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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
Opening theme "Coronation Street Theme"
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 9,560
Production
Producer(s) Various
(currently Kate Oates)
Production location(s) Granada Studios, Manchester (1960–2013)
MediaCity, Trafford Wharf, Manchester (2014–present)
Camera setup Videotape; Multiple-camera
Running time 30 minutes
23–25 minutes
(excluding advertisements, with occasional 60 minute episodes)
Production company(s) Granada Television (1960–2006)
ITV Productions (2006–2009)
ITV Studios (2009–present)
Release
Original network ITV
Picture format 405-line Black-and-white
(4:3 SDTV, 1960–1969)
576i
(4:3 SDTV, 1969–2001)
576i
(16:9 SDTV, 2002–2010)
1080i
(16:9 HDTV, 2010–present)
Audio format Mono (1960–1990)
Stereo (1990–2010)
Dolby Surround (2010–present)
Original release 9 December 1960 (1960-12-09) – present
Chronology
Related shows Pardon the Expression
Turn Out the Lights
The Brothers McGregor
Albion Market
The Road to Coronation Street
The Corrie Years (2010)
External links
Website

Coronation Street is a British soap opera created by Granada Television and shown on ITV since 9 December 1960.[1] The programme centres on Coronation Street in Weatherfield, a fictional town based in inner-city Salford, its terraced houses, café, corner shop, newsagents, builder's yard, taxicab office, salon, restaurant, textile factory and the Rovers Return pub.[2] In the show's fictional history, the street was built in 1902 and named in honour of the coronation of King Edward VII.

The show airs six times a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 7:30-8 pm and 8:30-9 pm.[3] Since 2017, ten sequential classic episodes of the series from 1986 onwards have been broadcast weekly on ITV3.[4] The programme was conceived in 1960 by scriptwriter Tony Warren at Granada Television in Manchester.[5] 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 13 pilot episodes. Within six months of the show's first broadcast, it had become the most-watched programme on British television, and is now a significant part of British culture.[6] The show has been one of the most lucrative programmes on British commercial television, underpinning the success of Granada Television and wider ITV network.

Coronation Street is made by Granada Television at MediaCity Manchester and shown in all ITV regions, as well as internationally. On 17 September 2010, it became the world's longest-running television soap opera and was listed in Guinness World Records.[7][8] On 23 September 2015, Coronation Street was broadcast live to mark ITV's sixtieth anniversary.[9]

Influenced by the conventions of the kitchen sink drama, Coronation Street is noted for its depiction of a down-to-earth, working-class community, combined with light-hearted humour and strong characters.[10] The show currently averages 8 million viewers per episode on ITV.[11]

History[edit]

1960s[edit]

The first episode was aired on 9 December 1960 at 7 pm, and was not initially a critical success; Daily Mirror columnist Ken Irwin claimed the series would only last three weeks. Granada Television had commissioned only 13 episodes, and some inside the company doubted the show would last beyond its planned production run.[12] Despite the criticism, viewers were immediately drawn into the serial, won over by Coronation Street's ordinary characters.[13] The programme also made use of Northern English language and dialect; affectionate local terms like "eh, chuck?", "nowt" (/nt/, from nought, meaning nothing), and "by 'eck!" became widely heard on British television for the first time.[14]

Ken Barlow in the first episode of Coronation Street, 1960

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—as well as his parents, Frank and Ida (Frank Pemberton and Noel Dyson)—something of an embarrassment.[15] 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."[16] Roache is the only remaining member of the original cast, which makes him the longest-serving actor in Coronation Street, and 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.[17] Headstrong Ena often clashed with Elsie Tanner (Patricia Phoenix), 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 (Kenneth Cope) 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.[18] 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.[19][20]

Storylines throughout the decade included a mystery poison-pen letter received by Elsie Tanner, the 1962 marriage of Ken Barlow and Valerie Tatlock (Anne Reid), the death of Martha Longhurst in 1964, the birth of the Barlow twins in 1965, Elsie Tanner's wedding to Steve Tanner (Paul Maxwell) and a train crashing from the viaduct (both in 1967), Steve Tanner's murder 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.[21] 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."[22] 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 (Jennifer Moss) becoming addicted to drugs, Jerry Booth (Graham Haberfield) being in a storyline about homosexuality, Emily Nugent (Eileen Derbyshire) having an out-of-wedlock child, and introducing a black family, but all of these ideas were dropped for fear of upsetting viewers.[23]

