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Coronation Street

Related subjects Television

Coronation Street

Coronation Street's current opening credits, introduced in 2002.
Format Soap opera
Created by Tony Warren
Developed by Granada Television
Starring See current cast
Opening theme Eric Spear
Country of origin Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
No. of episodes 6835 [ +]

(as of Sunday, 08 June 2008)

Producer(s) Steve Frost,
Kieran Roberts (Executive Producer)
Camera setup Multiple-camera setup
Running time 22 minutes
(excluding adverts)
Original channel ITV
Picture format 4:3 (1960-2001), 16:9 Widescreen (2002-present)
Original run 9 December 1960 – present
External links
Official website
IMDb profile
TV.com summary

Coronation Street is an award-winning British soap opera. It is the longest-running television soap opera in the United Kingdom, first broadcast on Friday, 9 December 1960 made by Granada and broadcast in all but two regions of ITV as it existed at the time. The programme is consistently the highest-rated programme on British television.

The show was created by Tony Warren and is produced by Granada Television, holder of the ITV franchise for the northwest of England, and was shown by most of the ITV stations then operating (See Scheduling details below). It became fully networked on 6 March 1961, when ATV, the only remaining franchise, began airing it.

Coronation Street (commonly nicknamed and written as Corrie or the Street) is set in a fictional street in Weatherfield, a fictional Lancashire town not far from Manchester. The programme focuses on the experiences and driving forces behind the residents of Coronation Street, and examines families and individuals within the community who are of different ages, classes, and social structures.

Coronation Street itself consists of a row of seven early 20th century terraced houses on its northern side with a public house, the Rovers Return Inn, at one end, and a corner shop at the other. The southern side of the street consists of a factory, two shop units, a garage and three houses, all constructed in the late 1980s. The programme also incorporates the residents of neighbouring streets, including Rosamund Street, Victoria Street, and Viaduct Street.

The working title of the show was Florizel Street, but a tea lady named Agnes remarked that "Florizel" sounded like a brand of disinfectant so the name was changed. The choice of new name was between Jubilee Street and Coronation Street, with Granada executives Harry Latham, Harry Elton and H.V. Kershaw deciding on the latter.

As of January 2008, Coronation Street is broadcast in the United Kingdom at 19.30 and 20.30 on Mondays and Fridays, and at 19.30 Wednesdays on terrestrial network ITV. In the Republic of Ireland, Coronation Street is simulcast on TV3. Repeat episodes and specials can be seen on ITV's main digital channel, ITV2, with an omnibus edition shown on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. ITV 2 has offered this sort of catchup since Coronation Street began airing on it in December 1998. Since January 2008, The omnibus has moved back to the main ITV channel where it last aired in December 2004.

Characters and characterisations

Since 1960, Coronation Street has featured many characters, whose popularity with viewers and critics has differed. 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, with Ena as the street's busybody, battleaxe and self-proclaimed moral voice; Elsie as the tart with a heart, who was constantly hurt by men in the search for true love; and Annie Walker, landlady of the Rovers Return Inn, who had delusions of grandeur and saw herself as better than other residents of Coronation Street.

For a number of years, Coronation Street became known for the portrayal of strong female characters, with characters like Ena Sharples, Annie Walker, Elsie Tanner and Hilda Ogden becoming household names during the 1960s. Tony Warren created a programme that was largely matrifocal, which some commentators put down to the female-dominant environment in which he grew up.. As a consequence, the show also has a long tradition of hen-pecked husbands, most famously Stan Ogden and Jack Duckworth, husbands of Hilda and Vera respectively.

Of the characters in the original episodes, only one remains: Ken Barlow ( William Roache). Barlow 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 46 years of Coronation Street.

1964 saw the introduction of Stan and Hilda Ogden, with Hilda ( Jean Alexander) becoming one of the most famous British soap characters of all time. In a 1982 poll, Hilda was voted the fourth most recognizable 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 25 December 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 would go on to become one of the most famous Corrie characters. Bet stood as the central character of the show from 1987 until departing in 1995, often being dubbed as "Queen of the Street" by the media, and indeed herself.

Coronation Street and its characters often rely heavily on archetypes, with the characterisation of some its current cast based loosely on past characters. Blanche Hunt ( Maggie Jones) embodies 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). However, former archivist and scriptwriter Daran Little cautions against characterising 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."



The serial 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" and "by heck!" became widely heard on British television for the first time.

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 rather disgusting set of morals. Elsie resented Ena's interference and gossip, which, most of the time, had little basis in reality.

In September 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 December 2, 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 daytime soap 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, 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.

The 1970s was also the decade when Coronation Street began to include more comedy in its storylines, at the insistence of new producer Bill Podmore who joined in 1976, having worked on Granada comedy productions prior to his appointment. 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 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).

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, Bernard Youens (Stan Ogden) 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 serial Brookside in 1982 was one of the biggest changes for Coronation Street, 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 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 story line 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 show's highest rated episode (26.6 million viewers) came in 1987, when Hilda Ogden left the show. 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 Kevin and Sally Webster, Curly Watts ( Kevin Kennedy), Martin Platt ( Sean Wilson), Reg Holdsworth ( Ken Morley) and the McDonald family.


