Coronation Street to broadcast live 50th anniversary episode in December

ITV1 is set to broadcast the first live episode of its primetime soap opera 'Coronation Street' for 10 years, to mark the 50th anniversary of the soap opera.

Coronation Street: live episode planned in run-up to Christmas
Coronation Street: live episode planned in run-up to Christmas

The episode, which has been confirmed by the broadcaster, is due to be broadcast in December and will be part of ITV1’s battle for dominance of the pre-Christmas schedules.

The live show is understood to be part of a tram-crash storyline, which is set to kill off some of the programme’s characters.

ITV, on its website, said: "After lots of speculation, we can now confirm there will definitely be a live episode of 'Coronation Street' as part of the show's 50th anniversary celebrations."

Show bosses were thought to be keeping the live show under wraps, but plans were let slip by 'Coronation Street' star Keith Duffy while he was making an appearance on 'Magic Numbers', the live ITV1 gameshow this week.

Stephen Mulhern, the host, said: "Is it true that they are definitely going to do a live episode to celebrate the 50th?"

Duffy said: "I don't know if I'm allowed to tell you this, but yes, they are."

It is not yet known if special, or even live, advertising spots will be available around the broadcast, but the spots are likely to be highly contested by premium advertisers, looking to cash in on what will inevitably be one of the highest- ratings winners for ITV1 this year.

Live advertising spots have been attempted in the past, with one of the most recent being a 2008 spot for car marque Honda.

The three-minute live spot was created by 4Creative, and aired during an episode of Channel 4’s 'Come Dine with Me'.

It included a team of 19 skydivers, who jumped out an airplane in Madrid to promote the launch of Honda’s Accord model.

The last time 'Coronation Street' was broadcast live was to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the show, which featured a guest appearance from the Prince of Wales. 'The Street' is no stranger to live episodes, as the first episode was broadcast live in 1960.

Although ITV1 has denied following its soap rival 'Eastenders', the BBC1 show did broadcast a live episode in February to celebrate its 25th anniversary. That episode brought in 16 million viewers.

Details of the episode are set to be released this month, however, speculation is already mounting that the anniversary week could feature special guest stars.

The soap opera has already featured several guest stars over the years, including comedian Peter Kay and former 'Fawlty Towers' actor Andrew Sachs.

In July, it was even reported that LA rapper Snoop Dogg was requesting a 'Coronation Street' cameo part.

ITV said: "Everyone is very excited, if not to say a little nervous. But we felt it was fitting to go out live to celebrate such a prestigious anniversary."

Viewers have been told to follow the show’s Facebook page and the show’s Weatherfield Gazette newsletter for updates.

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