Monday, 16 August 2010

Trams, trains, viaducts and crashes

In 1967 a goods train crashed over the side of the vaiduct at the end of Coronation Street.  It crashed into the middle of the street near the corner shop and Ena Sharples was feared dead underneath the wreckage.  In actual fact only one person died in the crash - a little girl.
At the time the 'outdoor street' scenes were actually filmed inside.  The houses were made of wood and canvas, the cobbles painted on the studio floor.  To create the train crash was an amazing feat in its day -  but to be honest, if you watch those episodes today, they don't stand up.
The train crash pushed the technical side of making the show to the limits and this caused the producers to seek somewhere to build an outdoor set.  Hence, in 1968 a former railway yard next to Granada Studios, they built a miniature version of the set with houses about 7 feet wide.
Now here we are in 2010 looking forward to the modern equivilant of that train crash - a tram crash.  Speculation is rife about who will die with the newspapers predicting a bloodbath.  I'm not so sure.  To have Jack Duckworth (a long-standing and popular character) die in such a way would squander some of the pathos you could gain by having such a character leave. 
I am wondering whether the tram story might go in a differnt direction.  At the moment we have Bill Webster and Owen working as builders.  Could it be that their work in the arches causes the crash?  Could Owen be on his way out and could there be repurcusions for Bill and Jason? 
We know that the change to filming in HD has meant that some parts of the outdoor set, which was built in the 80s, have had to be touched up.  Could the tram crash cause the demolition of the Kabin or the corner shop?  Would this give the show's designers a chance to rebuild that part of the set to meet the standards required by HD?
One of my bugbears is reading leaks, and advance stories given through press offices.  I think the show has more impact when you don't know what's coming.  We've all read an increasing long list of characters who are leaving the show but I hope there's an actor who knows they are leaving.  I hope their character dies in the crash and that we viewers only find out who the fatality is in the 50th anniversary episode.  Now that, along with the wonderful special effects I'm sure they'll be using, would have real impact.

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