Departure of Bill Podmore
Episode 2906 on 1st February was the last episode to carry a credit for Bill Podmore, the man who had guided Coronation Street since 1976 and was the driving force behind what is widely considered to be the programme's "golden age". After standing down as producer, Podmore retired from television.
One of his last decisions as producer was to kill off Brian Tilsley. In 1988, Christopher Quinten married his partner and moved to the US. Podmore agreed for Quinten to continue as Brian part-time, but the storyliners struggled to devise a plausible way to temporarily write Brian out which would not retread old ground, and they unanimously decided that the best option was to kill him off. His death in a stabbing outside a nightclub was the second time a Coronation Street resident had been murdered.
Rejuvenation under David Liddiment
David Liddiment had been at Coronation Street since 1988, participating in story conferences, and he received his first credit as executive producer in Episode 2907 on 6th February. Podmore's direct replacement, Mervyn Watson, became the programme's producer at the same time, returning to the job after four years away. Over the course of the year, the pair would mastermind one of the most seismic updates in the programme's history.
Liddiment's first objective was to update the way Coronation Street was made. By 1989, the show was still being made in much the same way as when it stopped being live. Liddiment's view was that it looked like a product of an earlier time, especially in comparison with rival soaps EastEnders, which had a dedicated studio, and Brookside, which was shot in real custom-built houses. Coronation Street had begun to move towards a more authentic, streamlined look the year before when it became fully videotaped, with location scenes now recorded using PSCs (portable single cameras) which required less preparation than film work. This allowed more scenes to be shot on location, in accordance with Liddiment's desire to open out the world of Weatherfield as much as possible to add variety to the programme's settings. Having been granted additional studio space, Coronation Street featured more sets per episode, and the number of scenes in each instalment was increased to quicken the pacing.
Expansion and the Friday episode
With Coronation Street reinvigorated by an increase in production values and viewing figures, Granada's director of programmes Steve Morrison sounded out David Liddiment about the possibility of adding a third weekly episode, to be transmitted at 7.30pm on Fridays. Liddiment was keen, but had doubts: "I was very nervous. I didn't want to go down in the Street's distinguished history as the man who killed the golden goose. We had already made the decision to increase the volume of location material and we were looking at a schedule to give us more time on location and the same time in the studio. I didn't want the process we'd started, of increasing the production values of an episode, to be neutralised by the need to make a third episode. I wanted to ensure we could continue to enhance the production values of the programme and do a third episode. But there was a kind of rhythm about Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the fact that Neighbours and Home and Away were being shown five days a week with healthy audiences was, I felt, indicative of our ability to hold an audience for an extra episode." (Coronation Street: Celebrating Thirty Years, Graeme Kay, 1990) On offering Granada's proposal to the network, Morrison remarked that they "snapped his hand off".
To meet the demands of producing an extra 52 episodes a year without overworking the cast, a bumper crop of actors were signed to the programme in 1989. In March, brassy barmaid Tina Fowler played by Michelle Holmes made her first appearance, and in April Stuart Wolfenden joined as young mechanic Mark Casey, and Amanda Barrie returned as Alma Sedgewick, now a full-time character. Meanwhile, Sally Watts and Lisa Lewis left the cast.
With the Friday episode scheduled for October, room for more new characters was created via a major storyline in which builder Maurice Jones bought up the Community Centre and Baldwin's Casuals and demolished them to make way for a new development of houses, shop units, business premises and flats. The idea for the new houses came to David Liddiment when he walked around Salford and saw pockets of modern houses being built alongside old terraces. As well as providing a vehicle for new characters (and rehousing some established characters), the new development was significant in heralding the demise of Baldwin's factory, resulting in Vera Duckworth and Ivy Brennan having to look for work elsewhere, Emily Bishop taking retirement, and a new direction for Mike Baldwin as he found himself having to start from the bottom. The building work was seen prominently in the show from September onwards and carried on into 1990.
