We all know Coronation Street is the longest running soap on our televisions. This show was created by Granada Television and has been shown on the Channel ITV since 1960.
The programmes revolves around a small town and the events that disrupt the people on a daily basis.
The first episode aired on the 9th of December in 1960, there was a mixed response to this first screening. However, Ken Irwin, a columnist for the Daily Mirror declared that this was only going to last around three weeks. After only commissioning 13 episodes, the viewers quickly became drawn to the lives of the people on the street.
There were some things that people were drawn to about this programme. It was the first of it’s kind but people were most drawn to the northern dialect. It was one of the first times that this dialect was aired on national television for an extended period of time. Terms like ‘nowt’ and ‘eh, chuck?’ were used and people instantly became drawn to the accent.
Coronation Street through the decades…
One of the first people to come onto our screens was Ken Barlow, played by actor William Roache. He is still on Coronation Street and is the only original cast member left on to this day. Back in the 60s, Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell and Martha Longhurst were the centre of many storylines. This little trio were likened to the three witches from Macbeth as they used to just sit at the Rovers and judge everyone else! Storylines from this decade included the marriage of Ken Barlow and Valerie Tatlock, the birth of the Barlow twins, a train and coach crash and the murder of Steve Tanner in 1968.
A lot of the core members decided to leave when the 70s came round which left the producers in a little bit of a pickle. This meant the characters that had once stood in the background had to be brought to the forefront of the drama. Characters like Bet Lynch and Ivy Tilsley were built up and remained the centre of the programme for many, many years. Storylines from this decade included the infamous warehouse fire which took place back in 1975, the murder of Ernest Bishop which happened in 1978 and of course, the lorry crashing into the Rovers Return. At this point, Coronation Street didn’t have any competition for its prime time spot on the telly.
At this point in time, Ken Barlow was the only remaining original cast member by 1984. This decade brought some of the biggest changes that Coronation ever saw. Sadly, the arrival of Channel 4’s Brookside was a huge game changer for this soap. So, this is why the 80s brought some of the most famous and prominent storylines for Coronation Street. Firstly, Deirdre Barlow’s affair with Mike Baldwin managed to get the attention of media outlets throughout the UK. The feud with Mike and with Ken was something that lasted for years… and was something that everyone secretly loved. There was also the fire at the Rovers Return and the death of Alan when he got killed by the tram.
Just with any programme, ten years can cause a lot of change both behind the screen and on screen. When the 90s came there was the introduction of Hayley Patterson – the first transsexual character in any soap. They brought these more controversial storylines to keep the viewers engaged and committed to watching the show. One of the biggest story lines the show has seen was in 1998 when Deirdre was sent to prison when she shouldn’t have been. Following her relationship with Jon Lindsay, the streets con man, she ended up being sent down. The episode that she was sent to prison managed to invite 19 million viewers to come and watch.
The 00s was also a ridiculously jam-packed decade for this soap. We saw the likes of the 40th anniversary and The Prince of Wales appearing in the show too. Sadly, there were some deaths that we will never get over – like the death of Vera Duckworth. But, there were other storylines that just kept us completely hooked. For example, Sarah Platt’s internet chat-room abduction, Roy and Hayley abducting their first foster child and the wrath of Richard Hillman – one of the biggest soap villains of all time.
In more recent years we have seen the infamous 50th anniversary week which was celebrated at the end of 2010. It was celebrated with the week-long storyline of the tram crashing into the Street. Around 14 million viewers watched this and it was a hugely anticipated week in the soaps history. Coronation Street also managed to make their way into the Guinness Book of World Records by being the world’s longest-running TV soap. Not only this, but William Roache who plays Ken Barlow is now recognised as the longest running soap actor too!
So, have you ever wondered which Coronation Street character you’re most like?
Time to take our quiz and find out!
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