GEOFFREY SHRYHANE - 10,000 episodes of Corrie and it’s still going strong

It’s just before seven o’clock on December 9, 1960, when millions settle down to watch a soap set in the north. It’s being aired for 13 weeks. As the titles roll at the end, folks vote it a hit.

Friday, 31st January 2020, 10:29 am
Updated Friday, 31st January 2020, 10:31 am
On the right, Ken Barlow (William Roache) makes his Coronation Street debut in December 1960

You’ll realise I’m chunnering on about Coronation Street which, next month, will screen its 10,000th episode. And yes, it’s still going strong and breaking records.

Personally, I preferred The Street when it dealt with cosy domestic issues rather than rape and murder. Still, no matter.

The 10,000th episode will air on February 7 and there will be lots of nods to iconic moments over 60 years.

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As the show is recorded seven weeks in advance, the special hour-long episode next month has already been filmed.

The first episode way back just before Christmas in 1960 was broadcast live and featured a 21-year-old student, Ken Barlow, who today is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-serving male star in a continuous role.

So take a bow William Roache.

The names of other characters in that first episode include Ena Sharples, Martha Longhurst and Minnie Caldwell, Albert Tatlock, and Elsie and Dennis Tanner.

The late Wigan actress Jennifer Moss spent around 15 years in The Street playing Lucille Hewitt until she was overtaken by problems and left the show.

Kym Marsh made a great impact as Michelle Connor. Brought up in Ashton, Kym was given a chance by those in powers that be at Granada and after a few episodes, her future on the cobbles was guaranteed.

There was sadness last year when, after more than a decade, Kym decided to leave to explore other avenues.

Georgia Taylor from Orrell spent years playing Toyah Battersby, and Eva Pope from Appley Bridge was Tanya Pooley, at home behind the Rovers’ bar.

John Lloyd Fillingham from Winstanley and Rodney Litchfield from Wigan also had parts for short periods on the show.

The late TV writer Brian Finch penned more than 150 episodes of the Street and wrote the first lines spoken by Deirdre Barlow.

Today, seven million people watch episodes of Coronation Street.

And to think that after the first episode had been screened, one critic estimated: “It won’t last.”