Title caption 1977-82

1978 was Coronation Street's nineteenth year.

Main characters

Ranking Character Played by Duration Number of Episodes Running total Previous year's ranking
1Len FaircloughPeter AdamsonFull year7214342
2Bet LynchJulie GoodyearFull year696403
3Ken BarlowWilliam RoacheFull year6712229
3Hilda OgdenJean AlexanderFull year6710013
5Elsie Howard/TannerPatricia PhoenixJanuary to March and June to December6312491
5Annie WalkerDoris SpeedFull year6314008
7Mike BaldwinJohnny BriggsFull year6113319
7Rita FaircloughBarbara KnoxFull year614675
7Betty TurpinBetty DriverFull year617007
10Emily BishopEileen DerbyshireFull year59102619
10Steve FisherLawrence MullinFull year597327
10Gail PotterHelen WorthFull year5922616
13Deirdre LangtonAnne KirkbrideFull year5835212
14Mavis RileyThelma BarlowFull year5731613
14Renee Bradshaw/RobertsMadge HindleFull year5716015
16Ray LangtonNeville BuswellUntil November567746
16Fred GeeFred FeastFull year5617114
18Stan OgdenBernard YouensFull year5592516
19Suzie BirchallCheryl MurrayFull year5410822
20Alf RobertsBryan MosleyFull year505079
21Eddie YeatsGeoffrey HughesFull year491959
22Albert TatlockJack HowarthFull year46107019
23Ena SharplesViolet CarsonFrom March41110224
24Tracy LangtonChristabel FinchFull year276723
25Ivy TilsleyLynne PerrieJanuary, March to April, June to July and December197426
26Vera DuckworthElizabeth DawnJanuary, April, June to July and December164025
27Ida CloughHelene PalmerApril, June to July and December1212 -
28Peter BarlowJoseph McKennaAugust to October114630
29Ernest BishopStephen HancockJanuary only441018
29Blanche HuntMaggie JonesNovember only49429
29Billy WalkerKenneth FarringtonMay only433231
32Derek WiltonPeter BaldwinApril only32927
33Brian TilsleyChristopher QuintenDecember only11 -


Cast 1978

The 1978 cast, with the five remaining survivors of Episode 1 cutting the birthday cake

Bill Podmore remained producer for the third year in a row in one of Coronation Street's most drama-filled years up to this point.

Writers were faced with crafting an exit storyline for Ernest Bishop following a dispute with actor Stephen Hancock over the cast contract system. Hancock objected to the fact that senior members of the cast were paid for every episode, and others only for the ones they appeared in, and threatened to resign unless Granada moved to a fairer system. When producers did not oblige him, he carried out his threat. As writers could not think of a believable way to have the Bishops split up, they agreed that Ernest had to die. In January, Ernie became the first major Coronation Street character to be murdered, shot during a bungled wages snatch at Baldwin's Casuals. The storyline, in particular the depiction of Emily's grief, drew wide acclaim, and according to writer John Stevenson elevated the critical standing of Coronation Street as a whole (50 Years of Coronation Street: The (very) Unofficial Story, JR Books, 2010).

Neville Buswell also left after ten years playing Ray Langton. Buswell had decided to quit acting and move abroad. Where the Langtons were concerned, Anne Kirkbride was told that Deirdre and Tracy were being written out with Ray, as writers felt there were enough young women in the cast. They changed their minds and decided to explore Deirdre's life as a single mother after Buswell pleaded for Kirkbride to keep her job. In November, Ray left the street for Holland, going alone to a country that had been supposed to a new start for the entire family following Ray's affair with waitress Janice Stubbs. Blanche Hunt was seen during Ray's departure episodes, her only appearances that year.

In one year, aside from losing his business partner, Len Fairclough lost his seat on the council for being drunk and disorderly, and nearly lost his business. The Kabin was also forced to undergo changes when Dawson's Cafe opened next door, and owner Joe Dawson shopped his rival to the council for not having customer toilets. The cafe - a permanent set addition - was run by Dawson for a while until Emily Bishop took over as manager. Meanwhile, the Kabin's cafe section was closed down and transformed into a record shop.

Viewers were introduced to factory loudmouth Ida Clough, who was a semi-regular for ten years appearing in factory-related stories, and, in the last episode of the year, young biker Brian Tilsley, the first sign of an increased role for Lynne Perrie's character Ivy Tilsley which would occur in 1979. Short visits were also made by Derek Wilton, Peter Barlow, again played by Joseph McKenna, and Billy Walker, the latter for a storyline in which Annie Walker risked losing the Rovers due to a takeover at Newton & Ridley which ultimately didn't happen. Both of Annie's children returned to her side for the first time since 1963, although Joan Davies was played by Dorothy White and not the original actress June Barry.

Once again, Coronation Street had no episode on Christmas Day even though it fell on a Monday.

