Logo 1982

1989 was Coronation Street's thirtieth year.

Main characters

Ranking Character Played by Duration Number of Episodes Running total Previous year's ranking
1Jack DuckworthWilliam TarmeyFull year905073
2Audrey RobertsSue NichollsFull year8833227
2Sally WebsterSally WhittakerFull year882789
4Vera DuckworthElizabeth DawnFull year876971
5Alf RobertsBryan MosleyFull year85123215
6Rita FaircloughBarbara KnoxFull year84120319
7Bet GilroyJulie GoodyearFull year7814206
8Betty TurpinBetty DriverFull year7714037
9Martin PlattSean WilsonFull year7623321
10Ivy BrennanLynne PerrieFull year758234
10Kevin WebsterMichael Le VellFull year7539414
12Jenny BradleySally Ann MatthewsFull year7421225
12Tina FowlerMichelle HolmesFrom March7474 -
14Gail TilsleyHelen WorthFull year7389517
14Curly WattsKevin KennedyFull year7336220
14Mavis WiltonThelma BarlowFull year73102515
17Emily BishopEileen DerbyshireFull year7116832
18Percy SugdenBill WaddingtonFull year7038910
19Deirdre BarlowAnne KirkbrideFull year69104917
20Mike BaldwinJohnny BriggsFull year688167
21Ken BarlowWilliam RoacheFull year65192311
22Alec GilroyRoy BarracloughFull year612305
23Derek WiltonPeter BaldwinFull year5816631
24Don BrennanGeoff HinsliffFull year5611521
25Alma SedgewickAmanda BarrieFrom April547036
26Alan BradleyMark EdenUntil April and from October to December4622111
27Phyllis PearceJill SummersFull year4422328
28Nicky TilsleyWarren JacksonFull year4326532
29Mark CaseyStuart WolfendenFrom April3636 -
30Sarah Louise TilsleyLynsay KingFull year347333
31Tracy BarlowDawn ActonFebruary and from July3034834
32Shirley ArmitageLisa LewisUntil April1615321
33Kimberley TaylorSuzanne HallFrom October1414 -
34Sandra StubbsSally WattsUntil February105326
35Jim McDonaldCharles LawsonFrom October99 -
36Liz McDonaldBeverley CallardFrom October88 -
37Reg HoldsworthKen MorleyFrom October77 -
38Andy McDonaldNicholas CochraneFrom December44 -
38Brian TilsleyChristopher QuintenUntil February452424
40Steve McDonaldSimon GregsonFrom December33 -
41Gina SeddonJulie FoyJanuary only22730


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

Alan grabs rita

Rita Fairclough's nightmare nears its end as Alan Bradley catches up with her in Blackpool

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.

1989 demolition

The demolition of the factory and community centre paves the way for a new Coronation Street for the 1990s

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.

Viewing figures

1989 ratings

Ratings chart for the year. All figures are aggregated

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.


