Coronation Street started in 1960 and has aired nearly 9,000 episodes since. It’s the longest-running British soap opera and is the longest-running in the world. Here are 12 facts about the soap that millions love thanks to its fascinating characters and down-to-earth humour.
1. The show’s very first words
The very first words spoken on the show back in 1960 were ‘Now the next thing you’ve got to do is get a sign writer in’; they were spoken by Elsie Lappin, owner of the corner shop, as she handed the shop over to Florrie Lindley.
2. HD conversion
The show’s set had to undergo a few changes for when episodes started being broadcast in HD in 2010. Plastic bricks were replaced by real ones and the fake food in Roy’s Rolls was replaced with real food.
3. No beer for you
The beer that the characters drink in the Rovers Return is actually very, very weak shandy watered down with lemonade. As for gin and tonic, it’s actually just fizzy water with a hint of lime juice added.
4. Electric shocks
The show’s first disabled regular, Izzy Armstrong, was introduced in 2010 and the actress who played her, Cherylee Houston, was also disabled. She was unable to use her wheelchair on the street because of all the cobbles, so rubber mats would be put down to enable her to get across the street more easily. When it rained, the rainwater on the mats would generate static and Cherylee’s co-star Mikey North, who played Izzy’s boyfriend, would often get electric shocks.
5. Roy’s old shopping bag
The reason Roy continues to carry that old shopping bag around with him is because it belonged to actor David Neilson’s mother, who passed away not long before he started playing Roy.
6. The scripts
For each episode three different scripts are produced: the first on buff paper, the second on pink paper and the third and final one on white paper.
7. Global reach
There are more than 40 countries around the world, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Estonia, Poland, Taiwan and South Africa, where Coronation Street is aired.
8. Swearing on the street
The show’s first expletive was heard in 1961 when Ken Barlow uttered the word ‘bloody’. A total of 61 complaints were received.
9. Crew members
It takes about 280 cast and crew members to produce the show’s episodes.
10. Time to make a week’s worth of episodes
To make five episodes, it takes roughly 66 hours, give or take a few.
11. The cobbles
It’s estimated there are just over 11,000 cobbles on Coronation Street.
12. Most watched episode
The most watched episode in the show’s history was the Christmas Day episode of 1987 featuring the departure of much loved character Hilda Ogden. It’s no surprise that so many – 26.6 million – tuned in for the episode, especially considering she’s widely regarded as the show’s best ever character.