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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Corrie Overload

 

I was rather torn about whether to even write this blog, let alone publish it. I need to get my frustrations out though so here it goes. Yes, I know Coronation Street is merely a television programme, but I still think the powers that be hold a great deal of responsibility in their hands when it comes to the direction Corrie takes. The news yesterday that ITV are upping production to six episodes a week has left me depressed but not totally gobsmacked.

The writing has been on the wall for some time now that production would increase yet again. It has, after all, been the trend since the late 1980s. While ITV claim that the quality of Corrie's output is at the heart of their mission and all they want to do is enhance the nation's favourite soap, I struggle to believe that creating three hours of continuing drama every week of every month throughout the year can maintain the same kind of quality we loyal viewers expect. 

Coronation Street is widely praised for its high production values and its rich history of memorable characters, actors, writers and storylines. It has consistently broken new ground over the best part of sixty years and we should always be proud of that. I can't help but fret that the network are squeezing our beloved Corrie until there is very little left. I understand it makes ITV a lot of money and it remains, in this digital age, one of terrestrial television's gems. It's a reliable workhorse that pulls in a regular audience. Just how much of that loyal audience are going to give over a full three hours of their lives to Corrie every week from next year though?

Three hours is the equivalent of two feature films, produced by ITV each week. That's a hell of a burden on cast and crew. I know a great number of those involved are paid well for their efforts but there surely must be a limit? Before anyone says it, this isn't one of those blogs that dwells on the past and believes everything was better when an entire episode revolved around Stan's chickens or Albert Tatlock's dodgy vegetables. I love the history of Corrie and really do believe a lot of the old stuff is great but I'm equally aware that we can't stand still and things move on. I just don't think this is a move in the right direction. 

 

I also know that Emmerdale, Corrie's ITV sister soap opera, has been producing six episodes a week for some time now to great success. I've never watched Emmerdale so I can't really comment on that. What I can say is that I think ITV drowning the schedules with six hours of soap each week is a singularly uninspired, unimaginative move. There must be more on offer than that? For me, the rot started to set in when the double episodes on a Monday and a Friday became less event television and more the norm. They were a great gimmick originally which kept the audience hooked when something big was going down. Nowadays I think the gimmick has been overcooked and it seldom works for me. I also dislike Corrie being manipulated to create big blockbuster events which tie in with the final of a talent show. Every year now somebody dies or something is blown up or dug up to coincide with Simon Cowell's 21st Century version of New Faces. It never used to be this way.

I have complete trust in the professional machine that is Coronation Street. I know that so many people both behind the scenes and in front of the camera work extremely hard and are still really passionate about the show. I hope this continues. I wish Corrie and all involved the very best but for me, this move to three hours a week is just a step too far. I've watched The Street regularly for the past 25 years but I think enough is enough for me now. I haven't tuned in for several weeks, mainly due to the schedule changes inflicted by all sorts of football shenanigans. I'm not quite sure I'll reconnect with Weatherfield life again. I hope Corrie continues to thrive once it goes to six episodes a week, I really do, but I fear the worst.

 

You can follow me on Twitter @GraemeN82

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Coronation Street and the Joy of Six

News that Coronation Street is going to change to six episodes a week in 2017 made me wonder when the last change to five episodes took place. 

With thanks to Corriepedia, here we go...

1960
Corrie was launched on Friday 9th December 1960 with two episodes per week.
1989
Corrie begins broadcasting a third regular episode each week.


1996   
Corrie begins broadcasting a fourth regular episode each week.


2003
Corrie begins broadcasting a fifth regular episode each week began

2017
Corrie will begin broadcasting its sixth regular episode each week.


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Coronation Street Weds 29th June Episode Review (9:00pm)


Hiya! It's just Jordan - back again after my two-week absence from the blog. I've had a fabulous week enjoying musicals in London and now I'm back, ready for some Corrie-reviewing. Although, I was unsure how I could manage watching three episodes in one night so Rachel kindly reviewed the first third (!) of last night's episodes.


The second episode last night picked up exactly where the first had left off: Jason's van has been torched and is roaring with flames, the ever-loyal emergency services fighting to extinguish the fire. The police are straight there, too. I think the emergency services are going to take up board in Gail's house. There's enough room. The culprit of the crime, for now, remains a mystery. But I've got a sneaky Phelan I know who was behind it all. At number 11, Pat does some more medalling for no apparent reason when he persuades Jason to leave Weatherfield. They're interrupted by Todd, who calls in to see how things are. Pat coldly assures him that they are fine, but his persuasions are put on hold when Todd mentions that the toilet at the shop needs fixing. Jason jumps at the chance, only to take his mind off things. Todd's not daft though and he looks rather suspicious when he sets eyes on the pantomime villain that is Pat Phelan. Out on the Street, Todd reveals the day's drama to David, rather unenthusiastically explaining that Jason thinks it was friends of Callum who torched the van. By this time, Jason has fixed a toilet at lightning speed and is back in the clutches of Phelan, who offers to take him for a drink.  They return from the pub, Jason now unwilling to go out for a birthday dinner and hell-bent on leaving. Pat steps out to buy a bottle of wine and on the way, calls a friend to congratulate them on the fine job they did of torching the van.

