Title caption 1977-82

1979 was Coronation Street's twentieth year.

Main characters

Ranking Character Played by Duration Number of Episodes Running total Previous year's ranking
1Len FaircloughPeter AdamsonFull year5914931
2Ivy TilsleyLynne PerrieFull year5813225
3Elsie TannerPatricia PhoenixFull year5713065
3Gail Potter/TilsleyHelen WorthFull year5728310
5Suzie BirchallCheryl MurrayUntil December5516319
5Hilda OgdenJean AlexanderFull year5510563
7Rita FaircloughBarbara KnoxFull year545217
8Deirdre LangtonAnne KirkbrideFull year5040213
8Brian TilsleyChristopher QuintenFull year505133
8Betty TurpinBetty DriverFull year507507
11Stan OgdenBernard YouensFull year4997418
11Annie WalkerDoris SpeedFull year4914495
13Ken BarlowWilliam RoacheFull year4812703
14Alf RobertsBryan MosleyFull year4755420
14Bert TilsleyPeter DudleyFull year4747 -
16Fred GeeFred FeastFull year4621716
16Eddie YeatsGeoffrey HughesFull year4624121
18Mavis RileyThelma BarlowFull year4235814
19Mike BaldwinJohnny BriggsFull year411747
19Bet LynchJulie GoodyearUntil March and from May416812
21Emily BishopEileen DerbyshireFull year40106610
21Renee RobertsMadge HindleFull year4020014
23Steve FisherLawrence MullinUntil December3911210
24Albert TatlockJack HowarthFull year36110622
25Ena SharplesViolet CarsonFrom March34113623
26Vera DuckworthElizabeth DawnFull year317126
26Tracy LangtonChristabel FinchFull year319824
28Ida CloughHelene PalmerFebruary to July and December183027
29Audrey PotterSue NichollsApril and November to December88 -
29Billy WalkerKenneth FarringtonMay and June834029
31Derek WiltonPeter BaldwinApril only43332
32Jack DuckworthWilliam TarmeyNovember and December22 -
33Susan BarlowSuzy PatersonDecember only127 -


1979 Strike

24th October 1979: After 10 weeks off air, Coronation Street returns to screens with a specially-filmed prologue with Bet Lynch and Len Fairclough

Bill Podmore's fourth year as producer saw a shift in Coronation Street's core families towards those that would see the programme through the 1980s.

Newly separated Deirdre Langton moved in with Emily Bishop and started a romance with Ken Barlow, selling No.5 to the arriving Tilsleys. The new family were built around Lynne Perrie's Ivy, who for the last eight years had played a secondary role at the warehouse and factory. Ivy was well established as one half of a childless couple with Jack Tilsley, but producers decided to wipe the slate clean when crafting her new family, giving her a 20-year-old son, Brian, and a new husband, Bert, played by Christopher Quinten and Peter Dudley respectively. Now a street resident, Ivy rose to prominence as one of the programme's key matriarchs.

In April, Sue Nicholls made her first appearance as Gail Potter's unwed and man-hungry mother Audrey, a role which was recurring until Audrey married Alf Roberts in 1985. Audrey paid her inaugural visit to the street for Gail's 21st birthday, the occasion on which Gail and Brian Tilsley went public on their engagement. Vera Duckworth was a guest at the wedding in November, joined by her husband Jack for the first time. William Tarmey was part of the programme's stable of background extras, usually seen playing darts in the Rovers. He was cast as Jack for two episodes and would reprise the role in 1981, eventually to become one of Coronation Street's best-loved characters.

As Gail embarked on her married life, Bill Podmore decided to get rid of Elsie Tanner's other lodger Suzie Birchall in order to revitalise the household. She and Steve Fisher, Mike Baldwin's number two, were both written out in December. Their exits left the programme without any young, unmarried characters.

The programme missed a transmission slot on 23rd July due to a national one-day strike called by EETPU (Electrical, Electronic, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union who handled electronics in the studios) and NATTKE (National Association of Theatrical, Television and Kine Employees) after rejecting a 9% pay offer from the ITV companies. The was one of a series of incidents which culminated in a ten-week strike by the unions which had spread nationwide by 10th August. The strike resulted in all ITV stations, except for Channel Television, being blacked out from that date until 24th October, when management increased the pay offer to 17.5% backdated to 1st July. Coronation Street was off the air for the duration of industrial action, with no production of new episodes taking place.