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.[24] Anne Reid quit as Valerie Barlow, and was killed off in 1971, electrocuting herself with a faulty hairdryer.[25] Ratings reached a low of eight million in February 1973, when Pat Phoenix quit as Elsie Tanner, Violet Carson (battleaxe Ena Sharples) was written out for most of the year due to illness, and Doris Speed (haughty landlady Annie Walker) took two months' leave due to bereavement.[26] The audience of ITV's other flagship soap opera Crossroads increased markedly at this time, as its established cast, such as Meg Richardson (Noele Gordon), grew in popularity.[26] 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), Deirdre Hunt (Anne Kirkbride), Rita Littlewood (Barbara Knox), Mavis Riley (Thelma Barlow) and Ivy Tyldesley (Lynne Perrie) were built up between 1972 and 1973 (with Perrie's character being renamed to the better-known "Tilsley"), and 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.[27][28]

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.[29] Stan (Bernard Youens) and Hilda Ogden (Jean Alexander) 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.[30] 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 (Cheryl Murray) 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, Fred Gee (Fred Feast) and Betty Turpin (Betty Driver).

Storylines throughout the decade included a warehouse fire in 1975, the birth of Tracy Langton in 1977, the murder of Ernest Bishop (Stephen Hancock) in 1978, a lorry crashing into the Rovers Return in 1979, and the marriage of Brian Tilsley (Christopher Quinten) 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 Bet Lynch and popular character Len Fairclough (Peter Adamson). 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.[31]

1980s[edit]

Between 1980 and 1989, Coronation Street underwent some of the biggest changes since its launch. By May 1984, William Roache (Ken Barlow) stood as the only original cast member, after the departures of Violet Carson (Ena Sharples) in 1980, Doris Speed (Annie Walker) in 1983, and both Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner) and Jack Howarth (Albert Tatlock) in 1984.[32] 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.[33] While the press predicted the end of Corrie, H. V. Kershaw declared that "There are no stars in Coronation Street."[34] Writers drew on the show's many archetypes, with established characters stepping into the roles left by the original cast.[35] 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.[36][37] 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 (Lisa Lewis) became the first major black character in her role as machinist at Baldwin's Casuals.[35]

Ken Barlow married Deirdre Langton (Anne Kirkbride) on 27 July 1981. The episode was watched by over 15 million viewers – more ITV viewers than the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana two days later.[38] In the 1980s relationships were cemented between established characters: Alf Roberts (Bryan Mosley) married Audrey Potter (Sue Nicholls) in 1985; Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) married Sally Seddon (Sally Whittaker) in 1986;[39] Bet Lynch married Alec Gilroy (Roy Barraclough) in 1987; and 1988 saw the marriages of both Ivy Tilsley and Don Brennan (Geoffrey Hinsliff), and the long-awaited union of Mavis Riley and Derek Wilton (Peter Baldwin), after over a decade of on-off romances and a failed marriage attempt in 1979.[40]

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.[41] 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.[42] The Coronation Street episode broadcast on 2 January 1985 attracted 21.40 million viewers, making it the most-watched episode in the shows history based on a single showing.[43] Subsequent episodes would achieve higher figures when the original broadcast and omnibus edition figures were combined. 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.[41] 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.[44] Due to new pressures, an introduction of the third weekly episode aired on 20 October 1989, to broadcast each Friday at 7:30 pm.[44]

The 1980s featured some of the most prominent storylines in the programme's history, such as Deirdre Barlow's affair with Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) in 1983, the first soap storyline to receive widespread media attention.[45] The feud between Ken Barlow and Mike Baldwin would continue for many years, with Mike even marrying Ken's daughter, Susan (Wendy Jane Walker). In 1986, there was a fire at the Rovers Return. The episode that aired on 25 December 1987, attracted a combined audience (original and omnibus) of 26.65 million - a figure helped by the fact that this episode heralded the departure of immensely-popular character Hilda Ogden (Jean Alexander). Between 1986 and 1989, the story of Rita Fairclough's (Barbara Knox) 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. This storyline gave the show its highest combined viewing figure in its history with 26.93 million for the episode that aired on 15 (and 19) March 1989, where Alan is hiding from the police after trying to kill Rita in the previous episode. This rating is sometimes incorrectly credited to the 8 December 1989 tram death episode.[46] Other stories included the birth of Nicky Tilsley (Warren Jackson) in 1980, Elsie Tanner's departure and Stan Ogden's funeral in 1984, the birth of Sarah-Louise Tilsley (Lynsay King) 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).[47] 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".[48] Black and Asian characters had appeared, but it was not until 1999 that the show featured its first regular non-white family, the Desai family.

