Coronation Street hailed in Parliament as iconic ITV soap marks 60th birthday

Coronation Street was hailed in the Commons tonight (Image: ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

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A Coronation Street star-turned-MP hailed the soap opera in Parliament tonight as it celebrates its 60th birthday.

Shadow Culture Minister Tracy Brabin, 59, played TV-licence dodging Tricia Armstrong in Weatherfield from 1994 until 1997.

Leading a Commons adjournment debate on the “much loved British institution”, she said: “Reaching its Diamond Anniversary is a phenomenal achievement.”

Ms Brabin said the “famous cobbles have been the stage to storylines that have gripped our country”, adding: “We’ve cried together, gasped together, laughed together and learned together.”

Tracy Brabin paid tribute to the soap in the Commons
(Image: Daily Mirror)

She highlighted “ground-breaking storylines” including Hayley Barlow's portrayal of a transgender woman, bistro waitress Steph Britton becoming a victim of revenge porn and James Bailey's struggles as “a young gay footballer struggling against homophobia”.

She also paid tribute to blockbuster episodes such as the 2010 tram crash marking its 50th birthday, Alan Bradley being killed by a Blackpool tram in 1989 – watched by nearly 27 million viewers – and themes such as “Richard Hillman’s reign of terror”.

She referred to iconic episodes including Alan Bradley getting hit by a tram in Blackpool
(Image: Granada Television)

A tram crashed onto the cobbles 10 years ago to mark its 50th anniversary
(Image: ITV)

Steph Britton was a victim of revenge porn
(Image: ITV)

“ Coronation Street has bravely challenged us and our way of thinking,” said Ms Brabin.

The MP for Batley and Spen, West Yorks, said joining the soap “as a young actor was a dream fulfilled”.

She told the Commons: “For working class northern actors, working on Coronation Street was the dream.

“We’d grown up watching it and wanted to be in it.

“I got the chance to work with the legends of Corrie – Jack and Vera, Raquel, Bet Lynch and Betty Turpin – watching and learning.

The show first aired in 1960
(Image: Getty Images)

Ms Brabin spent three years playing Tricia Armstrong
(Image: ITV)

“As someone who hadn’t been to drama school, that ability to memorise pages and pages of script overnight and bring authentic emotions and truth to the work was a skill I learnt on that job.

“Having spent years struggling with the feast and famine nature of the freelance life, it was a relief to have regular paid work, a paid holiday and chance to save.

“But more than that, it was the honour of being a part of something so associated with my class, in homes of people every night who shared my accent and experiences.”

Declaring herself “incredibly proud to have been part of the show’s history”, Labour MP Ms Brabin, who is bidding to become West Yorkshire Metro Mayor, said: “I’m one of thousands of actors, writers, producers, directors, costume makers and off-screen staff who work round the clock – and trust me I mean round the clock – to have brought this programme to our screens year after year and decade after decade while never slipping in quality.”

She was on the soap from 1994 to 1997 before being elected to Parliament in 2016
(Image: ITV)

Praising the drama as a show which “has never disguised its roots”, the self-proclaimed “proud northerner”, went on: “I’m proud that this show – which is as much a part of British culture as a nice cuppa, a fish and chip supper or sitting down to the Queen's Speech on Christmas Day – is played out in a working class community in the North.

“And in amongst the love stories, break-ups, punch-ups and laughs over a hotpot, Corrie has always been true to the everyday difficulties that life – and particularly working class life can bring.”

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