Episode 1935 on 8th August was the last episode transmitted before Granada staff joined the strike and the station went off the air. When the show returned on 24th October, it led with a specially-recorded scene in which Bet Lynch and Len Fairclough chatted about recent events to remind viewers of what was going on before the strike. The regular twice-weekly schedule then resumed, starting with the five episodes which were already in the can when production shut down. The following episode, broadcast on 12th November, is unique in that the recording of parts one and two were separated by the strike, indicating that the plug may have been pulled during a studio session. In terms of the programme's narrative, no mention was made of the ten-week gap however the Tilsleys' wedding, which was meant to be held in the summer, took place in November despite no delay being mentioned.

On-screen, the most spectacular event of the year occurred in March when a lorry overturned outside the Rovers, smashing the frontage with its load of timber, the first disaster to hit the street since 1975. Cast comings and goings included the usual visits by Derek Wilton and Billy Walker, their last until 1982 and 1984 respectively. This would be the last time Kenneth Farrington acted opposite his screen mother Doris Speed. Lastly, Susan Barlow appeared for the first time since 1974, recast with Suzy Paterson in the role. Like the current incarnation of Peter, Susan was aged up by several years and now spoke with a Scottish accent, two changes which would be reversed by the next recasting.

Viewing figures

1979 ratings

Ratings chart for the year

The most-watched episode of the year was Episode 1894 on 14th March, which saw the residents continue to deal with the after-effects of the lorry crash, with a bereaved Deirdre Langton contemplating suicide, yet to discover that Tracy wasn't crushed by the lorry, which was seen by 19.5 million viewers.

The average figure for the year was 15.45 million viewers, an increase of 400k on 1978 and the 6th highest of the decade (although this total is missing the ratings for five episodes). The biggest drops on the previous year were in October and November, immediately after the strike finished, which were down by two million viewers on 1978, however March to August all rose from that year.

11 episodes reached number one in the weekly viewing charts, climbing from eight the previous year, with fewer episodes.


