Coronation Street 50th anniversary episodes start tonight!

This week promises to be one of the most explosive in Coronation Street’s history as the ITV1 soap showcases its 50th anniversary episodes.

Tonight’s (06.12.10) show – which is the first in a week-long series of catastrophic events dubbed ‘Devastation Street’ – will see a host of ‘Corrie’ favourites fighting for their lives after a tram ploughs into the street.

The drama will begin when an explosion rocks The Joinery bar – where Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) is celebrating his stag night – causing a Weatherfield tram to plunge off the viaduct and into the cobbles below.

Costing £1 million to produce, the scenes will see the likes of Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox), Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns) and Ashley Peacock (Steven Arnold) trapped under the rubble.

Actor Bill Roache – who has played Ken Barlow since the very first episode of ‘Coronation Street’ – admitted while the tram crash spectacular was “emotional” to film, he believes the scenes are among the best the soap has ever showcased.

He exclusively told BANG Showbiz: “I honestly think this week’s episodes are one of the best things that has ever been done on the show. Watching the scenes back really was an emotional experience, as it all looks so real.

“It’s definitely right that something of this magnitude was done to commemorate the 50th anniversary. We want to mark it with a bang!”

Three characters are expected to perish in the shocking scenes, with the aftermath shown as part of the soap’s first ever live episode on Thursday night (09.12.10). However, the identities of the dead are to be kept a secret until Friday.

Despite potentially battling with snow and rain, executive producer Phil Collinson hopes audiences will enjoy the perils of live drama.

He said: “It’s all part of the appeal of a live show. If it snows we’ll plough on. If it rains we’ll plough on. If something falls out of the sky we’ll plough on. It’s all part of the excitement.”