Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The Tuesday Twat(s)Apologies for last week's absence. Normal service shall be resumed.
No. 59. "Veteran" soap actors.
Last week, I'm told, a long-standing character in the soap drama Coronation Street died. Johnny Briggs played some character or other for thirty years before being bumped off (no doubt through some convoluted plot-line) . This momentous event, which I am reliably informed was "all over the news", somehow didn't make it on to Newsnight. Nevertheless the subsequent tributes to the actor's "genius" from all and sundry triggered a memory from a few years back.
Another (still alive, I believe) actor in the same show, William Roache, passed the forty year mark back in 2000. Again, he was feted as a genius by the sort of masturbatory documentary that only self-indulgent telly-types are shameless enough to appear in. This got me thinking,
"Are long-standing soap stars worthy of the title actor?" and even more dubiously, "great actors?"
I humbly submit that they are, at best, rather shit actors. A perusal of the careers of both men on Wikipedia and the Internet Movie Database (which also lists TV work), reveals two one-trick ponies. Bill Roache has basically done nothing since 1960 except Corrie. Similarly, whilst Briggs was a jobbing actor for a few years before he joined the street in 1976, he too has done two-thirds of bugger all else. Surely, if they were half as good as their mates would have you believe, they would have done some more, you know, acting? Why has nobody else offered them a meaty role? Look at the CVs of many of the other similarly aged actors who have appeared (briefly) in Corrie and you might see a hundred roles in dozens of different shows. Surely, that's what acting is about?
At what stage does acting a part move from acting to just doing the day job? Pretty much everybody is an actor at work. We all put on personas in the workplace to a greater or lesser extent, particularly in the service sector. I've spent the last few months acting like I give two-shits when the local Chav community are unhappy about the level of service in the sport centre. I don't, but for the most part I appear to have been successful. Occassionally I even get thanked for my concern after sorting a (normally) self-inflicted problem. I play the role of a professional service provider - Briggs plays the role of a middle-aged man. Sure, his role involves him pretending to cry or get angry, but I pretend to care when the manifestly perfectly healthy complain about how they've been threatened with the loss of their "Disability" benefits if they don't get a job. The woman in question (who walks a mile each way every day to bring her daughter to badminton) is so fooled by my Lawrence Olivier-like acting that she whinges at me daily. I've even fooled her into thinking, by means of an occassional "Uh huh" and "Oh, dear", that I am not reading the Metro newspaper and actually listening to her.
So to all of those long-standing soap actors - get over yourselves. You have spent a career doing a low-level, essential job, and have brought many people a certain amount of pleasure. That is to be applauded. But then so has Stelios the owner of the chippie near my parents. Please accept one more award, "The Tuesday Twat Award" - put it in front of the others, you've actually earned this one.
Labels: The Tuesday Twat(s)
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