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Former Coronation Street star Thelma Barlow wary of soap's direction

Former Coronation Street star Thelma Barlow wary of soap's direction
© ITV
Former Coronation Street actress Thelma Barlow says that the soap has become 'confusing' due to its increased episode count.

Coronation Street legend Thelma Barlow has lamented the soap's frenetic pace, saying that the increased number of episodes, characters and storylines has become 'confusing' for viewers.

The 91-year-old played the role of perennial worrywart Mavis Wilton on Corrie for 26 years, departing in 1997 shortly after the decision was taken to kill off her character's husband Derek.

When Barlow joined the soap in 1971, it aired just twice a week and by the time she left it had just increased to four episodes a week. Now, 23 years later, it normally airs six times a week - and she believes that the increased production capacity has led to a change in the soap's tone.

"The Street, when I was in it, had this wonderful thing of comedy, the comedy characters. It was held in such high regard when I was in it. And the warmth of the public was so noticeable," Barlow told the Distinct Nostalgia podcast.

"I don't watch it regularly now. I occasionally will have a look but I don't see much to laugh at now. I think it is a shame. We used to get scripts where you'd talk about nothing important, but they could be so real and so funny.

"They have so many more episodes and more and more storylines and more and more characters and you just get confused. There were only about 25 in the cast when I joined but now there are like 50, 60 or 70. So people have to keep track of their lives and what is happening to them.

"I am sure people would watch without the huge dramas that go on. I would think, 'Who wants to buy a house on a street with so many murders?'"

Barlow's comments appear to put to bed any hopes that she could be tempted back for a guest appearance to mark the soap's landmark 60th anniversary in December.

> 20 characters who could return for Coronation Street's 60th anniversary

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