Friday, 23 August 2019

Corrie life in the fast (forward) lane

Well, as I write, it's just after seven pm on a Friday evening. It's a bank holiday weekend in parts of the UK, sunny and warm with thoughts turning towards tonight's first episode at 7.30. Kind of. With a permanent series link attached to our favourite dramatic froth, I can sit back with the knowledge that all will be recorded and I can watch it later. Or more importantly, I can fast forward through it.

This option, to hit the double arrow button, has suddenly taken on a greater importance. Last Monday I ended up watching very little of the show. The straw that eventually broke this camel's back was the unbelievably (in so many ways) grim tale of Geoff and Yasmeen. This is one 'we're highlighting the plight of ...' storylines too many and seems to have appeared from nowhere. There's an uneasy feeling that the producer suddenly realised that Geoff was a bit of a dud character. Initially a charmless berk and a comedy dad for Tim, he eventually settled down to become a bore. Years ago, these characters would be phased out. Think Keith Appleyard. Nowadays, the temptation is too great and they must remain.They must be evil. Gary Windass is another example. There was only so much staring into the middle distance that the actor could work with so now he's flogging second-hand foot stools with added murder. Tedious old Geoff is now manipulative old Geoff. Oddly, despite adding an extra layer, the dullness shines through. It's a horrible, nasty little story. They could have least dumped it on Our Lady of the Miseries, the unlovely Eileen. Has she gone yet? No? Oh well.

Equally, we trudge through the dramatic porridge that appears to be Robert the Robot's exit story. This one has been throbbing away like a boil for what feels like decades. There he is with a ring. Then he hasn't got a ring. He's dashing to Macclesfield. He's dashing back. When he arrives at Vicky's, he spends most of his time with his eyes closed, presumably to prevent himself projectile vomiting at her colour scheme. At this point though, let's heap some praise on Kerri Quinn who is single-handedly keeping this whole thing going. Vicky has mellowed from heinous spit bag to something more likeable, in the same way that Gemma's mother isn't. The 'wee' storyline has to be one of the worst things ever to surface on t'cobbles. No doubt old Bernie Winter (how UK viewers over the age of forty laughed . . .) will settle down. At the moment though, she's another reason to sit with the finger poised on the remote control.

There are moments to savour though. Any appearance of Maureen Lipman as Evelyn is gratefully lapped up. Likewise the tour de force that is Aggie Bailey, seemingly a good old-fashioned Corrie woman given a very believable performance by Lorna Laidlaw. It's always a brave move to foist an entire new family on to the Street. For every set of Baileys, there are the ghosts of the Clayton, Harris and Morton families. Even the Windasses shed several members (remember the odd uncle in the leather jacket?) The Baileys are doing OK so far, even if no one can work out what on earth they have done with Emily's staircase. Is that the sound of Percy Sugden we can hear, slowly turning in his grave?

Speaking of which, the flat-capped old grouch is still alive and well in the ITV3 repeats which have currently staggered into 1993. Time often mellows the way we feel about characters and although I couldn't stand him back win the day, I have a grudging respect for Percy now. From our 2019 vantage point, Bet seems more impressive than I ever remember whereas Emily is less so. Mike Baldwin and Vera Duckworth don't stand up so well with the passing years. His arrogant, thin-skinned barking is only equalled by the vulgar bellowing of Vera. Twenty six years is a long time though. Whether anyone will be fondly remembering Geoff and Robert in 2045 remains to be seen. Oh what am I talking about. We're not fondly remembering them now.

By Clinkers to Riddle






All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh how I agree with your comments especially about Percy Sugden. I could never stand Phyllis first time round but, unfortunately, I have turned into her. However, I am not enjoying Maureen Lipman's latest incarnation as Evelyn; she was super when she was a temporary landlady. But I shall probably continue watching as long as Ken Barlow is in it. It is good to see the Classic episodes knowing what is to happen. Denise Osbourne and Fiona Middleton have arrived recently and it is now covering a period of Corrie that I missed.

Anonymous said...

jeanie (anon): I find the Geoff/Yasmeen story well done in its portrayal--the actors are both very plausible and you can just feel the insiduous way that Geoff is undermining Yasmeen's confidence in herself. Meanwhile, Yasmeen is well-portrayed as a smart, assertive woman who is nonetheless naive and uncertain when it comes to men. And why not? She's led a very sheltered life in some ways. That said, the story line is so GRIM, so ugly, so gratuitously cruel, I'm just not sure what the point is to show this kind of gaslighting in such minute detail.

The producer said about this storyline that he wants to show that it's not just sticks and stones that hurt you, but words too. And he's absolutely right. But in the same way that viewers would probably never be able to tolerate seeing Yasmeen physically beaten for a year, I don't think we can bear watching her belittled and beaten down verbally in such detail, for a year, either.

The fact that the actors and writers are doing a good job of portraying it doesn't justify the storyline. Do we really need to see some of the most ugly facets of human behaviour and character showcased? What's the point?

Humpty Dumpty said...

The actor playing Geoff said that this storyline was a possibility when he first arrived on the Street. Reasonable enough, see how viewers take to him and whether the storyline would work. However, while Geoff has never been a completely likeable character given his scenes with Tim, this dark side does seem to have come out of the blue. Surely there would be a trigger for him to turn nasty. We've had a lot of 'If it can happen to x character, it can happen to anyone' stories: Aidan, Carla, David, Tyrone. You get too many of these and their importance is diminished. As for the wee storyline, it's plain awful and deserves to be forgotten immediately like … well, I can just about remember Audrey's cross-dressing friend. That storyline did nothing to raise awareness but did remind viewers of Monty Python's genius. As for Robert, I find something else to do when he's on. The actors who tweet apparently say viewing figures are up. Well, it is the summer so there's not much competition and *viewing* doesn't actually mean watching. The telly's on but no-one's at home, nice wallpaper noise. On the plus side, Evelyn is toning down and I'm waiting for her and Roy to make a platonic double act; Tim & Sally are always fun and Gemma & Amy has potential.

Anonymous said...

Bonnie in Canada:

I don't think Vicky has mellowed at all, I absolutely loathe her. You were right the first time with the "heinous spit bag" description. I can't wait for her and the terminally boring Robert to go.

coconno196 said...

Yes, Vicky is a nasty piece of work. Robert is an idiot, but she is certainly manipulating him. That poor baby, with its parents not in a stable, loving relationship, it's just the accidental result of a few meaningless bunk-ups.

David said...

No if anything in the age of Brexit Percy is even worse. As for the Geoff and Ysasmeen story complaining that it's dark is like watching Lassie and complaining that Lassie is a dog.

Louby said...

I don't find the Geoff and Yasmeen story believable, not because I think it couldn't happen to someone like her but because Geoff has nothing in his favour at all! For example, Charlie Stubbs was evil yet he could turn on the charm when it suited him, but Geoff has none of that! They don't have any chemistry at all.

As for the Robert saga, please may it be over soon!

abbyk said...

Re: Yasmeen and Geoff, Bingo! It is very difficult viewing but it is also sadly all too true. Both actors are doing a great job conveying Yas’ insecurity and Geoff’s coercion. I know “issues” stories can be dreadful but they also can reach out to and touch viewers in a way no therapist can. They see something happening to characters they know and can relate to it. If a few women (or men) find the strength to get out of an abusive relationship, Bonus. No camp, totally prepared, these two are giving the story its due; they must be or we wouldn’t be fretting for her and hating him so deeply.

You might also like...