Coronation Street Story
Granada. 2001. Large format pbk. 311 pages. £14.99.
The first episode of Coronation Street was broadcast live on December 9, 1960, since then it has been Britain's longest running and most popular soap opera. It is hard to believe that it had little competition from the BBC until they finally got their own flagship soap, EastEnders in 1985.
Over 40 years and with more episodes and specials every week, Corrie has seen many characters come and go and many dramatic storylines. The only character remaining from the original programme is Kenneth Barlow (William Roache) and he's nearly had as many wives and women as Henry VIII!
As archivist for Corrie, Daran Little has seen every episode, and he gives us a year-by-year summary of the main storylines and characters. At the end of the book he gives us an index to each characters' storylines, listings of births, marriages and deaths, and family trees of the great Corrie families. There is also a useful guide to the history of each house in the street.
For those who have seen it from the beginning this makes a great nostalgic wallow, especially since this volume is particularly well illustrated. Names of characters can easily be forgotten but these pictures remind you of many people who have gone, either onto the dole queue, 'better' things or death.
For newcomers, or those of us with the memory span of a goldfish, this is just the volume to see how the street has changed and evolved over the years.
At the start of each yearly summary Daran notes some of the changes made behind the scenes. The arrival of a new producer must send a chill down the cast and crew as they usually sack a few regulars and reshape Corrie to their own remit with a few new characters. Often these changes are not too dramatic and it can be several years before some characters get a decent storyline or 'permanent' residence in the street. Sometimes the public is fickle and just doesn't like new characters and they have to be written out. So Ken Barlow's 40 year tenure is remarkable by anyone's standards!
The ideal book for anyone even remotely interested in Coronation Street, a must for Corrie fans.
This is a very handy guide to all the current characters (and their pets) in Coronation Street. You get a paragraph or two for the latest residents and one or two pages for the long-term residents (Ken Barlow gets three pages). It is particularly useful for looking up characters who come and go, for example at Jack Duckworth's 65th birthday party there was 'Paul'; the book tells us he's Paul Clayton, born 1986, son of Terry Duckworth, and gives a few other details about him. So it's great when someone says "who's her you know the one who used to live with Mike, works in the Rovers, swallowed a poisoned sausage from Ashley's shop last week?"
The book gives the year when the character entered the Street and the year they left the Street. It would have been good to have the actors' names with the entries. Another problem is that it will soon go out of date, it doesn't feature newcomer Fiz and it doesn't mention that the pub cleaner Edna Miller is dead. So for real fans you'll have to write your own updates until the next edition.
Overall this is an excellent little A-Z reference that will add to your viewing pleasure.
The Rovers Return Pub Quiz Book
Granada. 2001. Pbk. 320 pages. £6.99.
When I got this book I thought it just contained quiz questions relating to Coronation Street, but it also contains themed questions about sports, movies, TV, general knowledge, music, monarchy, headlines, etc. It contains over 7,500 questions, including 1,500 about Corrie, and most importantly it has the answers as well.
The questions are set on 3 levels of difficulty - easy, medium, hard - and it even tells you how to arrange your own pub quiz. For pub quiz masters this is excellent value, but it would also serve well for families, students or social groups who want to have a fun quiz night.