To replace the factory, a new ongoing workplace was introduced in the form of Bettabuy supermarket, with newly-graduated Curly Watts as assistant manager and Vera among its staff. In keeping with the producers' desire for authenticity, all scenes at Bettabuy were recorded on location in an Eccles branch of Morrisons. The supermarket also employed young Kimberley Taylor, a new love interest for Curly played by Suzanne Hall, and Reg Holdsworth, the branch's vain buffoon of a manager. Reg was planned as a temporary character, with Curly eventually taking over his job, but Ken Morley impressed producers so much with his portrayal that he was kept on, and Reg and Curly were instead developed as a comedic double-act.
Coronation Street went three times a week with Episode 2981 on 20th October. The previous episode had seen the villainous Alan Bradley released from Risley after serving enough time on remand for fraud and assaulting Rita Fairclough. Alan posing as the late Len Fairclough to get a loan from the building society and Rita finding out had been a popular storyline earlier in the year, and it was felt that Alan's return would be a big enough draw for viewers to tune in on the new day. The storyline climaxed on 8th December, in which Alan was hit by a tram while furiously chasing Rita across Blackpool's Promenade.
For the move to three episodes, the production process was changed with the cast now working six days a week: Sunday and Monday on location, Tuesday and Wednesday in rehearsal and Thursday and Friday in studio. The actors enjoyed the pay of an additional episode a week but some complaints were voiced, such as by Bill Waddington who brusquely said that it was, "bloody hard work."
The last newcomers of the year were Jim and Liz McDonald, an ex-army sergeant and his wife, and their 15-year-old twin sons Steve and Andy, in an attempt to boost the programme's youth demographic. The McDonalds took over No.11 in December. Simon Gregson and Nicholas Cochrane tried out for their parts when casting directors asked for auditionees at their school in south Manchester. Charles Lawson and Beverley Callard were involved in the casting of Steve and Andy.
The Coronation Street omnibus launched on Sunday 22nd January. From the first week of its run, the programme reclaimed the top two positions in the national rankings from EastEnders, and a further 44 episodes in 1989 reached the top spot. Note that these figures represent the sum total of the original showings and the omnibus, a practice which had enabled EastEnders to take the top spots consistently since late 1985. Single-showing figures are available for this year, and these figures will be considered separately from the aggregated figures given by BARB.
Discounting the omnibus, the average for the year was 15.5 million viewers, a 5% increase on 1988 and the highest since 1985. Nine months gained on 1988, especially March, April, June, August and September which made gains of approximately two million and over 10%. By this method of counting, the highest-rated episode of the year was Episode 2919 (20th March 1989) with 19.01 million viewers.
Counting the omnibus, the yearly average climbs to 19.86 million viewers, and the most-watched episode was Episode 2918 (15th March 1989) with 26.93 million viewers. This is the programme's highest BARB rating of all time.
from Ep 2901
|1||2897||Monday 2nd January||Leslie Duxbury||Sarah Harding||15,430,000||5|
