Coronation Street

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Coronation Street
Coronation Street Titles.png
Genre Soap opera
Created by Tony Warren
Starring Present cast
Former cast
Theme music composer Eric Spear
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes

8451[+]

(as of 18 August 2014)
Production
Executive producer(s) Various
(currently Kieran Roberts)
Producer(s) Stuart Blackburn
Location(s) Granada Studios, Manchester (1960–2013)
MediaCity, Trafford Wharf (2014– Present)
Camera setup Multiple-camera setup
Running time 30 minutes
20 minutes
(excluding advertisements) (with occasional 60 minute episodes)
Production company(s) Granada Television (1960–present)
Broadcast
Original channel ITV, STV, UTV
Picture format 405-line Black & White
(4:3 SDTV) (1960–69)
576i Colour
(4:3 SDTV) (1969–2001)
576i
(16:9 SDTV) (2002–present)
1080i
(16:9 HDTV) (2010–present)
Audio format Monaural (1960–1990)
Stereo (1990–2010)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (2010–present)
Original run 9 December 1960 (1960-12-09) – present (54 years, 17 days)
Chronology
Related shows Albion Market
The Road to Coronation Street
The Corrie Years
External links
Website

Coronation Street (also known as Corrie) is a British soap opera that was first broadcast on ITV 9 December 1960 and made by Granada Television.[1] The programme centres on the residents' lives of Coronation Street in the fictional town of Weatherfield, a town based on Salford,[2] in its terraced houses, café, corner shop, newsagents, textile factory and The Rovers Return pub. In the show's fictional history, the street was built in the early 1900s, and named in honour of the coronation of King Edward VII.

The programme was devised in 1960 by scriptwriter Tony Warren at Granada Television in Manchester. Warren's initial kitchen sink drama proposal was rejected by the station's founder Sidney Bernstein, but he was persuaded by producer Harry Elton to produce the programme for thirteen pilot episodes. Within six months of the show's first broadcast, it had become the most-watched programme on British television. This show has been one of the most financially lucrative programmes on British commercial television, underpinning the success of Granada Television and ITV.

Coronation Street is made by Granada Television at MediaCity in Trafford Wharf, Greater Manchester. It is shown in all ITV regions, as well as internationally. On 17 September 2010, it became the world's longest-running TV soap opera in production.[3] Coronation Street is noted for its depiction of a down-to-earth working class community combined with light-hearted humour, and strong characters.[4]

History[edit]

1960s[edit]

Ken Barlow in the first episode of Coronation Street

The first episode was aired on 9 December 1960, and was not initially a critical success; Daily Mirror columnist Ken Irwin claimed the series would only last three weeks. Granada Television initially commissioned only 13 episodes, and some inside the company doubted the show would last beyond its planned production run.[5] Despite the criticism, viewers were immediately drawn into the serial, won over by Coronation Street's 'ordinary' characters.[6] The programme also made use of Northern English language and dialect; affectionate local terms like "eh, chuck?", "nowt" (/ˈnt/, meaning nothing), and "by 'eck!" became widely heard on British television for the first time.[7]

Early episodes told the story of student Kenneth Barlow (William Roache), who had won a place at university, and thus found his working-class background something of an embarrassment.[8] The character was one of the few to have experienced life 'outside' of Coronation Street. In some ways this predicts the growth of globalisation, and the decline of similar communities. In an episode from 1961, Barlow declares: "You can't go on just thinking about your own street these days. We're living with people on the other side of the world. There's more to worry about than Elsie Tanner and her boyfriends."[9] Roache is the only remaining member of the original cast, which currently makes him the longest-serving actor in Coronation Street, as well as in British and global soap history.

At the centre of many early stories, there was Ena Sharples (Violet Carson), caretaker of the Glad Tidings Mission Hall, and her friends: timid Minnie Caldwell (Margot Bryant), and bespectacled Martha Longhurst (Lynne Carol). The trio were likened to the Greek chorus, and the three witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth, as they would sit in the snug bar of the Rovers Return, passing judgement over family, neighbours and frequently each other.[10] Headstrong Ena often clashed with Elsie Tanner, whom she believed espoused a dauntlessly loose set of morals. Elsie resented Ena's interference and gossip, which most of the time had little basis in reality.

In April 1961, Jed Stone made his first appearance and returned the following year in 1962. He left in 1963, but returned three years later in 1966. He left again and then returned 42 years later in 2008.

In March 1961, Coronation Street reached No.1 in the television ratings and remained there for the rest of the year.[11] Earlier in 1961, a Television Audience Measurement (TAM) showed that 75% of available viewers (15 million) tuned into Corrie, and by 1964 the programme had over 20 million regular viewers, with ratings peaking on 2 December 1964, at 21.36 million viewers.[12][13]

Storylines throughout the decade included: a mystery poison-pen letter received by Elsie Tanner, the 1962 marriage of Ken Barlow and Valerie Tatlock, the death of Martha Longhurst in 1964, the birth of the Barlow twins in 1965, Elsie Tanner's wedding to Steve Tanner, as well as a train crashing from the viaduct (both in 1967), the murder of Steve Tanner in 1968, and a coach crash in 1969.

In spite of rising popularity with viewers, Coronation Street was criticised by some for its outdated portrayal of the urban working class, and its representation of a community that was a nostalgic fantasy.[14] After the first episode in 1960, the Daily Mirror printed: "The programme is doomed from the outset ... For there is little reality in this new serial, which apparently, we have to suffer twice a week."[15] By 1967, critics were suggesting that the programme no longer reflected life in 1960s Britain, but reflected how life was in the 1950s. Granada hurried to update the programme, with the hope of introducing more issue-driven stories, including Lucille Hewitt becoming addicted to drugs, Jerry Booth being in a storyline about homosexuality, Emily Nugent having an out of wedlock child, and introducing a black family, but all of these ideas were dropped for fear of upsetting viewers.[16]

1970s[edit]

The show's production team was tested when many core cast members left the programme in the early 1970s. When Arthur Leslie died suddenly in 1970, his character, Rovers' landlord Jack Walker, died with him.[17] Anne Reid quit as Valerie Barlow, and was killed off in 1971, electrocuting herself with a faulty hairdryer.[18] Ratings reached a low of eight million in February 1973, Pat Phoenix quit as Elsie Tanner, Violet Carson (Ena Sharples) was written out for most of the year due to illness, and Doris Speed (Annie Walker) took two months' leave due to bereavement.[19] ITV's other flagship soap opera Crossroads saw a marked increase in viewers at this time, as its established cast, such as Meg Richardson (Noele Gordon), grew in popularity.[19] These sudden departures forced the writing team to quickly develop characters who had previously stood in the background. The roles of Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear), Ivy Tilsley (Lynne Perrie), Deirdre Hunt (Anne Kirkbride), Rita Littlewood (Barbara Knox), and Mavis Riley (Thelma Barlow) were built up between 1972 and 1973 with characters such as Gail Potter (Helen Worth), Blanche Hunt (Patricia Cutts, Maggie Jones), and Vera Duckworth (Elizabeth Dawn) first appearing in 1974. These characters would remain at the centre of the programme for many years.[20][21]

Comic storylines had been popular in the series in the 1960s, but had become sparse during the early 1970s. These were re-introduced by new producer Bill Podmore who joined the series in 1976. He had worked on Granada comedy productions prior to his appointment.[22] Stan and Hilda Ogden were often at the centre of overtly funny storylines, with other comic characters including Eddie Yeats (Geoffrey Hughes), Fred Gee (Fred Feast), and Jack Duckworth (William Tarmey) all making their first appearances during the decade.

In 1976, Pat Phoenix returned to her role as Elsie Tanner and, after a spate of ill health, Violet Carson returned on a more regular basis as Ena.[23] Coronation Street's stalwart cast slotted back into the programme alongside the newcomers, examining new relationships between characters of different ages and backgrounds: Eddie Yeats became the Ogdens' lodger, Gail Potter and Suzie Birchall moved in with Elsie, Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) arrived in 1976 as the tough factory boss, and Annie Walker reigned at the Rovers with her trio of staff Bet Lynch, Betty Turpin, and Fred Gee.

Storylines throughout the decade included: a warehouse fire in 1975, the birth of Tracy Langton in 1977, the murder of Ernest Bishop in 1978, a lorry crashing into the Rovers Return in 1979, and the marriage of Brian Tilsley and Gail Potter (also in 1979).

For eleven weeks, between August and October 1979, industrial action forced Coronation Street and the entire ITV network (apart from the Channel Islands) off the air. When ITV did return, its first evening schedule included a special "catch-up" edition of Coronation Street. This included storylines which would have taken place during the strike, and they were explained in the form of a narrative chat between Len Fairclough and Bet Lynch. For several weeks the channel had very few fresh episodes to show, and episodes of the game show 3-2-1 were screened in its place. Coronation Street returned to ITV screens with a regular scheduled time closer to the end of 1979.

