Sunday, 6 March 2016

Tony Warren – and why writers have a lot to thank him for

We have a guest post by Tommy Cowell who has a very good perspective of the legacy left by Tony Warren.

“Hello, it’s Tony Warren... I’m an actor.”

To those familiar with the 2010 drama ‘The Road to Coronation Street’, you will recognise that line of dialogue. It was how a young Tony Warren introduced himself to a security guard at Granada Studios in 1960. A couple of scenes later, he returns to the same security guard and says, “It’s Tony Warren. The Writer.”

Now then, writers! Imagine a parallel world where Tony Warren didn’t meet the security guard for a second time. A world in which Tony Warren, “the actor”, had never created Coronation Street.

In this baron, post-apocalyptic world in which Coronation Street does not exist, there would also be no Emmerdale, Eastenders or Hollyoaks. All these shows are breeding grounds for new writers. All screenwriters, whether they know it or not, have a lot to thank Tony for.

Most of the great screenwriters in our country have worked on a soap. Jimmy McGovern and Kay Mellor started their careers on Brookside, Sally Wainwright’s second writing gig was at Emmerdale and Paul Abbott’s career took off following a stint at Corrie. Russell T. Davies created not one, but TWO of his own soaps, as well as storylining for the famous cobbles. Would the careers of these wonderful folk be as illustrious had it not been for Tony’s vision?

Lime pictures recently launched a competition for new writers, in which the winner will get to experience working at the script department of Hollyoaks. The opportunities for the winner are immense. Because of Tony Warren, there are at least 20 episodes of drama every week on UK Television; that’s 20 jobs for writers every week, 1,040 jobs for writers every year.

I don’t think you have to enjoy soaps to be a good writer. However, I think it’s beneficial to appreciate them. It’s essential to understand the way their stories are told over weeks, months, hooking the nation in their millions. The structure that Tony created in 1960 is the same structure that’s used today. Whenever a writer is starting out, and that writer rejects the soap opera as a lesser art form, I honestly think “what an idiot”. It’s like a builder not understanding how bungalows are constructed because they prefer mansions.

Over the years, many producers, storyliners, writers and directors have made it possible for the soap genre to evolve – but it all begins with Tony. Because of him, there are workshops and writing schemes that invite new writers – writers who have no representation and no contacts – into the world of writing for TV drama. (ITV and BBC writersroom are useful gateways for newbies.)

So from one writer to another, thank you Tony Warren. The actor, the writer, the legend.

Tommy
Find Tommy on Twitter  @tommytalkstelly and on YouTube


Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter | Download our free App | Visit Corrie.net

Please read our advice for leaving comments on the Coronation Street Blog

Creative Commons Licence All original work on the Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

1 comment:

maggie muggins said...

I'm still enjoying these tributes for Tony Warren. This one is very thoughtful and so true, Tommy Cowell. Thanks for sharing it with us.

I always say to friends that I have no qualms about being called low-brow in some of my tastes for TV shows. I just don't tell them that I don't consider Corrie to be low-brow.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Our Top 10 Blog Posts in last 7 days (automatically updated)

Click on a name to find out more about your Corrie favourites!

