Granada Television’s flagship long running
TV show, Coronation Street, affectionately known simply as
“Corrie”, was first transmitted on Friday 9th December
1960 with an expected six weeks run.
It was envisaged and created by novelist Tony Warren as a
short drama serial based on everyday life in a fictitious
Manchester suburb called Weatherfield, populated by various
stereotypical characters, and set in the then rather dour
back-to-back terraced streets of a less prosperous northern
Apart from a dozen or so family houses, it was to have a corner
shop, a newsagents, a factory where several of its key characters
worked, and a public house, “The Rovers Return”.
The Rovers Return with the Author’s
parents. The Coronation Street set. Tony Warren Author &
Creator of Coronation Street
The latter was to become the focus of much
of the social interchange. It had a fictitious brewery (Newton
& Ridleys) and regular characters had their own seats
and favourite corners.
Needless to say, the series was an instant success and still
ranks amongst the UK’s highest viewing figures over 40 years
later, achieving some 18 million viewers at its peak, and
many more on a worldwide bases, where it is now dubbed into
many dozens of languages and shown throughout every continent
on the globe.
At first, it was not received well by all critics, though
personages no less than the late Poet Laureate, John Betjeman
were avid fans, who compared the series with Dickens’ “Pickwick
Papers” in the scope and range of its storylines and
characterisations. So ‘ordinary’ and ‘real’ is the series
thought to be that Manchester taxi drivers are still regularly
asked by visitors to take them to Weatherfield, believing
it to be an actual suburb of the City. Similarly, many a visitor
has asked for a pint of Newton & Ridley’s beer, believing
it to be real brew.
The show has has attracted a whole generation of writers and
authors to create its storylines, and a veritable cavalcade
of stars of film, theatre and television have trodden its
Notable scriptwriters like Jack Rosenthal, John Stevenson,
Julian Roach and Tom Elliot have penned episodes. Actors like
Pete Postlethwaite, Jean Alexander and Sarah Lancashire have
begun their careers acting in the series, and other appearances
on the show have included the likes of Bernard Cribbins, John
Savident, Maureen Lipton, Brigit Forsyth, Roy Hudd, Sherrie
Hewson, Geoffrey Hughes and Joanna Lumley. But it is the long
standing stalwarts of the show whose names will be indelibly
linked with Coronation Street – Violet Carson (Ena Sharples),
Pat Pheonix (Elsie Tanner), William Roach (Ken Barlow), Jean
Alexander (Hilda Ogden), Thelma Barlow (Mavis Wilton), Julie
Goodyear (Bette Gilroy), Liz Dawn (Vera Duckworth), and many
others too numerous to name here. For a full(-ish) cast list
see the ‘Coronation Street Characters’ link below.
Coronation Street Guided Tours
Regretfully, the Coronation
Street Tour has now closed.
So far as we are aware, there are no plans to reopen it.