|Coronation Street episode|
|Episode no.||Episode 7352–7356|
|Directed by||Ian Bevitt, David Kester|
|Written by||Martin Allen, Mark Wadlow, Stephen Russell, Chris Fewtrell, Joe Turner|
|Produced by||Kim Crowther|
|Original air date||31 May 2010|
|Running time||30 minutes (including adverts)|
"Siege Week" is a week-long special of the British soap opera Coronation Street, which was broadcast from 31 May 2010 to 9 June 2010 on ITV1. The special edition was the first time in the history of the programme being on air that it was filmed in high definition. The six 30-minute episodes were directed by Ian Bevitt and David Kester, and were the most expensive Coronation Street had ever produced, costing £1million. The episodes, ranging from the 7352nd to the 7356th in the series, were written by Martin Allen, Mark Wadlow, Stephen Russell, Chris Fewtrell and Joe Turner, and produced by Kim Crowther for ITV Studios. It was filmed at the Granada Studios complex in Manchester.
Each episodes broadcast every day during the week, the special storyline followed the soap's well-known villain Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) escaping from prison and with the help of his former cellmate Robbie Sloan, sets off to kidnap his ex-wife Carla Connor (Alison King) and Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) in the Underworld factory with the intent to murder them. The episodes continued to depict the kidnapping, hostage situation and the aftermath, such as the rescue attempts of other characters and the explosive climax in which the factory was consumed with fire.
Bitter about his ex-wife Carla Connor's (Alison King) affair with Liam Connor (Rob James-Collier), Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) forms a plan with his cellmate Robbie Sloan to break out of prison, and kidnap and kill Carla, and Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) for revenge against her husband Roy (David Neilson), who convinced Tony to confess to the police that he had murdered Liam, which ended him up in jail. Robbie is released from prison and Tony fakes a heart attack. Robbie gets him out of the ambulance and they head to Weatherfield.
Carla is told by the police that Tony has escaped from prison, and told to be careful. The news spreads around the street. Robbie poses as a businessman interested in the Underworld factory, and arranges to meet Carla at the factory, which is covered in construction workers including Bill Webster (Peter Armitage) and Jason Grimshaw (Ryan Thomas). Meanwhile, Gail McIntyre's (Helen Worth) trial gets underway, as she is accused of her husband Joe's murder, although he accidentally died faking his own death for life insurance money. Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) gives evidence at the trial.
Carla proceeds to showing Robbie around the empty Underworld factory and all the knickers for sale. During her sales pitch, Robbie pulls out a gun and points it at her. Shocked, she realises she has been tricked. Robbie holds Carla at gunpoint and orders her to get rid of Bill and Jason who are working on the roof. Carla phones Bill and tells him the insurance company has not paid out so they are to stop working immediately. Despite Bill's protestations, Robbie threatens Carla into remaining firm. When Bill and Jason give in, Robbie ties Carla to her desk chair in her office. She begs to be freed, but Robbie duct tapes her mouth shut, and after checking that she cannot speak or scream for help, leaves her bound and gagged in the office. She attempts to untie herself and scream for help through the tape over her mouth, but is unable to make anyone hear her or loosen her restraints. Robbie then heads to Roy's café, and tricks Hayley into coming with him to the factory, saying that Carla has had an accident. Hayley follows him there. As she enters, she sees Carla tied up and gagged, who screams in warning but it is too late. Hayley is held at gunpoint by Robbie and tied to a chair herself. Carla is wheeled on her chair into the Underworld workers' floor to sit face-to-face with Hayley. Tony then appears in the factory. Robbie states that someone is likely to hear Hayley's screams, but Tony assures him that no one will hear them through the factory walls. He surveys a humiliated Carla bound and gagged, stating "You've done well." Warning that it might hurt, Tony rips the duct tape from Carla's mouth, allowing her to speak. Tony jokes that he will have ripped off three layers of fake tan from her face. When Carla demands what he wants, Tony announces his plans to murder them, terrifying them.
