DEDICATED Coronation Street fans will know that this week’s tram crash was first suggested six years ago.
My exclusive story was published in the Manchester Evening News on November 25 2004.
It revealed that a story proposal for 2005 – yet to be finalised – had been put forward to crash a tram into the Rovers Return from a viaduct at that end of the street.
The fact that viewers were not familiar with a second tram line near the pub was one hurdle to overcome.
As were objections from Manchester tram company Metrolink, concerned that any crash would raise fears about the safety of their service, even if blamed on vandals.
In the end, Corrie bosses decided to shelve the idea.
But as is often the way, it returned in a different form to launch this week’s series of 50th anniversary episodes – including tonight’s hour-long live visit to Weatherfield.
Safety fears were overcome via an agreement that it would be made very clear to viewers that the crash was not the fault of the tram company or the driver.
The 2010 action also focused on the viaduct at the opposite end of the street to the Rovers, which had also been the site of the 1967 goods train crash.
You can read my 2004 story below.
Nov 25 2004:
ROVERS Return regulars may die in the biggest disaster ever to hit Coronation Street, the M.E.N. can reveal today.
TV bosses have held a summit to explore how they can top this week’s spectacular series of episodes.
One of the ideas discussed, but not yet agreed, would see a Metrolink tram crashing from a viaduct – killing Street characters and destroying the nation’s most famous pub.
If given the go-ahead, it would be the most spectacular stunt in the Street’s history, bringing carnage to Weatherfield and shocking millions of viewers.
Granada are refusing to comment on their plans for next year. “Lots of storylines are discussed at long-term conferences and we never reveal our plans,” said a spokeswoman.
But an insider told the M.E.N.: “It would be a very expensive storyline to film and see the demise of much-loved Coronation Street characters. But no final decision has been taken.
“The idea is that a tram would plunge from the Rosamund Street viaduct, by the side of the Rovers, after vandals sabotage the track.”
Death and destruction would result, with the pub at the heart of rescue attempts. If given the green light, the story would be written in consultation with Metrolink to show the fatal consequences of vandalism.
A long build-up could begin early in the new year after the Christmas Day wedding of Claire (Julia Howarth) and Ashley (Steven Arnold). Nanny Claire is understood to be starting a new career as a tram driver with Metrolink and will be seen in job training.
As part of her story, writers hope to include references to the M.E.N.’s Get Back On Track campaign, which aims to persuade the government to reverse its decision to scrap the Metrolink expansion.
Any disaster storyline might follow on later in the year, though Claire is not thought to be one of the characters at potential risk.
The summit discussed several ideas for more drama after this week’s firebomb attacks on businessman Dev’s seven stores, including destruction of the Street corner shop and death of demented lawyer Maya.
Hollywood stuntmen and special effects experts involved in those scenes would again be involved in any 2005 spectacular.