ITV is to air a trailer marking sixty years of Coronation Street, but it’s not your usual clip compilation…
Tony Warren Bursary recipient Harry Chalmers-Morris portrays a young Tony Warren, who created the long-running soap, in a heart-warming promo directed by Dee Koppaing O’Leary.
“It was a total joy to be part of creating a film paying tribute to such an iconic British TV series and its creator – Tony Warren. Filming with Harry was a delight, and it felt like true serendipity with Tony’s legacy giving a helping hand to an up & coming actor. Happy 60th Coronation Street!” – Director, Dee Koppang O’Leary
The trailer revisits a 1959 train journey undertaken by the young Salfordian writer between London and Manchester, alongside BBC Producer Olive Shapley whom Tony woke in order to share his great idea for a show about “ordinary people on an ordinary street.”
Harry Chalmers Morris as Tony Warren.
The 60th trailer train carriage set.
Olive deemed the idea “boring” and told Tony to “go back to sleep”, but luckily her unenthused response didn’t put Tony off the idea.
With the sounds of the train staff and ticket officer echoing in his head, we see the young Tony sit back with a smile still on his face, as if he knows his idea is definitely the right one, and after sixty years of being in the top ten most-watched UK shows every single week, selling to over 130 countries and employing thousands of people it seems it most definitely was.
On being asked to play the man whose bursary is helping him become the actor he’s always dreamt of Harry said: “Only when I was playing Tony did I realise the magnitude of his contribution. His sheer force of will helped break what seemed like an impenetrable glass ceiling as the thought of giving working-class voices air time was unthinkable. I have so much gratitude for Tony for paving the way for actors from the north-west”.
Tony Warren on the Coronation Street backlot at Granada Television in the mid-1980s.
The former Granada Television studios in Manchester, pictured in the sixties.
Filmed in a specially created train carriage at Dukes Island Studios, the campaign captures an era now long gone, a time where it was rare to see working-class people characters on television, and never in leading roles, and Tony’s herculean task to get the bosses at ‘Granada’ to listen to him was about to begin.
Before Corrie, the only working class voices would be those heard as patients on ATV’s Emergency Ward 10. The regulars who played Doctors, nurses and other staff all spoke with ‘Queen’s English’.
The campaign will premiere ahead of the new series of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here on Sunday 15th November at 9pm and will be running on ITV until the anniversary itself on Wednesday 9th December.
“For the 60th campaign, we wanted to show the nation how the street came about, with these two very special people travelling on a train. This is a love letter to Tony and Olive’s journey and hopefully shows what an amazing thing happened at that moment, in that carriage. In a year of so much tragedy, we hope to bring joy to viewers in celebrating the spark of an idea that, when mixed with a lot of determination, became the longest-running continuing drama in the world” – Sarah Tobias, Marketing Controller, ITV