Friday, November 30, 2007

Not evil, just misunderstood



I've never really bought into the view of David Platt as the spawn of the devil, although it's undoubtedly good for the ratings.
Firstly, let's consider the poor boy's history. His father, with whom he had a good relationship, had a string of affairs and finally upped sticks and left. Then his mother married a serial killer who tried to murder the entire family.

Then he discovered from his late grandmother's diaries that his mother wanted to have him aborted, which led to last year's memorable Christmas lunch scene.

Secondly, David is a typical teenager. What the writers have done is to take typical teenage traits and push them to extremes of behaviour. These include solipsism, lack of empathy and a failure to understand the consequences of actions or distinguish between a bit of a laugh and genuine harm to others. These traits have all been confirmed by recent research in neuroscience. They don't fully disappear until the very end of the teenage years. If David's behaviour is worse than the average, his aforementioned history provides an explanation.

Between them, the writers and Jack P Shepherd have given us some of the most memorable scenes in the programme's history. Who will ever forget the "three witches, three bitches" scene on the factory roof when David pointed an imaginary gun at his nearest and dearest? It was one of those breathtaking moments when the Street rose as far above the 'soap' genre as Everest above the Pennines.
And finally, this year, Jack P Shepherd is getting the critical acclaim he deserves. He was a fine actor when he first entered Corrie as a small child. Helen Worth (Gail Platt) once said that she could act her guts out in a scene only to have him completely steal it at the end, often with just a look. He's had many years of scene-end reaction shots now. But he never over-eggs them. Although his 'evil look' has become a party piece, there's always a naturalism and restraint in his acting.
There's much speculation about how the current storyline will end. We've already had echoes of Richard Hillman in David's behaviour so it will be hard for the writers to resist something spectacular. If Jack P Shepherd leaves the Street in a body bag or a prison van (rather than the usual taxi) it will be a sad day for Corrie fans. But we can be sure he won't be out of work for very long.

2 Comments:

At 9:29 PM, Anonymous asta said...

Hooray, you're back!

All those years when Jack never got to do much more than look for his soccer kit have paid off. We're months and months behind here in Canada, but David is the most compelling character on the street.

 
At 8:00 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

How nice to hear from you, Asta.
I try not to give away too much because of people in Canada and other countries.
Yes, Jack has matured into a terrific actor. Likeable too, if you see him interviewed.

 

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