Coronation Street had little competition within its prime time slot, and certain critics suggested that the programme had grown complacent, moving away from socially viable storylines and again presenting a dated view of working class life.[24]

1980s[edit]

Between 1980 and 1989, Coronation Street underwent some of the biggest changes since its launch. By May 1984, Ken Barlow stood as the only original cast member, after the departures of Ena Sharples (in 1980), Annie Walker (in 1983), Elsie Tanner (in 1984) and Albert Tatlock (also 1984).[25] In 1983, antihero Len Fairclough (Peter Adamson), one of the show's central male characters since 1961, was killed off, and in 1984, Stan Ogden (Bernard Youens) died.[26] While the press predicted the end of Corrie, H. V. Kershaw declared that "There are no stars in Coronation Street."[27] Writers drew on the show's many archetypes, with previously established characters stepping into the roles left by the original cast.[28] Phyllis Pearce (Jill Summers) was hailed as the new Ena Sharples in 1982, the Duckworths moved into No.9 in 1983 and slipped into the role once held by the Ogdens, while Percy Sugden (Bill Waddington) appeared in 1983 and took over the grumpy war veteran role from Albert Tatlock.[29][30] The question of who would take over the Rovers Return after Annie Walker's 1983 exit was answered in 1985 when Bet Lynch (who also mirrored the vulnerability and strength of Elsie Tanner) was installed as landlady. In 1983, Shirley Armitage became the first major black character in her role as machinist at Baldwin's Casuals.[28]

Ken Barlow married Deirdre Langton on 27 July 1981. The episode was watched by over 24 million viewers – more ITV viewers than the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana two days later.[31] The 1980s also saw the cementing of relationships between established characters: Alf Roberts (Bryan Mosley) married Audrey Potter (Sue Nicholls) in 1985, and Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) married Sally Seddon (Sally Dynevor) in 1986.[32] Bet Lynch married Alec Gilroy in 1987, and the marriages of Ivy Tilsley and Don Brennan, as well as Derek Wilton and Mavis Riley took place in 1988.[33]

In 1982, the arrival of Channel 4, and its edgy new soap opera Brookside, was one of the biggest changes for Coronation Street. Unlike Coronation Street, which had a very nostalgic view of working-class life, Brookside brought together working and middle-class families in a more contemporary environment. The dialogue often included expletives and the stories were more hard-hitting, and of the current Zeitgeist. Whereas stories at this time in Coronation Street were largely about family affairs, Brookside concentrated on social affairs such as industrial action, unemployment, and the black market. The BBC also introduced a new prime time soap opera, EastEnders in 1985.[34] Like Brookside, EastEnders had a more gritty premise than Coronation Street, although unlike Brookside it tended to steer clear of blue language and politicised stories.

While ratings for Coronation Street remained consistent throughout the decade, EastEnders regularly obtained higher viewing figures due to its omnibus episodes shown at weekends.[35] With prime time competition, Corrie was again seen as being old fashioned, with the introduction of the 'normal' Clayton family in 1985 being a failure with viewers.[34] Between 1988 and 1989, many aspects of the show were modernised by new producer David Liddiment. A new exterior set had been built in 1982, and in 1989 it was redeveloped to include new houses and shops. Production techniques were also changed with a new studio being built, and the inclusion of more location filming, which had moved the show from being shot on film to videotape in 1988.[36] Due to new pressures, an introduction of the third weekly episode aired on 20 October 1989, to broadcast each Friday at 19:30.[36]

The 1980s featured some of the most prominent storylines in the programme's history, such as Deirdre Barlow's affair with Mike Baldwin in 1983, the first soap storyline to receive widespread media attention.[37] The feud between Ken Barlow and Mike Baldwin would continue for many years, with Mike even marrying Ken's daughter, Susan. In 1986, there was a fire at the Rovers Return, which attracted an audience of just under 27 million, and between 1986 and 1989, the story of Rita Fairclough's psychological abuse at the hands of Alan Bradley (Mark Eden), and then his subsequent death under the wheels of a Blackpool tram, was played out. The episode of Alan's death under the tram gave Coronation Street its highest ratings ever at 26.9 million, and it's still the 9th most watched UK broadcast of all time. Other stories included: the birth of Nicky Tilsley in 1980, Elsie Tanner's departure and Stan Ogden's funeral in 1984, the birth of Sarah-Louise Tilsley in 1987, and Brian Tilsley's murder in 1989.

New characters were introduced, such as Terry Duckworth (Nigel Pivaro), Curly Watts (Kevin Kennedy), Martin Platt (Sean Wilson), Reg Holdsworth (Ken Morley), and the McDonald family; one of whom, Simon Gregson, started on the show as Steve McDonald a week after his 15th birthday, and has been on the show ever since.

1990s[edit]

In spite of updated sets and production changes, Coronation Street still received criticism. In 1992, chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Council, Lord Rees-Mogg, criticised the low-representation of ethnic minorities, and the programme's portrayal of the cosy familiarity of a bygone era. Some newspapers ran headlines such as "Coronation Street shuts out blacks" (The Times), and "'Put colour in t'Street" (Daily Mirror).[38] Patrick Stoddart of The Times wrote: "The millions who watch Coronation Street – and who will continue to do so despite Lord Rees-Mogg – know real life when they see it ... in the most confident and accomplished soap opera television has ever seen".[39] Black and Asian characters had appeared, but it wasn't until 1999 that the show featured its first regular non-white family, the Desai family.

New characters Des and Steph Barnes moved into one of the new houses in 1990, being dubbed by the media as 'Yuppies'.[40] Raquel Wolstenhulme (Sarah Lancashire) first appeared in 1991 and went on to become one of the most popular characters. The McDonald family were developed and the fiery relationships between Liz, Jim, Steve and Andy interested viewers.[41][42] Other newcomers were Maud Grimes (Elizabeth Bradley), Roy Cropper (David Neilson), Judy and Gary Mallett, as well as Fred Elliot (John Savident) and Ashley Peacock (Steven Arnold). The amount of slapstick and physical humour in storylines increased during the 1990s, with comical characters such as Reg Holdsworth and his water bed.[43]

In the early 1990s storylines included: the death of newborn Katie McDonald in 1992, Mike Baldwin's wedding to Alma Sedgewick (Amanda Barrie) in 1992, Tommy Duckworth being sold by his father Terry in 1993, Deirdre Barlow's marriage to Moroccan Samir Rachid, and the rise of Tanya Pooley (Eva Pope) between 1993 and 1994.

In 1995, actor Julie Goodyear decided to leave the show forcing the key character Bet Lynch to depart. Bet would subsequently make brief return appearances in 1999, 2002 and 2003.

In 1997, Brian Park took over as producer, with the idea of promoting young characters as opposed to the older cast. On his first day, he cut the characters of Derek Wilton, Don Brennan, Percy Sugden, Bill Webster, Billy Williams, and Maureen Holdsworth.[44] Thelma Barlow, who played Derek's wife Mavis, was angered by the firing of her co-star and resigned. The production team lost some of its key writers when Barry Hill, Adele Rose and Julian Roach all resigned as well.[44]

In line with Park's suggestion, younger characters were introduced: Nick Tilsley was recast, played by Adam Rickitt, single mother Zoe Tattersall (Joanne Froggatt) first appeared, and the Battersbys moved into No.5. Storylines focussed on tackling 'issues', such as drug dealers, eco-warriors, religious cults, and a transsexual woman.[45] Park quit in 1998, after deciding that he had done what he intended to do; he maintained that his biggest achievement was the introduction of Hayley Patterson (Julie Hesmondhalgh), the first transsexual character in a British soap.[45]

Some viewers were alienated by the new Coronation Street, and sections of the media voiced their disapproval. Having received criticism of being too out of touch, Corrie now struggled to emulate the more modern Brookside and EastEnders. In the Daily Mirror, Victor Lewis-Smith wrote: "Apparently it doesn't matter that this is a first-class soap opera, superbly scripted and flawlessly performed by a seasoned repertory company."[44]

One of Coronation Street's best known storylines took place in March/April 1998, with Deirdre Rachid being wrongfully imprisoned after a relationship with con-man Jon Lindsay. This episode, when Deirdre was sent to prison, was watched by 19 million viewers, and 'Free the Weatherfield One' campaigns sprung up in a media frenzy.[45] The then Prime Minister Tony Blair even passed comment on Deirdre's sentencing in Parliament.[46] Deirdre was freed after three weeks, with Granada stating that they had always intended for her to be released, in spite of the media interest.[45]

2000s[edit]

On 8 December 2000, the show celebrated its fortieth year by broadcasting a live, hour-long episode. The Prince of Wales appeared as himself in an ITV News bulletin report.[47] Earlier in the year, 13-year-old Sarah-Louise Platt (Tina O'Brien) had become pregnant and given birth to a baby girl, Bethany, on 4 June. The episode where Gail was told of her daughter's pregnancy was watched by 15 million viewers.[48] In September 2000, Mike Baldwin married Linda Sykes but shortly afterwards, his drunken son Mark confessed he and Linda had been having an affair behind his dad's back. The episode attracted an audience of 16.8 million and in the 2001 British Soap Awards won Best Storyline.

