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Coronation Street last year ditched pandemic plot for being 'too far fetched'

Coronation Street
(Image credit: ITV)

Oh, the irony!

Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod has revealed that he considered having a story on the soap about a global pandemic - but didn't run with it because he thought it was “too far fetched.”

The soap’s head honcho made the admission in a press conference ahead of Coronation Street’s 60th anniversary, in which he discussed the thunderbolt of Covid-19 and its impact on his plans for the diamond landmark.

Responding to a remark that “you couldn’t write it”, he revealed how, in a bizarre case of foreshadowing, he had previously been approached about running a storyline in which a pandemic hit the cobbles, but decided it was too implausible to work.

Super spreader: The hypothetical plot saw Tyrone bringing a bird flu-like virus to Weatherfield

Super spreader: The hypothetical plot saw Tyrone bringing a bird flu-like virus to Weatherfield

“You say nobody could’ve written this, but about a year ago, when we were talking about what we’d do for our 60th anniversary, two of our writers pitched a story for a global pandemic, would you believe,” MacLeod explained.

“It originated in Tyrone’s pigeon loft. He’d taken up racing pigeons in homage to Jack, and it came in as some sort of bird flu and spread round the street.

“The consensus around the writing room was ‘No, it’s just too far fetched, no-one’s going to buy that.’ Fast forward to now, and it all looks horribly prescient.”

Coronation Street’s special week of episodes kicks off 7th December, with three stories taking centre stage. 

Yasmeen will discover her fate following her trial for the attempted murder of abusive husband Geoff, with the verdict having dramatic ramifications back on the cobbles.  

Coronation Street spoilers: It’s judgement day for Yasmeen Nazir!

Anniversary verdict: Yasmeen will learn if she's to stay in prison or walk free

Peter’s paranoia over Carla’s recent fling will rocket, leading him to wrongly accuse Daniel of being his partner’s mystery man. Meanwhile, the residents will come together to fight ruthless Ray Crosby’s redevelopment plans.

MacLeod added that social distancing rules as a result of Covid had forced him to cut back on big stunts, but admitted that he felt the changes had worked for the better.

“We were going to build some stuff, but we physically couldn’t get enough chippies and other design personnel into our construction shed to make the things we wanted, so we had to jettison that idea,” he said.

“What it’s forced us to do is, to some degree, go back to brass tacks and focus on character and writing and performance - still keep the brilliant stories but boil them down to their essence.

"It’s arguably, I would suggest, truer to the original version of Coronation Street than the slightly more bells and whistles version we were going to do.” 

Alison Slade
Alison Slade

Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine. 

She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way.

There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.