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Spin-off

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A Spin-off - in media terms - is to derive a new television or radio programme, novel, video game or special video release from an existing (or previously existing) one.

Coronation Street has had several spin-offs since the mid-1960s, which have achieved varying degrees of success but none of which have, understandably, reached the same levels as its "parent". This article summarises those spin-offs but separate pages go into further detail on each one.

Television ProgrammesEdit

The first spin-off from the programme featured the character of Leonard Swindley, as played by Arthur Lowe, and followed his progress after leaving Coronation Street when he became deputy manager of one of the Department Stores in the national chain of Dobson and Hawkes. The programme was a situation comedy, complete with audience laughter, and ran for two seasons totalling thirty-six episodes between 2nd June 1965 (some two months after Swindley's last appearance in Coronation Street) to 27th June 1966. Paul Dawkins co-starred as Swindley's boss, Ernest Parbold in the first series and, following a bad car crash involving the actor, was replaced by Robert Dorning as Walter "Wally" Hunt in the second. A notable regular cast member was Betty Driver who appeared as Mrs Edgeley, canteen manageress, some four years before starting in Coronation Street as Betty Turpin.

Arguably more a spin-off from Pardon the Expression than the Street proper, this unusual departure featured the adventures of Swindley and Hunt after they had been sacked from Dobson and Hawkes and they investigated paranormal activities as they travelled the country lecturing on astrological matters. A comedy-drama (without an audience laugh-track), the series lasted for only one series of six episodes from Monday 2nd January to 6th February 1967. The six episodes no longer exist in the Granada archives.

This special one-off fifty-minute programme was broadcast on Saturday 28th December 1968 and featured the characters of Jack and Annie Walker as they reminisced over Christmases past on the street. Featuring extended sequences from the previous years' episodes (when the programme had a tradition of the programme characters being involved in parties, plays or pantomimes rather than sensational storylines) the special was executive produced by H.V. Kershaw, and was watched in 5.9 million homes (the 15th most popular programme that week).

In the long-running tradition of the BBC's Christmas Night with the Stars, ITV produced a rare multi-region extravaganza for four years running between 1969 and 1972 which featured short segments from contemporary running comedy shows. Even more unusually Coronation Street was included in the line-up for the first two years and these two segments are, the dry runs aside, the only Coronation Street material which are known to be missing from the Granada archives. Both programmes were broadcast on 25th December in their respective years.

This proposed series would have followed the comic misfortunes of Jerry Booth and Ray Langton as played by Graham Haberfield and Neville Buswell. A pilot written by H.V. Kershaw was recorded in 1972 but to date has not been transmitted.

Broadcast in the programme's usual timeslot on Monday 22nd December 1975, this half-hour programme repeated the formula of the 1968 special but this time featured Annie Walker and Betty Turpin as they reminisced over past Christmases on the street. H.V. Kershaw provided the linking material.

Episode 2203 of Coronation Street, broadcast on 12th May 1982, featured the appearance of Cyril (Carl Chase) and Wesley McGregor (Tony Osoba), two half-brothers from Liverpool, who arrived in Weatherfield to join in the riotous engagement party of their old friend Eddie Yeats to Marion. John Stevenson, the writer of the episode, was so taken with the potential of the two characters that he suggested that a sitcom could be developed around them. Granada agreed and Stevenson was partnered with Julian Roach in writing the twenty-six scripts of The Brothers McGregor which were transmitted in four series from 4th September 1985 to 24th August 1988. In the series the parts of Cyril and Wesley were played by Philip Whitchurch and Paul Barber. Bill Podmore was executive producer in addition to his duties on Coronation Street.

Not a spin-off in the true sense of the word but on 28th May 1990 as part of the Telethon for that year, ITV broadcast a five-minute mini-episode of Coronation Street which saw the return of Hilda Ogden to the Street for the first time since her retirement to Derbyshire three years before.

Variously known as The Brighton Bubble and Coronation Street - After Hours, these six episodes were shown nightly from Monday 8th November to Saturday 13th November 1999. They featured Steve McDonald and Vikram Desai as they travelled to Calais via Brighton where they encountered Steve's ex-wife Vicky McDonald as well as the return of Bet Gilroy and Reg Holdsworth. The programme's on-screen title was just Coronation Street and it featured the normal theme music and logo, thereby giving the impression that they were just additional episodes of the main programme.

A special fictional episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show made to commemorate the 1000th episode of the Jeremy Kyle Show, featuring David Platt, Nick Tilsley, Tina McIntyre and Graeme Proctor, all in semi-scripted character. The programme was broadcast on 18th March, 2010.

This Christmas special, shown in two parts on 21st December 2012 was a fantasy based on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in which Norris Cole in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge was visited by ghosts who would change his vew of the festive season. It was notable for the return of the ghostly characters of Mike Baldwin, Maxine Peacock, Derek Wilton and Jack and Vera Duckworth.

Not exactly a spin-off from the main programme, this was a ninety-minute special to mark fifty years of the singer and presenter's showbusiness career. Hosted by Paul O'Grady, Ms Black had stated on several occasions that she had always wanted to appear in Coronation Street and a special sketch running to some two-and-a-half minutes was therefore made in which she went for a drink in the Rovers and was recognised, after a fashion, by Rita Tanner and Norris Cole.

Video and DVD specialsEdit

Episode and clip compilationsEdit

Several video specials were released in the 1980s and 1990s which either featured clips or complete episodes from the archives and had newly-scripted linking material of characters from the programme reminiscing about past events.

