Wednesday 2 December 2009

Do they still fit in?

A few days ago, commenter, "Ena's Hairnet", on this post on The Coronation Street Blog, suggested a topic for conversation. When a character leaves for an extended time, do they really fit in when they return? She mentioned characters like Carla, Hayley and Leanne. As this post was getting rather long, I've posted it here on my blog rather than clutter up the other one and linked back to it.

I do think in many cases when an actor returns from an absence, be it health related or maternity leave or when the character is written out but returns down the road, that the producers and writers have to have a clear idea of what they're going to do with the character. Sometimes, I agree, things do fall flat. It's taken over a year for Hayley to get back into the forefront with the fall of Tony Gordon and having her back in the factory (where she belongs!) It seemed like her last storyline before her exit, the revelation of her long lost son (an unfortunate rewrite of history), was a stumbling block for the character. She and Roy are such a wonderful, supportive couple and she deserved to be slotted back into the canvas rather than spend a year being a spare part. I'm hoping we'll see a lot more of Hayley from here on in.

Carla's character always seemed to me to be un-Corrielike. A lot of people have commented in a similar vein that they didn't think she fit in the show. After her long maternity leave, it seems a jolt to have her back for a lot of people that didn't like her anyway. She's only just back but has returned in the thick of a major story, the downfall of Tony and it remains to be seen if she'll continue to fit in. Now that she doesn't have Tony, with Leanne her only mate, will she be with us long term? She'll have to make a few more connections to have a reason to stick, I think.

Leanne has been on the canvas since 1997 and has been away from Corrie several times over the years in addition to two maternity leaves. I have found that she always seems to fit in and they always seem to be able to find a return storyline that features her that re-acclimatizes us to Leanne.

When a long time favourite has been gone a long time, people still like to think they could come back but most of them really wouldn't fit in well. Things move on without them and they lose their connections on the Street. Curly is a case in point. I loved Curly, he was always one of my favourites and yes, I'd like to see him back but only for a visit. Say, for a wedding or funeral. It always rubbed me the wrong way that he didn't return for Vera's funeral but it's down to the availability of the actor or whether ITV wants to pay for various and sundry to return for guest visits, as well, I suppose. Other than a visit, though, there really isn't anything there for Curly anymore aside from one or two friends.

Look what happened when they tried to bring Bet Lynch back! As much as I also liked her, I really don't know as she fit in either. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to find out because the actress found the new shooting schedule too difficult. It was still good to see her, though, for a short visit.

It isn't always the case, though. If the writers have a good storyline in mind to feature the returnee, it can work. Leanne is a case in point and upcoming, we will be seeing Sunita return. I don't know if it's for a long term or short term but I'm looking forward to it. She only has Dev as a connection, really, since her best mate, Shelley is gone, but she was a fixture on the Street for a long time and should slot back in nicely. They're also bringing back Ciaran who has a history with her as well as a history with Peter. Do you think he'll hit on Leanne like he did Shelley or has he learned that lesson? Nick Tilsley is also coming back with a new face. It will be interesting to see how that works.

So what is your opinion on returning characters after either short or long absences? Do they fit in again? Do the writers really need to know what they're going to do with them before they bring them back? (Especially characters who have been away more than a year)


Anonymous said...

I agree that often bringing back characters is hit and miss. Often if it has been several years since last seeing that charcter, besides other characters moving on, there are new writers and producers who either don't know how to write for those characters or might not even want to write for them. All that said. For God's sake bring back Curly! maybe they can recast the chacter of Blanche with Julie Goodyear! Or bring her back as Blanche's sister Baby Jane.... Or was that another Blanche?

David Blue
Vancouver BC Canada

Anonymous said...

As has been said, if the returning character has close links with existinh characters it can work well.Simply dumping an old face back on the street would probably have a novelty value in the short term. However, as with Hayley, we saw he return totally unchanged by a year in Africa. She could have come back with a new vitality and a different outlook. Not the case! She sat around for the next year, on the periphary of storylines.

It's possibly better to bring people back for a quick but meaningful appearance e.g. Raquel. That return was handled effectively. A returning Curly Watts could be good as he still has plenty of connections in the Street. let's see what happens in 2010!

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