New characters Des (Philip Middlemiss) and Steph Barnes (Amelia Bullmore) moved into one of the new houses in 1990, being dubbed by the media as Yuppies.[49] 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 (Beverly Callard), Jim (Charles Lawson), Steve (Simon Gregson) and Andy (Nicholas Cochrane) interested viewers.[50][51] Other newcomers were Maud Grimes (Elizabeth Bradley), Roy Cropper (David Neilson), Gary and Judy Mallett (Ian Mercer and Gaynor Faye), 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 (Ken Morley) and his water bed.[52]

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

In 1995, Julie Goodyear (Bet Lynch) left the show. She made 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 (Peter Baldwin), Don Brennan (Geoffrey Hinsliff), Percy Sugden (Bill Waddington), Bill Webster (Peter Armitage), Billy Williams (Frank Mills) and Maureen Holdsworth (Sherrie Hewson).[53] 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.[53]

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.[54] 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.[54]

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."[53]

One of Coronation Street's best known storylines took place in March/April 1998, with Deirdre Rachid (Anne Kirkbride) being wrongfully imprisoned after a relationship with con-man Jon Lindsay (Owen Aaronovitch). The episode in which Deirdre was sent to prison had an audience of 19 million viewers, and 'Free the Weatherfield One' campaigns sprung up in a media frenzy.[54] Then Prime Minister Tony Blair even passed comment on Deirdre's sentencing in Parliament.[55] 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.[54]

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.[56] 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.[57] 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 2000 British Soap Awards won Best Storyline.

From 1999 to 2001, issue-led storylines were introduced such as Toyah Battersby's (Georgia Taylor) rape, Roy and Hayley Cropper (David Neilson and Julie Hesmondhalgh) abducting their foster child, Sarah Platt's Internet chat room abduction and Alma Halliwell's (Amanda Barrie) death from cervical cancer.[58] 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.[58] In 2002, Gail Platt (Helen Worth) married Richard Hillman (Brian Capron), a financial advisor, who would go on to leave Duggie Ferguson (John Bowe) to die, murder both his ex-wife Patricia (Annabelle Apsion) and neighbour Maxine Peacock (Claire Casey), and attempt to murder his mother-in-law Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls), and another neighbour, Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire). After confessing to the murder of Maxine and his ex-wife, Hillman attempted to kill Gail, her children Sarah and David (Jack P. Shepherd), 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.[59] Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley) became Corrie's first regular homosexual character.[60] In 2003 another gay male character was introduced, Sean Tully (Antony Cotton). The character of Karen McDonald (Suranne Jones) was developed, with her fiery marriage to Steve and warring with Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford). In 2004, Coronation Street retconned the Baldwin family when Mike's nephew Danny Baldwin (Bradley Walsh) and his wife Frankie (Debra Stephenson) moved to the area from Essex, with their two sons Jamie (Rupert Hill) and Warren (Danny Young). Until this time, Mike Baldwin had been portrayed as an only child, with his father (also called Frankie and portrayed by Sam Kydd) appearing in the programme between 1980 and 1982 confirming the fact. The bigamy of Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) and his addiction to alcohol, later in the decade, Maya Sharma's (Sasha Behar) revenge on former lover Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin), Charlie Stubbs's (Bill Ward) psychological abuse of Shelley Unwin (Sally Lindsay), and the deaths of Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs), Vera Duckworth (Elizabeth Dawn) and Fred Elliott (John Savident). In 2007, Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) murdered Charlie Stubbs and claiming it was self-defence; the audience during this storyline peaked at 13.3 million. At the 2007 British Soap Awards, it won Best Storyline, and Ford was voted Best Actress for her portrayal. Other storylines included Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) becoming a prostitute and the show's first bisexual love triangle (between Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh), Sonny Dhillon (Pal Aron), and Sean Tully (Antony Cotton)). 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 (Sean Gallagher) and Liam (Rob James-Collier) 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.[61] After conversation between Dawn and producers Kieran Roberts and Steve Frost, the decision was made to kill Vera off.[62] In January 2008, shortly before plans to retire to Blackpool, Vera's husband Jack (William Tarmey) 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.[63] Sarah-Louise, who was involved in some of the decade's most controversial stories, left in December 2007 with her daughter, Bethany Platt (who had been in an ecstasy storyline earlier that year, in which she discovered her uncle David's stash of the drug he was looking after for a friend in one of her dolls, and ended up in hospital after she ate them). In 2008, Michelle learning that Ryan (Ben Thompson) was not her biological son, having been accidentally swapped at birth with Alex Neeson (Dario Coates). Carla Connor (Alison King) turned to Liam for comfort and developed feelings for him. In spite of knowing about her feelings, Liam married Maria Sutherland (Samia Longchambon). 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.[64] Gail Platt's (Helen Worth) son David (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 (Michael Byrne), the father she had never known and in 2009, Gail's boyfriend Joe McIntyre (Reece Dinsdale) became addicted to painkillers, which came to a head when he broke into the medical centre. In August 2008, Jed Stone (Kenneth Cope) returned after 42 years. Liam Connor and his ex-sister-in-law Carla gave into their feelings for each other and began an affair. Carla's fiancée Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) discovered the affair and 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 (Sue Cleaver) father, Colin (Edward de Souza) - he son of Elsie Tanner's (Pat Phoenix) cousin Arnley - had slept with Eileen's old classmate, Paula Carp (Sharon Duce) while she was still at school, and that Paula's daughter Julie (Katy Cavanagh) was in fact also Colin's daughter. In May, Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) 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 (Stephanie Beacham) 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 (Simon Gregson) marriage to Becky Granger (Katherine Kelly) and Kevin Webster's (Michael Le Vell) affair with Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns). On Christmas Day 2009, Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) told husband Kevin that she had breast cancer, just as he was about to leave her for lover Molly.[65]