From 1999 to 2001, issue-led storylines were introduced such as Toyah Battersby's rape, Roy and Hayley Cropper abducting their foster child, Sarah Platt's Internet chat room abduction and Alma Halliwell's death of cervical cancer.[49] Such storylines were unpopular with viewers and ratings dropped and in October 2001, Macnaught was abruptly moved to another Granada department and Carolyn Reynolds took over. Corrie continued to struggle in the ratings, with EastEnders introducing some of its strongest stories. In 2002, Kieran Roberts was appointed as producer and aimed to re-introduce "gentle storylines and humour", after deciding that the Street should not try to compete with other soaps.[49] In 2002, Gail Platt married Richard Hillman (Brian Capron), a financial advisor, who would go on to leave Duggie Ferguson to die, murder his ex-wife Patricia, attempt to murder his mother-in-law, Audrey Roberts, murder Maxine Peacock and attempt to murder Emily Bishop. After confessing to the murder of Maxine and his ex-wife, Hillman attempted to kill Gail, her children Sarah and David, and her granddaughter Bethany, by driving them into a canal. The storyline received wide press attention, and viewing figures peaked at 19.4 million, with Hillman dubbed a "serial killer" by the media.[50] Todd Grimshaw became Corrie's first regular homosexual character.[51] 2003 saw the introduction of another gay male character, Sean Tully played by Antony Cotton. The character of Karen McDonald (Suranne Jones) was developed, with her fiery marriage to Steve and warring with Tracy Barlow. In 2004, Coronation Street retconned the Baldwin family when Mike's nephew Danny Baldwin and his wife Frankie moved to the area from Essex, with their two sons Jamie and Warren. Until this time, Mike Baldwin had been portrayed as an only child, with his father appearing in the programme between 1980 and 1982 confirming the fact. The bigamy of Peter Barlow and his addiction to alcohol, later in the decade, Maya Sharma's revenge on former lover Devendra Alahan, Charlie Stubbs's psychological abuse of Shelley Unwin, and the deaths of Mike Baldwin, Vera Duckworth and Fred Elliott. In 2007, Tracy Barlow murdered Charlie Stubbs and claiming it was self-defense, the storyline saw viewing figures peaking at 13.3 million. At the 2007 British Soap Awards, it won Best Storyline, and Kate Ford was voted Best Actress for her portrayal. Other storylines included Leanne Battersby becoming a prostitute and the show's first bi-sexual love triangle (between Michelle Connor, Sonny Dhillon, and Sean Tully). The Connor family were central to many storylines during 2007—the accidental death of a Polish worker at Underworld due to overworking, Michelle's discovery that her brothers Paul and Liam were the cause of her husband's death, Paul's use of an escort service, his kidnapping of Leanne and his subsequent death.

In July 2007, after 34 years in the role of Vera Duckworth, Elizabeth Dawn left the show due to ill health.[52] After conversation between Dawn and producers Kieran Roberts and Steve Frost, the decision was made to kill Vera off.[53] In January 2008, shortly before plans to retire to Blackpool, Vera's husband Jack found that she had died in her armchair.

Tina O'Brien revealed in the British press on 4 April 2007 that she would be leaving Coronation Street.[54] Sarah-Louise, who was involved in some of the decade's most controversial stories, left in December 2007 with her daughter (who'd been in an ectasy storyline earlier that year), Bethany Platt. In 2008, Michelle learning that Ryan was not her biological son, having been accidentally swapped at birth with Alex Neeson. Carla Connor turned to Liam for comfort and developed feelings for him. In spite of knowing about her feelings, Liam married Maria Sutherland. Maria and Liam's baby son was stillborn in April, and during an estrangement from Maria upon the death of their baby, Liam had a one night stand with Carla, a story which helped pave the way for his departure.[55] Gail's son David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) pushed her down the stairs. Enraged that Gail refused to press charges, David vandalised the Street and was sent to a young offenders' facility for several months. In May 2008, Gail finally met Ted Page, the father she'd never known and in 2009, Gail's boyfriend, Joe McIntyre became addicted to pain killers, which came to a head when he broke into the medical centre. In August 2008, Jed Stone returned after 42 years. Liam Connor and his ex-sister-in-law Carla Connor gave into their feelings for each other and began an affair. Carla's fiancee Tony discovered the affair and subsequently had Liam killed in a hit-and-run in October. Carla struggled to come to terms with Liam's death, but decided she still loved Tony and married him on 3 December, in an episode attracting 10.3 million viewers. In April 2009 it was revealed that Eileen Grimshaw's father, Colin had slept with Eileen's old classmate, Paula Carp while she was still at school, and that Paula's daughter, Julie was in fact also Colin's daughter. In May, Norris Cole received a blast from the past with the reappearance of his estranged brother Ramsay Clegg (Andrew Sachs) who wanted a reconciliation. Peter Barlow's battle against alcoholism, Ken Barlow's affair with actress Martha Fraser after his dog Eccles fell in the canal, Maria giving birth to Liam's son and her subsequent relationship with Liam's killer Tony, Steve McDonald's marriage to Becky Granger and Kevin Webster's affair with Molly Dobbs. On Christmas Day 2009, Sally Webster told husband Kevin that she had breast cancer, just as he was about to leave her for lover Molly.[56]

2010s[edit]

Gail Platt married for the fourth time to Joe McIntyre. Molly Dobbs became pregnant, with the father being either Tyrone Dobbs or Kevin Webster; Molly reconciled with Tyrone and nearly lost her life after a crash in a car which had not been properly repaired by Kevin. Tracy Barlow returned on 7 May 2010, plotting to reduce her sentence by convincing cellmate Gail to confess to Joe's murder.[57] The show's first lesbian storyline developed as Sophie Webster realised her true feelings for her best friend Sian Powers.[58][59] In 2010, Blanche Hunt was written out after the death of actress Maggie Jones on 2 December 2009. ITV honoured Blanche and Maggie with a half-hour special, Goodbye Blanche, which was aired after the funeral episode.[60] On 31 May 2010, the Coronation Street opening sequence was given a revamp.[61] From that date all episodes of the series would be transmitted in High Definition. The change coincided with a week of dramatic storylines known as "Siege Week", being shown on five consecutive nights following Britain's Got Talent.[62] In the story Tony Gordon escaped from prison to seek vengeance on his enemies, culminating in the dramatic explosion of Underworld. Meanwhile, Gail Platt's murder trial took place, with two different verdicts being shown online.[63] On 17 September 2010 Coronation Street entered Guinness World Records as the world's longest-running television soap opera after the American soap opera As the World Turns concluded. William Roache was listed as the world's longest-running soap actor.[3]

The aftermath of the tram crash

Coronation Street's 50th anniversary week was celebrated with seven episodes, plus a special one-hour live episode, broadcast from 6–10 December. The episodes averaged 14 million viewers, a 52.1% share of the audience. The anniversary was also publicised with ITV specials and news broadcasts. In the storyline, Nick Tilsley and Leanne Battersby's bar—The Joinery—exploded during Peter Barlow's stag party. As a result, the viaduct was destroyed, sending a Metrolink tram careering onto the street, destroying D&S Alahan's Corner Shop and The Kabin. Two characters, Ashley Peacock and Molly Dobbs, along with an unknown taxi driver, were killed as a result of the disaster. Rita Sullivan survived, despite being trapped under the rubble of her destroyed shop. Fiz Stape prematurely gave birth to a baby girl, Hope, after her husband, John, struck his stalker Charlotte Hoyle with a hammer to silence her. He later attempted to turn off Charlotte's life support machine, having gained access to her bedside by allowing her parents to believe he was her fiancé; they later made the decision themselves. Peter Barlow, believing himself on his deathbed, married Leanne Battersby in an impromptu ceremony, shortly before going into cardiac arrest, although he later rallied and made a slow recovery. The episode of EastEnders broadcast on the same day as Coronation Street '​s 50th anniversary episode included a tribute, with the character Dot Branning saying that she never missed Coronation Street.[64]

In January 2011, Dennis Tanner returned after 43 years off screen. Beverley Callard[65] and Vicky Entwistle[66] who play Liz McDonald and Janice Battersby, respectively, quit the street. On 15 October 2011, Betty Driver, who had played Betty Williams since 1969, died of pneumonia, aged 91. In 2011, the major storyline of John Stape and his murder spree came to an end in May after he jumped off a hospital roof but left before he could be arrested. He returned in October before Fiz Stape was imprisoned for the murders. Following a car crash, John revealed the details about the murders and how Fiz was not involved. He later died from his injuries on 28 October.

