Coronation Street

As Britain's longest-running soap, Coronation Street has seen plenty of changes since its 1960 debut, when the famous cobbled street first appeared on ITV. Ordinary working-class folk have come and gone, with Ken Barlow (played by William Roache, 84) being the only surviving character from episode one.

Known as "sexy specs" thanks to her trademark glasses, Ken's wife Deirdre, played by the late Anne Kirkbride, was a fans' favourite. The couple wed in 1981, although the marriage was destined to suffer many ups and downs - such as Deirdre's affair with factory owner Mike Baldwin (Johnny Briggs) and Ken's fling with his secretary - leading to their divorce seven years later. They re-married in 2005 and second time around, their marriage survived until Deirdre's death on 8th July 2015. Tragically, actress Anne Kirkbride died earlier in the year, aged 60, after losing her battle to cancer.

Another long-time street favourite, Hilda Ogden was played by the late Jean Alexander, who lived at 13 Coronation Street from 1964 to 1987. Her legendary pinafore, curlers and headscarf - worn throughout her 23 years on the soap - were sold for £4,200 at auction this year. Buyer Trevor Beattie, a film producer, described them as an "important piece of popular culture", adding he may use them in a film about Hilda Ogden.

The street is a hive of industry, with plenty of thriving businesses. The longest-standing establishment, the Rovers Return appeared in the first episode, when iconic landlady Annie Walker (Doris Speed) was introduced. She and her husband, Jack Walker, had run the traditional pub since 1937 and following Jack's death in 1970, Annie took over as licensee, remaining at the helm until 1984.

The tenancy was taken over in 1985 by former brassy barmaid Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear) who made her first appearance on Coronation Street in 1966. She ran the Rovers until 1995 and made her final appearance in the soap in 2003, when her husband-to-be Cecil Newton (George Baker) - director of Newton and Ridley Brewery - suddenly died of a heart attack. Bet moved away from the cobbles to start a new life in Brighton.

Known as a hard taskmaster, Mike Baldwin took over the underwear factory, Underworld, in 1997. Uncompromising and always threatening the machinists with the sack for slacking, ironically Mike died on the factory steps in 2006. The business was bought by Paul Connor (Sean Gallagher) and his brother Liam (Rob James-Collier).

After Paul's sudden death in 2007, his widow Carla (Alison King) took over his share. The factory's current owners are Carla's half-brother Aidan Connor (Shayne Ward) and their father Johnny (Richard Hawley), following Carla's decision to sell the factory and leave Weatherfield in 2016.

Underworld continues to prosper. The familiar sight of the machinists chatting as they work, bowed over their sewing machines in the traditional factory setting, remains a staple of the much loved soap.

Anyone who has ever worked in a factory will understand the importance of the clocking in machine: it records the hours worked so that wages can be calculated accurately. It also aids health and safety procedures, making sure staff are adhering to regulations on the number of hours they're permitted to work and accounting for their whereabouts, should there be a fire or other emergency.

One of Coronation Street's most controversial storylines in 2007 involved an Underworld machinist, Kasia Barowicz, who fell to her death on the factory stairs after illegally working for 20 hours to complete a rush order – the storyline revolved around abuse of the clocking in system.

Unscrupulous boss Paul Connor delayed reporting the accident because it happened before 8am - Kasia's legal clocking in time - and he knew the factory would be in serious trouble for making machinists work all those hours without a break. As is often the case in Soapland, karma hit back and Connor was killed soon afterwards when a lorry hit his car.

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