Belfast Telegraph

Veteran Coronation Street scriptwriter sceptical over six episode move

Coronation Street's move to six episodes a week from 2017 is not necessarily a good thing, says one of its longest serving writers.

Coronation Street's stars and writers will struggle with the workload when the show goes six nights a week, according to one of its longest serving scribes.

Earlier this year (16) bosses at British broadcaster ITV announced an increase from five editions of the beloved Weatherfield-based soap opera to six will air from 2017.

However John Stevenson, 79, who worked on Coronation Street from 1976 to 2006, penning more than 400 episodes, said he believes the quality of the drama drops when episode output increases due to writers, actors and directors not having time to rework scripts.

"When it got to four episodes (a week) it became too much," he told fan run website the Coronation Street Blog. "Before, you could hear a line in rehearsal, realise it wasn't working and tell the director to change it. Those days are gone.''

Sally Dynevor, who plays Sally Webster in the soap, disagrees though saying she and her co-stars will enjoy the extra workload as it will add to the drama.

"It's amazing how you adapt," she said, speaking alongside John at a fan event at Manchester’s HOME Theatre. “You go from two episodes, to three to five, and now six next year. We can play more stories, play them longer. Hopefully we'll get longer scenes, like they did in the old days, because at the minute everything is so fast paced. In fact, I was just speaking to our new producer (Kate Oates) about having longer scenes."

Coronation Street has aired since 1960, making it the world's longest running soap opera still on the air.

Based in Weatherfield, a fictional suburb of Manchester, only two episodes of the show aired a week until the 1980s but the number has steadily increased since then, moving to five in 2009, and six from next year.

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