Day 7 of our 50 day countdown of Coronation Street - written by blogger Sunny Jim.
Tragedy hit the Street in 1967 when a goods train plunged off the viaduct. At this time, the programme was still filming exterior scenes in the studio so it was quite some feat to set this up. A huge mass of bricks with iron girders sticking out was constructed and five goods wagons wrecked on top of the pile. Underneath was placed a squashed Mini from which PC Conway was dragged out alive. Nearby a corridor of timber and bricks was constructed in which Violet Carson, as Ena, had to lie completely still.
Ena, Jack, Elsie and Lucille were all missing, though only Ena had been caught up in the crash and as the programme went on each of the missing residents turned up. During the second episode of the disaster, David Barlow crawled out of the rubble to report that he had found Ena alive. The only death was of Sonia Peters, the girlfriend of PC Conway who had been in the crushed Mini. The disaster scenes were directed by Michael Apted who went on to be a renowned film director.
There were happier scenes when Elsie Tanner married her wartime sweetheart Steve Tanner. As soon as the wedding date was announced on screen, action off screen began to hot up. Viewers wrote in asking for the date to be changed as they would be away on holiday, the TV Times produced a 32 page souvenir that sold over 1 million copies and over 500 wedding presents were received by people unable to distinguish drama from reality.
The viewers weren’t the only ones to be confused. Pat Phoenix insisted on choosing her own wedding dress, she arranged for jewellers H. Samuel to visit producer Jack Rosenthal with a selection of rings and when it came for her to appear on set, she refused to leave her dressing room. She only came out when Jack Rosenthal had visited her and reassured her as he might have done with a daughter with pre-wedding nerves.
Also in 1967: Ken Barlow goes to prison; Harry Hewitt dies; Irma Barlow miscarries; Emily Nugent joins a marriage bureau; Hilda Ogden has a breakdown; Jack Walker leaves Annie and Annie Walker is arrested for throwing a football rattle through a shop window.