Newcastle upon Tyne (often shortened to Newcastle) is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne. The city developed in the area that was the location of the Roman settlement called Pons Aelius, though it owes its name to the castle built in 1080, by Robert II, Duke of Normandy, the eldest son of William the Conqueror. The city grew as an important centre for the wool trade and it later became a major coal mining area. The port developed in the 16th century and, along with the shipyards lower down the river, was amongst the world's largest shipbuilding and ship-repairing centres. These industries have since experienced severe decline and closure, and the city today is largely a business and cultural centre, with a particular reputation for nightlife.
Like most cities, Newcastle has a diverse cross section, from areas of poverty to areas of affluence. Among its main icons are Newcastle Brown Ale, a leading brand of beer, Newcastle United F.C., a Premier League team, and the Tyne Bridge. It has hosted the world's most popular half marathon, the Great North Run, since it began in 1981.
The city is the twentieth most populous urban area in England; the larger Tyneside conurbation, of which Newcastle forms part, is the sixth most populous conurbation in the United Kingdom. Newcastle is a member of the English Core Cities Group and with Gateshead the Eurocities network of European cities.
Coronation Street recording
Both Episode 80 (18th September 1961) and Episode 81 (20th September 1961) were firsts for the programme in that they were not recorded in the Quay Street studios of Granada Television in Manchester but instead used the facilities of Tyne Tees on City Road in Newcastle. The listings magazine for the North-East region, The Viewer, carried the story in its issue dated 14th October 1961, concentrating on Jack Watson who was recording his debut as Bill Gregory there and who had worked extensively in the area before. He was quoted as saying “Fancy having to come to Newcastle to start my role in Coronation Street.” The magazine stated it was a “red-letter day...when a large number of the cast of Coronation Street spent a couple of days at the Tyne Tees studios, doing two episodes of the series.” Based on the recording pattern of the period, the days in question were almost certainly 14th and 15th September, i.e. the week before transmission. The reason why the normal studios in Manchester were not available was not stated but was probably due to either maintenance work or another one-off production which bumped the programme from its standard routine booking.