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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Telling it like it is

I think it's a brilliant move to give Steve McDonald a more serious, challenging storyline to play out. Simon Gregson has mainly been playing comedy of late and although he is a gifted comic actor I think tackling the issue of depression will really give him something to get his acting chops around.

Depression is frequently discussed on television these days and quite right too. I know Coronation Street will handle this topic sensitively and much research will be done by all concerned. I also think it's a very good idea to turn the spotlight on depression in men, particularly those of Steve's age. 

On the face of it Steve is very successful and you might wonder why he could ever be depressed. He is in a longterm relationship, has a daughter he loves dearly, friends who care about him and two successful businesses. In many ways, these facts make Steve the ideal candidate for this storyline.

Having read a little about this in the press, it would seem the story will focus on Steve's feelings that he has been a failure, particularly in relation to the Peter Barlow business and the lead up to Tina's death. While it will be interesting to explore this, I hope they will also tackle some issues much closer to home.

I've made it clear in the past that I'm not keen on Michelle. She's unsympathetic and sometimes down right unlikeable. Stuart Blackburn describes Steve and Michelle as a love story but I really don't buy into that idea. While support from Michelle and Liz will ultimately play a big part in helping Steve, I hope this storyline also includes Liz and Michelle taking a good look at the way they treat him. 

I've been very uncomfortable in the past with how Liz and Michelle in particular belittle and undermine Steve. The storyline which saw Steve return to education is the best example of this. Instead of supporting his efforts to return to further education (no mean feat as I know only too well), both partner and mother mocked him and showed little faith that he would go the distance. Sadly this story was really only a plot device to introduce Andrea as I'd really like to have seen more of Steve's journey through education. 

The depression storyline, if tackled appropriately, should affect those close to Steve as well as the man himself. If Michelle and Liz are not made to identify themselves as part of the problem, this Corrie viewer will not be best pleased. I look forward to seeing how this brave new story for Steve plays out over the coming months. 

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Tvor said...

I think it's going to be interesting, too and I agree, I would like to see Michelle and Liz be a part of the problem at first until they eventually understand that they need to be more supportive. You can already see Steve's demeanor being chipped at little by little, starting with the Peter/Tina thing, having that sense of failure when he turned 40 and then with the dissapointment over his father's actions in prison. It's not happening overnight and that's exactly what the progression is normally like, slowly, little by little.

Stephen said...

I look forward to this development for one of my favourite characters. It's the sort of thing into which Simon Gregson can sink his teeth, as an actor. Obviously. such a storyline will last for several months, so we should be prepared for that.

And I agree that it ought to induce Liz and Michelle to take a look at how they treat him. My own experiences with depression, years ago, made me take a good look at myself, and I assume that other sufferers do the same, so this could be a thrilling move in Steve's character development.

Anonymous said...

Tvor, I agree. It's a story that needs to be told. Simon will do an excellent job as he is a very talented actor. The storyline I am not looking forward to here in Canada is the Kylie drug one. I have never been a fan of Kylie (although the actress is very good)I find her extremely immature and self-absorbed. She is 26 years old not 16 and high time she grew up. She has a loving husband and lots of free babysitting.

Anonymous said...

Although I commend the writers with a depression storyline,I'm not looking for bein sward to this storyline because of Liz and Michelle.They are both self centered characters who I doubt will show Steve any compassion.Poor Steve will have to be on the brink of a suicide attempt[if it goes that far]for them to even consider being sympathetic .Given the writers tendencies to turn 'issue' storylines into affairs I bet Michelle will cheat on Steve with either Rob or Kevin.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous in Canada - not looking forward to the Kylie drug plot, nor the Faye teenage baby plot - and the recent plot development with Tim not being able to read - didn't Faye find her father online and wasn't Anna really upset that the two of them were communicating frequently online and now all of a sudden he can't read???? No sense whatsoever - Corrie really needs new plot writers with better long term memories.

Zagg said...

I personally do not hold out a lot of hope for this story line to be written well. These writers have shown greatly, that they do not follow through or write "realistic" outcomes and responses to life issues. They dropped the ball with Nick's brain injury. There was NO therapy and he did nothing but grasp his head in feigned anguish for months.

Even the Amy/Eccles story line was botched. Three adults sat in the room with her as she venomously shrieked "I hate that dog etc..", sounding as if she wanted to seriously kill her grandmothers beloved dog. Did any one of them chastise her about being kind to animals or whatever? Absolutely not. Liz rolled her eyes in approval, Steve made a goofy face and Michelle was Michelle. It was kind of disgusting actually. Simply bad writing. The characters are becoming caricatures.

So, I don't hold much hope for the depression story line. I think Simon can do it justice, but he needs good material to work with. I'm not holding my breath.

Carry On Blogging! said...

I think you might be right Anonymous and I agree Tim's story has come out of the blue

Carry On Blogging! said...

All the points you make are valid Zagg. I just hope they get this one right given the importance of the subject matter

Martin Leay said...

I think the writers have done a good job of building this important storyline up over several months - there are various things, as noted by commentators here, that have added up to cause Steve to feel the way he does. Michelle and Liz do little to boost his self-esteem and that won't have helped. But I hope they'll rally round him when he needs them.

Simon Gregson is doing a brilliant job so far and I have every faith this storyline will be played out with sensitivity and hope that it will shine a light on male depression - an extremely common condition that is, sadly, still talked about far too infrequently.


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