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1976 was Coronation Street's seventeenth year.

Main characters

Ranking Character Played by Duration Number of Episodes Running total Previous year's ranking
1 Len Fairclough Peter Adamson Full year 82 1284 1
2 Bet Lynch Julie Goodyear Full year 78 495 3
3 Betty Turpin Betty Driver Full year 76 571 4
4 Annie Walker Doris Speed Full year 70 1274 9
5 Ray Langton Neville Buswell Full year 68 649 1
5 Hilda Ogden Jean Alexander Full year 68 858 6
7 Ken Barlow William Roache Full year 66 1091 8
8 Elsie Howard Patricia Phoenix From April 64 1105 -
9 Deirdre Langton Anne Kirkbride Full year 62 232 7
9 Gail Potter Helen Worth Full year 62 109 22
9 Alf Roberts Bryan Mosley Full year 62 393 10
12 Rita Littlewood Barbara Mullaney Full year 60 332 5
13 Emily Bishop Eileen Derbyshire Full year 58 911 14
13 Ernest Bishop Stephen Hancock Full year 58 349 11
15 Stan Ogden Bernard Youens Full year 56 812 16
16 Mavis Riley Thelma Barlow Full year 55 198 17
17 Albert Tatlock Jack Howarth Full year 54 968 19
18 Fred Gee Fred Feast From March 52 55 32
19 Terry Bradshaw Bob Mason February to December 48 48 -
20 Renee Bradshaw Madge Hindle From May 44 44 -
21 Ena Sharples Violet Carson Full year 42 1029 20
22 Eddie Yeats Geoffrey Hughes From June 40 82 20
23 Tricia Hopkins Kathy Jones Until June 30 122 13
24 Mike Baldwin Johnny Briggs From October 16 16 -
25 Derek Wilton Peter Baldwin February to March, June and August 12 12 -
26 Blanche Hunt Maggie Jones January only 7 80 12
27 Vera Duckworth Elizabeth Dawn July and December 6 7 -
28 Ivy Tilsley Lynne Perrie December only 4 39 26
29 Minnie Caldwell Margot Bryant March to April 3 986 17
30 Gordon Clegg Bill Kenwright March only 2 93 24

Production

Susi Hush bows out

Susi Hush ended her two-year run as producer with Episode 1571, broadcast on 4th February. Four subsequent episodes were also produced by Hush - 1586 and 1587 in March and 1636 and 1637 in September.

In the Hush-produced episodes, Blanche Hunt left Weatherfield for Kenilworth to manage Dave Smith's country club. Reginald Marsh reprised his character who was last seen in 1971, making his final appearance in the programme, while Maggie Jones was reduced to occasional appearances until she finally became a regular cast member again in 1998. Blanche's departure meant that the Corner Shop underwent a change of management for the third time in two years as teenagers Gail Potter and Tricia Hopkins were left to hold the fort.

Bill Podmore arrives

Bill Podmore ushers in a new era, with many comedic storylines focusing on Hilda and Stan Ogden

Hush's replacement was one Bill Podmore, a Granada comedy producer whose experience on the soap was as a director. Podmore didn't want the job but, assigned to Coronation Street by David Plowright, he agreed to do a year and move on. He went on to become one of the programme's most celebrated producers, remaining in the job until he retired in 1989 (with a period as executive producer).

Upon watching recent episodes, Podmore observed that the programme's natural flair for comedy was all but gone, and instructed the writers to include more humour in scripts. Podmore sought out the areas "crying out for a facelift or even a face change" and began to put his stamp on the show. One-by-one, the households and workplaces in the programme were revitalised with new ingredients, with the focus being on redecoration rather than demolition. A high priority was the Corner Shop, as Podmore strongly disagreed with the decision to put Gail and Tricia there. He hired Madge Hindle, with whom he'd worked on Nearest and Dearest, to play Renee Bradshaw, befitting his belief that the shop - as a focal point of gossip - needed an older woman in charge. Renee's younger brother Terry had already been introduced, though the builder did not last the year and Renee carried on as a solitary character in the vein of Maggie Clegg. With the shop sold, Gordon Clegg didn't appear again until 1982.

Geoffrey Hughes was brought back full-time, with Eddie Yeats becoming a regular fixture at the Ogden household. This had the added benefit of cutting Bernard Youens's workload in consideration of the actor's growing health issues. In July, Eddie helped Hilda Ogden redecorate by supplying the wallpaper for her famous "muriel". At the Rovers, Fred Gee became the new potman, providing a balance to the sexes behind the bar and another target for Annie Walker to lord it over. Mavis Riley gained a new love interest in the form of sales rep Derek Wilton, filling the void left by Jerry Booth. Played by Peter Baldwin, Derek was not a full-time character and would appear when required by storylines.

