FROM the moment Coronation Street first aired live on December 9, 1960, millions have been gripped by the ups and downs of Weatherfield’s residents.
Its early days portrayed a realistic kitchen-sink drama showing the ordinary day-to-day lives of working-class northerners, and the show was considered ground-breaking.
But not everyone liked it. One early critic wrote: “The programme is doomed from the outset . . . with its dreary signature tune and grim scenes of a row of terraced houses.”
Sixty years on and the signature tune and terraced houses are still there, but it’s what goes on inside them that has kept viewers hooked throughout the decades.
More than 21million people witnessed brassy barmaid Bet Lynch finally achieve her dream of becoming landlady of the Rovers Return in 1985.
And an incredible 26million saw much-loved gossip Hilda Ogden’s final scenes in the show on Christmas Day 1987.
Meanwhile, more than 24million watched Ken and Deirdre Barlow’s 1981 wedding on ITV — more than those who switched on the channel to see Princess Diana marry Prince Charles two days later.
So what is it that keeps us tuning in? Here, we recall some of the serial’s best bits.
THERE have been 57 births on the cobbles — some of them quite literally.
Rosie Webster made her dramatic first appearance in the back of a cab just around the corner in Rosamund Street in 1990.
Kevin Webster’s son Jack was born at home in Coronation Street in 2010, as was David and Kylie Platt’s daughter Lily in 2013.
THE 146 deaths on the show have ranged from natural causes to murder, suicide and the bizarre, including Anne Malone who froze to death inside the freezer unit at Freshco’s in 1998, after she developed an unhealthy crush on Curly Watts.
Many deaths, though, have been more poignant.
Kylie Platt bled to death on the cobbles in husband David’s arms after being stabbed in 2016,
Hayley Cropper broke husband Roy’s heart when she took her own life in 2014.
And viewers needed their tissues when Vera Duckworth passed away peacefully from heart failure in 2008.
CLOCKING up 131 in total, the Street has never been short of a good wedding — thanks to the best efforts of Steve McDonald (seven) and Gail Platt (six).
The first was Jack and Annie Walker’s daughter Joan, who married Gordon Davies in 1961, while the most recent was Sally and Tim Metcalfe last month.
Six optimistic couples have married each other twice — Gail and Brian Tilsley, Liz and Jim McDonald, Kevin and Sally Webster, Steve and Karen McDonald, Ken and Deirdre Barlow, and Nick and Leanne Tilsley.
But others have barely lasted past the vows, the shortest-lived being Steve McDonald and Tracy Barlow, which fell apart during the wedding reception in 2012.
ONE of the saddest send-offs was that of Sinead Osbourne, whose wicker coffin was decorated with colourful ribbons and flowers last year.
The funniest funeral was that of gigolo Lewis Archer.
When heartbroken Audrey Roberts turned up at his 2019 farewell, she found it packed with a stream of other women all of a certain age.
Her love rival Claudia Colby read out a corny poem and argued publicly with Audrey — and the registrar went on so long that battleaxe Evelyn got out a flask.
THE Street has always specialised in rivalries, with many rumbling on for years.
Gail Platt and Eileen Grimshaw hate each other because Eileen’s son Todd cheated on Gail’s daughter Sarah.
And there’s no love lost between Carla Connor and Tracy Barlow, after Carla slept with Tracy’s husband Robert.
The first feud featured Ena Sharples and Elsie Tanner, with busybody Ena disapproving of Elsie’s glamorous lifestyle.
Perhaps the most famous feud of all was that of intellectual Ken Barlow and spiv factory boss Mike Baldwin. It was made all the worse when Ken’s wife Deirdre had an affair with the cocky Cockney factory boss.
The story was so big that the 1983 episode where she ended the affair was announced on the scoreboard during a Manchester United game at Old Trafford.
OUT of the 75 pets that have featured, it’s hard to say who is top dog on the Street.
Perhaps the best-loved was Chesney Brown’s 13st Great Dane Schmeichel, who passed away in 2011 after being played by four different dogs during the pet’s time on the show.
Actor Simon Gregson would undoubtedly vote for his character Steve McDonald’s pet pooch Rover. The hound was actually played by Simon’s own pet dog, Cookie.
Actress Samia Longchambon, meanwhile, said that her goodbye to Maria Connor’s black Labrador Ozzy in 2016 were the saddest scenes she has ever filmed.
There are plenty of other animals to add to the menagerie. Craig Tinker arrived on the cobbles with pet rat Darryl, young David Platt had his rabbit Barney.
And who can forget Mavis Riley’s budgie Harry (renamed Harriet after it laid an egg)?