Manchester Children's Book Festival Reporters' Blog

Interview, research, review, write, publish

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Coronation Street creator Tony Warren

TONY Warren created Coronation Street which came to our television screens in 1960 and is now watched across the globe.  He also wrote the critically acclaimed novels The Lights of Manchester, Foot of the Rainbow, Behind Closed Doors and Full Steam Ahead. He became an Honorary Doctor of Letters at Manchester Metropolitan University in recognition of his contribution to television and creative writing which, the University said, “has helped put Manchester and Salford on the cultural map.” He is the after-dinner speaker at the Manchester Children’s Book Festival Gala Dinner.

How old were you when you started your career?

Twelve.  I began as a boy actor on the radio. In those days, we called it the wireless.

When you were young what did you want to be?

An actor and a writer.

What inspired you to be what you are today?

Whenever I was involved in school plays or Sunday School concerts I was happy.  I suppose I wanted more of that.

What has been the proudest moment of your career?

I hope I’m not a proud sort of person – I wouldn’t want to be mistaken for a swank-pot.

Who did you see as a role model when you were young?

Shelagh Elliott-Clarke.  She was the principal of the theatre school I attended.  Other teachers were always trying to make me be like the rest of the class; Shelagh Elliot-Clarke told me that having different talents meant I was blessed.  Also Noel Coward.  He was a very successful actor and playwright.

What has been the scariest moment of your career?

It is one that keeps on coming back.  Every time I sit down to write something new there is just me and a blank notepad and a pot of sharpened pencils.  Those and a story which is starting to grow in my mind.  Somehow I have to get it out of my head and onto paper.  Coronation Street began life with me staring at a blank sheet of paper.

If you weren’t what you are today what would you be?

Unemployable.

What do you do in your spare time ?

I have friends all over the place so I seem to spend hours on the phone.  I keep up-to-date with all the latest television programmes.  I read a lot.  Sometimes I potter about in my little garden.

Have you ever had any pets ?

Now you’re talking!  Dogs.  I like dogs better than people.  My favourites have mostly been border collies although I was also very fond of a little ginger terrier who looked like Basil Brush.  In the Bible it says that there are angels living amongst us secretly and – if that’s the case – I’m sure that some of them must be dogs.

What is your favourite music ?

I am not musical.

What has been your most embarrassing moment?

I don’t embarrass easily.

What do you think will be the best thing about 2012?

You’d have a hard job to beat that water pageant that was staged along the Thames to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  I sat down to watch it on TV  for ‘just  five minutes’ and found myself still there four hours later.

What is the weirdest thing about you?

I have hardly any mechanical abilities at all.  I’ve lost count of the number of people who tried and failed to teach me to drive a car.

  • Tony Warren will speak at the Manchester Children’s Book Festival Gala Dinner held at The Midland Hotel on Friday, July 6, from 7.30pm. For information and tickets click here.
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This entry was posted on June 28, 2012 by .
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