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Corrie creator Tony Warren dies

  • 03-03-2016 5:41pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,038 ✭✭✭

    I don't see why this doesn't warrant its own thread, TBH.

    Regardless whether one has more time for 21st-century Corrie - or for the days of Ena Sharples and her hairnet, Hilda Ogden and her curlers, and Bet Lynch and her leopard prints - one cannot disagree that "genius" is a good word to describe the creator of arguably the biggest and best-loved soap in Britain.

    He was only 22 when he came up with his idea, of "a little back street in Salford, with a pub at one end and a shop at the other, and all of the lives of the people there, just ordinary things". When pitching it to Granada he wrote, "A fascinating freemasonry, a volume of unwritten rules. These are the driving forces behind life in the working class street in the north of England. The purpose of Florizel Street [as it was initially titled] is to examine a community of this nature, and to entertain."

    They commissioned it for 13 episodes. Five and a half decades later, it's approaching its 9,000th.

    And even though the younger characters have become more prominent, the storylines more sensational, and the theme tune less dreary, the show has never strayed far from Warren's vision. In particular, it still feels most comfortable within the Rovers Return and the Kabin.

    It also shouldn't be forgotten that he came up with his idea at a time when homosexuality was still considered a crime. Here's an excerpt from an interview he gave the Manchester Evening News in 2007:

    Tony Warren was openly gay before decriminalisation in 1967 - and says he lived in fear of what was going to happen to him. Speaking at a debate on whether Corrie is now the 'queerest soap of them all' in Manchester, Tony described the attitude of people around him at Granada at the time.

    He said: "I never went past Strangeways jail without thinking, 'Is that where I'm going to end up?'

    "Although I was out to other gay people at Granada, it was almost unwise to let people know."

    Tony said that although 'a lot of creative people at Granada didn't care', he did face a barrage of homophobic remarks from some staff.

    "On one occasion I sat there and listened and listened until I got to my feet and said, 'I have sat here and listened to three poof jokes, an actor described as a poof, a storyline described as too poofy, and I would just like to remind you that without a poof you wouldn't be in work'. One of them said, 'but Tony, we didn't mean you'. I said, 'You call my brothers, you call me'.

    "I didn't know I felt so strongly until that moment, and from then on I never pretended to another soul that I was anything other than what I am."

    Bill Roache certainly didn't mind; he was more impressed by the fact that Warren could come up with and write this soap at such a tender age (he was four years younger than Roache). He only has good memories, as does Helen Worth.

    And the fact that many of the younger actors have paid tribute too is a further demonstration of how his vision is still largely embraced:

    To finish, here's the full version of the composition by that other genius, Eric Spear.

    RIP Tony.