Coronation Street Storyline on Alzheimer’s. It’s Truth, Fact and Fiction Time

Coronation Street sStoryline on Alzheimer's

Part 4 Coronation Street storyline on Alzheimer’s

Coronation Street Storyline on Alzheimer’s continues.

This is our fourth post on the Coronation street storyline on Alzheimer’s that the popular ITV show is featuring.Coronation Street Storyline on Alzheimer's with Leslie, Paul and Eileen

We first posted back in July 2011, when we had a feeling that the scriptwriter of the UK’s best-loved TV soap were going to use an Alzheimer’s story line.

But what are we to make of the direction they are taking with the Coronation Street Storyline on Alzheimer’s and how are they doing?

There seems to be a mixed bag of feelings when it comes to the storyline and the way that the subject is being handled on the Street. We have received many comments from many people, some are in favour and some are against the way that the story lines have been written.

A good few of our readers seem to think that the reality of how carers of Alzheimer’s sufferers have to deal with a person have been shown in its true light, but equally a good deal of people seem to think that the story is going to far and painting people with Alzheimer’s and the people who care for them in a bad light.

The latest Coronation Street Storyline on Alzheimer’s

In a few of the latest episodes of Coronation Street shown since mid March, and especially in the last week, the storylines surrounding Lesley, played by Judy Holt, Paul, played by Tony Hirst and Eileen, played by the brilliant Sue Cleaver have drawn in opinions of other characters on the Street.

The latest episodes, shown on 30/3/2012 involving a scene where Leslie (who thinks Amy is her Niece) takes Tracy’s daughter Amy, to the park leading to a few of the characters on Coronation Street voicing their opinion as to what they think about Lesley after a frantic search for the pair.

We take a brief look at where the story is at and some of the subjects that the scenes and story lines are dealing with when it comes to Alzheimer’s.

We last posted on 23rd January 2012, where we saw the developing relationship between Paul and Eileen, with Lesley being looked after by her husband Paul and Paul’s faithful lover Eileen. We now join the story where Paul and Lesley have moved into Eileen’s house on number 11 Coronation Street, whilst their house if being renovated due to a flood.

Eileen has been caring for Leslie whilst Paul is out working all hours as a fireman and we see various scenes over the last few weeks where Eileen struggles to deal with the sudden mood changes and erratic behaviour that Lesley shows from time to time.  But we join the story on the 30/3/2012 because the issues surrounding Alzheimer’s and how other people perceive the condition are dealt with more in these story lines. We take a brief look at some of the scenes that involve the story below.

The story begins with Paul asking Eileen over breakfast if she can look after Lesley again so he can do a few jobs, but the day got off to a bad start for Eileen. An angry Lesley refuses any sauce but brown, “I want Brown” Lesley screams, so Eileen has to go to the shop to buy some. As Eileen is about to leave the house a now calm Lesley turns and says “thank you”.

Whilst Eileen is away Lesley wanders into the back yard and we watch Leslie and Tracy’s daughter Amy talking as they blow bubbles, “the bubbles look better in the park” Amy says to Leslie.  Eileen returns to find the house empty, after looking for her in the house she goes outside to find her when she bumps into Tracy who couldn’t find Amy either and it suddenly dawns on them that Lesley must have taken Amy but where had they gone? After meeting Jason in the street a short while later Tracy says to him that her daughter has gone off with ‘Loony Lesley’

After informing Steve of both Amy and Lesley’s disappearance a worried Steve goes looking for Lesley and Amy in the park where he finds an angry Lesley having an argument with the ice cream van man. “Sort her out mate, she’s putting my customers off” a tired ice cream seller tells Steve. “You shouldn’t wander off  without letting a grown up know”, Steve tells Amy, “I was with Lesley” Amy replies, “Yes” Steve says with a woeful look on his face.

Steve returns to the street with Amy and Lesley where an angry Tracy confronts Eileen and Paul. After a heated debate between Paul and Tracy, Paul calls Tracy a bully. “Why, cause I don’t turn to mush every time you toss me a smile” Tracy relies, “We’ve all seen you, palming her off with anybody who will take her for an hour. She should be in an institution. “You know nothing” Paul relies. “Social services should be told, she’s a liability” answers Tracy. “You know nothing” again repeats an angry Paul. “She was confused and she should never have been left on her own, 99% of the time she’s fine” he goes on to say. Tracy then finishes by saying to Eileen “I’m warning you Eileen, you get that woman off our street and into a home or I’ll do it for you.”

We finish the latest episodes with Paul begging Eileen not to chuck them out. “you’re not a trained carer, I should not have put you in that position, Paul tells Eileen. “This situation is too much for you, you have to step back and let the professionals take over,” Eileen tells Paul.

What We Think?

From what we have seen and the way the story lines are playing out I think the current producer (Phil Collison) and writers of Coronation Street are right on the money with the way Alzheimer’s can affect a person. They are also showing the reality of how carers might react and some of the everyday situations with how a carer has to cope with a person who suffers from dementia.

The show is also tackling the prejudices people have when it comes to how they see a person with dementia. Tracy’s use of the words ‘loony’ and ‘institution’ show that the show understands that many people still don’t understand what its like for carers and sufferers of Alzheimer’s and dementia. They seem to have it right in the way some people might behave towards a person with dementia.

Please let us know what you think and how well you feel the show is doing with portraying a true likeness to Alzheimer’s

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  • vicky

    Soap operas may well give a realistic portrayal of later stage dementia, but what concerns me is that they tend to skip the earlier stages altogether (such as with Mike Baldwin a few years ago) and go straight to the most harrowing and difficult stage. It gives people the impression that your life instantly falls apart the second you get a dementia diagnosis, whereas the reality is you can still live well with dementia for a good few years if you have the right support.

  • Mark L

    This storyline is terrible. I dislike the introduction of the storyline in relation to a love triangle. It would have been better had Eileen’s mother been introduced (Say after a fall at home) and over 6 months, it had become apparent that there was more wrong than a simple fall.

    The characters could come to terms with, and experience medical prationers, in real time. Rather than this rather seedy plot line.

    On Monday 03 April (20:30), the characters visited a care home. The care home lady told Paul (The husband of the person with Dementia) that he’d be “haunted by the person his wife used to be”. What? What an awful expression full of negative conitations.

    A classic case of Generic Dementia.

  • Glenda Young

    I’m editor of a Coronation Street fan website and also am living with a family member with Alzheimer’s Disease. I think Corrie has got the story spot on with the symptoms and reactions from family members. But one thing that’s very different in my case is that the family member can go to day care, it doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” residential care and I think Corrie could have explored care and involvement of Social Services much more than they have done. Otherwise, it’s been a true and very sad portrayal of a devestating disease.

    • I agree with your comment about the fact that the writers are are not really exploring all the available channels for support and care that are available for Leslie.
      They do seem to have jumped, as you say, to an ‘all or nothing’ when it comes to care. It’s a shame, the script doesn’t recognize all the brilliant organizations that give great support to people with dementia that the show could have given credit to. They just skip through to a care home being the right way to treat Leslie’s condition.
      I assume it’s due to the time constraints of the show.
      Thanks for pointing that fact out

  • Monique ONeill

    We have to remember this is a tv show and on top of that a soap. It is suppose to be overly dramatic and perhaps ‘unreal’ in its portrayal of real life.

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