Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:09 pm
He passed away on Tuesday night after a short illness.
Coronation Street creator Tony Warren has passed away at the age of 79.
The legendary writer died peacefully last night (March 1) surrounded by his friends after a short illness.
Cast and crew at Coronation Street were "heartbroken" when they were told the news on Wednesday morning, an ITV statement said.
Bill Roache, who has played Corrie's Ken Barlow since episode one in 1960, has led the tributes to Warren.
"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," Roache 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."
Gail Platt star Helen Worth, who worked with Warren for 42 years, also paid a moving tribute.
"Tony was a genius of our time, the dearest funniest and most inspirational man of his generation," she said. "He brought real life into our homes for us all to relate to and enjoy. He will of course live on forever through Coronation Street."
Warren devised the idea for Coronation Street when he was just 24 and his initial scripts were commissioned by Granada Television in 1960. He penned the first 13 episodes and wrote scripts for Granada on a full-time basis until 1968.
Although Warren went on to work on other dramas and created his own critically-acclaimed novels, he continued to write Corrie episodes sporadically until the late 1970s and remained a consultant on the soap until the day he died.
Warren was a regular visitor to the show's set in Salford and "loved nothing more than to catch up with the cast and crew during breaks in filming whilst offering the actors insightful feedback about their characters and storylines", ITV said.
John Whiston, ITV's creator director for soaps, commented: "Amid the many and much deserved tributes to Tony Warren, surely there can be no greater tribute than that the show he created 56 years ago is still the number one show on British TV.
"Tony infused Coronation Street with his own spirit, one that was at the same time dramatic and credible, exciting and grounded, funny and humane. It is Tony's spirit that has kept the show fresh and relevant all these years and will do for years to come. All who are lucky enough to work on the show owe Tony a huge amount of gratitude. As do all the millions who tune into Coronation Street week after week."
Although best known for his writing, Warren enjoyed an early acting career as a successful child star. After training at the Elliott Clarke Theatre School in Liverpool, he became a regular on Children's Hour on BBC Radio and also acted in many radio plays.
Coronation Street's executive producer Kieran Roberts said: "Tony Warren the writer was a pioneer, a revolutionary, a true genius, a giant of British television.
"He will rightly be remembered around the world as the creator of Coronation Street, but those of us lucky enough to have worked on his wonderful show and to have known him will also remember the man: the razor-sharp intelligence; the brilliant, often mischievous sense of humour, the courage and conviction, the passion for people, the immense generosity of spirit and capacity for love.
"We all deeply mourn his passing but celebrate his work and his life, both of which have made the world an infinitely richer place."
ITV's director of television Kevin Lygo added: "Tony Warren was a charming man who gave ITV and the nation the greatest gift imaginable when he created Coronation Street, an idea that continues to entertain millions on a regular basis. We all owe him an enormous debt of thanks."