2010s[edit]

The show began broadcasting in high-definition in May 2010, and on 17 September that year, 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.[8]

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.[66]

In May 2011, Dennis Tanner returned after 43 years off screen. Beverley Callard[67] and Vicky Entwistle[68] 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. In December 2011, the popular Sophie & Sian lesbian relationship storyline came to an end when Sian left Weatherfield after jilting Sophie at their wedding, and later discovering that Sophie had shared a kiss with Dev Alahan's daughter Amber whilst she was away on holiday.

In 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.

In 2014 Kal Nazir's family, the street's first Muslim family, was introduced. Burglar Michael Rodwell played by comedian Les Dennis, was introduced through a restorative justice storyline with Gail McIntyre. Three of the show's best-loved characters made their final appearances in 2014: Hayley Cropper, Tina McIntyre and Deirdre Barlow. Hayley was diagnosed with a terminal cancer of the pancreas after a 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 lying 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, but is later killed by Carla's brother Rob Donovan after he discovers the affair. Peter is arrested and jailed for the murder, but is released from prison once the real identity of the killer is uncovered. His name cleared, Peter decides to depart seeing as how there is nothing keeping him in Weatherfield other than son Simon. Peter leaves in November.

Because of the stress of the trial, Peter's stepmother Deirdre decided to go away to stay with her friend. Deirdre's portrayer Anne Kirkbride died in January 2015, so the character was written out of the show, with her character dying off screen in July 2015.

In January 2015, while driving the men and women of Underworld to an up class hotel, Steve loses control of their minibus when he is distracted by reckless drivers, and ends up crashing. The vehicle is hanging over the edge of a cliff, and leaving the passengers' lives hanging in the balance. Steve regains consciousness first and abandons the wreckage. While everyone emerges alive from the crash, young Sinead Tinker is left paralysed, potentially for life, and Steve's depression takes a turn for the worse.

In May 2015, Tracy seeks revenge on Carla and inadvertently starts a massive fire in the Victoria Court flats. A barely conscious Carla is rescued by Leanne. Leanne went back inside to rescue Amy, followed by Kal. The residents are horrified when they find a gas canister on fire. Amy and Leanne make it out safely but Kal is killed after the balcony of the flat explodes. A stray piece from the flaming debris then causes a second explosion at the nearby builders' yard, ignited by a batch of flammable chemicals. This blast hits Maddie as she walks past the yard, and she later dies from her injuries. Carla becomes addicted to a gambling habit and is a mess. She takes Tracy to a cliff and tries to commit suicide but Tracy confesses. As the factory is in tatters, Johnny Connor and son Aidan Connor and sister Kate Connor come to bail her out.

