Coronation Street at 60 – How it all began

It will celebrate its 60th anniversary in December, but at the beginning not even Granada TV, where its story began, was sure that Coronation Street would have legs.

Some of the cast of the British television soap opera, 'Coronation Street' in the bar of the show's pub.   (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
Some of the cast of the British television soap opera, 'Coronation Street' in the bar of the show's pub. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)

It was Tony Warren, a young writer disillusioned by having to turn out scripts about Biggles and other characters for whom he cared little, who had taken Granada the idea about a “real” Northern street. He was convinced it would fly more easily than Biggles ever had on TV, but no-one predicted it would become the world’s longest-running TV serial.

It became very big, very quickly, and within three months was being screened in every part of the country ITV’s signal could reach – a status it has never lost. And unlike many programmes of the period, almost all the 10,100 episodes remain in the archive.

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10th September 1970: English actress Violet Carson playing the part of Ena Sharples in Coronation Street. (Photo by John Madden/Keystone/Getty Images)

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Thank you

James Mitchinson

1969: Actress Jean Alexander looking bemused as Hilda Ogden in the long-running television soap opera 'Coronation Street'. (Photo by John Madden/Keystone/Getty Images)
Ken Barlow [William Roache] makes his Coronation Street debut in 1960 alongside his father Frank Barlow [Frank Pemberton].
The original line-up for the first episode of Coronation Street in December 1960. Back row left to right Harry Hewitt (Ivan Beavis], Albert Tatlock (Jack Howarth), Ivan Cheveski (Ernst Walder), Dennis Tanner (Philip Lowrie) David Barlow (Alan Rothwell), Jack Walker (Arthur Leslie), Extra Unamed (William Croasdale), Frank Barlow (Frank Pemberton), Ida Barlow (Noel Dyson) Minnie Caldwell (Margot Bryant). Front row Annie Walker (Doris Speed), Florrie Lindley (Betty Alberge), Linda Cheveski (Anne Cunningham), Elsie Tanner (Patricia Phoenix), Ena Sharples (Violet Carson), Christine Hardman (Christine Hargreaves), Ken Barlow (William Roache), Policewoman (Penelope Davies), Sue Cunningham (Patricia Shakesby) and Martha Longhurst (Lynne Carol).
British actresses Betty Driver (1920 - 2011), Liz Dawn (1939 - 2017), and Lynne Perrie (1931 - 2006) in the 'Rovers Return' pub on the set of British soap opera Coronation Street, UK, 22nd September 1983. (Photo by Victor Blackman/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)