This film is a first rate dramatic documentation about how a young man named Tony Warren took the British television world by storm in 1960. With an idea about reflecting the reality of Northern British street life, he created unforgettable characters like Annie Walker, Ena Sharples, Elsie Tanner, Kenneth Barlow, and Albert Tatlock to name a few. Their portrayers were ordinary Northern people.
Doris Speed was a cast member on a radio show called Children's Hour with a then known Tony Simpson. He wrote Annie Walker especially for her. Celia Imrie does a fantastic job in portraying her so well.
Violet Carson's character, Ena Sharples, was the last cast member to join the show. What a character! She was a real battle axe of a woman--fearless and intimidating. They had originally cast Nita Valerie for the character but she was all wrong because she was so likable. When Tony had mentioned Violet Carson's name as a possible Ena Sharples, he remembered her for trying to spank his bottom as a child. Lynda Baron is incredible in the performance of Violet Carson and Ena Sharples all at once.
Then there is the incredible and beautiful Pat Phoenix's character, Elsie Tanner, who shows up late for the audition and is on the verge of quitting the business. Thank God, she didn't!
William Roache's Kenneth Barlow is still going strong after 5 decades on television. In 2016, he will be the longest running character played by a single actor in Guinness Book of World History Record surpassing American actress Helen Wagner's Nancy Hughes on "As The World Turns" who only had 54 years.
While the casting process was difficult, Tony wanted Northern actors and actresses for the parts. He hesitated in casting Violet Carson who he described as a nightmare to work with but we're glad he did since her Ena Sharples is still one of British television's most endearing characters.
In a way, I would long for a chance to have show where characters reflected society. Coronation Street today is not the same but I still enjoy it. I still think it's wonderful that Sir Ian McKellan CBE CH would rather spend time as a character on the show when he has so many opportunities.
Coronation Street is an incredible story. Tony Warren should be knighted since there hasn't been a writer who has given so much about Northern life in television drama--not John Osborne or Alan Bennett. Tony Warren MBE is a genius and his contribution of Coronation Street to the world is still endearing and captures viewers to this day.
Coronation Street inspired other shows in the similar format like East Enders, Brookside, Crossroads, and others but none of them could match up to Coronation Street's originality, charm, raw, and honesty in it's depiction of a street life in a Northern city.
The DVD includes the short film of about 80 minutes and a second disc features the first episode ever on television.