|Created by||Tony Warren|
|Starring|| Present cast
|Theme music composer||Eric Spear|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||
8040[ +](as of 14 January 2013)
|Executive producer(s)|| Various
(currently Kieran Roberts)
|Location(s)||Granada Studios, Castlefield, Manchester, England|
|Camera setup||Multiple-camera setup|
|Running time||30 minutes
(excluding advertisements) (with occasional 60 minute episodes)
|Production company(s)||Granada Television (1960 – present)|
|Original channel||ITV, STV, UTV|
|Picture format|| 405-line Black & White
( 4:3 SDTV) (1960–69)
( 4:3 SDTV) (1969–2001)
( 16:9 SDTV) (2002–)
( 16:9 HDTV) (2010–)
|Audio format|| Monaural (1960–1990)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (2010–present)
|Original run||9 December 1960– present ( 52 years, 103 days)|
|Related shows|| Albion Market
The Road to Coronation Street
The Corrie Years
Coronation Street is a British television soap opera first broadcast on Granada Television in 1960. It was soon syndicated on other ITV franchises. The programme concerns the lives of the residents of Coronation Street in Weatherfield, a fictional town based on Salford, and centres around its terraced houses, a cafe, corner shop, newsagents, textile factory and the Rovers Return public house.
The programme was devised in 1960 by local scriptwriter Tony Warren at the recently formed Granada Television in Manchester. Warren's initial kitchen sink drama proposal was rejected by the station's founder Sidney Bernstein but he was persuaded by producer Harry Elton to produce the programme for thirteen pilot episodes. It was first broadcast on 9 December 1960 and within six months had become the most-watched programme on British television. It has been one of the most financially lucrative programmes on British commercial television, underpinning the success of the Granada Television franchise and the broadcaster ITV.
Coronation Street is made by Granada Television at Granada Studios in Manchester. It is shown in all ITV regions as well as internationally. On 17 September 2010, it became the world's longest-running TV soap opera in production. Coronation Street is noted for its depiction of a down-to-earth working class community combined with light-hearted humour and strong characters.
The first episode was aired on 9 December 1960 and was not initially a critical success; Daily Mirror columnist Ken Iriwin claimed the series would only last three weeks. Granada Television initially commissioned only 13 episodes and some inside the company doubted the show would last beyond its planned production run. Despite the criticism, viewers were immediately drawn to the serial, won over by Coronation Street's 'ordinary' characters. The programme also made use of Northern English language and dialect; affectionate local terms like "eh, chuck?", "nowt" ( IPA pron.: / /, means nothing), and "by 'eck!" became widely heard on British television for the first time.
Early episodes told the story of student Kenneth Barlow ( William Roache), who had won a place at university and thus found his working-class background something of an embarrassment. The character was one of the few to have experienced life 'outside' of Coronation Street, and in some ways predicts the growth of globalisation and the decline of similar communities. In a 1961 episode, Barlow declares: "You can't go on just thinking about your own street these days. We're living with people on the other side of the world. There's more to worry about than Elsie Tanner and her boyfriends." Roache was the only remaining member of the original cast until Dennis Tanner ( Philip Lowrie) returned on 12 May 2011, and is currently the longest-serving actor in Coronation Street and in British and global soap overall.
Also at the centre of many early stories was Ena Sharples ( Violet Carson), caretaker of the Glad Tidings Mission Hall, and her friends: timid Minnie Caldwell ( Margot Bryant) and bespectacled Martha Longhurst ( Lynne Carol). The trio were likened to the Greek chorus, and the three witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth, as they would sit in the snug bar of the Rovers Return, passing judgement over family, neighbours and frequently each other. Headstrong Ena often clashed with Elsie Tanner, whom she believed espoused a dauntlessly loose set of morals. Elsie resented Ena's interference and gossip, which most of the time had little basis in reality.
In April 1961, Jed Stone made his first appearance and returned the following year in 1962. He left in 1963, but returned 3 years later in 1966. He left again and then returned 42 years later in 2008.
In March 1961, Coronation Street reached No.1 in the television ratings and remained there for the rest of the year. Earlier in 1961, a Television Audience Measurement (TAM) showed that 75% of available viewers (15 million) tuned into Corrie and by 1964 the programme had over 20 million regular viewers, with ratings peaking on 2 December 1964, at 21.36 million viewers.
Storylines throughout the decade included: a mystery poison-pen letter received by Elsie Tanner, the 1962 marriage of Ken Barlow and Valerie Tatlock, the death of Martha Longhurst in 1964, the birth of the Barlow twins in 1965, Elsie Tanner's wedding to Steve Tanner as well as a train crashing from the viaduct (both in 1967), the murder of Steve Tanner in 1968, and a coach crash in 1969.
In spite of rising popularity with viewers, Coronation Street was criticised by some for its outdated portrayal of the urban working-class, and its representation of a community that was a nostalgic fantasy. After the first episode in 1960, the Daily Mirror printed: "The programme is doomed from the outset ... For there is little reality in this new serial, which apparently, we have to suffer twice a week." By 1967, critics were suggesting that the programme no longer reflected life in 1960s Britain, but reflected how life was in the 1950s. Granada hurried to update the programme, with the hope of introducing more issue-driven stories, including Lucille Hewitt becoming addicted to drugs, Jerry Booth being in a storyline about homosexuality, Emily Nugent having an out of wedlock child, and introducing a black family, but all of these ideas were dropped for fear of upsetting viewers.
The show's production team was tested when many core cast members left the programme in the early 1970s. When Arthur Leslie died suddenly in 1970, his character, Rovers' landlord Jack Walker, died with him. Anne Reid quit as Valerie Barlow, and was killed off in 1971, electrocuting herself with a faulty hairdryer. Ratings reached a low of 8 million in February 1973, Pat Phoenix quit as Elsie Tanner, Violet Carson ( Ena Sharples) was written out for most of the year due to illness, and Doris Speed ( Annie Walker) took two months' leave. ITV's other flagship soap opera Crossroads saw a marked increase in viewers at this time, as its established cast, such as Meg Richardson ( Noele Gordon), grew in popularity. These sudden departures forced the writing team to quickly develop characters who had previously stood in the background. The roles of Bet Lynch, Ivy Tilsley ( Lynne Perrie), Deirdre Hunt ( Anne Kirkbride), Rita Littlewood ( Barbara Knox) and Mavis Riley ( Thelma Barlow) were built up between 1972 and 1973 with characters such as Gail Potter ( Helen Worth), Blanche Hunt ( Patricia Cutts and Maggie Jones) and Vera Duckworth ( Elizabeth Dawn) first appearing in 1974. These characters would remain at the centre of the programme for many years.
Comic storylines had been popular in the series in the 1960s but had become sparse during the early 1970s. These were re-introduced by new producer Bill Podmore who joined the series in 1976. He had worked on Granada comedy productions prior to his appointment. Stan and Hilda Ogden were often at the centre of overtly funny storylines, with other comic characters including Eddie Yeats ( Geoffrey Hughes), Fred Gee ( Fred Feast) and Jack Duckworth ( William Tarmey) all making their first appearances during the decade.
In 1976, Pat Phoenix returned to her role as Elsie Tanner and, after a spate of ill health, Violet Carson returned on a more regular basis as Ena. Coronation Street's stalwart cast slotted back into the programme alongside the newcomers, examining new relationships between characters of different ages and backgrounds: Eddie Yeats became the Ogdens' lodger, Gail Potter and Suzie Birchall moved in with Elsie, Mike Baldwin ( Johnny Briggs) arrived in 1976 as the tough factory boss, and Annie Walker reigned at the Rovers with her trio of staff Bet Lynch, Betty Turpin and Fred Gee.
Storylines throughout the decade included: a warehouse fire in 1975, the birth of Tracy Langton in 1977, the murder of Ernest Bishop in 1978, a lorry crashing into the Rovers Return in 1979, and the marriage of Brian Tilsley and Gail Potter (also in 1979).