On the morning of 1 March 2016, Coronation Street creator, Tony Warren, died, aged 79, after a "short illness" as confirmed by Coronation Street's Twitter account. Tributes were paid by cast members, past and present.

In October 2016, David Platt attempted to get revenge on his wife Kylie's killer Clayton Hibbs by crashing his car into the prison van that killer Clayton was in. In a bid to protect him from himself, Gail and Nick lock him in the cellar of the Bistro. However he fakes his own death and manages to escape his makeshift prison cell. He runs to the garage, (where his car is being repaired) and drives off in it much to his family's horror. However, while driving the car, he sees his daughter Lily in the road and swerves the car and flips over in it. Gary Windass attempted to save Lily but they both ended up trapped under it. When the two are pulled out, the car suddenly catches fire and left Anna Windass with severely injured legs after catching fire due to it spreading.

In March 2017, Ken Barlow is pushed down the stairs by an unknown assailant in a storyline dubbed Who Attacked Ken?. The main suspects were Ken's children Peter, Tracy Barlow and Daniel Osbourne, his grandchildren Amy and Adam Barlow, local builder and soap villain Pat Phelan and Daniel's girlfriend Sinead Tinker. The attacker was revealed in May 2017 to be Daniel. Daniel was offered a place at Oxford University. However, Sinead falls pregnant with his child and he decides to stay in Weatherfield to look after them. When Ken learns of this, he persuades Sinead to get an abortion. When Sinead reveals to Daniel about the abortion, he breaks up with Sinead and attacks Ken that night. Daniel is not arrested as Ken tells the police that he tripped and no one pushed him.

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 (Pat Phoenix) and Annie Walker (Doris Speed) as central figures.[69] 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, battle-axe and self-proclaimed moral voice.[70] Elsie was the tart with a heart, who was constantly hurt by men in the search for true love.[71] Annie Walker, landlady of the Rovers Return Inn, had delusions of grandeur and saw herself as better than other residents of Coronation Street.[72]

Coronation Street became known for the portrayal of strong female characters,[73] including original cast characters like Ena, Annie and Elsie, and Hilda Ogden (Jean Alexander), who first appeared in 1964; who became household names during the 1960s.[74] Warren's programme was largely matriarchal, which some commentators put down to the female-dominant environment in which he grew up.[75] Consequently, the show has a long tradition of psychologically abused husbands, most famously Stan Ogden (Bernard Youens) and Jack Duckworth (Bill Tarmey), husbands of Hilda and Vera Duckworth (Liz Dawn), 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 before the end of the 1970s, 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. Since 1984, Ken Barlow has been the show's only remaining original character. Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire) had appeared in the series since late-January 1961, when the show was just weeks old, and was the show's longest-serving female character before she departed on 1 January 2016. Rita Tanner (Barbara Knox) appeared on the show for one episode in December 1964, before returning as a full time cast member in January 1972. She is currently the second longest serving original cast member on the show.

Stan and Hilda Ogden were introduced in 1964, with Hilda becoming one of the most famous British soap opera 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.[76] 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 departure on Christmas Day 1987, remains the highest-rated episode of Coronation Street ever, with nearly 27,000,000 viewers. Stan Ogden had been killed off in 1984 following the death of actor Bernard Youens after a long illness which had restricted his appearances towards the end.[77]

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.[78] 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.[79]

Coronation Street and its characters often rely heavily on archetypes, with the characterisation of some of its current and recent cast based loosely on past characters. Phyllis Pearce (Jill Summers), Blanche Hunt (Maggie Jones) and Sylvia Goodwin (Stephanie Cole) embodied the role of the acid-tongued busybody originally held by Ena, Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) has grown snobbish, like Annie, and a number of the programme's female characters, such as Carla Connor (Alison King), mirror the vulnerability of Elsie and Bet. Other recurring archetypes include the war veteran such as Albert Tatlock (Jack Howarth), Percy Sugden (Bill Waddington) and Gary Windass (Mikey North), the bumbling retail manager like Leonard Swindley (Arthur Lowe), Reg Holdsworth (Ken Morley), Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden), quick-tempered, tough tradesmen like Len Fairclough (Peter Adamson), Jim McDonald (Charles Lawson), Tommy Harris (Thomas Craig) and Owen Armstrong (Ian Puleston-Davies), and the perennial losers such as Stan and Hilda, Jack and Vera, Les Battersby (Bruce Jones), Beth Tinker (Lisa George) and Kirk Sutherland (Andrew Whyment).[80]

