Storylines of Coronation Street

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Storylines of Coronation Street, the British ITV soap opera, have spanned more than five decades, from the programme's inception in 1960, until present-day 2017. Coronation Street has covered a number of storylines that created dispute and debate in the media and caused public outcry from viewers. Popular storylines have also seen an increase in viewer numbers, such as the jailing of Deirdre Rachid in 1998[1] as well as large media coverage, such as the sacking of Peter Adamson (Len Fairclough) in 1983.[2] Some storylines are seen as having caused controversy among viewers and in the media due to the sudden sacking of an actor by the programme's producer or as a result of a topic or theme that openly shocked viewers or was seen as taboo.

Although the programme is recognised as a drama serial, Coronation Street is known on occasion for its light humour and comic characters (see Humour in Coronation Street.)

Controversial sackings[edit]

Death of Martha Longhurst (1964)[edit]

In 1964, Coronation Street appointed new producer, Tim Aspinall.[3] Aspinall decided on a new broom policy and 'The Bloody Purge' of 1964 began, with nine actors being sacked in total.[3][4]

The first cast member to be written out was Lynne Carol, who had played Martha Longhurst since episode one and the preview of the programme.[5] Martha Longhurst was a popular character, and formed part of the trio of 'Ena, Minnie and Martha' who were regularly seen drinking milk stout in the Snug bar of the Rovers Return and gossiping about the other residents. Her sacking was so controversial that fellow actress Violet Carson (Ena Sharples) threatened to quit, but she was eventually talked round.[3] The media reported extensively on the storyline, and when Lynne Carol took a private trip to the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition in London, she was mobbed by fans and asked to leave on the grounds of public safety.[6]

On 13 May 1964, the show aired Martha's death, dying of a heart attack in the Snug of the Rovers Return.

Many, including Coronation Street writer H.V. Kershaw, saw the killing of Martha as a desperate move to boost viewer ratings.[6]

Sacking of Jennifer Moss (1974)[edit]

During the 1960s and early 1970s, core cast member Jennifer Moss (who had played Lucille Hewitt since episode four) had struggled with alcohol addiction.[7] In 1974 new producer Susi Hush fired Moss rather abruptly. Moss was a fan favourite and many viewers were not happy at the turn of events, with Lucille suddenly disappearing to live in Ireland with no explanation.[8]

While actors in the 1990s might have been helped through such a period by Coronation Street production company Granada Television, Moss was offered no such support.[7]

Killing of Ernest Bishop (1977)[edit]

In September 1977 the News of the World quoted actor Stephen Hancock (Ernest Bishop) as saying 'The Street kills an actor. I'm just doing a job, not acting. The scriptwriters have turned me into Ernie Bishop. I've tried to resist it but it is very hard not to play the part all the time, even at home.' [9] This was the first sight the public had of a bitter argument between Hancock and Granada Television. Hancock objected to the cast payment system, and threatened to quit the show to safeguard his principles.[10] The main dispute was between Hancock and the show's producer at the time, Bill Podmore, with Podmore being nicknamed 'The Godfather' by the British media.[10]

The basis of Hancock's argument was that different actors were guaranteed different numbers of episode appearances per year, thus some were paid more than others. Actors from the earliest days of the programme, including Pat Phoenix, Doris Speed and Peter Adamson, were guaranteed payment for every one of the year's episodes, regardless of them actually appearing.[11] Podmore was not willing to change what he called a 'complex and well-established system',[11] leading Hancock to stand by his principles and resign.

The problem now shifted, and writers had to write Ernie out but save his wife Emily. The decision was made for Ernest to be killed off in a bungled robbery at Mike Baldwin's factory, where he worked as a wages clerk. Ernest was killed by a single gunshot to the stomach on 11 January 1978.[12] It was the first time that violence on such a scale had been shown on Coronation Street and after the episode was aired, Granada's switchboard was jammed by angry viewers. Letters of complaint arrived in their hundreds, and the Lobby Against TV Violence fiercely objected Granada's decision to broadcast the episode.[10] Granada stated that the storyline was not about violence, but that it aimed to show the desolation and loss felt by Ernest's wife, Emily.[13]

Twenty-eight years later, in 2006 Thomas Edward 'Ed' Jackson, known only as Ed, befriended Emily Bishop, having joined her church. Ed revealed to Emily that he was one of the men involved in the armed robbery, and that he had shot and killed her husband.

Death of Len Fairclough (1983)[edit]

Peter Adamson, who had played Len Fairclough since 1961,[14] was sacked in 1983 for breach of contract. He had been warned by Granada Television for writing unauthorized newspaper articles criticising the show and cast. Coronation Street producer Bill Podmore sacked Adamson when it was revealed he had sold his memoirs after the previous warning.[15]

The sacking coincided with allegations of Adamson having indecently assaulted two young girls. In April 1983, a Sunday newspaper reported that Adamson had been arrested for indecently assaulting two eight-year-old girls in a swimming pool.[16] The police complaint was that Adamson's hands had strayed while giving the girls swimming lessons. Granada Television gave Adamson financial support through his legal problems, with a Crown Court jury finding him not guilty in July 1983.[15]

Adamson's dispute over his memoirs and newspaper articles was not known to the public, and the media reported that Adamson had been dismissed because of the shame indecent assault allegations had brought on Granada and the Coronation Street brand.[15]

Len Fairclough was killed off-screen in a motorway crash on 7 December 1983. To demonise the character, it was revealed that he had been returning home from an affair, cheating on wife Rita (Barbara Knox).[17]

Adamson celebrated the character's death by delivering an obituary on TV-am dressed as an undertaker.[18]

Killing of Brian Tilsley (1988)[edit]

In 1988, actor Christopher Quinten, who had played Brian Tilsley since 27 December 1978,[19] told bosses at Granada that he was going to move to the United States to marry his then-fiancée, American talk show host Leeza Gibbons and to build an acting career in Los Angeles.[20] In announcing his resignation, Quinten tried to ensure that his role would be left open for him to return in the event that his American career failed.

At the time, his character Brian Tilsley was married to Gail (Helen Worth), and the story conference called to write Brian out struggled to find a justifiable way to write him out while still leaving enough scope for a possible return. The decision was made that Brian should die.[21]

Quinten was in L.A. when the storyline was decided, and on returning to the United Kingdom he was shocked at Brian's fate and threatened to fly back to America so that scenes could not be filmed.[21] He was talked round by co-star Helen Worth, who pointed out that he might be blacklisted by Equity if he quit the programme abruptly.[21]

Brian Tilsley's death aired on 15 February 1989. After the breakdown of his marriage to Gail, Brian started spending his evenings going to discos and meeting a selection of women. He tried to protect a young lady from a group of thugs outside a nightclub and was stabbed in the stomach. He died from his injuries.[22] The stabbing brought massive complaints from viewers, and Mary Whitehouse delivered an angry sermon about television violence.[21]

Brian's death would be revisited almost thirty years later in 2016, when his step-son David's wife Kylie was stabbed and killed in a similar fashion.

Controversial themes[edit]

Sheila Birtles' suicide attempt (1963)[edit]

In 1963, Coronation Street announced that the character of Sheila Birtles (Eileen Mayers) would commit suicide, after her husband Neil Crossley (Geoffrey Matthews) hit her in an angry rage. The public were outraged to hear of Sheila's suicide. Instead, the storyline was re-written so that the viewers only saw Sheila taking the pills and the screen faded into blackness. Actress Eileen Mayers stated that, "It was disappointing, it was good and it wasn't shown", referring to Sheila's suicide scenes. However, in 2011, the scenes were shown in the documentary series, The Corrie Years, for the first time. Upon the announcement that the suicide scenes were to be shown 50 years later, a Coronation Street insider said in an interview, "At the time, it deemed controversial. But compared to what goes on in soap operas nowadays, I don't think the scenes will be very shocking". Sheila's suicide attempt has been compared to that of Natasha Blakeman's (Rachel Leskovac) in 2010 in the soap.