For eleven weeks, between August and October 1979, industrial action forced Coronation Street and the whole of the ITV network (apart from the Channel Islands) off the air. When ITV did return, its first evening schedule included a special "catch-up" edition of Coronation Street, in which storylines which would have taken place during the strike were explained away in the form of a narrative chat between Len Fairclough and Bet Lynch. For several weeks the channel had very few fresh episodes to show, and episodes of the game show 3-2-1 were screened in its place. Coronation Street returned to ITV screens at a regular time late in 1979.
Coronation Street had little competition within its prime time slot, and certain critics suggested that the programme had grown complacent, moving away from socially viable storylines and again presenting a dated view of working class life.
Between 1980 and 1989, Coronation Street underwent some of the biggest changes since its launch. By May 1984, Ken Barlow stood as the only original cast member, after the departures of Ena Sharples (in 1980), Annie Walker (in 1983), Elsie Tanner (in 1984) and Albert Tatlock (also 1984). In 1983, antihero Len Fairclough ( Peter Adamson), one of the show's central male characters since 1961, was killed off, and in 1984, Stan Ogden (Bernard Youens) died. While the press predicted the end of Corrie, H. V. Kershaw declared that "There are no stars in Coronation Street." Writers drew on the show's many archetypes, with previously established characters stepping into the roles left by the original cast. Phyllis Pearce (Jill Summers) was hailed as the new Ena Sharples in 1982, the Duckworths moved into No.9 in 1983 and slipped into the role once held by the Ogdens, while Percy Sugden ( Bill Waddington) appeared in 1983 and took over the grumpy war veteran role from Albert Tatlock. The question of who would take over the Rovers Return after Annie Walker's 1983 exit was answered in 1985 when Bet Lynch (who also mirrored the vulnerability and strength of Elsie Tanner) was installed as landlady. In 1983, Shirley Armitage became the first major black character in her role as machinist at Baldwin's Casuals.
Ken Barlow married Deirdre Langton on 27 July 1981. The episode was watched by over 24 million viewers – more ITV viewers than the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana two days later. The 1980s also saw the cementing of relationships between established characters: Alf Roberts ( Bryan Mosley) married Audrey Potter ( Sue Nicholls) in 1985, Kevin Webster ( Michael Le Vell) married Sally Seddon ( Sally Dynevor) in 1986. Bet Lynch married Alec Gilroy in 1987 and the marriages of Ivy Tilsley and Don Brennan, and Derek Wilton and Mavis Riley took place in 1988.
The arrival of Channel 4 and its edgy new soap opera Brookside in 1982 was one of the biggest changes for Coronation Street. Unlike Coronation Street which had a very nostalgic view of working-class life, Brookside brought together working and middle-class families in a more contemporary environment. The dialogue often included expletives and the stories were more hard-hitting and of the current Zeitgeist. Whereas stories at this time in Coronation Street were largely about family affairs, Brookside concentrated on social affairs such as industrial action, unemployment and the black market. The BBC also introduced a new prime time soap opera, EastEnders in 1985. Like Brookside, Eastenders had a more gritty premise than Coronation Street, although unlike Brookside it tended to steer clear of blue language and politicised stories.
While ratings for Coronation Street remained consistent throughout the decade, EastEnders regularly obtained higher viewing figures. With prime time competition, Corrie was again seen as being old fashioned, with the introduction of the 'normal' Clayton family in 1985 being a failure with viewers. Between 1988 and 1989, many aspects of the show were modernised by new producer, David Liddiment. A new exterior set had been built in 1982 and in 1989 it was redeveloped to include new houses and shops. Production techniques were also changed, with a new studio being built and the inclusion of more location filming, which had moved from being shot on film to videotape in 1988. New pressures also saw introduction of the third weekly episode on 20 October 1989, broadcast each Friday at 19:30.
The 1980s featured some of the most prominent storylines in the programme's history, such as Deirdre Barlow's affair with Mike Baldwin in 1983, the first soap storyline to receive widespread media attention. The feud between Ken Barlow and Mike Baldwin would continue for many years, with Mike even marrying Ken's daughter, Susan. In 1986, there was a fire at the Rovers Return, which attracted an audience of just under 27 million, and between 1986 and 1989, the story of Rita Fairclough's psychological abuse at the hands of Alan Bradley ( Mark Eden), and his subsequent death under the wheels of a Blackpool tram, was played out. The episode where Alan met his death under the tram gave Coronation Street its highest ever viewing figures of 26.9 million, and is still the 9th most watched UK broadcast of all time. Other stories included: the birth of Nicky Tilsley in 1980, Elsie Tanner's departure and Stan Ogden's funeral in 1984, the birth of Sarah-Louise Tilsley in 1987, and Brian Tilsley's murder in 1989.
New characters were introduced, such as Terry Duckworth ( Nigel Pivaro), Curly Watts ( Kevin Kennedy), Martin Platt ( Sean Wilson), Reg Holdsworth ( Ken Morley) and the McDonald family; one of whom, Simon Gregson, started on the show as Steve McDonald a week after his 15th birthday, and has been in the programme ever since.
In spite of updated sets and production changes, Coronation Street still received criticism. In 1992, chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Council, Lord Rees-Mogg, criticised the low-representation of ethnic minorities and the programme's portrayal of the cosy familiarity of a bygone era. Some newspapers ran headlines such as "Coronation Street shuts out blacks" ( The Times) and "'Put colour in t'Street" (Daily Mirror). Patrick Stoddart of The Times wrote: "The millions who watch Coronation Street – and who will continue to do so despite Lord Rees-Mogg – know real life when they see it ... in the most confident and accomplished soap opera television has ever seen". Black and Asian characters had appeared, but it was not until 1999 that the show featured its first regular non-white family, the Desai family.
New characters Des and Steph Barnes moved into one of the new houses in 1990, being dubbed by the media as ' Yuppies'. Raquel Wolstenhulme ( Sarah Lancashire) first appeared in 1991 and went on to become one of the most popular characters. The McDonald family were developed and the fiery relationships between Liz, Jim, Steve and Andy interested viewers. Other newcomers were Maud Grimes ( Elizabeth Bradley), Roy Cropper ( David Neilson), Judy and Gary Mallett, Fred Elliot ( John Savident) and Ashley Peacock ( Steven Arnold). The amount of slapstick and physical humour in storylines increased during the 1990s, with comic characters such as Reg Holdsworth and his water bed.
Storylines in the early part of the decade included: the death of newborn Katie McDonald in 1992, Mike Baldwin's wedding to Alma Sedgewick ( Amanda Barrie) in 1992, Tommy Duckworth being sold by his father Terry in 1993, Deirdre Barlow's marriage to Moroccan Samir Rachid, and the rise of Tanya Pooley ( Eva Pope) between 1993 and 1994.
Key character Bet Lynch departed in 1995 when her portrayer Julie Goodyear decided to leave. Bet would subsequently make brief return appearances in 1999, 2002 and 2003.
In 1997, Brian Park took over as producer, with the idea of promoting young characters as opposed to the older cast. On his first day he axed the characters of Derek Wilton, Don Brennan, Percy Sugden, Bill Webster, Billy Williams and Maureen Holdsworth. Thelma Barlow, who played Derek's wife Mavis, was angered by the sacking of her co-star and resigned, while the production team also lost some of its key writers when Barry Hill, Adele Rose and Julian Roach all resigned.
In line with Park's suggestion, younger characters were introduced: Nick Tilsley was recast, played by Adam Rickitt, single mother Zoe Tattersall ( Joanne Froggatt) first appeared, and the Battersbys moved into No.5. Storylines focussed on tackling 'issues', such as drug dealers, eco-warriors, religious cults and a transsexual woman. Park quit in 1998, after deciding that he had done what he intended to do; he maintained that his biggest achievement was the introduction of Hayley Patterson ( Julie Hesmondhalgh), the first transsexual character in a British soap.
Some viewers were alienated by the new-look Coronation Street, and the sections of the media voiced their disapproval. Having received criticism of being too out of touch, Corrie now struggled to emulate the more modern Brookside and EastEnders. In the Daily Mirror, Victor Lewis-Smith wrote: "Apparently it doesn't matter that this is a first-class soap opera, superbly scripted and flawlessly performed by a seasoned repertory company."
