CORONATION Street creator Tony Warren has died aged 79.
In a statement, ITV said: “It is with great sadness that Coronation Street confirms legendary creator and acclaimed writer Tony Warren MBE passed away peacefully last night surrounded by his loving friends, aged 79, after a short illness.”
Warren devised the idea for the Weatherfield soap at the age of 24, at the very beginning of his writing career, and was a regular visitor to the soap’s set in Trafford, Greater Manchester.
Ken Barlow actor William Roache, who had worked with Warren since Coronation Street’s first episode on December 9 1960, said he was the “father” of the soap.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
The ITV statement continued: “All who worked with Tony throughout his illustrious career had the utmost respect for his achievements and he remained a consultant on the Manchester-based soap until the day he died.
“He was considered one of the television industry’s greatest minds as he devised the idea for the Weatherfield soap at the age of 24, at the very beginning of his acclaimed writing career.”
Born Anthony McVay Simpson in Eccles, Manchester, Warren was a regular visitor to the soap’s set in Trafford, Greater Manchester.
He loved catching up with the cast and crew during breaks in filming. He also offered the actors insightful feedback about their characters and storylines.
Credited with creating one of the most successful programmes in British television history, the Coronation Street creator adopted the stage surname of Warren during his early acting career as a successful child star.
He trained at the Elliott Clarke Theatre School in Liverpool and became a regular on Children’s Hour on BBC Radio.
He also acted in many radio plays and performed with the actors who were later to become household names in Coronation Street, most notably Violet Carson, who played battleaxe Ena Sharples, and Doris Speed, who became famous as Annie Walker.
In 1960, Warren’s initial scripts for Coronation Street were commissioned by Granada Television for the ITV network.
He went on to write the first 13 episodes of the long-running soap.
Almost overnight, Coronation Street became an instant success.
Warren wrote scripts for Granada Television on a full-time basis until 1968.
He then worked on other television dramas and went on to craft several critically acclaimed novels in the 1990s, although his association with Coronation Street continued.
He wrote episodes for the soap until the late 1970s.
Warren is survived by his cousin Roy, his loving and devoted friends and his colleagues at Coronation Street who in later years became like family to him.
ITV said no further information about his death will be available at this time.