Friday, 2 March 2018

Why is my beloved Corrie copying Eastenders? asks Fern Britton

The article to the left was written recently by the TV presenter and longstanding Corrie fan Fern Britton. I wanted to share it here because her views chime with those expressed widely on this Blog over the past few months and especially this week. In my view, Fern hits the nail right on the head; Corrie just isn’t Corrie anymore. If you click on the image to enlarge it and then zoom in, the article should be legible. It's worth a read.

I've been writing for the Coronation Street Blog for four years now and I have always tried to apply the principle that if I can't blog something nice, then I shouldn't blog anything at all. That probably explains why I haven't written much recently!

However, watching Weatherfield’s vicar turn up at Church on Monday evening - not to take communion, but to take heroin - was the final straw for me and I had to speak out about the direction of travel my favourite soap is going in. It's the wrong direction. 

It's not that I’m squeamish about a smack storyline - I’ve read a lot of Irvine Welsh! It’s just that this kind of thing doesn’t belong in Coronation Street. I'm also OK with dark drama but not six times a week after a hard day at work.

I have always said that I love Corrie because it is gripping drama juxtaposed by the very best of Northern wit. Sadly, that genuine warmth and humour that Coronation Street has always done so well is currently in short supply.

What a contrast to the Classic Coronation Street episodes being broadcast on ITV3. The episodes on at the moment date from 1987/88 and are an absolute joy to watch. They also bring into sharp focus just how far Corrie has strayed from its original charm and everything that we love about the show - the believable human relationships, the humour, and the reflection of real life that Fern Britton talks about in her article.

On Wednesday, ITV3 showed the episode in which Hilda Ogden left the street. I was only five when Mrs O departed and so it's been fantastic to see her on screen, albeit at the end of her run. The scriptwriters certainly don't make 'em like Hilda anymore.

A few hours later, over on ITV1, we saw Billy the Vicar score some more horse and throw up in his kitchen. Oh, and Bethany glassed some bloke with a beer bottle. Nevermind 'Eastenders' - both are scenes lifted directly from 'Trainspotting'. In a couple of weeks' time, we're going to have the David Platt storyline and that's hardly going to lift the mood!

Fern Britton mentions Mary Taylor, Roy Cropper and Ken Barlow as examples of characters with "that heart we love". Mary hasn't been seen much of late, Roy has disappeared and Ken is little more than a bit-part player these days. It's all looking a bit bleak. If he were still with us today, I'm not sure that Tony Warren would recognise what his beloved Corrie has become. 

What do we reckon guys - is there a way out of the darkness? There must be, right?!! I hope so.

By Martin Leay, on Twitter @mpleay

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Unknown said...

Shame that it's impossible to read Fern's comment. it's too small and very blurred. Could you post it again so we can read it without damaging our eyes. Thanks!

Graeme N said...

If you click on the image you make it bigger and zoom in :)

Humpty Dumpty said...

Totally agree with this blog. One thing I'm not certain about is whether Billy has his episodes at his own church or a derelict one. I assume it's his because that's how people know where to find him. Why is it then that none of the church committee or volunteers are ever about doing whatever's necessary to maintain a church? Why has the curate not come round to the house to see where the vicar is as he must be missing meetings or services? I suppose we're to be believe that Billy's good phases always coincide with his public appearances. Bethany's glassing a customer whose face morphed into Nathan's was a great cinematic trick but far too arty for Corrie.

We have murders, drugs, rape, grooming, OCD and it's just too much for one street all at the same time. I'm sure they've brought Moira back as light relief but she's not funny. Carla and Michelle making fun of Sally's pretensions might be amusing but then you wonder why Sally is even working at the factory. This is a woman who used to run her own business. I'd love to see her open an upmarket boutique and do really well but be an impossible snob. Brian and Cathy get on my nerves and they don't balance out the gloom. Somebody on this site said that Corrie is aimed now at Twitter fans and that must be it. Read their tweets and you can see it's a fan club for individual actors or characters. They old-style ensemble acting that gave Corrie its community feel has completely gone.

Martin Leay said...

