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Sunday 4 October 2015

David Platt: Weatherfield Psycho

As soap fans are well aware, the suspension of disbelief is necessary for the appreciation of any continuing drama. Where David Platt is concerned, however, it’s an absolute requirement. Few characters have taken to downright deplorable deeds and malicious behaviour with quite the same level of enthusiasm as this Corrie stalwart, who has managed to pack a staggering amount of deviousness into his 24 years.

The separation of his parents, and Martin starting a new family, hit him hard. As did Gail’s less successful attempt at moving on, when husband Richard Hillman nearly killed them all via a watery spin into the canal. The intervening years have been more flooded than Hillman’s Honda (may not have been a Honda) with scheming, violence, plotting and deception, often courtesy of David’s penchant for a lively hate campaign.

We’ve seen him send cards and flowers from deceased characters, agree to give false testimony in exchange for a bit of how’s-your-father, push his mother down the stairs, do time for smashing up the street after Tina dumped him…the list goes on.

When Kylie arrived in 2011, however, David started to show potential for normality, and it never looked more like he might have left his evil ways behind him. He wanted to settle down and start a family, and his love for Max indicated that he was maturing.

That was, however, until he learned Kylie had slept with Nick, and couldn’t be sure his wife's much longed for baby-to-be was his or his brother's. While many might wonder how they’d react or cope in such a situation, we could be pretty sure that David’s response was going to be spectacular.

His revenge included keying Nick’s car, and making the authorities believe there were drugs and watered down spirits at the Bistro. In an attempt to sabotage his brother’s relationship with Leanne, he ordered mystery flowers and planted both objects and ideas that lead Nick to believe she was having an affair with Peter Barlow. Finally, he undid Nick’s seat belt before causing a crash which put his brother in a coma and left him with lasting (ahem) brain damage. Despite his happiness at the baby being confirmed as his, he was disowned at Lily’s christening when his role in Nick’s illness was revealed.

After he was accepted back into the fold for the umpteenth time, things really began to look up. Many viewers, myself included, wondered if the dedicated, responsible family man before us finally heralded the end of Psychoplatt. Even when Camp Callum pitched his tent, David's response was a defensive one and rooted in genuine concern for his family.

Then Kylie killed Callum.

Through what was a compelling and impressive live performance from Jack P. Shepherd we witnessed an earnest and decisive David deal with the situation without any hesitation, consistently urging Kylie in the aftermath that it was “for the kids”.

The persistence of his family motives, and the fact that, well, Callum wasn’t a very nice chap who terrorised them for months on end, might have you believe that the new David is still in our midst.

But somehow, I think not.

To my mind, David’s reaction to Callum’s death and his burial under the floor, is more terrifying than anything he has been capable of thus far. I think this is because instead of being explosive or overly dramatic, it's cold, calm, subtle, unwavering, and consequently downright chilling. The coolness, continual gags and asides and utter indifference to the idea that his mother will be living in a room with a decomposing body beneath, makes you feel our very own Weatherfield Psycho is genuinely capable of anything. Indeed, the only things that appear to have upset him are that he can’t adopt Max or ever move house.

Hatred of Callum wouldn’t be enough to invoke this response in any balanced individual, and so we can only conclude that Psychoplatt’s Mr. Hyde is alive and well and merely residing in his own manhole until the situation requires that he be unleashed.

I’m perversely enjoying the fact that this is the case. Aside from facilitating his brilliant dead pan humour, it means he continues to be a complex character whose core callousness remains unchanged and who has the potential to do just about anything, making for bloody great viewing. Literally.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes 

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Anonymous said...

Amazing post. I agree 100%. David's calmness about this whole situation has been chilling, but a joy to watch. I honestly think he is one of the best characters Corrie have ever had, especially since we've known him since birth. So many dimensions. Jack always plays such a blinder with him.

Anonymous said...