# Ep.
Date Writer Director Viewing
11873Monday 1st JanuaryH.V. KershawAlan BromlyNot knownn/k
21874Wednesday 3rd JanuaryLeslie DuxburyAlan Bromly16,400,0006
31875Monday 8th JanuaryJulian RoachLaurence Moody16,250,0004
41876Wednesday 10th JanuaryJulian RoachLaurence Moody16,850,0003
51877Monday 15th JanuaryPaula MilneRichard Stroud16,250,0006
61878Wednesday 17th JanuaryH.V. KershawRichard Stroud16,700,0002
71879Monday 22nd JanuaryLeslie DuxburyJeremy Summers16,350,0006
81880Wednesday 24th JanuaryJohn StevensonJeremy Summers17,150,0002
91881Monday 29th JanuaryAdele RoseTerry Steel16,500,0003
101882Wednesday 31st JanuaryJulian RoachTerry Steel17,550,0002
111883Monday 5th FebruaryH.V. KershawMatthew Robinson16,300,0004
121884Wednesday 7th FebruaryJohn StevensonMatthew Robinson17,950,0001
131885Monday 12th FebruaryLeslie DuxburyStephen Butcher16,750,0005
141886Wednesday 14th FebruaryLeslie DuxburyStephen Butcher18,350,0002
151887Monday 19th FebruaryBarry HillJeremy Summers16,650,0004
161888Wednesday 21st FebruaryJulian RoachJeremy Summers16,700,0003
171889Monday 26th FebruaryBarry HillBrian Mills16,250,0003
181890Wednesday 28th FebruaryJohn StevensonBrian Mills16,700,0002
191891Monday 5th MarchAdele RoseMatthew Robinson16,800,0003
201892Wednesday 7th MarchH.V. KershawMatthew Robinson16,950,0002
211893Monday 12th MarchLeslie DuxburyJeremy Summers18,300,0004
221894Wednesday 14th MarchH.V. KershawJeremy Summers19,500,0002
231895Monday 19th MarchH.V. KershawAlan Bromly18,400,0003
241896Wednesday 21st MarchPeter WhalleyAlan Bromly18,800,0002
251897Monday 26th MarchAdele RoseRoger Cheveley17,700,0004
261898Wednesday 28th MarchBarry HillRoger Cheveley18,250,0001
271899Monday 2nd AprilJohn StevensonJeremy Summers16,650,0004
281900Wednesday 4th AprilJohn StevensonJeremy Summers17,450,0002
291901Monday 9th AprilBarry HillPhilip Draycott16,400,0003
301902Wednesday 11th AprilAdele RosePhilip Draycott16,900,0002
311903Monday 16th AprilLeslie DuxburyColin RichardsNot knownn/k
321904Wednesday 18th AprilLeslie DuxburyColin Richards16,700,0001
331905Monday 23rd AprilJohn StevensonJeremy Summers17,100,0004
341906Wednesday 25th AprilJulian RoachJeremy Summers18,000,0002
351907Monday 30th AprilAdele RoseLaurence Moody15,300,0002
361908Wednesday 2nd MayLeslie DuxburyLaurence Moody15,700,0001
371909Monday 7th MayPeter WhalleyPaul Bernard13,650,00010
381910Wednesday 9th MayJohn StevensonPaul Bernard16,050,0003
391911Monday 14th MayBarry HillPhilip Draycott13,150,0005
401912Wednesday 16th MayH.V. KershawPhilip Draycott15,250,0001
411913Monday 21st MayAdele RoseAlan Bromly15,100,0001
421914Wednesday 23rd MayAlec BaronAlan Bromly13,950,0004
431915Monday 28th MayTony PerrinLaurence Moody11,700,0009
441916Wednesday 30th MayH.V. KershawLaurence Moody14,450,0002
451917Monday 4th JuneLeslie DuxburyPhilip Draycott14,500,0004
461918Wednesday 6th JuneJohn StevensonPhilip Draycott15,300,0002
471919Monday 11th JuneH.V. KershawNicholas Ferguson13,250,0004
481920Wednesday 13th JuneAdele RoseNicholas Ferguson15,100,0002
491921Monday 18th JuneAlan DownerAlan Bromly13,000,0002
501922Wednesday 20th JuneAdele RoseAlan Bromly12,750,0004
511923Monday 25th JuneJohn StevensonLaurence Moody12,950,0002
521924Wednesday 27th JuneJulian RoachLaurence Moody13,400,0001
531925Monday 2nd JulyH.V. KershawNicholas Ferguson13,100,0001
541926Wednesday 4th JulyJohn StevensonNicholas Ferguson12,700,0002
551927Monday 9th JulyAdele RoseMalcolm Taylor12,550,0002
561928Wednesday 11th JulyBarry HillMalcolm Taylor13,200,0001
571929Monday 16th JulyLeslie DuxburyRichard Holthouse13,050,0002
581930Wednesday 18th JulyJulian RoachRichard Holthouse13,200,0001
591931Wednesday 25th JulyJohn StevensonNicholas Ferguson12,000,0005
601932Monday 30th JulyAdele RoseNicholas Ferguson12,850,0002
611933Wednesday 1st AugustPeter WhalleyRonald Fouracre12,650,0003
621934Monday 6th AugustLeslie DuxburyMary McMurray11,400,00012
631935Wednesday 8th AugustTony Perrin
H.V. Kershaw
Malcolm TaylorNot knownn/k
641937Wednesday 24th OctoberJohn StevensonRichard Holthouse15,100,00013
651938Monday 29th OctoberJulian RoachRichard Holthouse12,850,00018
661939Wednesday 31st OctoberBarry HillMary McMurray13,750,00013
671940Monday 5th NovemberH.V. KershawMary McMurray13,250,00020
681941Wednesday 7th NovemberAlec BaronJohn Michael Phillips13,950,00015
691942Monday 12th NovemberLeslie DuxburyJohn Michael Phillips13,950,00019
701943Wednesday 14th NovemberTony PerrinLaurence Moody14,750,00015
711944Monday 19th NovemberAdele RoseLaurence Moody15,200,0009
721945Wednesday 21st NovemberPeter WhalleyMary McMurray15,000,00010
731946Monday 26th NovemberH.V. KershawMary McMurray15,750,0009
741947Wednesday 28th NovemberLeslie DuxburyMalcolm Taylor17,850,0001
751948Monday 3rd DecemberJohn StevensonMalcolm Taylor18,150,0001
761949Wednesday 5th DecemberBarry HillRichard Holthouse16,000,0006
771950Monday 10th DecemberAlan DownerRichard Holthouse14,950,0006
781951Wednesday 12th DecemberAdele RoseMary McMurray
Laurence Moody
791952Monday 17th DecemberH.V. KershawMary McMurray
Laurence Moody
801953Wednesday 19th DecemberJulian RoachMary McMurray
Laurence Moody
811954Monday 24th DecemberLeslie DuxburyMalcolm Taylor14,500,0007
821955Wednesday 26th DecemberJohn StevensonMalcolm TaylorNot knownn/k
831956Monday 31st DecemberH.V. KershawRichard HolthouseNot knownn/k


Who lives where

Coronation Street

Rosamund Street


Awards and nominations

Pye Television/Writer's Guild Awards

Coronation Street in the 1970s
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