Thursday, 16 September 2010

The Road to Coronation Street - what did you think?

I can't recall looking forward to watching a television programme as much as I was looking forward to The Road to Coronation Street.  I'd bought a bottle of good wine that'd been chilling in the fridge since I'd first found out about this BBC4 drama written by ex-Corrie writer Daran Little.

So, did it live up to my expectations? Oh yes, and more. I'm actually sitting here with tears in my eyes after watching it just now. Wasn't Jessie Wallace wonderful as Pat Phoenix and wasn't the rest of the casting spot on?

But never mind me, what did you make of it all?

52 comments:

Chewy said...

I missed it, will need to catch up on't iPlayer

Merseytart said...

It was phenomenal. Jessie Wallace and Lynda Baron were spot on - I was sorry when it ended.

My only question is: why are ITV making this for the BBC, instead of making it the centrepiece of Corrie's 50th?

Tvor said...

Aagghh still waiting for it to show up on the torrent site to download it!!

ITV didn't make this for the BBC, BBC made it for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Well, I was fortunate to realize the time just a minute after it started and was able to stream it live. I shed a few tears of joy watching! Ian Wylie's article states it was crafted with love by Darren Little, and he's right. It was so beautifully done, and I particularly loved the ending credits in which they named the actors playing the roles but showed the original actors' picture in character. It was very beautiful. I agree with Tvor; I hope it's released on DVD for fans' treasured collections.

Chewy said...

ITV Studios made it for BBC Four, I think it suits BBC Four more than ITV1 anyway

Anonymous said...

Absolutely brilliant! Everyone was spot on and Jessie Wallace was sensational as Pat Phoenix! Well done! x

Billy Niblick said...

It was an absolute delight.

I particularly loved the running gag about Bill Roache only filling in for a week or two before his stellar acting career took off. I do agree that Jessie Wallace & Lynda Baron were terrific.

Danny-K said...

Done in a style heavily redolent in nostalgia as the crew talked about little known actors they were about to audition and whom subsequently went on to become iconic institutions in their own right - the nostalgia overtones worked a treat. More a celebration than a forensic deconstruction, I thought it was pitched . . . just right.

I just wished it was longer, maybe a two-parter. For instance I was expecting to see a greater contribution from John Thomson as Harry Kershaw, whose appearance promised a great interaction with Tony Warren, but sadly there just wasn't the time; hence my wishing for it to have been a two-parter. In fact, two-parter nothing! It could easily have gone on to become a six part series in its own right, to touch on and maybe illuminate some of the characters own private lives ie., Pat Phoenix and Tony Booth for instance, with time to introduce how other cherished characters came into being, later on in the 60's.

And was that the Shadows music playing backdrop early on in the proceedings?

The real Ena Sharples, Violet Carson, used to deliver her character's lines faster than a machine gun could issue bullets, so I wished they'd encouraged the actress playing her in this production to do likewise, just for the sheer fun of it; I was waiting for her delivery in her initial audition scene to mimic that same breathless high speed which incidentally was the exact scene, included on a video clip in one of the blogs below some days ago.

They knew what they were doing with the end credits weren't they? Before you knew it the credits weren't traditional credits at all, but some sort of memorial to melt even the stoniest of hard hearts. No wonder William Roach said he cried when he watched a preview of the drama. I'll be watching it again - it's a keeper.

Tvor said...

That was amazing. Just amazing!! I'm nearly speechless!

Ange said...

Please please PLEASE let it come to New Zealand!!!

bbhilda said...

The time just flew by, and it was over way before I was ready for it to be. Absolutely brilliantly written, it was such a nice touch to be able to hear the real episode with the original actors in the background when you saw people watching the first episode on television.

I have never read much about Harry Elton, apart from the fact that he was Canadian. I wonder if he was such a lovely guy in reality? I do hope so, I loved him.

Nobody but Daran could have written that - there is not a soul on this earth who knows the Street the way he does - and it showed in brilliant technicolour!

John in Oakland said...

I absolutely loved it!

Mark said...