One of Coronation Street's best known storylines took place in March/April 1998, with Deirdre Rachid being wrongfully imprisoned after a relationship with con-man Jon Lindsay. 19 million viewers watched Deirdre being sent to prison, and 'Free the Weatherfield One' campaigns sprung up in a media frenzy. The then Prime Minister Tony Blair even passed comment on Deirdre's sentencing in Parliament. Deirdre was freed after three weeks, with Granada stating that they had always intended for her to be released, in spite of the media interest.
On 8 December 2000, the show celebrated its fortieth year by broadcasting a live, hour-long episode. The Prince of Wales made a cameo in the episode, appearing in a pre-recorded segment as himself in an ITV News bulletin report, presented by Trevor McDonald. Earlier in the year, 13-year-old Sarah-Louise Platt ( Tina O'Brien) had become pregnant and given birth to a baby girl, Bethany, on 4 June. The episode where Gail was told of her daughter's pregnancy was watched by 15 million viewers. Earlier in the year, Alison Wakefield married Kevin Webster after discovering she was pregnant with his child. Their happiness was not to last. Their son Jake died just a day after his birth in June 2000 from a Group B streptococcal infection. Their tragedy was too much for Alison and, after kidnapping then returning Sarah-Lou Platt's newborn baby Bethany, she committed suicide by stepping in front of a lorry, leaving Kevin devastated. The year also saw the programme's first two-hander, between Curly and Raquel Watts. In September 2000, Mike Baldwin married Linda Sykes but shortly afterwards, his drunken son Mark confessed he and Linda had been having an affair behind his dad's back. The episode attracted an audience of 16.8 million and in the 2001 British Soap Awards won Best Storyline.
From 1999 to 2001, Jane MacNaught was Coronation Street's executive producer, and received harsh criticism from both viewers and critics. In an attempt to compete with EastEnders, issue-led storylines were introduced such as Toyah Battersby's rape, Roy and Hayley Cropper abducting their foster child, Sarah Platt's Internet chat room abduction and Alma Halliwell's death of cervical cancer. Such storylines were unpopular with viewers and ratings dropped and in October 2001, Macnaught was abruptly moved to another Granada department and Carolyn Reynolds took over. Corrie continued to struggle in the ratings, with EastEnders introducing some of its strongest stories. In 2002, Kieran Roberts was appointed as producer and aimed to re-introduce "gentle storylines and humour", after deciding that the Street should not try to compete with other soaps.
In 2002, one of Coronation Street's best-known storylines began, which culminated in 2003. Gail Platt married Richard Hillman ( Brian Capron), a financial advisor, who would go on to leave Duggie Ferguson to die, murder his ex-wife Patricia, attempt to murder his mother-in-law, Audrey Roberts, murder Maxine Peacock and attempt to murder Emily Bishop. After confessing to the murder of Maxine and his ex-wife, Hillman attempted to kill Gail, her children Sarah and David, and her granddaughter Bethany, by driving them into a canal. The storyline received wide press attention, and viewing figures peaked at 19.4 million, with Hillman dubbed a "serial killer" by the media.
Todd Grimshaw began to question his sexuality in 2003, becoming Corrie's first regular homosexual character, after years of criticism about non-representation. 2003 saw the introduction of another gay male character, Sean Tully played by Antony Cotton. The character of Karen McDonald ( Suranne Jones) was developed, with her fiery marriage to Steve and warring with Tracy Barlow.
In 2004, Coronation Street retconned the Baldwin family when Mike's nephew Danny Baldwin and his wife Frankie moved to the area from Essex, with their two sons Jamie and Warren. Until this time, Mike Baldwin had been portrayed as an only child, with his father appearing in the programme between 1980 and 1982 confirming the fact.
During the decade, a range of other storylines featured, such as the bigamy of Peter Barlow and his addiction to alcohol, later in the decade, Maya Sharma's revenge on former lover Devendra Alahan, Katy Harris murdering her father and subsequently committing suicide, Charlie Stubbs's psychological abuse of Shelley Unwin, and the deaths of Mike Baldwin, Vera Duckworth and Fred Elliott. Three new families were also introduced into the show: The Connors, The Mortons and The Windasses, the Mortons and Windasses being not as popular as the Connors when introduced, and the Mortons being written out by the next year, with the Windasses being brought in to replace them.
In 2007, several groundbreaking storylines took place on Coronation Street, such as Tracy Barlow murdering Charlie Stubbs and claiming it was self-defence, as well as the show featuring its second two hander with Tracy Barlow confessing to her mother Deirdre Barlow she had planned to kill Charlie all along. The storyline saw viewing figures peaking at 13.3 million, and the episode on 2 April 2007, where Tracy was found guilty of Charlie's murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, was watched by 12.6 million viewers. At the 2007 British Soap Awards, it won Best Storyline, and Kate Ford was voted Best Actress for her portrayal. Other storylines included Leanne Battersby becoming a prostitute and the show's first bi-sexual love triangle (between Michelle Connor, Sonny Dhillon, and Sean Tully). The Connor family were central to many storylines during 2007—the accidental death of a Polish worker at Underworld due to overworking, Michelle's discovery that her brothers Paul and Liam were the cause of her husband's death, Paul's use of an escort service, his kidnapping of Leanne and his subsequent death.
In July 2007, after 34 years in the role of Vera Duckworth, Elizabeth Dawn left the show due to ill health. After conversation between Dawn and producers Kieran Roberts and Steve Frost, the decision was made to kill Vera off. In January 2008, shortly before plans to retire to Blackpool, Vera's husband Jack found that she had died in her armchair.
Tina O'Brien revealed in the British press on 4 April 2007 that she would be leaving Coronation Street before the end of the year. Sarah-Louise, who was involved in some of the decade's most controversial stories, left in December 2007.
The Connor family continued to dominate storylines in 2008, with Michelle learning that Ryan was not her biological son, having been accidentally swapped at birth, and her emotional struggle to accept her biological son Alex Neeson. This story abruptly ended but Michelle soon had new troubles when she suspected her boyfriend, Steve McDonald, had cheated on her. She had no idea his fling had been with Becky Granger, a supporting character who slowly rose to more prominent status. Michelle hired her to work at the Rovers. Michelle became an ever-more prominent part of the Street, with Kym Marsh receiving £100,000 for another year on the soap. In 2008, Carla Connor turned to Liam for comfort and developed feelings for him. In spite of knowing about her feelings, Liam married Maria Sutherland. Maria and Liam's baby son was stillborn in April, and during an estrangement from Maria upon the death of their baby, Liam had a one night stand with Carla, a story which helped pave the way for his departure.
Much of the decade was spent on the family dramas of Gail Platt. The various problems of daughter Sarah-Louise occupied much of Gail's attention. Gail's son David Platt ( Jack P. Shepherd) became increasingly unbalanced, with various plots and schemes. These culminated in 2008 where he pushed her down the stairs in a fit of anger. Gail stood by him, partly due to her belief that her mother Audrey had not been there for her as a child. Enraged that Gail refused to press charges, David vandalised the Street and was sent to a young offenders' facility for several months. In May 2008, Gail finally met Ted Page, the father she'd never known and in 2009, Gail's boyfriend, Joe McIntyre became addicted to pain killers, which came to a head when he broke into the medical centre.
In August 2008, Jed Stone returned after 42 years. He was seen when Tony Gordon tried to evict him from his property, causing Jed to have a heart attack. In late 2008, Liam Connor and his ex-sister-in-law Carla Connor gave into their feelings for each other and began an affair. Carla's fiancee Tony discovered the affair and subsequently had Liam killed in a hit-and-run in October, leaving his pregnant widow Maria distraught. Carla struggled to come to terms with Liam's death, but decided she still loved Tony and married him on 3 December, in an episode attracting 10.3 million viewers. Sally Webster showed Maria the footage of Carla and Liam kissing at the wedding reception, leading to Maria's mental breakdown. She rightly believed that Tony had murdered Liam, however, no one believed her except Tony's enemy Jed Stone, who was lodging with Emily Bishop. Jed tried to blackmail Tony, leading to a confrontation on Christmas Eve in Underworld when Tony strangled Jed in a fit of rage, just before the Christmas party. Believing Jed to be dead, Tony hid his body in the Christmas hamper during the party. When he returned to the factory on Christmas Day he discovered Jed had just been unconscious, and offered him a free flat in Wigan to buy his silence, which Jed accepted.