Villains are also common character types such as Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford), Alan Bradley (Mark Eden), Jenny Bradley (Sally Ann Matthews), Rob Donovan (Marc Baylis), Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel), Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien), Caz Hammond (Rhea Bailey), Richard Hillman (Brian Capron), Greg Kelly (Stephen Billington), Will Chatterton (Leon Ockenden), Nathan Curtis (Christopher Harper), Callum Logan (Sean Ward), Karl Munro (John Michie), Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre), David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd), Maya Sharma (Sasha Behar), Kirsty Soames (Natalie Gumede) and John Stape (Graeme Hawley). 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 others. 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."[80]

Storylines[edit]

Over the show's history, Coronation Street has highlighted a wide range of different social issues, including rape, cancer, HIV, incest, hoarding, stillbirth, murder, suicide, arson, hit-and-run, miscarriage, adultery, euthanasia, homosexuality, depression, epilepsy, osteoporosis, childhood cancer, domestic violence, post traumatic stress disorder, teenage pregnancy, gambling addiction, widowers moving onto other relationships, ehlers–danlos syndrome, brain aneurysm, drink driving, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, alzheimer's disease, families terrorised by thugs, financial problems, parental abuse, identity theft, bereavement, terminal illness, post-natal depression, abortion, perjury, adoption, premature birth, fostering, surrogacy, prostitution, sexual exploitation, child grooming and revenge porn.

Production[edit]

Broadcast format[edit]

Between 9 December 1960 and 3 March 1961, Coronation Street was broadcast twice weekly, on Wednesday and Friday.[18] During this period, the Friday episode was broadcast live, with the Wednesday episode being pre-recorded 15 minutes later.[81] When the programme went fully networked on 6 March 1961, broadcast days changed to Monday and Wednesday.[18] 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 end, 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.[82] 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 technicians' 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[83] 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. The 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.[84]

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.[85] He had retained links with Coronation Street up to his death in 2016, often advising on storylines.

Harry Kershaw[86] 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.[87]

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,[88] 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.

Kieran Roberts currently, as of 2016, executively produces the show, with former Emmerdale producer Stuart Blackburn as the series producer. Blackburn was cut from his job in September 2015, with the then-series producer of Emmerdale, Kate Oates, replacing him.

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.[89] 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 dramas such as Touching Evil and Shameless.[90] Russell T Davies was briefly a storyliner on the programme in the mid-1990s,[91] also writing the script for the direct-to-video special "Viva Las Vegas!"[91] 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.[92] Jimmy McGovern also wrote some episodes.[93]

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.[94]

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."[95] 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.[96][97] 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[98] 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.[99]

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.[99]

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.[100]

A reggae version of the theme tune was recorded by The I-Royals and released by Media Marvels and WEA in 1983.[101]

On 31 March 2017, it was revealed on the YouTube channel of Corrie that some of the soap's cast would sing a specially-written lyric, of which will be added to the new theme song that will be played, as of the first episode of the evening of Monday, 3 April 2017, but it turned out to be an April Fools joke.

Viewing figures[edit]

Episodes in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, regularly attracted figures of between 18 and 21 million viewers,[102][103][104] and during the 1990s and early 2000s, 14 to 16 million per episode would be typical.[105][106] Like most terrestrial television in the UK, a decline in viewership has taken place and the show posts an average audience of just under 9 million per episode as of 2013, remaining one of the highest rated programmes in the UK.[107][108] Since EastEnders began airing in 1985 on the BBC, the two programmes have constantly battled it out for first place in the ratings.

Coronation Street rates as one of the most watched programmes on UK television for every day it is aired. The episode that aired on 2 January 1985 where Bet Lynch finds out she has got the job as manager of the Rovers Return, is the highest-rated single episode in the show's history, attracting 21.40 million viewers.[109] The 25 December 1987 episode where Hilda Ogden leaves the street to start a new life as a housekeeper for long-term employer Dr Lowther, attracted a combined audience of 26.65 million for its original airing and omnibus repeat on 27 December 1987.[110] This is the second-highest combined rating in the shows history. The show attracted its highest-ever combined rating of 26.93 million for the episode that aired on 15 (and 19) March 1989, where Rita Fairclough is in hospital and Alan Bradley is hiding from the police after trying to kill Rita in the previous episode.[111]

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 café (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.[25]

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.[112] 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.[112] 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.[113] The set was constructed from reclaimed Salford brick.[112] 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.[114]

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.[114]

In 2008, Victoria Court, an apartment building full of luxury flats, was started on Victoria Street.[115]

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.[116] 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.[117] The tour was discontinued in December 2015.

