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Monday, 7 December 2015

This Happy Breed: The Contented fans of the Cobbles?

Many of us from the Blog are still bathed in the rosy afterglow of our farewell to the former cobbles last week. It was a truly wonderful evening and one never to be forgotten. There we all were, slowly marching from the Rovers to the Bistro one final time. A bunch of people from across the UK and Ireland with a common love of an ongoing TV drama. On Thursday morning's journey home, I pondered as to whether this particular affection we feel for Corrie is unique.

Personally, I've never been a big devotee of other drama series and so don't know a great deal about their respective fanbases. I'm an avid follower of BBC Radio 4's The Archers. The show's fans are doggedly 'brand loyal' but are also the first to rip the programme and its characters to shreds when they see fit. The everyday story of country folk arouses fierce passions and fans can quite happily (or unhappily) drag an argument out for years.

Does EastEnders bring about a devoted loyalty amongst its viewers? I was trying to imagine a similar bunch of fans, treading their way carefully around the Albert Square set. They would pause for a moment and point at the spot where Pauline Fowler died under a Christmas tree on Christmas Day. There would be a reverential silence as they stared at the section of road where Frank Butcher mowed Tiffany down on New Year's Eve (and the moment when this particular blogger gave up on the show forever). Maybe they are ushered on to the Queen Vic set in order to bellow 'get outta my pub' at each other. Who knows? Somehow though, I don't think they do. I could be wrong but although the BBC soap commands high viewing figures, I never hear people speak about with the same affection as they  do for Corrie.

As devotees we may be a little different from our counterparts on other shows. Doctor Who fans can, and I have experience of this, be a little scary. I recall being slyly drawn into a conversation about some long-forgotten assistant and then harangued about my comments. They were busy arguing about the logical physics of the programme whereas I simply mentioned that Sarah-Jane had some nice blouses.

Similarly I once sat back and watched a bunch of Prisoner Cell Block H fans almost come to blows during a screaming session about who was the show's best lead character. None of this resonates with my experience as a Corrie fan. Yes, we can all disagree about which residents we feel need to be booted off the cobbles and resurrected for further glories. Some of the storylines leave us frothing at the gills. The difference seems to be that it's all done with good humour. To date, I've never become immersed in a slanging match about Elsie Tanner's golden years or who was the best Tracy. I've yet to encounter one fan telling another to 'shove a pikelet in it, Martha Longhurst' or having a Gail'n'Eileen-style catfight about the relative merits of successive Underworld bosses.

Thankfully . . . well, as far as I know, we don't tend to dress up in character either. Whereas some enthusiasts might don a extra-terrestrial wig or a day-glo space suit, I've yet to encounter a middle-aged man dressed as Renee Bradshaw.

Are we more placid than our comrades who follow other programmes? I'd like to think so. We take our pleasures in the ordinary, some might even argue, mundane joys that life in Weatherfield offers.  I guess that I'm a happy Corrie fan though - not always but mostly. Last week's meet-up with my fellow bloggers was a total joy and served to remind me why I enjoy our cobbled world so much.

Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.

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Anonymous said...

I used to watch Eastenders a couple of years ago. I stopped watching when they had the baby switch story Ronnie's baby dies so she takes Cat's baby pretending it was hers. Completely unbelievable and ridiculous so I tuned out forever.

Stevie Dawson said...

Love this. I'm often tempted to compare Corrie to 't'other' big soap but you hit the nail on the head with this post.

It was to share the final visit to Quay Street with you all.

Llifon said...

Although there isn't a blog, the Neighbours fans website 'Perfect Blend' is a great source that I've contributed to. Sadly there is no open forum which would be great to discuss characters and plots.

Corrie fans win hands down for their love of the show now and over the last 55 years. There are no fans like them and like you say many are fond of Corrie - more so than other soaps.

Anonymous said...

You might want to try Llifon - a very longstanding and good-natured Neighbours community.

Tvor said...

I've met a lot of Corrie fans over the years, hundreds, due to attending pings and local events hosting Corrie stars and the fans are wonderful. They agree to disagree on favourite characters and storylines and it's always with a smile, they always seem so enthusiastic and cheerful when meeting. I think because Corrie has lasted 55 years, there's the nostalgic angle, too. You have long standing loyalty, more than any other show on television. Lots of fans grew up with it and that adds to the loyalty. Even Doctor Who, which celebrated 50 years since it's inception, skipped well over a decade without airing until the reboot 10 years ago. I'm also a new Doctor Who fan from the newer series but I know quite a few people who grew up with it including my husband and one or two of them are a bit obsessed.

I've watched eastenders now and then but it really lacks that gentle humour that Corrie has, even now in the middle of the sensational storylines. It always felt like that cliche about watching a train wreck, with one disaster after another, everyone fighting and angry all the time in it.

I think you're right, Corrie fans win hands down. I'm proud to count myself one of them.

David said...

I've heard it said that EastEnders is liked, while Corrie is loved. That sounds about right.

I've met quite a few Corrie fans and I'm pleased to say they've all been lovely people. So if this fandom has a dark side, I've yet to encounter it!

Llifon said...

Thank you. I'll take a look

CharlieStubbs said...

Nice article! I'd personally disagree with the suggestion that Corrie fans are exceptionally passionate but perhaps as a Southerner, Corrie doesn't resonate with me quite as much as it would a Northerner.

I don't believe any of the soaps resemble ordinary life anymore but perhaps Corrie did so for longer than EastEnders did, hence the supposed difference in affection for the two.

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