In April 2009 it was revealed that Eileen Grimshaw's father, Colin had slept with Eileen's old classmate, Paula Carp while she was still at school, and that Paula's daughter, Julie was in fact also Colin's daughter. Colin later died from a stroke, before the police could arrest him. In May, Norris Cole received a blast from the past with the reappearance of his estranged brother Ramsay Clegg ( Andrew Sachs) who wanted a reconciliation. Norris refused to have anything to do with the man whom he blamed for shaming his mother. Ramsay died on his way home to Australia, leaving a shocked Norris to discover that his mother had actually rejected Ramsay as a child and sent him away. Other significant storylines that year included Peter Barlow's battle against alcoholism, Ken Barlow's affair with actress Martha Fraser after his dog Eccles fell in the canal, Maria giving birth to Liam's son and her subsequent relationship with Liam's killer Tony, Steve McDonald's marriage to Becky Granger and Kevin Webster's affair with Molly Dobbs.
In late 2009, the long-running storyline involving Tony Gordon came to its conclusion when Carla returned and he suffered a heart attack. Convinced that he was about to die, he confessed to Roy Cropper that he was responsible for Liam's death. Unexpectedly he survived, leaving Roy and Hayley fearing for their lives in anticipation of what he might do. After overhearing Hayley telling Maria that he had killed her husband, Tony confronted Roy by the canal. A physical confrontation ensued and Tony pushed Roy into the canal. However Tony then rescued Roy from the water and confessed to Liam's murder to the police. On Christmas Day 2009, Sally Webster told husband Kevin that she had breast cancer, just as he was about to leave her for lover Molly.
The first months saw Gail Platt marry for the fourth time to Joe McIntyre, who, due to heavy debts, planned to fake his own drowning. When Gail refused to go along with the plan, Joe sailed away and in the attempt, drowned for real, leaving Gail to be charged with his murder. Molly Dobbs became pregnant, with the father being either Tyrone Dobbs or Kevin Webster; Molly reconciled with Tyrone and nearly lost her life after a crash in a car which had not been properly repaired by Kevin. After an absence of three years, Tracy Barlow returned on 7 May 2010, in a plot to reduce her sentence by convincing cellmate Gail to confess to Joe's murder. 2010 saw the show's first lesbian storyline as Sophie Webster develops an attraction towards her best friend Sian Powers. This started in April and would develop during the year and into early 2011. May 2010 also saw the funeral of Coronation Street favourite Blanche Hunt, who was written out after the death of her portrayer Maggie Jones on 2 December 2009. ITV honoured Blanche and Maggie with a half-hour special, Goodbye Blanche, which was aired after the funeral.
On 31 May 2010, the Coronation Street opening sequence was given a revamp. From that date all episodes of the series would be transmitted in High Definition. The change coincided with a week of dramatic storylines known as "Siege Week", being shown on five consecutive nights following Britain's Got Talent. In the story Tony Gordon escapes from prison to seek vengeance on his enemies, culminating in the dramatic explosion of Underworld. Meanwhile, Gail Platt's murder trial kicks into high gear. Two separate endings for Gail's verdict were shown online.
On 2 June 2010 an episode featuring a gun siege was postponed following the similar Cumbria shootings earlier that day. It was left unannounced whether Coronation Street would return the following day, but it was later announced that it would not be returning that week, and return the following Monday as a result of what had happened.
On 7 July 2010 it was announced that Coronation Street was working with The Mill and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive (responsible for the operation of Manchester Metrolink) to film a spectacular and realistic tram crash. This crash would use the viaduct at the end of the Street. Reports stated that series producer Phil Collinson was distributing alternative scripts, that much loved characters would be killed, and that none of the cast would be told which characters would die. The events of the night of the crash were to be aired over a week's worth of episodes, similar to the Siege Week storyline. Survivors would take refuge in The Rovers Return, with the effects lasting well into 2011.
It was originally believed that a live episode had not been planned for the anniversary, but actor Keith Duffy confirmed on 29 August 2010 that one would be aired focussing on the aftermath of the upcoming tram crash. The live episode took place on 9 December 2010.
On 17 September 2010 Coronation Street entered the Guinness World Records book as the world's longest-running television soap opera after the American soap opera As the World Turns had its final episode. Roache was listed as the world's longest-running soap actor.
Coronation Street's 50th anniversary week was celebrated by broadcasting seven consecutive episodes, along with a special one hour live episode, from 6–10 December. The anniversary was also constructed by a number of ITV specials and news broadcasts. Producer Phil Collinson marked the event with a sensational storyline in which the residents had to deal with a tragic accident and its aftermath. In the storyline, Nick Tilsley and Leanne Battersby's bar—The Joinery—exploded during Peter Barlow's stag party. As a result, the viaduct was destroyed, sending a tram careering onto the street, destroying D&S Alahan's Corner Shop and The Kabin. Two characters, Ashley Peacock and Molly Dobbs, along with an unknown taxi driver, were killed as a result of the disaster. Rita Sullivan survived, despite being trapped under the rubble of her destroyed shop. Fiz Stape prematurely gave birth to a baby girl, Hope, after her husband, John, struck his stalker Charlotte Hoyle with a hammer to silence her. He later attempted to turn off Charlotte's life support machine, having gained access to her bedside by allowing her parents to believe he was her fiancé. They later made the decision turn off her life support, with John's agreement. Peter Barlow married Leanne Battersby in an emergency hospital ceremony, shortly before going into cardiac arrest, although he later rallied and made a slow recovery.
The episode of EastEnders broadcast on the same day as Coronation Street's 50th anniversary episode included a tribute, with the character Dot Branning saying that she never missed Coronation Street. At the same time Granada bosses commissioned trailers depicting famous Coronation Street fans, including former Brookside actress Sue Johnston ( Sheila Grant).
In January 2011, it was announced that one of Coronation Street's original characters Dennis Tanner would make a return after 43 years off screen. The year would also see the departures of long-running cast members Beverley Callard and Vicky Entwistle who play Liz McDonald and Janice Battersby, respectively. On 15 October 2011, Betty Driver, who had played Betty Williams since 1969, died of pneumonia, aged 91. In 2011, the major story line of John Stape and his murder spree came to an end in May after he jumped off a hospital roof but left before he could be arrested. He returned in October before Fiz Stape was imprisoned for the murders. Following a car crash, John revealed the details about the murders and how Fiz was not involved. He later died from his injuries on 28 October.
2011 also saw the arrival of Frank Foster who was a sexual predator, the first flash of malevolence we see is when Maria Connor visits his home to finalise a deal. After a bit of flirting Frank thinks Maria is playing hard to get and decides he is getting what he wants there and then, Maria is frightened by this and manages to escape. After Maria tells Carla Connor, Carla is furious and tries to get Maria to go to the police, however Maria wants to forget all about it and tells Carla to continue doing business with Frank to save the factory. Frank later starts a relationship with Carla, who now believes that Maria misinterpreted what happened on the night she claims she was attacked, and they get engaged. However after falling in love with Peter Barlow, despite doing nothing about it, Carla calls off their wedding. Frank then rapes Carla, sparking one of the soaps most talked about storylines. Frank was later murdered in a "whodunit" storyline. After three weeks of speculation it was revealed that the killer was in fact Frank's own mother(Anne Foster). 2011 also showed the introduction of the character Kirsty Soames. She becomes a new love interest for Tyrone Dobbs. Later on in 2012 they begin to start a domestic abuse storyline in which Kirsty beats Tyrone. Kirsty begins to feel guilty about her actions and leaves Tyrone. She is later spotted by Tommy Duckworth in late August.
Since 1960, Coronation Street has featured many characters whose popularity with viewers and critics has differed greatly. The original cast was created by Tony Warren, with the characters of Ena Sharples ( Violet Carson), Elsie Tanner ( Patricia Phoenix) and Annie Walker ( Doris Speed) as central figures. These three women remained with the show for 20 years or more, and became archetypes of British soap opera, often being emulated by other serials. Ena was the street's busybody, battleaxe and self-proclaimed moral voice. Elsie was the tart with a heart, who was constantly hurt by men in the search for true love. Annie Walker, landlady of the Rovers Return Inn, had delusions of grandeur and saw herself as better than other residents of Coronation Street.
