Coronation Street: A Knight's Tale was the fifth in a series of "straight to video/DVD" spin-off releases produced since 1995 and was released on 1st November 2010 to celebrate the programme's fiftieth anniversary.
Mary Taylor excitedly tells Norris Cole she has won a luxury trip there for two for a medieval-themed weekend in one of the many competitions she has entered. Prompted by a highly amused Rita Sullivan, he reluctantly agrees to go.
Rosie Webster is equally as excited when she tells Jason Grimshaw that she has a modelling job as the face of "Strumpet Ale", a new alcoholic beverage supposedly about to take the UK by storm. The launch is to take place at Tatlock Towers.
Dressed as “Lady Mary” and “Prince Norris” in medieval gown and doublet and hose, Mary and Norris arrive at the castle to find that the only way across to the island on which it sits is by being rowed across by Dickie the Boatman, who reminds Norris of Richard Hillman. Once inside the castle, Phil, the acne-ridden jester, introduces the large number of people assembled for the weekend to their host – "Sir" Reg Holdsworth, who rides in on horseback and dressed in armour. He and Norris recognise each other and Reg tells him his firm runs such events all over Europe and that Mary’s “special arrangements” have been seen to, instantly arousing Norris’s suspicions. He is pleased though to take up Mary's suggestion and have Queen Mary’s suite as his room as he suffers from claustrophobia.
Things start to go wrong with the badly-organised weekend straight away: the kitchen is in chaos and Rosie, attired in a revealing “strumpet’s” dress, is stunned to find that she is but one of seven Strumpet Ale girls there for the promotion. She also has to join them in exuberantly calling out the drink’s selling cry as they hand out tins: “Wey-hey, wey-hey! Wassail, wassail! Get your belly full of Strumpet Ale!” and resigns after handing out just two cans and desperately trying to get her agent, Alfie (Jeff Cullen) on the phone. In the chaotic kitchens, just as Reg finds out that the whole Wild Boar procured for the main part of that night’s feast is frozen solid and can’t be cooked, his boss arrives. It is Curly Watts, now separated from Emma and one of the directors of the company who owns Tatlock Towers and who employed Reg when he sent him a begging letter. Curly is annoyed at the low number of bookings for the weekend when five similar events around the country are sold out and he berates Reg who fights back saying that the Norman who he groomed for management would have helped out and not just made criticisms. Curly does so and, with the help of all of the castle's hairdryers and a microwave, the boar is served up to the guests. Curly has had enough though and even though the evening gets better, he tells Reg that his seat-of-the-pants management style isn’t good enough and he’s being let go.
Rosie is recognised by one of the guests: Uri the surgeon who's service she was going to employ in January 2010 for her boob job, and he offers her dinner. He also invites her to join him when he meets a modelling agent in Manchester next week. Delighted, she accepts but less happy though is Jason who demands an explanation as to why she is with another man. Empty-headed as ever, Rosie dumps him for the richer man, telling him that the two of them were never having anything more than fun.
Someone else who has the scales removed from his eyes is Norris, who finds Mary draped on the canopied bed in his room, after procuring a spare key and ready for a night of passion. He realises that there was no competition win and she has planned this for some time. He sets off for home, despite the fact that is the middle of the night and Dickie the boatman is off duty. He meets a dejected Jason by the misty waterside and the two set off across the moat but Jason’s navigation lets them down and they end up back at the spot they started from.
Meanwhile, an abandoned Mary is temporarily unhinged and disconsolately wanders the castle’s corridors in her white nightgown, terrifying fellow guest Mrs Wiggins who thinks she is seeing the castle’s reputed ghost. When Norris returns to the castle, she traps him the castle’s “dungeon experience” but he is saved by Reg who saw the pair enter the room on CCTV. Embarrassed, Mary leaves and Norris cons Reg into thinking that she’s a lady of means and that he should pursue her for marriage.
Uri takes Rosie back to his room, telling her that he just wants to watch her sleep and admire her beauty but he has nefarious plans for the girl…
The next morning, Reg serenades Mary beneath her window and treats her to a lavish breakfast before proposing marriage. She asks for time to think on his offer. When she tells Norris, he is delighted that he has his stalker off his hands and encourages her to accept. Reg meanwhile tells Curly he can stuff his job and Norris later hears this from Curly as he is about to leave the island, prompting a change of heart when he realises that Mary is going to be saddled with a penniless Reg. He returns to the castle to try to persuade her to reject Reg. When the sacked man enters the conversation, the two men argue and Mary, ever the romantic, tells them that they must settle their differences in a medieval tournament.