|2||2898||Wednesday 4th January||Peter Whalley||Sarah Harding||17,560,000||4|
|3||2899||Monday 9th January||John Stevenson||Nicholas Ferguson||16,980,000||5|
|4||2900||Wednesday 11th January||Brian Finch||Nicholas Ferguson||17,070,000||4|
|5||2901||Monday 16th January||Brian Finch||Spencer Campbell||21,500,000||2|
|6||2902||Wednesday 18th January||John Stevenson||Spencer Campbell||22,970,000||1|
|7||2903||Monday 23rd January||Barry Hill||Sarah Harding||21,870,000||2|
|8||2904||Wednesday 25th January||Adele Rose||Sarah Harding||23,050,000||1|
|9||2905||Monday 30th January||Peter Whalley||Nicholas Ferguson||21,100,000||2|
|10||2906||Wednesday 1st February||Paul Abbott||Nicholas Ferguson||22,950,000||1|
|11||2907||Monday 6th February||Tony Perrin||Spencer Campbell||22,060,000||2|
|12||2908||Wednesday 8th February||Stephen Mallatratt||Spencer Campbell||23,240,000||1|
|13||2909||Monday 13th February||Leslie Duxbury||Patrick Lau||21,150,000||2|
|14||2910||Wednesday 15th February||Adele Rose||Patrick Lau||24,390,000||1|
|15||2911||Monday 20th February||John Stevenson||Sarah Harding||23,990,000||3|
|16||2912||Wednesday 22nd February||Peter Whalley||Sarah Harding||24,260,000||1|
|17||2913||Monday 27th February||Barry Hill||Ian White||21,010,000||2|
|18||2914||Wednesday 1st March||Peter Whalley||Ian White||21,380,000||1|
|19||2915||Monday 6th March||Adele Rose||Spencer Campbell||23,670,000||2|
|20||2916||Wednesday 8th March||Leslie Duxbury||Spencer Campbell||25,530,000||1|
|21||2917||Monday 13th March||Tony Perrin||Sarah Harding||25,870,000||2|
|22||2918||Wednesday 15th March||John Stevenson||Sarah Harding||26,930,000||1|
|23||2919||Monday 20th March||Paul Abbott||Ian White||23,690,000||2|
|24||2920||Wednesday 22nd March||John Stevenson||Ian White||23,880,000||1|
|25||2921||Monday 27th March||Adele Rose||Mary McMurray||22,840,000||2|
|26||2922||Wednesday 29th March||Leslie Duxbury||Mary McMurray||23,380,000||1|
|27||2923||Monday 3rd April||Peter Whalley||Sarah Harding||21,680,000||2|
|28||2924||Wednesday 5th April||Barry Hill||Sarah Harding||23,160,000||1|
|29||2925||Monday 10th April||Barry Hill||Ian White||21,400,000||2|
|30||2926||Wednesday 12th April||Leslie Duxbury||Ian White||23,090,000||1|
|31||2927||Monday 17th April||Tony Perrin||Spencer Campbell||21,670,000||2|
|32||2928||Wednesday 19th April||John Stevenson||Spencer Campbell||22,200,000||1|
|33||2929||Monday 24th April||Stephen Mallatratt||Mary McMurray||20,230,000||2|
|34||2930||Wednesday 26th April||Peter Whalley||Mary McMurray||21,030,000||1|
|35||2931||Monday 1st May||Tony Perrin||Ian White||16,030,000||5|
|36||2932||Wednesday 3rd May||Peter Whalley||Ian White||17,110,000||1|
|37||2933||Monday 8th May||Stephen Lowe||Spencer Campbell||17,440,000||5|
|38||2934||Wednesday 10th May||Adele Rose||Spencer Campbell||19,440,000||1|
|39||2935||Monday 15th May||Leslie Duxbury||Sarah Harding||17,810,000||1|
|40||2936||Wednesday 17th May||John Stevenson||Sarah Harding||16,870,000||5|
|41||2937||Monday 22nd May||Tony Perrin||Ian White||15,820,000||5|
|42||2938||Wednesday 24th May||John Stevenson||Ian White||16,740,000||1|
|43||2939||Monday 29th May||Barry Hill||Spencer Campbell||16,510,000||6|
|44||2940||Wednesday 31st May||Leslie Duxbury||Spencer Campbell||18,510,000||1|
|45||2941||Monday 5th June||Stephen Mallatratt||Sarah Harding||18,320,000||4|
|46||2942||Wednesday 7th June||Peter Whalley||Sarah Harding||18,910,000||1|
