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.
Although all somewhat forgotten today, 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 of success as its "parent". This article summarises those spin-offs but separate pages go into further detail on each one.
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.
Several video specials were released from the 1980's onwards which either featured either clips or complete episodes from the archives and had newly-scripted linking material of characters in the programme reminiscing.
- The first in 1982, The Magic of Coronation Street featured Annie Walker, Elsie Tanner and Len Fairclough in the Rovers Return .
- The second, The Jubilee Years in 1985 featured Ken and Deirdre Barlow, Hilda Ogden and Betty Turpin.
- The third one, The Life and Loves of Elsie Tanner 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.
- The final one, The Women of Coronation Street featured Betty Williams visiting Hilda Ogden in her retirement in Derbyshire in 1998 as they talked over old times.
"Straight to Video" specialsEdit
Two special programmes were made by Granada and released immediately to video. Both 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.
- Coronation Street - The Feature Length Special 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 QE2 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 1997 despite promises made earlier that customers were purchasing an item that would not be televised. Granada were subsequently fined for this breach of promise.
- Viva Las Vegas! in 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. This special has not, to date, been televised.
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.
Released straight to DVD on 10th November 2008, this special was shot in South Africa and featured the return of Wendi Peters as Cilla Battersby-Brown to the programme. Other regular characters who featured were Fiz Brown, Chesney Battersby-Brown and Kirk Sutherland.
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 Straight-to-DVD special was released 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 humourous nod to his Street character Richard Hillman and Jeremy Edwards was the main guest star. The plot concerned Reg's attempt to organise a medieval banquet weekend at Tatlock Towers, a hotel owned by Curly.