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Subtitled Four Decades of Life on the Street, Katherine Hardy's novelisation covers events from Ken Barlow rowing with his father, Frank and Dennis Tanner being accused of theft in December 1960 through to Deirdre Rachid being jailed and the marriage of Nick Tilsley and Leanne Battersby in 1998. It concludes a short sequence where Ken wanders the street on 31st December, 1999 reflecting on the events of the past forty years.
Based very closely on scripts but with events rearranged chronologically to meet the demands of the change of medium it was published in paperback by Granada on 19th May, 2003. A later edition was issued on 1st June, 2004 that carried events forward as far as the Richard Hillman storyline with further revisions being carried out for a third edition published on 7th July, 2008.
Changes from the TV ShowEdit
- In the book when Martha Longhurst dies, Ena Sharples and Minnie Caldwell are present with her. In the series, Ena was playing the piano with the residents distracted to take any notice of Martha dying in the snug. Also Minnie wasn't present at the Rovers in the series.
- There is a scene included which involves Annie Walker telling Ken Barlow about her plans to retire, which wasn't depicted in the show as Annie had gotten an off-screen exit, with Billy Walker informing the Rovers that she wouldn't be returning. Also Annie mentions in the book that she is going to live with her sister, but in the show it is her daughter Joan.
- A scene in the book set in 1973 depicts Elsie Tanner visiting her son Dennis in prison, which describes Dennis as looking older and thinner. Although Elsie does visit Dennis in prison in the actual series, the event takes place off-screen as Philip Lowrie didn't return to film scenes for the character.
- The reveal of Stan's death is dealt with differently. When Hilda collapses with exhaustion from looking after him, she is visited and told by Eddie Yeats that Stan had died. In the show, Hilda finds out through telephone call in the Corner Shop, and Eddie didn't appear in 1984 as actor Geoffrey Hughes was unavailable to film. The part depicting Hilda receiving a visit from Eddie in hospital was most likely based off a 1987 episode when Hilda was put in hospital when caught in a violent robbery.
- Alan Bradley attacking Rita is depicted in the book, however his death is left out and he is simply arrested by the police.
- Bet Lynch's original 1995 exit is slightly depicted in the book, but leaves out any mention of her 2002 return to the street.
- Mike Baldwin's death appears to take place after Paul and Liam Connor take over Underworld. In the series Mike dies a few months before the Connor family debut.