Saturday, 20 November 2010

Coronation Street: What's There To Smile About?

"Here’s the best bit of dialogue ever written. Someone asks Bet Lynch why she’s smiling. She says, “This isn’t a smile, it’s the lid on a scream.”
"I don’t even know who wrote that. Those gems – blinding gags, aching wisdom, sizzling insults – fly out of the screen five times a week on Coronation Street, too many, too fast, to catalogue. It’s the first show on which I remember noticing the written word; I’d watched, as a kid, happy with this world of matriarchs and milk stout – my grandmother ran a pub in Swansea called the Cornish Mount, so the Rovers seemed genuinely familiar – but then one day, on screen, some character with a broken heart said wistfully, “I was just building castles in the sky.” That wasn’t a cliché for me, because I was so young. It was new.
"It was honest. It was perfect. And that one little line forged a connection between me and Coronation Street that has lasted for decades, because that’s the moment when I actually thought: I love this. I also seem to remember that the character was beehived, smoking and drunk, so there’s a convincing argument to say that Coronation Street made me gay. If so, I love it all the more!"

Russell T Davies pays tribute to Coronation Street on its 50th birthday, The Times.


  1. “This isn’t a smile, it’s the lid on a scream.”

    That's fantastic! Coronation Street is still the best written of the soaps but it's a far cry from the days when dialogue like that (and characters like Bet Lynch) was a common staple, I think.
    Thanks a lot for this... FUCKING TIMES PAYWALL!!!!!

  2. That was it from RTD - it was chucked on the end of a very long interview with "Ken Barlow", so you're not missing much...