Should Alzheimer's Be Used As Cheap Entertainment & for Ratings by TV Soap? sign now

Date: Saturday 21 May 2005

Coronation Street is the world's longest running TV Show and it is also the UK's most watched programme. However while it remains still very popular in the UK, over the last 5 years its audience like many other TV shows is dwindling in this digital age (for e.g. in 2,000 it enjoyed audiences of 17-19 million, now it is more like 8-12 million). As a result gone are the days of the character driven stories it was loved and admired for - the subtle humour and occasional high drama are almost a thing of the past. Now in the main it is issue driven stories that are designed to shock and grab the headlines and give it 15 minutes of fame rather than be articulate and well thought out.

The latest sensational story rumoured is for a long-term character to get Alzheimer's Disease. Reading the views of others and considering my own thoughts, I strongly feel a TV show like Coronation Street cannot cover this story adequately, responsibly, sensitively, informatively and at the same time be entertainment to the masses. If they do embark on such a story they will have to gloss over many of the aspects of this terrible illness. If any story has to be glossed over in the telling then what is the purpose of it being told in the first place?

Please visit for an indication of what Coronation Street should be covering if they want to tackle this story properly. You should especially read this site if you think watching Alzheimer's unfold is going to be a lot of fun.

There are pros to a popular drama such as this covering Alzheimer's disease. It means it can get some publicity and bring awareness to the general public at large. However there are also many cons. A show like Coronation Street that goes out in a family slot at 7:30pm at night cannot hope to cover all the ground needed to give this story justice. Furthermore in recent years Coronation Street have been criticised more than once for sloppy background research when covering stories. Even now there is still some controversy surrounding a cervical cancer storyline they carried out in 2001 regarding the death of a character called Alma Baldwin.

Johnny Briggs (who plays Mike Baldwin the character in quesiton) is supposed to be leaving the series in 2006. Alzheimer's Disease however on average lasts 3-20 years with most people dying around 8 years in.

Alzheimer's does not deserve to be used for a chance of sensationalism and quick ratings and for someone to make a quick buck at its expense. Please Coronation Street there is time to change your minds. Alzheimer's can take years to be diagnosed also people can wrongly be diagnosed with it. Many other illness and deficiencies can exhibit the early symptoms of Alzheimer's and not actually be it at all.



Two months ago it was rumoured in a UK tabloid that the character of Mike Baldwin would be written out after 30 years of service. He would go into a world of madness as a result of Alzheimer's in a modern day version of King Lear (Read original article by visiting here\%26method=full\%26siteid=50143\%26headline=corrie\%2ds\%2dmike\%2dto\%2dget\%2dalzheimer\%2ds-name_page.html). It is unclear at this stage whether he will die from it but it will be his exit story.

If you know anything about Alzheimer's disease then you already know there is a lot more involved than a case of going mad and it shouldn't be a re-enactment of Shakespeare's classic King Lear. Not only is Alzheimer's a cruel disease to the sufferer and affects everyone differently, it is also a tragedy to the silent victims - the family and loved ones! In whatever way it affects the sufferer, in the end there can only be one outcome - death!

Two weeks ago the first indications that Coronation Street might seriously be considering Alzheimer's Disease as a story began to play out on screen. Mike Baldwin's personality changed over night, he became considerate and asked a woman to move in with him and proposed. The woman in question up to this point had always bored him, she did all the chasing and he treated her appallingly - even on occasion trying to get rid of her from his life. In the last week Mike has started to lose his memory. Alzheimer's does not take genuanely take affect so fast and be so obvious?

Whoever thought up this idea disgusts me. How can the current producer sanction this with a clear conscience?