Valerie Barlow's attack (1968)[edit]

In 1968, Coronation Street scriptwriters developed one of the programme's most dramatic storylines to date.[23] While Ken Barlow was working on a school play, his wife Valerie was kept hostage after a convicted rapist, Frank Riley, who had escaped from prison, forced his way into the Barlow flat. The Barlow twins were asleep in their bed, with Valerie insisting that she was alone, only for one of the twins to wake up crying allowing Riley to use them as a threat to Valerie if she did not comply with his wishes. The story was spread across two episodes, the second seeing the police surround the Barlow flat and Riley tell Valerie that he might as well have some fun with her now he had been caught. The storyline saw a turning-point in the Barlow marriage, as Ken refused to believe that Valerie had not been raped.[24]

Parentage of Gordon Clegg (1974)[edit]

In 1974, Irene Sutcliffe decided to leave the show, having played cornershop owner Maggie Clegg since 1 April 1968.[25] Maggie emigrated to Zaire in 1974 with old flame Ron Cooke. Susi Hush, the producer at the time, decided to write a storyline in which Gordon Clegg was revealed to be not the son of Maggie but the illegitimate son of her sister, Betty Turpin.[26]

Sutcliffe made it known that she felt very hurt by the storyline, since she believed it tore apart the foundation of the character she had spent six years building.[26] In an attempt to extend an olive branch in an informal apology, Hush invited Sutcliffe to return for Christmas festivities in a couple of episodes at the end of the year, which she accepted.

Deirdre Langton's attack (1977)[edit]

In 1977, the writers of the show wrote a controversial storyline turn for actress Anne Kirkbride and her character, Deirdre Langton. In the story, Deirdre walked home from her exercise class and was attacked by a man who tried to rape her. He molested her, but she managed to run home. Filled with guilt and shame, she would not tell her husband, Ray, what had happened. Eventually, her thoughts turned to suicide. Deirdre decided to jump off a bridge, but was distracted when a passer-by asked for directions. At that time, she had an epiphany and told Ray what had transpired.

Ken, Deirdre and Mike (1982)[edit]

In late 1982, writer Adele Rose came up with the idea that Deirdre, quickly bored in new marriage to Ken Barlow, would have an affair with Mike Baldwin. In Rose's line of reasoning, Deirdre would strongly believe that Ken was neglecting her, and that being with Mike would make her feel alive. In the widely viewed episode in which Deirdre confessed all to Ken, she told him that she felt like "the wallpaper, or a piece of furniture that's been around forever... it's like [they've] been married for twenty years." In an unscripted move, Ken, blinded by anger, grabbed Deirdre by the throat and started to strangle her.[citation needed] Anne Kirkbride, who did not know of the sudden change in direction, reacted with more conviction, she admitted later, than had she known of the action beforehand. Eventually, Deirdre began to have doubts about staying with Mike Baldwin. The writers of the series scheduled the episode, in which Deirdre reconciled with Ken, effectively ending her relationship with Mike Baldwin, on the night that popular football teams Manchester United and Arsenal F.C. played at Old Trafford. At the end of the episode, which aired on 23 February 1983, Deirdre slammed the door of No. 1 in Mike's face. Dejected and with a shattered hubris, Mike drove away from the Street. As soon as the credits finished rolling, the scoreboard at the stadium read "Deirdre and Ken United Again!" and "Ken 1 Mike 0" in big letters, to the excitement of cheering fans. The episode was one of the highest-rated in Corrie's history.

First transsexual person in a British soap opera (1998)[edit]

In 1998, the Street introduced the first transsexual person in British soap history. Its handling of the story, and Hayley Patterson (Julie Hesmondhalgh) ultimately "marrying" bookish nerd Roy Cropper, proved immensely popular, and was praised by transgender groups, not least in how it highlighted transgender issues, such as how she remained registered for tax purposes as a man called "Harold", leading to ridicule from her boss, Mike Baldwin.

Coronation Street did not feature a gay resident until 2003, unlike EastEnders which had gay-themed storylines in the 1980s, and Emmerdale which has a lesbian vet and a number of other gay characters, both male and female. Recently the soap introduced its first lesbian couple, Sophie Webster and Sian Powers. The young teenage pair had been the talk of controversy on the show and gave young girls a way "out" so to speak.

Deirdre Rachid jailed (1998)[edit]

On 29 March 1998, Deirdre Rachid was sent to prison after a former lover implicated her in a bank fraud scheme. A campaign led by tabloid newspapers and the occasional graffiti artist, with the slogan of "Free the Weatherfield One!", petitioned the Home Secretary to become involved on Deirdre's behalf. Even Tony Blair called for Deirdre to be freed. After three weeks, Deirdre was released from prison and four different newspapers claimed victory for themselves and their readers. However, the producers of the programme had planned the entire time for Deirdre to stay in prison for three weeks.

Illegal immigration (2007)[edit]

In Spring 2007, Coronation Street began broadcasting one of its most politically sensitive storylines for some time with an illegal immigration storyline. Polish workers were taken on at the Underworld factory co-owned by Connor brothers Paul (Sean Gallagher) and Liam (Rob James-Collier). The storyline included the police raiding the factory after receiving a tip off from a disgruntled Janice Battersby (Vicky Entwistle), only to declare all the Polish workers legal. However, it was discovered that factory worker Joanne Jackson (Zaraah Abrahams) is an illegal immigrant due to her being a Liberian national. She was arrested and placed in a deportation centre. Joanne was since released without being deported and briefly returned to the series before leaving after receiving a pay-off from new majority owner Carla Connor (Alison King).

Baby Freddie and the fire (2007)[edit]

In May 2007, there was a problem surrounding the storyline which saw the burning of Ashley and Claire Peacock's house and the death, and then the disappearance of baby Freddie. The storyline reflected the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal which was ongoing simultaneously. As a result of this, the storyline was bent slightly in order that no offence would be caused to the McCann family.

Tony Gordon's escape from prison and the gun siege in Underworld (2010)[edit]

Over the week of 31 May-4 June 2010, it was intended to show an episode of Coronation Street each night where Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) had escaped from prison and was intending to take revenge on those who he had believed wronged him, Carla Connor (Alison King), Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and (by accident) Maria Connor (Samia Ghadie), hostage at gunpoint in Underworld. However, on 2 June 2010 in Cumbria, gunman Derrick Bird went on a killing spree killing 12 people and injuring many others before turning on himself. As a mark of respect to the victims, the remaining episodes were pulled from the rest of the week and were rescheduled for the following week in double bills with the scheduled episodes of that week. The storyline followed Tony escaping from prison with his accomplice, former cellmate Robbie Sloan (James Fleet). Robbie tricks Carla into thinking he is a businessman and going into the factory alone with him. Robbie then held Carla at gunpoint and forced her to evacuate the factory premises. He then left her tied to a chair and gagged with duct tape while he lured Hayley into the factory too. Tony appeared, taking the tape off Carla's mouth allowing her to speak, while announcing his plans to murder them. Tony shoots dead Robbie, and Maria accidentally intrudes on the proceedings. Tony lets Maria go, and Carla pleads with him to let Hayley go, which he does, on the condition that she will die with him. Tony then sets fire to Underworld. The storyline ended with Carla managing to untie herself and escaping but Tony perishing in the blaze.

Hayley Cropper's suicide (2013–2014)[edit]

In July 2013, long-standing character Hayley Cropper (Julie Hesmondhalgh) was diagnosed with stage-two pancreatic cancer, and was told she must undergo two operations and chemotherapy to try and eliminate the cancer. In September, when she had her major operation, the consultant revealed that the cancer was incurable and that she was dying, devastating Hayley and her husband, Roy (David Neilson). During a conversation with Roy, Hayley decided that she wanted to end her life on her terms, meaning that she wanted to commit suicide when her pain became unbearable. Roy could not come to terms with Hayley's decision, and eventually lied to her that he was fine about her killing herself. By January 2014, Hayley was taking extremely strong painkillers and needing to travel in a wheelchair. On 20 January, Hayley said her goodbyes to her friends, and sat on her bed, with Roy by her side. She drank the lethal cocktail, which killed her within a few minutes. Roy and Hayley's friends Anna Windass (Debbie Rush) and Carla Connor (Alison King) rushed up to their flat, where they found Hayley's corpse on the bed, with Roy's arm around her.

The public started the belief that the storyline was a "right to die" storyline,[citation needed] but Hesmondhalgh later announced that it was not a "right to die" storyline, and merely a pancreatic cancer storyline. The episode in which Hayley killed herself with Roy by her side attracted 9.7 million viewers, the show's largest figure in almost a year. The storyline, Hesmondhalgh, and Neilson have won numerous awards.[vague]

Bethany Platt being groomed and sexually exploited (2017)[edit]

In December 2016, it was announced that Bethany Platt's (Lucy Fallon) crush on her mother Sarah's (Tina O'Brien) boyfriend Gary Windass (Mikey North) will reach some "devastating consequences.". After having a diet pill overdose and being rescued by Nathan Curtis (Christopher Harper), it was announced a month later that Bethany will be involved in a "dark" and "nail biting sex ring storyline" as articles say that Nathan will "pimp her out to older friends." This storyline was created to highlight the issue of child sexual exploitation, and was also inspired by the Rochdale sex ring, which occurred in 2012.

