Thousands vent anger on radio and net at dumping from prime-time spot.

Diehard Coronation Street fans are continuing to complain about TVNZ's move to screen their favourite soap earlier in the day.

Thousands of people have gone to websites and talkback radio to vent their anger at the state broadcaster's move to shift the show from 7.30pm to a 5.30pm slot.

The shift will see MasterChef Australia take the prime-time evening slot.

Talkback radio was abuzz yesterday as people vented their frustration. Others drafted online petitions and posted angry comments on news sites.


Some disgruntled fans set up Facebook pages, including the "Keep Coronation Street at 7.30pm" site.

Debbie Davies wrote: "Replace a TV icon with another bloody cooking show and it's not even [an] NZ one? I don't think so!"

Jade Lippiatt said: "MasterChef is booooring."

Liz Barry wrote: "How dare they do this! Listen up TVNZ - we are SICK OF COOKING SHOWS! End of!"

TV One has several cooking programmes showing during the week, including Chef on a Mission, Annabel Langbein - the Free Range Cook, Cooking It, Come Dine with Me, A Taste of Home and MasterChef.

A spokeswoman for TVNZ said the broadcaster had received "a high volume" of phone calls and emails from people upset by the decision.

"We're not at all surprised that there's been a lot of interest into this," she said. "We're hearing mostly from Coronation Street viewers, but we're also hearing from some people who are also welcoming the change."

The Herald website has also received comments from many disgruntled fans of the venerable soap.

Graham Beswick, of Tauranga, said: "This proposed time change confirms TV1 has lost the plot and is lowering its standards to the junk status of some other channels - there are enough cooking programmes already without insulting us like this!"

But the TVNZ spokeswoman said the change was at present only temporary during October and November. A decision would be made after that - depending on viewer ratings results - on whether the new programme time would stay.

The spokeswoman said: "TVNZ admires the depth of feeling that Coronation Street inspires among its loyal fans. We'll be listening attentively to what they have to say and their opinions will be taken into account."


I don't get people who don't like Coronation Street.

I can tolerate them, be their friend at a push, but (with apologies to Samuel Johnson), when one is tired of Wetherfield, one is tired of life.

"It's boring," they whine, "for nanas". They must come from very different families to me if their gran gets off on boozers, scrappers, murderers and lesbian schoolgirls.

It's not particularly representative of Manchester, the city where it's set and where I lived before moving to NZ.

Not least because there have been more murders per cobblestone than in any real suburb I can think of - even at the height of the city's gang wars. But Coro's not meant to be reality TV. There's more than enough of that to go around.

It's escapism, entertainment, capable of big laughs and bigger drama.

Steve McDonald's always been my favourite, perhaps because we're similar ages, with similar temperaments. (Yes, I know he's not real).

The episode two decades ago where he and brother Andy fought in their room while The Stone Roses played was a key point in my teens. My favourite band on my favourite show.

Coro's even inspired my drinking habits. Not for me fancy cocktails or crisp continental lager. Make mine a vodka and tonic a la Rita and Audrey.

It's a postcard from my birth country. A taste of what I and many thousands of expats in its huge New Zealand audience have left behind. Some of it makes me wistful, some of it thrilled to be away.

And, I like to think, Coro's helped Kiwi colleagues and friends make sense of my strong Mancunian accent.

If they can make sense of Kevin Webster's muddy vowels, they can cope with mine.

- Chris Reed is a journalist and confirmed Coronation Street addict.