Michael Parkinson: violent Coronation Street makes me recoil

“I am affronted by what I see as a gem like Coronation Street in danger of becoming just another formulaic soap"

Michael Parkinson - Getty, BD

Coronation Street superfan Michael Parkinson admits that he “recoils” from the brutal Pat Phelan storyline and says that he is worried that the ITV show could become “just another formulaic soap.”

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Writing in this week’s Radio Times, the legendary broadcaster and journalist says that the programme needs to rediscover its original spirit and criticised the recent storyline in which Conor McIntyre’s Pat Phelan (below) abducted and brought about the death of two characters and disposed of their bodies in a lake.

Coronation Street's Pat Phelan - ITV, BD

“I never imagined I would recoil from watching Coronation Street, but the storyline of the kidnapping and torture of Andy and Vinny and their brutal murder by Pat Phelan had little to do with that gentle, funny reminder of life in the North Country I discovered and so admired in the early 1960s when I joined Granada Television,” Parkinson writes.

“In those days, Ena, Minnie and Martha dominated the snug, Elsie Tanner was everyone’s idea of the good-time girl with a heart of gold and, later, Hilda Ogden made three pot ducks flying up a wall a fashion statement.”

Parkinson, who in 1979 was one of the founders of the British League for Hilda Ogden in tribute to Jean Alexander’s iconic character, said the Pat Phelan storyline was “more suited to a horror channel than a family show”.

“The storyline is made even more shocking by Connor McIntyre’s performance as Phelan,” added Parkinson who founded the society alongside Sir Laurence Olivier, Russell Harty and Sir John Betjeman.

“His basilisk stare, the unnerving certainty of his murderous intent, is enough evidence of his ability to play a psychopath and worthy of a series about this murderous nutter – hopefully, far away from Coronation Street.

“I am affronted by what I see as a gem like Coronation Street in danger of becoming just another formulaic soap.”

The Pat Phelan storyline attracted 390 complaints to Ofcom.

A Coronation Street spokeswoman declined to comment.

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The full article is in this week’s Radio Times magazine, on sale from Tuesday in newsagents and via iTunes and Google Play

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