I still haven’t decide whether or not I can watch tonight’s Coronation Street episodes.
There is a part of me that accepts not watching something fictional on the grounds of it being ‘hard’ or ‘difficult’ could seem odd – or at least an overreaction. Oh, for people who don’t follow the Salford soap opera: tonight was the night a major character who has cancer died.
First bit of discomfort with the whole thing, not sure how I feel about this being entertainment. Yes, they are selling a story. Yes, they are covering a real issue and a fucking horrible one to boot. But they are still selling a TV show at the end of the day with sponsors and advertisements. I don’t know, there is a knock-on that is commercial, no? Like Elton John might not have made money out of Diana-ing Candle in the Wind but he did make money out of doing it, didn’t he?
This is just something that is something I thought about briefly. Do I really think this is a massive problem of bad taste and money making by ITV? No.
No, my main discomfort with the whole thing is, well, is that it has all been so well done and realistic that I just think two things will happen if I watch these episodes: my heart might break a little bit and my head will think (more – it already happens quite a lot) about me or anyone I care about dying. And I don’t know what it is but I just really, really don’t enjoy this line of thinking – but can’t stop it.
And why will it have this effect? As I say it has been really well written. And the two actors involved, Julie Hesmondhalgh and David Neilson, are pretty fucking brilliant. Regardless of what I said earlier about uneasiness at entertainment being about something like this, this isn’t a big dramatic storyline. It hasn’t been done to allow people to win awards and go over the top. It’s been done in a very everyday way by people who can act the shit out of real-ness.
And this kind of brings me to my main problem/reason I am not sure I can watch: I just don’t like horrible things. I don’t get something out of being seeing art about some issues. I don’t think there is any exploration here (for me). It’s horrible, people die, I want anyone in that position to have all the rights they want. I’ll sign the petition, I’ll vote for that party. I just don’t want to see anything upsetting if I don’t have to.
I don’t really watch dramas that use the holocaust as a backdrop. The reasons aren’t identical but there are some comparisons. There is no drama that I could watch that could make me think that there holocaust was any worse than I already do. And therefore its use in fiction…well I don’t need it. The truth of what happened is enough, I have watched and read about that.
And I guess that’s a bit where I was with the Hayley Cropper thing. I don’t need to see a fictional version of this horrible thing. I don’t know what the benefit or attraction is in watching fictionalised worst things ever. Even if (or maybe especially if) it’s been written brilliantly and performed amazingly and with the compassion and dignity of portraying what is a horrible reality for people every day.