Coronation Street: Carla is slapped and slut-shamed – but is her punishment too cruel?

David Brown leaps to Carla's defence following tonight's wedding trauma

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Carla’s wedding day has ended in disaster, as we always suspected it would. The bride is in a right old state after being slapped in front of the congregation. And now she’s caused a car crash that’s resulted in widespread carnage.

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What a cruel way for Carla to go out – as a pariah with no end of humiliation heaped upon her.

I do wish that Coronation Street had been more kind to the character during her final week in Weatherfield. Does she really deserve to be ground down with such ruthlessness under the heel of the soap’s storyline team?

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After all, this is a woman who – during her ten years on screen – has been held hostage, raped, suffered a miscarriage, contemplated suicide and had two husbands die on her. Did we really need to see Gail physically assault her as a parting shot?

Because that’s what tonight’s slap essentially was. Assault. It is also, of course, the standard way that women solve their problems on soaps: by belting each other across the face. Peggy Mitchell on EastEnders, for instance, being almost defined by the open-palmed attacks she meted out.

But with Coronation Street also currently running a bullying storyline involving the teenaged Bethany Platt, isn’t it a bit queasy to have violence depicted as fitting retribution in an episode sandwiched between a double bill of family favourite Britain’s Got Talent?

“You hurt my child. I hurt you,” said an eye-for-an-eye Gail, while Nick gave a half smirk and David made cracks about his mum taking up boxing professionally. It’s almost like Corrie is saying, “hey, kids, isn’t it awful the way Bethany is being persecuted? But, what the hell, let’s play Carla getting slapped for laughs!”

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It just didn’t sit right for me. And neither did having Carla just stay in the Bistro getting her ‘comeuppance’ for what felt like the entire episode. The slap came at around the two-minute mark, but a near-comatose Carla was still seen enduring the opprobrium following the commercial break.

Just get up and go, I was pleading. You’re a woman who normally flees to LA with designer luggage at the first sniff of relationship heartache. Why are you hanging around getting undeservedly slut shamed?

The answer is, of course, that Carla needs to be hated enough by everyone in order to warrant her upcoming departure. The problem is that we, as viewers, don’t buy this animosity.

Tracy’s grudge against Carla dates back so long that nobody can remember the root cause. I have a feeling that it’s merely to do with jealousy over Carla’s designer handbags.  

Nick hates Carla because she lied to cover up a credulity-stretching one night-stand with eagle-eyes Action Man chef Robert (something that Nick himself did with his own brother’s wife).

And Roy now can’t look at Carla because she’s conveniently run Cathy over outside the Corner Shop. OK, well, we’ll give Corrie this one because Carla is a menace behind the wheel, having previously smashed a car through the front window of Barlow’s Bookies, narrowly avoiding killing Stella Price in the process.

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But the blatant intention is to have Carla fall so far that her only chance of happiness ends up lying away from the Street.

Once upon a time, Carla – as a stoic heroine with a well-concealed soft centre – looked set to be the true inheritor of Elsie Tanner’s crown. Now, thanks to this decade-long theatre of cruelty, she must save her own sanity by engineering an escape. But to this Corrie fan, it feels like her punishment is far outweighing the crime.

Still, there is one Carla-centric instalment still to come. Thursday’s episode might well see the Platts realise that Carla is a broken blossom who deserves sympathy rather than scorn.

Hopefully, they’ll reach the conclusion that Carla might have suffered enough for sleeping with Robert, what with her being attacked in the Bistro back in January, dragged down the street and left for dead, only to then be blackmailed by Tracy Barlow for months on end.

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But it’s doubtful, isn’t it? Carla appears destined to leave as a beaten husk, her character tarnished and her will smashed. We want our soap femme fatales to exit with their heads held high, but it seems that, in Carla’s case, we’re more likely to get the exact opposite. 

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.

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And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.