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Spectrum was a fortnightly half-hour arts programme which ran locally on Ulster Television in the early 1970s. Although the premise of this series was to showcase arts matters in Northern Ireland, the edition transmitted on Friday 10th November 1972 at 10.30pm featured a retrospective on the first twelve years of Coronation Street. Presenter Derek Kinnen and a film crew travelled over to Manchester where they conducted a series of interviews with selected members of the cast and crew for the programme which is now notable for containing some of the only known colour footage of these people talking about the Street.

Featured were:

  • Executive producer H.V. Kershaw who spoke of the programme’s need to be entertaining first, rather than totally true to life and the initial casting process by which some four hundred actors where whittled down to a cast of twenty-four. He said that the affection with which the programme was held by the people who made it was responsible for its longevity and a sense of boredom among the same people would signal its end.
  • Violet Carson who said that the programme’s appeal was that it was “everyman” and that viewers could recognise within the characters people who they also knew in real life. She admitted that she sometimes felt as if she just put on Ena Sharples's coat and went through the motions but quite often the scripts gave her good and interesting things to do. She was also trueful in admitting that she might not have taken the part on if she knew how long it would last as she preferred to be a freelance artist as a singer and pianist as well as acting and had assumed that the medium of television hadn’t wanted someone of her age. She spoke of having to live life in a “goldfish bowl” as a result of the programme but said that she would go on as Ena for as long as she physically could.
  • Writer Susan Pleat who described the storyliner process and stated that what was interesting for her was writing for characters she liked and taking the episode further than the strictures set out for her by the storyliners. A difficulty for her was writing for new characters who weren’t established and no one knew exactly where they were going.
  • Writer Leslie Duxbury who stated that the programme was enjoyable to write and some of the episodes were the best programmes put out on television within a single week, noting that some of the comedy he’d written for the show had been the best comic writing he’d ever set down.
  • Peter Adamson who spoke of his alcoholism and his 1969 suspension and the second chance that Granada had given gave him. He further admitted that he had a great love for the programme. He noted that actors sometimes changed lines when people who weren’t rooted in the north of England wrote them. He spoke of the Equity actors' strike and the way in which it brought the character of Len Fairclough out, particularly in the fight scene with Ken Barlow in Episode 122 (12th February 1962), prior to which he had almost been a speaking extra on the programme. He admitted disliking constant requests for autographs and having achieved fame and fortune, he realised that it was not quite what he thought it would be.
  • Doris Speed who admitted that she would always have joined the programme, even knowing of its huge future success, as her parents were on the stage but were never successful and prior to 1960 she had felt that her career was going to follow the same path. She said that one way in which Annie Walker had changed over the twelve years was the increase in comic situations and losing the “starchy” North Country publican image she had started with, especially following the death of Arthur Leslie as people who stopped her in the street often spoke of their dislike of the way in which Annie spoke to husband Jack. She told of a story concerning a posh lady in Fortnum & Mason’s in London who told her that she liked Annie because she was a “glorious snob”.
  • William Roache who said that the ability to do other stage work and what he was able to learn from the programme meant that he didn’t feel restricted by the part. He further stated that two episodes a week meant that some of the scripts weren’t up to scratch but that a lot of episodes were as good as any play which would be transmitted the same week. William Roache alone of the cast members interviewed stated that constant fame didn’t bother him. Ironically, Roache was the only member of the cast who stated that he could foresee a time when he left the programme to be with his family who were based in London.

The programme was produced by Bob Brien and only shown locally. In 2010 the film rushes without any superimposed title captions were uploaded to the internet on the UTV player as a completed programme although it was given a date of 6th September 1972 rather than the transmission date. It is possible that this was the filming date of the sequences contained in the programme.

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