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Monday, 12 June 2017

A matter of age


I can't help but feel that the surge of complaints regarding the Bethany Platt grooming storyline are unreasonable. I've blogged in the past about the rising numbers of younger viewers watching Coronation Street and setting up their own fan accounts, primarily on Instagram. I've also seen pages set upon on Facebook and Twitter, and even on YouTube were 'edits' and reviews are made. It's this younger generation that are increasingly becoming less self-aware of the dangers of the internet, because they have been brought up into a generation where technology is everywhere and is part of everyday life.

The roots of Bethany's story were when she started vlogging about beauty products at Nathan's request. To him, this was free promotion of his 'tanning salon', which is an obvious front to hide the horrors happening in the flat above. To Bethany, she was becoming a popular social media star overnight and was enjoying this - much to Nathan's delight as this meant she put further trust in him.

To the younger generation of fans who are forever creating new pieces of content on Instagram, it is so easy for them to fall into the wrong hands, and this is Coronation Street's response to that, to make the viewers who idolise Lucy Fallon as Bethany Platt, realise the harsh reality of life online.


What angers me is that older fans, who are definitely of a pre-internet time and are mature enough to understand the dangers of the online world are criticising the storyline, saying that it is unbearable to watch and not relevant, almost as if producers are taking the story too far. These are the people watching the programme through rose tinted glasses! They think that Bethany is stupid for believing Nathan's lies, but that's because they have never been in the same situation as her and never will be either. The younger fans however are worryingly more likely to be exploited online, and Coronation Street is giving this horrible scenario the exposure it deserves, to raise awareness of what is only going to get worse if action against grooming is not taken.

It always upsets me when people complain to Ofcom because they simply "do not like" a storyline, especially when its a storyline that is highlighting a major issue from today's society. If we don't talk about this, who will? And it's almost always a matter of age. I see no problem whatsoever with Corrie running such a story, and I have no doubts that it will have been a major talking point in some households where children find themselves using the internet frequently. This storyline has the ability to change and save lives!

Rant over! You can find me over on Twitter @MichaelAdamsUk



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17 comments:

Flo said...

While I've not been a big fan of parts of the storyline, I totally get what you are talking about. It is a relevant story in light of today's internet fueled generation. I run a blog in a category that tends to attract a wide variety of ages, and I've seen some behavior that is downright unnerving in both directions. Parents need to be aware of how predators find people. In fact, I recently had an incident on Twitter that when I look back on, I'm not entirely sure of what the other persons real intentions were, and I'm far from a kid! If you don't like it and you don't want to watch, you can always change the channel, but sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich is not the answer either. This sort of stuff does happen all the time and while it may make many people uncomfortable, I do think it's a story that needs to be told. Yes, the writers have done a few things that I'm sure have been for ratings, but the underlying intent with this story is still something of value that I think everyone, not just parents, need to pay attention to.

BC Joan said...

Kudos to the writers for once more tackling a subject that needs to be out there. Over the years they have brought forth many needed issues - teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, rape, murder, etc. And now we have Bethany being groomed by an older man without her realizing what is gradually happening.

Humpty Dumpty said...

I agree with your blog and with other comments. There were parts of the storyline that annoyed me rather than the storyline itself. The writers took a character who grew up in Milan and flew over to the UK unaccompanied. Also, Bethany lives in a family where if someone sneezes everyone knows about it. When Sarah met Nathan and realised how old he was, she didn't ask her brothers or neighbours if he was known in the neighbourhood. Cliché though it may have been, I still feel this story should have been given to Faye (I know others disagree). She too had been bullied at school, was vulnerable, also had a dysfunctional family and was less street-wise than Bethany. Some will say it just goes to prove anyone can fall victim. The corrupt police officer was stretching a point and may well have given out the wrong message. It's obviously true that such officers do exist but it seemed contrived in this particular situation. I get that some viewers may have found Bethany's story too gritty but that's what Coronation Street has always been about. If girls are going into school and discussing grooming as a result of this storyline, then it's done its job.

Jonathan said...

Growing up in Milan stops you getting groomed in the same way that hiding in a fridge will protect you from a nuclear fallout. As for the people complaining it's 25 people just the usual suspects who just want to complain about stuff.

Anonymous said...

I think the storyline needed told . My only complaint is that there are often so many high drama storylines going at the same time that it ends up taking away from the importance of one or more. I dont think the viewers want drama nonstop in every episode. Sometimes it would be nice to just have Rita and Norris talking to Eileen about nothing anymore exciting than whos gonna pay for a drink at the Rovers later. Not every episode needs a crisis.
Can we concentrate on Bethany and then move on to something new...

Anonymous said...

So my answer is sorry, I just can't watch it. It is too upsetting!

Anonymous said...

I think those who do not like the story line have the option to change channels. I certainly do not belong to the younger generation - my grandchildren are close to Bethany's age - but i think it is a story that needs to be told. The fact that Bethany has lived in Milan and travelled by herself does not make her more street wise. My youngest grandson travelled from UK to Canada and back when he was eleven and while it gave him more confidence it didn't make him any wiser. I suspect that Bethany's previous experiences may make her think she knows better than her elders while in fact she is still naive.

