Subtitled Four Decades of Life on the Street, Katherine Hardy's novelisation covers events from Ken Barlow rowing with his father, Frank and Dennis Tanner being accused of theft in December 1960 through to Deirdre Rachid being jailed and the marriage of Nick Tilsley and Leanne Battersby in 1998. It concludes a short sequence where Ken wanders the street on 31st December, 1999 reflecting on the events of the past forty years.
Based very closely on scripts but with events rearranged chronologically to meet the demands of the change of medium it was published in paperback by Granada on 19th May, 2003. A later edition was issued on 1st June, 2004 that carried events forward as far as the Richard Hillman storyline with further revisions being carried out for a third edition published on 7th July, 2008.
Changes from the programmeEdit
- In the book, Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell are present with Martha Longhurst when she dies. In the programme Martha died alone in the snug while Ena played the piano in the Rovers, while Minnie was away on holiday.
- There is a scene included which involves Annie Walker telling Ken Barlow about her plans to retire. This does not feature in the programme as Annie's departure takes place off-screen, with Billy Walker informing the Rovers regulars that she would not be returning. Also, Annie mentions in the book that she is going to live with her sister, but in the programme she moves in with her daughter Joan.
- A scene in the book set in 1973 depicts Elsie Tanner visiting her son Dennis in prison, which describes Dennis as looking older and thinner. Although Elsie does visit Dennis in prison in the programme, this visit takes place off-screen.
- The reveal of Stan Ogden's death is dealt with differently. When Hilda collapses with exhaustion from looking after him, she is visited and told by Eddie Yeats that Stan had died. In the programme, Hilda finds out through a telephone call to the Corner Shop, and Eddie didn't appear in 1984 as actor Geoffrey Hughes was unavailable for filming. The part depicting Hilda receiving a visit from Eddie in hospital was most likely based on a 1987 episode when Hilda was put in hospital after being caught in a violent robbery.
- Alan Bradley attacking Rita is depicted in the book, however his death is omitted and he is arrested by the police instead.
- Bet Lynch's original 1995 exit is briefly depicted in the book, but omits her 2002 return.
- Mike Baldwin's death appears to take place after Paul and Liam Connor take over Underworld. In the programme Mike's death occurs a few months before the Connor family début.