Viewing figures

1978 ratings

Ratings chart for the year

Ratings fell from 1977 in all but the last four months of the year, with Spring ratings over two million viewers down on the previous year. The year as a whole averaged 15.01 million viewers, the second-lowest average of the decade after 1972 and an 870k fall from 1977. Three episodes reached twenty million viewers - two in January, following Ernie Bishop's murder, and another, Episode 1871 on 20th December, which had an audience of 20.44 million viewers and was the highest rated episode of the year.

Eight episodes reached the top of the weekly ratings chart, a drop from nine the year before. After the success of the first half of 1977, Coronation Street's ratings were almost back to 1972 levels.


# Ep.
Date Writer Director Viewing
11770Monday 2nd JanuaryH.V. KershawGeorge Spenton-Foster13,493,00019
21771Wednesday 4th JanuaryBrian FinchGeorge Spenton-Foster18,858,0001
31772Monday 9th JanuaryJohn StevensonAlan Grint17,840,0003
41773Wednesday 11th JanuaryJulian RoachAlan Grint20,241,0001
51774Monday 16th JanuaryJaney PregerGeorge Spenton-Foster17,514,0003
61775Wednesday 18th JanuaryLeslie DuxburyGeorge Spenton-Foster20,386,0002
71776Monday 23rd JanuaryLeslie DuxburyJeremy Summers17,300,0003
81777Wednesday 25th JanuaryAdele RoseJeremy Summers18,450,0002
91778Monday 30th JanuaryBarry HillJonathan Wright-Miller17,300,0002
101779Wednesday 1st FebruaryH.V. KershawJonathan Wright-Miller16,450,00010
111780Monday 6th FebruaryKay McManusBill Gilmour18,000,0005
121781Wednesday 8th FebruaryJohn StevensonBill Gilmour18,050,0004
131782Monday 13th FebruaryAdele RoseOliver Horsbrugh18,100,0002
141783Wednesday 15th FebruaryLeslie DuxburyOliver Horsbrugh16,750,0006
151784Monday 20th FebruaryJulian RoachStephen Butcher18,450,0002
161785Wednesday 22nd FebruaryBrian FinchStephen Butcher17,750,0004
171786Monday 27th FebruaryH.V. KershawBill Gilmour17,750,0004
181787Wednesday 1st MarchBarry HillBill Gilmour17,900,0003
191788Monday 6th MarchJohn StevensonCharles Sturridge16,950,0005
201789Wednesday 8th MarchBrian FinchOliver Horsbrugh15,900,00012
211790Monday 13th MarchH.V. KershawStephen Butcher17,500,0005
221791Wednesday 15th MarchLeslie DuxburyStephen Butcher16,350,0007
231792Monday 20th MarchAdele RoseQuentin Lawrence18,300,0002
241793Wednesday 22nd MarchJulian RoachQuentin Lawrence17,950,0004
251794Monday 27th MarchJohn StevensonCharles Sturridge13,800,00013
261795Wednesday 29th MarchAdele RoseCharles Sturridge16,550,0002
271796Monday 3rd AprilLeslie DuxburyColin Richards14,950,0009
281797Wednesday 5th AprilJulian RoachColin Richards17,450,0003
291798Monday 10th AprilH.V. KershawQuentin Lawrence15,250,0008
301799Wednesday 12th AprilBrian FinchQuentin Lawrence17,000,0004
311800Monday 17th AprilAdele RoseCharles Sturridge14,550,00010
321801Wednesday 19th AprilJulian RoachCharles Sturridge14,000,00016
331802Monday 24th AprilLeslie DuxburyPhilip Draycott14,550,00011
341803Wednesday 26th AprilJohn StevensonPhilip Draycott17,400,0003
351804Monday 1st MayH.V. KershawBrian Mills11,861,000n/k
361805Wednesday 3rd MayBrian FinchBrian Mills15,365,0004
371806Monday 8th MayJohn StevensonCharles Sturridge14,533,0007
381807Wednesday 10th MayKay McManusCharles Sturridge15,787,0004
391808Monday 15th MayH.V. KershawStephen Butcher13,557,0004
401809Wednesday 17th MayAdele RoseStephen Butcher13,606,0003
411810Monday 22nd MayJulian RoachKen Grieve13,280,0004
421811Wednesday 24th MayLeslie DuxburyKen Grieve14,051,0002
431812Monday 29th MayLeslie DuxburyCharles Sturridge10,550,00020
441813Wednesday 31st MayH.V. KershawCharles Sturridge11,800,0008
451814Monday 5th JuneBarry HillStephen Butcher12,300,0003
461815Wednesday 7th JuneJohn StevensonStephen Butcher11,950,0008
