Soap fans insist they want escapism when they tune into their favourite television shows, not realism during these unsettled times.
This week, Coronation Street fans were convinced that the ITV soap had written in a scene to reference the pandemic.
I’m sick of hearing about the Coronavirus as it is.
On Monday (March 16), Geoff Metcalfe nagged his wife to make sure she sang the tune to happy birthday twice while washing her hands – something advised by medical professionals during the coronavirus outbreak.
But a spokesperson later insisted the scene was a coincidence.
These scenes were written and filmed weeks ago. Wish we were that good at looking to the future but it’s just a coincidence.
— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) March 16, 2020
Replying to a fan who had criticised the show over the scene, the soap replied: “These scenes were written and filmed weeks ago. Wish we were that good at looking to the future but it’s just a coincidence.”
In reply to another viewer, they said: “It was written back in December. We had no idea it would mean something else entirely now!”
An ITV spokesperson told Digital Spy: “Because we script and shoot so far in advance, we don’t generally reflect contemporary issues.
“However, we are going to use the soaps to remind people of important public health issues such as the need to wash their hands. We’ll try and do more such messages going forward.”
Chatting on Coronation Street ITV Facebook fanpage, many viewers joined together to express their wish that the soaps do NOT include any reference to coronavirus.
Asked whether the soaps should change their storylines to include the outbreak, one said: “No, we are being inundated with information right now.”
Another added: “Oh please God no. I’m fed up of soaps ‘raising awareness’ of things – let the experts do it.”
A third cried: “No!!! We are stressed enough and their storylines are depressing as it is.”
“Flippin eck. Don’t you get enough coronavirus information without ramming it down your throat on soaps,” exclaimed another, and one more said: “I’m sick of hearing about the coronavirus as it is.”
One more viewer typed: “If we have to isolate for 12 weeks, the last thing I want to watch is something about the virus. We don’t need to be reminded of these hard times, we need positivity and hope. A lot of anxiety is already imposed on us, we need happiness in our lives.”
This week, the BBC announced that they had stopped filming EastEnders indefinitely, while Coronation Street and Emmerdale are reducing their number of episodes.
EastEnders will now air on Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 7:30pm.
Do you want the soaps to reflect what is happening in the real world? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!