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Monday 17 November 2014

Missing the point?

I have to thank Emma's excellent review of last Friday's Corrie for making me sit up and think about this issue. Although I love Tim and think Joe Duttine is superb, his current storyline is really missing the point as far as I'm concerned.

Tackling adult literacy is a very important move for a programme like Corrie, which still has the power to educate and inform as well as entertain. For many people like Tim, school didn't work out well for him for a number of different, complex reasons. Many people struggle by with poor reading and writing skills for much of their adult life. If Corrie publicising this issue can help people then it's all for the good.

However so far, despite Joe Duttine and Debbie Rush being very good actors, I really don't think Coronation Street are hitting this head on. It feels like Tim's struggles with reading are really only a means for Sally suspecting them of having an affair. If the story continues along these lines it will be a total and utter disappointment for me and a missed opportunity. 

Corrie is traditionally not an issue led programme. Past attempts at this, such as Alma's cervical cancer or Toyah's rape, have backfired. There was a period in the late 1990s and early 2000s where Corrie changed focus and became more issue based, like EastEnders. Not a great time for us loyal Corrie viewers. So while I'm all for stories being character led, I can't help but feel that these days important issues are being raised only to be used as plot devices for more typical soapy scenarios such as adultery or murder. Sensationalist and unsatisfactory. 

Sally will find out very soon what has really been going on between Anna and Tim and as usual will have to dismount from her high horse for a large slice of humble pie. I hope the writers will then focus on Tim's real issue and show Sally being supportive of her partner. I also really really hope this isn't just a precursor for a full-blown Anna and Tim affair. I adore Sally and Tim together and think they have so much potential for the future. The combination of Sally's twenty-first century misguided Annie Walker snobbery and Tim's modern day Eddie Yeats works so much better than another Sally/Kevin rehash.

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Humpty Dumpty said...

This storyline has been another nail in Anna's coffin for me. Dispensing with any kind of professional help for her family's problems, she decides to solve them all with misdirected loving care and a fry-up. Yes, it was a plot device to create misunderstandings between Tim and Sally. I thought Maddie was going to drag Tim to the community centre and Yasmeen would have had a success story to boast about. Who can take this storyline seriously? Anna, who is totally unqualified for the job and seems to have no patience either, sneaks her male next door neighbour in for the odd reading lesson. To top it all, the neighbour's partner is the very woman she has a long-standing rivalry with. I, too, hope this doesn't lead to Anna and Tim having an affair or let it be over in a couple of episodes.

Actually, Amanda Barrie, who was initially against the cervical cancer story, later said she was pleased that there had been a higher take-up of routine exams as a result. Hayley's right-to-die raised a debate on the subject. Many other storylines, oth, are best forgotten.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure we can have character-led stories when their personalities change depending on which direction the writers want to go.

Sheila said...

I wonder sometimes if the problem is that there are so many writers which means there isn't always the continuity required. Also stories come and go e.g. DEv and Julie.
I agree that Tim shouldn't have an affair with Anna. Especially after all her earlier trauma. Tim and Sally with Sophie and Maddie are a great little unit and good fun. Why do they have to have discord everywhere? I know it's classed as dull but sometimes just leave it be!

Anonymous said...

I'd rather the issues were dropped altogether and viewers were just entertained...

bbhilda said...

Biggest problem for me with this storyline is the fact that we know full well that Tim can already read, as Faye first contacted him online. If he was illiterate, he wouldn't go near a computer. It's a contrived storyline that was done already with Tyrone a long time ago.

I don't like any of the Windass family, and would like to see them all go with Owen.

John said...

Graeme I think you being unfair on that period for all its faults it was willing to confront these issues head on not pussyfoot around them.

Graeme N said...

Fair enough, I just didn't enjoy it. A personal opinion, that's all

Anonymous said...

I've been mulling over the point you raised, Graeme and Emma. Here's my opinion. Corrie is a "continuing drama" produced by a commercial TV company to sell advertising. In order to do that they must entertain their audience. That is their first priority and obligation. Since this program has, for half a century, been presented as showing s slice of the life of a working class northern neighbourhood, the writers have to come up with ideas for situations that would realistically happen to such people. From time to time that must include "difficult" topics, since that is part of life. If the producers choose to take on such topics, they have an obligation to present them accurately, since this program historically has been shown to influence members of the audience. This network is not a public access network, showing documentaries, but it is obliged, by their own declaration, to try to be correct in the information they present, and to approach difficult or controversial subjects with as much accuracy and respect as they can manage. So when a topic as sensitive as adult illiteracy is used as a plot device, we have a right to be offended and disappointed. When they do their homework and get it right, they are rewarded with honours and awards. Surely this is a worthwhile incentive?!


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