Coronation Street was violent with Nina and Seb's attack – and for good reason
Sometimes violence in soaps can be used to grab headlines, create social media storms and to make headlines. It can be gratuitous and unnecessarily over the top, particularly for the timeslot but this time, Coronation Street were right to show the full brutality of the deadly attack on Nina and Seb in flashback scenes.
It’s a tricky line; soaps have hard hitting storylines which require scenes of violence, without putting off their audience and overstepping the mark with the strict pre watershed rules.
However, if Corrie had shied away from the true and violent nature of the bigoted hate attack, it would not have done the story justice.
Diluting it would be offensive to what is a very real and relevant issue in society right now. In a world so currently full of hate and intolerance, Corrie sought to shine a light on a particularly hateful segment of our world. With the help and support of the family of murdered goth Sophie Lancaster, Coronation Street has dealt with this story sensitively and harrowingly.
Yep, it’s been one hell of a watch. That’s nothing compared to what families of real life victims have had to go through.
Perhaps we are so uncomfortable watching these scenes because they are all too real; would it be easier to bury our heads in the sand and long for the days of Les and Cilla’s jacuzzi bath collapsing through a ceiling?
Coronation Street has a platform and it is using it to change lives and to educate and inform on topical and relevant issues. People complain that it’s not the same since Ena Sharples and Annie Walker but nor is the world. We have had the increase in sub cultures, the introduction of social media which has been a powerful tool for hate, the far right and for threats from keyboard warriors behind an anonymous identity.
Having an identity that is unique and different to what is deemed ‘normal’ (is there such a thing?) should not leave one at risk of death.
But Sophie’s story is not a unique one. It has been 14 years since she lost her life in a mindless attack, purely over how she looked and dressed. What offence was she causing by having different interests and identity?
Not much has changed. It still happens to every marginalised group and so Coronation Street decided to tackle this head on, in a proper and researched way.
More importantly, it wasn’t a case of some toned down words and light pushes. That isn’t how hateful gangs operate.
They commit murder. And this murder is powered by an indescribable hatred, born of intolerance.
Maximus Evans has portrayed the menace and loathing of one of soap’s most vile villains, Corey Brent, in a hauntingly real way, his performance aided by deeply researched and on point scripting.
Tonight, scenes of flashback which saw the incredible Mollie Gallagher portray Nine recalling her final memories of her murdered boyfriend Seb, contained scenes of violence and difficult to watch anger and explosive loathing.
Bloodied and beaten, we saw Seb declare his love for Nina after a frightening chase which was described by Kelly as a game of hide and seek.
But for Corey, this was no game. Branding Nina and Seb freaks and weirdos, he became a monster unable to be caged, a ferocious animal lashing out without any way of stopping him.
It says a lot about the character and plenty to be explored about what made him this way but at the end of it all, there is absolutely no condoning or explaining away what he did. A vile act of murder which changed so many lives irreparably.
Already, among all of the tweets and comments of praise for the episodes, there are others who clearly have forgotten about the abuse of Rita at the hands of Alan Bradley and the murder in cold blood of Ernie Bishop, clamouring for the good old days.
Coronation Street represents life and it has to show the uglier side and properly. They have risked the inevitable Ofcom complaints to do the story justice and the power the performances, script and production values combined to make the most realistic, effective and impactful representation of an issue not largely explored by a medium which reaches millions of homes.
To tone it down would be claiming that what happens and the story they are telling is not monstrous. Sometimes, violence is inevitable.
There will always be unnecessary storylines as part of stunts and plot driven murder storylines with serial killers where writers go with the most brutal scenario possible, knowing they will attract attention and media coverage. It’s the nature of the beast.
But like with Geoff and Aidan’s stories, which contained harrowing and upsetting scenes, Coronation Street did the right thing by addressing the true violence of this story.
Any of those complaining that Corrie has gone too far should do some research into Sophie’s story; the episode was sign posted a lot and it was obviously a very upsetting watch.
But if we left the episode as the credits rolled not feeling impacted then the message in lost and the whole thing becomes a little more worthless.
Coronation Street hit the dark tone right with this one. It has to represent the ugliness of real life and will never be a show that is all about merely community and gossip; it has never pretended to be and those who think it has never had dark moments until recently wear rose tinted glasses.
Coronation Street represents the light and the dark and everything in between; and always has.
This is why it endures over 60 years on and still has a whole nation talking about important issues.
What other show can boast such influence?
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