Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Happy Birthday Coronation Street
This year see’s the 50th Anniversary of legendry soap, Coronation Street. For 50 years we’ve seen many pints being pulled in the Rovers Return, countless marriages, deaths and, of course, affairs.
For me, Coronation Street has always been part of my life. As long as I can remember it has always been on in the living room of my parents home, watching Alan Bradley being knocked over by a tram to the Battersby’s causing mayhem across the street.
I spent a year in Chicago, which when people over there realised I was from the UK, one of the first questions I was always asked was ‘Do you watch Coronation Street’. It has been part of many people in the UK’s lives, it has caused more controversy and discussion amongst people at work, school and in the pub than Xfactor, Big Brother and I’m a celebrity combined; even leading to the prime minister getting involved in 1998 when Tony Blair asked that Deidre Rachid be freed. But why is Coronation Street so popular?
Unlike other soaps such as Eastenders and Emerdale; it has merged humor into every storyline; even some of the most dramatic or horrific scenes have been turned into hilarious sketches; most notably when Richard Hillman battered Maxine to death suddenly switched to Fred Elliot bashing a piece of meat turned my shocked and disturbed self reaction into a fit of laughter. Characters such as Blanche Hunt and Norris Cole have been around to make a sly comment even if it was within the most mournful scenes.
Another key to its success is that it is about normal, working class people. For so long before Coronation Street, films and TV shows were about the rich and the famous; this even continues today with programs such as the OC and Desperate Housewives. But Coronation Street was different to this, people could relate to the characters and brought forward the working class humor, which translated, not only across the country, but also all over the world including Canada, the USA and Australia. It has some prestigious fans including Sir Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters…the list goes on. But there is no more famous fanatic than the Queen, who has been said to tune in regularly. However, what impressions she must have of us up here in Manchester these days due to the show could be worrying!
I’ve been lucky to visit Coronation Street twice this year; one was on a sponsored run through the set earlier in March; and I was invited by ITV last week in celebration of the anniversary to join a discussion over Coronation Street for the Corrie Uncovered Live program on ITV 2 for its 50th birthday which airs on the evening of the crash.
It is without a doubt that Coronation Street has become a national treasure over the last 50 years, and there is no doubt that it will continue to be so for the next 50. So I end this by saying thank you to Coronation Street for the shock, the tears but mainly the laughter over the last 50 years and I look forward to seeing more. Happy Birthday Corrie!!!