I love the 'soaps' but the latest storylines just don't wash with me anymore / Sue Plunkett column

If I said the names Bet Lynch, Vera Duckworth, Annie Walker or Alf Roberts would they mean anything to you?
A lifelong Coronation Street fan, reporter Sue Plunkett has admitted she has stopped watching the show due to its recent storylines and 'ham' actingA lifelong Coronation Street fan, reporter Sue Plunkett has admitted she has stopped watching the show due to its recent storylines and 'ham' acting
A lifelong Coronation Street fan, reporter Sue Plunkett has admitted she has stopped watching the show due to its recent storylines and 'ham' acting

Probably not to anyone under the age of 40. But for 'soap opera' fans, well Coronation Street at least, these are names that were as familiar and real to me as some of my friends and relatives.

I grew up watching Coronation Street, it was like a 'comfort blanket' in many ways. A twice weekly programme that was full of characters and people who all happened to live in or around fictional Coronation Street.

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Although my family were not particular fans of 'The Street' I loved it. It held a real fascination for me even though, back in the 70s, the most dramatic storylines pale into insignificance compared to today's offerings.

My favourite character was Bet Lynch, the earthy barmaid who always seemed to be unlucky in love but, whatever happened, would turn up behind the bar at the Rovers Return, the fictional pub in the street, with a megawatt smile on her face.

Even as a child I could see the character she was portraying had a real vulnerability who often masked her feelings of sadness and despair with a big smile. Only us, the viewers, got to see how she was really feeling.

And the late Jean Alexander made her character, Hilda Ogden, iconic. Permanently in hair rollers, she was a long suffering wife and 'skivvy' who always longed for better things. She was funny, endearing and loved a bit of gossip.

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Her performance after the death of her street 'husband' Stan is one of the most moving pieces of acting I have ever seen. I defy anyone not to be moved as Hilda unpacks his belongings from the hospital and crumbles as she finds his glasses still in their case.

Corrie has been like an old friend to me over the years, always there and never failing to make me laugh and cry.

But recently it has left me cold. Over the top storylines involving drug barons and shootings, with some 'ham' acting to go with it, are miles away, I am sure, from what the creator of Coronation Street Tony Warren intended.

The latest spoilers for the show are 'Murder terror, gun drama, teen love wars.'

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"It has to move with the times' people say but does it really have to? Coronation Street was a success because it dealt with everyday life and issues that may seem mundane, but because of great acting and well written scripts, it was entertaining.

The characters looked like they could actually live in your neighbourhood and go to the same shops as us to buy their clothes. But many of the modern day soap actors parade around with expensive and immaculately coiffed hair and make-up... just to nip to the corner shop!

Characters are created and brought into the show to prop up issues of the day. It's the same with Eastenders although I've never been a big fan from the start.

Even the homely tea time soap Neighbours is pushing the boundaries with three of the characters in a polyamorous relationship! The innocent days of Jason and Kylie are long gone.

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And while I never thought I would say it I have stopped watching Coronation Street... but not entirely!

Much to the amusement of my family and friends I now tune in regularly to 'Classic Coronation Street' on ITV3.

"But you know what is going to happen so what's the point in watching it?' they say.

For the most part I don't remember what is going to happen as the era I am watching now was around 25 years ago and so much happened. Maybe it is my so called 'guilty pleasure' and I do need to 'let go of the 80s.'

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But if you think that's bad I have actually been watching 40 year old episodes of one of the first ever soaps, Crossroads. An aunt of mine used to love it and judging by her reactions to it back then there was some real high drama.

But one of the worst things to happen so far is one of the receptionists double booking a room!

Right I will say it for you... yes I need to get a life.

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