Carla and Tony exchange heated words about their marriage and Tony's sanity and jail sentence. Tony taunts his tied up ex-wife as she tells him he will go back to prison for even longer, when he reminds her he was given a life sentence. Tony tells Robbie how he married Carla as he was attracted to her feistiness. Tony tells Hayley that she is there as revenge against Roy, although Hayley protests Roy did nothing to him. It is revealed that Robbie has kidnapped Carla and Hayley to earn money for his estranged son's university tuition fees, and Tony has promised him £2,000. Carla taunts Robbie, attempting to manipulate him into setting them free, but it doesn't work. Although Carla's bonds are too tight, Hayley is managing to slip free, although Tony notices before she can untie herself and tightens the restraints. Tony then discovers the money from the Underworld factory is missing and that he cannot pay Robbie. He demands from Carla to know where the money is but she does not know. Carla and Hayley try to convince Robbie to phone the police but he refuses. When Robbie becomes more and more anxious about getting his money, he threatens Tony with his gun. Carla and Hayley try to scream for help but they cannot be heard through the factory walls. Despite Carla's pleads, Robbie allows Tony to manipulate him, and Robbie gives him the gun. Tony then shoots Robbie dead.
Maria Connor (Samia Smith) then appears at the factory door, demanding answers from Carla. Tony gags Hayley's mouth with duct tape, and forces Carla to answer the door and holds a gun to her while remaining hidden. Carla tries to get rid of Maria with the gun on her but eventually tries to warn Maria of Tony and tells her to run. Tony immediately pushes Carla to the ground, knocking her unconscious, and pulls Maria into the factory. Tony puts the sleeping Carla back in her chair and ties her up again. Tony tries to convince Maria that he is doing a good thing killing Carla and that he killed Liam for them. Carla awakens and manages to loosen the ropes around her hands slightly. Maria turns to leave. Tony threatens to shoot Carla in the head if Maria leaves, but she still escapes, knowing Tony will not pull the trigger. Maria raises the alarm with the residents that Tony is holding Carla and Hayley hostage. The residents try to break in to rescue the pair. Roy desperately tries to get into the factory and begs Tony not to harm Hayley. Tony starts to douse Underworld in petrol to set the factory on fire. Struggling to untie herself from her restraints, Carla begs Tony not to kill them, but he refuses, stating "she cast the first stone" by sleeping with Liam. Carla begins to plead for Hayley's release, saying that she should be punished for sleeping with Liam, but that Hayley has done nothing wrong. Tony finally relents, gagging Hayley and throwing her outside. Tony then states that he and Carla will die together.
Tony enjoys a final drink in the factory while the police and residents gather outside. Carla, still tied to her chair, tries to convince Tony to untie her so that they can have a drink to celebrate, attempting to get free or buy herself more time. Tony then demands to know why she slept with Liam, and she begins to emotionally break down, terrified of being killed. Tony mocks her for her tears. Desperate, she pleads for her life, and offers to have a baby with Tony so that they can live a happy life together but Tony refuses and sets the factory on fire. Just as the flames surround the factory, Carla finally manages to break free of her bonds just in time and hits Tony over the head. As she makes to escape, he grabs her and they fight violently on the floor. She bites him to get out of his grasp but cannot get out of the factory doors as they are locked. He tries to prevent her from leaving but she fights furiously to escape. She finally manages to escape the factory and runs out onto the street. Tony decides not to chase her but instead goes back into the burning factory, which then explodes, killing him as all the residents watch.
The 'Siege Week' took four weeks to film and used a purpose-built set. The crew built an exact fireproof replica of the Underworld factory for some of the most difficult scenes filmed at Quay Street.