A key addition to the setup was denim sweatshop Baldwin's Casuals, run by wily cockney Mike Baldwin. The factory opened in the defunct warehouse building in December and would maintain a greater presence in storylines than its predecessors on the site, heralding more regular appearances by machinists Ivy Tilsley and Vera Duckworth. Ernest Bishop was also employed there as a wages clerk when his Camera Shop went out of business, after a period on the dole.

Podmore's most salient casting was Patricia Phoenix as Elsie Howard. Podmore received a letter from Phoenix asking to come back just as he took over, and agreed on the proviso that it was on his terms. These primarily concerned Elsie's appearance, as Phoenix was famous for disregarding instructions regarding the character's wardrobe, hair and makeup. Alan Browning, then married to Phoenix, expressed interest in reprising the role of Alan Howard, but was turned down by Podmore with Elsie embarking on a trial separation from Alan when she returned to the street in April. Writers kept Elsie single and instead focused on her work running Sylvia's Separates clothing store with assistant Gail Potter, who was also her lodger at 11 Coronation Street. By the end of the year, Sylvia's had been taken over by Mike Baldwin and Elsie was installed as sewing room supervisor at the factory. Ken Barlow, the previous occupant of No.11, went to live with Albert Tatlock.

As one 1960 veteran returned, another left. Coming back from a three-month break, an increasingly ill Margot Bryant was finding it difficult to remember her lines to such an extent that her script had to be placed in front of her in the studio as she recorded her scenes. Minnie Caldwell was written out until further notice, and Bryant retired shortly thereafter, spending the rest of her life in a nursing home. In October, Minnie sent word to her friends in Coronation Street that she was remaining with Handel Gartside in Whaley Bridge.

The cast was expanded to accommodate the new arrivals, with only the only casualty being Kathy Jones. The actress found her character Tricia Hopkins written out after losing her job at the Corner Shop.

The programme's fifth title sequence made its debut with Episode 1596. The new sequence was a modification of the old one, with fewer shots and one significant addition: a cat, which became a staple from thereon in.

Viewing figures

Ratings chart for the year

The highest-rated episode of the year was Episode 1589 (7th April 1976), the episode after Elsie Howard's surprise re-appearance at the end of the previous episode, which was seen in 8.8 million homes (translating to 16.83 million viewers). This was the highest audience for Coronation Street since 1970.

Despite Elsie's return which boosted figures for April and May, the average rating for the year was 15.39 million viewers, a drop of 70,000 viewers from 1975 and the third lowest of the decade. Seven months saw gains on 1975, scattered across the year with no major trends.

The programme's absence at the top of the viewing charts continued, with only one episode reaching number one.

