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 (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 10 months behind the UK storyline (See above!).
Coronation Street was the first thing i looked for on the internet and I have met many wonderful people through the 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've been in the habit of making notes and posting comments about the weekly episodes on the Coronation Street Guestbook. and i post them on my Downeast Blogspot where you can see the comments back as far as April 2007.
I used to write about Coronation Street on a professional basis for a website called Corrieblog 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. Check it out! The Bluenose Corrieblogger carries much of the same content for the Canadian timeline plus my Sunday Comments and other odds and ends.
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). Click on the face of the actor below to read all about it!
CBC carries Coronation Street in Canada and Coronation Street is now 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 and even better, no commercials! They keep about 3 or 4 weeks' worth online so you can catch up.
Coronation Street airs Monday to Friday on CBC at 6:30 pm local time (7:00 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. I love settling down with my newspaper, breakfast, tea and Corrie. CBC is currently catching up by showing double episodes of Corrie every week night and airing a 5 hour omnibus on Sundays. (single episodes during the hockey playoffs, time changes in effect so check your local listings. Double episodes start up again June 14). We should be caught up to within a couple of weeks of the UK broadcasts by the fall of 2012.
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?"
Graham Rumsby explains:
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 50 pings as of April 2010 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!
Then there are Contresses....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". Regular readers of Mike Plowman's CS Visual Updates will not be surprised to find that it was he who mistyped it as Contress!
What's the difference between a Contress and a Pingfest ?
Very little, both will usually involve copious consumption of alcohol but a Contress can only take place on "hallowed ground", namely, that of The Granada Studios Tour in Manchester. Sadly, the Granada Studio tours are now closed 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. Sometimes you can even get *really* lucky as i did in May 2006 (see below)
Coroping Contress 2010
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.
There was another coroping on a smaller scale in 2005 which i didn't get to and the most recent 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!
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, 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.
- Photos from the 2013 Set visit
- Photos from the 2010 Coroping and Set visit
- Granada Studios Set visit photos 2006
- My Coroping 2000 Travelogue.
Dublin Ping Weekend, 2002The Dublin ping weekend evolved after i decided to visit Ireland and suggested a get together in Dublin. We numbered 10, mostly mates from Ireland, N. Ireland and Manchester with two of us from Canada, hanging our hats at the (recommended!) Harcourt Hotel.
Kingston SailPing, 2001For several years, a sailing ping was held at Kingston, Ontario every June though, alas it is no longer held! Sailing, pinging and good friends... See the photos my friend Tracey and I took ,when we went in June 2001, which was the last year the event took place. TravelDiary here. The organizer, Sue, put a lot of work into organizing it every year and we all can't thank her enough for all her efforts!
Me, Graham and Christine behind the bar
A dream came true!
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! The last time I was on the studio grounds was Sept. 2000 when we were only able to see the outside Street set. This time, an inside, behind the scenes visit, just the three of us, David Nugent of Granada Studios and Mark Llewellyn, one of the editors of the now-defunct magazine, On The Air. Yesssss!!!!!!
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. We three took soooo many photos!
Left: Halifax Pingers 2008
Above: Kingston Ontario, Sail pingers 2001
(Just so you know, both photos are copyright and courtesy of Granada Media though the photo of John Saint Ryan was sent to me on request some time ago by the very nice Daran Little)
The very lovely Charlie Whelan,
long distance lorry driver circa 1994,
played by the equally lovely John Saint Ryan!
The irrascable Charlie West,
Jack of all Scams and Schemes circa 1999,
played by the talented Keith Clifford.
Top man but... really, now!!
This rumour was started by Mike Plowman when, during an innocent exchange of emails, he started joking with me that he knew it was really Charlie West that captured my heart and promised a surprise in his next Visual Update. He did that, allright. Check out a clip of the Visual update, kindly donated by Mike to see where the controversy began!!! Now i could hardly let that slide by could I? Retaliation was in order and I warned Mike fair and square. I took a few days to mull it over and then I got INSPIRED! A bit of web searching, a bit of play with PaintShop and This was the result... Mike and I called a truce, decided we were even but the rumour STILL persists. Let me tell you, Charlie Whelan's "big rig" is much more of a lure than Charlie West's "small holdings" I hope this clears up any misunderstanding! :))))