March 2005 Archives

The real crime on Coronation Street

At the post-results party at college when I got my degree results, most of my tutors congratulated me on my first, except for the poor guy who took me for 19th century Russian literature. "Anyone with his views on Russian literature doesn't deserve to get a first" he said of me - no doubt referring to the time when I said that I couldn't see the point of Anna Karenina: the whole rambling 700-odd pages could have been avoided if she'd only done her duty and stuck by her man.

I've long lost the rather moralistic views that I held in those days, but my view of the novel hasn't changed. Tolstoy creates problems for his characters that are devices to keep the storyline going, and 20 years on, I can't help feeling that in real life - even in the 19th century - people generally deal with their problems rather better than this. (If you don't believe me, read this condensed plot of Anna Karenina and rewrite the scenarios yourself. For example, here's one from the novel - "[...]Anna and Vronsky go to Italy, where they lead an aimless existence. Eventually, the two return to Russia, where Anna is spurned by society..." says the plot.

My version would go "Anna and Vronsky go to Italy, where they thoroughly enjoy their aimless existence. Occasionally, they have doubts and consider going back to Russia, but it is not long before they remember how cold it is there, the tedium of social responsibility and how Anna would probably be spurned by society. Besides, they'd miss their friends and the mediterranean fruit & vegetables, so all in all, Italy's just fine, thanks. Anna enrols on an 'Italian for beginners course' at the local WI, and Vronsky's fake orthodox icon business begins to really take off in the summer, so they can afford to have the kitchen retiled. Their happiness is complete".

My point is, if you're going to use a device to move on a storyline, at least make it believable; and if you're paid lots of money to devise plots, then avoid ones that have been done to death. "Nice-person-commits-uncharacteristic-murder-friends-help-to-cover-up" is so hackneyed now, I can't believe that Coronation Street would try it on.

Katy's brilliant as a character, and so are Angela & Tommy - all played by brilliant actors. So how dare anyone give them such a crap plot to deal with? Come on, if you were Katy, and you hit out at your dad like that, wouldn't you rush out and call the ambulance in seconds? Or Martin?

The real crime on Corrie is plot-abuse. If I were the script editor, I'd ban anyone from trying to conceal a murder, unless they were on their own. And the whole point about that is, that because you're on your own, you have a chance of concealing it - and then it's a big surprise when the truth comes out.

I will only offer forgiveness to the Corrie team, if they manage to frame Gail Platt for the murder. Remember, you heard it here first.

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