471816Monday 12th JuneAdele RoseKen Grieve12,850,0004
481817Wednesday 14th JuneBrian FinchKen Grieve11,450,00015
491818Monday 19th JunePaula MilneOliver Horsbrugh12,100,0008
501819Wednesday 21st JuneH.V. KershawOliver Horsbrugh13,250,0005
511820Monday 26th JuneLeslie DuxburyCharles Sturridge12,450,0006
521821Wednesday 28th JuneBrian FinchCharles Sturridge13,000,0004
531822Monday 3rd JulyJohn StevensonRichard Stroud12,750,0008
541823Wednesday 5th JulyBarry HillRichard Stroud13,900,0003
551824Monday 10th JulyBrian FinchOliver Horsbrugh12,200,0006
561825Wednesday 12th JulyH.V. KershawOliver Horsbrugh13,050,0002
571826Monday 17th JulyPaula MilnePhilip Draycott11,100,00010
581827Wednesday 19th JulyJohn StevensonPhilip Draycott11,650,0006
591828Monday 24th JulyAdele RoseCharles Sturridge11,250,0003
601829Wednesday 26th JulyLeslie DuxburyCharles Sturridge10,250,00010
611830Monday 31st JulyJohn StevensonAlan Bromly11,700,0003
621831Wednesday 2nd AugustLeslie DuxburyAlan Bromly12,000,0002
631832Monday 7th AugustJulian RoachBill Gilmour12,250,0003
641833Wednesday 9th AugustAdele RoseBill Gilmour11,850,0004
651834Monday 14th AugustH.V. KershawQuentin Lawrence12,700,0002
661835Wednesday 16th AugustH.V. KershawQuentin Lawrence12,550,0003
671836Monday 21st AugustAdele RoseCharles Sturridge10,150,00020
681837Wednesday 23rd AugustBen SteedCharles Sturridge11,500,0006
691838Monday 28th AugustH.V. KershawJohn Black9,937,000n/k
701839Wednesday 30th AugustLeslie DuxburyJohn Black13,257,0003
711840Monday 4th SeptemberJulian RoachAlan Bromly13,299,00011
721841Wednesday 6th SeptemberJohn StevensonAlan Bromly13,065,00014
731842Monday 11th SeptemberJohn StevensonPhilip Draycott12,943,0009
741843Wednesday 13th SeptemberBarry HillPhilip Draycott12,783,00012
751844Monday 18th SeptemberH.V. KershawLaurence Moody14,294,0004
761845Wednesday 20th SeptemberLeslie DuxburyLaurence Moody11,782,00019
771846Monday 25th SeptemberJulian RoachAlan Bromly15,350,0004
781847Wednesday 27th SeptemberPaula MilneAlan Bromly12,850,00015
791848Monday 2nd OctoberH.V. KershawMatthew Robinson16,650,0001
801849Wednesday 4th OctoberKay McManusMatthew Robinson13,700,00010
811850Monday 9th OctoberLeslie DuxburyLaurence Moody17,800,0001
821851Wednesday 11th OctoberAdele RoseLaurence Moody15,050,0007
831852Monday 16th OctoberBarry HillJeremy Summers17,700,0002
841853Wednesday 18th OctoberJulian RoachJeremy Summers14,550,0009
851854Monday 23rd OctoberH.V. KershawAlan Bromly18,200,0001
861855Wednesday 25th OctoberJohn StevensonAlan Bromly14,650,0007
871856Monday 30th OctoberBen SteedPhilip Draycott15,100,0001
881857Wednesday 1st NovemberLeslie DuxburyPhilip Draycott14,150,0006
891858Monday 6th NovemberKay McManusJeremy Summers16,500,0005
901859Wednesday 8th NovemberPaula MilneJeremy Summers14,800,00013
911860Monday 13th NovemberJulian RoachAlan Bromly17,300,0002
921861Wednesday 15th NovemberLeslie DuxburyAlan Bromly16,900,0006
931862Monday 20th NovemberH.V. KershawLaurence Moody18,850,0001
941863Wednesday 22nd NovemberLeslie DuxburyLaurence Moody17,200,0005
951864Monday 27th NovemberJohn StevensonRichard Stroud18,585,0002
961865Wednesday 29th NovemberBarry HillRichard Stroud17,069,0008
971866Monday 4th DecemberH.V. KershawJeremy Summers18,593,0001
981867Wednesday 6th DecemberBarry HillJeremy Summers16,823,0003
991868Monday 11th DecemberJohn StevensonAlan Bromly18,238,0001
1001869Wednesday 13th DecemberLeslie DuxburyAlan Bromly15,384,0006
1011870Monday 18th DecemberAdele RoseRichard Stroud12,875,000n/k
1021871Wednesday 20th DecemberJulian RoachRichard Stroud20,443,0006
1031872Wednesday 27th DecemberJohn StevensonJeremy Summers15,350,0008


Who lives where

Coronation Street

Rosamund Street


Coronation Street in the 1970s
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