- "You can't beat Blackpool. There in a couple of hours in a charabanc. Everybody's letting their hair down. You can cut smell of shrimps and best bitter with a knife. It's paradise." - Bet Lynch
Blackpool is a popular seaside resort town in Lancashire, England, famous for its Illuminations, Tower, and trams. Due to its popularity as a day trip venue amongst Northern mill towns and its proximity to Weatherfield, Blackpool has received many visits from Coronation Street residents over the years, notably three coach trips from the Street to the town in 1961 and 1988, which saw many of them indulge in the attractions of the town.
- Blackpool Tower - 158m tall Observation Tower, opened to the public in 1894. Contains the jungle Jim's, The Dungeon, The Circus, The Dungeon and the Tower Ballroom. In 2000, Norris Cole and Vera Duckworth were dancing partners in a competition which was held in the Ballroom. They defeated the reigning champions Ernie and Grace Kershaw when Jack Duckworth spiked the Kershaws drinks. Visitors can also take a lift to the top of the Tower. Ena Sharples, Minnie Caldwell and Martha Longhurst enjoyed such a trip in 1961, and Tyrone Dobbs proposed to his girlfriend Maria Sutherland atop the Tower in 2000. In October 2013, a terminally-ill Hayley Cropper achieved the ambition of a lifetime when she danced the foxtrot in the Tower Ballroom.
- Trams - The Blackpool tram network runs along the seafront Promenade. In 1989, Alan Bradley died when hit by a moving tram while chasing Rita Fairclough across the road. A year earlier, Alf Roberts rode on the upper level of a tram, hoping to catch a glimpse of his wife Audrey and Malcolm Reid as the tram moved down the Prom.
- Pleasure Beach - A popular amusement park. Jenny Bradley, Martin Platt, Shirley Armitage and Curly Watts enjoyed the attractions at the Pleasure Beach while on a coach trip to Blackpool in 1988. Many Coronation Street residents also spent time there during a Whit Monday picnic in the town in 1961.
- Beach - Dave Smith took Minnie Caldwell to Blackpool's beach when visiting the town for Minnie's birthday in 1971. By coincidence, Minnie's neighbour Ken Barlow was also there with his twin children Peter and Susan and a woman, Yvonne Chappell. In 1988, Don and Ivy Brennan spent some time at the beach with Ivy's son Brian Tilsley, his wife Gail and their children Nicky and Sarah Louise. In 2000, Gary Mallett rescued Warren Shipley from drowning in the sea at Blackpool beach.
- North, Central and South Piers - Three coastal piers hosting a variety of funfairs, venues and shows. Coronation Street resident Tom Lingard washed up under Central Pier in 1929 after being missing for a month.
- Illuminations - An annual lights festival, which runs from August to November of each year. In 1961, the planned Rovers Return Inn outing to Morecambe was merged with the OAP evening trip to Blackpool to see the Illuminations.
- Pony carriages - Jack Duckworth treated Vera to a trip in a pony carriage in 1993, telling his disbelieving wife not to worry about the money.
- Fortune tellers - Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell had their palms read on the October 1961 OAP trip to Blackpool, although Ena made it appear to her friends as though she was intending to give the fortune teller a piece of her mind. Ena missed the coach back home. Fiz Brown impersonated a fortune teller in 2002 when she ended up in a fortune teller's booth while running from a candy floss seller. Finally, tarot card reader Mary-Ann Galloway arranged for her son Michael who was the manager of the Tower Ballroom to open it for Roy and Hayley Cropper in 2013.
Visits from WeatherfieldEdit
The first 1961 trip to Blackpool was for the annual Whit Monday picnic. After an enjoyable day together, Harry Hewitt proposed to Concepta Riley on the coach back home. Later that year, the OAP club excursion to Blackpool was merged with the Rovers Return Inn outing to Morecambe, with the residents deciding on Blackpool. Don Brennan organised a third trip in 1988, and again many of the Street residents went along, with Phyllis Pearce and Arnold Swift enjoying themselves so much they decided to stay longer.
