We’re at the time of year when soap writers pull out all the stops for ratings. True to form, the writers of Coronation Street are penning a wedding between blowsy Liz McDonald and lazy Vernon Tomlin. But should they even bother? ITV’s press release advises: "Make sure you have your glad rags at the ready come New Year’s Eve, as Corrie’s residents will be gathering for the wedding of Liz and Vernon. The pair, played by Beverley Callard and Ian Reddington, plan to tie the knot on the big night – but will everything go without a hitch?" Probably not. More to the point, will they last the course?.
Soap weddings have a lousy track record as far as ’till death us do part’ is concerned. In fact, only Britney can probably boast a less successful record in the matrimony stakes. There have been exceptions and we viewers have enjoyed the ups and downs of a few longstanding marriages: Corrie’s Jack and Vera Duckworth and Stan and Hilda Ogden instantly spring to mind. EastEnders’ Pauline and Ar’Fer Fowler can be added to that list too. But these are a rarity and that’s a pity.
More often than not, the majority of soap weddings turn out to be a flash-in-the-pan. So why don’t they work out? Well, if you ask me, some of them are non-starters to begin with. Take Hollyoaks’ Sarah and Craig. She catches her fiancé in a compromising embrace with another bloke (Craig is struggling with his sexuality) and yet, refuses to give up on him. Wouldn’t you think twice before walking down the aisle? Most sensible people would – but not Sarah. She begs for another chance. If they tie the knot, I’d give them about as long as it takes to dance to Outside by George Michael.
Some marriages featured on soaps are destined not to work out due to the fact that one or both actors are moving on. Take the ‘Shannis’ stuff on EastEnders a while back. Dennis and Sharon Watts are a perfect example of taking a storyline and stretching it beyond the point where it is absolutely ridiculous. Yes I refer to that incestuous marriage – alright it was his adopted sister, but it was still sickening to watch. Anyway, Dennis and Sharon’s happiness was short-lived as Dennis met with a tragic end. A dramatic conclusion courtesy of the fact that both Nigel Harman and Letitia Dean had decided to leave the show (so glad they did because watching those two together regularly put me off my TV dinners).
Another example of a marriage not working out due to an actor exiting stage left can be found on’t cobbles of Coronation Street. Shobna Gulati, who played Sunita Parekh/Alahan, was axed from the show shortly after the Street’s first Hindu wedding between her character and shop owner Dev Alahan. The marriage was gloriously short – Hollywood eat your heart out.
One of the biggest reasons soap weddings generally don’t work out in the long run is down to ratings and dramatic effect. Writers take a couple and mess up every aspect of their lives – even if it doesn’t ring true. Take Coronation Street’s resident bores Claire and Ashley Peacock. Somebody writing for Corrie has spent way too much time with their Fatal Attraction DVD: next thing you know, Ashley’s bit on the side Casey has become obsessed with him, kidnapped his son and wrecked his marriage. A more unconvincing storyline you couldn’t hope to find. What on earth would anyone see in Ashley, a man whose voice is more high-pitched than the average woman? However unlikely, he’s had an affair and it’s cost him his marriage.
In the final analysis, I suppose a very strong reason why we don’t blink an eye when soap weddings crash and burn is because soaps try to reflect what’s going on in society. We have a high divorce rate in this country ergo, the forthcoming Corrie wedding between Bev and Vernon might be doomed before Vernon even thinks about hiring The Rovers for his reception.
Walford Borough Council have hired a private detective to track down one of their employees because he hasn’t been seen much around Albert Square in the past couple of weeks. The private detective reports that the man in question, who goes by the name of Gus Smith, has been putting his poetry writing abilities to use moonlighting as a greetings card writer…Poor Gus. Still not doing much of use on EastEnders.
That’s it for now. Join me on Friday for more news and gossip from the world of soaps. Got a comment about your favourite soap, this blog or anything else? Share it with me.
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