The first-ever Coronation Street release in 1982 featured Annie Walker, Elsie Tanner and Len Fairclough in the Rovers Return as they talked about past events from the early 1960s on the Street. Their reminisces were interspersed with six episodes from the archives

This two-part tape in 1985 featured Ken and Deirdre Barlow, Hilda Ogden and Betty Turpin as they greeted Alice Hughes, a resident of the street who moved to Australia in 1960 about events which had occurred since she had left. The character of Alice has never been referenced in any other history of the programme.

This tape released in 1987 featured the surprise return of Anne Cunningham as Linda Cheveski as she talked with Emily Bishop and Mike Baldwin over her mother's past on the street. Linda made the trip back to Weatherfield following the supposed death of her mother but this was later contradicted in Episode 7600 (13th May 2011) when Dennis Tanner stated she had been killed in a car crash seven years before.

This tape featured Betty Williams visiting Hilda Ogden in her retirement in a cottage in Derbyshire in 1998 as they talked over old times with Jean Alexander returning to the part that made her one of the best-loved women in the country.

"Straight to Video/DVD" specialsEdit

Several special feature-length programmes were made by Granada/ITV and released immediately to video or DVD. All featured the adventures of characters away from the Street and their departures and arrivals back were featured in the main programme proper, thus altering viewers to the opportunity of purchasing the video to "see what happened" in their absence.

This video, titled above as it was released, is now better known as "The QE2 Video" as it features Rita Sullivan, Mavis Wilton, Curly and Raquel Watts as they cruise on the famous ship where they meet up with Alec Gilroy. The video, released on 24th November 1995, was the subject of controversy as it was transmitted on ITV on Sunday 24th March 1996  despite promises made earlier that customers were purchasing an item that would not be televised. Granada was subsequently fined for this breach of promise.

This second feature-length special, released on 17th November 1997, featured the adventures of Jack and Vera Duckworth, Fiona Middleton and Maxine Heavey in the United States of America. The special is notable for a cameo appearance by Neville Buswell as Ray Langton, six years before his return to the programme proper. An edited version of the special was shown on ITV on 2nd July 2000.

This was the first special to be released straight to DVD on 10th November 2008. It was shot in South Africa and featured the return of Wendi Peters as Cilla Battersby-Brown. Other regular characters who featured were Fiz Brown, Chesney Battersby-Brown and Kirk Sutherland.

This special was released straight to DVD on 26th October 2009, was shot in Romania and featured Roy Cropper, Hayley Cropper and Becky McDonald with a cameo appearance by Eddie Windass.

The latest special to date was released straight to DVD on 1st November 2010 to mark the programme's fiftieth anniversary. Kevin Kennedy and Ken Morley returned to their roles of Curly Watts and Reg Holdsworth and were joined by the then-current characters Norris Cole, Mary Taylor, Rosie Webster and Jason Grimshaw. Brian Capron appeared in a cameo role of Dickie the Boatman in a humorous nod to his Street character Richard Hillman and Jeremy Edwards was the main guest star.

Internet specialsEdit

Beginning in 2010, ITV have released several short spin-off specials on the Coronation Street website which mostly link into and expanded on current plotlines within the programme.

This three-part series was released from 29th November to 3rd December 2010 and covered a tour of duty of soldier Gary Windass in Afghanistan. It told of the attack which led to his injuries and the death of his friend Quinny, events which were further explored in the parent programme when Gary suffered a breakdown on his return to the UK. The instalments were later shown as one programme on ITV2.

This was a five-part series released nightly from 6th December onwards to tie in with the storyline of the fiftieth anniversary disaster to hit the Street. Alistair Stewart of ITN News presented "reports" from the scene of the on-going situation as it developed.

This one-off special was released on 10th December 2010 to mark the programme's fiftieth anniversary and was a six minute scene in which Ken Barlow looked back on his time living on the Street in the company of his grandson Simon Barlow.

This was a ten-part comedic series of three-minute vignettes as Ken and Deirdre Barlow squabble or talk over the day's events before they go to sleep for the night. The downloads became available weekly from 14th February 2011 onwards.

This was the most ambitious series to date, made available on 26th September 2011 on a special website which had been launched thirteen days earlier concentrating on the disastrous modelling career of Rosie Webster. Three main instalments (later shown as one programme on ITV2) were supplemented by several smaller additional episodes.

This deleted scene complimented Episode 7591 (1st May 2011) which covered a trip to Blackpool by Steve McDonald and Tracy Barlow.

This segment was released on 11th May 2012 and allowed viewers to see what had happened to Kylie Platt and son Max Turner after she had walked out on husband David Platt in Episode 7854 (27th April 2012).

This two week series was linked to the storyline of Hayley Cropper's terminal cancer and showed various activities on her "bucket list". Some of the items were in the form of a photo essay but others were mini-episodes (as well as one piece of behind the scenes footage of the Blackpool sequences from Episode 8236 (16th October 2013)). Three original video segments were uploaded between 30th September and 13th October 2013.

This four-part series was released on 3rd, 5th, 10th and 12th February 2014 and featured comic scenes between Steve McDonald and Lloyd Mullaney in the Street Cars cab office.

ITV's Coronation Street webpage introduced a twitter page in the name of Norris Cole in May 2010. During the week of Peter Barlow's trial in October 2014, "selfie" videos were uploaded which showed extra scenes of Norris and Mary Taylor as they waited for their turn to take the witness stand at Weatherfield Crown Court.

In the lead up to the wedding of Kirk Sutherland and Beth Tinker, five episodes and other extras were uploaded on 12th, 22nd, 29th December 2014 and 5th & 9th January 2015, the latter coinciding with the wedding episodes themselves. A question was posed in each episode and there were three alternative answers available, also uploaded as mini-episodes.

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