Tuesday, 7 December 2010


[8.54 - French time] This thursday ITV1's venerable soap Coronation Street will turn 50 and ITV celebrates the event with a week of special shows.

Yesterday ITV1 aired the very first episode of "Corrie", originally shown on December 9, 1960. This was the occasion to see a young Ken Barlow, played by William Roache. The actor, now 78, is still in the drama serial and according to The Independent his character has been married four times (twice to the same woman), widowed twice and divorced once. His first wife was electrocuted in 1971 by a faulty hairdryer, although not before giving birth to twins. Add two other children, both illegitimate.

Ken Barlow's second wife died in 1977 after taking an overdose. He has had 27 girlfriends and almost as many jobs (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/william-roache-the-role-of-a-lifetime-2150841.html). In 1981, 24 million viewers watched the wedding of Ken with Deidre Langton (Anne Kirkbride) – more than the audience of Charles and Diana’s wedding on ITV two days later (http://www.beehivecity.com/television/50-coronation-street-facts-for-the-50th-anniversary-of-itvs-soap12212112/).

The repeat of Coronation Street's episode one was followed by the highly-publicized tram crash disaster, a very spectacular stunt which reportedly costed over £5m (http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/s3/coronation-street/news/a291503/corries-tram-crash-plot-costing-over-gbp5m.html). This week of celebration also include a two-part retrospective show titled Coronation Street: 50 Years, 50 Moments, a 60-minute live episode aired on thursday, and Coronation Street: The Big 50th, a one-off quiz show hosted by Paul O'Grady which will test celebrities' knowledge of Corrie history.

The actual Coronation Street producer is Phil Collinson, formerly producer on Doctor Who.


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