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Wednesday 10 May 2017

5 Corrie episodes to watch before you die

I've been thinking lately about Coronation Street's past and its future.  How might it look in ten years time, or even ten weeks?  And in all the thinking I've been doing, it led me to consider which are the seminal Street episodes? Well, here are five of mine and I'd love to know what you think about my choice and what your choices would be too.

1. First episode, 1960
To understand where Coronation Street is now and how it might look in the future, you have to know where it started.  The first episode is a must for any Corrie viewer, in my opinion. It laid the ground rules for the show, it introduced the types of character that are still replicated today, and of course, it was written by Corrie creator Tony Warren.

You can read a review of the first episode at

2. Deirdre and Tracy two-hander
I include this episode as a seminal one for two reasons.  First, it's one of only two episodes featuring only two Coronation Street characters. It aired in 2007 and was written by Jonathan Harvey. It was set in the kitchen at number one Coronation Street and featured mother and daughter, Deirdre and Tracy Barlow. 

And the second reason I include this is that it is one of my most favourite Corrie episodes. Tracy confessed that she'd killed Charlie Stubbs and even though Deirdre knew her daughter was a  killer, she vowed she'd stand by, and even lie for, Tracy in court.  If you haven't seen this episode, I strongly urge you to hunt it down on YouTube, it's fantastic.

Find out more about Coronation Street's two-hander episodes

3. Deirdre plays the harmonica

In 2004 Deirdre showed she was a woman of hidden talents when she took Sean's harmonica from him and belted out "Oh! Susanna!" and then a lovely version of "Amazing Grace".  The whole episode, from start to finish, is a delight, written by Daran Little.  The episode is, on the face of it, a party in the Rovers to celebrate Dev and Sunita's engagement but there is so much more going on, especially between Deirdre and Blanche. Blanche berates Deirdre for going back to Ken after her fling with Mike and the two women fall out, but make up too. We also see Deirdre smoking in the ginnel, talking to Dev about her life.  It's a truly wonderful episode.

4. Woman, Stanley. Woman.

Hilda wins a competition and takes Stan away on a second honeymoon.  It's worth watching for all kinds of reasons including one of our favourite Corrie couples living it up in style away from the Street, for a change. And of course, there's that line. Ooh, that line.  "Ere, what's that lipstick taste of?"

5. Last night's episode
Whether it was last night, or last week, that you last saw Coronation Street, I'd include that as one of the most important Corrie episodes to have seen. Just as the first episode has to be included, so does the last one that's just been screened. Corrie is always just as good as its last episode, that's why it's constantly changing and evolving, to keep up with modern tastes and, sadly, ITV demographics. Those who would like our Corrie kept in aspic will never be happy, we must change and adapt too.

Which five episodes would you choose as your seminal ones?

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David the Wavid said...

Good shouts! I'm interested in seeing what other people choose, but here are mine:

1. High Noon (1961) - The famous row between Elsie and Ena over the poison pen letter. In many respects this was what the show up to that point had been leading up to. The first episode is a good 'un but a lot of key characters are missing or hardly appear.

2. Albert's 80th birthday (1975) - A toss up between this and the 1964 episode where everyone is evacuated to the Mission cellar after an unexploded bomb is found. Not one argument or punch-up, but full of heartwarming moments with everyone going to a big effort for the street's least gracious resident. It never fails to put a smile on my face.

3. Elsie vs Hilda (1978) - Obligatory Ogden comedy episode. The one I went for is when Suzie Birchall puts her foot through Hilda's bedroom ceiling and a war erupts between Hilda and Elsie. The second honeymoon episode is very sweet and has a lot of great lines but I'd definitely take Hilda with her claws out and Stan as her limp backup over it - much funnier.

4. Ken/Deirdre/Mike showdown (1983) - You have to include an episode centred around Ken Barlow, and even though I normally hate affairs this was the prototype and worked because it was an affair of the heart with Deirdre genuinely torn between Ken and Mike.

5. 40th anniversary live (2000) - Back when going live for an anniversary was a novel idea. There was a real sense of occasion to this back in 2000 even though I wasn't a huge Corrie fan at the time. I'd have plumped for the 50th if I could include the whole week but that would be cheating. The 40th built up to this episode and if the 'save the cobbles' storyline seems hokey it worked in the context of the 40th anniversary year which had featured a lot of high drama including an armed siege at Freshco two months earlier. Plus it was a clever way to play on the show's history without going the obvious route of bringing people back or having Ken and Emily reminisce.

Louby said...

One of my top episodes is the one where Peter gets accompanied to his AA meeting by Ken, Deirdre and Blanche. So funny. I'd add the Christmas one just before Hayley died when someone made snowmen of the couple. Quite happy in spite of the sadness to come. Yes, the 40th anniversary when Vera donated a kidney to Paul because Terry did a runner. I can't pick two more, spoilt for choice!

