One of the massive hits of 2012 was Coronation Street Live. Transferred from the Rovers Return to Manchester’s Lass O’Gowrie, the wedding of Dennis Tanner and an awkward dinner with the Ogdens played out to sell-out audiences.
Classic Street characters took to the stage, reimagined for these very special performances. With scripts by Jack Rosenthal, the humour, warmth and humanity from bygone days on the Street came through. Corrie surely doesn’t get more real than when Annie Walker is behind the bar of the Rovers pulling pints and for those who missed out, they missed something very special.
But good news – Coronation Street live is back! This time, moving forward to 1977. Rovers Return landlady Annie Walker is preparing for a sherry party and the chance to show off her monogrammed carpet that Eddie Yeats claims has been specially made for her. Will Hilda Ogden, Bet Lynch and Fred Gee tell her where the carpet is really from before her guests arrive? Written by John Stephenson, these two episodes originally aired way back in September 1977. Performed promenade style, you will be able to follow the characters around the Lass O’Gowrie – redressed as the Rovers.
June West, the Casting Director for Coronation Street for over 15 years has been assembling a solid cast. Indeed, many of the cast have actually appeared on Coronation Street on the small screen, and much of the critically acclaimed cast of Corrie: 1968 are reprising their characters.
Back by popular demand, Joan Kempson and John Draycott reprise their roles as Hilda and Stan Ogden (after performances so evocative, they were invited to perform at the launch of a Jack Rosenthal exhibition in Sheffield) whilst Jeni Howarth Williams will still be a force to contend with as the legendary Elsie Tanner. Central to this story is Annie Walker, once again played by the formidable Christine Barton-Brown. Also returning are David Crowley who sidesteps from Dennis Tanner to Ray Langton and Amy Searles, appearing this time as Rita Fairclough.
Newcomer Kimberley Hart-Simpson will step into the leopard print shoes of Bet Lynch. Kimberley is thrilled to taking on such an iconic part and says: “I am so excited to be playing Bet. Bet was my dad’s favourite character and I just wish he was here to see this. He’d have loved it.” You may have also caught fellow barmaid and Betty Turpin actress Denice Hope in the Royle Family Christmas Special on BBC1 on Christmas Day. Mike Woodhead (The Good Life, Midnight) and Ian Curley (Porridge) also swap their comedy roles for appearances as Eddie Yeates and Fred Gee respectively.
Lass O’Gowrie landlord and Corrie 1977 Producer Gareth Kavanagh adds: “We are hugely grateful to ITV for allowing us to stage these episodes and can’t wait for you to see them!”
If you’re interested in the behind-the-Street secrets, then Corriefest at the Lass O’Gowrie on Saturday 5 January will be for you. Writer of Coronation Street 1977 , John Stevenson will join other guests from both sides of the camera for special talks, a special quiz and auction and screenings of rare footage.
Coronation Street 1977 premieres at the Lass O’Gowrie on Charles Street from 3 – 7 January. Tickets are very limited, so you are advised to book early by clicking here or check with the venue. Corriefest is on at the Lass O’Gowrie on Saturday 5 January 10am-4pm.
With thanks to Shay Rowan for the main picture of Jeni Howarth Williams as Elsie Tanner. You can see more of Shay’s fantastic work over on Flickr.