Bethany befriended Nathan after her rescue, and she began to do hair tutorial videos in his tanning salon. Bethany was charmed by Nathan's flirting, and after being informed by "friend" Mel Maguire (Sonia Ibrahim) that Nathan liked her, Bethany and Nathan began dating. Sarah was less than pleased to find out her daughter was dating a boy twice her age, but kept her true feelings aside in order to not lose her daughter.

Viewers expressed their discomfort of the storyline on Twitter, and even the scene involving Bethany sleeping with Nathan was controversial. This caused Ofcom to view more upcoming scenes of the storyline, and they gave them the all clear.

Major "whodunit" storylines[edit]

Who Killed Frank Foster? (2012)[edit]

After he was found not guilty of raping Carla Connor (Alison King), it was announced that Frank Foster's (Andrew Lancel) departure from the soap would be centred across a murder mystery, which was aired in March 2012.

Before his death, several people in Weatherfield had well-known reasons for wanting Frank dead with the investigation being focused on five main suspects.

Shortly after officially signing the contract to take full control of Underworld, Frank was battered to death by a whiskey bottle. The prime suspect was Carla Connor (Alison King), and she was soon arrested by police after a DNA test revealed traces of her blood on the bottle.

The majority of viewers believe that all 5 suspects are innocent and that there will be an upcoming twist, revealing that Anne Foster (Gwen Taylor) - Frank's mother - will turn out to be the killer. It was also leaked online that that was the upcoming plot twist. Anne Foster was revealed to kill Frank after she found out her son had indeed raped Carla.

Who Kills Tina? (2014)[edit]

In April 2013, Michelle Keegan, who had played Tina McIntyre since 2008, decided to leave the soap. The show's bosses managed to persuade her to continue appearing in the show regularly until May 2014. In January 2014, it was announced that the character of Tina would be murdered.

The four suspects who could have killed Tina:

All four endings were filmed but only one was chosen to air. All endings of characters pushing Tina off the balcony were posted on the shows YouTube channel.

It was later announced that Tina would be pushed from a balcony to her death. Before the episode was aired on 27 May 2014, Coronation Street bosses confirmed that Tracy would not be Tina's killer, leaving only Peter, Carla and Rob in the frame. By the end of the episode, it was shown that Rob was Tina's murderer, after pushing her from the balcony unintentionally following an argument. In the following episode, it was revealed that Tina survived the fall, but when she threatened to tell the police that Rob deliberately pushed her in an attempt to kill her, Rob picks up a metal pipe and hits her on the head. Tina made her final appearance on 2 June 2014, after dying in hospital. Carla was considered a prime suspect as Tina had been her husband's mistress, while Peter was also a possibility because Tina had threatened to reveal their affair to Carla. A few weeks after Tina's death, it was announced that Marc Baylis, who plays Rob, would be leaving the soap. Rob left Coronation Street on 5 November 2014, after being caught and arrested for Tina's murder.

Who Attacked Ken? (2017)[edit]

In March 2017, a surprise "whodunit" storyline took place when the soap's longest-serving character, Ken Barlow, played by William Roache, was pushed down the stairs of his home by an unknown assailant. After upsetting a majority of his family and certain locals, the media narrowed the suspects down to seven possible attackers:

  • Adam Barlow, played by Sam Robertson. Earlier in March, Ken was disgusted with Adam when he realised that he had got involved in selling drugs, so he exiled Adam from the family and sent him back to Canada. Adam has always been paranoid that Ken does not see him as his grandson and solely as the son of his arch-enemy Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs), who had a highly publicised affair with Ken's late wife, Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride). When the attack took place, Adam was seen lurking around Weatherfield and caught a bus out of town after Ken had been pushed.
  • Amy Barlow, played by Elle Mulvaney. Amy was due to perform at a violin concert on the night of the attack, but went missing after she refused to take part. Tracy and her boyfriend, Luke Britton (Dean Fagan), went looking for Amy, unknown that someone was spying on them. On 19 April 2017, she called DS MacKinnon to inform her of new evidence. A new kitchen worktop was fitted on the night of the attack, believing that Adam was the attacker. Amy had become a suspect in the investigation after calling DS MacKinnon (Sandra Huggett).
  • Peter Barlow, played by Chris Gascoyne. After seeing Peter arguing with a woman named Chloe Tipton (Jo-Anne Knowles) in the ginnel, Ken invited her back to his house, where she lied that she and Peter are having an affair, when really she is infatuated with him. Ken is disgusted by his son and informs his current girlfriend Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor), who moves out. After nearly turning to alcohol, Peter summarises that Ken is always at the heart of his problems, and tells Ken that he is dead to him before the attack.
  • Tracy Barlow, played by Kate Ford. Ken's adoptive daughter and the daughter of his late wife Deirdre, Tracy has always felt that Ken favours the rest of the family over her and her daughter, Amy (Elle Mulvaney). When Ken is having a discussion with Sinead Tinker (Katie McGlynn), Tracy and Amy are furious to hear Ken state that marrying Deirdre is one of his biggest regrets in life. After continuously refusing to help Tracy out financially, Ken apparently confirms Tracy's paranoia by not attending Amy's violin concert. Tracy is seen looking guilty outside the florist when the attack takes place.
  • Daniel Osbourne, played by Rob Mallard. Ken's youngest son who returned to Weatherfield following his stroke in October 2016. Daniel and Ken share a good relationship, however was not impressed by Ken's pushy attitude for him to attend Oxford university. After his girlfriend Sinead aborts his baby, Daniel realises that Ken manipulated her into doing so, in order for him to go to Oxford. Daniel has an aggressive side, and is very secretive about what really happened to his mother, Denise (Denise Black). When Ken is pushed down the stairs, Daniel arrives at the household to find Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre) standing over him.
  • Pat Phelan, played by Connor McIntyre. Phelan had been doing a conversion job in Ken's kitchen for some weeks now. After informing Ken that he would have to extend the job, Ken snaps with mounting pressure from his family, raging that Phelan is untrustworthy following the incident with the flat scam. Unbeknownst to Ken, Phelan has murdered Andy Carver (Oliver Farnworth) two months previously. Phelan is caught by Daniel standing over Ken when he is pushed down the stairs.
  • Sinead Tinker, played by Katie McGlynn. Ken was unhappy with his son Daniel's fast relationship with Sinead, and was concerned when he learnt that Daniel had declined a place at Oxford university. After confronting Sinead, she revealed that she was pregnant with Daniel's baby. Ken coldly manipulated Sinead into aborting the baby to help Daniel, while also insulting his deceased wife Deirdre, overheard by Deirdre's daughter Tracy and granddaughter Amy. When Sinead is forced to tell Daniel the truth, he breaks up with Sinead, so she gets excessively drunk and is seen banging on Ken's door to angrily confront him before Ken is attacked.

The storyline was not announced until after the episode where Ken was attacked was aired. Since then, other possible suspect have emerged, such as Ken's adoptive granddaughter Amy after hearing him insulting her deceased grandmother Deirdre; Peter's stalker Chloe in an attempt to frame Peter for the attack and the theory that Amy and Adam worked together after Amy was seen making a mysterious phonecall before the attack, and Tracy makes a discovery involving Adam and Ken's will.