Coronation Street became known for the portrayal of strong female characters, with characters like Sharples, Walker and Tanner, and Hilda Ogden, becoming household names during the 1960s. Warren's programme was largely matriarchal, which some commentators put down to the female-dominant environment in which he grew up. Consequently, the show has a long tradition of psychologically abused husbands, most famously Stan Ogden and Jack Duckworth, husbands of Hilda and Vera, respectively.
Ken Barlow ( William Roache) entered the storyline as a young radical, reflecting the youth of 1960s Britain, where figures like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and the model Twiggy were to reshape the concept of youthful rebellion. Though the rest of the original Barlow family were killed off, Ken, who for 27 years was the only character from the first episode remaining, has remained the constant link throughout the entire series. In 2011, Dennis Tanner ( Philip Lowrie), another character from the first episode, returned to Coronation Street after a 43-year absence.
Stan Ogden and Hilda Ogden were introduced in 1964, with Hilda ( Jean Alexander) becoming one of the most famous British soap characters of all time. In a 1982 poll, she was voted fourth most recognisable woman in Britain, after Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II and Diana, Princess of Wales. Hilda's best-known attributes were her pinny, hair curlers, and the "muriel" in her living room with three "flying" duck ornaments. Hilda Ogden's final episode on Christmas Day 1987, remains the highest-rated episode of Coronation Street ever, with nearly 27 million viewers.
Bet Lynch ( Julie Goodyear) first appeared in 1966, before becoming a regular in 1970, and went on to become one of the most famous Corrie characters. Bet stood as the central character of the show from 1985 until departing in 1995, often being dubbed as "Queen of the Street" by the media, and indeed herself. The character briefly returned in June 2002.
Coronation Street and its characters often rely heavily on archetypes, with the characterisation of some of its current cast based loosely on past characters. Phyllis Pearce Blanche Hunt ( Maggie Jones)and Sylvia Goodwin embodied the role of the acid-tongued busybody originally held by Ena Sharples, Sally Webster ( Sally Dynevor) has grown snobbish, like Annie Walker, and a number of the programme's female characters mirror the vulnerability of Elsie Tanner and Bet Lynch. Other recurring archetypes include the war veteran ( Albert Tatlock & Percy Sugden), the bumbling retail manager ( Leonard Swindley, Reg Holdsworth, Norris Cole), and the perennial losers ( Stan and Hilda Ogden, Jack and Vera Duckworth, Les Battersby-Brown, Beth Tinker and Kirk Sutherland). The show's former archivist and scriptwriter Daran Little disagreed with the characterisation of the show as a collection of stereotypes. "Rather, remember that Elsie, Ena and Co. were the first of their kind ever seen on British television. If later characters are stereotypes, it's because they are from the same original mould. It is the hundreds of programmes that have followed which have copied Coronation Street."
Between 9 December 1960 and 3 March 1961, Coronation Street was broadcast twice weekly, on Wednesday and Friday. During this period, the Friday episode was broadcast live, with the Wednesday episode being pre-recorded 15 minutes later. When the programme went fully networked on 6 March 1961, broadcast days changed to Monday and Wednesday. The last regular episode to be shown live was broadcast on 3 February 1961.
The series was transmitted in black and white for the majority of the 1960s. Preparations were made to film episode 923, to be transmitted Wednesday 29 October 1969, in colour. This instalment featured the street's residents on a coach trip to the Lake District. In the event suitable colour film stock for the cameras could not be found and the footage was shot in black and white. The following episode, transmitted Monday 3 November, was videotaped in colour but featured black and white film inserts and title sequence. Like BBC1, the ITV network was officially broadcast in black and white (though programmes were actually broadcast in colour as early as July that year for colour transmission testing and adjustment) at this point so the episode was seen by most in black and white.
The reasons why episodes were produced in colour for monochrome transmission are not stated in any literature but it is possible that it was for the purposes of testing the look of sets and costumes using the new cameras. The Rovers Return set underwent a subtle change of colours in November 1969 without any on-screen explanation.
Daran Little, for many years the official programme archivist, claims that the first episode to be transmitted in colour was episode 930 shown on 24 November 1969. The ITV network, like BBC1, began full colour transmissions on 15 November 1969 and it is therefore possible that the first transmitted colour episode is number 928 shown on 17 November.
In October 1970 a technician's dispute turned into a work-to-rule when sound staff were denied a pay rise given to camera staff the year before for working with colour recording equipment . The terms of the work-to-rule were that staff refused to work with the new equipment (though the old black and white equipment had been disposed of by then) and therefore programmes were recorded and transmitted in black and white, including Coronation Street The dispute was resolved in early 1971 and the last black and white episode was broadcast on 8 February 1971.
Episode 5191, originally broadcast on 7 January 2002, was the first to be broadcast in 16:9 widescreen format. Coronation Street was the last British soap to make the switch to 16:9 ( Take the High Road remained in 4:3 until it finished in 2003).
From 22 March 2010, Coronation Street was produced in 1080/50i for transmission on HDTV platforms on ITV HD. First transmission in this format was episode 7351 on 31 May 2010 with a new set of titles and re-recorded theme tune. On 26 May 2010 ITV previewed the new HD titles on the Coronation Street website. Due to copyright reasons only viewers residing in the UK could see them on the ITV site.
Coronation Street's creator, Tony Warren, wrote the first 13 episodes of the programme in 1960, and continued to write for the programme intermittently until 1976. He still retains links with Coronation Street, often advising on storylines.
Harry Kershaw was the script editor for Coronation Street when the programme began in 1960, working alongside Tony Warren. Kershaw was also a script writer for the programme and the show's producer between 1962 and 1971. He remains the only person, along with John Finch, to have held the three posts of script editor, writer and producer. Kershaw continued to write for the programme until his retirement in January 1988.
Adele Rose was the longest-serving Coronation Street writer, completing 455 scripts between 1961 and 1998. She also created Byker Grove.
Bill Podmore was the show's longest serving producer. By the time he stepped down in 1988 he had completed 13 years at the production helm. Nicknamed the "godfather" by the tabloid press, he was renowned for his tough, uncompromising style and was feared by both crew and cast alike. He is probably most famous for sacking Peter Adamson, the show's Len Fairclough, in 1983.
Michael Apted, best known for the Up! series of documentaries was a director on the programme in the early 1960s. This period of his career marked the first of his many collaborations with writer Jack Rosenthal. Rosenthal, noted for such television plays as Bar Mitzvah Boy, began his career on the show, writing over 150 episodes between 1961 and 1969. Paul Abbott was a story editor on the programme in the 1980s and began writing episodes in 1989, but left in 1993 to produce Cracker, for which he later wrote, before creating his own highly acclaimed dramas such as Touching Evil and Shameless. Russell T Davies was briefly a storyliner on the programme in the mid-1990s, also writing the script for the direct-to-video special " Viva Las Vegas!" He, too, has become a noted writer of his own high-profile television drama programmes, including Queer as Folk and the 2005 revival of Doctor Who. Jimmy McGovern also wrote some episodes. The current Executive Producer is Kieran Roberts who was once a Producer of "Emmerdale" and the Producer is ex-Doctor Who producer Phil Collinson, who took over from Kim Crowther in summer 2010.
The identity of the trumpeter was not public knowledge until 1994, when jazz musician and journalist Ron Simmonds revealed that it was the Surrey musician Ronnie Hunt. He added, "an attempt was made in later years to re-record that solo, using Stan Roderick, but it sounded too good, and they reverted to the old one." In 2004, the Manchester Evening News published a contradictory story that a young musician from Wilmslow called David Browning played the trumpet on both the original recording of the theme in 1960 and a re-recording in 1964, for a one-off payment of £36. In June 2009, the Mail on Sunday resolved the matter. Browning conceded that Hunt recorded the original in 1960, but believed that his own re-recording in 1964 or 1972 had been used since that date. ITV then confirmed to the Mail that a second version had been recorded in the 1970s, but was only used for a very short while before reverting to Hunt's 1960 recording. In the 1980s the same version was converted to stereo.
