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Logo 1969

1973 was Coronation Street's fourteenth year.

Main characters

Ranking Character Played by Duration Number of Episodes Running total Previous year's ranking
1Len FaircloughPeter AdamsonFull year except for September7910371
2Betty TurpinBetty DriverFull year7832811
3Bet LynchJulie GoodyearFull year7425612
4Ray LangtonNeville BuswellFull year734263
5Jerry BoothGraham HaberfieldFull year715266
6Hilda OgdenJean AlexanderFull year706129
7Ken BarlowWilliam RoacheFull year6989012
7Rita LittlewoodBarbara MullaneyFull year6912221
7Annie WalkerDoris SpeedFull year6910636
10Elsie HowardPatricia PhoenixUntil October6410422
10Stan OgdenBernard YouensFull year6463916
10Norma FordDiana DaviesFull year6412017
13Alf RobertsBryan MosleyFull year6120020
14Lucille HewittJennifer MossFull year6071614
14Alan HowardAlan BrowningUntil November602538
14Albert TatlockJack HowarthFull year6081222
17Emily BishopEileen DerbyshireFull year except for June5973210
17Minnie CaldwellMargot BryantFull year5987618
19Maggie CleggIrene SutcliffeFull year573715
20Ernest BishopStephen HancockFull year5617214
20Ena SharplesViolet CarsonFull year5693418
22Mavis RileyThelma BarlowFrom June333626
23Deirdre HuntAnne KirkbrideMarch to June and from September323329
24Billy WalkerKenneth FarringtonUntil May312294
25Janet Reid/BarlowJudith BarkerFrom September2134 -
26Peter BarlowLinus RoacheOctober only324 -
26Susan BarlowWendy Jane WalkerOctober only325 -
28Tricia HopkinsKathy JonesSeptember only22 -
29Vera HopkinsKathy StaffSeptember only11 -

Production

Kabin fever

Ep1266 evacuation

The residents are evacuated to the Community Centre as a gas leak leaves one resident in hospital, another in hot water and a third improperly dressed...

Eric Prytherch's uninterrupted two-year run as producer made 1973 the first in which the same person was in charge from beginning to end. Prytherch continued to innovate in his second year, introducing The Kabin to the programme and initiating the popular partnership of Rita Littlewood and Mavis Riley. Meanwhile, after stepping down as executive producer at the beginning of the year, H.V. Kershaw continued as a staff writer until his retirement in 1988.

The Kabin made its debut in June, providing the residents with a regular newsagent and cafe. Except for Snape's Cafe in 1961, an eatery had never been a staple of Coronation Street but it would be from this point on. The Kabin's owner Len Fairclough appointed Rita Littlewood manageress, as her singing career ran its course, with Mavis Riley as assistant. Thelma Barlow followed up her brief appearances as Mavis in 1971 and 1972 for a longer stint, carrying on until January 1974. Rita's brassiness, pitted against Mavis's dithering eccentricity, would form one of the programme's best-loved and most enduring double acts.

Another future mainstay returning as a main cast member was Anne Kirkbride. Her character Deirdre Hunt was slowly woven into Street life, becoming Ray Langton's girlfriend and secretary at the yard. Deirdre was first seen wearing her trademark large glasses upon her March return.

A notable first was the introduction of Weatherfield's twin town Charleville for an exchange visit by three men from the French suburb. This followed the entry of the UK into the European Economic Community (EEC) in January, a real-world event which was mentioned in the programme. Along similar lines, the introduction of VAT in the UK was reflected in a storyline in which Len, Ray and Jerry Booth refused to pay tax on a building job for which they were yet to be compensated, causing them to be taken to court.

September featured a clash between Annie Walker and Vera Hopkins, mother of 16-year-old schoolgirl Tricia who had been illegally served alcohol at the Rovers. Actresses Kathy Staff and Kathy Jones were regular guest artists in the programme and the characters were revived the following year when the rest of the Hopkins family was created to replace Maggie Clegg in the Corner Shop.

In the same month, Judith Barker made a return as Janet Reid. Janet became the latest in a long line of girlfriends for Ken Barlow. One such girlfriend, appearing earlier in 1973, was Elaine Perkins played by Joanna Lumley in a memorable guest turn. Janet was thrust into a central role in October when she and Ken returned from Scotland as a married couple, which was presented as a surprise to viewers. Peter and Susan Barlow were seen for the first time since 1971, with Susan again played by Wendy Jane Walker and Peter recast with Linus Roache, the fourth actor in the role and son of William Roache.

