Sunday, 28 November 2010

Coronation Street: The Outsider

Tony Warren, the creator of Coronation Street and one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet, gives a rare interview with Radio Times to mark the soap's golden jubilee.
Of course magazines are always boasting they have "a rare interview" with someone, but Mr Warren is admirably self-publicity-shy and this one really is.
It's been picked up elsewhere mainly by Tony talking about how Corrie's success led to his own battle with the booze and a lost decade or more, which is well-known.
"Once I went to Amsterdam to get away from it, put on the television and there was Ena Sharples with Dutch subtitles. I put my foot through the screen. After Coronation Street, what do you do for an encore? I had a drink while I thought about it, and one turned into a million."
More interesting for Fagburn is the feeling that only a gay man could have created Coronation Street.
"I was the outsider – but, you see, the outsider sees more, the outsider hears more, the outsider has to do that to survive. And that's what qualified me to write Coronation Street."
But Warren says it was a battle from day one; "In those days, if you were going to work in television and you were gay, you had to be three times as good as anyone else," he says, fire in his voice. "The first Coronation Street writing team contained some of the biggest homophobes I've ever met. I remember getting to my feet in a story conference and saying: 'Gentlemen, I have sat here for two-and-a-half hours and listened to three poof jokes, a storyline dismissed as poofy and an actor described as 'useless for us as he's a poof'. As a matter of fact, he isn't. But I would point out that I am one, and without a poof none of you would be in work today.'"
The struggle continued. In spite of Warren's influence, Weatherfield didn't get its first gay resident until Todd Grimshaw appeared in in 2003; "I campaigned for years and years with subsequent producers to no avail. But I never theorise – I thought that it would all work itself out."


  1. Is he openly gay?
    He was portrayed as such in The Road to Coronation Street a few months ago.

  2. "Is he openly gay?"
    Oh god yes!!!

  3. You've met Tony Warren, Fagburn!!?

    The Road to Coronation Street was great.
    I'm going to watch it again later, as it goes...

  4. Bought the souvenir issue of Radio Times with this in - Hilda Ogden cover for me.