ITV released a poll to the Coronation Street website so fans could share their thoughts of who pushed Ken. Fans and viewers used the pool, with the majority's thoughts of the attacker was Adam, with other suspects to be Daniel, Phelan, Sinead, Peter and Tracy. The polls changed after Pat Phelan was cleared and found innocent and Amy Barlow became a suspect. The polls currently[when?] stand at:

  • Adam Barlow - 36%
  • Amy Barlow - 32%
  • Daniel Osborne - 13%
  • Sinead Tinker - 10%
  • Tracy Barlow - 5%
  • Peter Barlow - 4%

On 27 March 2017, Ken is found lying lifeless at the bottom of the stairs, with his youngest son, Daniel, walking in to find Phelan standing over him. The ambulance then arrive and Ken is rushed to hospital. The residents initially believe that Ken has suffered another stroke which caused the fall, however the doctors contact the police after finding a legion on the back of Ken's head, indicating that he was struck with a blunt instrument which led to him falling down the stairs. Daniel, Tracy and Peter are all questioned by the police, with Tracy convincing her boyfriend Luke Britton (Dean Fagan) to tell them that he was with her all night. Adam is also interviewed, however refuses to cooperate with inquiries and answer any questions. Both Daniel and Tracy inform the police of Ken's fraught relationship with Phelan, who is arrested for the attempted murder. However, Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley) has CCTV footage proving that Phelan could not have attacked Ken, and hands this into the police. When Ken regains consciousness, the police inform him that a family member could have potentially attacked him after he is suffering from memory loss, and therefore refuses to see his relatives. Tracy begins to suspect Adam after seeing him discreitly talking to Amy, while the police close in on Daniel after he did not report his mother, Denise, missing for six years, believing him to be hiding something. Tracy finds Ken's final will, and finds that she has been completely cut out of it, with only Adam, Daniel and Peter inheriting Ken's assets. Confused, she confronts Adam and threatens to take it to the police, however he states that it gives her a motive to have attacked Ken. Peter's son Simon Barlow (Alex Bain) finds a voicemail on his mobile phone from Peter, sounding very frantic and apologetic, and suspects that it is linked to Ken's attack. However, Peter tells Simon, Toyah and the rest of his family that he was visiting Chloe, and an altercation lead to her face being cut. Peter later visits her to ask her to be his alibi, however Chloe lies to the police that Peter assaulted her and that this occurred on a separate night to when Ken was pushed down the stairs.

Other major storylines[edit]

The train crash (1967)[edit]

In 1967, one of Coronation Street's biggest storylines took place, when the viaduct collapsed after a train derailed and fell into the street. Many of the show's popular characters including Ena Sharples (Violet Carson) and Jack Walker (Arthur Leslie) were feared dead but survived. One person died in the ordeal. It was this storyline, and its limits because of filming outdoor scenes in the studio, that prompted the Street's bosses to create an outdoor set. The storyline was repeated in 2010 to celebrate the soap's 50th Anniversary only this time it was a tram rather than a train crashing into the street.

Death of Valerie Barlow (1971)[edit]

Anne Reid joined the cast of Coronation Street in August 1961 on a temporary basis. She left the soap in November but her character had been popular, especially the storyline centred around her and Ken Barlow's (William Roache) romance. She returned in June 1962 and on 1 August she married Ken. Over the next eight years fans would watch their stories, including two separations, the birth of twins, and Valerie's affair with Ken's best friend. Ken and Valerie were a very early example of a television supercouple. But late in 1970, Anne Reid asked to be released from her contract. She had married one of the soap's producers and was pregnant.[citation needed] The show's main producer reluctantly agreed and Valerie was killed-off on 27 January 1971 in one of the show's most famous episodes. She died of a massive electric shock whilst plugging in her hairdryer with wet hair and hands. The story had wide media coverage and many angry viewers wrote to Granada. On 3 February 1971 more than 15 million viewers tuned in for Valerie's funeral.

The Rovers Return fire (1986)[edit]

The programme moved to modernise its sets in 1986. Its producers and writers chose to do this by having The Rovers Return Inn set ablaze on-screen, then re-built.

Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) was on the upper storey of the pub when the fire broke out. Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) and Sally Seddon (Sally Dynevor), coming home from a late-night rock concert, happened to walk past at the time, noticed the fire, and alerted the neighbours. The fire brigade eventually rescued Bet when Kevin could not, and she later recovered from smoke inhalation.

Vera Duckworth (Liz Dawn) remarked sarcastically that she was "probably smokin' in bed again," when in reality, Jack Duckworth (Bill Tarmey) had attempted to repair a fuse and, in failing to do so, accidentally sparked a fire in the fusebox which spread to the rest of the establishment.

Following the fire's devastation, The Brewery decided to knock The Rovers' main bar area, the Select, and the Snug into one larger bar making the interior set match the size of the outdoor set more closely. It has stayed the same layout ever since, but its wallpaper and fittings were updated in 2008.

The serial killer: Richard Hillman (2002-03)[edit]

In 2002-03, Coronation Street featured storyline of Richard Hillman (Brian Capron), who entered as a relative of the late Alma Halliwell (Amanda Barrie). Initially the character was seen offering financial advice to residents and buying the house of Emily Bishop (Eileen Derbyshire), in an arrangement where she would have the right to live in it for her lifetime, but on her death, Hillman would inherit the house. He then married Gail Platt (Helen Worth). Over the months, questions were raised about his trustworthiness, with suggestions of some irregularities in his dealings with people elsewhere. He left a business partner, Duggie Ferguson (John Bowe) to die after falling over a balcony. Hillman then murdered his second wife, Patricia, (Annabelle Apsion) and buried her under concrete at a housing development he owned. In late 2002, Hillman subtly made his wealthy mother-in-law, Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls), question whether she was experiencing the onset of dementia, through such things as unlocking doors she had locked, hanging out washing that she could not remember hanging out, turning on lights she had switched off and taking a dress in to be dry-cleaned, which she could not remember taking. Finally, he tried to kill her in a house fire, made to look like the result of her dementia, with Hillman removing the battery from the smoke alarm. She was saved by her friend, undertaker Archie Shuttleworth (Roy Hudd) and taxi driver Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson).

In 2003, Hillman was in severe financial trouble, and failing in his attempt to get his hands on Audrey's considerable wealth, he planned to murder Emily and thus claim her house. While Emily was babysitting Joshua Peacock (Benjamin Beresford), he planned to kill her and frame his stepdaughter, Sarah-Louise's former boyfriend, Aiden Critchley, who was sleeping rough nearby. Hillman broke into the Peacock's house and struck Emily round the head with a crowbar, but unfortunately Maxine Peacock (Tracy Shaw) returned to check on her son, and Hillman brutally attacked her with the crowbar. Maxine died instantly, but Emily survived.

Following Maxine's murder, February 2003 saw a number of street residents, along with Audrey, suspect Hillman of Maxine's murder, with Audrey challenging him at Maxine's funeral. Audrey had realised he had made two slip ups with her; knowing there was no battery in a smoke alarm before the fire brigade had checked it, and leaving in the dress to be cleaned on a day when she had independent witnesses to confirm that she had been with them all that day. She managed to convince Archie of Hillman's evil doings (the undertaker had been suspicious of Richard when he was quick to identify a woman's body as that of Patricia, only to be mistaken afterwards). Emily's lodger Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden) had also suspected that Richard was less-than honest in his financial dealings with his elderly clients. Meanwhile, Ken Barlow (William Roache), having seen the drunken state of Aidan on the night of the murder, doubted his ability to carry out the crime. However, Audrey, Archie, Norris and Ken were boycotted by other residents, especially Hillman's wife, Gail, who became estranged from her mother, Audrey, after she accused him of lighting the fire in her house. Maxine's family and Emily (who survived with no memory of the attack) all saw Hillman as a perfect husband, neighbour and friend.

Hillman himself was racked by guilt at his actions, all the more so when it turned out that someone else whose house he owned had died the previous week, meaning that his financial problems were already solved before he tried to murder Emily and murdered Maxine. Hillman's trusting wife, Gail, finally twigged and challenged him, leading to his full and frank admission, in the belief that she would stand by him and not reveal his actions. She however refused to protect him and Hillman disappeared, pursued by the police, who eventually found his second wife's body. He returned to kidnap his family and try to gas them in the family car, before being discovered, and driving off and crashing the car into a canal, where Hillman died but Gail, Sarah, David and Bethany survived. In the aftermath, Hillman's financial dealings saw his wife and family face the possible loss of their home, as did Emily, while the Duckworths lost their entire life savings.

Mad Maya (2004)[edit]

In 2004, Maya Sharma (Sasha Behar) was unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, Corner Shop owner Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin). He discovered that his all-time love Sunita Parekh (Shobna Gulati) had been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Maya who had shown glimpses of her true self on a few previous occasions including dog-napping Tyrone Dobbs' (Alan Halsall) pet greyhound Monica and dumping it on the Red Rec, stealing an expensive vase on impulse from a designer shop, and driving high speed with Dev into the countryside in her characteristic red MG sports car, refusing to stop until he proposed to her, was hell-bent on revenge. She trashed the apartment he shared with her in Weatherfield Quays causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

She disappeared for a few weeks but returned, posing as Sunita entering into illegally arranged marriages to immigrants seeking residency in the UK. She then tipped off the police and had both Sunita and Dev arrested on their wedding day in front of most of the Street's shocked residents with Maya lurking in the background.