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Latest Signatures

  • 27 June 201550. David T
    This is just a ratings ploy Date 24/05/2005 Where Are You From? Manchester, UK Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 30 May 201549. Ragraham Madden
    If Mike Baldwin has to leave then I wish they would give him a better exit. After 30 years he deserves a happier ending and it will be an awful story to watch. I know in real life people don't always get happy endings and you have to have death in soaps.
  • 30 January 201548. E B
    Corrie do stories very well as a rule and I love it to bits but I don't think they should do alzimers. Date 21st May 05 Where Are You From? Essex Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 21 October 201447. Fleur Young
    Alzheimer's needs promoting but not at the cost of integrity. Date May 26th, 2005 Where Are You From? Plymouth, Devon UK
  • 08 October 201446. Suzanne B
    I don,t think that the Corrie writers have the time or patience to do a story of this magnitude and do it well. Date 21/5/2005 Where Are You From? Barrie, Ontario, CANADA Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 05 October 201445. Caroline M
    Coronation Street is still condemned for the Alma cancer story so what makes them think they can do any better with Alzheimer's? Date 27th May 2005 Where Are You From? Bedfordshire Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 21 June 201444. Rachel T
    I don't really know what I think of this idea? I am not sure how it can be done? Date Feb 19 Where Are You From? Hope Cove
  • 30 April 201443. Pam R
    I think it is in bad taste. Date 24/05/2005 Where Are You From? Galmpton, Devon, UK
  • 28 April 201442. K A
    When I first heard about this story I thought okay let's see what they do? Give Coronation Street a chance to prove they can do this story well. However if the last week is anything to go by they are already mucking it up. So I now can't help but agree wi
  • 25 March 201441. Elsie F
    I don't want to see Mike get Alzeimers and I agree with this petition. Date May 22 2005 Where Are You From? London, England Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 21 October 201340. Anna J
    I support this petition
  • 17 July 201339. Niall Jk
    I support this petition
  • 09 February 201338. Lane K
    I am silly moo I put the wrong date in. It should of been 21st May 2005 in my original message. To make matters worse it looks like someone copied me. Date Saturday, 21st May 2005 Where Are You From? London, UK Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 01 February 201337. Barry E
    If they want to axe Mike Baldwin there are hundreds of ways to do it. They can even kill him off if they like and I wouldn't mind but I will find it very sickening if they use this story to just line the wallets of the Granada fat cats. Date May 24th, 200
  • 30 December 201236. Leonie B
    I have lived through 16 years of my Mums alzheimers.You can't do a storyline like that in a year Date 25/5/05 Where Are You From? New Zealand Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 30 November 201235. Kevin Bowers
    I'm about the same age as Mike and find this storyline offensive. Already it's been as subtle as a slegehammer. They're ratings mad. But isn't it the writers who have trouble with their memory by changing history like Mike being an only child? Mike's a lo
  • 10 August 201234. K M
    just caught up with Corrie on ITV2. I really am not impressed Date 31/12/05 Where Are You From? Worcester Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 14 July 201233. Lyn J
    I support this petition
  • 28 June 201232. Lane K
    I support this petition
  • 21 March 201231. A B
    I don't see how this story can be dealt with in an adequate manner if the actor is leaving in October. Date 8th January, 2006 Where Are You From? Powys, Wales
  • 15 February 201230. Yasmin J
    If a story is worth doing then it should be done well and for the right motives. Date 26 May 2005 Where Are You From? Wales Would you want to watch this story? No
  • 28 November 201129. Christina B
    I support this petition
  • 15 November 201128. Janet Guerra
    Alzheimer's needs all the publicity it can get and it also needs accurate and sensitive portrayal. I just can't see how Coronation Street will do this given the nature of the their audience and its general approach. I will probably watch it but won't like
  • 27 April 201127. Nicholas C
    I support this petition
  • 29 January 201126. Tommy R
    I support this petition
  • 07 December 201025. Patricia D
    Corrie are getting beyond the joke now. I agree with other - give Mike a better exit! Either have him retire to Spain in good health or have him die of a heart attack several months after marrying Rita while retaining all his faculties (since we ALL forg
  • 19 August 200924. K W
    Has the producer and any of the writers visited Alzheimer wards in nursing homes? I feel if they had then they would know they can't tackle this story. Date 25/5/05 Where Are You From? Cambridge Would you want to watch this story? No

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Valarie SpencerBy:
Petition target:
Granada Television


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