Ronnie Hunt said he was paid £6, and found the experience frustrating as Eric Spear insisted on many takes before obtaining the sound that he wanted. After taking a break in a local pub, Hunt achieved the desired mournful sound by playing very close to the microphone.
A new, completely re-recorded version of the theme tune replaced the original when the series started broadcasting in HD on 31 May 2010. It accompanied a new montage-style credits sequence featuring images of Manchester and Weatherfield.
Most episodes in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s rated with over 20 million viewers and during the 1990s and early 2000s 15 million per episode would be typical Like most terrestrial television in the UK, a dramatic decline in viewership has taken place and the show currently posts an average audience of 9 million per episode as of 2012.
The programme currently rates as one of the most watched programmes on UK television for every day it is aired. Viewership peaked on Christmas Day 1987 when an average of 28.5 million viewers tuned in to see Hilda Ogden leave the street to start a new life as a housekeeper for long term friend Dr Lowther (although there is some confusion as to whether or not this was actually the highest rating episode due to a special omnibus repeat of that week's episodes being combined with the original airing). Since EastEnders began in 1985, the two programmes have constantly battled it out for first place in the ratings.
The regular exterior buildings shown in Coronation Street include a row of terrace houses, several townhouses, and communal areas including a newsagents (The Kabin), a cafe (Roy's Rolls), a general grocery shop (D&S Alahan's), a factory (Underworld) and Rovers Return Inn public house. The Rovers Return Inn is the main meeting place for the show's characters.
Between 1960 and 1968 street scenes were filmed before a set constructed in a studio, with the house fronts reduced in scale to 3/4 and constructed from wood. In 1968 Granada built an outside set not all that different from the interior version previously used, with the wooden façades from the studio simply being erected on the new site. These were replaced with brick façades, and back yards were added in the 1970s.
In 1982 a permanent full-street set was built in the Granada backlot, constructed from reclaimed Salford brick. The set was updated in 1989 with the construction of a new factory, two shop units and three modern town houses on the south side of the street.
Between 1989 and 1999 the Granada Studios Tour allowed members of the public to visit the set. The exterior set was extended and updated in 1999. This update added to the Rosamund Street and Victoria Street façades, and added a viaduct on Rosamund Street. Most interior scenes are shot in the adjoining purpose-built studio.
In 2008, Victoria Court, an apartment building full of luxury flats, was started on Victoria Street.
The Granada backlot is in an area between Quay Street and Liverpool Road in Manchester.
For 50 years, Coronation Street has remained at the centre of ITV's prime time schedule. The programme is currently shown in the UK in five episodes, over three evenings a week on ITV. From Friday 9 December 1960 until Friday 3 March 1961, the programme was shown in two episodes broadcast Wednesday and Friday at 19:00. Schedules were changed and from Monday 6 March 1961 until Wednesday 11 October 1989, the programme was shown in two episodes broadcast Monday and Wednesday at 19:30. The third weekly episode was introduced on Friday 20 October 1989, broadcast at 19:30. From 1996, an extra episode was broadcast at 19:30 on Sunday nights. Aside from Granada, the programme originally appeared on the following stations of the ITV network: Anglia Television, Associated-Rediffusion, Television Wales and the West, Scottish Television, Southern Television and Ulster Television. From episode 14 on Wednesday 25 January 1961, Tyne Tees Television broadcast the programme. That left ATV in the Midlands as the only ITV station not carrying the show. When they decided to broadcast the programme, national transmission was changed from Wednesday and Friday at 19:00 to Monday and Wednesday at 19:30 and the programme became fully networked under this new arrangement from episode 25 on Monday 6 March 1961.
As the ITV network grew over the next few years, the programme was transmitted by these new stations on these dates onward: Westward Television from episode 40 on 29 April 1961, Border Television from episode 76 on 1 September 1961, Grampian Television from episode 84 on 30 September 1961, Channel Television from episode 180 on 1 September 1962 and Teledu Cymru (north and west Wales) from episode 184 on 14 September 1962. At this point, the ITV network became complete and the programme was broadcast almost continuously across the country at 19:30 on Monday and Wednesday for the next twenty-seven years.
From episode 2981 on Friday 20 October 1989 at 19:30, a third weekly episode was introduced and this increased to four episodes a week from episode 4096 on Sunday 24 November 1996, again at 19:30. The second Monday episode was introduced in 2002 and was broadcast at 20:30 to usher in the return of Bet Lynch. The Monday 20:30 episode was used intermittently during the popular Richard Hillman story line but has become fully scheduled since episode 5568 on Monday 25 August 2003. Additional episodes have been broadcast during the weekly schedule of ITV at certain times, notably in 2004 when, between 22 and 26 November, eight episodes were shown.
Older episodes had been broadcast by satellite and cable channel Granada Plus from launch in 1996. The first episodes shown were from episode 1588 (originally transmitted on Monday 5 April 1976) onwards. Originally listed and promoted as Classic Coronation Street, the "classic" was dropped in early 2002, at which stage the episodes were from late 1989. By the time of the channel's closure in 2004, the repeats had reached January 1994. In addition to this, "specials" were broadcast on Saturday afternoons in the early years of the channel with several episodes based on a particular theme or character(s) were shown. The latest episode shown in these specials was from 1991. In addition, on 27 and 28 December 2003, several Christmas Day editions of the show were broadcast.
From 23 July 2009 Coronation Street has been broadcast in five weekly instalments, at 19:30 and 20:30 on Mondays and Fridays, and at 20:30 on Thursday. The Thursday episode replaces the former Wednesday show. Occasional late night episodes of Coronation Street begin at 22:00, due to the watershed. Repeat episodes, omnibus broadcasts and specials have been shown on ITV and ITV2. In January 2008 the omnibus returned to the main ITV channel where it was aired on Saturday mornings/afternoons depending on the schedule and times. In May 2008 it moved to Sunday mornings until August 2008 when it returned to Saturdays. In January 2009 it moved back to Sunday mornings usually broadcasting at around 09:25 until December 2010. In January 2011 the omnibus moved to Saturday mornings on ITV at 09:25. During the Rugby World Cup, which took place in New Zealand, matches had to be broadcast on a Saturday morning, so the omnibus moved to Saturday lunchtimes/afternoons during September and October 2011. However as of 22 October 2011 the omnibus moved back to Saturday mornings at 09:25 on ITV. From January 2012 the omnibus was no longer broadcast on ITV after 4 years, however it remains on ITV2.
On 30 June 2011 it was confirmed that Coronation Street would return to its traditional 19:30 timeslot on a Wednesday evening in September 2012.
Broadcast day appearances
|Day||Date when the 7.30pm episode first aired
|Date when the 7.30pm episode first aired (full-time)
|Date when the 8.30pm episode first aired
|Date when the 8.30pm episode first aired (full-time)
|Date when the 7.30pm episode last aired
|Date when the 7.30pm episode last aired (full-time)
|Date when the 8.30pm episode last aired
|Date when the 8.30pm episode last aired (full-time)
|Monday||n/a||6 March 1961||10 June 2002||25 August 2003||n/a||n/a||9 June 2003||n/a|
|Tuesday||12 June 2001
|Wednesday||n/a||14 December 1960
5 September 2012
|n/a||n/a||15 July 2009||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Thursday||n/a||n/a||14 June 2001
|23 July 2009||n/a||n/a||14 June 2001
30 August 2012
|Friday||n/a||9 December 1960
20 October 1989
|n/a||11 January 2008||3 March 1961||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Saturday||Only the Omnibus or Special (E.g. Christmas) Episode(s) are broadcast on this day|
|Sunday||n/a||24 November 1996||n/a||n/a||6 January 2008||n/a||n/a||n/a|
- ^1 Broadcast at 8pm
- ^2 Refers to when the programme first broadcasted in this slot
- ^3 Refers to when the programme started broadcasting regularly in this slot
- ^4 Refers to when the programme ceased broadcasting in this slot but occasionally reappeared when schedules have to be changed
- ^5 Refers to when the programme ceased broadcasting in this slot and never reappeared
- ^6 Programme was only broadcast in this slot when normal schedules needed to be changed
Coronation Street is also shown in many countries worldwide.