|47||2943||Monday 12th June||Peter Whalley||Ian White||16,830,000||1|
|48||2944||Wednesday 14th June||Stephen Lowe||Ian White||16,490,000||2|
|49||2945||Monday 19th June||Tony Perrin||Spencer Campbell||15,870,000||5|
|50||2946||Wednesday 21st June||Barry Hill||Spencer Campbell||17,690,000||1|
|51||2947||Monday 26th June||Leslie Duxbury||Sarah Harding||16,760,000||6|
|52||2948||Wednesday 28th June||John Stevenson||Sarah Harding||18,090,000||1|
|53||2949||Monday 3rd July||Tony Perrin||Ian White||14,710,000||6|
|54||2950||Wednesday 5th July||Stephen Mallatratt||Ian White||15,760,000||3|
|55||2951||Monday 10th July||Peter Whalley||Spencer Campbell||16,170,000||2|
|56||2952||Wednesday 12th July||John Stevenson||Spencer Campbell||15,870,000||3|
|57||2953||Monday 17th July||John Stevenson||Sarah Harding||16,000,000||2|
|58||2954||Wednesday 19th July||Barry Hill||Sarah Harding||15,640,000||4|
|59||2955||Monday 24th July||Adele Rose||Ian White||15,520,000||5|
|60||2956||Wednesday 26th July||Paul Abbott||Ian White||17,660,000||1|
|61||2957||Monday 31st July||Ken Blakeson||Spencer Campbell||15,780,000||4|
|62||2958||Wednesday 2nd August||Leslie Duxbury||Spencer Campbell||14,070,000||8|
|63||2959||Monday 7th August||Adele Rose||Brian Mills||15,120,000||7|
|64||2960||Wednesday 9th August||Peter Whalley||Brian Mills||15,730,000||5|
|65||2961||Monday 14th August||Stephen Mallatratt||John Michael Phillips||18,590,000||1|
|66||2962||Wednesday 16th August||Barry Hill||John Michael Phillips||18,590,000||1|
|67||2963||Monday 21st August||Barry Hill||Spencer Campbell||17,190,000||2|
|68||2964||Wednesday 23rd August||Ken Blakeson||Spencer Campbell||18,740,000||1|
|69||2965||Monday 28th August||Leslie Duxbury||Oliver Horsbrugh||18,030,000||2|
|70||2966||Wednesday 30th August||Leslie Duxbury||Oliver Horsbrugh||20,070,000||1|
|71||2967||Monday 4th September||Sue Ashby||Brian Mills||19,080,000||1|
|72||2968||Wednesday 6th September||Stephen Mallatratt||Brian Mills||16,560,000||4|
|73||2969||Monday 11th September||Adele Rose||Brian Mills||18,720,000||2|
|74||2970||Wednesday 13th September||Tony Perrin||Richard Holthouse||19,250,000||1|
|75||2971||Monday 18th September||Peter Whalley||Richard Holthouse||19,180,000||1|
|76||2972||Wednesday 20th September||Peter Whalley||Richard Holthouse||19,160,000||2|
|77||2973||Monday 25th September||Ken Blakeson||Spencer Campbell||19,410,000||2|
|78||2974||Wednesday 27th September||Adele Rose||Spencer Campbell||19,780,000||1|
|79||2975||Monday 2nd October||Leslie Duxbury||Spencer Campbell||19,400,000||2|
|80||2976||Wednesday 4th October||Stephen Mallatratt||Sarah Harding||19,860,000||1|
|81||2977||Monday 9th October||Peter Whalley||Sarah Harding||20,730,000||2|
|82||2978||Wednesday 11th October||Sue Ashby||Sarah Harding||20,930,000||1|
|83||2979||Monday 16th October||Tony Perrin||Brian Mills||17,780,000||4|
|84||2980||Wednesday 18th October||Barry Hill||Brian Mills||20,350,000||2|
|85||2981||Friday 20th October||John Stevenson||Brian Mills||20,620,000||1|
|86||2982||Monday 23rd October||John Stevenson||Ian White||15,020,000||3|
|87||2983||Wednesday 25th October||Ken Blakeson||Ian White||21,470,000||1|
|88||2984||Friday 27th October||Barry Hill||Ian White||20,430,000||2|
|89||2985||Monday 30th October||Julian Roach||Richard Holthouse||19,460,000||2|
|90||2986||Wednesday 1st November||Tony Perrin||Richard Holthouse||20,850,000||1|
|91||2987||Friday 3rd November||Leslie Duxbury||Richard Holthouse||19,450,000||3|