Frank Foster storyline centered on Maria flirting with Frank. Frank forces himself on a frightened Maria who then confides in Carla Connor. Carla is furious and tries to get Maria to go to the police; however, Maria wants to forget all about it and tells Carla to continue doing business with Frank to save the factory. This leads to a relationship between Frank and Carla. They become engaged but Carla calls it off due to her developing feelings for Peter Barlow. Frank finds out about the affair after hiring a private investigator and he attacks and rapes Carla. Frank was arrested under suspicion of rape but was found not guilty when the case went to court. Frank took over Underworld with the assistance of Sally Webster. One evening Frank gloated about getting away with rape to a terrified Carla whilst the factory was closed, unaware that somebody heard every word. Frank was found dead later that day by the Underworld machinists, he was hit over the head with a bottle of whiskey. A distraught Sally comforted Frank's mother, Anne Foster whilst she was grieving her son's death, but discovered it was Anne herself who murdered her own son. Anne attacked Sally and then attempted to flee the country only to be caught out by Carla and Kevin Webster.

Tyrone Dobbs was also the centre of a controversial domestic abuse storyline when he was introduced to police officer Kirsty Soames whilst on a night out. Tyrone's friends paid Kirsty to flirt with him to cheer him up after his previous wife Molly's death. Tyrone and Kirsty immediately hit it off. Kirsty's temper began to show when she used to become jealous of Tyrone's friends, specifically his friendship with Fiz Stape. Kirsty fell pregnant and her temper soon turned violent as she lashed out at Tyrone on numerous occasions, attacking him with her fists and kitchen appliances. Tyrone hid his injuries from his concerned friends and refused to leave the house. Kirsty gave birth in the Rovers Return after a heated confrontation with Tina, yet Tyrone was absent due to him fixing Fiz's boiler. This made Kirsty secretly leave out Tyrone's name as her newborn daughter Ruby's father on her birth certificate. Kirsty's violent outbursts become more frequent and a terrified Tyrone finally confides in a horrified Fiz about Kirsty's domestic abuse, this leads to Tyrone and Fiz embarking on a secret affair after she confesses her love for him. Fiz and Tyrone conspire a plan together for Tyrone to wed Kirsty then report Kirsty to the police for her domestic abuse, resulting in Kirsty being sent to prison and Tyrone getting full custody of his daughter Ruby. Tyrone proposes to a delighted Kirsty, but Kirsty eventually discovers his and Fiz's affair and their plan. Kirsty eventually reveals Fiz and Tyrone's affair in front of everybody at her and Tyrone's wedding. After the wedding, Kirsty and Tyrone have a blazing row back at their house, resulting in Kirsty falling down the stairs after trying to attack Tyrone. The row is overheard by several neighbours and they think Tyrone has been assaulting Kirsty and call the police. Kirsty lies to the police and makes a false accusation that Tyrone has been beating her for months. This leads to Tyrone's arrest and he is bailed until his appending trial. Whilst on bail, Tyrone flees Weatherfield with Fiz, her daughter Hope and his daughter Ruby causing the police to issue a warrant for his arrest. Tyrone is caught and arrested and is kept in a prison cell until his trial. Kirsty lies again whilst giving evidence at Tyrone's trial by playing the victim to the jury. But whilst struggling being a single mum at home, Kirsty snaps at a screaming Ruby and starts screaming at her child to stop crying. Realising that she doesn't trust herself around her daughter, Kirsty interrupts Tyrone's trial right before the verdict is due and confesses to the judge that it was her who had been assaulting Tyrone and he was innocent. Tyrone gets released and Kirsty gets charged and is sentenced to three years in prison. Tyrone gets full custody of Ruby and starts his new life with his girlfriend Fiz.

On 18 March 2013, Karl Munro starts a fire in the cellar of the Rovers Return killing Sunita Alahan and a female firefighter. This episode attracted over 10 million viewers. Although he gets away with it at first, the truth eventually comes out and Karl is arrested and sentenced to prison later on in the year.

2014 has seen the introduction to new characters such as Kal Nazir's family, the street's first Muslim family. Burglar Michael Rodwell played by comedian Les Dennis, was introduced through a restorative justice storyline with Gail McIntyre. The year has seen the loss of several characters including the deaths of Hayley Cropper and Tina McIntyre two of the most well loved characters in the show. Hayley was diagnosed with a terminal cancer of the pancreas after a simple check up in 2013. Hayley decided to end her life before she succumbs to her illness much to the despair of her husband Roy Cropper. Roy reluctantly agreed to his wife's demands and Hayley drank a concoction of mashed up pills and died in bed of an overdose with her husband laid beside her.

Tina Mcintyre embarked on an affair with Peter Barlow after they shared a passionate kiss during Peter and Carla Connor's wedding reception. Peter lies to Tina, telling her that he'd leave Carla and move away with her to Portsmouth when he was actually committing to Carla after they discovered she was pregnant. The affair causes Peter to relapse and starts drinking again. Carla's brother Rob Donovan discovers the affair and threatens them both that he'll tell Carla if they don't. Tina books a taxi for her and Peter but can't find Peter so she heads to the Rovers Return to find him and Carla celebrating Carla's pregnancy. Feeling crushed, Tina heads back to her flat and is pursued by Peter. They argue and Tina threatens Peter that she's going to reveal all about their affair to Carla, causing Peter to leave her flat and tell a heartbroken Carla about the affair before she does. Peter accidentally leaves Tina's flat door open whilst leaving and Rob notices and enters Tina's flat to confront her about her affair. Rob and Tina argue about her telling Carla about the affair, forcing them both onto her balcony outside. But when Tina threatens Rob about reporting his dodgy dealing at his pawn shop to the police, Rob pushes Tina from the balcony and she plummets to the ground. Rob frantically destroys Tina's flat in an attempt to make it look like a burglary and wipes his fingerprints off of everything he has touched. He heads outside to see a motionless Tina laying on the cobbles, he starts to call for an ambulance when Tina surprisingly is still alive and manages to get back to her feet. Rob tries backtracking his actions and tells Tina that she slipped but Tina goads Rob by saying she'll report him for attempted murder as well as him selling illegal goods. Rob takes desperate measures to shut Tina up so he grabs a lead pipe from a van outside the builder's yard and bludgeons Tina to her death. After Peter's confession, a furious Carla heads on the war path and goes in search of Tina. She notices Tina's door to her flat is open and heads inside to have it out with her. She enters the ransacked flat but doesn't find Tina anywhere, she heads out onto the balcony and looks over to discover Tina's body on the floor below. Tina passes away the week later from her injuries.

Initially, Carla is in the frame for Tina's murder but after evidence and his outburst at Tina's funeral, Peter is arrested and charged with the murder. While in Highfield Prison, desperate for a drink as he is an alcoholic Peter comes across Jim McDonald who supplies with booze while making Peter get son Steve McDonald and Liz to visit. After Peter fails to Jim's command, Jim stops Peter's provision so Peter finds the booze supply and drinks it all down resulting to him being taken to hospital with internal bleeding. Peter later tells Carla he knew she killed Tina even though he didn't do it he'll take her secret to the grave. Carla considers going to the police but Rob is adamant she doesn't. Peter tells Tracy about Jim after he is beaten by Jim's lackeys so she tells Steve stop visiting and Jim turns nasty. A terrified Deirdre Barlow consults Jim's ex-wife Liz McDonald to have words so she does and Jim leaves Peter alone.

In October 2014, Steve thinks he may have melanoma and gets it checked out but is told he may have depression which he disregards. On the 13th Peter's trial begins and a guilty Steve who knew about the affair fears he has ruined Peter's chances of being released but Carla tells the jury on the 15th she believes Peter's innocent making his chances better. While Peter and newfound cell-mate/confidant Eugene Clleland celebrate, murderer Rob yells at Carla making her feel suspicious.

Characters[edit]

Cast of Coronation Street, 1960

Since 1960, Coronation Street has featured many characters whose popularity with viewers and critics has differed greatly. The original cast was created by Tony Warren, with the characters of Ena Sharples (Violet Carson), Elsie Tanner (Patricia Phoenix) and Annie Walker (Doris Speed) as central figures.[67] These three women remained with the show for 20 years or more, and became archetypes of British soap opera, often being emulated by other serials. Ena was the street's busybody, battleaxe and self-proclaimed moral voice.[68] Elsie was the tart with a heart, who was constantly hurt by men in the search for true love.[69] Annie Walker, landlady of the Rovers Return Inn, had delusions of grandeur and saw herself as better than other residents of Coronation Street.[70]

Coronation Street became known for the portrayal of strong female characters,[71] including characters like Sharples, Walker and Tanner, and Hilda Ogden, who became household names during the 1960s.[72] Warren's programme was largely matriarchal, which some commentators put down to the female-dominant environment in which he grew up.[73] Consequently, the show has a long tradition of psychologically abused husbands, most famously Stan Ogden and Jack Duckworth, husbands of Hilda and Vera, respectively.