The programme was first aired in Australia in 1963 on TCN-9 Sydney, GTV-9 Melbourne and NWS-9 Adelaide, and by 1966 Coronation Street was more popular in Australia than in the UK. The show eventually left free-to-air television in Australia in the 1970s. It briefly returned to the Nine Network in a daytime slot during 1994–95. In 2005 Channel Nine in Perth began to show episodes before the 18:00 news to improve the lead in to Nine News Perth, but this did not work and the show was cancelled a few months later. In 1996 Pay-TV began and Arena began screening the series in one-hour instalments on Saturday and Sundays at 18:30. The series was later moved to Pay-TV channel UKTV where it is still shown. Currently Coronation Street is shown on weekdays at 18:00. Episodes on UKTV are almost 2 months behind the UK. Seven's free-to-air digital channel 7Two broadcast episodes from 2005, on weekdays at 10:00.
In 2006, the small network Vitaya started broadcasting Coronation Street for viewers in Belgium, with episodes broadcast roughly two years behind the UK.
In Canada, Coronation Street is broadcast on CBC Television. Until 2011, episodes were shown in Canada approximately 10 months after they aired in Britain; however, beginning in the fall of 2011, the CBC began showing two episodes every weekday, in order to catch up with the ITV showings, at 18:30 and 19:00 local time Monday-Friday, with an omnibus on Sundays at 07:30. During NHL playoffs, it was broadcast at 15:30 local time each weekday afternoon. As of September 2012, the CBC was only two weeks behind Britain, leading to a show being reduced to a single showing weeknights at 19:30 local time, with a repeat showing at 00:00 local time.
The show debuted on Toronto's CBLT in July 1966. The 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of Records recognises the 1,144 episodes sold to the now-defunct CBC-owned Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, TV station CBKST by Granada TV on 31 May 1971 to be the largest number of TV shows ever purchased in one transaction. The show traditionally aired on weekday afternoons in Canada, with a Sunday morning omnibus. In 2004, CBC moved the weekday airings from their daytime slot to prime time.
In light of recent austerity measures imposed on the CBC in 2012, which includes further cutbacks on non-Canadian programming, one of the foreign shows to remain on the CBC schedule is Coronation Street, according to the CBC's director of content planning Christine Wilson, who commented: "Unofficially I can tell you Coronation Street is coming back. If it didn't come back, something would happen on Parliament Hill." Kirstine Stewart, the head of the CBC's English-language division, once remarked: "Coronation Street fans are the most loyal, except maybe for curling viewers, of all CBC viewers,"
In Ireland, Coronation Street is simulcast on TV3. The show is TV3's most watched programme with an average of 365,000 people watching each night. The show was so popular that an omnibus is also shown on weekends. For a number of months in 2009 TV3 provided repeats of the night's episode on sister channel 3e at 21:00 Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights, this has since stopped. The show was first aired in 1978, beginning with episodes from 1976. Ireland eventually caught up with the current UK episodes in 1983. Until 1992 it was broadcast on RTÉ Two and from 1992 to 2001 it was broadcast on RTÉ One. In 2001 Granada TV bought 45% TV3, which resulted in TV3 broadcasting series since 2001. In 2006 ITV sold its share of the channel but TV3 and ITV have since agreed to allow the programme to remain on TV3. Most Irish households receive ITV (either through Northern Ireland's UTV or ITV Wales) and can watch the show on that channel.
- New Zealand
In New Zealand, Coronation Street is broadcast on TV ONE in double bills every Thursday and Friday at 19:30, with episodes approximately 20 months behind Britain. The serial previously aired on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 19:30 until October 2011, when the show moved to a 17:30 half-hour slot every weekday. The move proved highly unpopular with fans, and the series was quickly moved into its present prime-time slot within weeks.
- The Netherlands
Dutch broadcaster VARA showed 428 sub-titled episodes on Netherlands TV between 1967 and 1975. It wanted to terminate the series in 1971 but due to public pressure continued until 1975. Because VARA was running well behind the British broadcasts, causing the actors to refer to past British politics, a special episode was produced for VARA to bridge and jump the gap and allow VARA to broadcast newer episodes. In 2011 Dutch broadcaster SBS6 started to show episodes from 26 November 2001 about 4 or 5 times a week during daytime (1:15 PM) starting with 3000 viewers every day, and till date (5 November) with an average of 35,000 viewers
In Sweden Coronation Street was shown in the country's largest broadcaster TV4 during daytime in the early 2000s until it was taken off air a few years later. TV4 also broadcasts Emmerdale which (2012) is Swedens's most watched daytime programme and attracts some 150.000 to 200.000 viewers on a daily basis.
- United States
In the United States, Coronation Street is available by broadcast or cable only in northern markets where CBC coverage from Canada overlaps the border or is available on local cablesystems.
Starting in 2009, episodes have been available in the United States through Amazon.com's on demand service. Episodes are one month behind their original UK airdates. The final series of shows available from Amazon appears to be from November 2012, as no new episodes have been uploaded.
On 15 January 2013, online distributor Hulu began airing episodes of the show, posting a new episode daily, two weeks after their original airdates.
Satellite channel ITV Granada is currently showing the programme in Asia, Middle East, Cyprus, and Malta. In the United Arab Emirates, episodes of Coronation Street are broadcast one month after their UK showing.
Several classic episodes were released on VHS video in the 1980s and 1990s in different sets, while a number of specially recorded feature-length episodes were released exclusively to video (see Coronation Street VHS and DVD releases).
The Street, a magazine dedicated to the show, was launched in 1989. Edited by Bill Hill, the magazine contained a summary of recent storylines, interviews, articles about classic episodes, and stories that occurred from before 1960. The format was initially A5 size, expanding to A4 from the seventh issue. The magazine folded after issue 23 in 1993 when the publisher's contract with Granada Studios Tour expired and Granada wanted to produce their own magazine.
During the time when the studios tour was operating, a huge amount of branded merchandise was available from an on-site shop—everything from soap, to tea-towels, to model houses. These items gradually became scarce as the tours complex was wound down. Although there were large numbers produced, these items are becoming collectable by fans.
On 25 June 2010 a video game of the show was released on Nintendo DS. Players take the role of a detective as they work through a brand new storyline and befriend the various characters from the street, including Ken, Norris, Maria and Blanche.
In 1995, to commemorate the programme's 35th anniversary, a CD called The Coronation Street Album was released, featuring cover versions of modern songs and standards by contemporary cast members.
An album featuring songs sung by some of the cast was released for the show's 50th anniversary. The singers include William Roache, Betty Driver, Kevin Kennedy and Katherine Kelly. The album is titled Rogues, Angels, Heroes & Fools.
Spin-offs and specials
Granada launched one spin-off in 1965, Pardon the Expression, following the story of clothing store manager Leonard Swindley ( Arthur Lowe) after he left Weatherfield. Swindley's management experience was tested when he was appointed assistant manager at a fictional department store, Dobson and Hawks. Granada produced two series of the spin-off, which ended in 1966.
In 1967, Arthur Lowe returned as Leonard Swindley in Turn out the Lights, a short-lived sequel to Pardon the Expression. It ran for just one series of six episodes before it was cancelled.
The German TV series Lindenstraße took Coronation Street as the model. Lindenstraße started in 1985.
In 1985, a sister series, Albion Market was launched. It ran for one year, with 100 episodes produced.
On 8 December 2000 and 9 December 2010, live episodes were aired to mark the 40th and 50th anniversaries of the show. The first was mainly based around Vera Duckworth in hospital and the campaign to save the cobbles. The second was based around events following the tram crash.
Coronation Street: Family Album was several documentaries about various families living on the street.
"Farewell ..." was several documentaries featuring the best moments of a single character who had recently left the series. Most notably, Farewell Blanche (Hunt), Farewell Jack (Duckworth), Farewell Mike (Baldwin), Farewell Vera (Duckworth), Farewell Janice (Battersby), Farewell Liz (McDonald) and Farewell Becky (McDonald). Most of these were broadcast on the same day as the character's final scenes in the series.
