Friday, 26 January 2018

Cobbles old, Cobbles new

Well here we are, the end of January already and most of us wondering what the Christmas storyline will be in Weatherfield this year. OK maybe not but the world of Corrie hurtles along at a breathtaking pace these days. It all seems to be going relatively well at the moment. Thankfully, screeching Anna has been deposited in Cell Block Weatherfield for fifty years and will probably be working the steam press in the prison laundry as we speak. Or, hopefully, someone has jammed her head in the thing.

For me, there is some unsavoury stuff coming up. I'm hardly doing cartwheels over the 'male rape' storyline. Yes, this does happen in real life but there sometimes feels a need to depict everything in soaps these days. Less is sometimes more. I'm also not particularly enamoured with the idea of grotesque fumblings between Carla and Daniel. Carla's new role in Corrie seems vague, other than being ill and waving her cheque book at everyone who approaches. She's strong competition for Rita in that department. Also, Daniel is something of an unlikely lothario. He always seems to be on the point of collapse and could do with a week under a sun lamp.

The Phelan storyline rolls on and in the hands of a lesser actor this would have become nightmarish. However, Connor McIntyre delivers again and again. Add to this the bumbling stupidity of Mrs Daft (Eileen) and it really is a slice of joy. I'm not sure what I'm looking forward to most - the fall of Phelan or the demolition of the House of Grimshaw. Bring it on.

Elsewhere though, it's still 1987. I speak of the wonderful Classic Corrie episodes airing on ITV3. These are a wondrous indulgence, particularly during grim old January. Every day there's a chance to whoop for joy as Bet saunters into the Rovers bar looking like a transvestite flamenco dancer. Her wigs should have their own fan page. Particularly fascinating was the one which appeared to have been ironed flat on top.

People shout a lot on Classic Corrie. There was lovely episode where Ivy 'babby' Tilsley confronted Gail (sporting four different hairstyles at the same time) on the doorstep of her Soviet-chic council house. Then cut to Alf bellowing away at Ken, Audrey screaming at Ivy, Vera honking away at everything. Bleeding ears for all.

Life in 1987 Weatherfield is deliciously wrong. We are meant to believe that Terry Duckworth, only in his twenties and at that stage, not bad looking, can only get his jollies from having a fumble with some old woman in a nightie. It's a world where heavily pregnant Gail wanders into the pub for a port while Audrey perches across from her billowing cigarette smoke from her nostrils. It's world where Ivy, on a lunch break from t'faktry, pops over to number five and helps herself to a family sized meat pie. Later we see her guzzling a plate of chips. The woman must have been 75% lard and 25% venom.

It would be silly to claim that everything about Corrie Gold is wonderful. Every set seems to be so brightly lit that that actors are squinting at each other. The shadows of boom mikes pass freely across Deirdre's specs. We can hear cameras squeaking across the studio floor. What is a bit of a surprise, particularly as we are now so used to slick performances, are the number of fumbled lines that make the final cut. There are glorious moments of forgotten names, lost words, actors looking at the camera, some waiting for a cue. Sometimes there are interminably long scenes such as a dreary one between a hyper-ventilating Mavis and awful Derek where the only hope was that Alan Bradley would charge into the shop flat and smother the pair with one of Rita's wigs. Let's not even get started on la Fairclough's knitwear but presumably she bulk-bought the stuff from Bury market.

The real difference between the two Corrie worlds though is the humour. 1987 can be laugh out loud whereas the best 2018 can offer is an uncomfortable titter as Brian pratfalls in the presence of a bipolar woman. There is a place for both Corries at the moment and they compliment each other perfectly. Maybe 2018 needs to take a few notes from 1987. We need to see Toyah traipsing around the bar like Dana International. Dev needs to up the wattage in the corner shop and shout at everyone who comes in. Gail and Audrey need to bellow at Ivy's grave. And maybe, just maybe, if we're lucky, Rita still has a bag full of blue wooly jumpers in her attic.

By Clinkers to Riddle
@bridglondon




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5 comments:

Jan said...

Well done David, the comments about Classic Corrie made me laugh out loud.

Clinkers (David) said...

Thanks Jan!

Tvor said...

I've been watching some old 1976 episodes at the introduction of Mike Baldwin and frankly, they're dire for the most part. I can tell my tastes have changed and have embraced the faster paced and higher intensity storylines because Hilda whining about losing her red Mac for days had me wanting to throw snakes at the screen. I find the characters today a lot more interesting for the most part.

Anonymous said...

My little treat whilst eating my tea every night is that day's two classic episodes. Stand outs for me are Hilda, Alec, Betty and Gloria in the pub. Superb.

bluegardenia said...

On the contrary I applaud C.S. for their social conscience and while it may be difficult to watch and absorb issues like this need to be tackled. Yes, it would be nice if life were a bowl of cherries on C.S. however real life isn't like that. C.S. over these many years has endeavoured to raise topical issues. As this world becomes more complex and difficult so do the issues we are presented with on C.S.

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