Coronation Street's 10,000th episode was a total triumph, deftly blending the special mix of humour, warmth, characterisation and pathos that has kept the soap going so long.
With 9,999 other instalments to reflect upon there were a fair few nods to the past, some more obvious than others, and fans no doubt enjoyed playing 'spot the reference' across the hour-long edition aired on Friday 7th February.
RadioTimes.com proudly counts itself as one of those fans, so here are out favourite callback moments in Corrie's milestone edition:
- Selected episodes of classic Coronation Street are now streaming on BritBox
- Coronation Street: who is leaving, returning to and joining the soap?
1. Kids at play
The episode opened on Hope and Ruby playing out on the street with a bouncing ball, just as episode one began with two kids doing exactly the same thing. Who needs mobile phones and Spotify?
2. All hail Hilda
One of the many iconic characters to receive a namecheck, curler-wearing busybody Hilda Ogden was referenced when Jenny saw Rita cleaning the bar and exclaimed: "Put your dishcloth down, Hilda!" Mrs O was employed to keep the Rovers spotless and often sang a little ditty as she did so. Loudly and out of tune.
3. Hayley's birthday card
A real tear-jerker this one - Roy gave Amy a birthday card written in advance by her kindly godmother Hayley before her tragic passing in 2014. It got us remembering the time the Croppers nearly adopted Amy, when Tracy claimed Roy was the father while pregnant and offered to sell them the baby before deciding she wanted to keep her. Roy and Hayley originally named her Patience (they should've played the Take That song of the same name in the party bus).
4. Long live Linda Cheveski
Receiving news of husband Dennis Tanner's death, and receipt of his ashes to scatter in Blackpool, Rita popped to Ken's and they looked through the paperwork sent on to the red-haired widow. Ken was delighted to learn Dennis's sister, Linda Cheveski, was still alive and living in Canada. Another original character, like Ken and Dennis, Linda left in 1968 and was last seen in a cameo in 1984 as part of mum Elsie's exit.
5. The loves of our lives
In a warm and fuzzy scene featuring three bona fide Weatherfield legends, Ken, Rita and Audrey poignantly remembered their much-missed other halves. Ken admitted Deirdre was the still the one, while Rita and Aud nearly came to blows when their long-buried rivalry over Alf Roberts was dredged up. Luckily Ken stopped the ladies coming to blows and the trio raised a glass 'to the loves of our lives'.
6. Rosie's goth phase
This really tickled us: Sally tried to break the ice with Roy's spiky niece Nina who tagged along for the ride to Blackpool at Carla's insistence, and cheerfully reminded the audience that her daughter Rosie was a goth once. Hard to imagine now as she became such a glamour puss, but she once looked like an extra in a Siouxsie and the Banshees video.
7. Elsie's legacy
In the name of closure, widowed Rita finally took her engagement and wedding rings off that Dennis gave her, one of which belonged to his mother, iconic street siren Elsie, who she described as: "A very special lady". That's an understatement. Paying tribute to one of the soap's most famous heroines, the jewellery was gifted as a birthday treat to Amy Barlow, the next generation of the show's first family. Awww…
8. Sounds of the past
Nostalgia unashamedly took over in the closing moments as Rita walked through an empty Rovers bar after hours and audio clips of classic characters including Bet Lynch, Betty Williams, Mavis Riley, Alec Gilroy among many others played, stirring memories among viewers who were probably by now welling up. Ken may be the godfather of the street, but our Rita is surely the godmother, having first appeared back in 1964 before returning as a regular in 1972.
9. Not ready for knacker's yard
Wistfully recalling absent friends to stepdaughter Jenny and processing the emotions of the day, Rita realised life was for living and exclaimed: "Some people might be ready for knacker's yard, but I'm not!", a nod to a line of dialogue from the aforementioned Elsie's first scene from episode one as the eternally unsatisfied heroine regarded herself in the mirror: "Eee, Elsie, just about ready for knacker yard…"
10. Credits where credit's due
A nice final touch was the last shot of the cobbles turning from 21st century colour to vintage 1960s black and white, as different versions of closing credits from across the last 10,000 episodes played over the evocative theme music. No, you're crying…
Visit our dedicated Coronation Street page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.