Anonymous said...

I should have included that my grandson travelled alone.

Anonymous said...

Jeanie (anon):

I haven't seen a lot of complaints on this site about doing the story line--more about how it's done. With a sensitive issue like this, the show has an obligation to be accurate and respectful in dealing with the topic--and to take care not to sensationalize or exploit the problem for the sake of ratings. Some aspects of the story seem well done--like the initial lure (vlogging), her slow succumbing to Nathan's charms and Bethany's starry-eyed look every time she looks at her ring--while other aspects seem more sensationalized, sometimes even glamorized--like the beautiful blonde teenage virgin trope, the series of glamorous but tarty dresses Nathan gives her, the crooked police, and the group sex. I think the reality would be a lot uglier than Corrie is showing...and agree with Humpty that Faye would be a much more likely victim and fit the profile of a grooming victim more closely. But that would be too upsetting for viewers...and the actress is probably considered too young to do such mature scenes.

As to the comment about older viewers...that seems like a really false dichotomy and unfair. The older generation (repped by Rita and Audrey on the show) have seen and experienced it all and then some. Protection for vulnerable women and teenage girls (and boys) was a lot weaker fifty, sixty, seventy years ago than it is now.

Louby said...

I also thought that including Neil as the corrupt cop was a step too far, even if it has happened in reality. But I have been converted to thinking that this has been a good thing to include, to raise awareness.

I think Bethany was the more suitable character for this. Her family background is chaotic (never knew her dad) and just because she's so attracted it doesn't necessarily follow that she'd be confident or have lots of friends. And after her crushes on Callum and Gary, she was in the right/wrong place to fall for a handsome older guy.

Newfy Pearl said...

I do not dare to ask what 'older' is in the eyes of the writer of this post. lol So I will not even go there.
I agree with some that I was annoyed when Corrie, after stating it was to help would be victims, sensationalized the story by making the safe place (the police) a scary place not to be trusted.
As for someone who commented on the quiet discussions of beloved characters just living life and having a chat....I miss that too.
I enjoy exciting stories, but not when every one on the street is experiencing a different one at the same time.
I would love to watch my Corrie without feeling like I am watching a well put together Public Service Announcement for every issue and illness under the sun. Am I wrong? I want some relaxation after work. I have actual news documentaries and the news that keep me abreast of truly awful this world can be.
Think of it lately...in a short span of time: babies dying, self harming, and sex trafficking. Where is the joy? Where is the humour? I am tired. Is it just me?

Anonymous said...

Please don't place the blame on the "older viewers". I am in my 60s and have watched Corrie from Day One. I have grandchildren Bethany's age and am more than aware of the dangers they face and how oblivious they are. I applaud the story line as reinforcing the warnings I have given them. This subject is nothing new, it was around when I was in my teens, it was just handled in a different way and the victims were not so easy to procure. We actually DO understand.
I hate the fact that whenever there is a disagreement, right away they blame the old people thinking we don't understand. Do you honestly think that this current generation invented sex? How the heck do they think they got here? personally I find it is more the 40-something generation that are the ones with their heads stuck in the sand and the biggest prudes when it comes to being offended. We older ones have been around the block enough times to know this is just the warning the young ones need.

Newfy Pearl said...

Good answer anonymous. And when you consider the statistics of childhood sexual molestation in the world, I bet there are viewers who have experienced that. And as such these victims are preyed upon and groomed as well. So maybe sometimes people do not want shoved in their faces things that they have survived
OK I am getting a little worked up. I think I am going to take a break from commenting for a while....I have a bit of frustration coming to the forefront here. lol

FreedomtoSpeak said...

I've posted this before and feel it's worth repeating. Much as you have the right to post your opinion on this blog, others have the right to express their opinion about this story line. You will note that these complaints have not stopped the broadcast of this story line but are an essential part of a democratic society that believes in freedom of expression. I also question your belief that those who are complaining are doing so merely because they choose to ignore this part of life or are seeing the world through rose tinted glasses. This is a complex issue and will raise complex responses. However, even if the complaint is merely that people tune in to Corrie for entertainment and not to review social issues, they still have the right to express that view. The intensity of your summary position, that a story line on a soap about a fictional character in a fictional town under fictional circumstances will go so far as to "save lives" makes me ask, who's wearing rose-tinted glasses now?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Bethany is as innocent as portrayed in this story. She has tried to seduce two of her mothers boyfriends and we don't really know exactly why she ran from Milan. Her mother isn't exactly top shelf and probably brought many men into Bethany's life, how do we know what happened with them?

Maricha said...

At any rate she wasn't a child prostitute before this. Having been abused in Milan when she was 14 years old or younger would hardly make her less innocent or more complicit in this situation.

MichaelAdamsUk said...

Wow! Thankyou everyone for a great response but there are far too many comments to answer. I appreciate each and every one of them!

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