Gritty sagas by Corrie blog editor Glenda Young, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Rose-tinted cobbles

A belated Happy New Year! It's been a while hasn't it but as my dear old gran used to say, 'if you've nowt to say, keep it shut!' Well, I say 'gran' but she was just some random woman with a pram full of cats.

I probably haven't said it before but 'hurrah' for everyone who works on Corrie for continuing to bring us the magic in these uncertain times. Uncertain in terms of 'has anyone checked on Rita?', 'why doesn't Dev realise that his kids are only fifteen this year and not sixteen?' and 'should someone tell Kelly that a chunk of her eyebrow is missing?' A nation ponders.

As much as I love all things Corrie, it is creaking a little at the seams. The tedium of the Carla/Peter storyline trudges into another year. Two middle-aged people skulking around like mardy teenagers. It's not nice. Neither is yet another appearance from the prison set which by this stage, must have its own agent. The prison itself must be lovely to stay in as presumably the place has its own Madame Pompdour hair salon. Well, Gary's camp hairdo must be in need of maximum coiffing. Maybe Audrey's got the contact (eh? hmm?) in which case expect Gary to emerge with a spiral perm before long.

Social media has been ablaze, sort of, for other reasons recently though and it was Corrie Past that was causing the chatter. For those who care, ITV3's Classic Corrie has now reached 1997. A year that seems to have caused some fans to implode. 1997 saw the advent of Brian Park as executioner in chief, deftly slicing the wheat from the chaff down Weatherfield way. Almost a quarter of a century later and this is causing outrage amongst older views who ARE NEVER GOING TO WATCH THIS AGAIN. Mark their words for they will be back on social media tomorrow, having settled down to another two episodes, to re-chant this mantra to anyone who will listen. 

The argument of the massed fishwives (and indeed fish husbands) is that Corrie officially died in 1997. For them, the slaughter of dynamic characters such as Andy McDonald and Percy Sugden heralded the end of the 'classic' era. A large rowdy crowd gathered, prepared to storm the Rovers and demand that the Battersbys be removed, that Natalie Horrocks be burnt as a witch, that Chris Collins might feel more comfortable without a shirt on. 

What exactly constitutes the 'classic' era? This is probably defined as something different for every single viewer. For many, the end of this period possibly coincided with the demise of Elsie, Annie, Stan and co. For others, it was the day Bet Lynch climbed into that taxi in 1995. For me it was when Elsie Lappin walked out of the Corner Shop for the last time. 

Anyone who has been plodding down the years with ITV3 must have noticed how dull those 1996 episodes were. Some of the characters were coming to the end of their natural lives and most of them got the boot - Maureen, Andy, Percy, Bill and Derek. Des and Curly were pretty much 'excess to requirements' too yet Des got a few more months and Curly lasted for another six years. The show was in dire need of refreshment and as ghastly as the Battersbys were on arrival, they were, arguably,  preferable to Des and his dull girlfriend, Andy McD staring at a can of lager in every episode and Derek lurching from one turgid midlife crisis to another. 

It takes a brave producer to wield the axe and Brian Park was certainly brave. Some of his ideas misfired. The Mallets baby storyline dragged on forever as did the Cult of Nirab nonsense. However Park managed to reinvigorate a declining Deirdre, brought the fak'try back to the Street, promoted Roy to 'main character' status, gave us Hayley and . . . err, new Nick. Park probably realised that the Duckworths were the wrong fit for the Rovers too. 

Every producer leaves their mark although some can be erased (yes Stella of t'back Room, I'm looking at you) but I feel that Brian Park probably left the Street in a more robust state than he found it. Maybe the next 'classic' era began in 1997.

By Clinkers to Riddle

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


James said...

Thanks Clinkers this is a good post and makes me glad someone is defending this era.

Humpty Dumpty said...

That's a good point about 'fits'. Because storylines are rarely character driven these days, potentially interesting ones are often given to the wrong characters; perhaps because they're available. For example, a story about having quads (triplets would have been more realistic) leading to post-natal depression was given to Gemma and Chesney. If it had to be given to anyone, maybe Abi, who has already had twins and therefore not impossible. You make lots of good points, David. A pity we don't see more of your posts. If dullness was a reason to remove current characters, many come to mind. Are they being kept in the stock room, waiting for a suitable issue to be thrust upon them - whether it fits or not?

Sharon Boothroyd said...

A drama should have drama in it.
Looking back, when I was child in the 1970's, I can't recall any big drama in Corrie, apart from Ernie bishop getting shot. Did Elsie Tanner and Len Fairclough have an affair?
The highlight of Stan and Hilda's life was getting a new lodger, Bet lynch used to waltz down to Alf's shop in a negligee to help herself to a packet fags - and that was about it.
It just trotted on.
For the viewers, of course, life does trot on, but Corrie is a soap opera that's supposed to entertain us 3 times a week.
Personally, I couldn't bear Percy Sugden or drippy, dreary Derek. Although Fred Elliot made me chuckle, I didn't take to the rather passive Ashley.

Louby said...

This is a great read and spot on. I'm in a Facebook group dedicated to Classic Corrie and the number of posts moaning about the Battersbys has been overwhelming. I'm enjoying them much more, second time around.

Anonymous said...

Humpty Dumpty - Gemma is a twin herself, so a quads is not unrealistic as if it was done by Abi? It is in her genes after all. Quads does happen, so after 60 years of no quads, the show finally have them, isn't it bit realistic?

I agree - a lot of our classic characters today are from around that era. Roy, Leanne, Toyah, Fiz, Tyrone, Eileen etc. They are now what Gail, Rita, Audrey etc were when I first started watching the show back in the 90s. They were in their 20th + years on the show. Who knows, who out of these first group I mentioned, will be still around in 20 years time?

I agree that it has to fit the show. I definitely agree that Curly went past his used by date, and definitely do not want to see him on the street again, despite how much Kevin Kennedy would like to.


You might also like...