THE ROAD TO CORONATION STREET

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The Road to Coronation Street Cover Ei-up, chuck. Yur'never guess what mi' misses has gone and done? The silly old cows just flung mi pigeons down the canal for the ferrets to fuuu... Ohhh! I'm dreadfully sorry old bean. I'm not really sure what strange malady has suddenly infected my diction? Maybe it has something to do with this television dramatization Directed by Charles Sturridge; and Starring: Lynda Baron, Steven Berkoff, David Dawson, Jane Horrocks, and Jessie Wallace. It lasted for 75-minutes and was made in 2010. Toddle-pip.


The Road to Coronation Street


THE STORY:
The head of 'Granada Television', Sidney Bernstein (Steven Berkoff), does not understand why one time actor, Tony Warren (David Dawson), wrote a drama like 'Florizel Street' for! Well, it's full of urban characters. Dull. Confined to a Manchester based setting. And to be completely honest with you, doesn't have any of the razzmatazz that swinging sixties Britain need's at the moment.

However, whilst saying all that, Sidney's brother, Cecil (Henry Goodman), and director, Derek Bennett (Shaun Dooley), do have some faith in Tony's script. But only if the head of casting, Margaret Morris (Jane Horrocks), is able to cast the right people for the roles in question. 

So who do you think Margaret picks, huh? Doris Speed (Celia Imrie) perhaps? As this uptight administrator would be a perfect match for the uptight landlady, 'Annie Walker'. Then there is someone like William Roache (James Roache) I suppose. Who has the right amount of book-smarts and drive for the wannabe youth of today, 'Ken Barlow'. Oh! And of course, who can forget Pat Phoenix (Jessie Wallace)? Huh? Heck, she and loudmouth lush, 'Elsie Tanner', are practically one and the same person!

But do you know what? Even with all of this 'Mank power' under Tony's belt; will he and his Canadian producer, Harry Elton (Christian McKay), manage to change Sidney's mind in this matter?

Simple put -- no -- not at all.

Though I suppose that is why what next transpires begins when an urban, dull, Manchester based drama, falls flat on its ass just after its television pilot is made. As a tea-lady paves the way - Ena Shapels (Lynda Baron) is certainly not gay - 'Florizel Street' does go slightly astray - and look out world, 'Coronation Street' is here to stay.

Naaaaaa-Na-Na-Naaa-Naaa-Naaaaaa. Wo-Wo-Woe.




THE REVIEW:
Now I know that what I'm about to say to you may sound somewhat strange. But after watching this f*cking great-great drama, 'The Road to Coronation Street', I have to state for the record that the origins of both this 'back-alley' soap-opera, and the superhero, 'Spiderman', do share a very common bond in indeed.

You see, I watched a documentary once where the creator of Spidey, Stan Lee, explained how difficult it was for him to get this character published (click here for the review). 'He's too skinny' said the big-wigs at Marvel Comics at the time. 'Plus his origins are too steeped in reality for anyone to take notice' they continued. Nonetheless, after some perseverance -- and quite a bit of luck - Peter Parker's alter-ego finally did get a chance to shine in the spotlight, all because of one simple truth -- universal association.


The Cast of The Road to Coronation Street


OK, for me to explain to you what I mean by this, you have to take into consideration that the world -- post 1950 -- was a place of new horizons and new frontiers, trying its best to disassociate itself from the fall out of World War 2. Well, that's one of the main reasons why the 'media big-wigs' didn't want to publish 'urban' or 'socio-political' wares -- so that the populous could be enamored by 'spectacle' and 'extravaganza', not 'mundane reality'.

Simply put, both 'Spiderman' and 'Coronation Street' opposed this ideal. As they showed the 'common man' to the 'common man' (or woman for that matter), illustrated to him (or her) what real life is all about. Not 'spectacle' -- not 'extravaganza' -- life -- real life -- filtered though the eyes of creators who needed to make a stand.


Screenshot of The Road to Coronation Street


The Road To Coronation Street
Anyway, enough of my mumbo-jumbo talk for the moment. Let's have some filmic facts, shall we? (1) Throughout July, 2010, this 'anniversary feature' was shot on location in Manchester and at Granada Studios -- next door to the present day 'Coronation Street' sets. (2) Although this production was broadcast on the rival channel, BBC, both ITV and Tony Warren did have some creative control over it. (3) Over 852,000 people watched 'The Road to Coronation Street' when it was first transmitted on the 16th of September, 2010. (4) The director, Charles Sturridge, first directed the television version of 'Corry' in 1978. (5) James Roache plays his father, William Roache, in this production. Also, in the 'real' Coronation Street, he played his father's grandson too. (6) The writer, Daran Little, wrote a dissertation on 'Coronation Street' and Betty Driver whilst studying at Manchester Polytechnic. He now writes for the rival BBC soap-opera, 'Eastenders'. (7) Coronation Street's original working title was 'Florizel Street', and came from a painting which illustrated 'Prince Florizel' hacking his way through an enchanted forest. (8) The scene where Pat and Tony are both told to stop singing was shot on the modern day 'Victoria Street set' of 'Coronation Street'. (9) Snippets from the original first episode were used to represent the un-transmitted pilot and the actual transmission. (10) In the 2011 'British Academy Television Awards', this drama was awarded the prize for 'Best Single Drama', plus Jessie Wallace and Lynda Baron were both nominated in the 'Best Supporting Actress' category.


Original cast of Coronation Street


Hey! Do you know what? After all of that, I just remembered that I haven't told you if I liked 'The Road to Coronation Street' or not. Well -- I do. I think that this is just a great piece of work. In all honesty I would not change anything about it at all -- except that it would have been nice if I saw a couple of cameos from the 'regular Corry players'. Apart from that though -- nish -- this is a must see for any fan of the 'cobbles'. The actors are great. The story is very timely. The overall package is full of personality. Heck, it's so good; I think that Ken Barlow should sing a song? Don't you Harry?




Boy-oh-boy! I love that song. Just like I love this flick. KEN BARLOW!!!!!

THE RATING: A