Jason hears that Dickie, now back on duty, has brought over medical supplies for Dr Uri who has an emergency job. Having exchanged bitter words with the surgeon and heard him speak strangely of preserving Rosie’s beauty forever, he starts to have concerns. He finds his way to Uri’s suite in the west side of the castle but cannot get past Alexei, Uri’s hulk of a Scrub Nurse. Inside Rosie’s room, she is stripped to her underwear and tied to the bed as the surgeon prepares to inject a freezing Botox-like substance into her face to preserve her looks forever. Jason climbs onto the roof in another attempt to get into the room and save the girl but once within finds himself in a desperate fight with Alexei as Uri aims the needle at a now-anesthetised Rosie.
The tournament takes place – games of drafts, falconry, crazy golf, swingball, space hopper racing and archery but, goosed by Reg, Norris’s arrow goes wildly astray, into Uri’s room, severing a cord holding a large hanging candle bracket in place and bringing it down on Uri’s head. Jason overcomes Alexei and unties Rosie, taking her to their room to recover. She thanks her “real-life hero”.
Outside the tournament reaches its end with a swordfight when the weight of the armour causes the two men to collapse. Reg has won but is staggered to find out that Mary is penniless. Distraught that fate never gives him a chance, he is let off the hook when Mary tells him that she can’t marry him.
The Street residents set off for home. Reg is walking along with his belongings when Curly stops his chauffeur-driven car and offers him another chance. The two men drive off into the sunset, Reg full of plans for their successful future.
(Credited on the DVD in alphabetical order)
- Dickie - Brian Capron
- Mary Taylor - Patti Clare
- Uri - Jeremy Edwards
- Rosie Webster - Helen Flanagan
- Norris Cole - Malcolm Hebden
- Curly Watts - Kevin Kennedy
- Rita Sullivan - Barbara Knox
- Chef - Andrew McHugh
- Phil - Nathan McMullen
- Reg Holdsworth - Ken Morley
- Jason Grimshaw - Ryan Thomas
- Scrub Nurse - Andrew Vincent
- Mrs Wiggins - Marcia Warren
- Cast read-through took place on Thursday 5th August 2010 before shooting began. Locations were ITV studios for the scenes inside The Kabin, the outdoor set and Peckforton Castle, a Victorian folly built in the style of a medieval castle in Cheshire. As the castle does not have a moat, nor even a substantial body of water nearby, the moat scenes were shot on Heaton Park Lake in Manchester with the castle superimposed onto the shots by use of CGI.
- As well as directing, David Kester also produced the DVD and composed its music, the opening bars of which echo Eric Spear's theme music.
- Christopher Walker, a long-term designer of Coronation Street from 1993 to 1998 returned to the same role for this production.
- The production was previewed on a press day on Thursday 7th October 2010.
- The reference to Albert Tatlock in the naming of Tatlock Towers is made more explicit when Dickie the Boatman speaks of "Old Albert", the monster in the lake. Curly Watts, the only character to have been in the programme during the time when Albert Tatlock was a resident of the Street, makes no comment on the connection.
- Dickie the Boatman is a different matter though, with Norris Cole making explicit connections which Curly later picks up on. In true character, Jason Grimshaw seems permanently oblivious to the resemblance.
- References are made to Emma Watts, now separated from Curly, and Ben Watts and the part that Norris played in his birth (Episode 5182 (26th December 2001)). Ben is stated to be 9 years-old whereas at the time of the DVD release the character was one year younger.
- Sally Webster's illness with cancer is referenced by Rosie Webster as the reason why she cancelled her boob-job operation by Uri (Episode 7261 (28th January 2010) - although the clinic seen in that episode was not stated at the time to be one of Uri's).
- As Norris and Mary Taylor drive to the castle, her camper van is overtaken by a Harvey's furniture van, the sponsors of the DVD, and the Coronation Street logo can be glimpsed on the side of the vehicle.
- A receptionist who attends to Mary Taylor is uncredited, despite having half a line of dialogue before Reg barges her out of the way to deal with the customer himself.
- The DVD featured two extras - "The Making of A Knight’s Tale" and "Meet the Cast" which featured interviews with the six main cast members.