Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Speak Easy 5

Bright and breezy, free and easy - that's Speak Easy - here your voice can be heard!

Gary writes:

What do you make of the North/South rivalry between Coronation Street fans and EastEnders fans? Also, I read in a Coronation Street book that the London-based Press immediately got behind EastEnders in 1985, predicting that it would sweep Corrie under the carpet!

Hmmm... well, there's certainly no evidence of that in the newspapers I have from 1985, Gary!
In fact, Sun newspaper TV writer Charles Catchpole actually took a swipe at Midlands-based soap Crossroads when he wrote his review of the first EastEnders episode!

Coronation Street was, and is, very much of the North of England, very much of Lancashire, but the characters were, and I suppose are, universal. We working class folk all had Elsie Tanners, Len Faircloughs and Mrs Sharples living in our localities, and that was why it succeded. That's what made it complete and utter magic way beyond county borders.

The North/South rivalry "thing" was not something I ever encountered in my Street fan days, and as there's so much claptrap written on the internet, so much juvenile baiting, it's not something I can take seriously. Certain recent books on Street history also puzzle me when it comes to that point. England is a tiny country on a tiny island. The fact that Coronation Street was - and is - a hit across that country - and also in the neighbouring countries of the UK - and abroad, is something to be celebrated.

I'm from the East of England and I adored the show, wrote to Producer Bill Podmore and members of the cast many times in the mid-to-late 1970s, and it helped me through some pretty bad times when I was a child and into my early teens.

From the old lady from Kent who lives next door to me and has watched The Street from the beginning, only ever missing about twelve episodes in all that time, to my Glaswegian uncle-in-law, who was so dedicated to Bet Lynch/Gilroy it became a family joke, The Street is a hit. A young Polish man I work with, who only arrived here a few years ago, is absolutely hooked, and in fact I know people of many different origins who like the show.

As I said, Coronation Street is very much of the North of England. But its characters are recognisable to many different people, simply because they are people - and that's why its appeal is so wide!

And building up petty rivalry and bitchery based on location is not something I am familiar with, nor can have any truck with.

Life's too short.

Lorraine asks:

Could you update this blog more often? I'd like to see more regular stuff. I'm particularly looking forward to the continuation of your screen grab partition cubes, dealing with individual years in the Street's history.

I'm really glad you like the blog, Lorraine - and thanks for saying so!

I don't have a huge amount of time, and I'm a one-man-show here, so that's why updates are irregular. I am trying to update as frequently as possible, though.

In the pipeline, I have more of the "cubes" you mention, a look at early Street architecture as drawn by the original designer, Denis Parkin, a peep at an architectural quirk at the Ogdens', more Sadistic '60s, Savage '70s and Evil '80s, more cliffhanger quizzes, and a look at how the Daily Mirror celebrated the Street's 20th anniversary in 1980.

Please keep popping in.

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