Gary's Army Diaries was a Coronation Street spin-off, initially available online and then broadcast on television, following Gary Windass and Quinny as they go to fight in Helmand Province Afghanistan. The first instalment was uploaded on Monday 29th November 2010 with the second and third following on Thursday 2nd and Friday 3rd December.
The three internet episodes were of just over five minutes duration. The sequences inside the army tent were shot in lot set up by designer David Butterworth in an area near to the outdoor set at Granada's Quay Street studios in Manchester while the external scenes were filmed in a quarry near Bolton and used army equipment such a jeeps and technical advice from real-life soldiers. On 31st January 2011, a extended version of thirty minutes duration aired on ITV2 at 10.00pm called Corrie Extra: Gary's Army Diaries which featured all three episodes edited into one and with additional scenes showing Gary moving into Izzy Armstrong's flat, following on from the events of Episode 7521 (24th January 2011). This version was repeated on Tuesday 1st February 2011 at 1.35am, also on ITV2 and again, on the same channel, on Sunday 6th February at 8.15am and 2.10pm.
- Making Friends
Gary Windass and Quinny are starting their tour of duty in Afghanistan and Quinny helps his friend record a video diary for Eddie and Anna from their encampment in which they introduce their fellow troop members, Huggy, Big Phil and Johnno and lark before the cameras. Most of the footage is direct from a camcorder although there are cutaway shots showing the boys taking turns behind the camera. At the end of the instalment, Quinny promises to Anna and Eddie to look after Gary, saying that he is like a brother to him.
The lads head out on their first patrol, still filming as they go and unware that they are being watched by Afghan rebels as they drive through the passes. A week goes by with no incidents but events take a darker turn when on return from a patrol their convoy is attacked by a roadside bomb. Gary is injured but the incident has proven more deadly for Quinny.
Gary is in a hospital. Recovering from his physical injuries, the mental ones have a long time to go before they heal. A nurse is his only companion as his camcorder is returned to him along with his other belongings and he starts to record his thoughts on the life-changing experience he has been through and to try and cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Extended ITV2 version
Moving in with Izzy Armstrong, she finds the camcorder and watches the footage with Gary, starting to understand the experiences he has been through.