Sorry about the issues with the image - now sorted out and readable. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

No disrespect to Fern Britton, but Billy DID NOT KILL SUSAN! He was a passenger in the get-a-away car from a robbery. The driver of the car hit Susan's car and Billy told the driver not to stop.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that Tony Warren would not now recognise the show he created and was loved so much by millions of viewers for many years. It has now morphed into something completely different. Roy's disappearance seems ominous and it would not surprise me if he never returned, although I have not read anywhere that David Neilson is quitting. It seems like Mary is becoming increasingly marginalised and Ken makes little more than guest appearances; it is not impossible that he may choose to retire in the not-too-distant future or it may be decided by TPTB that his character is no longer viable. Eileen Derbyshire has not said that she has quit as Emily but there seems little chance of her returning; I suspect that it would now be very difficult to fit her into the program with it's new bleak and violent ethos. There is also no word on when Malcolm Hebden will return as Norris; I wonder if he will return at all? And how long will Rita now remain?

I get the feeling that the more gentle, eccentric and endearing characters are gradually being phased out as they do not fit in with the show's new direction. I am afraid that Cathy and the obnoxious Brian do nothing for me at all.

It seems unfair that Bethany Platt attacks a man with a broken glass but is spared a trial on a charge of GBH as it suits the storyline since the character is to be retained, whereas Anna Windass is framed on a false charge of GBH by an evil psychopath and rapist and is dispatched to prison probably never to be heard of again and never exonerated as the actress wished to leave and this unsatisfactory exit was convenient for the writers.

The Coronation Street that I knew and loved has vanished for ever.

Anonymous said...

I have written to Debbie Rush who played Anna Windass care of her agent expressing the hope that she might consider returning briefly to Coronation Street after the horrible Phelan's demise so that Anna's innocence can be proved. It probably won't do any good though; my feeling is that the writers are not interested in corrrecting this injustice, even by having Anna released offscreen. Eileen is apparently to learn about her husband's building scam but decides to do nothing about it. I feel that she and her husband are well matched as they are both equally obnoxious. If she had any conscience she would inform the police right away and also reflect on what part her husband may have played in Anna's conviction.

JennyMac said...

Misery Street. Sighing Street. It is NOT CORRIE any more! I so agree with Fern and the many who have expressed the same views.
Where oh where did the old Corrie go? This is just awful. If I want to w3atch Horror there are many such channels available for that.
It has become so DARK! There doesn't seem to be any relief from it.
Mary, the so funny Mary with her great one-liners, Roy with his wise sayings and his little bag.
After fifty years of watching I am getting to the point where I am considering moving on. What a shame!

Laura said...

So many people are saying the same's really sad and hope it changes, although that hope is fading fast. I read the blog, but haven't actually watched the show in over a month. Just prefer to watch other things are actually entertaining.

I don't mind issue stories, just don't think they need to be the main focal point of every single episode.

maggie muggins said...

The longer this new regime at Corrie goes on, and the more I read comments here and from well-known fans, and think about this darkness dilemma, the more perplexed I am. How could this happen? It seems to be more than just a new generation of fans coming up. There's a sense of disrespect happening.

Reminds me of teenagers pushing back against their elders, but without having had much wisdom imparted to them in their younger years. Just running wild for instant gratification. In this case, for the money and tweets.

I too really hope that Corrie's glorious history will help it survive this horrid era.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all the negative comments about Coronation Street's storylines and loss of its original charm. I would love to have a reaction from the people who currently decide on the show's direction and those who write the episodes.

Anonymous said...

I just want to add my voice to all of the others here.
I've been watching Corrie for a long time and don't know if I will continue.
The Phelan storyline was such an unbelievable farce created by what seems to me like just plain lazy writing, it's totally killed my enjoyment of the show. Added to that the continuing and ongoing darkness and there's no reason to keep watching. It's just not enjoyable anymore.
This generation of people that are running the show may think they are doing what's nexessary to make the show "current", but what they will find out is that they are in fact killing it.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. This whole thing with Phelan is just dragging on and on and on. If he comes back again after Eileen let’s him fall I will stop watching and so will a lot of my friends.
Billy,Summer, Craig could all leave and it wouldn’t make any impact on the show.
Coronation Street needs to go back to what it was before, I don’t watch Eastenders anymore because it has got so ridiculous.

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