A still from Coronation Street's current opening credits, introduced in 2002.
|Created by||Tony Warren|
|Developed by||Granada Television|
|Opening theme||Eric Spear|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||7281[+]
(as of 25 February 2010)
|Executive producer(s)||Various (currently Kieran Roberts)|
|Camera setup||Multiple-camera setup|
|Running time||30 minutes
|Picture format||576i (4:3 SDTV) (1960–2002)
576i (16:9 SDTV) (2002–present)
|Original run||9 December 1960 –
( 49 years, 99 days)
Coronation Street (colloquially known as Corrie, Corror or The Street) is a British prime-time soap opera set in the fictional town of Weatherfield, four miles in either direction from the city of Manchester. Created by Tony Warren, Coronation Street is the longest running and most watched British soap opera. Coronation Street was first broadcast on 9 December 1960, made by Granada Television (now ITV Studios) and broadcast in all regions of ITV almost throughout its existence. In September 2010, the American soap opera As the World Turns will finish after 54 years on television. Coronation Street will at that time become the world's longest running television soap opera currently on the air.
The series began on 9 December 1960 and was not initially a critical success. Granada Television commissioned only 13 episodes and some inside the company doubted the show would last its planned production run. Despite the negativity, 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:/naʊt/, rhymes with out, means nothing), and "by heck!" became widely heard on British television for the first time on British serialised television.
Early episodes told the story of student Kenneth Barlow, who had won a place at university and thus found his background something of an embarrassment. The character is 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."
Also at the centre of many early stories was Ena Sharples, 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.
On March 1961, Coronation Street reached 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 drugs, sex, homosexuality and out of wedlock pregnancy, 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.
At the insistence of new producer Bill Podmore who joined in 1976, having worked on Granada comedy productions prior to his appointment, the comic story lines popular in the 1960s but sparse during the early 1970s, were re-introduced. Stan and Hilda Ogden were often at the centre of overtly funny story lines, 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 story lines 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 reminded viewers 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 Whittaker) 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, after acquiring 'turncoats' like Tony Filer, and Ray Beswick from the cast, as well as the BBC's new prime time soap opera, EastEnders in 1985. 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, 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.
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 wasn't until 1999 that 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.
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, her character moving to Cartmel in Cumbria 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 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. 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.
Viewers were alienated by the new-look Coronation Street, and the media voiced 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 fallen pregnant and gave 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. 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 the following year in the British Soap Awards in 2001 won Best Storyline.
From 1999–2001, 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 story lines 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 story lines and humour", after deciding that the Street shouldn't try and 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, who emerged as one of the show's most popular characters. 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 and of Peter Barlow and his addiction to alcohol, later in the decade, Maya Sharma's revenge on former lover Dev 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
Many big names left in 2007. In January, Charlie Stubbs was killed by vengeful girlfriend Tracy Barlow.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.
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.
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 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 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 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, 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.
2010 will be the 50th anniversary of Coronation Street. The year will include the marriage of Joe McIntyre and Gail Platt, Sally's breast cancer storyline, a reported kidnap storyline for Simon Barlow and the return of Jackie Dobbs who will be involved in the Kevin-Molly-Tyrone storyline. Tracy Barlow is also set to return in early 2010. It is rumored there will be a lesbian relationship involving Sophie Webster and her best friend Sian Powers. This is to happen in April and develop over the rest of the year. 2010 will also see the funeral of Coronation Street favorite Blanche Hunt, who was written out after the sudden death of her portrayer Maggie Jones. On 18th March 2010, characters David Platt, Tina McIntyre, Nick Platt and Graeme Proctor appeared on the 1000th episode of The Jeremy Kyle Show to discuss about the whole relationship history between both Tina & David.
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 hen-pecked husbands, most famously Stan Ogden and Jack Duckworth, husbands of Hilda and Vera, respectively.
Only one character from the original episode remains, Ken Barlow (William Roache). He 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 has remained the constant link throughout the entire series of Coronation Street.
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. Blanche Hunt (Maggie Jones) embodied the role of the acid-tongued busybody originally held by Ena Sharples, Sally Webster (Sally Whittaker) 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, and Les Battersby-Brown). 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 installment 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 broadcast in black and white at this point so the episode was broadcast 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 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).
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.
H V Kershaw (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.
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 now Kim Crowther who took over from Steve Frost in February 2008, though ex-Doctor Who producer, Phil Collinson is currently working with Kim Crowther, and will take over as producer in the summer of 2010.
The jazz musician and journalist Ron Simmonds wrote in 1994 in Jazz Professional that the theme was recorded by the Surrey musician Ronnie Hunt, whose version was still used to that day. 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." However, in 2004, the Manchester Evening News published a 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. Browning said he received a one-off payment of £36, although he would have received more money in the long run if he had opted for royalty payments, as he did on other television themes. In 2009 the tabloid Mail on Sunday reported that both musicians still claimed the recording, but that Hunt had a letter from the Musicians' Union confirming his role.
The show currently rates as one of or the most watched programme on television for every day it airs. With television ownership still sub 5 million until the early 1970s, the show's first ten years on the air were not highly rated (about 1-2m per episode). Viewership peaked in 1985 when an average 28.5 million viewers tuned in to see the character Stan Ogden die and the subsequent mental break down of Hilda Ogden, at the time it was half the UK population. Many episodes in the 1980s rated with over 20 million viewers. Like most terrestrial television in the UK, a dramatic decline in viewership has taken place since the 1980s. So far in January 2010 the show has managed an average of 10.3 million viewers per episode. In 2009 and the eight years since 2002 it outrated its main rival Eastenders by 1 million viewers.
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 which was 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. The majority of interior scenes are shot in the adjoining purpose-built studio.
