'Coronation Street' landed a pair of world records today as it prepares to mark its 50th birthday.
The show has been recognised as the world’s longest-running soap, while William Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since the first episode, is now the world’s longest-serving soap actor.
The popular drama has headed into the record books following the cancellation of US series 'As The World Turns', which previously led the field.
Roache collected an award for the accolade at a special street party on the cobbles at Granada TV’s studios today, where guests and cast members were celebrating the show’s half-century.
The 78-year-old actor said: “An award like this is something that creeps up behind you while you are getting on with the job – that job is Coronation Street. I’m lucky to be in it.”
Roache, who was given a standing ovation, added: “I will hold this on behalf of Team Coronation Street.”
The show actually celebrates its birthday on December 9, but programme bosses were preparing for the the anniversary with today’s party as well as giving further details of how the occasion will be marked on screen.
The street is to be rocked by death and disaster with a tram accident.
And producer Phil Collinson said a special live episode could include computer-generated images, which has never been attempted before.
He added that viewers can expect to see “a tram crash, a death, a wedding, another death, a birth, a murder, a fire and another death” as part of the milestone celebrations.
Both the Corrie records have been entered in the new 2011 Guinness World Records book.
Executive producer of the show Kieran Roberts said: “These days it’s rare for any drama to run for more than a few years. In fact, back in 1960, Coronation Street was originally commissioned for just 13 episodes.
“Therefore it truly is an extraordinary achievement that, 50 years later, the show which first aired just after The Beatles were formed remains hugely popular in Britain and around the world.”
He added: “Everyone connected with Coronation Street is very proud to acknowledge William’s richly-deserved record as the world’s longest-serving soap actor, and we are just as proud of achieving the record for being the longest-running soap opera in the world.”
Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief of Guinness World Records, said: “Coronation Street truly is a great British institution.”