Alison King underwent gun training before shooting her scenes, and insisted on doing many of her own stunts. King needed emergency oxygen after filming in the smoke-filled room during the scenes of the factory being on fire. She said: 'There were a few cuts and bruises. I got a black eye at one point, and I got a sty (in my eye). There were just normal bruises from when you are throwing yourself around on set and your adrenaline gets a bit much and you do more than you perhaps should have, but it's all exciting.'  King performed all stunts herself, except one that consisted of a jump from a balcony, and suffered minor injuries. In 2016, King called the scenes "challenging to film". King commented on filming the majority of scenes of the 'Siege Week' tied up and gagged, saying "We were tied up and gagged for a week and a half. I was gaffa-taped for a little while and tied up for most of it. My wrist was sore at the end! It was a different experience anyway, acting for two weeks with your hands tied behind your back on a chair. Kym Marsh was like, 'You loved it!'" When looking back on the Siege Week, she spoke of how "It's always good to film the big stunt stuff, it's always what people remember, however it's often the least pleasurable to film...it's just so intoxicating," and commented on the cast she worked with, saying "James Fleet who played Tony's old prison mate Robbie who held Carla and Hayley hostage was sensational to work with. It was also the first time Julie Hesmondhalgh and I worked together for weeks on end which was fantastic. We had a great director in David Kester too."
Julie Hesmondhalgh, who was delighted to be part of the storyline, said 'It was completely different from anything I've ever done before. I'm not often an action hero, strangely enough, but it was really exciting. It was great. I did feel like it was something special.' Samia Smith returned from maternity leave especially to film the siege episodes. She said 'It didn't feel like we were filming Corrie. Because the set was purposely made it felt like we were on a drama as the pace was a lot slower.' James Fleet, best known for his role in The Vicar of Dibley, said about playing a villain 'I was born for this stuff. It was a huge privilege to be on Team Corrie. I was humbled by the people I worked with. It was quite easy to tap into my inner criminal!' King commented that it was "fantastic" to have Gray O'Brien back, saying "We enjoy working with each other and we have a set way of working together – reading the scripts three times, rehearsing and doing everything in advance. There was a lot of pressure filming these scenes and he was just brilliant. We had to get it done in the time we had and because of that, we had to lean on each other quite a lot." Hesmondhalgh joked that she had to tell King to stop groping her while she was tied to a chair, commenting "It was absolutely hysterical because Ali's so funny, and she's not at all what she looks like. She looks so polished and like a film star – but she's just a dirty old bitch really! She couldn't stop feeling me up when I was tied up. I was shouting, 'Get off me!' So many people would have paid so much money to be in my position, but I was like, 'Get off me – stop feeling me boobs!'" Hesmondhalgh and King joked that they developed a "telepathic understanding" while they were gagged. She said "We could tell from our eyes what we were trying to relate."
Characters and cast
- Alison King as Carla Connor
- Samia Smith as Maria Connor
- Gray O'Brien as Tony Gordon
- James Fleet as Robbie Sloan
- Michelle Keegan as Tina McIntyre
- Kym Marsh as Michelle Connor
- Jack P. Shepherd as David Platt
- Ben Price as Nick Tilsley
- Julie Hesmondhalgh as Hayley Cropper
- David Neilson as Roy Cropper
- Ryan Thomas as Jason Grimshaw
- Patti Clare as Mary Taylor
- William Roache as Ken Barlow
- Anne Kirkbride as Deirdre Barlow
- Simon Gregson as Steve McDonald
- Katherine Kelly as Becky McDonald
- Sue Cleaver as Eileen Grimshaw
- Kate Ford as Tracy Barlow
- Helen Worth as Gail McIntyre
- Sue Nicholls as Audrey Roberts
- Malcolm Hebden as Norris Cole
- Katy Cavanagh as Julie Carp
- Debbie Rush as Anna Windass
- Jennie McAlpine as Fiz Stape
- Alan Halsall as Tyrone Dobbs
- Steven Arnold as Ashley Peacock
- Mikey North as Gary Windass
- Pip Torrens as Prosecution Q.C.
Prior to the broadcast, star King praised the storyline, teasing: "If anyone can escape from prison, it's Tony Gordon. You just know when he manages to get out that he's got an even bigger screw lose that he had before. It makes great television and I'm really pleased to be part of it. It's nice to wrap it all up, too." Previously in April 2010, King told Glasgow's Sunday Mail she thought "If Tony was to come back I think Carla would fear for life. That would be pretty gruesome for her but working with Gray again would be good. He's brilliant. It is a different experience every day. He can misbehave like the rest of them but he's good with me." In February 2010, the soap's producer Kim Crowther said that Tony's return would be "as dramatic as anything we've done with him so far".
