Sunday, 28 August 2011

Control Freak

I can't resist taking a look at Coronation Street to find out what's going on. I know, I'm sad, but for me it's a bit of lighthearted entertainment while I eat my dinner. The storylines are becoming more and more ridiculous. and so far fetched they are completely bonkers. The soap is becoming more like Eastenders all the time, which I completely gave up on years ago. Just how many murders, rapes, drunken brawls, fights, extra marital affairs, train crashes, explosions, and fires can you have in one street in the space of a couple of years.

I watch it anyway, and laugh because it's so barmy. It's the actors I feel sorry for, how do they feel when they read their scripts for the forthcoming episodes. The next story line is going to be Carla changes her mind about marrying Frank, he gets annoyed and rapes her. Then Frank starts a liaison with Sally and ends up raping her. Yawn. I can just imagine what they might say. 'Oh God, we haven't got to do that again, have we!'

When you think about it actors are just doing their job, and television is watching other people work. It's a funny sort of job, they are in a goldfish bowl and we are peering in at them. They are always portrayed as leading a glamorous life away from work, parties, socialising, no wonder youngsters aspire to become famous.

I wonder if soap actors ever get fed up of their working life being controlled by script writers, directors, and producers. How would you feel if every move you made was scrutinsed while at work, down to how you dress, walk, talk, sit down here, move over there, now punch him in the face. I know they are adults and can decide where to work, but once they have signed that contract they lose control over a large part of their lives. They sign away their soul.

I had a taste of this, not just from filming Tightest Person and Super Scrimpers, but a few years ago when I had a film crew out with me on the lorry. Some of the things they wanted me to do, the words they wanted me to say, really annoyed me because in my mind it was too silly. I'm afraid I became a diva, threw a tantrum and refused to do it. I wasn't being paid so they had no claim over my time, and my inner voice told me I would not be dictated to.

The youngsters in Coronation Street are probably pleased that they have a regular job, and are more than happy to go along with whatever storyline the scriptwriters have concocted for them. But I wonder about the older members of the cast. Some of them must be praying for the day their contract ends, so they can reclaim their lives and become a human being again, instead of some motorised puppet.

I think when you are young you go along with being told what to do, I certainly did. My transport managers controlled my working day to a certain extent, but once I was out on the road I did have a degree of freedom, chosing the routes I took, parking up where I wanted to be. At least they weren't actually sitting in my cab. Towards the end things changed, vehicle tracking came in and their grip on my freedom became tighter, I started to feel strangled.

With age comes a change in attitude, time becomes more precious, and for me control over my time became more important. I was not willing to give away so much of myself. I notice that Emily Bishop, Ken Barlow, and Rita Wotshername feature less and less in the episodes. Maybe they too are starting to think about reclaiming back their lives.

We all have to put up with a certain amount of control over what we do and how we live, how much control you are willing to give up to others is up to you. A thought to leave you with, how much does money control your life, or do you control your money?


  1. I haven't watched that since Ena Sharples died! I know what you mean though, toward the end of my employment things were becoming more and more difficult and the job that I had once loved became a chore. It ended well though and I haven't yet had to claim my state pension.

  2. I think you are right about age changing your attitude and look on how you might want to live your life. I find that I certainly have turned myself into a more caring and sharing person, also have now come to realise that it`s important to have quality of life rather then quantity of money. Money doesn`t rule me or my life, I`m the one that keeps a tight purse string, usually. Rick has not yet found that kind of place in his life that makes him want to have more quality then quantity of cash or possesions. Not sure he will ever find his way to that state of mind. I can do without watching the TV altogether, but Rick seems to need the constant background noise from it, even if he is out of the room. He`s gone to visit his eldest son this bankholiday weekend. Guess what? I`ve relished the peace and quiet in the house. I`ve spent time knitting, reading and listening a little to the radio, which I far more enjoy than watching the old goggle box. I`ve not been out to spend any pennies, but occupied myself with things I like doing in the house. Money does not rule me anymore. I definately prefer quality of life, how about you?

  3. Thomas Hobbes gave up his freedom for security. That is not a bad thing. I much prefer the constrictions of traffic lights than to have the freedom to do as I wish at intersections, thereby putting my life in danger. It is all a balancing act.

    Hobbes was controlled by fear. Fear and action are not bad things if not taken to the extreme. Social control is what causes us all to stand quietly in line instead of being a mob that fights its way to the front of the crowd, causing a riot of at least bad feelings.

    How much control will we endure for what amount of security? I would just imagine those older actors are thankful they have jobs! I chaff against certain kinds of control in my life and willingly submit to other control. The three you say are featured less and less are probably horrified by smaller paychecks.

    I suppose it all depends on how much control we are willing to endure to reach some of our goals. Many times the control I must endure, the close watching, and repercussions are just not worthwhile.

  4. I haven't seen that program in years! I am self employed, OH works full time and I would rather do small drip feed types of jobs than one long drudge of a thing for lots of smosh. We manage fine and just keep trundling along . I wouldn't want all the stress and 'fame' that goes with being an actor, for all the tea in China. Imagine being judged every working day of your life and having people think they know you just because they saw you on TV.

  5. Yes, I think every job now is just another word for wage slave, there doesn't seem to be any scope for individuality any more.
    After chasing money for 35 years, an unwanted divorce left me homeless, jobless and almost destitute.
    I discovered just how little money it is possible to live on, and how much I enjoy being the one to decide what I do and when I do it, just come to the conclusion time's worth more than money.
    Hope my ex-wife's as happy with her rich boyfriend.

  6. I've not watched the street for about 15 years. I do watch Emmerdale though and have noticed recently that they are introducing more young people in it, which makes it far removed from the days of Annie. I never liked it when it was a dismal 'farming' programme, it's not quite so good to watch now as it was up to about 6 months ago.

  7. I remember all of the soaps with great affection.

  8. We do not have TV but we watch the odd thing on the laptop, Corrie included (gives us something to talk about with other British folk!!). Something that really bugs me about it is that everyone finds a job within walking distance from home, when someone is looking for a place to live a flat miraculously becomes available, and everyone (even the poor folk)have money to spend at the pub, and always have money to buy the posh clothes for weddings/christening etc....I'll shut up now.
    Jane x

  9. Wow, I never thought of actors from that perspective before....makes sense. I live in the US and i used to watch the "Days of our lives", and the "bold and the beautiful". l don't anymore because like you said, it has become down right ridiculous! I shudder to think what they will do next.


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