I watched it with two people who worked on the show in the early sixties - they knew everyone who was portrayed and had nothing but praise for it, like me. They said that even the canteen looked exactly as depicted even down to the wallpaper. A huge amount of care had gone into the production and it showed. Absolutely wonderful. I'm pleased the BBC showed it as it wasn't ruinbed with commercial breaks but i do think ITV missed a trick by not making it for themselves.

seapenguin said...

Everything's been said - it was terrific. Loved Jessie Wallace - she's wasted in eastenders, she should be in Corrie!

Sitges4u said...

It was wonderful, best thing I have seen on TV this year, Camp, witty, well written, great acting. I had tears in my eyes from the nostalgia it created. Jessie Wallace was excellent, the show did belong toDavid Dawson (Tony Warren).

Dave Owen said...

It was an absolute masterpiece and should win an award. One of the best dramas of the year, had me in tears throughout. Unmissable TV. But why was it hidden away on BBC Four?

Sitges4u said...

"I don't care what they do in St. Helens, no one puts soap next to bacon in Salford"

Sitges4u said...

"The Manchester accent doesn't suit television, people in London won't know whats going on"

Sunny Jim said...

After looking forward to it for so long and with all the previews heaping praise on it, I was concerned that it wouldn't live up to such high expectations. I needn't have been so worried, it was wonderful and just about everything it needed to be.

Anonymous said...

I watched the whole thing spellbound, with a lump in my throat and the company of a few family ghosts for who Coronation Street was a big part of their life. The Road to Florizel Street was just amazing. The attention to detail, the script, the actors - what can I say? Suddenly I was 5 years old again watching our black and white rented TV in the parlour of our house just a metaphorical 'few streets' away from Coronation Street. Jessie Wallace was perfect and I take my cloth cap off to her, despite my reservations about if she could pull off a convincing accent accent she *was* Pat Phoenix. She proved once and for all that no-one will ever be the 'next' Elsie Tanner, whatever the opinions of the current cast wannabes are. And it was interesting to watch Tony Warren's insistence that all actors should be 'Salford, Manchester, or at a push Lancashire'. Not something today's directors seem to be too fussy about. In fact, they could learn a lot from this programme!
When will it be out on DVD?!

Sunny Jim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunny Jim said...

After looking forward to it for so long and with all the previews heaping praise on it, I was concerned that it wouldn't live up to such high expectations. I needn't have been so worried, it was wonderful and just about everything it needed to be.

Anonymous said...

Totally fantastic end to end - there wasn't anything bad about it in any way and I'll tip my hat to Daran Little for doing such a wonderful job and the team behind its production - awards all round PLEASE to them ALL!
The only downside was that, I was at my mothers watching it and she's not into docu/dramas and she snored through most of it.
"Did I miss anything?" she eventually said,
"Yes, the best thing SINCE Coronation Street!" I replied, trying to tell her that for me, the interesting stuff usually comes from the history and 'the making of'.
Either way, it has highlighted that the best and longest running soap on tv does indeed come from this wonderful region in the NW.
There was always something so brilliant about this region that makes London and the south sick every time we're successful - and long may that continue!
With the eventual arrival of the bbc up here, that's more a liklihood than ever!
When you go back into tv history, a lot of the NW features so heavily in making not just good tv, but in having the talent aswell.
(I've just had a week where the bbc have been filming stuff where I work for (probably) something similar - hence the 'anonymous' post as I don't want to spoil anything!)

Chewy said...

Fantastic drama, the ending was strangely sad with the opening of the first episode being played in the background :p

Tvor said...

I blogged it myself just now, i just had to lol Sunny Jim is right, though, with all the hype leading up to it, i worried that it wasn't going to be as good but it most definitely was! and Jessie Wallace played Pat perfectly, not too strong, just enough attitude but not too gobby, and she had the accent perfect. while Elsie's accent was a bit stronger, Pat, as an actress, would have had hers tempered a bit and Jessie got it right!

Danny-K said...

