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Saturday 25 November 2017

Is Coronation Street stuck in the past?

One of the best things about Coronation Street, is, it pays respect to its history, sometimes characters may "forget" certain things, but it mostly stays true to its history.

The downside to this is that in the past 15 years, the show seems to have forgotten to move on as time goes by. It can sometimes seem like the show doesn't want to move with the times.

The show can sometimes tease that there is going to be a big change, such as someone wants to buy a certain shop or house on the street, something that could change the status quo, then as the weeks go by, the residents group together like the cult from The Wicker Man and throw the offender out of sight. Leaving the audience wondering what the point of the whole storyline was.

Back in 2011, when Norris reopened the old Kabin, it had a new name! At last, it felt like the tram crash had actually changed something on the street, but this was quickly changed when the residents of the street got angry about him changing the name of his own business, because Rita still works there.

Then, there is Tyrone's house, which feels like a shrine to Jack and Vera, more than it does a house, it's fine to have a small tribute to past characters in a house, but nothing has changed since the Duckworths passed away. Even more bizarrely, they teased that the house was to get a new look, when Tyrone was redecorating, only for him to make it look exactly the same.

Even now, with Underworld closed down, it feels as if, this time next year, it will be up and running again, just as it was, with Carla telling the staff that they need to get this order done, or they'll be out on their backsides, again. Which will leave recent events feeling rather pointless, if the recent storylines were all leading to everything being back to how it was.

With new areas being added to Weatherfield, we will finally see some changes, but the street will most likely remain the same. The street wasn't always like this, until the 90s, the cobbles changed a lot over time, especially the side which Underworld now sits, which changed massively over the decades.

I feel the show needs to start perhaps laying a few things to rest, Underworld feels like it has definitely run its course, we don't really need any more storylines about dodgy clients, or missed orders, or it going bankrupt, again. Tyrone and Fiz should really make their house more like their own, and less like a museum for the Duckworths.

Finally, they need to stop storylines which seem to propose big changes, only for said storylines to not really go anywhere, and for the show to act like it is The Simpsons and reset everything to how it was before the story began. It is a continuing drama, if the storyline doesn't change anything, it can feel like the audience has been cheated.

By Chewy, on twitter @WeatherfieldRec

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Scott Willison said...

Excellent post! There is definitely a fear floating around that they can't change some things because they're - sigh - "iconic". The Duckworth house is one of them (rip out that damn bar!). Similarly, when the Rovers burned down, Stella rebuilt it to look more or less exactly the same as it looked before, right down to 1980s tills and jukebox, instead of sticking in a plasma and touchscreens. If Hilda was still in the show and left tomorrow, you know the producers would be too scared to get rid of the muriel; they'd contrive a reason for it to stay, like the stone cladding.

Part of this is our fault as fans ("why are you changing things? I liked it how it was! Leave it!") but it also reflects that we now have producers and writers who've grown up with Corrie in their lives and who are overawed by some of it. They're scared to make huge, Street-changing decisions, so they tinker round the edges - for example, giving the Bistro yet another new look. If the Kabin stopped being the Kabin, I'd be a bit upset... for a while. Then I'd forget about it. But the big reset button - Colin's bought the shop and the flat! Oh no wait he's sold them back and everything's back to exactly how it was before - that's just as annoying.

Pablo said...

I agree with a lot that’s been said. However, in the areas where they HAVE changed physical things (most notably the back room/kitchen of No.13) the result seems a tad overblown... Hilda’s/the Webster’s old house now feels twice the size!
I also hate the Bistro set, it just feels so glossy, contrived and unbelievable that all that has been crammed into a viaduct arch.
Also, whilst I’m on a roll, why do all females under a certain age HAVE to look so preened and glamourous, even first thing over breakfast? Michelle especially really feels so unbelievably glam and made up (even if her make up was tackier it would help with the realism) but ruins the illusion of portraying an ordinary back street barmaid because she looks like she’s loaded (and completely like the actress looks/dresses in real life!)
Bring back the grime and scruffiness!!!

Humpty Dumpty said...