adam barlow aidan connor alan halsall alex bain alexander bain alison king alison sinclair all about soap awards alma baldwin amy barlow amy kelly andrea beckett andy whyment anna windass antony cotton audrey roberts awards baby Oliver barbara knox barlows battleaxes becky mcdonald behind the scenes ben price ben tagoe bet gilroy bet lynch beth tinker bethany platt betty driver betty turpin betty williams betty's hotpot bev callard beverley callard bill roache billy mayhew billy the vicar blanche hunt brian packham brooke vincent bruno langley can i visit the coronation street set Canada canadian coronation street fans carla connor Cath Tyldesley catherine tyldesley cathy matthews celebrities on coronation street characters joining coronation street characters leaving coronation street cherylee houston chesney brown chris gascoyne chris harper claire king classic corrie clothes worn on coronation street colson smith competition connor mcintyre conversation street coronation street coronation street art coronation street babies Coronation Street Blog - the book coronation street cartoons coronation street fan events coronation street fan of the week coronation street fans coronation street funerals coronation street history coronation street in canada coronation street look-a-like coronation street map coronation street men coronation street merchandise coronation street news coronation street preview coronation street spoilers coronation street weekly update coronation street weekly updates coronation street writers craig tinker damon alexis-rochefort damon rochefort daniel brocklebank daran little david neilson david platt debbie oates debbie rush debbie webster deirdre barlow deirdre hunt denise osbourne derek griffiths dev alahan eileen derbyshire eileen grimshaw Elle Mulvaney ellie leach ellie-louise leach elsie tanner emily bishop emily nugent ena sharples erica stewart exclusive interview exercise dvds famous people who have been in corrie fat brenda favourite females favourite males faye windass feckless fellas in coronation street filming locations filming mistakes fiz brown fiz stape florizel street flying ducks gail rodwell gary windass gary's army diaries gay and lesbians gay men in coronation street gay men in soaps gay women in soaps granada manchester coronation street set granada studios gurn of the week helen flanagan helen worth hilda ogden hilda ogden's curlers Hope Stape hot pot how to contact coronation street inside soap inside soap magazine izzy armstrong jack p shepherd Jack P. Shepherd jane danson jean alexander jennie mcalpine jigsaw jimmi harkishin job vacancies at coronation street joe duttine johnny connor jonathan harvey julie goodyear julie hesmondhalgh kabin kate fitzgerald kate ford katherine kelly kathy jones katie mcglynn ken barlow kev webster kevin webster kieran roberts kirk sutherland kylie platt kylie turner kym marsh leanne barlow leanne battersby leanne tilsley liam bairstow lily platt lisa george liz mcdonald lloyd mullaney Lucy Fallon luke britton maggie jones malcolm hebden manchester tart marc baylis maria connor mark llewellin martin sterling mary taylor matriachs maxine's bench michael le vell michelle connor mikey north mikey north miley windass minnie caldwell mothers on the cobbles music in the rovers nathan curtis new set new zealand newton and ridley nick tilsley nick's bistro nigel pivaro no.1 Coronation Street no.11 coronation street no.13 coronation street no.3 coronation street no.5 coronation street no.6 coronation street no.7 coronation street no.9 coronation street norris cole norris cole's brother nuttalls brewery odd side of the street official coronation street website oldham coliseum oliver battersby on location opening titles original cast our blog is the best blog in the world outside broadcast paper boys paper girls pat phelan pat phoenix patti claire patti clare paula lane peter barlow peter gunn pets on coronation street pictures of the coronation street set pigeons pillars of the community platt family plot holes props qasim akhtar quay street returning characters rita fairclough rita littlewood rita sullivan rita tanner road to coronation street rob donovan rob mallard romanian holiday rosamund street rosie webster rovers bosses rovers fire rovers return rovers return barmaids rovers return fire rovers return landlady roy and hayley roy cropper roy's rolls roys rolls ryan thomas sair khan sally webster sally and tim sally dynevor sally dyvenor Sally Metcalfe sally webster sally whittaker sam aston samia ghadie samia longchambon sarah platt Sarah-Louise Platt schmeichel sean tully shayne ward shelley king simon barlow simon crowther simon gregson sinead tinker six episodes per week sophie webster special effects speculation spin-off spoilers state of the street steve mcdonald storyline speculation storylines streetcars sue cleaver sue johnston sue nicholls susan barlow susan oudot sylvia cropper sylvia goodwin terry duckworth the corrie years the kabin the Nazirs the newspaper boy the road to coronation street through the years tim metcalfe tina o'bren tina o'brien Tina O’Brien tiricia hopkins todd grimshaw tony warren Tony Warren inspiration tours of coronation street toyah battersby tracy barlow trafford set tram crash tricia hopkins tyrone dobbs underworld underworld sign unofficial book unofficial merchandise unseen characters viaduct street victoria court fire vip bloggers walking tours watch coronation street online weatherfield weatherfield arms weatherfield council weatherfield county weatherfield county football club weatherfield fire station weatherfield gazette weatherfield haulage Weatherfield high Weatherfield Open Days weatherfield style weatherfield wayfarer websters' autos wedding wedding dress weddings weekly awards weekly update where have you seen william roache William Roache Interview window cleaners writers for soaps Yasmeen nazir zeedan nazir