Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Those Directly Affected Won't Forget

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Those Directly Affected Won't Forget

Article excerpt


LAST Wednesday, when I first heard about the dreadful events in what I still call Cumberland, I made two predictions: a knee-jerk reaction by the Government on gun ownership, and the cancellation of that evening's climactic episode of Coronation Street.

I was delighted to be proved wrong on the first point. Tony Blair would surely have offered a moving soundbite followed by a variant on the last Prince of Wales's hand-wringing declaration that "something must be done". The polite version of David Cameron's analysis seems to be the more realistic "bad things will always happen". Though those Tory newspapers celebrating the move away from Labour's nanny state should remember that the notorious Dangerous Dogs Act was a Conservative creation.

I did not really expect my other forecast to prove correct, and duly took my place on the sofa at 9pm only to find that Coronation Street had indeed been taken off the air. Though replaced not with solemn classical music but a repeat of Harry Hill's TV Burp, which seemed a mildly eccentric way of showing respect.

I have pondered long and hard on the rights and wrongs of this, and read many of the comments on Coronation Street's Facebook page following its non-appearance on Thursday and Friday as well as on the evening of the massacre. Most were written with the vituperative single-mindedness that seems to be the default setting of those moved to share their thoughts on the internet, and a clear majority were mightily hacked off to be deprived of their promised entertainment.

Sure, they conceded, it was bad luck that Corrie should have come up with a story line about a gun siege that reached its climax on the day of an actual shooting spree, but surely anyone could see that it was fiction, filmed months in advance, and bore no relation to reality? …

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