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article imageOp-Ed: Coronation Street — From kitchen sink to Greek tragedy

By Alexander Baron     Jun 3, 2011 in Entertainment
A follow up article to last month's "The wild plots of British soap operas" concluding the tragic tale of former schoolteacher John Stape.
“I have known perfect happiness. I am blessed.”
Those were the last words of John Stape from TV show Coronation Street; after uttering them to his wife, he stepped backwards off the hospital roof and into oblivion. Or maybe it wasn’t quite oblivion, because although he fell more than six floors, when the police went to retrieve the body all they found was some blood. So what is the reason for this conundrum? Ask the scriptwriters, they probably have long memories. In 1989, the landlord of the local public house of the BBC’s rival EastEnders was killed off by a hit man. True, we didn’t actually see the body, but we saw the gun, and we heard the splash as he fell into the canal. Then, fourteen years later he was resurrected only to be murdered again, permanently this time, and buried under his pub.
It remains to be seen if the tragic Stape will return; bearing in mind this is a man who has been driven to psychosis by a series of events not entirely of his own making, and he is surely at best seriously injured, and a fugitive from the law to boot, but if love doesn’t always find a way, the ratings war might.
There was also high drama closer to home as the landlady of the Rovers Return smashed up the home of her arch-enemy’s parents with a sledgehammer before her husband confessed that it was not her who was responsible for their current problems with social services but him. Then she packed her bag and left. Unlike John Stape, she didn’t have any last words for her spouse; she simply spat in his face.
There may have been a gas explosion, fire, and tram crash in one episode of Coronation Street last year, but this is as good as it gets, and one suspects as good as it ever will get, but who’s complaining? Meanwhile in EastEnders, the rival soap team are struggling with a more earthy kind of drama. Having just introduced a new bad guy into Albert Square, a mischievous Asian doctor, they have managed to develop his sinister persona to such a degree that after the poor bloke has been thrust into the boot of his own car, kidnapped, threatened with immolation and (ostensibly) beaten up, he is still regarded as the villain of the piece.
There is obviously a lot more scope for mischief here, but in view of events in the real East End of late, one has to ask how long it will be before the homosexual son of the Square’s dysfunctional Islamic family is on the receiving end of a fatwa from Al-Qaeda in Britain on account of his forthcoming “gay marriage” with his white lover, who of course has to be called Christian. Between them, the events in Coronation Street and EastEnders have made Emmerdale look rather tame of late; all that’s going on there is a bit of hanky panky between the lady of the manor and the hired help, who just happens to be her daughter’s boyfriend, but this is probably because the scriptwriters of this somewhat more bucolic soap have elected to tackle social issues instead, as with the local lady vet deciding not to abort her Down’s syndrome foetus, and the recently paraplegic homosexual lover of the village’s former wayward teen enlisting his mother to assist his suicide.
If all this sounds rather improbable, the reader should bear in mind that real life is often stranger, as the ongoing trial of Casey Anthony and the conspiracy theories surrounding the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn attest. And, in August 2006, a British holidaymaker on the island of Crete did survive an otherwise fatal fall. John Hogan leapt from the fourth floor of his hotel taking his son and daughter with him. He and two year old Mia survived, though unlike John Stape he didn’t get up and walk, or crawl, away.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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