Lloyd, who never got to be a dad, is suddenly a grandfather. Teasing from Steve and tears of joy from Lloyd ensue.

Barrie.T said...

I agree too, it's very sad to see Krissi and georgia may foote leaving. The cast is massive at 75+ People and then we have Kals family and Stephs family all due to arrive soon. We dont really know anything about Steph or her Brother (whatsisname) because we only get flashes of their scenes and then its back to Tina or Windasses. We've hardly seen Bev Callard since she's been back. Deirdre is like a guest star. I believe the problem stems from new producers coming in every 2 years. They want to put their mark on the show by creating a new family or character, then they look at soon to be expiring contracts and see who they can wipe out from the previous producers ideas to make way for their own. The ones who suffer is georgia may and krissi bonn who just happen to be the unlucky ones. It's got nothing to do with their acting skills otherwise Dev and Sean would be long gone.

piedpiper67 said...

Man, I get so p*ssed off when I read about characters that had so much potential leave. Again (sorry for my rant), I lay this at the feet of the writers.

I hope ITV is reading this blog and takes what us loyal Corrie watchers say and actually take it as a proxy for what most viewers feel. When you bring in a character, I would expect that the writers have a plan for that character of what they want them to do, interact with and a general idea of growth they want from the character, THEN find the right actor to play that part.

Most of the time, it feels they have one story... sell that to an actor to come on board... play that out then realize they need something else and the actor gets bored, frustrated and puts on a brave face for the media/fans.

Frankly I'm getting increasing frustrated at the recycled plots that I don't need spoilers to know what's coming, and what seems like very lazy writing.

2014 will be the last year Corrie wins any major awards if things don't shift real soon in the writing room... very sad indeed.

David Parsnips said...

They ditch characters like Jenna who have far more to give but renew the contracts over and over again of exhausted ones like Dev, Michelle, Maria, Sean etc etc. Corrie is going to become very stale if this goes on. And totally agree with bringing in Kal's family, what exactly are they going to do with them after the big fanfare of them arriving may I ask?

Donna Kebab said...

It would have made sense to have put Jenna to have worked at the new gym while keeping up her good relationship with Lloyd but the PTB obviously think the simpering idiot Gail is far more suited to the job with more stories of her interference and disapproval! Some actors really are the Golden ones.

Anonymous said...

There are far too many characters.
Jenna is just another casualty, which is a shame as it was good for Lloyd to have someone to be connected to besides Steve.
The street seems to be divided between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots' as far as exposure and story lines, as far-fetched as many of them are.
If those in control don't want the show to go stale, why do they bring in new characters, let them languish in the background, get rid of them and then keep re-hashing the same story lines with the same few characters.
Let there be some quality writing, less characters, more interaction with others. For a street so tiny, sometimes you'd think the inhabitants live in a big city they way they don't even interact with family two doors down.

Humpty Dumpty said...

I'm sorry to say that I won't miss Jenna because we've hardly seen her of late.

I wonder if it's Lloyd's character that's the problem. They don't seem to know what to do with him. Cheryl, Mandy, Jenna, Andrea were all attached to Lloyd and they didn't work out. He should just have a steady partner and have non-romantic storylines. Hey, that would be a novelty on Corrie.

Jenna should have come on her own as Lloyd's niece, stirring up unpleasant memories of his childhood. And, of course, the physiotherapist plot was totally ill-conceived.

Unknown said...

Thanks Graham, very well said.

anniebccc said...

Do we need to start a petition. Cant believe the best scriptwriters in the country can't write a story for Jenna. Don't think they realised how popular she was. There is still time to stop this and put her in the gym. I thought we would have a Sophie's choice storyline surely.

Anonymous said...

It never really made sense for Jenna to hang around the street and work at Roy's after the break up with Sophie. It would have been better for her to find work elsewhere and visit Lloyd frequently. She could have had just as much screen time, have had great scenes with Lloyd, and her story would have made more sense.

Anonymous said...

It's the Sophie kiss of death! One day they'll realise it's actually Sophie that's the problem, not the poor unfortunates unlucky enough to share scenes - or even worse - kisses with her! Being on the receiving end of her shrill shrieking and pouting has been many a character's undoing!

AmandaB said...

I really thought Lloyd worked well with Cheryl and Russ, there was chemistry between the three of them, which I just don't see with Jenna and absolutely not with Mandy.

Anonymous said...

A case of real laziness by the writers here. The character of Jenna had so much potential and what did they do? Stick her in the cafe. Also, why would she leave now when she's just started to really bond with her dad and he really needs her? Shoddy decision, shoddy writing. Very disappointing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 16:54 - Sophie Webster, serial career killer!

Tvor said...

I agree, too, Jenna had a lot of potential as a character and Krissi is a good actor. She'll do well. With Jenna's training, she would have been a good trainer in the gym, not a receptionist but with the size of the place being so tiny, i guess there isn't room!

Anonymous said...

Yes, Kal seems to be everybody's trainer.

vintgal003 said...

I absolutely AGREE...way too many we know at all WHY Stuart Blackburn has such a large cast...has that question ever been addressed by him ??

Carry On Blogging! said...

To be fair to Stuart Blackburn it was the same pattern under his predecessors


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