I love, Love, LOVE David Platt!!!! I love him psycho and even more now that he has become responsible. ­čśÜ❤❤❤❤

- Pod

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you Anon @ 14.39, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I agree, he's one of my favourites, and knowing him from birth certainly adds to the character's depth and dimension. Jack's performance was one of the live episode highlights for me.

Conversation Street said...

Excellent post, Emma. We hadn't really considered the fact that David's calm reaction to Callum's death was related to his repressed psycho, but now you come to mention it...

One of the best things about David is how he could turn crazy again at any moment, and it would never been seen as being completely out of character. Definitely a dangerous guy to know, and a very watchable character! As long as Jack wants to stay in the show, we can fully see him going the way of William Roache and keeping the job for life.

Anonymous said...

Great, provocative post Emma, thanks! I have a somewhat different take on David's cool calm. It reminds me of situations that I've been in that are impossible, and sometimes adrenaline comes to your rescue, and you get a heightened ability to focus on what needs to be done. He's having a bit of a Gail moment, actually, where he's willing to do any number of dodgy things to keep his family together - isn't that what she's always done? At the same time, there's the endless comedy of errors that prevents him from following through on any of his plans to remove the physical body.

Then there's another side of the story I wish the writers would at least acknowledge, which is that, for characters like David and Kylie, cops aren't exactly your friends. So many people on the street have had their own run-ins with the law that they have less than mainstream warm and fuzzy feelings about law enforcement. I remember thinking this in the aftermath of the story where Claire Peacock bludgeoned Tracy Barlow, and characters like Becky and Steve came to her aid, to get her and her kids out of the country, because - especially given their own pasts - they knew there was no reason to trust the justice system.

Maybe this is too big a point to push on a soap, but, as Black Lives Matter in the US right now, not everyone thinks they can trust the police or courts to treat them fairly. Rather than have the residents of the street constantly turn on the most recent 'suspect' in a local crime, I'd like to see more stories where they question the capacity of the system to arrive at fair conclusions. FGS, we've seen countless stories which, even without the socio-economic angle on crime in a working class backstreet (where almost everyone has a pre-existing file), would give sufficient cause to doubt the track record of local law enforcement.


Anonymous said...

One of the things (among many)that bothered me about the whole Callum vs. the Platts story that's been going on all year is that "Evil David" should heave been able to take care of Callum long ago, his weak attempt to plant drugs on Callum being one of the few glimpses of his old self. We are finally seeing more of the real David, and it's about time. There's nothing quite as painful as having to see characters be written as downright stupid to make a storyline work. Just about everyone involved with the Michael /faux Gavin storyline is an example. Now, if we could just see more of the real Gary, and not the piece of background scenery he's become lately.

Anonymous said...

Some great observations. I find it quite amusing the number of posts I've seen about what a wonderful character David is, now that he's got kiddies in his life. In reality, with their pasts, Social Services should be far more involved in the lives of the Platts. However, no doubt there are many families out there that fly under the radar in the same way.

Anonymous said...

Or families that could be worse off with the intervention of social services. Where I live in Canada, kids who are put into foster care are significantly more likely to end up in juvenile detention, just because the foster parents, whenever they can't deal with a problem, call the cops. In other words, if the kid comes home an hour late, the cops are waiting for them. Biological parents don't react that way. Social Services is not the one-answer-fits-all-solution.

C in Canada said...

I'm in agreement with one of the Anonymous posters above, and I've posted this many times before, that Demon David should have come alive a long, long time ago!

Shells said...

Best actor on the show. David's interesting because he'll never lose that streak of darkness he has no matter what a "family man" he becomes. I don't need all my characters to be good people in order to like them. I want to be entertained, which David does in spades.

Lily Bigfield said...

Brilliant perceptive post. And, dare I admit it, I too am loving David the Weatherfield Psycho and all his darkly humorous asides.

Emma Hynes said...

Thank you everyone. Always glad to hear when readers enjoy our blogs.


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