In a sign of the long-running nature of the programme, Doris Speed became the first actor to hit 1,000 appearances. Patricia Phoenix and Peter Adamson followed later in the year.

The Howards depart

Coronation Street went on location in London for the first time when Elsie Howard made a secret visit to the capital to see Dennis Tanner in Pentonville Prison after he was locked up for running a double glazing scam. The Dennis scenes took place off-screen, with no appearance by Philip Lowrie. In the filmed scenes, Elsie was knocked down by a taxi and rushed to hospital, while back in Weatherfield Alan reported his wife as a missing person.

Not long after this storyline, Elsie accepted a job setting up a new warehouse in Newcastle. This led into what was planned as a short absence by Patricia Phoenix while she toured on stage with Subway in the Sky, and as such there was little fanfare surrounding the event. While on holiday, Phoenix announced that she was quitting the series, claiming to be bored with her role. Alan Browning also quit the role of Alan Howard, though as his contract didn't line up with Phoenix's, he continued to appear in her absence. His last scenes aired in January 1974 in which Alan returned to Weatherfield to tie up the Howards' affairs.

Meanwhile, Diana Davies's 18-month run as Norma Ford came to abrupt end in December when an off-screen Norma was said to be nursing her sick father Jacko, and Kenneth Farrington took another six-month break from playing Billy Walker in the latter half of the year.

Viewing figures

1973 ratings

Ratings chart for the year

Episode 1331, shown on 17th October, was viewed in 8,250,000 homes (corresponding to 18.15 million viewers) and was the highest rated episode of the year. The yearly average was 15.22 million viewers, a rise of 400,000 viewers on the decade-low in 1972. Seven months rose year-on-year, with increases of nearly two million viewers in July and August, and all but one of the drops were under a million viewers.

This bounce from the 1972 low was also reflected in the programme's chart positions, with seven episodes reaching number one. For the rest of the decade, Coronation Street would chart similarly, with no year seeing more than a dozen episodes reach number one until 1980.

Daran Little's 40 Years of Coronation Street, the show's official book for the 40th anniversary, states incorrectly that the most-watched episode this year was Episode 1264 with 8.3 million viewers. The true rating for this episode was 7.1 million homes / 15.62 million viewers, and as already stated, it was not the most-watched episode of the year (in fact, the quoted figure is less than that of the lowest-rated episode of the year, Episode 1280 with 10.74 million viewers).