ScottC said...

My absolute favourite is Alan Bradley being hit by the tram in Blackpool. Another one that's memorable for me is Bet begging Rita to buy the Rovers and the argument in the Kabin as part of it. In terms of the live episodes, I think the Tram Crash Week for the 50th was gripping. I also remember fondly the silly storyline where the factory girls went on strike because Hilda wanted a new broom.

Tvor said...

I know it's full of sensational stuff, but the tram crash really stands out for me, as did that whole week. Carla sniping at Leanne in the hospital. Sally with Molly all night and then finding out about Kevin's affair and Jack, then walking out and leaving Molly to die alone, Rita surrounded by sweets and then being lifted out with that memorable line "What is it with me and trams?", and John Stape having killed Charlotte and about to call 999 when the explosion hit.

There was another Elsie vs. Hilda episode from the 60s where Stan was teaching Elsie to drive and they ran out of petrol and were stranded overnight. Hilda was certain elsie was after her man and there was a fabulous confrontation at the end of it.

There was another near-two hander in 1968 between Len and Elsie with just a bare quick scene or two at the beginning with Val telling Len Elsie was back from America but hadn't been seen for days. The rest of the episode was just the two of them and a post mortem of her marriage to Steve Tanner which had just gone south.

Oh and the Christmas that Derek Wilton, dressed in a Santa suit, got drunk and passed out after the office party, then had to make his way out across the church roof. Curly and Jack Duckworth were absolutely legless and Jack saw "Father Christmas" on the roof of the church. he was so spooked he didn't drink for days!

Newfy Pearl said...

David the Wavid .. totally agree with the 40th Anniversary episode. I love that little David Platt is in it. lol
A live show - amazing! And when you look back and see so many of the characters still there, some we have watched grow up, and some that are is very nostalgic.
Also - what an accoplishment when Corrie goes live. One of my all time favourites!!

Lee said...

I'm with Louby --- Peters AA meeting was the best episode ever! Blanche was beyond brilliant!

Louby said...

She had the best lines didn't she? "wait till you try bingo, you'll hyperventilate". Blanche telling Simon the truth about Postman Pat was hilarious too.

Newfy Pearl said...

I would definitely say that Blanche at AA was the best scene ever....but as for full episode....I love the 40th episode...though the Tram Crash comes a close second. :-)
Oh and Tracy and Deirdre episode third. :-)

Lee said...

Blanche was a character and a force to be reckoned with. Never to be replaced. Roy's mother was a nice runner-up though, I must admit.

70sStreetFan said...

It's impossible to pick just five,of course. But I've chosen 5 that have not been mentioned elsewhere,and contain the different aspects of the show that I love with some of my favourite characters to the forefront. I could just have easily chosen many other episodes but it's five,so here goes

1. Easter Monday 1962. Its one of the episodes from that 1961-2 period when ,due to a strike,the cast was reduced to a group of 13 or 14 characters,who were the core group from the first three or four years. It's one of the first episodes to feature location filming,as the regulars enjoy the Bank Holiday. But,the essential reason for choosing it is for the Ena,Minnie and Marha scenes. I just had to have one episodes with these three,and they do make me laugh during their visit to the park in this episode.

2. Episode 668. 10 May 1967. 50 years ago this week,a train crashed through a viaduct onto the Street. Although not normally a big fan of stunt type eps,this one deserves a nod for some powerful acting as the residents help out,not knowing who has been injured or killed. It's also noteworthy for the post crash scenes which had to be created in the studio,during the final year of the era when the actual Street was still a interior set.

3. Episode 1795. 29 March 1978. The reason I chose this was for the amazing scene when Elsie tries to come terms with her life following an incident where she was mistaken for a prostitute. She's older now,and looks back at her life and the mistakes that she's made and tries to figure out how she's reached this point. It's raw,real and powerful. I think it's brilliantly written and acted segment of this episode.

4. Episode 1876. 10 January 1979. I wanted to choose one featuring two of my favourites Annie Walker and Hilda Ogden. I loved their relationship. There are some classic scenes in this episode when Annie discovers that the abstract painting she's bought and been showing off was actually done by Hilda. Although Annie had the last laugh as she executed her revenge on Hilda...

5. Episode 2267. 22 December 1982. The Christmas Dance at the Community Centre. I always loved the old style Christmas episodes,before the festive season became the most miserable time of the year for soap residents. This one is poignant,in retrospect,as the last to feature some of the classic cast as the events of 1983 and 1984 meant we started to lose some of the best loved of these. But,we didn't know that at the time and its a fun filled,feel good festive episode.

Anonymous said...

Stan Ogden's death is an epiaode which still haunts me.
I can never forget the touching scene when Hilda breaks down in tears holding her Stan's eyeglasses.
There has been a lot of deaths since but none as touching or haunting as that one.


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