Episodes

# Ep.
No.
Date Writer Director Viewing
Figures
(homes/
viewers)
Chart
Position
1 1562 Monday 5th January Adele Rose Laurence Moody 7,450,000
16,390,000
8
2 1563 Wednesday 7th January Leo Knowles Laurence Moody 7,400,000
16,280,000
9
3 1564 Monday 12th January Leo Knowles Richard Stroud 7,700,000
16,940,000
5
4 1565 Wednesday 14th January Adele Rose Richard Stroud 7,700,000
16,940,000
5
5 1566 Monday 19th January Leslie Duxbury Alan Grint 7,700,000
16,940,000
8
6 1567 Wednesday 21st January Brian Finch Alan Grint 7,550,000
16,610,000
11
7 1568 Monday 26th January Barry Hill Laurence Moody 7,600,000
16,720,000
8
8 1569 Wednesday 28th January H.V. Kershaw Laurence Moody 7,400,000
16,280,000
10
9 1570 Monday 2nd February Kay McManus Oliver Horsbrugh 7,600,000
16,720,000
8
10 1571 Wednesday 4th February Barry Hill Oliver Horsbrugh 7,650,000
16,830,000
7
11 1572 Monday 9th February H.V. Kershaw Alan Grint 7,350,000
16,170,000
13
12 1573 Wednesday 11th February Adele Rose Alan Grint 8,000,000
17,600,000
3
13 1574 Monday 16th February Julian Roach Bill Gilmour 7,450,000
16,390,000
8
14 1575 Wednesday 18th February Leslie Duxbury Bill Gilmour 8,150,000
17,930,000
3
15 1576 Monday 23rd February Barry Hill June Wyndham Davies 7,750,000
17,050,000
4
16 1577 Wednesday 25th February Leslie Duxbury June Wyndham Davies 7,350,000
16,170,000
9
17 1578 Monday 1st March Adele Rose Derek Lister 7,550,000
16,610,000
7
18 1579 Wednesday 3rd March Julian Roach Derek Lister 8,150,000
17,930,000
3
19 1580 Monday 8th March Tony Warren Bill Gilmour 7,400,000
16,280,000
9
20 1581 Wednesday 10th March H.V. Kershaw Bill Gilmour 8,000,000
17,600,000
3
21 1582 Monday 15th March Janey Preger Brian Mills 7,100,000
15,620,000
15
22 1583 Wednesday 17th March Leslie Duxbury Brian Mills 7,150,000
15,730,000
11
23 1584 Monday 22nd March Adele Rose Alan Grint 7,350,000
16,170,000
10
24 1585 Wednesday 24th March H.V. Kershaw Alan Grint 7,950,000
17,490,000
4
25 1586 Monday 29th March H.V. Kershaw Stephen Butcher 7,515,000
16,533,000
8
26 1587 Wednesday 31st March Leslie Duxbury Stephen Butcher 7,895,000
17,369,000
5
27 1588 Monday 5th April Leslie Duxbury Bill Gilmour 7,650,000
16,830,000
5
28 1589 Wednesday 7th April Leslie Duxbury Bill Gilmour 8,818,000
19,399,600
3
29 1590 Monday 12th April Adele Rose Baz Taylor 7,488,000
16,473,600
8
30 1591 Wednesday 14th April H.V. Kershaw Baz Taylor 8,344,000
18,356,800
2
31 1592 Monday 19th April H.V. Kershaw Laurence Moody 4,570,000
10,054,000
n/k
32 1593 Wednesday 21st April Julian Roach Laurence Moody 8,396,000
18,471,200
3
33 1594 Monday 26th April Kay McManus Richardstroud 7,700,000
16,940,000
4
34 1595 Wednesday 28th April Barry Hill Richardstroud 8,400,000
18,480,000
3
35 1596 Monday 3rd May Adele Rose Derek Lister 7,650,000
16,830,000
2
36 1597 Wednesday 5th May Julian Roach Derek Lister 7,600,000
16,720,000
3
37 1598 Monday 10th May Leslie Duxbury Laurence Moody 7,100,000
15,620,000
5
38 1599 Wednesday 12th May John Stevenson Laurence Moody 7,500,000
16,500,000
2
39 1600 Monday 17th May H.V. Kershaw Bill Gilmour 7,050,000
15,510,000
3
40 1601 Wednesday 19th May Leslie Duxbury Bill Gilmour 6,950,000
15,290,000
4
41 1602 Monday 24th May Paula Milne Derek Lister 6,750,000
14,850,000
8
42 1603 Wednesday 26th May Leslie Duxbury Derek Lister 6,700,000
14,740,000
10
43 1604 Monday 31st May H.V. Kershaw June Wyndham Davies 5,450,000
11,990,000
19
44 1605 Wednesday 2nd June Julian Roach June Wyndham Davies 6,250,000
13,750,000
8
45 1606 Monday 7th June Adele Rose Laurence Moody 5,850,000
12,870,000
14
46 1607 Wednesday 9th June John Stevenson Laurence Moody 6,700,000
14,740,000
3
47 1608 Monday 14th June Janey Preger Richard Stroud 5,750,000
12,650,000
19
48 1609 Wednesday 16th June Adele Rose Richard Stroud 7,000,000
15,400,000
1
49 1610 Monday 21st June H.V. Kershaw Bill Gilmour 6,200,000
13,640,000
2
50 1611 Wednesday 23rd June Julian Roach Bill Gilmour 5,850,000
12,870,000
5
51 1612 Monday 28th June Leslie Duxbury Oliver Horsbrugh 5,686,000
12,509,200
11
52 1613 Wednesday 30th June H.V. Kershaw Oliver Horsbrugh 5,941,000
13,070,200
6
53 1614 Monday 5th July Kay McManus Laurence Moody 5,624,000
12,372,800
11
54 1615 Wednesday 7th July John Stevenson Laurence Moody 5,659,000
12,449,800
9