# Ep.
Date Writer Director Viewing
(With omnibus
from Ep 2901
12897Monday 2nd JanuaryLeslie DuxburySarah Harding15,430,0005
22898Wednesday 4th JanuaryPeter WhalleySarah Harding17,560,0004
32899Monday 9th JanuaryJohn StevensonNicholas Ferguson16,980,0005
42900Wednesday 11th JanuaryBrian FinchNicholas Ferguson17,070,0004
52901Monday 16th JanuaryBrian FinchSpencer Campbell21,500,0002
62902Wednesday 18th JanuaryJohn StevensonSpencer Campbell22,970,0001
72903Monday 23rd JanuaryBarry HillSarah Harding21,870,0002
82904Wednesday 25th JanuaryAdele RoseSarah Harding23,050,0001
92905Monday 30th JanuaryPeter WhalleyNicholas Ferguson21,100,0002
102906Wednesday 1st FebruaryPaul AbbottNicholas Ferguson22,950,0001
112907Monday 6th FebruaryTony PerrinSpencer Campbell22,060,0002
122908Wednesday 8th FebruaryStephen MallatrattSpencer Campbell23,240,0001
132909Monday 13th FebruaryLeslie DuxburyPatrick Lau21,150,0002
142910Wednesday 15th FebruaryAdele RosePatrick Lau24,390,0001
152911Monday 20th FebruaryJohn StevensonSarah Harding23,990,0003
162912Wednesday 22nd FebruaryPeter WhalleySarah Harding24,260,0001
172913Monday 27th FebruaryBarry HillIan White21,010,0002
182914Wednesday 1st MarchPeter WhalleyIan White21,380,0001
192915Monday 6th MarchAdele RoseSpencer Campbell23,670,0002
202916Wednesday 8th MarchLeslie DuxburySpencer Campbell25,530,0001
212917Monday 13th MarchTony PerrinSarah Harding25,870,0002
222918Wednesday 15th MarchJohn StevensonSarah Harding26,930,0001
232919Monday 20th MarchPaul AbbottIan White23,690,0002
242920Wednesday 22nd MarchJohn StevensonIan White23,880,0001
252921Monday 27th MarchAdele RoseMary McMurray22,840,0002
262922Wednesday 29th MarchLeslie DuxburyMary McMurray23,380,0001
272923Monday 3rd AprilPeter WhalleySarah Harding21,680,0002
282924Wednesday 5th AprilBarry HillSarah Harding23,160,0001
292925Monday 10th AprilBarry HillIan White21,400,0002
302926Wednesday 12th AprilLeslie DuxburyIan White23,090,0001
312927Monday 17th AprilTony PerrinSpencer Campbell21,670,0002
322928Wednesday 19th AprilJohn StevensonSpencer Campbell22,200,0001
332929Monday 24th AprilStephen MallatrattMary McMurray20,230,0002
342930Wednesday 26th AprilPeter WhalleyMary McMurray21,030,0001
352931Monday 1st MayTony PerrinIan White16,030,0005
362932Wednesday 3rd MayPeter WhalleyIan White17,110,0001
372933Monday 8th MayStephen LoweSpencer Campbell17,440,0005
382934Wednesday 10th MayAdele RoseSpencer Campbell19,440,0001
392935Monday 15th MayLeslie DuxburySarah Harding17,810,0001
402936Wednesday 17th MayJohn StevensonSarah Harding16,870,0005
412937Monday 22nd MayTony PerrinIan White15,820,0005
422938Wednesday 24th MayJohn StevensonIan White16,740,0001
432939Monday 29th MayBarry HillSpencer Campbell16,510,0006
442940Wednesday 31st MayLeslie DuxburySpencer Campbell18,510,0001
452941Monday 5th JuneStephen MallatrattSarah Harding18,320,0004
462942Wednesday 7th JunePeter WhalleySarah Harding18,910,0001
472943Monday 12th JunePeter WhalleyIan White16,830,0001
482944Wednesday 14th JuneStephen LoweIan White16,490,0002
492945Monday 19th JuneTony PerrinSpencer Campbell15,870,0005
502946Wednesday 21st JuneBarry HillSpencer Campbell17,690,0001
512947Monday 26th JuneLeslie DuxburySarah Harding16,760,0006
522948Wednesday 28th JuneJohn StevensonSarah Harding18,090,0001
532949Monday 3rd JulyTony PerrinIan White14,710,0006
542950Wednesday 5th JulyStephen MallatrattIan White15,760,0003
552951Monday 10th JulyPeter WhalleySpencer Campbell16,170,0002
562952Wednesday 12th JulyJohn StevensonSpencer Campbell15,870,0003
572953Monday 17th JulyJohn StevensonSarah Harding16,000,0002
582954Wednesday 19th JulyBarry HillSarah Harding15,640,0004
592955Monday 24th JulyAdele RoseIan White15,520,0005
602956Wednesday 26th JulyPaul AbbottIan White17,660,0001
