Monday, 15 March 2010

Here's to the young and the not so young cast members!

First of all, I'm posting an excerpt from a comment made by "John" to a post on this post in Glenda's Corrie Blog:

"According to one article I read yesterday, the new producer, Phil Collinson, thinks that Corrie has gone too far the way of Hollyoaks with so many young actors, and would prefer to concentrate on more of the older characters. Personally I am all for that, albeit mindful that the older characters just aren't willing to work quite as hard as they used to."

First of all, I wonder if he was referring to "older" with regards to age or "older" with regards to seniority. The two are not necessarily the same thing. I would certainly consider characters with a history going back 15 years or more "older" characters. Those characters have been around a long time, long enough for us to "know" who they are and become part of the fabric of the Street. I would count in that number characters like Leanne, Tyrone, Janice, Ashley and Eileen in addition to age-wise older characters like Emily, Rita, Norris and Ken. Even David and the Webster girls fit in there as their characters have been on the show since birth even if not played by the current actors.

I have found over the past year or two that the older characters, age-wise, are actually being featured more often. With a cast this large, it's a juggling act but we've seen a lot more actual storylines with these cast members. There was several storylines, some still ongoing, with Norris, Emily, and Rita, regarding the arrival in Norris' life of both Mary Taylor and his half-brother, Ramsay Clegg who also had a blooming friendship, and possible romance with Emily. In fact, Norris seems to have been featured in major and minor stories for well over a year or more. In addition to the aforementioned, there's also his mini-feud with Graeme, his attempts to find a replacement for Rita in the shop and upcoming stalking storyline with a returned Mary.

We saw Rita find a late-in-life romance only to have it dashed on the rocks of scandal and death (Colin Grimshaw). Ken seems to get a proper storyline every year. Last year, he had an affair and is now embroiled in his son Peter's alcoholism storyline as well as in the recent involvement with George Wilson, Simon's other grandfather. Deirdre has featured in this as well albeit as a supporting character though i think she's due to have her own storyline again rather than be the reactor to one of Ken's. Maybe the upcoming death of her mother may spur on a storyline about dealing with grief though the return of her daughter, Tracey, will probably take her attention away from that in the long run. Even Betty has had a couple of small storylines (Panto, and Oldest Barmaid)!

Gail Platt, though not as senior in age, is a very long standing member of the cast and has been in a front burner storyline pretty much ever since the Hillman storyline with one thing or another and the closet doesn't beckon yet either. Sally and Kevin, "middling senior characters" have also been in major storylines though some, like Roy and Hayley are sadly underused. I also like that there's lots of focus on long standing members/character even if they aren't over 45 or 50, such as Steve, Ashley, Janice, Leanne, Lloyd, Peter and Dev who now has Sunita back.

I don't really see the problem focusing storylines on the "younger" aged actors as they will carry the story into the future, many of them. Once upon a time it was Terry, Martin, Kevin and Sally. Then it was Steve, Andy, Tracy, Leanne, Toyah, Fiz, Tyrone and Jason. Now it's Sophie, Rosie, David, Graeme and Ryan. With luck, we may see some of the small ones grow up and be the next generation of tearaways. (Simon, Josh, Freddie, Amy and the Alahan twins, Aadi and Asha). I never really mind the younger set providing the acting is decent. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it really isn't much more than gurning, screeching and posing.

Given that, I hope the new producer doesn't take all the focus away from the younger characters as some of them are really good actors and can carry a storyline very well. And as John says, some of the more senior actors don't really want major focus, as they are at that stage of "not quite ready to retire" and still like a bit of pin money.

Historically, Corrie has always managed to balance things out fairly well. Sometimes, these days, they do seem to focus too much on the "flavours of the month" until the audience get sick of seeing the face on their screen constantly, even if they're good actors, while leaving other, equally good or better actors in the closet. It might not be a matter of paring down the younger vs. the older cast, but paring out the dead weight, which can come in all ages, and redistributing the balance a bit more.

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