TONY WARREN, THE creator and writer of Coronation Street, has died aged 79.
Born Anthony McVay Simpson in Eccles, Manchester in 1937, he devised the show in 1960 aged just 24.
According to a statement, he passed away peacefully last night “surrounded by his loving friends” after a short illness.
Warren remained a consultant on the show until his death.
According to ITV, he was a regular visitor to the soap’s set in Trafford, Greater Manchester, “and loved nothing more than to catch up with the cast and crew during breaks in filming whilst offering the actors insightful feedback about their characters”.
Credited with creating the most successful programme ever in British television history, Tony adopted the stage surname of Warren during his early acting career as a child star.
In 1960, his initial scripts for Coronation Street were commissioned by Granada Television for the ITV network and he went on to write the first 13 episodes of the programme, which remains Britain’s favourite soap to this day.
The show was a success almost instantly, and Warren continued to write scripts for Granada on a fulltime basis until 1968. He then began to write other television dramas and went on to craft several critically acclaimed novels in the 1990s.
He wrote episodes sporadically until the late 1970s.
“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,” William Roache, who has played Ken Barlow in the soap since its first episode, 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.
ITV’s Director of Television Kevin Lygo said he gave ITV and the nation “the greatest gift imaginable when he created Coronation Street, an idea that continues to entertain millions on a regular basis”.
We all owe him an enormous debt of thanks.
In perhaps one of the least accurate predictions in the history of television, the Mirror’s TV critic Ken Irwin wrote after the second episode that Coronation Street was “doomed” from the outset.
He took particular issue with “its dreary signature tune and grim scene of a row of terraced houses and smoking chimneys”.
Writing on the occasion of the show’s 50th anniversary, he said the review has “haunted me for 50 years”.