Writer Tony Warren, who created ITV soap Coronation Street, has passed away at the age of 79 following a short illness.
Warren is said to have died peacefully on Tuesday night surrounded by friends, with the show’s production team and cast reportedly left “heartbroken” when they heard the news this morning.
Born Anthony McVay Simpson in Eccles, Manchester, Warren devised the idea for the Weatherfield-set soap at the age of 24 at the start of his writing career and remained a consultant until the day he died.
Warren received numerous accolades throughout his career, including the RTS Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 on Coronation Street’s 50th anniversary.
He was also a recipient of the Special Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards and received an honorary degree from Manchester Metropolitan University in recognition of his groundbreaking television and creative writing.
Actor William Roache, who has played Ken Barlow since the first episode in 1960, said today: “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. 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.”
Actress Helen Worth, who has portrayed long-suffering Gail McIntyre since 1974, added: “Tony was a genius of our time, the dearest funniest and most inspirational man of his generation. He brought real life into our homes for us all to relate to and enjoy. He will of course live on forever through Coronation Street.”
The Corrie creator adopted the stage surname of Warren during an early acting career that saw him perform alongside such stars as Violet Carson and Doris Speed, who later took on roles in the ITV soap.
The initial scripts for Coronation Street were commissioned by Granada Television in 1960, with Warren penning the first 13 episodes of the show which is still a mainstay of the ITV schedules.
Executive producer Kieran Roberts, who spent 15 years working alongside Warren, commented: “Tony Warren the writer was a pioneer, a revolutionary, a true genius, a giant of British television.
“He will rightly be remembered around the world as the creator of Coronation Street but those of us lucky enough to have worked on his wonderful show and to have known him will also remember the man: the razor-sharp intelligence; the brilliant, often mischievous sense of humour, the courage and conviction, the passion for people, the immense generosity of spirit and capacity for love.
“We all deeply mourn his passing but celebrate his work and his life, both of which have made the world an infinitely richer place.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.
And visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.