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Road To Coronation Street, The (BBC-4 2010, David Dawson, Jane Horrocks)

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With the fiftieth anniversary of Coronation Street fast approaching, drama The Road to Coronation Street took us back to the weeks leading up to its debut on British television on December 9th 1960 at 6.53pm. Young writer Tony Warren (David Dawson) has teamed up with producer Harry Elton (Christian McKay) and director Derek Bennett (Shaun Dooley) to put together a show called Florizel Street for Granada TV. Tony is determined that this will be the first series to be about real people and real lives, with his ideas for a cobbled street, terraced houses and a pub at the centre of it all…

Fabulous casting and the glaze of nostalgia make The Road to Coronation Street a real treat. The fact that the lead players are people we have all grown up with adds an extra frisson to proceedings too. Lynda Baron is almost a clone of Violet Carson and Jessie Wallace a revelation as Pat Phoenix. Interestingly and somewhat strangely William Roache is played by his real life son James. Says a lot about the current fractured state of British television that this was a BBC Four production rather than the lavish, heavily promoted ITV thing it should have been.

Cast: Shaun Dooley as Derek Bennett; Jane Horrocks as Margaret Morris; Christian McKay as Harry Elton; David Dawson as Tony Warren; Phoebe Nicholls as Mrs Simpson; Tara Moran as Edna Walker; Jessie Wallace as Pat Phoenix; Celia Imrie as Doris Speed; Lynda Baron as Violet Carson; Sophia Di Martino as Josie Scott; Henry Goodman as Cecil Bernstein; Steven Berkoff as Sidney Bernstein; John Thomson as Harry Kershaw; James Roache as William Roache; Michelle Holmes as Brenda; Enid Dunn as Agnes; David Williams as Commissionaire; Anne Aris as Nita Valerie

Writer: Daran Little / Producer: Rebecca Hodgson / Director: Charles Sturridge

UK | BBC Four | 75 minutes | Broadcast Thursday 16 September 2010 @ 9.00pm