Blackpool has been a popular destination for short romantic breaks, with couples including Elsie Tanner and Len Fairclough in 1963, Ken Barlow and Yvonne Chappell in 1971, Ian Latimer and Gail Tilsley in 1986, Bill and Maureen Holdsworth in 1997, Danny Hargreaves and Sharon Gaskell in 1999, and Duggie Ferguson and Sunita Parekh in 2001 opting for Blackpool. It has also been the destination of groups of youths several times, with Kirk and Maria Sutherland taking advantage of their uncle owning a caravan to get time away. While in Blackpool with Maria in 2000, Tyrone Dobbs proposed to her atop Blackpool Tower, and in 2002, Toyah Battersby had a romance with Goran Milanovic, an illegal immigrant who wanted to marry her to stay in the UK.
Jack and Vera Duckworth had long had a fondness for Blackpool. Their son Terry married Blackpool-born Lisa Horten while in prison, but shortly after giving birth to their grandson Tommy Lisa left Terry for Des Barnes. In 1993, Lisa was killed in a road accident and the Duckworths tried to reach an agreement over custody of Tommy with Lisa's parents Jeff and Doreen Horton, although the Hortons won custody by paying Terry after his release from prison. The Duckworths were nevertheless welcome to visit Tommy in Blackpool and they often holidayed there. Vera fell in love with the town so much that when deciding to retire in 2008 she convinced Jack that they should move to Blackpool. The couple got as far as viewing houses but Vera's death early that year caused Jack to decide to remain in Weatherfield.
Rita Sullivan has also had a long history with Blackpool. As singer Rita Littlewood, she sometimes had singing engagements there in the 1970s. Her uncle, Sam Littlewood, lived there and it was to his home that she fled when she left husband Len Fairclough in 1980. Sam thought the pair should reconcile and contacted Len to inform him of his wife's whereabouts. Rita and Len discussed their marriage as they walked along the beach, and although Rita did not immediately return to Len she did upon reflection. In 1985, Rita went to Blackpool with friends Bet Lynch and Mavis Riley, with the intention of having a good time. Bet met toy rep Frank Mills there and he was so taken with her he followed her to Weatherfield.In 1989, Rita suffered a breakdown after old flame Alan Bradley was released from prison and tormented her emotionally. Rita went missing but surfaced in Blackpool, although the Street residents thought Alan had killed Rita. When Alan went to Blackpool to fetch Rita, she tried to run away from him, and he was hit and killed by a tram while giving chase. Following the traumatic incident, Rita linked Blackpool with Alan and when asked to go on holiday with the Websters in 1994 accepted so she could put Alan's ghost to rest. A few months earlier in the same year, newly-engaged couple Percy Sugden and Maud Grimes joined an OAP day trip to the resort which they didn't enjoy due to loud children and unruly youths.
Blackpool was the location of the search for missing Simon Barlow in 2010 when his grandparents George and Eve Wilson took him there to get him away from his dad Peter, as George didn't believe Peter to be fit to take care of Simon. Simon ran off when he heard George talk to Eve about taking him away from Peter, and a police search quickly ensued. Simon eventually turned up in Weatherfield having made his way home by himself.One year later, a reluctant Steve McDonald accompanied Tracy Barlow and their daughter Amy there when Amy also went missing and Steve found himself in trouble with wife Becky when they returned as she had known nothing about the planned trip.
In October 2013 Roy Cropper took his terminally-ill wife Hayley there on a special trip where, despite a hitch, he was able to fulfil Hayley's ambition to dance at the Tower Ballroom thanks to the intervention of a friendly tarot card reader Mary-Ann Galloway.
Coronation Street has a long association with Blackpool, both within the narrative of the programme and in the town itself. The first location filming ever conducted for the programme took place in Blackpool for Episode 46 (22nd May 1961), depicting the residents' Whit Monday picnic. Many later episodes were partially recorded in the town, including Episode 3002 (8th December 1989), which saw Alan Bradley famously getting hit by one of Blackpool's trams outside The Strand Hotel.
Blackpool was the location of Coronation Street-themed attraction The World of Coronation Street in 1996. The exhibit included imitation copies of the Street and the Rovers Return, and set reproductions chronicling the history of the programme since 1960.
The switching-on ceremony that marks the start of the sixty-day run of the Illuminations has been performed three times by Coronation Street alumni - by Violet Carson in 1961, Doris Speed in 1983 and by Julie Goodyear and Roy Barraclough in 1990.
Actors Nikki Sanderson, Patricia Fuller and Frank Atkinson were born in Blackpool. While starring in the programme, Violet Carson, Lynne Carol and Arthur Leslie lived in Blackpool and shared the journey to Manchester each day from the resort's Blackpool North station to Victoria Station in Manchester.