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In 2015, Coronation Street produced a sketch for ITV's annual Text Santa charity fundraising evening. The event took place on Friday 18th December and raised money for Macmillan Cancer Support, Make-A-Wish UK and Save the Children.
Marking the thirtieth anniversary of the 1985 science-fiction film Back to the Future, the sketch depicts Tyrone Dobbs and Kirk Sutherland going on a journey encompassing Weatherfield's past, present and future in a DeLorean time machine identical to the one featured in the film trilogy. Sir Richard Branson guest-starred as the car's owner.
The 13-minute mini-episode was broadcast in two parts during the appeal which was shown on ITV at 8pm (pre-empting that evening's regular episode of Coronation Street). Matt Hilton directed the episode.
On Christmas Eve, Fiz is preparing dinner for Tyrone, Kirk and Beth, while Tyrone and Kirk await the last customer of the day at the garage. When the customer in question arrives, they are amazed at his strange-looking DeLorean, and once he leaves they jump inside the futuristic vehicle and take it for a test drive. The customer has instructed them not to touch any buttons but Kirk keys in a date - 25th December 1990 - on a panel in the gadget-laden interior while trying to get Christmas songs on the radio. When Tyrone puts his foot on the accelerator, the vehicle suddenly jumps to 88mph and vanishes into thin air, leaving streaks of fire behind. It reappears in the same place - but when they hear Jack and Vera Duckworth rowing inside No.9, Tyrone realises they've gone back in time. A quest to get back to 2015 in time for dinner begins but they are unable to work the controls and arrive in black and white. Venturing into the Rovers to find out the year, they encounter Annie Walker, Albert Tatlock and Elsie Tanner, who tells them it's 1967 before laying into Annie for barring her. Refused service for being "three sheets t'wind", Tyrone and Kirk return to the car, only to find it missing. Kirk is lost at being stuck in the 1960s, but Tyrone encourages him to look at the bright side - they can meet The Beatles and mini-skirts are in fashion. They are saved when the car returns, having been taken for a ride by a guitar-playing stranger. They arrive in another year, where they check at the Kabin to ask Rita what year it is, but instead they find Mavis Wilton at the counter who becomes flustered by their appearance. Kirk figures out how to work the time controls but gets a digit wrong and they briefly stop in the year 2025, where they see a 21-year-old Amy Barlow, now licensee of the Rovers, throwing out a punter. Meanwhile, back in 2015, the garage customer has been at the Corner Shop listening to Dev complaining about being open on Christmas Eve instead of being with his family, and pitching terrible business ideas to him. When Leanne sees him, she is amazed at meeting Noel Edmonds and pesters him to get Mr Blobby's autograph. Arriving back at the garage just as Tyrone and Kirk pull up, the customer decides to forego the repairs and leave, but - now late for dinner - Tyrone and Kirk persuade him to drop them off at No.9 half an hour earlier, where they are warmly received by Fiz.
- Fiz Stape - Jennie McAlpine
- Tyrone Dobbs - Alan Halsall
- Kirk Sutherland - Andrew Whyment
- Sir Richard Branson - Himself
- Jack Duckworth - William Tarmey
- Vera Duckworth - Elizabeth Dawn
- Dev Alahan - Jimmi Harkishin
- Annie Walker - Sally Dynevor
- Albert Tatlock - Joe Duttine
- Elsie Tanner - Debbie Rush
- Leanne Tilsley - Jane Danson
- Mavis Wilton - Les Dennis
- Amy Barlow - Elle Mulvaney
- The sketch was shown without a title. On Coronation Street's official YouTube channel, it was uploaded with the name Sir Richard Branson Stars In Coronation Street. There were no cast or production staff credits.
- Many references are made to the Back to the Future film series. Other than the car itself, the nods include:
- The opening production credits have same style and font as in the films.
- The episode begins with Fiz Stape's oven timer ringing. Back to the Future begins with all of Dr Emmett Brown's clocks ringing. More clocks are seen in the Kabin, where the Gazettes carry the headline Save the Clock Tower.
- Kirk Sutherland and Tyrone Dobbs are dressed similarly to the characters Marty McFly and Dr Emmett "Doc" Brown respectively.
- A character is seen playing a guitar in 1967, 1990 and 2015. Marty McFly played a guitar in Back to the Future.
- Various parts of the film's score are featured.
- A hoverboard can be seen inside the DeLorean.
- At one point Kirk utters Doc Brown's catchphrase, "Great Scott!"
- Jack and Vera Duckworth appear in archive footage, seen when Tyrone and Kirk visit 25th December 1990. The clip featured comes from Episode 3165 (25th December 1990). For this sequence, 9 Coronation Street's door was restored to its old yellow colour. All other past characters were played by members of the 2015 cast.
- The scenes set in 1967 are presented in black and white and in 4:3 aspect ratio, reflecting the way Coronation Street was made until 1969. Likewise, a late 1960s-era 'End of part one' ad bumper is used and, at the beginning of part two, part of the 1964 title sequence.
- Minor changes were made to the Rovers set to restore it to its 1967 appearance; the dart board was moved to its former position facing the main doors and the wallpaper was changed. Tight camera angles were used to avoid showing the upholstered seating areas which were added in 1986. The licence outside the pub was changed to read 'Jack and Annie Walker' (although this was an error as Jack was the Rovers' sole licensee until his death in 1970). The licence was also changed for the scene which took place in the year 2025, when Amy Barlow was the landlady.
- Les Dennis plays Mavis Wilton in a scene which must take place sometime between 1990 and 1997 (due to the existence of the new Kabin). The part was included due to Dennis's well-known impression of the character from his days as a TV comedian alongside fellow impressionist Dustin Gee. His signature line, "I don't really know", is uttered here.