There are some discrepancies between the building exteriors and the separate sets that represent the interiors. The interior of number 5 is quite spacious while the corner shop is much smaller, yet each building appears the same size from the outside. The extension to the back of number 9 looks small from the outside, yet the interior appears much larger.
In 2008, Victoria Court, an apartment building full of luxury flats, was started on Victoria Street.
The Granada backlot is situated in an area between Quay Street and Liverpool Road in Manchester.
For 49 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 18 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 November 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 around a particular theme or character(s) were shown. The latest episode shown in these specials was from 1991. In addition, on 27 & 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 broadcast Sunday mornings. On 2 January 2010 the omnibus returned to Saturdays on ITV1.
Viewers in Northern Ireland can watch Coronation Street on UTV (a regional company of ITV) and TV3, because the domestic population of Northern Ireland have access to view both the British Channels (BBC One, BBC Two, ITV, Channel 4 and Five) and Irish Channels (RTÉ One, RTÉ Two, TV3 and TG4). Northern Irish viewers can see the soap opera on at the same time by tuning between UTV and TV3.
Coronation Street is also shown in many countries worldwide. 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 nights episode on sister channel 3e at 9pm Monday, Wednesday & Friday nights, this has since stopped. From 1978 to 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 remain on TV3.
In Canada, Coronation Street is broadcast on CBC Television at 18:30 local time Monday-Friday, with an omnibus on Sundays at 09:30, except during the Olympics. During NHL playoffs, it is broadcast at 15:30 each weekday afternoon. Episodes are shown in Canada approximately 10 months after they air in Britain. The show moved from a daytime slot on CBC to prime time in 2004. The 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of Records recognises the 1,144 episodes sold to 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. In the US, Coronation Street is available only in northern markets where CBC coverage overlaps the border.
In New Zealand, Coronation Street is broadcast every Tuesday and Thursday on TV ONE, (TVNZ), at 19:30, with episodes airing 14 months behind Britain. Over the summer, TV One shows "Coro Catch-ups" with an additional hour-long episode on Wednesdays at 19:30. The programme 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 early 1980s. 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 airs weekdays at 17.30, in an hour long block, with a total of 10 episodes shown per week. Episodes on UKTV are 9 months behind the UK. Seven's free-to-air digital channel 7Two broadcast episodes from 2002, weekdays at 14:30.
Dutch broadcaster VARA showed 428 sub-titled episodes on Netherlands TV between 1967 and 1975. In 2006, the small network Vitaya started broadcasting Coronation Street for viewers in Belgium, with episodes broadcast roughly two years behind the UK. In the U.A.E., episodes of Coronation Street are broadcast one month after their UK showing. In Sweden Coronation Street was shown in the country's largest broadcaster TV4 during daytime in the early 2000s.
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.
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 1968, Arthur Lowe returned as Leonard Swindley in Turn Out The Lights, a sequel to Pardon the Expression. It ran for just six episodes before it was cancelled.
In 1995, Coronation Street – The Cruise was released on VHS to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the show. However it proved controversial as only a few months after it was released on video, it was shown on ITV on Sunday 24 March 1996, provoking many complaints.
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. Unlike the cruise spin-off, this was never shown on ITV.
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 spin-off was subtitled The Rover Returns and released on VHS tape.
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.
On 21 December 2008, a miniseries was launched on itv.com, called Corrie Confidential the first episode featured the characters Rosie and Sophie Webster in Underworld.
In 2009, another DVD special was announced following the success of Out of Africa. The new feature-length spin-off, entitled Coronation Street: Romanian Holiday follows Roy, Hayley and Becky as they travel to Romania for the wedding of a face from their past.
The German TV series Lindenstraße took Coronation Street as the model. Lindenstraße started in 1985.
In 2010, David Platt (Jack P. Shepard) , Nick Tisley (Ben Price) and Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan) went on the well known chat show - "Jeremy Kyle" where David accused Nick (his brother) and Tina (his ex) of sleeping together. This episode of Jeremy Kyle was done completely straight. It was considered a "Fantastic" episode and will hopefully be remembered. web|url=http://www.itv.com/Soaps/coronationstreet/newsandgossip/CorrieDVD789/default.html |title=Coronation Street | News & Gossip | Corrie DVD 789 – ITV Soaps |publisher=Itv.com |date=2009-09-16 |accessdate=2009-09-20}}</ref>
Cadburys 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. On 16 September 2007, the Cadbury sponsor adverts were broadcast for the last time.
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.
The show has won three Television BAFTAs for 'Best Continuing Drama', four British Soap Awards for 'Best Soap', five National Television Awards for 'Most Popular Serial Drama', five TV Quick and Choice Awards for 'Best Soap', six Royal Television Society Awards for 'Best Serial Drama', five TRIC Awards for 'Best Soap' however was notably snubbed from the BAFTA shortlist for two consecutive years in 2008 and 2009.
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). Since 2008, the soap has been produced by Kim Crowther. Ex-Doctor Who producer Phil Collinson will be taking over in summer 2010.
Coronation Street, UK TV series (1960-present)
Quotes sorted by year.
:Context: The second episode. Martha and Ena are discussing death.
Context: Bethany has just come round. Bethany (Amy and Emily Walton): Mum, mummy?
Coronation Street is the longest-running soap opera in the United Kingdom. It is thought to be the most popular soap opera in the country because it regularly wins awards. William Roache has been acting in it since it first began in 1960. He is the only actor who appeared in the first episode who is still in the series. Eileen Derbyshire, who plays Emily Bishop, started in 1961.
The soap is shown in many countries around the world. It is very popular in Ireland and New Zealand.[needs proof]