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, 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 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. 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 being watched by 15 million viewers. The year also saw the programme's first two-hander, between Curly and Raquel Watts.

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. The character of Karen McDonald ( Suranne Jones) was developed, with her fiery marriage to Steve and warring with Tracy Barlow. Tracy would go on to receive a life sentence in March 2007 for murdering lover Charlie Stubbs.

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, 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 and Fred Elliott. Two new families were also introduced into the show: The Connors and The Mortons, the latter being not as popular as the Connors when introduced , but soon settled in as regulars.

In 2007, several groundbreaking storylines took place on Coronation Street, such as Leanne Battersby becoming a prostitute and the first bi-sexual love triangle. The Connor family were central to many storylines at the beginning of 2008 - an accidental death at Underworld due to overworking, Michelle Connor's discovery that her brothers Paul and Liam were the cause of her husband's death, Paul's use of an escort service, and his kidnapping of Leanne and subsequent death.

Many big names left in 2007. In January, Charlie Stubbs was killed by vengeful girlfriend Tracy Barlow. In summer 2007, actress Liz Dawn told producers that she wanted to retire her character Vera Duckworth because her emphysema was restricting her acting and movement. Scriptwriters initially planned an exit for Vera in December 2007, with occasional guest appearances. However, after further discussion, writers, producer Steve Frost, and Liz Dawn agreed to kill off Vera after 34 years on the show in January 2008 in a tear-jerking story . Whilst entering their house for many years singing a song, Jack discovered that Vera had quietly passed away in her armchair. Jack combed her hair and made her presentable, then sang one of their romantic sweetheart songs.


Broadcast format

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 aired on 3 February 1961.

Transmitted in black and white for the majority of the 1960s, preparations were made to film episode 923 (transmitted Wednesday October 29, 1969), which featured the street residents on a coach trip to the Lake District, in colour. In the event, suitable colour stock for the film cameras could not be found and the episode was made in black and white. The following episode, transmitted Monday November 3, 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 viewers noticed nothing unusual. The reasons why episodes were made 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. Certainly one set (that of the Rovers Return) undergoes 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 Monday November 24, 1969 however the ITV network, like BBC1, began full colour transmissions on Saturday November 15, 1969 and it is therefore possible that the first transmitted colour episode is number 928 shown on Monday November 17. In October 1970 a long-simmering 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 had to be recorded and transmitted in black and white, including Coronation Street The dispute was resolved in early 1971 and the last black and white episode aired on 8 February 1971.

Production staff

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.

Adele Rose was the longest-serving Coronation Street writer, completing 455 scripts between 1961 and 1998. She went on to create 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 with Steve Frost as Producer. Both have been producers on "Emmerdale" previously.

Theme music

The show's theme music, a solo cornet piece, with clarinet and double bass accompaniment, reminiscent of northern band music, was written by Eric Spear and has been only slightly modified since its debut.

David Browning played the trumpet on the original recording of the theme, and was given the choice of either a royalty payment for each time the theme was aired, or a one-off payment at the time of recording. He opted for the one-off payment, and although he would have received more money in the long run with the royalty payment approach this is something he has been able to laugh about in more recent years.

The theme music was also performed on television by the TV entertainer Roy Castle.


As befitting the soap-opera genre, Coronation Street is made up of individual housing units, plus communal areas: a newsagent's ( The Kabin), a small café (Roy's Rolls), a general grocery shop (D&S Alahan's), a factory (Underworld) and a public house, the Rovers Return Inn, which is the main meeting place for characters on the programme.

From 1960–1968, all interactions on the 'outside' street were filmed on a sound stage, with the houses reduced in scale by 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 initially. These were replaced with brick façades, and back yards were added in the 1970s.

In 1982, a full-size exterior street 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 semi-detached houses on the south side of Coronation Street.

Between 1989 and 1999, the Granada Studios Tour allowed members of the public the opportunity to visit the set. The exterior set was extended and updated in 1999, to include more of Rosamund Street, Victoria Street and a new viaduct on Rosamund Street. The majority of interior scenes are shot in the adjoining purpose-built studio.


United Kingdom

For 48 years, Coronation Street has remained at the centre of ITV's prime time schedule. The programme is currently shown in five episodes, over three evenings a week on the ITV Network.

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.

Aside from Granada, the programme originally appeared on the following stations of the ITV network:

  • Associated Rediffusion
  • Scottish Television
  • TWW
  • Southern Television
  • Ulster Television
  • Anglia Television

From Episode 14 on Wednesday January 25, 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 March 6, 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 April 29, 1961
  • Border Television from Episode 76 on September 1, 1961
  • Grampian Television from Episode 84 on September 30, 1961
  • Channel Television from Episode 180 on September 1, 1962
  • Wales West and North Television from Episode 184 on September 14, 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 October 20, 1989 at 19:30, a third weekly episode was introduced and this increased to four episodes a week from Episode 4096 on Sunday November 24, 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 August 25, 2003. Additional episodes have been aired 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 April 5, 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 the 27th & 28th December 2003, several Christmas Day editions of the show were broadcast.