On 12 March 2018, the extension of the Victoria Street set was officially unveiled. The new set features a garden, featuring a memorial bench paying tribute to the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing, including Coronation Street super fan Martyn Hett. The prescient includes a Greater Manchester Police station called Weatherfield Police station. As part of a product placement deal between three companies and ITV Studios, new additions include a Tram stop station which is named Weatherfield North with Transport for Greater Manchester Metrolink branding, and shop front facades of Costa Coffee and the Weatherfield branded Co-op Food store interior scenes have been screened and exterior scenes at the new set first aired on 20 April 2018.[118] On 20 April 2018, ITV announced that they had been granted official approval of planning permission to allow booked public visits to the MediaCityUK Trafford Wharf set. Tours commenced on weekends from 26 May 2018 onwards.[119]

Broadcast[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

For 57 years, Coronation Street has remained at the centre of ITV's prime time schedule. The programme is shown in the UK in six 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 7 pm.[18] 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 7:30 pm.[18] The third weekly episode was introduced on Friday 20 October 1989, broadcast at 7:30 pm.[44] From 1996, an extra episode was broadcast at 7:30 pm 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 7 pm to Monday and Wednesday at 7:30 pm 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 7:30 pm on Monday and Wednesday for the next twenty-seven years.

From episode 2981 on Friday 20 October 1989 at 7:30 pm, a third weekly episode was introduced and this increased to four episodes a week from episode 4096 on Sunday 24 November 1996, again at 7:30 pm.[120] The second Monday episode was introduced in 2002 and was broadcast at 7:30 pm to usher in the return of Bet Lynch.[121] The Monday 8:30 pm 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.[122]

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 2006, the repeats had reached February 1997.[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 started to be broadcast in five instalments a week, at 7:30  and 8:30 pm on Mondays and Fridays, and at 8:30 pm on Thursdays. The Thursday episode replaced the former Wednesday show.[123] Occasional late night episodes of Coronation Street begin at 10 pm, 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 9.25am until December 2010. In January 2011 the omnibus moved to Saturday mornings on ITV at 9.25am. 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 9.25am 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 7:30 pm timeslot on a Wednesday evening in September 2012.[124] A sixth weekly episode aired on Wednesdays at 8:30pm from 20 September 2017.[3] ITV also confirmed on this date that ITV3 would air afternoon timeslot sequential reruns of Classic Coronation Street. Two classic episodes were retransmitted between Mondays to Fridays at 2:40 pm until 3:45 pm from 2 October 2017. The first episodes shown were from episode 2587 (originally transmitted on Wednesday 15 January 1986) onwards.[4]

International[edit]

Coronation Street is shown in various countries worldwide.

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.[125] 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 1994–1995. In 2005 STW-9 Perth began to show episodes before the 6 pm news to improve the lead in to Nine News Perth, but this did not work and the show was cancelled a few months later.[126] In 1996 Pay-TV began and Arena began screening the series in one-hour instalments on Saturdays and Sundays at 6:30 pm EST. The series was later moved to Pay-TV channel UKTV where it is still shown. In 2015 Coronation Street is shown on weeknights at 6:50 pm EST. Episodes on UKTV are around four weeks behind the UK.[127] Seven broadcast old episodes daily on 7Two[128] until September 2014. As of November 2017, episodes are one week behind of the UK.

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 6:30 pm and 7 pm local time Monday-Friday, with an omnibus on Sundays at 7.30am. By May 2014, the CBC was only two weeks behind Britain, so the show was reduced to a single showing weeknights at 6:30 pm local time. The show debuted on Toronto's CBLT in July 1966.[129] 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.[130] 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.[129][131] In light of 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."[132] 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."[129] In late September 2014, CBC aired extra episodes to become only one week behind the UK in airing of new episodes.