"You still haven't said where you're going or for how long"
"Well, I haven't decided yet, Mam"

"You did really well. In fact, it worked out better than I could have dreamt"

Leanne is struggling to choose between two men yet again, but Robert seems to have warmed to the idea of employing her at the Bistro while she cooks up a "business" venture with Nick at the same time. She pops out of work and invites her two-time ex-husband round to discuss their plans. But then she makes cups of tea and the emotional speech from Nick about how he misses her. Or something. Leanne tries to rightly point out that he is not over Carla yet. I find it silly that he'd be genuinely confessing his undying love for Leanne only weeks after marrying Carla for five minutes. Thankfully, when he leans in for a kiss, she stops him and he leaves. But later on, after a glass of wine an listening to a few voicemails from a pathetic Nick, she looks pleased when a mystery caller turns up at her door. In the next scene, there are two empty wine glasses on the kitchen countertop. Hmm. What has gone on there I wonder?

"You always did it for me. And you always will."

Elsewhere, the Michelle/Steve farce limps along on our screens as Michelle has accepted a singing job on a cruise. Liz has apparently come back from Spain to sort all this out,  but yet again, she has failed to offer relationship advice successfully. Somehow, she has secured this job in a matter of days and Steve simply wishes her well as he watches her get into the back of a cab. She hugs her new best friend Maria and apparently leaves.  It really irritates me how she's now best friends with Maria. I know they're family but they seldom spoke before Carla left. And now they've both forgotten all about Carla. Michelle should be on the phone to Carla lamenting about how pathetic her love life is. As well as all this, the Kirk/Beth/Norris farce continued, with Chesney and Sinead plotting together to get the two talking at the same time. In such an original plot device, Chesney invites Kirk round for a lads' night in, while Sinead persuades Beth to have a night in with her and watch a film. Typically, though, this does not go to plan when Norris intervenes. He pops round (obviously missing his new housemate) and a problem at the house causes Kirk to run back to number 2 and mardy Beth flings a bowl of popcorn right into the air before storming upstairs.




But it doesn't end there! In the second episode, we're into actual Wednesday now. And Jason has made up his mind- he's going to...Bangkok! Y'know because, just hopping on a train to London isn't good enough. Eileen is obviously distraught to see her son go to a land of diseased water and beautiful sights but doesn't seem to stop him. Over at Preston's Petals- now renamed Preston's Problems- is a hotbed for lamenting as Todd, Tracy and Beth all vent their problems to each uncaring other. Leaving Beth and Tracy to fight over who has the biggest dilemma, Todd spots his brother outside of the shop and follows him home for a pep talk and reminds him of Sarah- the woman who has ended up on the psychiatric ward thanks to all of the Platt/Logan/Grimshaw drama. Todd reminds him that while he runs off to a Thai beach, she can't. In a rather touching couple of scenes, Jason goes to visit Sarah and she supports his decision to emigrate at the drop of a hat. In a soft wispy voice, she asks him to send her a picture of an elephant.

"I think that Thailand sounds lovely. They have elephants there, don't they?"
"Yeah. Yeah they do"
"Promise me you'll send me a picture of you with one"
"I promise"

The wonderful Amy Barlow was playing her usual cunning games in last night, fearlessly voicing her strong opinions on her dad's decision to throw away his marriage to Michelle. Much to Maria's surprise, Michelle turned back up at the flat early in the morning. She got herself to the conference for her cruise job thing in Leeds and backed out when she was asked to fill in part of a tribute act with bunch of eighteen-year-olds. She  has booked a flight to Ireland for tonight and has sworn Maria to secrecy about her return.

"And then he tells me that one of the other singers has dropped out and would I
mind filling a slot? Part of some tribute act"
"Who?"
"The Spice Girls"
"And who did they want you to be?"
"Sporty"

 Later on, Maria bumps into Amy in The Kabin and is guilt-tripped into spilling the beans to Amy when she tells her how upset she is that Michelle has gone. Naturally, Amy tells all to Steve and the trio seem to have hatched a plan to get Michelle back for good. Steve is waiting outside Victoria Court as the taxi the train station (even though she's going to the airport) arrives Michelle agrees to talk to him, If he joins her in the back seat as she's going to be late. Steve tells the taxi to pull up outside the Rovers and the pair reconcile, much to Amy and Maria's delight. Amy runs into number 1 to alert Ken of the good news, but much to her dismay, Tracy is also there. She's been suffering from pains, presumably from her Moroccan kidney and even had to visit the doctor. Still, Amy refuses to have anything to do with her mother.


