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Thursday, 6 February 2020

Geoff, Gary and current Corrie villains

By Stephen Leach, who is in Twitter @SirTerenceBoot - read all of Stephen Leach's guest blogs here.

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

Everyone wants to be the villain sometimes, don’t they? Even if it’s just in little ways. Little moments of selfishness: taking the last biscuit and leaving the empty packet in the cupboard. Being rude to people who may or may not deserve it. Farting and walking away. I mention this not to shock you all with how awful I am, but to provide a cheerful preface to my reflections on the recent viciousness on t’Street.

The Geoff and Yasmeen story is trundling along, ratcheting slowly up in its nastiness. “This program contains scenes that may be upsetting” ITV routinely warns me as I queue up the next episode, and if anything it feels like they’re understating it: at times it’s been downright devastating. The recent scenes where Geoff locked Yasmeen in a box? Horrible to watch, and I almost felt Yasmeen’s fear. It’s a sign of how underwritten the show has tended to be in recent years that almost it feels like a positive to watch a character who used to be energetic and interesting fade away, not because the writers are too bored to write her properly, but because she’s being consciously and deliberately broken down. It’s great writing, and it’s soap opera done well.

I’ve always said that Corrie does great villains. Richard Hillman, Maya Sharma, Charlie Stubbs, Kirsty Soames, Frank Foster, Pat Phelan, John Stape, Simon Barlow… okay, maybe those last two are debatable, and obviously I’m only going by those who’ve surfaced in my lifetime (Alan Bradley? Never heard of him). But what makes them so good is how well-rounded they tend to be; not mustache-twirling caricatures but real people, all messy and complicated and gloriously convincing in their nastiness. They made mistakes, and most of them didn’t start off bad. Even Charlie Stubbs, who’s probably sinking a pint in hell right now, had his good points. Geoff, though? Nada. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t think of a single time when he’s shown anything even approaching a redeeming quality.

So, who might our next chief wrong-doer be? I see several likely candidates. Quite possibly Alya, who often gives the impression that she’d cheerfully see infants flayed alive if she thought it might get her a promotion at the Bistro. It could be any of the factory lot, who – whenever one of them transgresses in any conceivable way – close ranks at a speed only matched by Boris Johnson after hearing the results of a pregnancy test. Could it be Daniel, who once showed rather admirable psychotic tendencies, but these days seems to be wetter than a mermaid’s birth canal? Or will it inevitably be Gary, who seems to alternate between loving family man and remorseless criminal mastermind on any given day? Watch this space, I guess.

It is a bit sad that this story is the best thing in Corrie at the moment, though. I’m constantly wishing that Carla – once upon a time the most fearsomely powerful businesswoman in Manchester – had something more interesting to do than spend her days hanging around the cafĂ© cracking bad jokes and helping Roy figure out what to say to his niece. Is she still with Peter? I legitimately can’t tell. What about Toyah? She appeared the other day for just long enough to say the words “toxic masculinity” before vanishing. Is Moo-rah (Moira, as she’s actually called) still about? What about Mary? We’ve got six episodes a week right now but it still feels like the cast are taking turns to be in the spotlight for a few weeks at a time. 

As ever, better pacing is required. And, while I’m at it, some laughs. Let’s have some happier storylines when the Geoff/Yasmeen storyline finally reaches its end. I’m not saying it has to all be sunshine and flowers, but in the space of six months we’ve had a young woman die of cancer, a miscarriage, a double shooting, and domestic abuse. Maybe let’s take a break from all the trauma for a while, eh? As the old saying goes, this ain’t EastEnders.

By Stephen Leach, who is in Twitter @SirTerenceBoot - read all of Stephen Leach's guest blogs here.

Fancy writing a guest blog post for us? All details here!  
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Bobby Dazzler said...

Six days a week, a new police station, hospital...what did we expect? More drama, that's right.
I was trying to remember where everyone lived on the street the other day and I couldn't exactly...there is no continuity on the street anymore, we see characters in spurts, or not at all..for weeks. The writer sited Toyah for example...
I used to love scenes in the Rovers where there would be many of the characters sitting in the background but not actually having a speaking scene, or just a line or two...the lunch crowd in the Rovers, the banter..sigh

Anonymous said...

Geoff - only memorable thing he has done...digging up poor Bryan's seeds when he planted them. Remember how disappointed he was when nothing grew. Nasty Geoff. Yuck.
As you say, all the other villains, except for Jez Quigley - had redeeming qualities.


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