612957Monday 31st JulyKen BlakesonSpencer Campbell15,780,0004
622958Wednesday 2nd AugustLeslie DuxburySpencer Campbell14,070,0008
632959Monday 7th AugustAdele RoseBrian Mills15,120,0007
642960Wednesday 9th AugustPeter WhalleyBrian Mills15,730,0005
652961Monday 14th AugustStephen MallatrattJohn Michael Phillips18,590,0001
662962Wednesday 16th AugustBarry HillJohn Michael Phillips18,590,0001
672963Monday 21st AugustBarry HillSpencer Campbell17,190,0002
682964Wednesday 23rd AugustKen BlakesonSpencer Campbell18,740,0001
692965Monday 28th AugustLeslie DuxburyOliver Horsbrugh18,030,0002
702966Wednesday 30th AugustLeslie DuxburyOliver Horsbrugh20,070,0001
712967Monday 4th SeptemberSue AshbyBrian Mills19,080,0001
722968Wednesday 6th SeptemberStephen MallatrattBrian Mills16,560,0004
732969Monday 11th SeptemberAdele RoseBrian Mills18,720,0002
742970Wednesday 13th SeptemberTony PerrinRichard Holthouse19,250,0001
752971Monday 18th SeptemberPeter WhalleyRichard Holthouse19,180,0001
762972Wednesday 20th SeptemberPeter WhalleyRichard Holthouse19,160,0002
772973Monday 25th SeptemberKen BlakesonSpencer Campbell19,410,0002
782974Wednesday 27th SeptemberAdele RoseSpencer Campbell19,780,0001
792975Monday 2nd OctoberLeslie DuxburySpencer Campbell19,400,0002
802976Wednesday 4th OctoberStephen MallatrattSarah Harding19,860,0001
812977Monday 9th OctoberPeter WhalleySarah Harding20,730,0002
822978Wednesday 11th OctoberSue AshbySarah Harding20,930,0001
832979Monday 16th OctoberTony PerrinBrian Mills17,780,0004
842980Wednesday 18th OctoberBarry HillBrian Mills20,350,0002
852981Friday 20th OctoberJohn StevensonBrian Mills20,620,0001
862982Monday 23rd OctoberJohn StevensonIan White15,020,0003
872983Wednesday 25th OctoberKen BlakesonIan White21,470,0001
882984Friday 27th OctoberBarry HillIan White20,430,0002
892985Monday 30th OctoberJulian RoachRichard Holthouse19,460,0002
902986Wednesday 1st NovemberTony PerrinRichard Holthouse20,850,0001
912987Friday 3rd NovemberLeslie DuxburyRichard Holthouse19,450,0003
922988Monday 6th NovemberAdele RoseSarah Harding19,610,0002
932989Wednesday 8th NovemberPeter WhalleySarah Harding20,900,0001
942990Friday 10th NovemberStephen MallatrattSarah Harding19,480,0003
952991Monday 13th NovemberStephen MallatrattBrian Mills19,490,0002
962992Wednesday 15th NovemberJulian RoachBrian Mills21,240,0001
972993Friday 17th NovemberLeslie DuxburyBrian Mills17,290,0009
982994Monday 20th NovemberPeter WhalleyIan White19,870,0003
992995Wednesday 22nd NovemberPeter WhalleyIan White20,900,0002
1002996Friday 24th NovemberBarry HillIan White21,060,0001
1012997Monday 27th NovemberAdele RoseSpencer Campbell20,050,0003
1022998Wednesday 29th NovemberJohn StevensonSpencer Campbell21,440,0001
1032999Friday 1st DecemberJohn StevensonSpencer Campbell21,380,0002
1043000Monday 4th DecemberBarry HillRichard Holthouse20,970,0003
1053001Wednesday 6th DecemberBarry HillRichard Holthouse21,360,0002
1063002Friday 8th DecemberJohn StevensonRichard Holthouse21,450,0001
1073003Monday 11th DecemberPeter WhalleyBrian Mills21,700,0002
1083004Wednesday 13th DecemberJulian RoachBrian Mills22,000,0001
1093005Friday 15th DecemberSue AshbyBrian Mills21,000,0003
1103006Monday 18th DecemberLeslie DuxburyIan White20,000,0003
1113007Wednesday 20th DecemberAdele RoseIan White22,900,0001
1123008Friday 22nd DecemberStephen MallatrattIan White22,300,0002
1133009Monday 25th DecemberPeter WhalleySpencer Campbell20,940,0003
1143010Wednesday 27th DecemberStephen MallatrattSpencer Campbell21,560,0002
1153011Friday 29th DecemberKen BlakesonSpencer Campbell19,190,0009


Who lives where

Coronation Street

Rosamund Street


Coronation Street in the 1980s
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