Maya then began a campaign of destruction against Dev's business empire. One of his employees working in his Eccles shop called Dev saying it was on fire. It soon became clear his shops were being targeted and Dev knew from that point on that Maya was behind the arson attacks. He soon realised that Sunita herself might be in danger and when he called home his worst fears were realised when Maya answered the phone saying she had Sunita hostage. When Dev returned to the apartment he discovered Maya and Sunita were nowhere to be seen and he drove straight to the remaining shop not yet targeted, the Coronation Street shop in Weatherfield. Maya tied up Sunita in the upstairs flat (No. 15A) and when Dev entered she hit him over the head with a fire extinguisher. She then tied and gagged them both before turning on the gas on the cooker in the flat, before moving downstairs and starting a fire in the shop itself. They were rescued by Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy) and Charlie Stubbs (Bill Ward) as the building sensationally exploded in a large ball of flame which led to the panic stricken Websters evacuating their house next door and all the residents of Coronation Street rushing outside to a scene of utter devastation. With her first attempt to kill her former fiancé and his lover thwarted, in desperation she tried to run down the couple in front of virtually all the Street residents but missed and crashed into the viaduct. While attempting a second try her MG was shunted by a refuse truck and forced into a small business on Viaduct Street leading to her being seriously injured.

Both Dev and Sunita survived the ordeal and Maya was admitted to hospital under police guard.

The murder of Charlie Stubbs (2007)[edit]

In January 2007, Charlie Stubbs (Bill Ward) was killed by former lover Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford). The storyline had started when Tracy had claimed to neighbours that she was being domestically abused by Charlie, persuading Claire Peacock (Julia Haworth) to keep a diary of the "attacks" on Tracy, which she'd inflicted herself. The murder itself was planned when Tracy had found out that Charlie had been having an affair with fellow street resident, Maria Sutherland (Samia Ghadie). The murder, involved Tracy knocking him out with an ornament, and then carelessly placing a knife, to make it look like self-defence. Ken (William Roache), Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride) and Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) at this point, rushed over to the house, to try to find out what was happening. Getting no answer at the door, Peter forces the door down, revealing a "shocked" Tracy on the phone to the police. The police arrived later, along with an ambulance, revealing Charlie still alive at this point. Tracy was at this moment disturbed by it, however, she is relieved when Charlie later dies in hospital.

After the murder, David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) claimed that he had seen the murder, and claimed it was indeed self-defence. It was revealed that he wanted to use Tracy for sex, which he never did do, as the outcome was guilty. The trial was aired from March until April 2007 in which ITV had filmed two different endings; the outcomes were that she was to be found guilty or not guilty. She was found guilty by the jury, even with David's testimony - and was sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum term of fifteen years.

Liam Connor's murder and Tony Gordon's relationship with Maria (2008)[edit]

In October 2008, after discovering Liam Connor's (Rob James-Collier) affair with his then fiancée, Carla Connor (Alison King) - Liam's ex-sister-in-law - Tony Gordon (Gray O'Brien) ordered his henchman, Jimmy Dockerson (Robert Beck) to run over Liam at his stag night. Tony held Liam in his arms as he died.

At Carla and Tony's wedding, a drunken Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) showed Liam's widow, Maria (Samia Ghadie) footage of Liam and Carla kissing on her daughter, Rosie's (Helen Flanagan), mobile phone. Maria then became convinced that Tony had killed Liam, even trying to run Tony over in her car.

In 2009, Carla became suspicious of her husband after Jed Stone (Kenneth Cope), who Tony had previously attacked, showed her marks on his neck from where Tony had strangled him. Tony finally confessed to Carla he murdered Liam; Carla made a dramatic exit.

Filled with remorse, Tony visited tearfully visited Liam's grave. Maria saw Tony and he gave her a lift home. The pair began a gradual friendship, with Tony moving in with Maria whilst she was pregnant.

In June 2009, Tony helped Maria deliver her baby, which she named Liam. When Maria's in-laws visited their grandson, Tony moved out, but the pair realised how much they could not be without each other and gave in to temptation, kissing passionately.

Since then, they had been a happy couple and became engaged on the date of Liam's death. Carla learned of their engagement from Leanne and threatened to expose Tony to the police if he didn't leave Maria. However, when she attacked Tony's henchman Jimmy and thought him to be dead, Tony turned the tables and told Carla to leave if she didn't want to end up in prison.

In November 2009, Tony suffered a heart attack. Roy Cropper (David Neilson) found him in the street and saved him. Roy refused to leave Tony's side at the hospital, and they talked all night. Tony then suffered another heart attack, and grabbed Roy, confessing, "I killed Liam Connor." Roy then began stalking Tony, acting as his "conscious", insisting he tell Maria everything. Furious, Tony threatened to kill Roy and his wife, Hayley (Julie Hesmondhalgh). Hayley and Roy then reported Tony to the police.

Tony was taken in for questioning, but released due to lack of evidence. Roy, believing Tony was in police custody, went to the canal to do some bat-watching. Tony confessed to Maria he'd been questioned by the police over Liam's murder. Scared, Maria left. When she returned, Tony was gone - he was at Roy's Rolls, hiding behind the counter with a knife in his hand. Maria arrived at the café and begged Hayley to tell her what was going on, to which Hayley admitted Tony killed Liam. As Maria sobbed, Tony was shown silently crying, digging the knife into his hand.

Once it was safe to leave, Tony went to the canal and taunted Roy, implying he had murdered Hayley by revealing the knife when Roy asked what he'd done to his wife. Roy then took Tony by surprise, attacking Tony. Tony then pushed Roy into the canal and watched him sink to the bottom from the bridge above. As Tony was about to leave, guilt sank in and he dived into the canal and rescued Roy. After giving him the kiss of life, Roy coughed up water. Tony asked Roy if he was all right, then left and handed himself in to the police.

Maria found out Tony was at the police station and demanded to see him. She then asked Tony why he did it, then asked if her or baby Liam was planned to be next. Tony insisted he'd never lay a finger on the baby, and said he regretted what he did to Liam but regretted what he'd done to her even more. Maria then told Tony baby Liam was nothing to do with him, and that if there was any justice in the world he'd be hanged. She said she'd stand and watch and cheer, then dance on his grave afterwards. The police officer then told Maria her time with Tony was up. As she left, Tony called to Maria that he loved her. Outside, Maria began to sob. Inside the cell, Tony began crying too.

The tram crash (2010)[edit]

In Summer 2010, to celebrate the show's 50th anniversary, it was reported that the street would be at the centre of a "major disaster". It was later announced by producer Phil Collinson that a tram would crash into the cobbles and the resulting incident will change everyone's lives forever.

The storyline aired across the entire birthday week, 6–10 December, with a special live episode broadcast on 9 December.

The storyline saw the deaths of Ashley Peacock (Steven Arnold), crushed by falling debris in the remains of The Joinery, Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns), who died of internal injuries when waiting to be rescued from the Corner Shop rubble and Charlotte Hoyle (Becky Hindley), who was struck on the head by a hammer from John Stape (Graeme Hawley) in the minutes leading up to the tram crash and later declared brain dead. The fourth death was an unknown taxi driver, which caused outrage with fans.[27]

The drama is set on the night of Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) and Peter Barlow's (Chris Gascoyne) hen and stag parties ahead of their wedding the next day. On that night, Nick Tilsley (Ben Price), who had been having an affair with Leanne, ushered Peter into his office of The Joinery bar, with the intention of revealing all. Molly decided to leave her husband Tyrone (Alan Halsall), however, when he refused to allow her to leave with baby Jack, was forced to reveal to him that he wasn't the boy's father but didn't name Kevin Webster (Michael Le Vell) as his actual biological father. As a result, a devastated Tyrone allowed her to leave with him and she headed to the corner shop to say her goodbyes. Becky McDonald (Katherine Kelly) discovered that her nephew Max Turner had gone missing resulting in her and her husband Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) frantically combed the Street searching for him.

But just before Nick can tell Peter his shocking secret, a sudden explosion rips through the building as a result of a gas leak, trapping the pair and Ashley Peacock. The resulting force of the explosion also severely damaged the above viaduct, resulting in a nearby tram derailing, despite the best efforts of the tram driver to bring it to a stop beforehand, and crashed into the Alahan's Corner Shop, injuring Sunita Alahan (Shobna Gulati) along with Molly and baby Jack. After a moment of suspense, one of the carriages tipped down and smashed into The Kabin, with Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) being crushed by a falling shelf case. The crash also set No. 13 Coronation Street, the Peacock's home, on fire, trapping Claire Peacock (Julia Haworth), her two children, Freddie (Niall Beresford) and Joshua (Benjamin Beresford), their friend Russ (Finton Flynn), and Simon Barlow (Alex Bain). A telegraph pole is also struck down in the carnage, knocking out the electricity across the street.

