For Kim's class on content for soaps, we've had to come up with a character for Coronation Street and write a storyline to integrate them into the Street. Not being much of a soap fan, I've found this alot more difficult than I first imagined... There are so many things to consider! For instance, you can't just have a character drop in the middle of the street- they have to have some kind of connection, and you have to think of ways in which they can interact with existing characters. You have to make the audience care for this new outsider, otherwise what's the point in them being there in the first place?
Coming up with an original character was the most difficult part, for me- like I said, I didn't regularly watch Corrie so I wasn't really overly clued in about who was already there. Originally I'd written my character for Hollyoaks, although that show already seems overprescribed with ludicrous characters, it'd have made it even more difficult for them to stand out. Also, I had no idea how much pre-planning you have to put into a character- you have to give them coherent back stories and validate them being there in the first place. When we had to write our ideas for how the character could progress, it was supposed to be for 6 months worth of storylines- in the end up, Kim told us ours would only have stretched to a few weeks at the most!
This was my character...
"Jackie Morgan is 32 years old, and recently moved to Weatherfield from London. She had been a CID working undercover on a drugs and prostitution ring; she found herself becoming dangerously immersed when she began an affair with a female suspect. The case was exposed, as was the affair, leading to Jackie being suspended".
We made her half-sister of Kelly, an already existing and popular character in Coronation Street, as an easy way to tie our character in. The problem is, once you get the ball rolling there's so much you can write about certain characters, but you always have to consider how it's going to affect other characters too. After having written our ideas for the character's 'journey', we then had to write a week's worth of episodes, taking one day each. As our group hadn't met in person to discuss our stuff for the previous exercise, we decided it's make our story flow alot more smoothly if we sat down together and planned out day-by-day what was going to happen, and how each episode would leave off fron the last. We also had to include 'hooks' at the end of each episode, to make sure there was something to make the viewer keep watching. We decided, after settling down over some mini yum-yums, that our week of episodes would take place after our character, Jackie, had already been introduced to the street. It would've been kind of a non-started if we'd started from the beginning, as all she'd have been doing would be introducing herself- not very juicy or exciting, huh? So, we based our week of soapy drama on our character, Jackie, making a drunken move on her boss Carla... with not so sexy results. I got lumbered with mid-week post-action Thursday, so here's the best of what I could do with it....!
"JACKIE and CARLA are in Kelly’s flat, where Jackie has been staying until her new flat is ready. They have been sharing an evening together; they are both lonely women looking for companionship and have formed a close bond in the brief time Jackie has been on the Street.
After a few glasses of wine too many, the two collapsed on the sofa together where they shared a brief drunken kiss. Jackie has not yet outed herself to others on the Street, and Carla especially is surprised. She had simply tried to reach out to someone new, unaware that Jackie read further into their blossoming friendship that was intended. Carla has pulled back from the kiss, stunned and taken aback, while Jackie is embarrassed and doesn’t know what to do or say. Carla moves away from Jackie on the sofa, head spinning, and says she should go. Jackie insists she stay, and apologises profusely, saying she didn’t know what came over her and was simply caught up in the moment.
Unfortunately for the two, they didn’t notice someone else nearby. KELLY had been out for a few drinks with some other girls from the factory, celebrating their early finish, when she decided to pop home to get some money. She was suspicious after seeing Carla and Jackie making their way home giggling and friendly, but genuinely didn’t think anything of it. She had snuck in silently, and saw them in the passing before she could announce her presence. She recoils, having been unaware of her sister’s sexuality, and also surprised at Carla since her torrid love-life is well known on the Street.
Kelly’s head spins as she flees the flat, not knowing what to make of what she’s just seen. Is there something going on between Jackie and Carla? How did she not know her own sister was a lesbian? She is still irked by her argument with Jackie that morning, and feels her sister constantly looks down her nose at her for their divided interests on both sides of the law. She makes her way back to the Rovers, trying to figure out whether or not to tell everyone what she has seen. On her way out, she steps on a creaking floorboard, which Jackie hears but brushes off.
Meanwhile, back in the flat, tensions are easing between a confused Carla and a mortified Jackie. Carla paces, telling Jackie she’s never kissed another woman before, she doesn’t know what came over her, it was a drunken mistake... She wonders whether Jackie feels it was a mistake too, although can’t shake a niggling feeling that maybe she’s reading more into the friendship than is letting on. Cautiously, she broaches the question of whether or not this is a first time for Jackie too.
Jackie is apprehensive and almost repentant as she admits that this isn’t a first time for her. With her head in her hands, she confesses to Carla that she is gay. Carla is aghast and furious; she feels Jackie has lured her here for purposes other than friendship, and gotten her drunk, and tells her so. Jackie is stunned and says this isn’t the case but yes, she is attracted to Carla and may have mistaken their friendship for something more. Carla asks Jackie who else she’s ‘turned’ for her own progression. Jackie is close to tears, she can’t believe things have taken such a dramatically bad turn so quickly.
Across the road, KELLY has rejoined JANICE, FIZZ and HAYLEY in the Rovers. She is visibly shaken and they ask what’s wrong. Kelly tries to brush them off; she still hasn’t really digested what she’s just seen but she’s also formulating a plan. Janice questions her about Jackie, asking why she hasn’t been mentioned before. Kelly says that they were never close growing up, and their respective involvement with the law drove an even bigger wedge between them until eventually they lost contact. She says Jackie’s always felt she was better than her sister, and is always treating her like a child. Living in such close proximity means tensions are running high in the flat and working together means they have no way of escaping one another. When the girls ponder over the reasons why Carla let them finish early that day, Kelly smirks to herself and makes a loaded comment about being easily persuaded.
Things aren’t going so well back over in the flat, however. Carla feels like she has been used, and that Jackie has taken advantage of her being drunk. Voices and tempers are being raised, and Carla shouts that Jackie tried to use “a drunken mistake” as a means of getting her into bed. Jackie is on the verge of tears- she genuinely never meant for this to happen- not consciously anyway. All she wanted was to fit in and make friends and it’s taken a much worse turn than she had envisioned. She desperately tries to explain that while yes, she is gay, she didn’t hide her sexuality to try and wine and dine Carla into bed. Carla tells Jackie that she could had had a promising head start at the factory, and reveals how she was considering making her assistant manager as opposed to supervisor, but she can forget it- Carla accuses her of “sleeping her way to the top”, or at least trying to. Jackie is no longer as upset, now merely angry, and tells Carla it’s not fair to use her job against her and if this is how she reacts to everyone’s little misdemeanours, it’s no wonder she has no other friends. Carla is hurt and appalled, gathers her things and storms out, whilst Jackie collapses on the sofa, exhausted, shame-faced and deeply upset.
On her way out, Carla bypasses Kelly on the Street, on her way home after closing time, She says a pointed “hello”, but Carla glares and storms on. Kelly smirks, making her way up to the flat and innocently asks Jackie how the evening went. Jackie, somewhat more composed, (or trying to act it), lies that it went well. Kelly is gently goading her sister, asking seemingly innocent yet loaded questions she knows will throw her off. Kelly sits on the sofa, helping herself to a glass of wine, and asks one last time if anything ‘interesting’ happened. Jackie tells her no, but is slowly getting the feeling there’s more to her question than meets the eye. Kelly asks why she just saw Carla leaving in such a rage, and Jackie falters. She fluffs with some story about staff getting time off for an upcoming public holiday, but she feels Kelly isn’t convinced. Kelly asks if she’s sure it wasn’t a ‘lover’s tiff’ and Jackie reels, horrified, that she has been found out."
I don't think they'll be falling over themselves down Weatherfield way to sign me up anyway!