"Michelle loves you. Just like your dad loves you"
"I'm a product of broken Britain. They make documentaries about kids like me"


"This is your future. Our future"

Elsewhere, Reconciliation Street continued as Kirk finally decided to ditch Norris with a comically-charged speech and made up with Mrs Sutherland. Prior to this, Beth had been the source of ever-hilarious jibes towards Norris. While I enjoyed the double act of Kirk and Norris, it could not have lasted and I much prefer the double act of Beth and Kirk. A true Corrie couple and Lisa George as Beth is one of the few characters I'd be more than happy to watch for the next 50 years. Oh, and Street Cars will not be sure whether they're coming or going- as one taxi went to the next street and another actually made it to the airport. Jason has left the Street, after an emotionally charged goodbye with the lovely Eileen, the lodgers and his brother. Congratulations on surviving his sixteen years of drama, and best of luck to Ryan Thomas!

"How could you choose that owl in a cardigan over me?!"
"I'll have you know this cardigan is very on trend"
"Yeah, well, shame your face isn't!"

"I've got some prawn cocktail crisps in for later"
"Don't you rub Kirky's prawn cocktail in my face!"
"That's enough. Beth- you're my wife and I love you"


Wow! That was a long review- and well done to you if you got to the end. I personally did not enjoy three episodes of Corrie in one night. It was hard work to watch them all. But, out of the three episodes, I enjoyed the final one the most. Small storylines were wrapped up and we bid farewell to a long-standing character.  Performances of the episode(s) go to Lisa George as Beth, Elle Mulvaney as Amy and Sue Cleaver as Eileen. Three wonderful performances, comedy and emotion in excellent measures.


As always,

Thanks for reading!


Jordan


Follow me on Twitter! @JordanLloyd39


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Coronation Street set to be expanded for 6 episodes

Following the announcement yesterday that Coronation Street is moving to six, yes six, episodes per week in 2017, there's more news on what this will entail.

First off, the Coronation Street set will be expanded. The Guardian reports today that the current eight acre set in Trafford, Manchester, will be expanded to accommodate the extra filming.

In an email to staff, ITV producers said they would be holding a series of face to face meetings with staff to discuss the changes and the extra workload it would entail.

Programme makers said teams would be expanded “right across the board” and said the extra episode would enable a wider variety of storylines encompassing more families and give “space for the comedy of the show to really breathe”.

“The talent and commitment of the Corrie team, writers, cast, and crew will be central to making a sixth episode into reality,” said the email.

“We’ll also have substantial investment in our physical infrastructure, extending the current lot and creating additional studio space. And we’ll be able to strengthen and increase our teams right across the board to support making the additional episodes.

“It will also enable us to enhance all the positive things we currently do and are rightly proud of, such as training, apprenticeships, social inclusion, and sustainability.

“Editorially, moving to six episodes will give room for a larger variety of A stories spread more equally across our character groups and families. It will also help us ensure that our lighter stories don’t get squeezed out, giving space for the comedy of the show to really breathe.

“We’ll be going on air with six episodes in the autumn of 2017. That’s over a year away so it gives us the opportunity to define a bespoke Coronation Street solution for how we’ll achieve six, while carefully maintaining and enhancing the quality of what we do.

“To this end we’re setting up a project team of subject matter experts from across Corrie and the business. The team will pull together detailed plans covering all the editorial and operational elements.

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Corrie on Tour - job vacancies in Glasgow

Yesterday, we reported that Coronation Street props and memorabilia from the old Coronation Street tour are going 'on tour' to Glasgow. Read about that here.

Today we can confirm that an application has been made jointly by ITV and Continuum, the group who ran the Coronation Street tours.  The Continuum website says that: "Following on from the success of Coronation Street The Tour, Continuum Attractions is working with ITV to deliver a new touring visitor experience in the centre of Glasgow."

Not only that, Continuum are now advertising for staff to work at Corrie on Tour in Glasgow. Confirmation of the roles is subject to planning permission being granted.

The job vacancies are as follows and the deadline for applications is Sunday 3 July.


Duty Managers, Guest Services and Retail - find out more here.
Guest Services Team Members - find out more here.

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Coronation Street Episode Review Wednesday 29th June (7.30 p.m.)

Hello and welcome to part one of the Wednesday review: Jordan has kindly agreed to share the reviewing responsibilities seeing as Monday's episodes were postponed due to the England football team making a show of themselves in France.


