Earlier this week Michael Parkinson wrote of his upset about the rising levels of violence on Coronation Street, with a particular focus on the recent Pat Phelan double murder plot.
“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,” he wrote in an article in the most recent edition of Radio Times magazine.
And it seems as though the viewing public agree with the broadcasting legend because almost 82% of more than a thousand RadioTimes.com readers polled said they thought the story was too grim for the Street.
So far he has coerced Anna Windass into having sex with him, defrauded his neighbours, kidnapped Andy and Vinny, let Les Dennis’s Michael Rodwell die from a heart attack in a muddy puddle and orchestrated a grim double murder.
The sinister builder forced Andy Carver to shoot fellow captive Vinny Ashford, and then murdered Andy himself in shock scenes broadcast just before Halloween. Phelan then disposed of the bodies in a nearby lake.
The killings were broadcast before 9pm, with a warning made prior to transmission. However, viewers were not impressed with the decision to air the chilling tale before the traditional watershed and Ofcom received more than 390 complaints.
Coronation Street defended the decision to allow the story to play out in the usual 7:30pm and 8:30pm slots. “Coronation Street has always been recognised for its mix of drama and comedy, as well as hard hitting storylines,” a representative for ITV said at the time.
“Phelan has already been established as a villain in a long line of murderous Coronation Street villains and so his actions, evil though they are, won’t have come as a surprise to viewers.”