The Road to Coronation Street is a must-watch ahead of the beloved soap’s 60th anniversary

The Road to Coronation Street
(Picture: ITV/BBC)

 

Coronation Street fans have the opportunity to re-live the inspiring story of how the beloved soap opera came to be, as critically acclaimed drama The Road To Coronation Street airs on ITV this evening.

The long-running soap has had something of an unusual year, as filming was forced to a halt amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and episodes were rationed in an effort to ensure it remained on the air.

Production was able to resume several weeks ago, and therefore the serial drama won’t be forced to take a break — like it once did in 1979 — which will no doubt come as a great relief to fans given it celebrates its 60th anniversary later this year.

60 years on air is quite an achievement, and one that very few shows could boast, that’s for sure.

However, what makes it all the more incredible is that it’s the second of two milestones the ITV serial drama celebrates this year, as it recently aired its 10,000th episode.

Not bad given that it was originally commissioned for a mere 13.

Tony Warren in The Road to Coronation Street
David Dawson is captivating as soap creator Tony Warren (Picture: BBC/ITV)

 

Yes, the story of how the national institution came to be is a pretty incredible one — perhaps all the more so when you consider that those initial 13 episodes almost didn’t see the light of day.

Coronation Street has delivered compelling storylines over the years — many of which have aided in raising awareness for important issues.

What’s more, the cobbled streets of Weatherfield have been home to some of the greatest characters in telly history — Elsie Tanner, Ena Sharples, Gail Platt and Deirdre Barlow just to name a few.

As a result, it’s rather difficult to imagine a reality where the serial drama doesn’t exist, but that could well have been the case if not for creator Tony Warren’s passion in this project.

Granada bosses were initially unsure that a weekly drama about the residents of a cobbled street in Manchester would attract much of an audience.

Tony thought otherwise and thus persisted — and it’s this very struggle that is the basis of The Road to Coronation Street.

The drama, which was originally broadcast on BBC Four back in 2010 to celebrate the soap’s then 50th anniversary, sees Tony coin the idea for Coronation Street — or rather, Florizel Street, as it was originally titled — and thus becomes hellbent on making it a reality.

Jessie Wallace as Pat Pheonix in The Road to Coronation Street
Jessie Wallace portrays Elsie Tanner actress Pat Phoenix (Picture: ITV/BBC)

 

It’s an inspiring tale, one made all the more so as a result of actor David Dawson, who delivers a truly captivating performance as the aspiring writer.

EastEnders star Jessie Wallace swaps Walford for Weatherfield, and delivers what one could easily call her career-best performance as soap legend Pat Phoenix — nailing the iconic actress’ mannerisms and famous Elsie Tanner accent.

Similarly, Lynda Baron thrives as Violet Carson — delivering Ena Sharples’ lines as quickly and effortless as Violet herself during the very first episode of the serial drama.

Told from Tony’s perspective, The Road To Coronation Street is something of a love-letter to not only the legendary soap boss, but also to the soap itself, with a heartfelt script courtesy of EastEnders and Corrie writer Daran Little.

With hard-hitting storylines that have had the nation gripped amid the COVID-19 pandemic — from Yasmeen’s trauma at the hands of abuser Geoff, to Oliver’s diagnosis — Coronation Street is as important and compelling as ever, 60 years after its debut.

Therefore, it seems only fitting to raise your glass and toast the iconic soap’s success, by revisiting the way in which it came to be.

The Road to Coronation Street airs tonight at 7:30pm on ITV.

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