Anyway, it's Jason's birthday but there's nothing to celebrate. He doesn't want Eileen's black pudding and he doesn't want his dad's money, tainted, as it is, with Callum's blood, or so Jason suspects. Later on, the police confirm that Tony's wrench has both Callum's and Tony's DNA on it, so it looks like Todd's plan to save Sarah has worked. David can't believe his luck: "We've won," he tells Kylie, but she thinks it's more of a Pyrrhic victory:
"An innocent man's name has been trashed. Jason's in bits. Sarah's in a mental hospital and I've got to live with the fact that I killed a man." David doesn't care and even uses the news that the police aren't looking for anyone else to rile Gail, getting her to apologise for not believing him. Boy, wolf, David. Gail tries to excuse herself by saying she was in shock, what with "sleeping on top of a dead body for months." "I thought you'd be used to it after Michael," David quips, quick as one of Sean's head tosses. Jack Shepherd gets all the best lines, and he always delivers.

Jason is cut up, believing that he, "playing the big man", caused Callum attacking him and thus to Tony killing Callum. He believes the stress of becoming a murderer led to Tony's heart-attack, but worse is to come. Gemma warns him that Callum's Dog And Gun drinking pals will be after Jay-boy, and as sure as Norris's eggs are runny, Jason's van is on fire by the end of the episode.

Talking of Norris, he and Kirk are still playing the odd couple and not even Nozza trying to distract Kirk with promises of flapjacks in his packed lunch can put Kirky off his stroke whilst playing Othello. Norris has plans to unsettle Kirk with the Settlers of Catan, but you know that even though Kirk prefers Buckaroo, he will still beat Norris in a game of "strategic thinking and raw cunning" - he is an idiot savant. He admits to missing Beth though, and not just her cheese 'n' pickle 'n' salad cream sarnies.

 Someone else too stubborn to sort out their love-life is Steve. Michelle is off to sing for her supper on a cruise (surely modern day cruises demand better entertainment than a Jane MacDonald wannabe) and Steve doesn't look like he's going to stop her. Fortunately, Liz is back, in a particularly putrid pink pleather jacket, refusing to pay for her Streetcars cab and refusing to let Steve give up Michelle. She even ropes in Steve's new sidekick, Tim, with promises of on-the-house hotpot (he gave in too easily: after a few days of minced lamb and potatoes, he'll be desperate for sommat else, Betty's secret recipe or no Betty's secret recipe. He should've held out for free pints) and Tim goes full Oprah, appealing to Steve the only way he knows how: through mutual love of ale. He tells Steve that brewing is like marriage, it takes care and patience, and he seems to have got through to his pal.

Leanne is not getting through to Nick; he doesn't care about her plan to help him open a new restaurant in a derelict fishmongers. She has a moan to Steve, and then another one to Zeedan, who complains that he has it hard, preparing fifty lunches whilst fasting for Ramadan (didn't we see Alya chowing down on a sandwich in the factory last week?). Robert is irritated with both of them, accusing Zee of mooning over Lee. Leanne claims she wants to re-set her life to when she first came to Weatherfield (only without Les) and it looks like she might soon be doing that, in the romance department at least. Sorry, Zee.

Over to you, Jordan!

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Corrie to air 6 episodes a week

ITV today has announced their intention of producing a sixth episode per week of Coronation Street, likely starting near the end of next year. They are planning to expand the studio to a fifth filming area in addition to the four they have now.

"ITV’s Director of Television, Kevin Lygo, said the news reflected the broadcaster’s commitment to high quality soap for its hugely loyal audience."

They're all very excited at ITV, citing "The plan, which was unveiled to the writers, cast and crew today, will create employment opportunities adding a new and exciting dimension to filming the UK’s longest running soap drama."

Many fans have long complained that the quality of the show has actually  suffered for the extra air time it's gained over the past couple of decades. The cast have often said it's a tough job, learning lines and getting ready for scenes when they're trying to fit in so much each week and that's only going to get tougher. I have a lot of respect for the actors under such conditions.

I'm sure some of the fans can't get enough of their favourite show and will be rejoicing.   I wonder if they'll continue the double episodes on Mondays and Fridays or if they'll go to singles from Sunday to Friday. That might make more sense.

I imagine it's a matter of keeping up the competition, but how much is too much?



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Coronation Street the tour - coming to a town near you?

Ever since the Coronation Street tour closed in Manchester, I've been wondering about all those old sets and props. Yes, it's the sort of thing I wonder about. Note to self: must get out more.

Well, news reaches us that some bits of the old Corrie set that were on shown in the tour at Granada Studios might be going on tour around the UK.  Note the word 'might' there... nothing has been confirmed yet.

An ITV spokesperson said today: ‘At this stage we have presented an application stating our intent to deliver a touring visitor experience in Glasgow and hope to be in a position to announce further details in the forthcoming weeks.’

Sounds great to me!

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