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Is Coronation Street Finally Dissolving?

By on January 7, 2016
Coronation Street

Coronation Street

Is Coronation Street finally dissolving?

Since 2010, ITV’s Coronation Street has officially held the title of longest-running soap opera in the world, having been broadcast continually since 1960.

That duration has since stretched on to an absolutely incredible 56 years. While ratings may not be what they once were, the show—affectionally termed Corrie—still has a pretty devoted following.

In some ways it’s actually been surprising and fascinating to see how Corrie has adapted to modern times through sponsorship agreements and various forays into broader reaches of pop culture. Perhaps most notably, early in its sixth decade of production, the show signed on for an agreement with Compare The Market, a fairly vibrant modern company with a strong advertising image known for frequent celebrity cameos. Digital Spy covered the agreement and noted that Compare The Market Managing Director Paul Galligan had spoken about the goal of the partnership to bring both brands to customers in new and exciting ways. It didn’t take much to read between the lines there: Galligan knew Corrie’s presence with new demographics could improve, while his own brand would become relevant to the older viewers who remained loyal to the show.

In another attempt to reach different audiences and gain more modern exposure, ITV also secured an exclusive partnership with a leading online bingo site for the purpose of delivering themed games that would effectively market its shows. Gala Bingo’s platform now includes a “Coronation Street Bingo” game that features numerous specific mini-games modelled after various characters and settings from the show’s history. “The Kabin,” “Roy’s Rolls,” and “Newton & Ridley Pint” are just a few of these mini-games, and beyond this sort of content, the game also ropes in some popular Corrie actors to do live bingo calls on occasion. Ken Morley and John Savident (who play Reg Holdsworth and Fred Elliot, respectively) have been known to pop in.

Despite these various successes in modern outreach, there have been signs of struggle on Coronation Street over the last couple of years, and one has to begin to wonder if a show that’s run for so long might finally be sputtering. Most alarmingly, Express reported heading into 2015 that the viewing numbers for Corrie had reached an all-time low. The same report acknowledged that other soaps were losing viewers and that Corrie remained the most popular British soap by a wide margin; but it also pointed out that the departure of some popular characters was likely to blame for some of the issues. If that’s true, the show may have a whole host of new problems.

According to a recent reveal by Metro, Oliver Farnworth is now set to take a relatively lengthy hiatus from the show, joining a number of other Corrie stars who have recently announced breaks or departed altogether. The plan of course is to keep things moving and to explain the absence of Farnworth’s character within the drama. But it stands to reason that a show can only handle so much character transition, and at a time when it may need stability more than ever, Corrie seems to be on shaky ground.

It’s been an incredible run no matter what happens. But if things don’t turn around quickly, Coronation Street may be pushing it to make it to 60 years.