Cast at the 50th Anniversary of Coronation Street, 2010

Ken Barlow (William Roache) entered the storyline as a young radical, reflecting the youth of 1960s Britain, where figures like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the model Twiggy were to reshape the concept of youthful rebellion. Though the rest of the original Barlow family were killed off, Ken, who for 27 years was the only character from the first episode remaining, has remained the constant link throughout the entire series. In 2011, Dennis Tanner (Philip Lowrie), another character from the first episode, returned to Coronation Street after a 43-year absence.

Stan Ogden and Hilda Ogden were introduced in 1964, with Hilda (Jean Alexander) becoming one of the most famous British soap characters of all time. In a 1982 poll, she was voted fourth most recognisable woman in Britain, after Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales.[74] Hilda's best-known attributes were her pinny, hair curlers, and the "muriel" in her living room with three "flying" duck ornaments. Hilda Ogden's final episode on Christmas Day 1987, remains the highest-rated episode of Coronation Street ever, with nearly 27 million viewers.[75]

Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) first appeared in 1966, before becoming a regular in 1970, and went on to become one of the most famous Corrie characters.[76] Bet stood as the central character of the show from 1985 until departing in 1995, often being dubbed as "Queen of the Street" by the media, and indeed herself. The character briefly returned in June 2002.[77]

Coronation Street and its characters often rely heavily on archetypes, with the characterisation of some of its current cast based loosely on past characters. Phyllis Pearce, Blanche Hunt (Maggie Jones) and Sylvia Goodwin embodied the role of the acid-tongued busybody originally held by Ena Sharples, Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) has grown snobbish, like Annie Walker, and a number of the programme's female characters, such as Carla Connor, mirror the vulnerability of Elsie Tanner and Bet Lynch. Other recurring archetypes include the war veteran (Albert Tatlock, Percy Sugden and Gary Windass), the bumbling retail manager (Leonard Swindley, Reg Holdsworth, Norris Cole), quick-tempered toughmen (Len Fairclough, Jim McDonald, Tommy Harris and Owen Armstrong), and the perennial losers (Stan and Hilda Ogden, Jack and Vera Duckworth, Les Battersby-Brown, Beth Tinker and Kirk Sutherland).[78] The show's former archivist and scriptwriter Daran Little disagreed with the characterisation of the show as a collection of stereotypes. "Rather, remember that Elsie, Ena and Co. were the first of their kind ever seen on British television. If later characters are stereotypes, it's because they are from the same original mould. It is the hundreds of programmes that have followed which have copied Coronation Street."[79]

Production[edit]

Broadcast format[edit]

Between 9 December 1960 and 3 March 1961, Coronation Street was broadcast twice weekly, on Wednesday and Friday.[11] During this period, the Friday episode was broadcast live, with the Wednesday episode being pre-recorded 15 minutes later.[80] When the programme went fully networked on 6 March 1961, broadcast days changed to Monday and Wednesday.[11] The last regular episode to be shown live was broadcast on 3 February 1961.

The series was transmitted in black and white for the majority of the 1960s. Preparations were made to film episode 923, to be transmitted Wednesday 29 October 1969, in colour. This instalment featured the street's residents on a coach trip to the Lake District. In the event suitable colour film stock for the cameras could not be found and the footage was shot in black and white. The following episode, transmitted Monday 3 November, was videotaped in colour but featured black and white film inserts and title sequence. Like BBC1, the ITV network was officially broadcast in black and white at this point (though programmes were actually broadcast in colour as early as July that year for colour transmission testing and adjustment) so the episode was seen by most in black and white.

Daran Little, for many years the official programme archivist, claims that the first episode to be transmitted in colour was episode 930 shown on 24 November 1969.[81] The ITV network, like BBC1, began full colour transmissions on 15 November 1969 and it is therefore possible that the first transmitted colour episode is number 928 shown on 17 November.

In October 1970 a technician's dispute turned into a work-to-rule when sound staff were denied a pay rise given to camera staff the year before for working with colour recording equipment. The terms of the work-to-rule were that staff refused to work with the new equipment (though the old black and white equipment had been disposed of by then) and therefore programmes were recorded and transmitted in black and white, including Coronation Street[82] The dispute was resolved in early 1971 and the last black and white episode was broadcast on 8 February 1971.

Episode 5191, originally broadcast on 7 January 2002, was the first to be broadcast in 16:9 widescreen format. Coronation Street was the last British soap to make the switch to 16:9 (Take the High Road remained in 4:3 until it finished in 2003).

From 22 March 2010, Coronation Street was produced in 1080/50i for transmission on HDTV platforms on ITV HD. First transmission in this format was episode 7351 on 31 May 2010 with a new set of titles and re-recorded theme tune. On 26 May 2010 ITV previewed the new HD titles on the Coronation Street website. Due to copyright reasons only viewers residing in the UK could see them on the ITV site.[83]

Production staff[edit]

Coronation Street's creator, Tony Warren, wrote the first 13 episodes of the programme in 1960, and continued to write for the programme intermittently until 1976.[84] He still retains links with Coronation Street, often advising on storylines.

Harry Kershaw[85] was the script editor for Coronation Street when the programme began in 1960, working alongside Tony Warren. Kershaw was also a script writer for the programme and the show's producer between 1962 and 1971. He remains the only person, along with John Finch, to have held the three posts of script editor, writer and producer. Kershaw continued to write for the programme until his retirement in January 1988.

Adele Rose was the longest-serving Coronation Street writer, completing 455 scripts between 1961 and 1998. She also created Byker Grove.[86]

Bill Podmore was the show's longest serving producer. By the time he stepped down in 1988 he had completed 13 years at the production helm. Nicknamed the "godfather" by the tabloid press,[87] he was renowned for his tough, uncompromising style and was feared by both crew and cast alike. He is probably most famous for sacking Peter Adamson, the show's Len Fairclough, in 1983.

Michael Apted, best known for the Up! series of documentaries was a director on the programme in the early 1960s. This period of his career marked the first of his many collaborations with writer Jack Rosenthal. Rosenthal, noted for such television plays as Bar Mitzvah Boy, began his career on the show, writing over 150 episodes between 1961 and 1969.[88] Paul Abbott was a story editor on the programme in the 1980s and began writing episodes in 1989, but left in 1993 to produce Cracker, for which he later wrote, before creating his own highly acclaimed dramas such as Touching Evil and Shameless.[89] Russell T Davies was briefly a storyliner on the programme in the mid-1990s,[90] also writing the script for the direct-to-video special "Viva Las Vegas!"[90] He, too, has become a noted writer of his own high-profile television drama programmes, including Queer as Folk and the 2005 revival of Doctor Who.[91] Jimmy McGovern also wrote some episodes.[92] The current Executive Producer is Kieran Roberts who was once a Producer of "Emmerdale" and the Producer is ex-Doctor Who producer Phil Collinson, who took over from Kim Crowther in summer 2010.

Theme music[edit]

The show's theme music, a cornet piece, accompanied by a brass band plus clarinet and double bass, reminiscent of northern band music, was written by Eric Spear.[93]

The identity of the trumpeter was not public knowledge until 1994, when jazz musician and journalist Ron Simmonds revealed that it was the Surrey musician Ronnie Hunt. He added, "an attempt was made in later years to re-record that solo, using Stan Roderick, but it sounded too good, and they reverted to the old one."[94] In 2004, the Manchester Evening News published a contradictory story that a young musician from Wilmslow called David Browning played the trumpet on both the original recording of the theme in 1960 and a re-recording in 1964, for a one-off payment of £36.[95][96] In June 2009, the Mail on Sunday resolved the matter. Browning conceded that Hunt recorded the original in 1960, but believed that his own re-recording in 1964[97] or 1972 had been used since that date. ITV then confirmed to the Mail that a second version had been recorded in the 1970s, but was only used for a very short while before reverting to Hunt's 1960 recording. In the 1980s the same version was converted to stereo.[98]

Ronnie Hunt said he was paid £6, and found the experience frustrating as Eric Spear insisted on many takes before obtaining the sound that he wanted. After taking a break in a local pub, Hunt achieved the desired mournful sound by playing very close to the microphone.[98]

A new, completely re-recorded version of the theme tune replaced the original when the series started broadcasting in HD on 31 May 2010. It accompanied a new montage-style credits sequence featuring images of Manchester and Weatherfield.[99]

Viewing figures[edit]

Most episodes in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s rated with over 20 million viewers[100][101][102] and during the 1990s and early 2000s 14–16 million per episode would be typical[103][104] Like most terrestrial television in the UK, a decline in viewership has taken place and the show currently posts an average audience of just under 9 million per episode as of 2013 remaining as one of the highest rated programmes in the UK.[105][106]

The programme currently rates as one of the most watched programmes on UK television for every day it is aired. Viewership peaked on Christmas Day 1987 when an average of 28.5 million viewers tuned in to see Hilda Ogden leave the street to start a new life as a housekeeper for long term friend Dr Lowther (although there is some confusion as to whether or not this was actually the highest rating episode due to a special omnibus repeat of that week's episodes being combined with the original airing). Since EastEnders began in 1985, the two programmes have constantly battled it out for first place in the ratings.

