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Coronation Street

Fridays at 7.30pm | TV ONE

Fascinating Coronation Street facts


Betty

The top 10 longest-serving cast members

  1. William Roache (Ken Barlow): Dec 1960 - present
  2. Eileen Derbyshire (Emily Bishop): Jan 1961 - present
  3. Betty Driver (Betty Williams): Jun 1969 - May 2011
  4. Barbara Knox (Rita Sullivan): Dec 1964, May 1972 - present
  5. Anne Kirkbride (Deirdre Barlow): Nov 1972 - present
  6. Helen Worth (Gail Platt): Jul 1974 - present
  7. Elizabeth Dawn (Vera Duckworth): Aug 1974, Jul 1976 - Jan 2008, Nov 2010
  8. Michael Le Vell (Kevin Webster): Oct 1983 - present
  9. Johnny Briggs (Mike Baldwin): Oct 1976 - Apr 2006
  10. Sue Nicholls (Audrey Roberts): Apr 1979 - present

 * As of October 2013

 

In the beginning…

  • Coronation Street began at 7pm on Friday 9 December 1960. The first episode was transmitted live. Nearly 8000 episodes later Coronation Street continues to be a ratings success, captivating audiences worldwide.
  • A young scriptwriter called Tony Warren created the series, originally titled Florizel Street. The first episode was penned within 24 hours, 13 episodes were commissioned and the face of British television was set to change forever.

Broadcast facts

  • Viewers were given their first glimpse of Coronation Street in full colour when the first colour episode was transmitted on 3rd November 1969.
  • A live episode was broadcast to mark the series' 40th anniversary in December 2000 - the first time the show had been broadcast live since 1960 and 1961. Another live episode aired to mark the 50th anniversary in 2010.
  • The 1000th episode was transmitted on 24th August 1970.
  • Famous fans include: Anthony Hopkins; Michael Parkinson; Julie Walters; Cliff Richard; Victoria Wood; Cilla Black; Cheryl Cole; Snoop Dogg.
  • A number of famous faces have paid visits to the set including: Diana Dors; Dustin Hoffman; Alfred Hitchcock; Howard Keel; Boy George; Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair; Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh.
  • On 8 August 1979, the programme was taken off air as part of an ITV strike. It returned to the screen on 24 October.
  • The series originally aired twice a week. A third weekly episode was introduced in 1989, and a fourth in 1996. Coronation Street has broadcast five times a week since 2002.
  • The production team has travelled abroad to film at foreign locations on seven occasions: Majorca (1974); Torremolinos (1987); Normandy (1994); Amsterdam (1998); Paris (2000 and 2006); Malta (2007).
  • There have been five spin-off video/DVD releases: The Feature Length QE2 Special (1995); Viva Las Vegas (1997); Out of Africa (2008); Romanian Holiday (2009); A Knight's Tale (2010). A six-part series ('After Hours') set in Brighton, featuring the returns of Bet Gilroy and Reg Holdsworth, aired in November 1999.

Cast facts

  • William Tarmey and Elizabeth Dawn both appeared as background artists for several years before making their debuts as Jack and Vera Duckworth.
  • Rita (played by Barbara Knox) first appeared on screen on 2 December 1964.
  • Famous faces who have walked on the Weatherfield cobbles include: Joanna Lumley; Ben Kingsley; Ian McKellen; Stephanie Beacham; Patricia Routledge; Patrick Stewart; Martin Shaw; June Whitfield; Anna Friel; Nigel Havers.
  • Celebrities who have appeared as background artists on the show include: Cliff Richard; Mel B; Peter Schmeichel.
  • Roy Barraclough played three different characters during the 1960s, before first appearing as Alec Gilroy on 26 June 1972.
  • After 13 years, Patricia Phoenix (Elsie Tanner) left the programme on 8 October 1973. She returned in 1976 and remained for 8 more years, appearing in 1641 episodes.
  • Mike Baldwin made his first appearance on 11 October 1976 and bowed out 30 years later on 7 April 2006 after 2383 episodes. He remains one of the 10 longest-serving cast members in the show's 53 year history.
  • Doris Speed was awarded an MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace on 29 November 1977.
  • Violet Carson made her last appearance as Ena Sharples after 1150 episodes on 4 April 1980.
  • Jean Alexander made her last appearance as Hilda Ogden on 25 December 1987 - an episode watched by 26 million people. In 1988, she became the first soap opera performer to be nominated for a BAFTA award.
  • HRH The Prince of Wales made a pre-recorded cameo appearance in the 40th anniversary live episode on 8th December 2000.
  • In HM Queen Elizabeth II's 2010 birthday honours, Barbara Knox and Eileen Derbyshire were awarded MBEs.

Corrie firsts

  • First birth: Elsie Tanner's grandson Paul Cheveski on 12 June 1961.
  • First marriage: Jack and Annie Walker's daughter Joan to Gordon Davies on 8 March 1961.
  • First death: The first death was the original resident of No.13, May Hardman, in Episode 7 on 31 December 1960.
  • First wife for Ken Barlow - Valerie Tatlock became bride number one when she walked up the aisle at St Mary's in August 1962.
  • First Golden Wedding Anniversary: The most enduring marriage on the Street was that of Jack and Vera Duckworth, who celebrated their golden wedding anniversary just months before Vera's death in January 2008.

It’s all in the numbers

  • The shortest marriage was that of Mike Baldwin and Jackie Ingram, whose union lasted only 7 days in 1991.
  • Dennis Tanner (played by Philip Lowrie) holds the record for the cast member with the longest time elapsed between appearances. There was a 43 year gap between his last appearance in 1968 and his return in 2011.
  • Ben Price is third actor to portray Nick Tilsley, following Adam Rickitt (1997-2004) and Warren Jackson (1981-1996).
  • Peter Barlow is the character to have been played by the most actors. Chris Gascoyne (2000-present) is the seventh incarnation, following David Lonsdale (1986); Joseph McKenna (1977-1978); Linus Roache (1973-1975); Christopher Dormer (1970-1971); Mark Duncan (1970-1971); John Heanneau (1965-1969).
  • There have been only 2 episodes broadcast featuring only 2 characters. In January 2000, Curly and Raquel Watts were reunited in a Millennium special. In 2007, Tracy Barlow confessed to murder to her mother Deirdre in a tense two-hander.

Corrie crew facts

  • Tony Warren penned a total of 76 scripts between 1960 and 1976.
  • The theme tune was written by Eric Spear, who died in 1966.
  • The show's most prolific director was the late Brian Mills, who directed 524 episodes between 1968 and 2000.
  • Famous directors who cut their teeth on Coronation Street include: Mike Newell (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Harry Potter); Michael Apted (The World is Not Enough, The Chronicles of Narnia); Charles Sturridge (Brideshead Revisited, A Handful of Dust). Charles also recently directed The Road to Coronation Street which is the story of the show's conception by Tony Warren.
  • Peter Whalley is the series' longest-serving writer, and has been on the team since 1979, penning more than 540 episodes.
  • Notable writers who have contributed scripts over the years include: Kay Mellor (Band of Gold, Fat Friends); Paul Abbott (Shameless, Clocking Off); Sally Wainwright (At Home with the Braithwaites, Unforgiven); Lucy Gannon (Soldier Soldier, Bramwell); Jimmy McGovern (Cracker, The Street).
  • The current exterior Street set was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and The Duke of Edinburgh on 5 May 1982.
  • On 14 December 1994 Tony Warren collected his MBE from Buckingham Palace.

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