TVNZ treats Coro fans badly - again

GORDON BROWN
Last updated 05:00 01/09/2012
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CORO ST: Fans of Coronation St are being treated badly.

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Whoever is running Television New Zealand these days should be put on a train and made to go over the viaduct next to Coronation Street.

News that TVNZ is axing the hour-long Saturday night episode defies belief as much as some of the plots on the street. For whatever reason, Coro St has been pushed and pulled from one time slot to another in recent years and every time that happens there is an uproar and the TVNZ execs are left with omelette on their faces.

Kevin Kenrick was recently appointed the chief executive of TVNZ and already he must be bracing himself for plenty of protest. He came to the network from House of Travel and if he doesn't take charge of some of his sillier programmers, he may be in for another change of scenery himself.

Starting tonight, Coro St will no longer grace our screens on Saturday nights and instead we will be treated to more of the reasonably entertaining but ultimately stupid Come Dine With Me, a reality series about British strangers competing for the title of ultimate dinner party host.

In its rush to congratulate itself on this novel strategy of endlessly upsetting loyal viewers, TVNZ describes the replacement show as "hilariously cringeworthy". The only thing "hilariously cringeworthy" is the decision to axe Saturday night's Coro St episode.

We were already nearly 20 months behind England in Coro St, and this silly decision now means we will inevitably fall further behind. If there was a more obvious way of giving the most loyal TV One viewers the two-fingered salute, no doubt they will come up with it soon.

I know I stopped watching the series a few months ago, but the reality is it got better with the mind-blowing 50th anniversary episodes with the fiery crash scenes, the odd spot of murder and the return of Tracey Barlow. Who could fail to be seduced by this cocktail of intrigue and mayhem being played out on our screens?

TVNZ's decision now means Coro St fans are reduced to two one-hour episodes, on Thursday and Friday nights at 7.30pm. Surely John Key and his Cabinet must be considering ministerial intervention?

Speaking of people not seeing eye to eye, I have to admit that Mrs Brown and I had a recent difference of opinion. What the disagreement was about is not important. Looking back, I realise the fault was all mine, a conclusion that I was easily able to reach after the error of my ways was pointed out to me.

What was different was the punishment.

A short time after our disagreement, I wanted to watch a programme on the telly, but I couldn't find the remote control anywhere. I hunted everywhere but with no success. When Mrs B came back from golf I mentioned it to her, and asked if she'd seen it. "Oh yes," she said, "it's here," and produced it from her handbag.

Incredulous, I asked her how on earth it got there. "I put it there," she said smiling sweetly.

"I thought I'd teach you a lesson and legally, this was the worst thing I could do to you."

As I said, lesson learnt. Speaking of a fair go, I'd long ago stopped watching the programme of the same name. It had become such a pale imitation of the once fearless crusading consumer show it used to be that it simply wasn't worth watching.

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It did coincide with the arrival of new presenter Alison Mau, who replaced former resident rottie Kevin Milne. Not her fault, mind you, it was all part of the deliberate dumbing down of the show, with a strong suspicion that too many big advertisers were upset and needed pacifying.

Significantly, TVNZ now describes Fair Go (Wednesdays 7.30pm, TV One) as “consumer affairs news and information". Hardly the same thing. However, in the interests of giving it a fair go, I watched it last week. Sadly nothing has changed.

The week before they'd done a programme alleging some vets were overcharging customers. Dogs were now becoming more expensive to treat than humans. Not a bad yarn. However, they were savaged on, of all things, Facebook, and our fearless crusaders took it all seriously and ran an apologetic little piece. The expensive vets got to tell their story, the cheap vet was grilled and had to defend charges they were cheap and nasty. Oh dear, somehow I couldn't imagine Brian Edwards bothering to respond to a lot of anonymous whingers, let alone devoting a segment to it.

Other than that, the rest of the programme was devoted to easy, one-voice segments, which were much ado about nothing. Best thing they could do would be to apply some televisual euthanasia on Fair Go. Maybe that could open up more time for another episode of Coro St!

- The Timaru Herald

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