Episodes

# Ep.
No.
Date Writer Director Viewing
Figures
(homes/
viewers)
Chart
Position
11248Monday 1st JanuaryLeslie DuxburyNick Burrell-Davis5,752,000
12,654,400
n/k
21249Wednesday 3rd JanuarySusan PleatNick Burrell-Davis7,125,000
15,675,000
6
31250Monday 8th JanuaryJulian RoachJoe Boyer7,281,000
16,018,200
7
41251Wednesday 10th JanuaryBarry HillJoe Boyer7,194,000
15,826,800
8
51252Monday 15th JanuaryBernard AspenOliver Horsbrugh7,154,000
15,738,800
8
61253Wednesday 17th JanuaryAdele RoseOliver Horsbrugh7,115,000
15,653,000
10
71254Monday 22nd JanuaryBrian FinchJune Wyndham Davies7,182,000
15,800,400
6
81255Wednesday 24th JanuaryLeslie DuxburyJune Wyndham Davies7,057,000
15,525,400
9
91256Monday 29th JanuarySusan PleatNick Burrell-Davis7,000,000
15,400,000
10
101257Wednesday 31st JanuaryJulian RoachNick Burrell-Davis7,350,000
16,170,000
6
111258Monday 5th FebruaryJulian RoachJoe Boyer7,150,000
15,730,000
8
121259Wednesday 7th FebruaryAdele RoseJoe Boyer7,300,000
16,060,000
7
131260Monday 12th FebruarySusan PleatJune Wyndham Davies7,500,000
16,500,000
6
141261Wednesday 14th FebruaryKay McManusJune Wyndham Davies7,450,000
16,390,000
7
151262Monday 19th FebruaryAdele RoseNick Burrell-Davis7,300,000
16,060,000
8
161263Wednesday 21st FebruaryBrian FinchNick Burrell-Davis7,350,000
16,170,000
7
171264Monday 26th FebruaryJulian RoachJoe Boyer7,100,000
15,620,000
10
181265Wednesday 28th FebruaryLeslie DuxburyJoe Boyer7,600,000
16,720,000
4
191266Monday 5th MarchBrian FinchJune Wyndham Davies7,150,000
15,730,000
8
201267Wednesday 7th MarchLeslie DuxburyJune Wyndham Davies7,450,000
16,390,000
5
211268Monday 12th MarchSusan PleatNick Burrell-Davis7,200,000
15,840,000
5
221269Wednesday 14th MarchJulian RoachNick Burrell-Davis7,000,000
15,400,000
6
231270Monday 19th MarchBarry HillJoe Boyer7,200,000
15,840,000
3
241271Wednesday 21st MarchBernard AspenJoe Boyer7,050,000
15,510,000
5
251272Monday 26th MarchH.V. KershawJune Wyndham Davies7,090,000
15,598,000
8
261273Wednesday 28th MarchH.V. KershawJune Wyndham Davies7,521,000
16,546,200
4
271274Monday 2nd AprilLeslie DuxburyNick Burrell-Davis7,358,000
16,187,600
6
281275Wednesday 4th AprilBarry HillNick Burrell-Davis7,481,000
16,458,200
5
291276Monday 9th AprilJulian RoachJoe Boyer7,074,000
15,562,800
5
301277Wednesday 11th AprilBrian FinchJoe Boyer7,405,000
16,291,000
3
311278Monday 16th AprilKay McManusGerry Mill7,044,000
15,496,800
5
321279Wednesday 18th AprilBrian FinchGerry Mill7,366,000
16,205,200
4
331280Monday 23rd AprilSusan PleatAlan Grint4,884,000
10,744,800
n/k
341281Wednesday 25th AprilLeslie DuxburyAlan Grint7,111,000
15,644,200
3
351282Monday 30th AprilJulian RoachJoe Boyer7,350,000
16,170,000
4
361283Wednesday 2nd MayH.V. KershawJoe Boyer7,350,000
16,170,000
4
371284Monday 7th MayBernard AspenGerry Mill6,950,000
15,290,000
6
381285Wednesday 9th MayBrian FinchGerry Mill7,800,000
17,160,000
3
391286Monday 14th MaySusan PleatNick Burrell-Davis7,050,000
15,510,000
9
401287Wednesday 16th MayJulian RoachNick Burrell-Davis7,150,000
15,730,000
8
411288Monday 21st MayLeslie DuxburyOliver Horsbrugh
Quentin Lawrence
6,900,000
15,180,000
6
421289Wednesday 23rd MayH.V. KershawOliver Horsbrugh
Quentin Lawrence
7,500,000
16,500,000
3
431290Monday 28th MayH.V. KershawAlan Grint5,300,000
11,660,000
18
441291Wednesday 30th MayBarry HillAlan Grint6,700,000
14,740,000
2
451292Monday 4th JuneLeslie DuxburyNick Burrell-Davis6,450,000
14,190,000
6
461293Wednesday 6th JuneJulian RoachNick Burrell-Davis5,800,000
12,760,000
11
471294Monday 11th JuneBrian FinchQuentin Lawrence6,100,000
13,420,000
10
481295Wednesday 13th JuneH.V. KershawQuentin Lawrence6,300,000
13,860,000
7
491296Monday 18th JuneH.V. KershawAlan Grint5,750,000
12,650,000
14
501297Wednesday 20th JuneBrian FinchAlan Grint7,000,000
15,400,000
3
511298Monday 25th JuneBarry HillNick Burrell-Davis6,000,000
13,200,000
10
521299Wednesday 27th JuneJulian RoachNick Burrell-Davis6,400,000
14,080,000
6
531300Monday 2nd JulyLeslie DuxburyQuentin Lawrence6,050,000
13,310,000
7
541301Wednesday 4th JulyH.V. KershawQuentin Lawrence6,200,000
