Advent Throwback Door 6: One soap did something a bit different with its Christmas episode

In its 1991 Christmas Day episode, Coronation Street did a Gogglebox – a whole 22 years before the show started on Channel 4.

Yep, they had us watching someone on TV watch TV (you still with us?)

But it wasn’t just any old TV that they showed Alf Roberts watching … Corrie fans got to watch the whole of the Queen’s Speech.

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We saw Alf – who ran a grocers at number 15, was married to Audrey and even had two spells as the mayor of Weatherfield (very exciting) – sit down to watch Her Majesty talk about the year that had passed.

Alf Roberts (Brian Mosley), screen wife Audrey (Sue Nicholls, right) and Rovers Return barmaid Betty Williams (Betty Driver), during filming outside Buckingham Palace in 1998 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Corrie returned for another 30 minutes immediately afterwards.

There wasn’t too much peace and goodwill on the show in Weatherfield in 1991, what with the Ken Barlow/Mike Baldwin/Alma Sedgewick love triangle still in full flow.

So we reckon Liz bought a nice break from all the drama.

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But all wasn’t plan sailing – a few weeks before the Xmas day episode aired, the plans to feature the speech were leaked (oooh, drama).

Granada TV managers feared the premature publicity about the soap opera’s scheduling could have given arch rivals BBC the chance to counter-attack.

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Well, the episode went ahead, and had more than 10 million viewers. Wonder what’s in store on the cobbles this Christmas Day …

Snow in Weatherfield in 2014 (Peter Byrne/PA)


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