Find out what plots and characters made it into our top ten moments in Coronation Street’s 60-year history. You’ll be done reading just in time to hear the iconic theme tune calling you back to your TV
By Laura Rutkowski, Staff Writer
The creator of Coronation Street, Tony Warren, spent his childhood sitting underneath his grandmother’s kitchen table, listening to her, his mother and his aunts talking and gossiping. Their powerful voices have lived on through the strong female characters (Elsie Tanner, Bet Lynch, Blanche Hunt and Vera Duckworth, to name a few) in the soap – the world’s longest-running one on TV at that. Coronation Street aired its 10,000th episode in February and will celebrate its 60th anniversary in December, after first being broadcast in 1960.
New series Coronation Street Compilations revisits the show’s most memorable moments, and heaven knows there are a lot of them! Weddings, stories that gripped the nation and villains are just some of the episode themes.
The coercive control storyline between Yasmeen Nazir (Shelley King) and Geoff Metcalfe (Ian Bartholomew) has been a huge talking point this year.
In 1959, Warren apparently told a friend who worked as a BBC producer about his idea for a television series: “I can see a little back street in Salford, with a pub at one end and a shop at the other, and all the lives of the people there, just ordinary things.” That street, of course, is the fictional Northern town of Weatherfield, the pub is the Rovers Return Inn and the shop is simply called the Corner Shop, which has changed hands many times over the years.
As legend goes, Warren landed a job at Granada Studios and stood on top of a filing cabinet, refusing to come down until someone commissioned his show. A producer then gave Warren 24 hours to turn around a script for the pilot episode. At the young age of 23, Warren wrote in a memo to Granada bosses that Coronation Street would “explore the values of a working-class street in the North of England and, in doing so, entertain”.
Coronation Street has been entertaining and pushing boundaries since day one, with Warren also keeping his ear to the ground not just in his grandmother’s home, but in Manchester’s gay scene as well. Warren, who was gay himself, knowing he wouldn’t be able to have a gay character in the soap at the time (this was the 60s), instead gave his brash female characters some fabulous lines for audiences to chew on.
“Some of these queens were sensational,” Warren said. “I remember giving Elsie Tanner things they would say. When you think of some of the things she came out with, how many straight women have you heard say that?”
Who could forget Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear), barmaid then landlady of the Rovers, with her massive collection of flamboyant outfits and earrings?
It’s hard to wade through six decades of Corrie, especially when in the last year alone, it’s highlighted so many important issues. Racism, homophobia in football, sexting, domestic abuse, cervical cancer and mitochondrial disease are just some of the hard-hitting storylines that have affected the lives of people on the cobbles in recent episodes. It somehow manages all this and keeps its sense of humour!
Although Coronation Street has had to scrap its explosive end-of-year stunt to mark the big 6-0 due to the current climate, a community-based storyline will prevail. There’s also the promise of a juicy love triangle, and who doesn’t love that?
Take a trip down memory lane with Coronation Street’s ten best, most shocking and most progressive moments below. Our list is not exhaustive by any means, but enjoy reminiscing by simply clicking/hovering over the snaps in this graphic we’ve cobbled together.
When is ITV’s Coronation Street Compilations on TV?
Coronation Street Compilations airs on ITV HD (CH 103/113) on Mondays at 8pm, with the first episode screening on July 20th. It is also available for 30 days in Apps & Games > ITV Hub.
The eight-part series will subsequently air every week until Monday 7th September.
TV channels: Channels, content and features available depend on your chosen package. Channel line-ups and content are subject to change at any time and to regional variations.
HD: HD TV set, V HD Box, TiVo box or Virgin TV V6 connected with HDMI cables required for HD channels. Number of inclusive HD channels depends on package.
ITV HD is subject to regional variation. ITV HD is not available where STV HD or UTV HD is available.
Catch Up TV: Catch Up TV content available for up to 7 days or up to 30 days after broadcast, depending on content.