I haven’t watched Coronation Street since June 2018. But I watched Thursday and Friday’s episodes. Episode numbers 10000 and 10001. I figured out that I’d watched regularly since about episode 3000. So I couldn’t miss these landmark ones.
Some of the people I didn’t know. Happens when you leave a neighbourhood for any length of time. But there are also familiar faces, beloved faces.
I didn’t count the references to Corrie history in the episodes. There weren’t actually 10000. But there were a lot. Right from the first shot. Girls playing ball on the street. Just like the opening shot in episode number 1.
The premise was a bus trip to Blackpool, taken to scatter Dennis Tanner’s ashes. Dennis was a character in the original Coronation Street. He returned several years ago, left, and now – offstage – died. So talk of him, of Elsie his mother, even his sister Linda still living in Toronto decades after leaving Weatherfield.
History, long ago and more recent, was packed in. Is it too much, I asked my husband. He has watched off and on but isn’t that familiar with the backstory. No, he said, it felt natural. Especially, he said, Rita saying to Ken “you’re the last one left now.” Yes, that is what you say of the end of a generation.
At the end of the day, Rita walked through the empty Rovers Return. Remembering everyone. Annie Walker, Bet Lynch – landladies, staff and customers of the heart of the street. As she said, they’re in the fabric of the place. We overheard their voices in her head. It worked beautifully.
Goodbye, old friend
Outside the Rovers, Ken and Eccles stood. He’d done a lot of thinking during the bus trip. He had made a decision: time to move on. “Goodbye, old friend.” Talking to Dennis? To us? “Finally it’s time to go,” he said as he looked down the street.
He had clutched a brochure for a retirement home all during the trip. Talked with Rita and Audrey about what he’d wanted sixty years ago and what had happened. The travel he’d wanted to do had consisted of moving from No. 3 to No. 1 Coronation Street. Maybe finally it was time to move a bit further away.
According to Radio Times, he – character and actor – won’t be leaving Weatherfield. Still, I can’t imagine what saying goodbye would have been like for Bill Roache. He is Coronation Street, there since the airing of the first episode. It’s hard to imagine the show without him.
Ken and Eccles go in their house. The scene outside their door slowly fades from colour to black and white.
Then the credits. Current names roll over the background images of credits throughout the decades. A lovely tribute. But one that sailed right over CBC’s head.
Look carefully at the photo, the beautifully crafted Coronation Street credits are that tiny box in the middle at the bottom of the television screen. It’s a reason to watch on line. You can see the credits full size.