On 21 December 2008, a web-based miniseries ran on ITV.com; called Corrie Confidential the first episode featured the characters Rosie and Sophie Webster in Underworld.
Stars on the Street was aired around Christmas of 2009. It featured actors from the soap talking about the famous guest stars who had appeared in the series including people who were in it before they were famous.
In 2010, several actors from the show appeared on The Jeremy Kyle Show as their soap characters: David Platt ( Jack P. Shepherd), Nick Tilsley ( Ben Price) and Tina McIntyre ( Michelle Keegan). In the fictional, semi-improvised scenario, David accused Nick (his brother) and Tina (his ex-girlfriend) of sleeping together.
On 21 December 2012, Coronation Street produced a Text Santa special entitled A Christmas Corrie which featured Norris Cole in the style of Scrooge, being visited by the ghosts of dead characters. The ghosts were Mike Baldwin, Maxine Peacock, Derek Wilton and Vera Duckworth. Other special guests include Torvill and Dean, Lorraine Kelly and Sheila Reid. The episode concluded with Norris learning the error of his ways and dancing on the cobbles. The original plan for this feature was to have included Jack Duckworth, along with Vera, but actor Bill Tarmey died before filming commenced. In the end a recording of his voice was played.
ITV.com launched a small spin-off drama series called 'Gary's Army Diaries' which revolves around Gary's experiences in Afghanistan and the loss of his best friend, Quinny. Due to their popularity, the three five-minute episodes were recut into a single 30-minute episode, which was broadcast on ITV2.
William Roache and Anne Kirkbride are to star as Ken and Deirdre in a series of ten three-minute internet 'webisodes'. The first episode of the series titled, Ken and Deirdre's Bedtime Stories was activated on Valentine's Day.
A new internet based spin-off starring Helen Flanagan as Rosie Webster which will follow her on her quest to be a supermodel.
In August 2010, many Coronation Street characters were brought to the stage to make a mockery of Jonathan Harvey's new comedy play Corrie!. The play was commissioned to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the TV series and was presented at The Lowry in Salford, England by ITV Studios and Phil McIntyre Entertainments. Featuring a cast of six actors who alternate roles of favourite characters including Ena Sharples, Hilda Ogden, Hayley and Roy, Richard Hillman, Jack Duckworth, Bet Lynch, Steve, Karen and Becky, the play weaves together some of the most memorable moments from the TV show. It toured UK theatres between February 2011 and July 2011 with guest star narrators including Roy Barraclough, Ken Morley and Gaynor Faye.
Over the years Coronation Street has released several straight-to-video films. Unlike other soaps which often used straight-to-video films to cover more contentious plot lines that may not be allowed by the broadcaster, Coronation Street has largely used these films to reset their characters in other locations.
In 1995, Coronation Street: The Cruise also known as Coronation Street: The Feature Length Special was released on VHS to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the show. ITV heavily promoted the programme as a direct-to-video exclusive but broadcast a brief version of it on 24 March 1996. The Independent Television Commission investigated the broadcast, as viewers complained that ITV misled them.
In 1997, following the controversial cruise spin-off, Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas! was released on VHS, featuring Jack Duckworth, Vera Duckworth, Fiona Middleton and Maxine Peacock on a trip to Las Vegas.
In 1999, six special episodes of Coronation Street were produced, following the story of Steve McDonald, Vicky McDonald, Vikram Desai, Bet Gilroy and Reg Holdsworth in Brighton. This video was titled Coronation Street: Open All Hours and released on VHS.
In 2008, ITV announced filming was to get underway for a new special DVD episode, Coronation Street: Out of Africa, following the Battersby-Brown family, which saw the temporary return of Cilla Battersby-Brown.
In 2009, another DVD special, Coronation Street: Romanian Holiday, was released. The feature-length comedy drama followed Roy, Hayley and Becky as they travelled to Romania for the wedding of a face from their past.
On 1 November 2010, Coronation Street: A Knight's Tale was released. Reg Holdsworth and Curly Watts returned in the film. Mary tries to take Norris to an apparently haunted castle where she hoped to seduce him. Rosie gets a job there and she takes Jason with her. Brian Capron also guest starred as an assumed relative of Richard Hillman. He rises out of a lake as a comedic "wink to the audience" after Hillman drowned in 2003.
50th Anniversary (2010)
The BBC commissioned a one-off drama called The Road to Coronation Street, about how the series first came into being. Jessie Wallace plays Pat Phoenix ( Elsie Tanner) with Lynda Baron as Violet Carson ( Ena Sharples), Celia Imrie as Doris Speed ( Annie Walker) and James Roache as his own father William Roache ( Ken Barlow). It was broadcast on 16 September 2010 on BBC Four.
In December 2010, ITV made a few special programs to mark the 50th anniversary. Coronation Street Uncovered: Live, hosted by Stephen Mulhern was shown after the episode with the tram crash was aired on ITV 2. On 7 and 9 December a countdown on the greatest Corrie moments, Coronation Street: 50 Years, 50 Moments, the viewers voted "The Barlows at Alcoholics Anonymous" as the greatest moment. On 10 December Paul O'Grady hosted a quiz show, Coronation Street: The Big 50 with three teams from the soap and a celebrity team answering questions about Coronation Street and other soaps. Also, Come Dine with Me and Celebrity Juice aired Coronation Street specials in the anniversary week.
Coronation Street and rival soap opera EastEnders had a crossover for Children in Need in November 2010 called " East Street". EastEnders stars that visited Weatherfield include Laurie Brett as Jane Beale, Charlie G. Hawkins as Darren Miller, Kylie Babbington as Jodie Gold, Nina Wadia as Zainab Masood and John Partridge as Christian Clarke.
Coronation Street: Viva Las Vegas! also included some characters from Emmerdale.
Corrie in popular culture
The British rock band Queen produced a single " I Want to Break Free" in 1984 which reached number 3 position in UK charts and which is largely known for its music video for which all the band members dressed in women's clothes, which parodied the characters and is considered as a homage to the show. The video depicts Mercury as a housewife, loosely based on Bet Lynch, who wants to "break free" from his life. Although Lynch was a blonde in the soap opera, Mercury thought he would look too silly as a blonde and chose a dark wig. May plays another, more relaxed housewife based on Hilda Ogden.
Cadbury was the first sponsor of Coronation Street beginning in July 1996. The original sponsorship had a chocolate-like version of the street (which can be seen in place at the Cadbury World museum in Bournville, Birmingham) with chocolate characters resembling some of the actual Coronation Street characters. In the summer of 2006, Cadbury Trebor Bassetts had to recall over one million chocolate bars, due to suspected salmonella contamination, and Coronation Street stopped the sponsorship for several months. In late 2006, Cadbury did not renew their contract, but agreed to sponsor the show until Coronation Street found a new sponsor.
In July 2007, an ITV press release announced that Harveys was the new sponsor of Coronation Street on the ITV Network. Harveys' sponsorship began on 30 September 2007. In the Coronation Street: Romanian Holiday film, Roy and Hayley Cropper are filmed in front of a Harveys store. In Coronation Street: A Knights Tale, a Harveys truck can be seen driving past Mary Taylor's motor-home to further promote the brand. On 11 April 2012, it was announced that Harveys had decided not to renew their contract and will cease sponsorship in December 2012. Compare the Market will be the new sponsor.
In November 2011 a Nationwide Building Society ATM in Dev and Sunita Alahan's shop became the first use of paid-for product placement in a UK primetime show.
In November 2012 Compare The Market took over the sponsorship on Coronation Street.
Awards and nominations
Coronation Street is the second most award-winning British soap opera in the UK, behind rival soap EastEnders.
The first producer was Stuart Latham, from December 1960 to July 1961. In the 1960s and 1970s, most producers did stints of about one year. Longer-running producers included Eric Prytherch (May 1972 – April 1974); Bill Podmore (September 1977 – July 1982); Carolyn Reynolds (1991–1993); and Sue Pritchard (1993–1996). From 2008 until Summer 2010 the soap was produced by Kim Crowther, who was replaced by current producer Phil Collinson (producer of Doctor Who from 2005 to 2009).