It looked like Coronation Street and Emmerdale would both be absent from the schedules as a result of the pandemic’s impact on production, but filming thankfully resumed on ITV’s soaps before episodes completed pre-lockdown ran out meaning there will be no transmission break.
However, the shows remain in their reduced schedule pattern and won’t be back up to the usual six for a while yet, so to plug the gap the channel has announced three brand new documentary series for the summer that delve back into the archives.
Coronation Street’s Memorable Moments, narrated by Jason Manford, assembles clips curated to a different theme over eight episodes, focusing on everything from classic weddings, dastardly villains, feared battle-axes and salacious scandals on the street.
In addition we have Coronation Street Icons, four specials narrated by ex-Rovers barmaid Sally Lindsay celebrating a quartet of Weatherfield legends and the stars who play them: Ken Barlow (William Roache), Sally Metcalfe (Sally Dynevor), Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard) and Roy Cropper (David Neilson).
Meanwhile, Emmerdale Family Trees traces different generations of the village’s most famous and beloved clans, the Sugdens, Tates and the Dingles – who are so sprawling they warrant two episodes! Gaynor Faye, who played Megan Macey in the Yorkshire soap, narrates a mix of classic clips and new interviews with cast members past and present.
Kate Rawcliffe, Head of Entertainment Commissioning at ITV, emphasises the documentaries launch as reflecting the important place the soaps have in the channel’s schedules, and the hearts of the viewers. “Not only will new episodes of the soaps continue, we now have these new specials to join them and entertain the audience.
“Both Corrie and Emmerdale have a rich history and these new programmes celebrate that.”
Tom McLennan, Director of ITV Studios Entertainment North echoes the sentiment, saying: “The characters and storylines are as gripping today as ever and this is the perfect opportunity to celebrate them.”
No specific air date has been confirmed, but the shows are set to run over the summer alongside the soaps, which air single episodes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 29th June once Emmerdale’s twice-weekly lockdown specials end next week.