Sets[edit]

Rosamund Street viaduct as seen in 2002 opening credits of Coronation Street
Shot of the former Coronation Street exterior set at Granada Studios. The set is close to Manchester city centre, hence the high rise buildings, which are not part of the programme.

The regular exterior buildings shown in Coronation Street include a row of terrace houses, several townhouses, and communal areas including a newsagents (The Kabin), a cafe (Roy's Rolls), a general grocery shop (D&S Alahan's), a factory (Underworld) and Rovers Return Inn public house. The Rovers Return Inn is the main meeting place for the show's characters.[18]

Between 1960 and 1968 street scenes were filmed before a set constructed in a studio, with the house fronts reduced in scale to 3/4 and constructed from wood.[107] In 1968 Granada built an outside set not all that different from the interior version previously used, with the wooden façades from the studio simply being erected on the new site.[107] These were replaced with brick façades, and back yards were added in the 1970s.

In 1982 a permanent full-street set was built in the Granada backlot, an area between Quay Street and Liverpool Road in Manchester.[108] The set was constructed from reclaimed Salford brick.[107] The set was updated in 1989 with the construction of a new factory, two shop units and three modern town houses on the south side of the street.[109]

Between 1989 and 1999 the Granada Studios Tour allowed members of the public to visit the set. The exterior set was extended and updated in 1999. This update added to the Rosamund Street and Victoria Street façades, and added a viaduct on Rosamund Street. Most interior scenes are shot in the adjoining purpose-built studio.[109]

In 2008, Victoria Court, an apartment building full of luxury flats, was started on Victoria Street.[110]

In 2014, production moved to a new site at Trafford Wharf, a former dock area about two miles to the east, part of the MediaCityUK complex.[111] The Trafford Wharf backlot is built upon a former truck stop site next to the Imperial War Museum North. It took two years from start to finish to recreate the iconic Street. The houses were built to almost full scale after previously being three-quarter size.

On 5 April 2014, the staff began to allow booked public visits to the old Quay Street set. An advert, with a voiceover from Victoria Wood, appeared on TV to advertise the tour.[112]

Broadcast history[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

For 50 years, Coronation Street has remained at the centre of ITV's prime time schedule. The programme is currently shown in the UK in five episodes, over three evenings a week on ITV. From Friday 9 December 1960 until Friday 3 March 1961, the programme was shown in two episodes broadcast Wednesday and Friday at 19:00.[11] Schedules were changed and from Monday 6 March 1961 until Wednesday 11 October 1989, the programme was shown in two episodes broadcast Monday and Wednesday at 19:30.[11] The third weekly episode was introduced on Friday 20 October 1989, broadcast at 19:30.[36] From 1996, an extra episode was broadcast at 19:30 on Sunday nights. Aside from Granada, the programme originally appeared on the following stations of the ITV network: Anglia Television, Associated-Rediffusion, Television Wales and the West, Scottish Television, Southern Television and Ulster Television. From episode 14 on Wednesday 25 January 1961, Tyne Tees Television broadcast the programme. That left ATV in the Midlands as the only ITV station not carrying the show. When they decided to broadcast the programme, national transmission was changed from Wednesday and Friday at 19:00 to Monday and Wednesday at 19:30 and the programme became fully networked under this new arrangement from episode 25 on Monday 6 March 1961.

As the ITV network grew over the next few years, the programme was transmitted by these new stations on these dates onward: Westward Television from episode 40 on 29 April 1961, Border Television from episode 76 on 1 September 1961, Grampian Television from episode 84 on 30 September 1961, Channel Television from episode 180 on 1 September 1962 and Teledu Cymru (north and west Wales) from episode 184 on 14 September 1962. At this point, the ITV network became complete and the programme was broadcast almost continuously across the country at 19:30 on Monday and Wednesday for the next twenty-seven years.

From episode 2981 on Friday 20 October 1989 at 19:30, a third weekly episode was introduced and this increased to four episodes a week from episode 4096 on Sunday 24 November 1996, again at 19:30.[113] The second Monday episode was introduced in 2002 and was broadcast at 20:30 to usher in the return of Bet Lynch.[114] The Monday 20:30 episode was used intermittently during the popular Richard Hillman story line but has become fully scheduled since episode 5568 on Monday 25 August 2003. Additional episodes have been broadcast during the weekly schedule of ITV at certain times, notably in 2004 when, between 22 and 26 November, eight episodes were shown.[115]

Older episodes had been broadcast by satellite and cable channel Granada Plus from launch in 1996. The first episodes shown were from episode 1588 (originally transmitted on Monday 5 April 1976) onwards. Originally listed and promoted as Classic Coronation Street, the "classic" was dropped in early 2002, at which stage the episodes were from late 1989. By the time of the channel's closure in 2004, the repeats had reached January 1994.[citation needed] In addition to this, "specials" were broadcast on Saturday afternoons in the early years of the channel with several episodes based on a particular theme or character(s) were shown. The latest episode shown in these specials was from 1991. In addition, on 27 and 28 December 2003, several Christmas Day editions of the show were broadcast.

From 23 July 2009 Coronation Street has been broadcast in five weekly instalments, at 19:30 and 20:30 on Mondays and Fridays, and at 20:30 on Thursday. The Thursday episode replaces the former Wednesday show.[116] Occasional late night episodes of Coronation Street begin at 22:00, due to the watershed. Repeat episodes, omnibus broadcasts and specials have been shown on ITV and ITV2. In January 2008 the omnibus returned to the main ITV channel where it was aired on Saturday mornings/afternoons depending on the schedule and times. In May 2008 it moved to Sunday mornings until August 2008 when it returned to Saturdays. In January 2009 it moved back to Sunday mornings usually broadcasting at around 09:25 until December 2010. In January 2011 the omnibus moved to Saturday mornings on ITV at 09:25. During the Rugby World Cup, which took place in New Zealand, matches had to be broadcast on a Saturday morning, so the omnibus moved to Saturday lunchtimes/afternoons during September and October 2011. However as of 22 October 2011 the omnibus moved back to Saturday mornings at 09:25 on ITV. From January 2012 the omnibus was no longer broadcast on ITV after four years, however it remains on ITV2.

On 30 June 2011 it was confirmed that Coronation Street would return to its traditional 19:30 timeslot on a Wednesday evening in September 2012.[117]

International syndication[edit]

Coronation Street is also shown in various countries worldwide.

Australia

The programme was first aired in Australia in 1963 on TCN-9 Sydney, GTV-9 Melbourne and NWS-9 Adelaide, and by 1966 Coronation Street was more popular in Australia than in the UK.[118] The show eventually left free-to-air television in Australia in the 1970s. It briefly returned to the Nine Network in a daytime slot during 1994–95. In 2005 STW-9 Perth began to show episodes before the 18:00 news to improve the lead in to Nine News Perth, but this did not work and the show was cancelled a few months later.[119] In 1996 Pay-TV began and Arena began screening the series in one-hour instalments on Saturdays and Sundays at 18:30 EST. The series was later moved to Pay-TV channel UKTV where it is still shown. Currently as at September 2014 Coronation Street is shown on weeknights at 18:50 EST. Episodes on UKTV are now about two weeks behind the UK.[120] Seven broadcast old episodes daily on 7Two[121] until September 2014.

Belgium

In 2006, the small network Vitaya started broadcasting Coronation Street for viewers in Belgium, with episodes broadcast roughly two years behind the UK.[122]

Canada

In Canada, Coronation Street is broadcast on CBC Television. Until 2011, episodes were shown in Canada approximately 10 months after they aired in Britain; however, beginning in the fall of 2011, the CBC began showing two episodes every weekday, in order to catch up with the ITV showings, at 18:30 and 19:00 local time Monday-Friday, with an omnibus on Sundays at 07:30. By May 2014, the CBC was only two weeks behind Britain, so the show was reduced to a single showing weeknights at 18:30 local time.

The show debuted on Toronto's CBLT in July 1966.[123] The 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of Records recognises the 1,144 episodes sold to the now-defunct CBC-owned Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, TV station CBKST by Granada TV on 31 May 1971 to be the largest number of TV shows ever purchased in one transaction.[124] The show traditionally aired on weekday afternoons in Canada, with a Sunday morning omnibus. In 2004, CBC moved the weekday airings from their daytime slot to prime time.[123][125]

In light of recent austerity measures imposed on the CBC in 2012, which includes further cutbacks on non-Canadian programming, one of the foreign shows to remain on the CBC schedule is Coronation Street, according to the CBC's director of content planning Christine Wilson, who commented: "Unofficially I can tell you Coronation Street is coming back. If it didn't come back, something would happen on Parliament Hill."[126] Kirstine Stewart, the head of the CBC's English-language division, once remarked: "Coronation Street fans are the most loyal, except maybe for curling viewers, of all CBC viewers,"[123]

In late September 2014, CBC aired extra episodes to become only one week behind the UK in airing of new episodes.