The initial blast briefly knocks several people out cold and with emergency services delayed due to a motorway traffic accident, the residents began the rescue efforts. Lloyd Mullaney (Craig Charles) manages to save Claire, her children and Russ from their burning house before Jason Grimshaw (Ryan Thomas) ventures inside to search for Simon. During the furore, Fiz Stape (Jennie McAlpine) is caught in the debris and goes into premature labour. Her husband, John, is warned that if ambulances don't come sooner and if Fiz isn't able to stop the contractions, both she and the baby will die.

After a lengthy delay, fire crews, police and ambulances finally arrive on the scene and relieve the residents of their work. The first casualties, Sunita and Fiz, are taken to hospital whilst Molly's baby Jack is pulled out from the rubble of the corner shop and Jason is able to get Simon out the Peacocks' house. Meanwhile, Becky and Steve frantically continue to search for Max but soon find themselves in trouble when Max's mother Kylie (Paula Lane) unexpectedly turns up. Rita remained trapped in the remains of The Kabin and was undiscovered as everyone thought she had gone out for the evening with a friend, not realising that her friend had cancelled resulting in Rita deciding to stay in for the night.

Inside the remains of The Joinery, Nick and Ashley continue to struggle in getting a seriously wounded Peter to safety. Rescue workers are able to locate them in time and quickly pull Peter out and into a waiting ambulance. Weakened by the fumes and dust, Ashley tells Nick to get out immediately, sacrificing his life for him. Nick reluctantly does so, just as the roof of the building caves in and collapses on top of Ashley, resulting in his death.

The drama continued throughout a special live episode, broadcast on 9 December, the soap's date of birth 50 years ago. The 60-minute instalment saw Fiz give birth to a baby girl 3 months premature; John attempting to hide the body of Charlotte, whom he had supposedly killed in the second 6 December episode only to be caught by the police, but got away as he had already discarded the evidence however he was horrified to discover she was still alive; Claire attempting to cope with the devastating news of Ashley's death; Gary Windass (Mikey North) opening up over his refusal to help out as it reminded him about the trauma he suffered when on his army tour of duty in Afghanistan; Kylie admitting to Steve and Becky that she had removed Max and, after already spending the £20,000 they had given her so they could keep him, demanding another payment of £5,000 from them if they wanted him returned; Molly telling Sally Webster (Sally Dynevor) the truth about baby Jack's father before succumbing to her injuries and Peter marrying Leanne before suffering a cardiac arrest as the episode ended.

As the tragic situation continued to unfold, Peter was rushed into emergency surgery which was successful but still remained critically ill. Peter then married Leanne while in critical condition, with Carla watching on, in the fear that he wouldn't recover to wed her properly. John made an attempt to switch off Charlotte's life support machinery and nearly got caught by her parents and John passed himself off as Colin Fishwick (David Crellin), who died during a heated argument with John and Charlotte back in July. John later got his wish when doctors declared Charlotte as brain dead.

Left stunned by the claims of Kevin cheating on her, Sally was left devastated when she forced Kevin to admit all. Upon learning that Kevin had planned to leave her before discovering she had cancer the previous Christmas she told him their marriage was over. Meanwhile, Tyrone pledged to Kevin that he would continue to care for baby Jack despite not being his true father, but swore revenge on the man who Molly had an affair with and got her pregnant not realising it was Kevin himself. Meanwhile, after having been trapped inside The Kabin for several hours with no notice, Rita was finally found and taken to hospital. The night's activity ended with most of the residents sleeping inside The Rovers Return as the police had cordoned off their houses.

ITV released the entire week of episodes on DVD release on 21 February 2011.[28]

Fire at Victoria Court (2015)[edit]

In April 2015, it was announced that a huge fire would break out at the Victoria Court flats, after an unnamed person, living nearby to the Coronation Street set, dialled 999 after discovering a fire on the premises. The storyline was played out in May 2015, as the soap temporarily moved to a 9pm post-watershed slot to accommodate the live semi-finals of Britain's Got Talent, which has been the case each year for one week since 2010.

After being thwarted by Carla Connor (Alison King) in her sly attempts to take control of The Rovers Return in May, Tracy Barlow (Kate Ford) swears to take revenge on everyone that have ruined her plans. She first confesses to Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard), at her son Steve (Simon Gregson) and Michelle Connor's (Kym Marsh) wedding reception, that she had been having an affair with Tony Stewart (Terence Maynard), as part of her plot the purchase the pub. She then heads into Carla's flat at Victoria Court, and briefly considers murdering her whilst she slept on the sofa, before instead lighting a candle and leaving it next to a lampshade.

Carla's flat is soon engulfed in flames, but she is quickly rescued by Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson). Carla then reveals that Tracy's daughter Amy (Elle Mulvaney) is still inside and both Leanne and her boyfriend Kal Nazir (Jimi Mistry) go back inside to find her. As concerned onlookers soon arrived to help out, Leanne and Amy are helped to safety, with Leanne agreeing to marry Kal, having proposed to her shortly before the fire. Suddenly, a gas cylinder ignites on the balcony and the flat erupts in a huge fireball. Kal is pronounced dead at the scene, after he was still trapped on the balcony at the time of the explosion.

Whilst the fire erupted, Jenny Bradley (Sally Ann Matthews) made an attempt to snatch Kevin Webster's (Michael Le Vell) son Jack, only to be thwarted by an unsuspecting Maddie Heath (Amy James-Kelly). As she made her way to her way to the scene of the fire to tell her girlfriend Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent), the pair had recently agreed to rent a flat to live in together, a second explosion erupted at the nearby builders' yard, caused by a stray flame that ignited a batch of flammable chemicals. Maddie took the full force of the blast, being knocked unconscious and left severely injured. She never regained consciousness and later died in hospital from head injuries sustained by the blast.

Carla started drinking and gambling heavily after the fire, feeling that she was responsible. She goes to a quarry to drown her sorrows, taking Tracy with her, and, when Carla was about to commit suicide, Tracy confessed. Carla exposes Tracy as the culprit in the Rovers and gets her arrested. Tracy is released without charge due to lack of evidence. Underworld, which suffered heavily because of Carla's gambling, had to be bailed out by Aidan (Shayne Ward) and Johnny Connor (Richard Hawley).

Callum terrorises the Platts (2015)[edit]

Drug dealer Callum Logan (Sean Ward), the biological father of Max Turner (Harry McDermott), harasses the Platt family for custody of Max for several months. He particularly antagonises David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd), due to his remarks about Max's mother and David's wife, Kylie (Paula Lane). Callum begins a relationship with Sarah Platt (Tina O'Brien), to the Platts' dismay. Callum manipulates Sarah's teenage daughter Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon) to buy drugs for him whilst he films her. Sarah splits up with Callum in August 2015 after Max finds a gun in his bedroom in Callum's flat. Callum shows Sarah the footage of Bethany buying the drugs. Sarah warns Bethany to stay away from Callum.

Callum wins custody of Max later that month, and Sarah confides in Jason Grimshaw (Ryan Thomas) that he is harassing her and Bethany. Jason enters the Rovers and warns Callum to stay away from Sarah and Bethany, throwing his drink onto his lap. At the same time, Sarah has Callum arrested for the gun. However, Max mistakenly tells the police that the gun was a toy and Callum is released. Callum promises Sarah that he will destroy the Platt family and Jason promises to get rid of him. After David refuses to let Callum see Max, Callum pins David up against a wall, Jason then stops him and throws him onto the street threatening him to stay away from the Platts or he will be dealt with. A furious Callum enlists two thugs to severely beat Jason up, which is witnessed by Max. Jason is discovered by Sarah and rushed to hospital, where his parents Eileen Grimshaw (Sue Cleaver) and Tony Stewart (Terence Maynard) are told he might lose the use of his legs and speech. Max tells David and Kylie what he saw, and when Jason regains consciousness he reinforces Max's story. Max is interviewed by the police, but Callum drugs Sarah, threatening Bethany with the help of Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell) to give him a false alibi or he will kill Sarah. The police believe Bethany and the Platts are furious when Bethany announces she lied to the police for Callum. Tony promises revenge and drags Callum into the ginnel and beats him up severely, but he is stopped by Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard).

