Tony Warren, Creator of World’s Longest-Running TV Soap, Dies at 79

'Coronation Street' Creator Tony Warren Dead
Courtesy of James Curley/REX/Shutterstock

LONDON — Tony Warren, the creator and writer of the world’s longest-running TV soap opera “Coronation Street,” has died at the age of 79.

He was born Anthony McVay Simpson in Salford, U.K. in 1937, and adopted the stage name Anthony Warren as a child actor. After training at Elliott Clarke Theatre School in Liverpool, he was a regular on the BBC radio show “Children’s Hour,” before performing in a number of radio plays.

Warren created “Coronation Street,” which is set in a blue-collar neighborhood in Northern England, when he was 24, in 1960, for Granada. It is broadcast across the ITV network to this day and continues to be a top ratings performer. The show airs three days a week in primetime on flagship channel ITV1.

Actor William Roache, who worked with Warren since “Coronation Street’s” first episode, said the writer was the “father” of the soap, and would be “desperately missed.”

“When I first met Tony I couldn’t quite believe he’d created and written ‘Coronation Street’ because he was no more than a young boy,” he said. “It was his boyish energy, even recently when I saw him again, that I’ll remember. I loved Tony’s energy. He was the father of ‘Coronation Street’ and he gave us all so much. He will be so desperately missed because of who he was and what he did. We owe him so much.”

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  1. frank smith says:

    Those early shows were an instant hit with viewers ans have remained so, sometimes it gets a little away from the Ordinary working folk that made it so well loved, but lately it needs a new character with a good sense of humour ie Fred Elliot type, a little too serious lately, but still great.

  2. Paul Rackham says:

    Tony created a gem when most of the television shows had people with posh English accents only. If it wasn’t for him 90% of the UK dialects wouldn’t be on Television.

    • Kate H says:

      This is incorrect, for two reasons. First, British television tended to use a type of ‘netural’ accent called “received pronounciation”, which is sometimes confused for an upper-class dialect but isn’t. It was designed for neutrality and clarity and was considered preferrable to the “posh” accents, which were often unintelligible. Second, ITV was a network of regional companies all encouraged to develop their own distinctive identities, so regional accents in 1950s television were more common than is often imagined.

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