|92||2988||Monday 6th November||Adele Rose||Sarah Harding||19,610,000||2|
|93||2989||Wednesday 8th November||Peter Whalley||Sarah Harding||20,900,000||1|
|94||2990||Friday 10th November||Stephen Mallatratt||Sarah Harding||19,480,000||3|
|95||2991||Monday 13th November||Stephen Mallatratt||Brian Mills||19,490,000||2|
|96||2992||Wednesday 15th November||Julian Roach||Brian Mills||21,240,000||1|
|97||2993||Friday 17th November||Leslie Duxbury||Brian Mills||17,290,000||9|
|98||2994||Monday 20th November||Peter Whalley||Ian White||19,870,000||3|
|99||2995||Wednesday 22nd November||Peter Whalley||Ian White||20,900,000||2|
|100||2996||Friday 24th November||Barry Hill||Ian White||21,060,000||1|
|101||2997||Monday 27th November||Adele Rose||Spencer Campbell||20,050,000||3|
|102||2998||Wednesday 29th November||John Stevenson||Spencer Campbell||21,440,000||1|
|103||2999||Friday 1st December||John Stevenson||Spencer Campbell||21,380,000||2|
|104||3000||Monday 4th December||Barry Hill||Richard Holthouse||20,970,000||3|
|105||3001||Wednesday 6th December||Barry Hill||Richard Holthouse||21,360,000||2|
|106||3002||Friday 8th December||John Stevenson||Richard Holthouse||21,450,000||1|
|107||3003||Monday 11th December||Peter Whalley||Brian Mills||21,700,000||2|
|108||3004||Wednesday 13th December||Julian Roach||Brian Mills||22,000,000||1|
|109||3005||Friday 15th December||Sue Ashby||Brian Mills||21,000,000||3|
|110||3006||Monday 18th December||Leslie Duxbury||Ian White||20,000,000||3|
|111||3007||Wednesday 20th December||Adele Rose||Ian White||22,900,000||1|
|112||3008||Friday 22nd December||Stephen Mallatratt||Ian White||22,300,000||2|
|113||3009||Monday 25th December||Peter Whalley||Spencer Campbell||20,940,000||3|
|114||3010||Wednesday 27th December||Stephen Mallatratt||Spencer Campbell||21,560,000||2|
|115||3011||Friday 29th December||Ken Blakeson||Spencer Campbell||19,190,000||9|
Who lives where
- Rovers Return Inn - Bet Gilroy (Except June). Alec Gilroy. Charlie Bracewell (January only).
- 1 Coronation Street - Ken, Deirdre and Tracy Barlow.
- 3 Coronation Street - Emily Bishop and Percy Sugden
- 5 Coronation Street - Don and Ivy Brennan.
- 7 Coronation Street - Rita Fairclough. Alan and Jenny Bradley (until March).
- 9 Coronation Street - Jack and Vera Duckworth. Curly Watts (from May onwards).
- 11 Coronation Street - Alf and Audrey Roberts (until December). Jim, Liz, Andy and Steve McDonald (from December onwards).
- 13 Coronation Street - Kevin and Sally Webster. Gina Seddon (until January}.
- Corner Shop flat (No.15a) - Curly Watts (until May). Shirley Armitage (until April). Bet Gilroy (June only). Alf and Audrey Roberts (from December).
- Community Centre flat (Empty. Demolished in September).
- The Kabin flat - Derek and Mavis Wilton.
- Jim's Cafe flat - Alma Sedgewick (from April onwards).
- Flat 3, 44 Rosamund Street - Sandra and Jason Stubbs (until February).
- 37 Hillside Crescent - Betty Turpin.
- Hillside Road - Reg Holdsworth.
- 46b, St. Mary's Place - Mike Baldwin (Until August).
- No. 6 Quebec House, Weatherfield Quays - Mike Baldwin (from August onwards). Dawn Prescott (from around August to December).
- 33 Hammond Road - Brian (Until February), Gail, Nicky and Sarah Louise Tilsley. Martin Platt (from October onwards).
- 4 Gorton Close - Phyllis Pearce.
- 31 Redford Street - Alan Bradley (From October to December).
|Coronation Street in the 1980s|
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