Coronation Street is my all time favourite tv show! It was created by the wonderful Tony Warren and first aired on December 9, 1960 on ITV out of Manchester, UK and is now broadcast 3 nights a week in the UK (five half hour episodes). Many countries around the world carry it including Canada. Most places outside the UK are not showing current episodes, but are behind the UK timeline depending on the broadcast network. CBC in Canada is currently about two weeks behind the UK storyline.
Coronation Street was the first thing I looked for on the internet and I have met many wonderful people through the old Sorcerynet irc channel #coro_street and through the various other forums on the web. These people have become good friends, and in once case, my fiance, and I have met many of them at pingfests here in Halifax and on my travels.
I used to write about Coronation Street on a professional basis for a blogging website but now I contribute to Glenda Young's Coronation Street blog. It's been a lot of fun, writing about a subject I know pretty well. The site is U.K. based so there are spoilers there for all comers. There are tid bits, photos, trivia, information about current and former actors and characters, Corrie history, upcoming UK spoilers and episode updates. The Bluenose Corrieblogger carries much of the same content for the Canadian timeline plus my Sunday Comments and other odds and ends but without spoilers for Canadians though there are rare exceptions.
I make notes about the plots and points during the week on our Canadian screens and post them in the Corrie.net guestbook and on my Bluenose CorrieBlog where you can see the comments back as far as April 2007.
CBC carries Coronation Street in Canada and airs it Monday to Friday on CBC at 7:30 pm local time (8:00 NST) and repeated in an Omnibus format, all five episodes aired back to back, on Sunday mornings. You will need to check your local listings for the time. In the Atlantic Canada region, tune in at 7:30 a.m. Coronation Street is also available to watch online. After each week's omnibus is aired in all time zones on Sunday, you can watch that week's episodes on CBC's video player and even better, no commercials! They keep about 3 or 4 weeks' worth online so you can catch up.
Since 2002, The Downeast Streeters here in Halifax have often been privileged to host An Evening With a Coronation Street actor. I have written up an account of each visit with accompanying links to photos. The actors we've hosted to date are: Jenny James and Lee Boardman (Geena Gregory and Jez Quigley) 26/02/2002; Samia Smith (Maria Sutherland) 25/02/2003; Sue Cleaver (Eileen Grimshaw) 02/03/2004; Bruce Jones (Les Battersby) 01/03/2005; Shobna Gulati (Sunita Parekh Alahan, 28/02/2006); Steven Arnold (Ashley Peacock, 04/03/2008); Michael LeVell (Kevin Webster, 31/03/2009); Vicky Binns (Molly Dobbs, 12/04/2011); Marc Bayliss (Rob Donovan, 12/11/2013); Jimmi Harkishin (08/04/2014).
I have been very lucky to have been able to visit Granada studios four times on private visits since 2000. Two of those visits were with large groups during an international Pingfest where a group of Corrie fans from all over converged on Manchester to meet, greet, and party. Here are photo albums from my visits:
Flickr album of a little of everything Corrie including a photos from some local star visits.
The first ever CoroPing weekend took place in September 2000, when a large Contress/ping took place in Manchester to mark the show's 40th anniversary. Internet friends from around the world, places as far flung as New Zealand converged on Manchester to party on the "holy ground" of the outdoor Granada Coronation Street Set, see a bit of Northern England and gather at local watering holes to meet, greet and get to know one another in person, having previously chatted on irc or corresponded by Guestbook, and email. The main events on the weekend included a barbeque, the highlight, a visit to Granada Studios on Saturday afternoon and a dinner and dance on Saturday night.
The next one I attended took place in May 2010. This started off as a belated birthday party for Fred Whyment, who is a regular on the Guestbook, and who is the father of one of the current Corrie cast. It turned into a proper Coroping and Contress due to the persistence and organization skills of one Christine Warren in Winnipeg! There were some meet and greets and some day trips by some of the eary arrivals and the weekend included a bus tour of Corrie filming locations guided by Mark Llewellyn. Saturday brought a set visit which thrilled us all and Saturday night our group took over the bar of the Castlefield Hotel for a party!