The problem they have is finding sets where characters can meet, be joined by others and have rows. That's why they keep the factory going. We also have the café, the bistro and now, very oddly, the medical centre reception area. It's good that the landscape changes to incorporate different developments but they're used in exactly the same way. The gossip that goes on the medical centre belongs in the Rovers, people wander in and out of the Bistro as though it's the café. The one place they don't use for all this coming and going is the actual community centre.

Anonymous said...

Not only is Coronation stuck in the past,it's in a bubble far from reality as current events aren't even the London Olympics and Brexit.
What always bothered me was a year after 9\11,Deirdre was complaining about all the security measures she and Ken had to go through at the airport during their honeymoon and it would have been respectful for the writers to have another character explain why.
I also agree with Pablo's comments about glam barmaids as I have the same criticism about Sarah who despite being a single mum and a barmaid in a back street pub,she too is always made up and wearing designer clothes!

Anonymous said...

Rita was without makeup most of the time for her brain tumour storyline as was Michelle with the loss of her baby. The one that gets me is they put it on with a butter knife? Wow..tons of slap on that one.

Anonymous said...

The old sets were built as extensions of the characters who inhabited them. Hilda's muriel is as much part of personality as her curlers. Ditto stone cladding and Vera. Problem today is where the long lasting distinct character around whom to decorate?Either the actor leaves or the characters gets a drastic personality change.Hence they keep the old decorating styles because they have more meaning than any of the newer characters.

Joseph said...

Yes I agree. I wish Corrie would reflect more of the 21st century. Get rid of Underworld, turn it into a Freshcos express. Instead of the Bistro, have people meet in a coffee shop. They seem a little scared to change anything but I don't think Underworld works without Mike Baldwin and he's long gone.

Anonymous said...

They're talking about extending the set so hopefully the street will get a 21st century update or else it will look out of place. I hope The Bistro moves onto the new part of the set.

And it's interesting that storylines seem to forget the show's ethos (blatant gangland style killings, stalker plots etc) yet the set is the one area they decide to stay traditional.

Maricha said...

One welcome change would be to cure young characters-and some of the not so young ones- from their aversion to getting an education. Plenty of people get an education or learn a trade and yet choose to live or work in their old neighborhood but having so many characters only fit to work in a dingy factory, pulling pints or handing chips over a counter in 2017 is a ridiculous anachronism.
Also why don't characters use technology in practical ways? Why didn't Sinead-or Chesney for that matter-sell their wares on Etsy? What craftsperson in this day and age only goes to a local market to do business.

I also think Underworld in its tacky present incarnation has run its course. Maybe the characters could interact just as much if the location was turned into something else.

scifiaddict86 said...

One suggestion I liked for the factory was that a call center would make more sense. Its a similar workforce and would have the characters interacting in the same way. Its just a bit more modern. Plus call centers have some more room for growth in the characters they need IT tech(which would be great for someone bright like Chesney) and schedulers and supervisors.

Maricha said...

A call center would be perfect! You're right about it having more opportunities for the characters while being suitable for the workforce the factory has presently.

Jonathan said...

I think Scotty's right fans are to blame to a large extent, the problem is we're too conservative, whenever the show tries to do something different and radical it's met with howls of outrage and horror from us, Bethany's grooming was a brilliant well acted, well written storyline, but as per usual reacted with OUTRAGE at this, Having Neil turn out to be a copper was greeted with this will stop victims coming forward (no evidence was produced to support this claim btw). The biggest problem with the show right now is the promising of big changes, but no deliverance of them. For example, you know what they should have killed off Rita, that would have been a gutsy ballsy move, but they bottled it. The show needs to make changes and needs to take risks, I'm pleased to see some very positive suggestions being suggested on here.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else remember when Tyronne was building a loft extension? (Phelan & Todd swapped Jason's floorboards with a cheaper alternative, causing y to fall through them). We never saw the results of that...

Cobblestone said...

I’ve heard this suggestion a few times but I’m not convinced. A worker at a call centre spends most of the day wearing headphones and talking into a receiver. Room for character interaction, gossiping & squabbling - such as we now have over the machines - would be limited to tea breaks. I agree something fresh is needed but if I were storylining, this wouldn’t be my choice because of its inherent limitations.


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