In the Republic of Ireland, Coronation Street is simulcast on Virgin Media One. The show is Virgin Media One's most watched programme with an average of 365,000 people watching each night. The broadcaster relies on a live feed of the soap from the ITV network in London. If there was a breaking newsflash (e.g. about a Royal baby being born) on the UK channel, Coronation Street could not be broadcast. An omnibus is also shown on weekends. 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 RTÉ2 and from 1992 to 2001 it was broadcast on RTÉ One. In 2001 Granada TV bought 45 percent of TV3, which resulted in TV3 broadcasting series from 2001 to 2014. In 2006 ITV sold its share of the channel but TV3. TV3 continued to buy the soap until the end of 2014 when it moved to UTV Ireland. Coronation Street has broadcast on each of the main Irish networks, except for the Irish Language Network TG4. From December 2016, Coronation Street returned to TV3 after Virgin Media acquired UTV Ireland. In August 30th 2018 Virgin Media Two began airing repeats of the show along with Virgin Media Three[133]

In South Africa, Coronation Street episodes are broadcast three days after the UK air date on ITV Choice.

In New Zealand, Coronation Street has been shown locally since 1964, first on NZBC television until 1975,[134] and then on TV One, which broadcasts it in a 4-episode/2-hour block on Fridays from 7:30 pm. Since September 2014, TV One has added a 2-episode/1-hour block on Saturday from 8:30 pm. Because TV One has never upgraded to showing the equivalent of five or six 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 7:30 pm slot by a considerable margin in comparison to other weeknights,[135] The serial aired on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm until October 2011, when the show moved to a 5:30 pm half-hour slot every weekday. The move proved unpopular with fans,[136] 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. On 10 May 2018 it was announced that the current 2016 episodes would be moved to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday titled 'Catch-up Episodes' and for primetime Wednesday-Friday express episodes would be airing in New Zealand a week behind The United Kingdom titled '2018 Episodes' these changes would be taking place from 11 June 2018.

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. Beginning in 2009, episodes were available in the United States through Amazon.com's on-demand service, one month behind their original UK airdates.[137] 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.[138][139] For a time, Hulu's website stated: "New episodes of Coronation Street will be unavailable as of April 7th, 2016", with the same being said for British soap Hollyoaks,[140] but Hulu is once again showing new episodes of Coronation Street as of April 2017, two weeks behind the UK airdate. The BBC/ITV service Britbox shows new episodes on the same day as the UK airing. Coronation Street was also shown on USA Network for an unknown period starting in 1982.[141]

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.[142]

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.[143] 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.[144]

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 Barlow, Norris Cole, Maria Connor and Blanche Hunt.

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.[145]

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.[146]

Spin-offs[edit]

Television[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.[147]

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.[148]

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

Crossovers[edit]

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.[149]

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.[150]

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.[151]

Documentaries[edit]

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), Farewell Becky (McDonald), and Farewell Tina (McIntyre). Most of these were broadcast on the same day as the character's final scenes in the series.

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 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.

International adaptation[edit]

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

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.[152]

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.[153] 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 included 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.[154]

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.[155]

On 1 November 2010, Coronation Street: A Knight's Tale was released. Reg Holdsworth and Curly Watts returned in the film.[156] 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 with a comedic "wink to the audience" after Hillman drowned in 2003.

Online[edit]

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.

ITV.com launched a small spin-off drama series called 'Gary's Army Diaries' which revolves around Gary Windass's experiences in Afghanistan and the loss of his best friend, Quinny.[157] Due to their popularity, the three five-minute episodes were recut into a single 30-minute episode, which was broadcast on ITV2.[158]

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.[159]

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

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, referencing Morecambe and Wise's Breakfast Sketch. The second episode involves the pair having a biscuit dunking competition.

Stage[edit]

In August 2010, many Coronation Street characters were brought to the stage in Jonathan Harvey's 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[160] 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.[161]

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.[162] 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.[163]

Sponsorship[edit]

Cadbury was the first sponsor of Coronation Street beginning in July 1996.[164] 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.[165]

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.[166] 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.[167] Compare The Market were named as the new sponsor.[168]

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.[169]

Hyundai are the current sponsor since January 2015 in the Republic of Ireland, aired on TV3 HD.

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). Collinson left the job in 2013, with Stuart Blackburn replacing him. Kate Oates was announced as Blackburn's successor in September 2015.

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

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Print references[edit]

  • Randall, Tim (2010). Fifty Years of Coronation Street. London: Headline Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-7553-1846-9. 
  • Egan, Sean (2010). 50 Years of Coronation Street: The (Very) Unofficial Story. London: JR Books. ISBN 978-1-906779-80-1. 
  • Collier, Katherine (2008) [2003]. Coronation Street: The Epic Novel. Updated by Glenda Young. London: Carlton. ISBN 978-0-233-05097-3. 
  • 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]