Ireland

In Republic of Ireland, Coronation Street is simulcast on TV3. The show is TV3's most watched programme with an average of 365,000 people watching each night. The show was so popular that an omnibus is also shown on weekends. For a number of months in 2009 TV3 provided repeats of the night's episode on sister channel 3e at 21:00 Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, this has since stopped. The show was first aired in 1978, beginning with episodes from 1976. Ireland eventually caught up with the current UK episodes in 1983. Until 1992 it was broadcast on RTÉ Two and from 1992 to 2001 it was broadcast on RTÉ One. In 2001 Granada TV bought 45 percent TV3, which resulted in TV3 broadcasting series since 2001. In 2006 ITV sold its share of the channel but TV3 and ITV have since agreed to allow the programme to remain on TV3. From 2015 UTV Ireland will broadcast Coronation Street, the channel is due to go on air in 2015.

New Zealand

In New Zealand, Coronation Street has been shown locally since 1964, first on NZBC television until 1975,[127] and then on TV One, which broadcasts it in a 4-episode/2-hour block on Fridays from 19:30. Since September 2014, TVOne has added a 2-episode/1-hour block on Saturday from 20:30. Because TVOne has never upgraded to showing the equivalent of five episodes per week, New Zealand continues to fall further and further behind with episodes, and is 23 months behind Britain (as of 28 March 2014). During the weekday nights of the week ending 11 April 2014 and previous weeks, Coronation Street was the least watched programme on TV One in the 19:30 slot by a considerable margin in comparison to other weeknights,[128] The serial aired on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 19:30 until October 2011, when the show moved to a 17:30 half-hour slot every weekday. The move proved highly unpopular with fans,[129] and the series was quickly moved into its present prime-time slot within weeks. Episodes 7883, 7884, 7885 and 7886 were screened on 16 May 2014. These were originally aired in the UK between 4 and 11 June 2012.

The Netherlands

Dutch broadcaster VARA showed 428 sub-titled episodes on Netherlands TV between 1967 and 1975. It wanted to terminate the series in 1971 but due to public pressure continued until 1975. Because VARA was running well behind the British broadcasts, causing the actors to refer to past British politics, a special episode was produced for VARA to bridge and jump the gap and allow VARA to broadcast newer episodes. In 2011 Dutch broadcaster SBS6 started to show episodes from 26 November 2001 about four or five times a week during daytime (1:15 pm) starting with 3000 viewers every day, and till 5 November 2011 with an average of 35,000 viewers.

Sweden

In Sweden Coronation Street was shown in the country's largest broadcaster TV4 during daytime in the early 2000s until it was taken off air a few years later. On 22 September 2014, TV4 resumed broadcasting the series and is screening two episodes daily from 2011. TV4 also broadcasts Emmerdale which (2012) is Swedens's most watched daytime programme and attracts some 150,000 to 200,000 viewers on a daily basis.

United States

In the United States, Coronation Street is available by broadcast or cable only in northern markets where CBC coverage from Canada overlaps the border or is available on local cable systems. It was broadcast on CBC's US cable channel, Trio until the CBC sold its stake in the channel to Universal, before it was shut down in 2006.

Since 2009, episodes have been available in the United States through Amazon.com's on-demand service. Episodes are one month behind their original UK airdates.[130] The final series of shows available from Amazon appears to be from November 2012, as no new episodes have been uploaded.

On 15 January 2013, online distributor Hulu began airing episodes of the show, posting a new episode daily, two weeks after their original airdates.[131][132]

Elsewhere

HM Forces and their families stationed overseas can watch Coronation Street on ITV, carried by the British Forces Broadcasting Service, which is also available to civilians in the Falkland Islands. It used to be shown on BFBS1.[133]

Satellite channel ITV Choice shows the programme in Asia, Middle East, Cyprus, and Malta. In the United Arab Emirates, episodes of Coronation Street are broadcast one month after their UK showing.

Merchandise[edit]

Several classic episodes were released on VHS video in the 1980s and 1990s in different sets, while a number of specially recorded feature-length episodes were released exclusively to video (see Coronation Street VHS and DVD releases).

The Street, a magazine dedicated to the show, was launched in 1989. Edited by Bill Hill, the magazine contained a summary of recent storylines, interviews, articles about classic episodes, and stories that occurred from before 1960. The format was initially A5 size, expanding to A4 from the seventh issue.[134] The magazine folded after issue 23 in 1993 when the publisher's contract with Granada Studios Tour expired and Granada wanted to produce their own magazine.[135]

During the time when the studio tour was operating, a huge amount of branded merchandise was available from an on-site shop—everything from soap, to tea-towels, to model houses. These items gradually became scarce as the tours complex was wound down. Although there were large numbers produced, these items are becoming collectable by fans.

On 25 June 2010 a video game of the show was released on Nintendo DS. Players take the role of a detective as they work through a brand new storyline and befriend the various characters from the street, including Ken, Norris, Maria and Blanche.

Discography[edit]

In 1995, to commemorate the programme's 35th anniversary, a CD called The Coronation Street Album was released, featuring cover versions of modern songs and standards by contemporary cast members.[136]

An album featuring songs sung by some of the cast was released for the show's 50th anniversary. The singers include William Roache, Betty Driver, Kevin Kennedy and Katherine Kelly. The album is titled Rogues, Angels, Heroes & Fools.[137]

Spin-offs and specials[edit]

Granada launched one spin-off in 1965, Pardon the Expression, following the story of clothing store manager Leonard Swindley (Arthur Lowe) after he left Weatherfield. Swindley's management experience was tested when he was appointed assistant manager at a fictional department store, Dobson and Hawks. Granada produced two series of the spin-off, which ended in 1966.[138]

In 1967, Arthur Lowe returned as Leonard Swindley in Turn out the Lights, a short-lived sequel to Pardon the Expression. It ran for just one series of six episodes before it was cancelled.[139]

The German TV series Lindenstraße took Coronation Street as the model. Lindenstraße started in 1985.

In 1985, a sister series, Albion Market was launched. It ran for one year, with 100 episodes produced.

On 8 December 2000 and 9 December 2010, live episodes were aired to mark the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the show. The first was mainly based around Vera Duckworth in hospital and the campaign to save the cobbles. The second was based around events following the tram crash.

Coronation Street: Family Album was several documentaries about various families living on the street.

"Farewell ..." was several documentaries featuring the best moments of a single character who had recently left the series—most notably, Farewell Blanche (Hunt), Farewell Jack (Duckworth), Farewell Mike (Baldwin), Farewell Vera (Duckworth), Farewell Janice (Battersby), Farewell Liz (McDonald) and Farewell Becky (McDonald). Most of these were broadcast on the same day as the character's final scenes in the series.

On 21 December 2008, a web-based miniseries ran on ITV.com; called Corrie Confidential; the first episode featured the characters Rosie and Sophie Webster in Underworld.

Stars on the Street was aired around Christmas 2009. It featured actors from the soap talking about the famous guest stars who had appeared in the series including people who were in it before they were famous.

In 2010, several actors from the show appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show as their soap characters: David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd), Nick Tilsley (Ben Price) and Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan). In the fictional, semi-improvised scenario, David accused Nick (his brother) and Tina (his ex-girlfriend) of sleeping together.[140]

On 21 December 2012, Coronation Street produced a Text Santa special entitled A Christmas Corrie which featured Norris Cole in the style of Scrooge, being visited by the ghosts of dead characters. The ghosts were Mike Baldwin, Maxine Peacock, Derek Wilton and Vera Duckworth. Other special guests include Torvill and Dean, Lorraine Kelly and Sheila Reid. The episode concluded with Norris learning the error of his ways and dancing on the cobbles. The original plan for this feature was to have included Jack Duckworth, along with Vera, but actor Bill Tarmey died before filming commenced. In the end a recording of his voice was played.[141]

On 3 February 2014, another web-based miniseries ran on ITV.com; called Streetcar Stories. It showed what Steve and Lloyd get up to during the late nights in their Streetcar cab office. The first episode shows Steve and Lloyd making a cup of tea with The Stripper playing in the background, highly referencing Morcambe and Wise's Breakfast Sketch. The second episode involves the pair having a biscuit dunking competition.

