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Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

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All-star cast announced for BBC Four drama telling the story of how Coronation Street was born

An all-star cast including Jane Horrocks (Little Voice, The Street), Jessie Wallace (EastEnders, Marie Lloyd), Celia Imrie (After You've Gone, Kingdom), Lynda Baron (Open All Hours, Fat Friends) and Christian McKay (Me And Orson Wells) have just begun filming a new BBC Four drama on location in Manchester, telling the story of how Coronation Street was born.

The one-off drama made for BBC Four, by ITV Studios, tells the story of the birth in 1960 of Britain's longest-running soap, which was very nearly called Florizel Street, and how creator Tony Warren, played by David Dawson (Gracie, The Secret Diary Of A Call Girl) fulfilled his dream of bringing characters from the Salford he knew and loved to the small screen.

Jessie Wallace plays Pat Phoenix, who became Tony's "tart with the heart", Elsie Tanner; Celia Imrie plays Doris Speed, who became Tony's "snob", Annie Walker; and Lynda Baron plays Violet Carson, who became Tony's "harridan in a hair net", Ena Sharples.

Jane Horrocks plays Granada's casting director Margaret Morris; Christian McKay plays Tony's boss, Canadian producer Harry Elton; while Coronation Street's longest-serving cast member, William Roache, will be played by his real-life son, James Roache (The Innocence Project, Cold Blood).

The stellar cast also includes Steven Berkoff (A Clockwork Orange, War And Remembrance); Sophia Di Martino (Casualty); John Thomson (The Fast Show, Cold Feet); Shaun Dooley (Five Days, Married, Single, Other); Henry Goodman (The Damned United); Michelle Holmes (The Red Riding 1980, The Chase); Phoebe Nicholls (Clapham Junction, Persuasion) and Tara Moran (Waterloo Road, The Bill).

Richard Klein, Controller BBC Four, says: "It's wonderful to have such an amazing cast to tell the story of how Coronation Street was born. This one-off drama tells the story of how, in 1960, British Television changed for ever. BBC Four is the natural home for this story to be told and this one-off drama forms part of the Great Northern season on BBC Four this autumn, which celebrates the culture, history, life and architecture of northern England."

Tony Warren is consultant on the 75-minute drama that has been written by Bafta-nominated Daran Little, who worked on Coronation Street for 20 years. The drama is being directed by Charles Sturridge (Brideshead Revisited, Shackleton, Longitude) and began filming in Manchester this week.

Kieran Roberts is the executive producer for ITV Studios and Kate Evans is the executive producer for the BBC. Rebecca Hodgson is the producer for ITV Studios.

Commissioned by Richard Klein, Controller BBC Four, and Ben Stephenson, Controller BBC Drama Commissioning, the title of the drama is to be confirmed at a later date.


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