Monday, 26 March 2018

What makes a good Corrie character great?


Guest blog post from Alan Kennedy who is on Twitter @AlanTVGuy

Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here! 


Like many of you reading this blog, I’ve been a devout fan of Coronation Street for many years. I started watching in 1989 and was even lucky enough to be able to make the pilgrimage to the set back in 1996 when they were still doing tours. I hate to say that it was the closest thing to a religious experience that I’ve ever had. So what is it that keeps so many of coming back week after week, year after year? For me the simple answer is the characters that represent the true spirit of Coronation Street. 

What does it take to be on that list? It’s a combination of humour, good acting and someone you’d like to sit down and have dinner with if you were on the street. They are no longer on the show but wouldn’t you have loved to sit down with Jack and Vera? 

My list is very likely going to be different than yours but hopefully you can appreciate my choices. Over the years the mix has pretty much always been the same. There are three categories people fall into – “classic”, “take or leave them”, and the “when are they going to be written out?”.  Some I don’t even like that much but still are classic Corrie characters. Sally Webster for example I find a little annoying but she is one of the cornerstones of the street and it just wouldn’t be the same without her. But my list mostly contains people I really like and would be very sad to see leave. 

The classic list isn’t just people who have been around for years like Steve McDonald, David Platt, Rita Sullivan and of course Eileen. They are all amazing and I love seeing them even if they are just sitting in the background of the Rovers. I also appreciate some of the relative newcomers like Eva Price, Craig Tinker and Gemma Winter. They won me over almost as soon as they appeared on screen. Then there are ones that I thought were horrible at first but developed into people I loved to watch. Mary Taylor was way OTT when she was first introduced but as the character developed, she became one of the most enjoyable. I just have to forget she kidnapped Norris and instead remember about her mother telling her that eating a banana in public was not ladylike (or something to that effect). Tracy Barlow is another. Tracy is essentially a pretty horrible person but for some reason I like her. Kate Ford’s acting annoyed me immensely at first, but as she grew into the character she moved onto my classic list. 

Then there are those that belong in the ‘take them or leave them’ list like Peter Barlow. Peter cheats, Peter starts drinking again, Peter disappoints Simon… and then just keep repeating that over and over for years. I’ve never understood the attraction to him. You’d probably think that Ken Barlow is on my ‘classic’ list. Nope. He is right there with his son Peter. Maybe because Ken hasn’t had any good storylines since the early 90s I’m sorry to say that I wouldn’t miss him much. Kevin Webster, Toyah Battersby, Billy Mayhew and Dev Alahan are also on that list. Actually Dev probably deserves his own entitled “Why am I still here?”.

The last list is of people who quite frankly I tend not to even remember their names when they are on screen half the time. Zeedan and his wife Rana, Kate Connor, Maria Connor and Adam Barlow.  These are characters that could go on vacation and never come back and I wouldn’t notice. 
Luckily for me that are far more on my favorite list than the others and I’ll faithfully continue to watch. 

Guest blog post from Alan Kennedy who is on Twitter @AlanTVGuy

Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here! 





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14 comments:

Rebecca said...

I agree with most of what you said. I would add Tim Metcalf to the list of classics though. I'd also put Billy into a different category, a character I really liked until Christmas when he had a personality transplant.

Laura said...

I'd also add Tim Metcalfe to the classic list, as well as Roy, Audrey, Tyrone, and Kirk.

I really didn't like Adam Barlow's character at first, but he's grown on me. Unfortunately, the opposite has happened with Daniel - I used to like him, but now find him boring.

I don't always (or even often) like Peter's behaviour, but he's a classic for me. So much history there, and I think it's true to life that some people continually make the regrettable choices he does, despite wanting to be better.

The only saving grace for Ken's character right now is his family - I really enjoy conversations between him and Peter, and watching him try to deal with outrageous behaviour from the younger Barlows (and Osborne). Considering he didn't bother with them much when they were young and impressionable to guidance, it's interesting watching him try to make up for lost time by trying to parent grown adults - too little, too late.

Anonymous said...

I would add Kevin Webster to the'Why an I still here?'list.
Kevin's last storyline was his brief fling with Dev's girlfriend Erica and he hasn't done much since except drink in the Rovers with Tyrone or Josh.
Other characters have been axed due to 'lack of storyline'but Kevin stays?

Laura said...

Kevin's last notable scenes involved dumping Anna when she really needed his support, on the pretense that he needed to focus on the son he so often forgets he has. As horrible as that was, I felt she had a lucky escape and is better off without him. Have never had much use for his character.