Callum kidnaps Max the following month and shouts at him when he demands to go home. Callum is under pressure to pay off a drugs supplier and forces the Platts to pay him £20,000. They immediately refuse and Callum leaves but promises to return for the money. Jason goes to Callum's flat where he punches him. Callum then returns to the Platts and asks them if they sent Jason and Tony to his flat, however they deny having anything to do with it. Callum then states that he will ruin their lives until he is paid. Kylie slaps Callum in the café and he gets his thugs to terrorise Audrey Roberts (Sue Nicholls) in her salon. Callum then trashes the Platt household and, when he returns, he faces Kylie who tries to call the police on Callum, but he stops her. He then intimidates her for the money but Gail throws Callum out of the house. He pushes Max in front of Nick Tilsley's (Ben Price) van after Max hurts Callum by saying that David is his father and that he hates him. Max injures his leg in the accident. Soon after, Bethany confesses that she was forced to give a false alibi for Callum to the police after he threatened her by drugging Sarah and saying that he would kill her. The Platts tell Bethany to tell the police the truth about Callum and soon after in the bistro Callum shows up and asks about Max. Kylie then annoys Callum and he gets violent just as the police walk in and arrest him for assaulting Jason and perverting the course of justice. He is released on bail and tells David and Kylie that he'll leave them alone if he gets his money. David goes looking for money but can't make enough for Callum's demands in time. He then goes after Callum with his mind set on ending the war between the Platts and Callum. Sarah goes into the Rovers and finds Kylie. She tells her David has gone to find Callum which leaves Sarah panicking. As Kylie goes to the toilet, Sarah uses her phone and texts Callum saying she has the money and to meet her at the house. Sarah records Callum in the Platt house talking about his evil deeds. Callum finds her phone recording and after asking where David and Kylie and if they have the money, Sarah says they can't get that kind of money and Callum starts to torture her. When Sarah tries to escape the house, Callum pins her down on the floor and begins to rape her, only to be stopped when Kylie bludgeons him with a wrench, instantly killing Callum. They dump his corpse in a manhole in Gail's annex, which gets covered by cement. Sarah is left traumatised.

After her ordeal, Sarah gives birth to Callum's child, Harry Platt, and is constantly concerned about his safety. She becomes mentally unstable, slowly developing postpartum psychosis, and begins to believe Callum is still alive. She is then admitted to a psychiatric ward when her illness worsens.

In May 2016, after a series of events at Nick and Carla Connor's (Alison King) wedding lead to Tyrone Dobbs (Alan Halsall) and Fiz Stape (Jennie McAlpine) crashing into Gail's annexe. Callum's decomposed body is discovered and the Platts are all interviewed by the police. Sarah cannot control her emotions. She tells Jason's brother Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley) that she is responsible for Callum's death, and, Todd believing that Sarah was confessing to killing him, protecting Sarah and Jason, tells the police that Tony, who has died off-screen, killed Callum. Evil builder Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre) blackmails Jason in order to keep the murder wrench hidden. Jason then caves in and asks Phelan to retrieve the tool bag with wrench in it and he hands it into nto the police who then believe Tony was the murderer after his and Callum's DNA is found on it. The Platts are then told of this and begin to think that the memory of Callum will no longer bother them again but Kylie thinks otherwise and convinces David to move to Barbados.

Tracy blackmails Carla (2016)[edit]

In December 2015, Rob Donovan (Marc Baylis) whilst in prison begins sending Johnny Connor (Richard Hawley) visiting orders, and reveals that Johnny could potentially be Carla Connor's (Alison King) biological father. He does everything in his power to ensure that nobody finds out, but steals some of Carla's DNA to perform a paternity test behind her back. This reveals that he is Carla's biological father, and he decides to break the news to her. Carla is furious and slaps Johnny, however Johnny continues to plead with Carla not to tell children Aidan (Shayne Ward) and Kate (Faye Brookes). Carla heads for a casino where she bumps into Robert Preston (Tristan Gemmill), Tracy Barlow's (Kate Ford) ex-husband, who had just broken up with her for planning to elope with Rob, and after gambling with him, Carla has sex with him. She instantly regrets it, and confides in Michelle, who attempts to persuade Carla not to tell fiancée Nick Tilsley (Ben Price). Carla tells Aidan and Kate about Johnny being her dad and they disown him. They and Carla eventually reconcile with him.

In January 2016, Carla tries to stop Robert from buying into the bistro and they have an argument, with Tracy listening and discovering what happened. Two thugs rob the empty bistro and attack Carla, and when she chases them for her handbag she gets dragged down the street in their car and falls out, landing her in a critical condition. Tracy confronts Carla and blackmails her to move to Devon in turn for not telling Nick about her and Robert. Robert buys the bistro from Nick with Carla's money. Tracy continues to blackmail her.

On Carla's wedding day, Tracy is threatened by Johnny that she will not ruin her day. She does, first by sending the wedding flowers to the wrong place. Johnny, fearing that Tracy will ruin everything, locks her in a storeroom in Underworld. Carla, feeling guilty, tells Nick about Robert. He forgives her and they continue the wedding. Tracy breaks free and tells Nick about the blackmail, leading Nick to split up with her and to punch Robert, who splits up with Tracy, and Gail Rodwell (Helen Worth) slapping Carla.

Kylie Platt's death (2016)[edit]

In February 2016, when it was announced that Paula Lane, who played Kylie Platt since 2010, had quit the soap after five years, Coronation Street producers also announced that they were working on a "top secret storyline" for Kylie's exit. Many fans and viewers thought that Kylie was going to be imprisoned for Callum Logan's (Sean Ward) murder, but on 1 July 2016, it was finally revealed that Kylie will be killed-off. Lane and Jack P. Shepherd, who has played Kylie's husband David Platt since 2000, said that they actually cried after reading the scripts and during Kylie's death scene.

Producers kept details about Kylie's death quiet until the episode aired on 15 July 2016; she was stabbed in the chest by Callum's friend, Clayton Hibbs (Callum Harrison), during a fight with him in an attempt to protect her friend, Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell). She died in David's arms in the middle of the street just after an ambulance arrived.

Kylie's death received a mixed response from viewers and critics alike, many expressed disappointment, calling it an anticlimax, and others criticized her death scene for being too violent.[29] The scenes were further criticised for the many discrepancies, including slow ambulance response times, the close proximity of the medical centre, the failure of any characters to administer first-aid, and more.[29] However, Lane and Shepherd's acting was praised, along with the emotional nature of the scenes.

Car crash and explosion (2016)[edit]

In July 2016, it was reported that an explosion would rip through the street later in the year. In August 2016, Coronation Street actress Samia Ghadie, who plays Maria Connor in the soap said that another "well–loved" character would be killed off in the explosion months after Kylie Platt's (Paula Lane) heartbreaking death and that she had already had a read through of the scripts. The street explosion took place on 21 October 2016 after a week of events after a car crash caused by David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) happened as he was trying to get revenge on Kylie's killer. Gary Windass (Mikey North) was trapped under the car but managed to get out before it exploded however his mother Anna Windass (Debbie Rush) was set on fire and badly injured.

Smaller storylines[edit]