The first episode aired on Monday at 7 pm, followed by a special 9 pm show that night and for the next four evenings. Peter Fincham, ITV's director of television, channels and online, said: 'With...the explosive return of one of Coronation Street's most notorious villains, it's a huge week for ITV1 and our viewers. I'm particularly delighted that both shows will be available in high definition for the first time on ITV1 HD.'
Following the Cumbria shootings, that occurred on 2 June 2010, the Siege Week was temporarily taken off-air, as it was felt that the storyline was too similar to real life events. The remaining siege episodes were transmitted the following week instead, in a heavily truncated schedule. It was postponed until Monday 7 June, and aired throughout the week every night except the Tuesday.
The 9 pm first night of 'Siege Week' was an instant hit with viewers, attracting more than 500,000 viewers to the ITV1 HD channel on Monday 31 May.
When King left Coronation Street in 2016, she named the Siege Week as one of her five favourite moments from ten years on the show. Since its initial broadcast, the scenes of King gagged with duct tape and tied up have been mocked with comical remixes on YouTube, as well as internet GIFs. Tape gags are sometimes used for erotic pleasure by fetishists who are sexually aroused by the sound gagged people make when they try to speak. For some people, gags have connotations of punishment and control, and can be seen as a form of humiliation.
- "Coronation Street goes HD with Siege Week". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "SPOILER ALERT! Coronation Street's Carla Connor fights for her life during armed siege in knicker factory". Daily Mail. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Corrie siege plot sees two exit". Metro. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Alison King Fears For Carla". Female First. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- "Corrie's Siege Week 'cost £1m'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
- King, Alison; O'Brien, Gray; Bevitt, Ian; Kester, David (1 June 2010). Coronation Street. Season 1. Episode 7353. ITV.
YouTube title: Alison King tape gagged
- Plunkett, John (10 December 2010). "Coronation Street live show draws show's biggest audience for seven years". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 24 June 2017.
- "Coronation Street siege drama set to launch new era". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Corrie's Alison: 'Filming Siege was fun!'". What's on TV. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Alison King Fears For Carla". Female First. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
- "King: 'I suffered injuries in Corrie stunt'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
- "Carla Connor leaves Coronation Street: Alison King reveals her 7 best moments from Corrie". BT TV. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "DS favourite Alison King reveals all about Coronation Street's Siege Week". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "UNDIE SIEGE; Carla fights for her life in knicker factory". The Mirror (courtesy of thefreelibrary.com). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- "Alison King: 8 reasons Carla Connor owned the cobbles". ITV. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
- "Corrie's Hayley loved siege action drama". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Julie Hesmondhalgh Groped By King". FemaleFirst. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Corrie stars' 'telepathic understanding'". Mirror. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- "Carla's falling bin love again; Alison King loves her character's tangled romantic life and hints there's more to come". Sunday Mail (courtesy of thefreelibrary.com). Retrieved 5 June 2016.
- "Shock siege plot for 'Coronation Street'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
- "Coronation Street moves to 9 pm for siege drama". What's on TV. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Special time slot for Corrie siege". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Coronation Street hostage drama given new late night slot". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Green, Kris (4 June 2010). "ITV confirms rescheduled Corrie eps". Digital Spy. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
- "Coronation Street taken off air following Cumbria shooting". STV. Retrieved 2 June 2010.
- "Cumbria shootings: Coronation Street 'gun siege' postponed". The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Confirmed: New Corrie Siege Week schedules". Digital Spy. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- "Coronation Street's HD debut draws more than 500,000 viewers". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Alison King reveals her top five favourite moments on Coronation Street". Mirror. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
- Hu. "The Ultimate Guide To Tape Gags". Sub-Shop Bondage and Fetish Superstore. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017.