I just wondered to myself why I appreciate Peter, who also isn't a great person, but can't stand Kevin. I think it's because Peter usually acknowledges (though sometimes begrudgingly) that he does behave badly and deserves what he gets. Kevin, on the other hand, tends to always think of himself as being in the right, even when he's not. And when he can't deny he's in the wrong, he gets testy with people for not getting over it fast enough (like Tyrone's lingering dislike of him after his affair with Molly).

Alan Kennedy said...

There are a lot more people on my 'classic' list than I mentioned in the post. I completely agree that Tim, Roy, Audrey and Kirk belong on that list. So does Phelan, Sophie, Carla, Fiz and of course Chesney. There are lots more.

Rebecca I had the same though regarding Billy. I used to like him a lot but his 'personality transplant' has ruined the character for me. I do hope we get him back.

Laura - again I have the same feelings towards Daniel. I liked him at first but he has gotten boring. As for Adam... I find him extremely annoying and would gladly see him sent packing.

Alan

70sStreetFan said...

Have to admit that a few of your classic characters would be on my " When are they going to write them out? " list- Gemma,Sophie,Chesney and even Kirk. Gemma is annoying and badly acted while the others add nothing to the programme. By contrast Peter is classic. Very flawed,but interesting and multi layered.

Corn Flake said...

Ken... why? His expiration date has long passed. If they insist on keeping the old (f)arts around, they need to build a storyline around them, specifically. Maybe a club for seniors, where they attend once or twice a week. Audrey, Ken, Rita, Norris (and of course the random background actors), where they get up to "no good" at charity events, or "square dancing gone bad" sort of thing. It would add another level of fun and drama to the cobbles.
I feel the need to address Sally's sister Gina. Her character is that of a bratty 9 year old. She's annoying and just plain idiotic. She has a mental health condition for gosh sakes, not a lobotomy! Tone her down please.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. I actually think Peter Barlow is a great character but I would prefer him with Carla. He was my favourite character at one point but sorry, he's wasted on the Battersby sisters. It's been years and it's boring.

I think Carla's in a similar place. I don't think it works for Peter or Carla when they're apart and with other people. It would just make more sense to reunite them and then give them a decent story. Not cheating, drinking etc. They have too much chemistry to ignore and the actors are excellent so I don't know what the writers are waiting for. Just get on with it

Anonymous said...

They will never get back together. In fact the way they've played Carla's return almost suggests Carla would be mad to reunite with the Peter.Like what happened with Leanne towards her wedding to Nick, Peter will charm his way to almost kiss her, but it will never happen. We almost certainly won't get another round of 'Carter' because way too much has happened. Vivek

Anonymous said...

Can't stand Sophie - the character or the performance.

Anonymous said...

I agree that it is time to say goodbye to Kevin Webster and his never seen son-Jack. Kevin is well past his sell-by-date. Some more characters I would love to see the back of are: Jude(incredibly boring), Angie, Rana and Kate.

Humpty Dumpty said...

It's hard to separate classic characters from the actors who portray them. Peter Barlow wasn't a big deal for me until Chris Gascoyne took over the role. Peter's diluted at the moment because he's been paired with Toyah. I don't want him and Carla together again - they can pine for each other which could be interesting - but Peter needs someone else. And he might be single again if Toyah runs off with Eva's baby. Sally and Tim are a classic couple which is different from individual classic characters. They make each other. If the definition of a classic character is one who is instantly recognised by their first name, hardly any are Corrie classics at the moment apart from: Roy, Carla (except I don't much care about her), Tracy (luv definitely clinches it), Phelan, Ken, Audrey and Gail.

Linda Shockley said...

Adam Barlow, who I think is supposed to be from Scotland, has a Scottish brogue that fades in & out. At least his hair looks better. His appearance has been relatively short so IMO he would not be missed. And I wince every time Billy Mayhew gets into yet another situation that's totally unrealistic and has wandered far from his original character.

David the Wavid said...

It's a cliche, but for me it's someone who has can have you laughing one minute and crying the next. A character you can put in a scene with anyone, have them talk about nothing, and make it interesting.

Longevity is important as well in a soap. A lot of characters either burn out or change personality as storylines require, but the true greats mature gradually over time as real people and never run out of stories. Ken Barlow is still recognisably the same character he was in 1960 and is still having great stories told about him with one of his best occurring just last year. He's absolutely one of the greats.

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