On every blog and Internet site Jessie Wallace is, quite rightly, being applauded for her triumphal portrayal of Pat Phoenix - and well deserved the praise is too. It's clearly going to be one of the highlights of her career. She must be walking on air today as the reviews come in.

So (chuckles to self: Oh the irony of it) its also being mischievously commented on, that it took a London actress - A LONDON ACTRESS no less! (Ah say, A London actress, ah say...) to bring Pat Phoenix auditioning for the part of Elsie Tanner to life, and do her proud.

One can only wonder what a young Tony Warren would make of that.

Anonymous said...

I feel so privileged to have seen this production.

I too had tears running from about half-way through; I don't even know why, but it was a beautifully done tribute to "the only show in town" for me, for the past 44 years.

Jessie Wallace was wonderful as Elsie, and from what was reported earlier, it must have been a great challenge for her, and she rose to it magnificently!

Lynda Baron was wonderful too; she became Ena for those moments she was on screen.
Every one of the characters came together perfectly; well done.

It was nice to to recognize Michelle Holmes, another former Corrie actress, playing "Brenda" the stenographer.

I was interested to learn more about Harry Elton's very significant contribution to the programme.
He became a very well known broadcaster with the C.B.C. in later years.

Simon said...

I've never watched Corrie in my life, but I thought this drama was superb, it moved me to tears on more than one occasion.

Now if only I could find Ange's contact address on her Blog I could tell her how she can watch this programme in New Zealand.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Merseytart. Why was this made by ITV (the credits clearly showed ITV Studios production for the BBC!)? This should have been the centrepiece of the celebrations later in the year!

Sitges4u said...

It will be repeated this Saturday night on BBC4 at 11.30

gadgee said...

It was excellent, clearly a labour of love for Daran Little, and great performances all round.
I didn't know Michelle Holmes had been in Corrie.

Danny-K said...

As a postscript to the viewer learning that Tony Warren first pitched what was to become Coronation Street to the BBC, it's interesting to learn the exact moment he came up with the initial idea/inspiration for the series.

Apparently Olive Shapley, a BBC producer whom Tony Warren had worked with on a children's programme some time earlier, was travelling with him on a train back to Manchester late at night in 1959 (the year prior to his involvement with Granada). Olive, drifting in and out of sleep said (her own words as reported by the Manchester Evening News):

"At about Crewe, after a long period of silence, Tony suddenly woke me up saying, 'Olive, I've got this wonderful idea for a television series. I can see a little back street in Salford, with a pub at one end and a shop at the other, and all the lives of the people there, just ordinary things and. . .'

I looked at him blearily and said 'Oh. Tony, how boring! Go back to sleep.'

. . .Tony has never let me forget my error of judgement."

Rachel said...

Agree with all of the above and just wanted to add some other things that caught my ear: the bit about not wantng an actress in her 70s because they don't have enough energy (ironic because they have plenty of excellent parts for the over-60s nowadays) and when Harry Elton said they should not let the advertisers dictate their programmes (a message to ITV?)

I wonder if ITV will re-show the first 13 eps as part of the 50th celebrations?

Anonymous said...

It was a really good program and Jessie was brilliant, so were all the others.

Anonymous said...

It was a really good program and Jessie was brilliant, so were all the others.

Flaming Nora said...

It seems to me that ITV could and should have done this but they simply don't care about Coronation Street in anything other than it being their cash cow.

Anonymous said...

How can we watch it in Canada?

m.coss said...

Having worked as a P.A. on Coronaton Street in the early days it was very nostalgic to watch this drama. The characters were portrayed very well and it was a wonderful step back in time for me. As well as the actors to recreate those great characters like Agnes the tea lady, Jose in Casting and the wonderful Harry Kershaw was heart-warming - especially when we were treated to real life photos of them all in the end credits. Thank you Tony and all who were involved in this production. xxx Mavis

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how moved I was by this drama. I'd not been expecting something quite as nostalgic and emotional. The end scenes, with the camera passing a noticeboard featuring the photos of the original cast brought a lump to my throat.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how moved I was by this drama. I'd not been expecting something quite as nostalgic and emotional. The end scenes, with the camera passing a noticeboard featuring the photos of the original cast brought a lump to my throat.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how moved I was by this drama. I'd not been expecting something quite as nostalgic and emotional. The end scenes, with the camera passing a noticeboard featuring the photos of the original cast brought a lump to my throat.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how moved I was by this drama. I'd not been expecting something quite as nostalgic and emotional. The end scenes, with the camera passing a noticeboard featuring the photos of the original cast brought a lump to my throat.