13,640,000
4
551302Monday 9th JulyH.V. KershawAlan Grint6,400,000
14,080,000
3
561303Wednesday 11th JulyBernard AspenAlan Grint6,550,000
14,410,000
2
571304Monday 16th JulySusan PleatNick Burrell-Davis6,450,000
14,190,000
4
581305Wednesday 18th JulyJulian RoachNick Burrell-Davis6,900,000
15,180,000
7
591306Monday 23rd JulyLeslie DuxburyOliver Horsbrugh6,300,000
13,860,000
2
601307Wednesday 25th JulyLeslie DuxburyOliver Horsbrugh6,550,000
14,410,000
1
611308Monday 30th JulyH.V. KershawStephen Butcher6,200,000
13,640,000
3
621309Wednesday 1st AugustAdele RoseStephen Butcher6,300,000
13,860,000
1
631310Monday 6th AugustBrian FinchNick Burrell-Davis6,550,000
14,410,000
2
641311Wednesday 8th AugustMalcolm LynchNick Burrell-Davis6,800,000
14,960,000
1
651312Monday 13th AugustJulian RoachOliver Horsbrugh6,450,000
14,190,000
1
661313Wednesday 15th AugustLeslie DuxburyOliver Horsbrugh6,300,000
13,860,000
2
671314Monday 20th AugustH.V. KershawStephen Butcher6,950,000
15,290,000
2
681315Wednesday 22nd AugustBarry HillStephen Butcher7,100,000
15,620,000
1
691316Monday 27th AugustLeslie DuxburyQuentin Lawrence4,900,000
10,780,000
20
701317Wednesday 29th AugustH.V. KershawQuentin Lawrence7,650,000
16,830,000
1
711318Monday 3rd SeptemberJulian RoachOliver Horsbrugh6,800,000
14,960,000
6
721319Wednesday 5th SeptemberBernard AspenOliver Horsbrugh7,300,000
16,060,000
3
731320Monday 10th SeptemberSusan PleatStephen Butcher6,950,000
15,290,000
4
741321Wednesday 12th SeptemberJulian RoachStephen Butcher6,850,000
15,070,000
5
751322Monday 17th SeptemberLeslie DuxburyQuentin Lawrence7,050,000
15,510,000
3
761323Wednesday 19th SeptemberKay McManusQuentin Lawrence6,900,000
15,180,000
4
771324Monday 24th SeptemberBarry HillJune Wyndham Davies6,900,000
15,180,000
5
781325Wednesday 26th SeptemberH.V. KershawJune Wyndham Davies7,050,000
15,510,000
3
791326Monday 1st OctoberH.V. KershawStephen Butcher6,800,000
14,960,000
4
801327Wednesday 3rd OctoberMalcolm LynchStephen Butcher7,350,000
16,170,000
1
811328Monday 8th OctoberBrian FinchBill Gilmour7,050,000
15,510,000
4
821329Wednesday 10th OctoberAdele RoseBill Gilmour7,150,000
15,730,000
2
831330Monday 15th OctoberJulian RoachAlan Grint7,100,000
15,620,000
4
841331Wednesday 17th OctoberLeslie DuxburyAlan Grint8,250,000
18,150,000
2
851332Monday 22nd OctoberBarry HillJune Wyndham Davies7,150,000
15,730,000
2
861333Wednesday 24th OctoberBrian FinchJune Wyndham Davies6,900,000
15,180,000
6
871334Monday 29th OctoberBernard AspenBill Gilmour7,150,000
15,730,000
3
881335Wednesday 31st OctoberH.V. KershawBill Gilmour7,300,000
16,060,000
2
891336Monday 5th NovemberLeslie DuxburyAlan Grint6,900,000
15,180,000
7
901337Wednesday 7th NovemberKay McManusAlan Grint7,350,000
16,170,000
2
911338Monday 12th NovemberJulian RoachStephen Butcher7,300,000
16,060,000
2
921339Wednesday 14th NovemberBrian FinchStephen Butcher6,400,000
14,080,000
15
931340Monday 19th NovemberH.V. KershawBill Gilmour7,300,000
16,060,000
8
941341Wednesday 21st NovemberLeslie DuxburyBill Gilmour7,600,000
16,720,000
4
951342Monday 26th NovemberBernard AspenRoland Joffe7,117,000
15,657,400
12
961343Wednesday 28th NovemberAdele RoseRoland Joffe7,634,000
16,794,800
3
971344Monday 3rd DecemberH.V. KershawStephen Butcher7,065,000
15,543,000
9
981345Wednesday 5th DecemberBernard AspenStephen Butcher7,763,000
17,078,600
3
991346Monday 10th DecemberBrian FinchBill Gilmour7,048,000
15,505,600
8
1001347Wednesday 12th DecemberSusan PleatBill Gilmour7,644,000
16,816,800
4
1011348Monday 17th DecemberLeslie DuxburyRoland Joffe7,391,000
16,260,200
5
1021349Wednesday 19th DecemberAdele RoseRoland Joffe8,034,000
17,674,800
3
1031350Monday 24th DecemberH.V. KershawStephen Butcher5,852,000
12,874,400
12
1041351Wednesday 26th DecemberJulian RoachStephen Butcher5,172,000
11,378,400
n/k
1051352Monday 31st DecemberKay McManusBill Gilmour6,300,000
13,860,000
20

Storylines

Who lives where

Coronation Street

Rosamund Street

Victoria Street

Others

Coronation Street in the 1970s
1970197119721973197419751976197719781979
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