I’ve been a good boy this year but I don’t want to ask for much for Christmas. Instead, I’d rather you direct your powers of gift-giving to a certain Northern English street called "Coronation":
- Please stop sending every other character to jail. Coronation Street has more hardened criminals per capita than any other street in the UK. Current residents who have done time include: David, Graeme, Kevin, Hayley, Deirdre, Becky, Steve, John, Gail, Tracey, Fizz, and I think Dennis Tanner 50 years ago. While we accept a certain amount of heightened reality, no street has this many people who have done time.
- Become more issues driven. Seeing Dennis Tanner return as a homeless man was a good move and I think it helped put a human face on homelessness. People aren’t born in the street. Through any number of circumstances, they end up there. We don’t yet know how Dennis ended up there (unless I missed it) but it would be an interesting story, I think. In addition, we often see characters dealing with government or social services agencies. Is the custody tug of war between Steve and Becky and Tracey realistic? I don’t know but it doesn’t seem so. Actually show, in detail, how legislation affects lives. Coronation Street was never intended to be a soap. It’s a kitchen sink drama.
- No more personality transplants. Figure out what makes a character tick and stick with it. Chesney hates deceit. Fizz is feisty and sharp. Ken is a long winded bore with a wandering eye. The Fizz we’re seeing now isn’t the Fizz I remember. And how about deciding once and for all if Kirk has a learning disability and if he does, write it into his character and show how he struggles with it. His intelligence isn’t written consistently. There are times when he seems like he barely functions as an adult and other times when he’s just a bit dim and doesn’t always catch on to a joke.
- And after that character’s key personality trait is determined, let them grow. Case in point: Becky. She started off on the street stealing money from Roy’s till. A few months ago, she was…stealing money from Dev’s safe. Her motive may be more altruistic this time around but she goes back to the same actions again and again: she takes things extremely personally and then veers from rage to catatonia with never an opportunity to learn from her past behaviour.
- There are storylines that don’t involve infidelity. Quick, how many families on the street are married, and have always been married, and have their own children? Give up? The answer: none. Kevin and Sally have their own children but are separated and were previously divorced. Steve and Becky were attempting to raise their nephew and Amy from a previous relationship. Ken and Deirdre are a blended family. Dev and Sunita are divorced. Anna and Eddie are divorced, leaving her a single mother. Not all of these instances are infidelity related but there are few stable families, if any, on the street.
- Mix up the characters: It seems there are a few social bubbles on the street that don’t intersect. I like seeing characters breaking out of those bubbles and rubbing elbows. Sophie at the Barlows’ reminded me that the Websters and Barlows never speak and it’s interesting to see.
- More of this please: Julie and Brian. Sylvia. Dennis. Chesney and Gary. Lloyd. Norris and Mary. Roy and Hayley, keeping on keeping on.
So that’s my Christmas list. What’s yours?