Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod has revealed that this year’s Christmas episodes will provide an upbeat alternative to rival soap operas.
“There’s a tradition on some soaps of going really dark and gothic at Christmas, and we’ve occasionally dipped our toe into that water. But it’s fair to say that this year is more akin to a traditional Coronation Street Christmas,” he commented at an ITV press conference.
Going on to tease what fans can expect to see, MacLeod said: “It’s funny and silly in places. And it’s really heartwarming and joyous.
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“There’s also a really strong community vibe this year because we were able film it at a time where actors didn’t have to stand two metres apart all of the time.
“So it’s got more of a ‘community on the cobbles’ feeling than some previous Christmases. It’s all very family focused.”
An hour-long instalment set to be screened on Christmas Day at 8pm, will see Fiz receive an ill-timed kiss from her estranged partner Tyrone, while goth café worker Nina gets a special present from Carla, who’s grown increasingly concerned for her wellbeing.
Plus, Weatherfield vicar Billy is set to launch into song over the Rovers piano, which is dragged over to the local seasonal market.
Of the experience of watching the episode itself, MacLeod admitted: “I first saw it in mid-November when I wasn’t feeling terribly festive.
“But by the end of the hour, I had a mince pie-shaped lump in my throat. And I should say that they were tears of joy rather than misery. It was just a glorious thing. So, I’m really hoping that the audience will like it as much as I did.”
But this being a soap, fans can also expect a falling-out amid all the merriment. And while Corrie is keeping tight-lipped as to the identity of those who come to blows, MacLeod revealed that the fracas would be played for comic effect:
“It’s one of the silliest fights I’ve ever seen in anything ever. It involves the immortal line, ‘Smell my marigold', which I’ll leave for you to work out what that might refer to. But it all makes for a fantastically good hour of television.”
The festive visits to Weatherfield come at the climax of a successful year for the ITV soap, which saw it pick Best Serial Drama at the NTAs, as well as seven prizes at November’s Inside Soap Awards.
“I have to pinch myself sometimes,” MacLeod said of the show’s success, “and also remind myself of the circumstances in which this was all being made. Social distancing, reduced members of staff in studio and fewer characters in scenes. The quality has just been exceptional.
“Everyone connected to Corrie has such determination to keep it at the top of its game, which is a really humbling thing for me to see.”
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