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 city. 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 cobbled street. 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.