Tram Crash News Flash was a on-line series of five news reports uploaded to the ITV Coronation Street website nightly from 6th to 10th December 2010 to coincide with the special week of episodes marking the 50th anniversary of the programme.
The five instalments were in the form of short specially-filmed news bulletins featuring real-life ITN anchor Alastair Stewart and reporter Caroline Whitmore as they interviewed various people in Weatherfield (all then-regular characters in the programme) on the story "as it happened". The episodes were released to the internet after the transmission of that night's televised instalments and provided a commentary on the events regarding the disaster as seen in the programme.
As well as directing the episodes, Danny Whitfield produced them (and was credited on the final bulletin as an ITN "programme director") and Alan Toner, later a producer of the digital spin-offs for Coronation Street, was the associate producer. All five were written by Ellen Taylor whose first standard episode of the programme would be shown just over two weeks later.
Alastair Stewart interrupts programmes to bring breaking news of a large explosion in Weatherfield, the cause of which is unknown and states that reports that a tram has crashed into a residential area are unsubstantiated. Nor have Greater Manchester Police confirmed if there is any terrorist involvement. Reporter Caroline Whitmore is on-the-spot and she felt the explosion when she was in a local school. She interviews passing resident Anna Windass who is shocked to learn that the incident is suspected to have taken place in the vicinity of Coronation Street as that is where she lives. There is no sign of any emergency crews at the moment and Alastair Stewart further reports that a road accident in the area is causing congestion and preventing crews reaching the scene.
- Part 2 (7th December 2010)
Alastair Stewart reports that the first pictures have been received from the incident which show the firefighters now on the scene of the explosion, the cause of which is now stated not to be terrorism but no further details have been given. Caroline Whitmore has now made her way to Coronation Street where she reports that three men are trapped in The Joinery bar at the end of the street and a young mother and her baby are possibly under the remains of the Corner Shop. Caroline interviews residents Norris Cole who is devastated that his business at The Kabin appears to be destroyed and Julie Carp who was in the Rovers Return Inn at the time of the crash and is still shaken. A late report is that a young boy is also trapped in a house fire at the end of the street. Back in the studio, Alastair Stewart reports that a gas leak is now suspected as the cause and that a helpline has been set up. Before the bulletin finishes, footage taken just after the explosion on a mobile phone is shown.
- Part 3 (8th December 2010)
Alastair Stewart presents dramatic images from the scene showing that a baby has been pulled from the rubble and a man rescued from the remains of the bar where the explosion is said to have happened. It is also thought that the explosion has destabilised the viaduct causing the tram to crash and the tram driver is said to be now in a stable condition. Caroline Whitmore reports that local resident Ashley Peacock is trapped in the remains of the bar together with its owner and they may not survive a second collapse of the infrastructure of the viaduct. The boy in the house fire is now safe. Cafe owner Hayley Cropper tells how the cafe and the Rovers Return are set up as local treatment centres where people are being tended to for minor wounds and shock but she breaks down as she thinks about those who are still trapped and the effect upon their loved ones who are well known in the area. Alastair Stewart presents further images, these showing the rescue of Simon Barlow from the house fire and passes on a police request that people stay away from the Weatherfield area.
- Part 4 (9th December 2010)
Alastair Stewart confirms that so far there is only one confirmed fatality who Caroline Whitmore confirms is Molly Dobbs. She also interviews Jason Grimshaw who saved Simon Barlow from the house fire who says he didn't really think about his actions and praises the part that the fire service played in the rescue. Caroline says that his mother must be proud of him tonight and he modestly replies that there's a first time for everything. Paramedics report that Simon Barlow is recovering well in hospital although his father is still in a critical condition there. Further images show the shocked residents in the pub and cafe as developments continue. Alastair Stewart now reports that there are two fatalities in the area.
- Part 5 (10th December 2010)
Alastair Stewart reports that there are now three fatalities and one of the critically injured was, just moments before, married from his hospital bed just before undergoing life-saving surgery. From the scene Caroline Whitmore reports that pensioner Rita Sullivan has been freed from the rubble and is on her way to hospital with minor injuries. She interviews her good friend Norris Cole who tells of his relief at her rescue but tells how Mrs Sullivan will not be pleased at being described as a pensioner! Julie Carp tells how the incident has brought out the best in the kind-hearted folk who live in the area. By phone to the studio, local resident John Stape tells how he just had to get through what he had to do tonight, despite all the difficult moments, but his wife gave birth to their daughter tonight, albeit three months early, and he would rather focus on that rather than the deaths which have occurred. Alastair Stewart signs off by saying that clean-up efforts continue but the full extent of the damage may not be known for several days.
- Newsreader - Alastair Stewart
- Reporter - Caroline Whitmore