A historic day on the Coronation Street cobbles.
The press launch yesterday marking the countdown to the 50th anniversary on December 9, complete with a very special Street Party.
I was among 235 guests who gathered in Studio 12 at ITV Granada in Manchester for the event.
Hosted in some style by Boyzone star Keith Duffy, who plays Rovers barman Ciaran McCarthy.
(Lots of audio / video further down this blog)
Before a party out on the cobbles and tours of the studio sets.
We were treated to showreels looking back at the last half century – and ahead to what is to come.
Including the moving reunion of Jack (Bill Tarmey) and the “ghost” of Vera (Liz Dawn) in scenes which I guarantee will have fans in floods of tears when they are screened.
Plus other future storylines.
Leading to the tram crash in December which will form part of an “explosive anniversary week” – including the already trailed live episode.
ITV director of programmes John Whiston said Street creator Tony Warren had uncovered the DNA of a nation.
And provided food for thought in noting Coronation Street’s longevity:
“It will certainly outlive us all.”
Both Tony and Bill Roache, who has played Ken Barlow from the very first episode, were given standing ovations.
The rest of the cast joining in from their seats in the front rows.
Corrie also becoming a double Guinness World Record holder as the longest running TV soap in the world, with Bill the world’s longest serving soap actor.
Executive producer Kieran Roberts maintained: “Coronation Street is 50 years young.”
Producer Phil Collinson promised “a week of television that people will remember forever”.
He added: “The most ambitious week of episodes that the show has ever seen.”
Five weeks of night shoots begin on Monday to create that golden anniversary spectacular – on screen in the second week in December – and the important aftermath, with lives changed forever.
Starting with episodes 7483, 7484 and 7485 – the three episodes which will begin that historic week.
Phil pointing out that the carnage will have to be re-staged all over again for the live episode.
Summing up the essence of the December episodes: “How we love, hate, how we live and how we die.”
As you can hear from the audio below, Phil revealed the number of deaths after the tram plunges off the viaduct – which runs over soon to re-open new bar The Joinery.
He also confirmed that both The Kabin and Dev’s Corner Shop will be caught up in the destruction.
Despite a bit of a Corrie smokescreen, I understand the actors whose characters die in the crash have now been told their fate.
And I believe it won’t necessarily be who you might be expecting to go.
But Tony Warren made a plea to the press not to spoil the storyline by revealing who dies, and who lives.
“Let the audience have their present,” he implored.
He certainly won’t get any argument about that from me.
I spent the rest of the afternoon on the cobbles, interviewing many members of the Corrie cast for future coverage.
While also trying to record a flavour of the day via audio, video and photos.
My photos from the day are on Flickr here.
With a slideshow here. (Click on “Show info” for captions)
Update: My Coronation Street podcast from the day is available here.
Audio from the studio introduction:
1. Keith Duffy opening remarks, with a nod to Bill Roache:
2. Kieran Roberts pays tribute to Street legends:
3. Kieran Roberts on Tony Warren:
4. Phil Collinson: A week of TV never to forget:
5. Phil Collinson: Tragedy and destruction:
6. Phil Collinson: The tram crash:
7. Phil Collinson: The aftermath:
8. Phil Collinson: Future storyline spoilers:
9. Tony Warren on his monthly meetings with the producer:
10. Tony Warren: My very first press interview:
11. Tony Warren: When ever I get into taxis:
As you’ll see from the photos, Street turns providing the entertainment included Steve Huison and Debbie Rush, who play Eddie and Anna Windass, with their own special version of Sonny and Cher’s I Got You Babe:
Plus Betty Driver, more music and Andy Whyment, who plays Kirk Sutherland, singing a Beatles classic:
With thanks to the superb Dr Butler’s Hatstand Medicine Band who provided the music all afternoon.
My Coronation Street 50th Anniversary Street Party Photos
Photo Slideshow. (Click on “Show info” for captions)
Coronation Street Official Site
Kicking It On The Cobbles: My Day On Coronation Street