The story of how Coronation Street nearly left the screens in 1962
While developing his autobiography John Finch recalled how the worlds longest running drama nearly ended in its early years.
This is a Blog in 2 parts: Part one
The building stands impressively new on a side street off Deansgate in Manchester. Specially designed for the production of television programmes in the ITV north Western region, but also for viewing nationally, it is the child of the Bernstein brothers, Sidney and Cecil. When I first visited the site the only building was a wooden hut. A carpet had been laid but the furniture had not yet arrived. I sat cross –legged on the carpet with a young Canadian, Silvio Narrizano, who had been imported by the Bernsteins to create a drama production unit, the expertise required having been largely taken over by the BBC.
I had been invited for the interview after I had submitted a play with the title Dark Pastures, the first I had ever written, after reading about Granada’s ambitions for the North West in The Guardian. Silvio had read it and decided it was ideal to be Granada’s first play. Sidney thought otherwise, and it was later produced by Rediffusion. There wer e later developments involving Granada, but that’s another story.
At this time I was employed as a technical writer by Leyland Motors Ltd., the largest heavy vehicle manufacturer in the world, but not the best payer. I had recently married, acquired our first off-spring, and needed more money. I swallowed my pride and sent in my play again, as a sample, when Granada announced that it needed writers who could write Northern dialogue and had an understanding of the Yorkshire character. V ery quickly, as they decided they might have a winner in the field of television serials, I was offered a two year contract.
The year was 1960 and the programme was titled Coronatioin Street. I became its first free-lance writer,and very shortly after, its editor. Later I became, briefly, its producer.
The year I am particularly interested in, however, is 1962. It was the year in which Corrie came very close to disappearing from the little box, and failing to become , in its 60th year the longest running drama serial in the world.