David lectures Sarah
Part way through, it became clear that he was not talking to Sarah and Gary, who was also there. He was talking to, and about, himself. Well, it was clear to everyone except Sarah and Gary.
After David left following this meltdown, they sat and ate their sandwiches. Trying to puzzle out ‘what was that all about’. If they put their brain cells together, they still wouldn’t have enough to spark a synapse!
David was talking about Josh, about believing someone is a friend. Then being drugged and raped in return for that trust. He has pushed Shona away because he feels he can’t tell her what happened. Also he fears passing on to Shona any infections that Josh may have passed on to him.
He is carrying around a huge load of guilt and anger. And to make it even worse, his household is full of people equally damaged by sex and love. His sister, with Gary’s two-timing resulting in a baby on the way. His niece, with Nathan’s grooming then the lap-dancing club. At least his mother and grandmother, for now, are free of emotional and sexual entanglements.
Later in the episode, David sees the next part of his nightmare coming true. He sees Josh all palsy-walsy with Chesney. Josh even invites Chesney to his place. Then David sees Josh very close – too close – with Alya. He sees that Josh is inclusive in his targeting of victims, selecting only on the basis of vulnerability. That is putting even more stress on him, taking it outside himself and into his neighbourhood. And he hasn’t even yet seen Josh cozying up to Shona.
This overwrought man, family and street, isn’t by accident. The writers have created it. All part of the education of the public. Of course, education and awareness is an important part of continuing stories. Sometimes deliberately, sometimes accidentally, soaps have always shown other ways of living and thinking to audiences.
But there are dangers in educational storylines, or ‘public service announcement’ stories as they’re sometimes called. They can be clunky if just dropped in to make the point. They can be heavy-handed, even preachy, if the emphasis is too much on the message and not the story. If there are too many, they become irksome.
Coronation Street for many years avoided teaching storylines unless they could embed them well in their characters. Now it seems the philosophy has changed. There have been a lot of issue-oriented stories of late, from Bethany’s sexual grooming to Robert’s testicular cancer. They have been done well. But there have been so many that I am wary when another one starts.