In Early 2008 ITV announced that during 2008 the Sunday episode would be dropped and replaced on a Friday, thus having two half hour episodes on both Monday and Friday (at 19:30 and 20:30) and maintaining a single episode on Wednesdays (at 19:30). However there is also talks to create a hour long episode on Monday instead of two separate episodes, this does seem unlikely due to clashes with rival soap Eastenders.


Coronation Street is also shown in many countries worldwide. In the Republic of Ireland it is broadcast on TV3 according to the ITV schedule in the UK.

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 broadcast on TV3 approximately 2 minutes behind of its broadcast on UTV.

In Canada, episodes of Coronation Street air on CBC Television. As of 2007, episodes appear on CBC about eight-and-a-half months after their UK air date. It moved from a daytime slot on CBC to prime time in 2004. CBC Country Canada, a digital television service operated by CBC, broadcasts older episodes as Corrie Classics. The 2002 edition of the Guinness Book of Records recognizes 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.

The programme started to be shown in Australia in 1963 on TCN 9 Sydney, GTV 9 Melbourne and NWS 9 Adelaide and by 1966 Corrie was more popular in Australia than in the UK. The show eventually left free-to-air television in Australia in the mid 1970s. It briefly returned on the Nine Network in a daytime slot from 1994 until 1995. In 1996 Pay-TV began and Arena began screening the series in one-hour installments on Saturday and Sundays at 18:30. The series was later moved to Pay-TV channel UK.TV where it was and still is shown weeknights at 18:00. Episodes on UK.TV are 18 months behind the UK.

The series is also currently shown in New Zealand, on Television New Zealand's TV One. In New Zealand, the show consistently rates in the top ten programmes nationally. Hour long episodes are shown at 19:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. "Coro Street catchups" are often scheduled on Wednesdays over summer to prevent falling further behind. Episodes are around thirteen months behind those broadcast in the UK.

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 aired roughly two years behind the UK. In the U.A.E., episodes of Coronation Street are aired two months 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.


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 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.


Harveys Publicity stunt
Harveys Publicity stunt

Cadburys was the first sponsor of Coronation Street beginning in July 1996. In the Summer of 2006 Cadbury Trebor Bassetts had to recall over 1 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 aired for the last time.

In July 2007 an ITV press release announced that Harveys (a furniture superstore) was the new sponsor of Coronation Street on the ITV Network. Harveys' sponsorship began on 30 September 2007.


  • Stuart Latham: December 1960 - July 1961
  • Derek Granger: July 1961 - April 1962
  • HV Kershaw: April 1962 - May 1963
  • Margaret Morris: May 1963 - February 1964
  • Stuart Latham: February - March 1964
  • Margaret Morris: March - May 1964
  • Tim Aspinall: May - September 1964
  • HV Kershaw: September 1964 - January 1965
  • Richard Everitt: January - February 1965
  • HV Kershaw: February - April 1965
  • Howard Baker: May 1965 - July 1965
  • HV Kershaw (Credited as Executive Producer): July - August 1965
  • Howard Baker: August 1965 - July 1966
  • HV Kershaw: July 1966 - May 1967
  • Jack Rosenthal: June - November 1967
  • Michael Cox: November 1967 - May 1968
  • Richard Doubleday: June - October 1968
  • John Finch: November 1968 - March 1969
  • HV Kershaw (Credited as Executive Producer): March 1969 - March 1970
  • June Howson: March - October 1970
  • HV Kershaw (Credited as Executive Producer): October 1970 - January 1971
  • Leslie Duxbury: January - November 1971
  • Brian Armstrong: November 1971 - May 1972
  • HV Kershaw (Credited as Executive Producer): May 1972
  • Eric Prytherch: May 1972 - April 1974
  • Eric Prytherch and Susi Hush: April - May 1974
  • Susi Hush: May 1974 - August 1974
  • Lesie Duxbury: August - September 1974
  • Susi Hush: September 1974 - September 1975
  • Lesie Duxbury: September 1975
  • Susi Hush: October 1975 - February 1976
  • Bill Podmore: February 1976 - March 1976
  • Susi Hush: March 1976
  • Bill Podmore: April 1976 - July 1982
  • Mervyn Watson 1982-1985
  • John G Temple 1985-1987
  • Bill Podmore 1987-1988
  • Mervyn Watson 1989-1991
  • Carolyn Reynolds 1991-1993
  • Tony Wood 1993
  • Sue Pritchard 1993-1996
  • Brian Park 1996-1998
  • David Hanson 1998-1999
  • Jane Macnaught 1999 - 2000
  • Kieran Roberts 2002 - 2004
  • Tony Wood 2004-2006
  • Steve Frost 2006-2008
  • Kim Crowther 2008-

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