On Coronation Street

A moment of closed-book recall. Possibly 2007, Roy Cropper (David Neilson) is on the payphone in his café, Roy’s Rolls. He complains, to whoever’s passing – Hayley most likely – that he’s been put on hold. ‘Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,’ he remarks wearily about the hold-tune. ‘I wouldn’t mind, but it’s always Spring. There’s never any sense of progress.’

The line (and it’s to everyone’s disservice that I can’t locate my note right now of who wrote the episode) struck me in the instant as being funny and beautiful, clever and sad. And its final word – progress – being the most perfect word (and sound) for that character’s voice to cast off. It’s what I think of when I think of Corrie.

We went to Coronation Street, the Tour, for my birthday weekend just gone. Me and my B., and our bestie Rob. A coupley Saturday day and night in Manchester beforehand – and it’s there I’ll start this little gallery of snaps… Dinner in a Chop House overlooked at each gobful by two writing Northern heroes of mine – Simon Armitage and Alan Bennett – either of whom could have written that Roy Cropper line (with Joan Bakewell doubtless giggling too).

Corrie Poets


To the Tour. Its guided part is good (this isn’t a review, so’s you know), but the moment they open the great wooden doors from the Bistro, and let you out to play, the sunshine on the cobbles floods your senses in all of its bright familiarity… well.

Corrie Icons


Corrie retail. With me looking as proudly chuffed as a birthday boy would be.


Corrie Shops

And a touch of comic gold on Prima Doner’s hygiene rating: more perfect pitch from the writers:

Corrie Food

On the left below, the garage doors where Gail lives, with its years of locks and escutcheons and door knobs and grime – the holes of removed latches and clasps. It’s a lovely archaeology of the not real and the real.


Corrie Doors

To end with – the home of that line about progress: the line that probably got me here at all. That, and my B., of course…

Roys Rolls




About Stevie Mitchell

I come from a long line of cartoons and beer. I was once peed on by a tiger. Hoping the resultant super-powers are yet to come, cos if these are they, then, grrrr....
This entry was posted in Family History, TV and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to On Coronation Street

  1. glynfedwards says:

    I saw Simon Armitage read at an education festival last week. He was cynical and inspiring, defeatist and hopeful. I adored him; he’s now a northern hero of mine also!

    • That’s great. I’m very late to him. So many years ago I remembered him reading a poem on a TV show, and the line ‘or did the gears while the other was driving’ (I didn’t remember it that perfectly). The image stayed with me, and I was thrilled, finally, to see it in print whilst reading just last night. It’s a terrific line. Funny how it can suddenly be ‘the right time’ to discover a poet, a musician…

      • glynfedwards says:

        I was exactly the same. I was standoffish to his writing in college when I assumed he was privately educated and the northernness was an assumed identity. I have warmed to him every time I’ve heard him, but last week, in the Great Hall at Wellington College, sitting with about twenty people in a room that should’ve held several hundred, I really understood his appeal. He’s you or I or anyone. And could equally have been a civil servant as a poet. Humble and humbling.

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