An amazing opportunity came up in 2006. A mate, Christine, was invited to a private on the set visit to Granada Studios and invited Graham and I to go with her! This time, an inside, behind the scenes visit, just the three of us, David Nugent of Granada Studios and Mark Llewellyn. We saw many of the sets including the cafe, the new Underworld set, various characters' "kitchens" and "living rooms" including one of the oldest sets, the Barlows at Number 1 and, of course, The Rovers Return! What a thrill to stand behind the bar! It was astonishing to see how small the sets really are. We got to see the outside sets again as well so I could get some updated photos but the real treat was the insider's view which few people get to see these days since Granada closed the set tours to the general public.
My most recent visit to the set was in January 2013 as part of a small group of bloggers who write for The Coronation Street Blog with editor Glenda Young. We were lucky to be able to see both the outside set and some of the sets inside the studio (including the Rovers, the above photo was taken on that visit), thanks to liaison David Nugent and were taken on a mini-bus tour around some of the local locations that have been used for filming, hosted by Mark Llewellyn.
In 2014, ITV moved the Corrie studios to a new location and has sold off the old property in Manchester centre but for six months in 2014 from April, the sets are open to the public on group type tours. People will be able to see parts of the inside sets, green room, dressing rooms and then walk on the famous cobbles. I was in Manchester just after it opened and bought tickets to go. Here's the details on that trip.
Corrie fans from the internet get together regularly for "pingfests", commonly known as a "Ping", which can be used as a noun or a verb. i.e."Are we pinging this weekend?"
" Pingfest eminated from a bunch of us that used to hang around on #Rovers, the original IRC channel on Undernet. There was Barry Selk, Nancy Charbonneau, Max Anderson, Chris Grant, Sean Rogers and other folk I can't remember off of the top of my head. We used to buy one another "Cyber" pints and Barry Selk in is his iniminatable typing fashion occassionally would type "ping" as opposed to pint. As "ping" is a term used on IRC to determine the amount of "lag" that a message may take to go from one person to another it was maintained as our term to describe a "Cyber pint".
"In early 1995 the first get together was held where folks that had met on the net and were interested in Coronation Street met "in real life". It was held at the Duke of York in Toronto. Claire Wollen, Tracy Roketta, Jane Little and a few others I don't recall went. I went to the second get together at the same location and when discussing it on IRC I just referred to it as a "Pingfest". It stuck and seems to have taken on a life of its own. Who knows one day it may end up in a dictionary as a "real" word :) There have been innumerable ones since not only in Canada but in the UK and New Zealand."
Pings may be of various sizes and complexities, from get togethers organized with games and prizes to just a couple of Corrie fans having a cup of coffee. A Pingfest is generally a larger crowd and there are often games, videos and lots of corrie chat. MiniPings are smaller groups, perhaps to meet a Corrie fan visiting in your local area. Micropings are usually just a few people. I have gone to organized pingfests, minipings, micropings, coffee pings, shopPings and pancake pings!
The first pingfest in Halifax was held over the Canada Day weekend in 1996. There have been 66 pings as of January 2014 in Halifax. If you'd like to attend a ping in Halifax, check out the Downeast Streeters website for dates and locations for upcoming Halifax and Nova Scotia pingfests. You MUST pre-register to attend as space is limited!
There is also such a thing as a Contress - also a getting together of Coronation Street net-fans. Again a typing error, this time of "Congress". The difference between a Contress and a Pingfest? Well... There's...
"Very little, both will usually involve copious consumption of beverages but a Contress can only take place on "hallowed ground", namely, that of Granada (ITV) Studios in Manchester. Sadly, the Granada Studio tours are now closed to the public in general but if you're very lucky you can get on the set as part of a package tour through Kemptville Travel who put on a "World of Coronation Street" tour every year in September. Coronation Travel out of Halifax also has recently been offering tours that include a stop in Manchester and a set visit."