CHARLIE Stubbs was up to no good again in Coronation Street last night, tampering with the fuses in the flat he’s let to Maria.
Sarah and Jason made last gasp appeals to their mums, asking them to attend their big day. The young lovers are pictured heading for their wedding in tonight’s two visits to Weatherfield. But will it all end happily ever after?
Perhaps you stayed on your sofa to watch Where The Heart Is, featuring former Corrie star Shobna Gulati as a district nurse? A good piece of casting in what is a Sunday night favourite for millions.
Both programmes have come under the scrutiny of former ITV and Granada boss David Liddiment today.
Last week’s resignation of ITV chief executive Charles Allen has done little to halt speculation about the future of the company.
As Liddiment points out in his Media Guardian column, ratings have not been good enough. The good news for ITV is that autumn bankers like The X Factor are now just days away in the schedule.
The bad news is that ITV can, at times, look a bit desperate, especially when it comes to relentless promotion of second rate reality and factual shows featuring people we couldn’t care less about.
ITV has every reason to be proud of much of its drama output. Cracker and Prime Suspect are on their way back, along with returning series like Manchester-filmed Vincent and Blue Murder. But some productions on the psychological thriller front have been more successful than others.
Liddiment says one of the answers to ITV’s problems is “innovation and ambition” across the schedule. And he claims shows like Where The Heart Is, Taggart and those endless streams of two-part thrillers now look “tired” when compared with BBC offerings.
Many people, including me, also worry about ITV’s exploitation of Coronation Street. The decision to screen five episodes a week wasn’t made for the benefit of the writers, cast and crew. It was a commercial move aimed at making more money for ITV.
Fair enough, you might say. ITV is a commercial broadcaster and survives on revenue from advertisers. Why shouldn’t a business exploit a prized asset? And what’s wrong with linking it to a separate ITV quiz channel, spin-off documentaries, mobile phone updates and whatever else they can think of to drive up revenue?
The danger, of course, is that you’ll kill the golden goose. For those of you not up on your folklore, that’s the goose that laid a golden egg a day until its greedy owner killed it in an attempt to get all the gold at once.
Some previously loyal Corrie fans have had enough and voted with their remote controls. The Street is still the best soap on TV – and evolving beautifully under producer Steve Frost – but five times a week is one episode too many. In the long term, it risks blowing all the fuses – and not just those between Maria and Charlie (below).
It’s a theme Liddiment, a former executive producer of Coronation Street, has returned to again and again. “Maybe a few sacred cows should be taken by the horns,” he writes today.
“Coronation Street, Emmerdale and The Bill are the cornerstones of the schedule. They carry a heavy burden. Despite – or perhaps because of – their pivotal place, all have proved vulnerable to growing multi-channel competition with audience declines greater than the channel average,” he points out.
“Perhaps it’s time to consider whether they might be more resilient if they were on less often, at a stroke making room for the innovation ITV so desperately needs.”
I agree. But what do you think?
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