Corrie Extra![edit]

ITV.com launched a small spin-off drama series called 'Gary's Army Diaries' which revolves around Gary's experiences in Afghanistan and the loss of his best friend, Quinny.[142] Due to their popularity, the three five-minute episodes were recut into a single 30-minute episode, which was broadcast on ITV2.[143]

William Roache and Anne Kirkbride starred as Ken and Deirdre in a series of ten three-minute internet 'webisodes'. The first episode of the series titled, Ken and Deirdre's Bedtime Stories was activated on Valentine's Day 2011.[144]

In 2011, an internet based spin-off starring Helen Flanagan as Rosie Webster followed her on her quest to be a supermodel.[145]

Stage[edit]

Main article: Corrie!

In August 2010, many Coronation Street characters were brought to the stage to make a mockery of Jonathan Harvey's new comedy play Corrie!. The play was commissioned to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the TV series and was presented at The Lowry in Salford, England[146] by ITV Studios and Phil McIntyre Entertainments. Featuring a cast of six actors who alternate roles of favourite characters including Ena Sharples, Hilda Ogden, Hayley and Roy, Richard Hillman, Jack Duckworth, Bet Lynch, Steve, Karen and Becky, the play weaves together some of the most memorable moments from the TV show. It toured UK theatres between February 2011 and July 2011 with guest star narrators including Roy Barraclough, Ken Morley and Gaynor Faye.[147]

Films[edit]

Over the years Coronation Street has released several straight-to-video films. Unlike other soaps which often used straight-to-video films to cover more contentious plot lines that may not be allowed by the broadcaster, Coronation Street has largely used these films to reset their characters in other locations.

In 1995, Coronation Street: The Cruise also known as Coronation Street: The Feature Length Special was released on VHS to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the show. ITV heavily promoted the programme as a direct-to-video exclusive but broadcast a brief version of it on 24 March 1996. The Independent Television Commission investigated the broadcast, as viewers complained that ITV misled them.[148]

In 1997, following the controversial cruise spin-off, Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas! was released on VHS, featuring Jack Duckworth, Vera Duckworth, Fiona Middleton and Maxine Peacock on a trip to Las Vegas.

In 1999, six special episodes of Coronation Street were produced, following the story of Steve McDonald, Vicky McDonald, Vikram Desai, Bet Gilroy and Reg Holdsworth in Brighton.[149] This video was titled Coronation Street: Open All Hours and released on VHS.

In 2008, ITV announced filming was to get underway for a new special DVD episode, Coronation Street: Out of Africa, following the Battersby-Brown family, which saw the temporary return of Cilla Battersby-Brown.

In 2009, another DVD special, Coronation Street: Romanian Holiday, was released. The feature-length comedy drama followed Roy, Hayley and Becky as they travelled to Romania for the wedding of a face from their past.[150]

On 1 November 2010, Coronation Street: A Knight's Tale was released. Reg Holdsworth and Curly Watts returned in the film.[151] Mary tries to take Norris to an apparently haunted castle where she hoped to seduce him. Rosie gets a job there and she takes Jason with her. Brian Capron also guest starred as an assumed relative of Richard Hillman. He rises out of a lake as a comedic "wink to the audience" after Hillman drowned in 2003.

50th Anniversary (2010)[edit]

The BBC commissioned a one-off drama called The Road to Coronation Street, about how the series first came into being. Jessie Wallace plays Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner) with Lynda Baron as Violet Carson (Ena Sharples), Celia Imrie as Doris Speed (Annie Walker) and James Roache as his own father William Roache (Ken Barlow). It was broadcast on 16 September 2010 on BBC Four.[152]

In December 2010, ITV made a few special programmes to mark the 50th anniversary. Coronation Street Uncovered: Live, hosted by Stephen Mulhern was shown after the episode with the tram crash was aired on ITV 2. On 7 and 9 December a countdown on the greatest Corrie moments, Coronation Street: 50 Years, 50 Moments, the viewers voted "The Barlows at Alcoholics Anonymous" as the greatest moment. On 10 December Paul O'Grady hosted a quiz show, Coronation Street: The Big 50 with three teams from the soap and a celebrity team answering questions about Coronation Street and other soaps. Also, Come Dine with Me and Celebrity Juice aired Coronation Street specials in the anniversary week.

Crossovers[edit]

Coronation Street and rival soap opera EastEnders had a crossover for Children in Need in November 2010 called "East Street". EastEnders stars that visited Weatherfield include Laurie Brett as Jane Beale, Charlie G. Hawkins as Darren Miller, Kylie Babbington as Jodie Gold, Nina Wadia as Zainab Masood and John Partridge as Christian Clarke.[153]

Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas! also included some characters from Emmerdale.

Corrie in popular culture[edit]

The British rock band Queen produced a single "I Want to Break Free" in 1984 which reached number 3 position in UK charts and which is largely known for its music video for which all the band members dressed in women's clothes, which parodied the characters and is considered as a homage to the show.[154] The video depicts Mercury as a housewife, loosely based on Bet Lynch, who wants to "break free" from his life. Although Lynch was a blonde in the soap opera, Mercury thought he would look too silly as a blonde and chose a dark wig. May plays another, more relaxed housewife based on Hilda Ogden.[155]

Sponsorship[edit]

Harvey's publicity stunt.

Cadbury was the first sponsor of Coronation Street beginning in July 1996.[156] The original sponsorship had a chocolate-like version of the street (which can be seen in place at the Cadbury World museum in Bournville, Birmingham) with chocolate characters resembling some of the actual Coronation Street characters.[citation needed] In the summer of 2006, Cadbury Trebor Bassetts had to recall over one million chocolate bars, due to suspected salmonella contamination, and Coronation Street stopped the sponsorship for several months. In late 2006, Cadbury did not renew their contract, but agreed to sponsor the show until Coronation Street found a new sponsor.[157]

In July 2007, an ITV press release announced that Harveys was the new sponsor of Coronation Street on the ITV Network. Harveys' sponsorship began on 30 September 2007.[158] In the Coronation Street: Romanian Holiday film, Roy and Hayley Cropper are filmed in front of a Harveys store. In Coronation Street: A Knights Tale, a Harveys truck can be seen driving past Mary Taylor's motor-home to further promote the brand. On 11 April 2012, it was announced that Harveys had decided not to renew their contract and ceased sponsorship in December 2012.[159] Compare The Market were named as the new sponsor.[160]

In November 2011 a Nationwide Building Society ATM in Dev and Sunita Alahan's shop became the first use of paid-for product placement in a UK primetime show.[161]

Show sponsors[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Coronation Street is the second most award-winning British soap opera in the UK, behind rival soap EastEnders.

Producers[edit]

See List of Coronation Street producers

The first producer was Stuart Latham, from December 1960 to July 1961. In the 1960s and 1970s, most producers did stints of about one year. Longer-running producers included Eric Prytherch (May 1972 – April 1974); Bill Podmore (September 1977 – July 1982); Carolyn Reynolds (1991–1993); and Sue Pritchard (1993–1996). From 2008 until Summer 2010 the soap was produced by Kim Crowther, who was replaced by Phil Collinson (producer of Doctor Who from 2005 to 2009). From April 2013, former Emmerdale producer Stuart Blackburn took over production on Coronation Street.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

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Print references[edit]

  • Egan, Sean (2010). 50 Years of Coronation Street: The (Very) Unofficial Story. London: JR Books. ISBN 978-1-906779-80-1. 
  • Collier, Katherine (2003 and updated 2008 by Glenda Young). Coronation Street: The Epic Novel. London: Carlton. ISBN 978-0-233-05097-3.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • Hanson, David; Kingston, Jo (1999). Coronation St.: Access All Areas. London: Andre Deutsch. ISBN 978-0-233-99722-3. 
  • Kershaw, H. V. (1981). The Street Where I Live. London: Granada. ISBN 978-0-246-11734-2. 
  • Little, Daran (1995). The Coronation Street Story. London: Boxtree. ISBN 978-1-85283-464-7. 
  • Little, Daran (1998). The Women of Coronation Street. London: Boxtree. ISBN 978-0-7522-2443-5. 
  • Little, Daran (2000). 40 Years of Coronation Street. London: Andre Deutsch. ISBN 978-0-233-99806-0. 
  • Little, Daran (2002). Who's Who on Coronation Street. London: Andre Deutsch. ISBN 978-0-233-99994-4. 
  • Podmore, Bill; Reece, Peter (1990). Coronation Street: The Inside Story. London: Macdonald. ISBN 978-0-356-17971-1. 
  • Tinker, Jack (1987). Coronation Street: A fully illustrated record of television's most popular serial. London: Treasure Press. ISBN 978-0-86273-240-0. 

Video and DVD references[edit]

  • This Is Coronation Street, Dir: John Black (DVD) Acorn Media Publishing, 2003
  • Coronation Street: Secrets, Dir: John Black (DVD) Morningstar Entertainment, 2004
  • Coronation Street: Early Days, (Video) Granada Media Group, 2001
  • Coronation Street: The Jubilee Years, (Video) Granada Media Group, 1985
  • Coronation Street: The Magic of, (Video) Granada Media Group, 1985

External links[edit]