Anonymous said...

Blooming marvellous! Much as I love Corrie, I think it does go to prove that programming on the BBC is a cut above the average on ITV. Hats off to the cast and the Daran Little.

Anonymous said...

Blooming marvellous! Much as I love Corrie, I think it does go to prove that programming on the BBC is a cut above the average on ITV. Hats off to the cast and the Daran Little.

corrierules said...

Have only seen the preview, as I live in Canada...but wasn't that Tony warren doing a cameo? I think he played the security guard..

gab said...

ive jsut caugt up with this and it was absolutely brilliant-im a relatively new corrie fan but know the old favourites and they were just perfect

jessie wallace outstanding as pat phoenix wot an actress never thought she could pull that off she was excelent

as was david dawson

what a treat they should get awards for this

Anonymous said...

I didn't see Tony's name on the credits and I think Jack, the security guard was credited with a different name to Tony's. Jack was a great character all by himself at Granada.

Anonymous said...

An enjoyable production spoilt in part by 3 dialogue errors and a sound effects error :-

1) No British producer is 1960 would have said "...a tight skedule..."
2) It was the "Glad Tidings Mission Hall " - not ...Missions Hall,
3) Elsie Tanner should have said "..ready for the knacker's yard." not "...knacker yard."
4) The phone in Tony Warren's home had a North American ring (ring,ring,ring) instead of the British ring (ring ring, ring ring).

Sorry to be picky but Tony Warren was always concerned with getting the details right.

Anonymous said...

I just watched it on I-player - brilliant. I do wish the production could get their facts right. The Shadows were playing in the background but this came in later years into the 60's not 1960. The comment about "2 spaces after a full stop" when the girls were typing. NO it was 3 spaces. 2 Spaces were changed in the 70's. I know I am being pernickerty but I do like the history to be right.

Anonymous said...

The fire or ambulance siren in the background was da da NO it was a bell in 1960.

Rachel F Pearce said...

Finally we got to see the program here in New Zealand, & boy, was it worth waiting for. I was transported back 50 years exactly to the day, when the first episode of this wonderful series was aired on British television. Suddenly, I was back in England, I was 14 years old again, sitting in front room, the whole family huddled in front a brand new TV. The fire roaring, mug of cocoa in hand when that now, oh so familiar, theme tune came on. Who would have guessed that fifty years later we would still be watching Coronation Street. All of the actors in, The Road To Coronation Street, were terrific, and who cares if there are 2 or three spaces after a full stop!. I was bawling as the credits were running at the end, seeing the photos of all of those wonderful actors, who have all gone now, and who gave millions of people so much pleasure over the years. Hats off to all who had a hand in the making of "The Road to Coronation Street". It was brilliant.

Rachel F Pearce said...

Finally we got to see the program here in New Zealand, & boy, was it worth waiting for. I was transported back 50 years exactly to the day, when the first episode of this wonderful series was aired on British television. Suddenly, I was back in England, I was 14 years old again, sitting in front room, the whole family huddled in front a brand new TV. The fire roaring, mug of cocoa in hand when that now, oh so familiar, theme tune came on. Who would have guessed that fifty years later we would still be watching Coronation Street. All of the actors in, The Road To Coronation Street, were terrific, and who cares if there are 2 or three spaces after a full stop!. I was bawling as the credits were running at the end, seeing the photos of all of those wonderful actors, who have all gone now, and who gave millions of people so much pleasure over the years. Hats off to all who had a hand in the making of "The Road to Coronation Street". It was brilliant.

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