  • On 11 September 1961, Ida Barlow was struck by a bus and killed.
  • In 1961, Elsie Tanner received a poison pen letter during her affair with a married man.
  • In 1967, Elsie Tanner wed former GI Steve Tanner (his surname was almost changed at the last minute; no one would have changed Elsie's, since she was such a popular character) in the Street's first lavish wedding shoot. Steve was played by Canadian actor Paul Maxwell.
  • In 1969, in time to usher in colour television transmissions, the show planned an outing to the Lake District, so that viewers could see the autumn foliage in all its glory. However, there was no colour film available for the episode, leading to the videotaped studio footage being in colour and the filmed exterior footage being in black and white. So the first full colour episode aired was to be after the core cast members had been involved in a car accident on the way back from the Lake, and were all in hospital.
  • In 1975, a warehouse fire killed Edna Gee.
  • In 1980, Renee Roberts (Madge Hindle) was killed off after public opinion polls showed the character (as well as her marriage to Alf Roberts, played by actor Bryan Mosley) to be very unpopular. She died when a lorry hit her car head-on while Alf was giving her driving lessons.
  • In 1984, Bernard Youens's character, Stan Ogden, died in hospital (in conjunction with Youens's real-life death). The episode featuring his funeral (filmed only months following Youens's funeral) ended with his grief-stricken widow, Hilda, crying over his glasses case.
  • In 1998, Anne Malone froze to death after being accidentally locked in a store freezer at Firman's Freezers. She was plotting a smear campaign against Curly Watts.
  • In 2000, a hostage siege occurred at Freshco's supermarket. Characters including Ken Barlow, Fred Elliott and Mike Baldwin were being held hostage by Dean Sykes, the brother of Mike's fiancée Linda. Policewoman Emma Watts fatally shot him as the hostages were rescued.
  • 2000 featured the pregnancy of thirteen-year-old Sarah-Louise Platt (Tina O'Brien). She had had sex with Neil Fearns, a teenage lad, in late 1999; by the time she went to the doctor (her mother Gail had dragged her there due to fears she was suffering from an eating disorder) and found out she was pregnant, it was too late for an abortion. The storyline won high praise, including from Yvette Cooper, the government health minister. [30]
  • 2001 featured the rape of Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor), Les Battersby's teenage stepdaughter, by Phil Simmonds.
  • In 2001, Alma Sedgewick (Amanda Barrie), the ex-wife of Mike Baldwin, died from cervical cancer.
  • In 2001, Sarah Platt, daughter of Gail Platt, fell foul of Gary Adams, an internet stalker whom she met through a chatroom. She went round to his house and was locked in; her mother, Gail, and Dennis Stringer later broke in to rescue her after Sarah's friend Candice Stowe raised the alarm.
  • In 2003–4, the soap showed its first homosexual kiss when Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley) kissed Nick Tilsley (played by Adam Rickitt). When Todd could no longer deny his sexuality he fell into a relationship with Karl Foster, a co-worker, even though he was engaged to Sarah-Louise and she was expecting his child.
  • In 2005, Katy Harris (Lucy-Jo Hudson) beat her father, Tommy Harris, to death with a wrench, after he had instigated the collapse of her relationship with Martin Platt, who was at least 20 years older than her and then joked about it. Her grief-stricken but practical mother Angela Harris decided it was best if they denied all knowledge of the murder. When the police arrested Angela on suspicion of the murder of her husband, she believed Katy wouldn't survive in jail so she took the blame, plead guilty in court, and was sentenced to prison. Katy, who is diabetic, felt overwhelmed with the guilt of her parents' fate and committed suicide by drinking a bag of sugar mixed with cola and not taking her insulin. Although her suicide note exonerated Angela of the murder, she was still sentenced to prison for four years for perjury. As a result, Katy's brother Craig lost his mother, father and sister in just one month.
  • In 2005, Craig Harris and Rosie Webster had underage sex and were caught by Rosie's mother, Sally.
  • In 2006, Mike Baldwin died of a heart attack after a short battle with Alzheimer's disease. He first showed signs of having the disease after he arrived back from holiday with long-term partner Penny King. While he was suffering from the illness his son Danny Baldwin (Bradley Walsh) and his girlfriend Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) attempted to convince Mike to change his will, leaving Danny as the main beneficiary and his other two sons Mark and Adam out of the picture completely. Mike died in the arms of his nemesis Ken Barlow outside his beloved Underworld factory.
  • In 2007, Sarah-Louise Platt married Jason Grimshaw in a second attempt after the groom deserted her first time around. At the same time, Sarah-Louise's wayward brother, David, faked his own suicide by crashing his car into the canal after he was barred from attending the wedding by his own family.
  • In 2008, Vera Duckworth played by Elizabeth Dawn died at home, after fifty years of marriage to Jack Duckworth.
  • In 2009, on Christmas Day, Sally Webster reveals to husband Kevin that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This results in Kevin ending his affair with neighbour Molly Dobbs.
  • In 2010, Sophie Webster and Sian Powers became the first lesbian couple after Sophie kissed Sian. Though Sian was initially disgusted she soon warmed to the idea and they started a secret relationship, which was unmasked at Roy and Hayley's wedding by Claire Peacock, who had caught them kissing on her sofa a few days before when they were babysitting.
  • In 2010, Roy and Hayley were legally married.
  • In 2010, Jack Duckworth, played by Bill Tarmey, was diagnosed with cancer. He died at home in his armchair, where Vera's ghost returned to guide her husband to heaven. The pair danced to a romantic record Jack was playing before they moved on.
  • In 2011, Graeme Proctor marries Xin Chiang in a scam wedding organised by Tina McIntyre in order to prevent Xin from being deported.
  • In 2011, John Stape's murderous crimes were exposed and he appeared to commit suicide by jumping off a hospital roof. Ironically, he managed to survive the fall and went on the run. It left his wife, Fiz to take the rap and she was put on trial. After being found guilty and left facing a possible life sentence, it was reported that John had reappeared. John had kidnapped his ex-lover Rosie Webster for a second time before his cover was blown by Kevin Webster. A resulting car chase left John seriously injured and he later died, but not before confessing to his murders.
  • In 2011, Sophie Webster and Sian Powers were almost married, but Sophie was overcome with guilt after almost kissing Amber Kalirai and could not go through with the wedding. Sian stormed out of the ceremony and later left Weatherfield in tears.
  • In 2012, Becky McDonald ruins Steve McDonald and Tracy Barlow's wedding reception by exposing Tracy's lie in claiming she killed Tracy's unborn twins by pushing Tracy down the stairs when Tracy had actually miscarried beforehand. Straight afterwards, Becky leaves to start a new life in Barbados.
  • In 2012, long-serving characters Rita Sullivan and Dennis Tanner marry, but not before Rita is kidnapped as part of a drug smuggling plan.
  • In 2012, Tina McIntyre discovers that Tyrone Dobbs is being constantly abused by his fiancée Kirsty Soames.
  • In 2013, Sunita Alahan and Stella Price were rushed to hospital when Sunita's ex lover and Stella's lover Karl Munro set fire to the Rovers Return in a plot to frame Jason Grimshaw. As Karl had pushed Sunita down the stairs and left her to die in the pub when she caught him about to commit arson, when she showed signs of improvement and awoke from her coma Karl dislodged her breathing tube and she died. Stella recovered, while Toni Griffiths, a firefighter and colleague of Paul Kershaw, was killed when the Rovers roof collapsed on her.
  • In January 2015, Steve McDonald crashed a minibus carrying the Underworld factory workers to Carla's awards ceremony. Sinead Tinker was left with serious spinal injuries.
  • In April 2015, Faye Windass (Ellie Leach) discovered she was pregnant at the age of just thirteen. She would later have her baby daughter, Miley (played by triplets Erin, Eliah, and Elsie), who in July went to live with her paternal family.
  • In 2015, Zeedan Nazir discovers that Leanne Battersby is being physically abused by son Simon Barlow.
  • In June 2016, Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) discovered she is pregnant with Steve McDonald's baby following a one-night stand.
  • In January 2017, Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) miscarries hers and Steve McDonald's baby in scenes which were highly praised due to Marsh's real life miscarriage in 2009.


  1. ^ Little, Daran. p.241-242.
  2. ^ Little. (2000) p.153.
  3. ^ a b c Little. (2000) p.28.
  4. ^ Tinker, Jack. p.31.
  5. ^ Little. (2000) p.6.
  6. ^ a b Tinker. p. 31.
  7. ^ a b Little. (2000) p.93.
  8. ^ Little. (2000) p.96.
  9. ^ Little. (2000) p.114.
  10. ^ a b c Podmore. p.33.
  11. ^ a b Podmore. p.34.
  12. ^ Little. (2000) p.21.
  13. ^ Podmore. p.36.
  14. ^ Little. p.10.
  15. ^ a b c Podmore. p.78.
  16. ^ Podmore. p.77.
  17. ^ Little. p.153.
  18. ^ Podmore. p.76.
  19. ^ Little. p.121.
  20. ^ Podmore. p.135.
  21. ^ a b c d Podmore. p.136.
  22. ^ Little. p.190.
  23. ^ Little. (1995) p.84.
  24. ^ Little. (1995) p.85.
  25. ^ Little. p.51.
  26. ^ a b Little. p.93.
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^ "BBC News | ENTERTAINMENT | Street drama wins praise". Retrieved 2017-06-10. 

Print references[edit]

  • Little, Daran. 40 Years of Coronation Street, Granada Media, 2000. (ISBN 0-233-99806-3)
  • Tinker, Jack. Coronation Street; A fully-illustrated record of television's most popular serial, Treasure Press, 1987. (ISBN 1-85051-229-9)
  • Podmore, Bill. (with Peter Reece). Coronation Street: The Inside Story London: Macdonald, 1990 (ISBN 0-356-17971-0)