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Thursday, 26 April 2018

Why Iain MacLeod will be great for Corrie

Guest blog post from Daniel Meyer who is on Twitter @sirdanielmeyer

Earlier this week ITV confirmed that Kate Oates will be stepping down as producer of Coronation Street after just a couple of years. She will be replaced by current Emmerdale boss Iain MacLeod. And I for one am extremely excited.

It was only at the end of last week when I was talking with a friend about the current state of Corrie. Disagree with me if you wish, but it feels as if the beating heart of the show has been ripped out. Don’t get me wrong, the show is in a much better state than when Stuart Blackburn left it in 2016 - people are talking about it again, for a start, and ratings are up 5% year on year. This is amazing.

Of course the show has to move with the times. It cannot be sustained as the same show it was ten, even five years ago, it has to move. The pace has to increase to keep up with our box-set culture now and Kate making that happen all whilst bumping the show up from five to six weekly episodes is an amazing achievement.

Kate was pretty much perfect at Emmerdale. She made it the success it is today. She took it from the third most popular soap in the country to the second, and often by a fair distance. It became an award-winner. Plus let’s be honest, and it hurts to say as a die-hard Corrie fan, but Emmerdale  has consistently been the best soap on telly since the start of her tenure. 

However, Coronation Street, I feel, is a very different beast. She set the tone of modern day Emmerdale, but the cobbles have always been about wit and warmth, even in the darkest times, and that’s been lost over the past few years. OF COURSE we need dark stories and OF COURSE we need issue based storylines, soaps are such a powerful platform and have a huge responsibility for this (Bethany’s story and Craig’s OCD are two examples of well executed issue led stories) but in their droves I feel we lose their impact. If they’re used sparingly, it can have such an effect and will make even more of a difference than they do now.

New guy Iain MacLeod carried on Kate’s phenomenal work at Emmerdale and put his own spin on it. Not everyone has enjoyed his era, but I’ve enjoyed the mix of light and shade he’s brought to the show and I hope he can replicate that at Corrie. I’m extremely hopeful he can, providing he acknowledges that it is a different show and needs to be tackled differently. 

Over in the Dales, Iain has done a number of experimental episodes including the non-linear week which culminated in the car pile-up. One of the best weeks in telly I’ve seen in a long time. But would such non-conventional storytelling work in Weatherfield? I’m not sure. I feel Emmerdale has more room for experimentation and he shone at that...but providing he keeps the light and shade and remembers the wit and warmth, I can’t see why something like that wouldn’t work from time to time. I love sensationalism as much as the next guy, but only rarely, and it’s much better suited to Emmerdale or Walford. I attended a panel event with Iain on in 2017 and he was a very funny guy with a huge passion for soap - hopefully that comes across on screen.

So not everything Kate has done has been bad at all. There have been some powerful moments and incredible pieces of storytelling, but I’m looking forward to getting back to the classic feel of Corrie.

But hey, what do I know? 

By Daniel Meyer who is on Twitter @sirdanielmeyer

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Flo said...

Well put. There have been some very good moments under Kate Oates reign, but it's also been a time of way too much dark at one time. I've said it before, and I'll say it again--there needs to be a balance. Yes, some of these stories need telling, but they don't need to all occur at once or practically on top of each other. I've heard comments about it being "real life"--seriously? I doubt that anyone in a small neighborhood has seen or experienced all of this doom and gloom at once.

I'm hopeful that it will continue to be interesting and intriguing programming, but perhaps with fewer plotholes and no dragging or hanging storylines. It's either feast or famine lately with a story either going on forever and ever, or it's wrapped up too quickly. Balance.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Kate Oates timed her departure so that when the Phelan story is done and viewing figures may drop a bit she can say 'told you I was right'.

Unknown said...

Yeah I think she wanted to leave on a high with the phelan climax

Anonymous said...

Give the Bistro a lighter makeover - as so many stories take рlace there a lighter look might lighten the mood for everyone.


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