Sad news today: Coronation Street creator Tony Warren has passed away at the age of 79.
Lancashire-born Warrens’ contribution to the world of soaps is immeasurable, writing the first 13 episodes of Corrie in 1960 and continuing on the show for a further eight years.
The legendary series gave birth to the ‘kitchen-sink drama’ idea of the soap opera, which remains at the very core of the show to this day.
Whilst not a household name himself, Warren is responsible for establishing many of them.
To mark his achievement, we’ve picked out 10 things that the world of Coronation Street has taught us during its five decade run.
1. You know that Roy Cropper is a saint
Originally introduced as Deirdre’s slightly creepy neighbour, Roy eventually developed into the train-spotting, bag carrying heart and soul of Weatherfield – dishing out sausage sandwiches at Roy’s Rolls and strutting around the street in his signature anorak.
Bad-mouth Cropper at your peril.
2. You can never meet anyone called Ashley without thinking of Fred Elliott
“I say, I say…”
3. You know that Deirdre’s imprisonment was an outrage
When the bespectacled Deirdre Barlow (then Rachid) was banged up in the slammer after becoming the patsy for a number of financial schemes set up by her husband, people literally lost their minds.
Deirdre’s imprisonment saw rating figures sky-rocket to 17 million and ‘Free the Weatherfield One’ became a soap storyline so big that even Tony Blair felt inclined to comment.
4. Your first awareness of transgender issues was via Hayley Cropper
Before online campaigns, social media videos or viral documentaries, Hayley Cropper was teaching you that gender can be a difficult and complicated issue for some people.
Hayley was British soap’s first transgender character and did a lot to introduce the public to the tribulations and hardships of feeling uncomfortable with your own body. Brave steps from your ’90s teatime viewing.
5. You know that Gail should never marry anyone, ever
Seriously, Gail’s track record with spouses is pretty terrible. Her previous love interests have included murder victims, cheaters, serial killers, con men and fraudsters, and she was once told “when it comes to the male of the species you are the equivalent of Tutankhamun’s curse”.
Harsh but true.
6. You wouldn’t let Kevin Webster work on your car
The most successful business on the street despite about three residents owning cars. Is Kevin purposely botching his car repairs to keep his customers coming back?
We’re on to you, Kev.
7. You’ve made (bad) attempts at Jim McDonald’s accent
“Catch yourself on there Liz…”
8. You’ve wondered why Dev didn’t just drive Rita out of business
The only thing Corner Shop owner Dev needs to crush The Kabin’s newsagent empire is a few stamps, newspapers and the odd bit of stationary.
9. You can’t go to Blackpool without mourning Alan Bradley
Despite being a particularly nasty piece of work, Alan’s deadly collision with a tram in sunny Blackpool did look pretty painful.
Over 26 million people watched Alan’s dance with death – with a blue plaque being placed outside The Strand Hotel to mark the iconic soap moment.
10. Despite the risks, you know you’d probably still live on Coronation Street
Sure, there’s been tram crashes, numerous fires, several serial killers and a spate of fatal car crashes – but at least the local pub is friendly enough.
We’ll see you in the Rovers.