55 1616 Monday 12th July Brian Finch Bill Gilmour 5,975,000
13,145,000
11
56 1617 Wednesday 14th July Julian Roach Bill Gilmour 5,381,000
11,838,200
n/k
57 1618 Monday 19th July H.V. Kershaw Richard Stroud 6,035,000
13,277,000
5
58 1619 Wednesday 21st July Leslie Duxbury Richard Stroud 5,867,000
12,907,400
7
59 1620 Monday 26th July Barry Hill Laurence Moody 6,043,000
13,294,600
4
60 1621 Wednesday 28th July Brian Finch Laurence Moody 5,832,000
12,830,400
8
61 1622 Monday 2nd August Julian Roach Stephen Butcher 6,119,000
13,461,800
5
62 1623 Wednesday 4th August John Stevenson Stephen Butcher 5,764,000
12,680,800
14
63 1624 Monday 9th August Adele Rose Richard Stroud 5,756,000
12,663,200
13
64 1625 Wednesday 11th August H.V. Kershaw Richard Stroud 5,510,000
12,122,000
16
65 1626 Monday 16th August Brian Finch Bill Gilmour 6,197,000
13,633,400
6
66 1627 Wednesday 18th August Adele Rose Bill Gilmour 5,361,000
11,794,200
20
67 1628 Monday 23rd August H.V. Kershaw Ronald Fouracre 5,822,000
12,808,400
11
68 1629 Wednesday 25th August Leslie Duxbury Ronald Fouracre 5,307,000
11,675,400
n/k
69 1630 Monday 30th August Julian Roach June Wyndham Davies 4,951,000
10,892,200
n/k
70 1631 Wednesday 1st September John Stevenson June Wyndham Davies 6,167,000
13,567,400
11
71 1632 Monday 6th September Adele Rose Laurence Moody 6,722,000
14,788,400
13
72 1633 Wednesday 8th September H.V. Kershaw Laurence Moody 6,233,000
13,712,600
16
73 1634 Monday 13th September John Stevenson Oliver Horsbrugh 6,919,000
15,221,800
13
74 1635 Wednesday 15th September Leslie Duxbury Oliver Horsbrugh 6,127,000
13,479,400
n/k
75 1636 Monday 20th September Brian Finch June Wyndham Davies 6,848,000
15,065,600
16
76 1637 Wednesday 22nd September Janey Preger June Wyndham Davies 6,812,000
14,986,400
17
77 1638 Monday 27th September Paula Milne Ronald Fouracre 7,191,000
15,820,200
9
78 1639 Wednesday 29th September John Stevenson Ronald Fouracre 6,073,000
13,360,600
n/k
79 1640 Monday 4th October Barry Hill Oliver Horsbrugh 7,448,000
16,385,600
8
80 1641 Wednesday 6th October Leslie Duxbury Oliver Horsbrugh 7,198,000
15,835,600
14
81 1642 Monday 11th October H.V. Kershaw June Wyndham Davies 7,018,000
15,439,600
15
82 1643 Wednesday 13th October Adele Rose June Wyndham Davies 6,615,000
14,553,000
n/k
83 1644 Monday 18th October Kay McManus Ronald Fouracre 7,637,000
16,801,400
8
84 1645 Wednesday 20th October Paula Milne Ronald Fouracre 6,412,000
14,106,400
19
85 1646 Monday 25th October John Stevenson Oliver Horsbrugh 7,621,000
16,766,200
10
86 1647 Wednesday 27th October Brian Finch Oliver Horsbrugh 7,580,000
16,676,000
10
87 1648 Monday 1st November H.V. Kershaw June Wyndham Davies 7,650,000
16,830,000
10
88 1649 Wednesday 3rd November Leslie Duxbury June Wyndham Davies 7,900,000
17,380,000
7
89 1650 Monday 8th November John Stevenson Derek Lister 8,000,000
17,600,000
6
90 1651 Wednesday 10th November Adele Rose Derek Lister 7,550,000
16,610,000
12
91 1652 Monday 15th November Kenneth Eastaugh Oliver Horsbrugh 7,700,000
16,940,000
13
92 1653 Wednesday 17th November Brian Finch Oliver Horsbrugh 7,600,000
16,720,000
15
93 1654 Monday 22nd November H.V. Kershaw June Wyndham Davies 7,650,000
16,830,000
8
94 1655 Wednesday 24th November Leslie Duxbury June Wyndham Davies 7,600,000
16,720,000
9
95 1656 Monday 29th November Paula Milne Michael Simpson 7,700,000
16,940,000
8
96 1657 Wednesday 1st December H.V. Kershaw Michael Simpson 7,600,000
16,720,000
12
97 1658 Monday 6th December Janey Preger Alan Bromly 7,600,000
16,720,000
12
98 1659 Wednesday 8th December Leslie Duxbury Alan Bromly 7,350,000
16,170,000
16
99 1660 Monday 13th December Brian Finch June Wyndham Davies 7,650,000
16,830,000
9
100 1661 Wednesday 15th December John Stevenson June Wyndham Davies 7,450,000
16,390,000
14
101 1662 Monday 20th December H.V. Kershaw John Black 7,250,000
15,950,000
11
102 1663 Wednesday 22nd December David Crane John Black 7,950,000
17,490,000
4
103 1664 Monday 27th December Brian Finch Oliver Horsbrugh Not known n/k
104 1665 Wednesday 29th December Leslie Duxbury Oliver Horsbrugh 7,350,000
16,170,000
7

Storylines

Who lives where

Coronation Street

Rosamund Street

Victoria Street

Others

Coronation Street in the 1970s
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