World Stamps

British stamps honor longest-running soap opera

May 14, 2020, 1 PM

By Denise McCarty

Great Britain’s Royal Mail is issuing 12 stamps May 28 to honor the 60th anniversary of Coronation Street, the world’s longest-running television soap opera.

Coronation Street follows the lives of the residents of the fictional town of Weatherfield in northwestern England.

Created by Tony Warren (1936-2016), the soap opera debuted Dec. 9, 1960. Since then more than 10,000 episodes have aired.

The stamps feature photographs of a few of the more than 5,000 characters that have appeared on the show.

Couples are pictured on eight of the stamps, issued in four se-tenant (side-by-side) pairs. Each of these stamps includes a quote that captures “the essence of the characters’ connection — from loving partnership to love-hate relationship,” according to Royal Mail.

The other four stamps are se-tenant in a souvenir sheet and picture characters who have tended bar at the show’s pub, Rovers Return Inn.

One stamp in the set shows a scene in black-and-white featuring two of the show’s original characters: Ena Sharples (played by Violet Carson, 1898-1983) and Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix, 1923-1986). The quote on this nondenominated second-class stamp reflects their adversarial relationship.

The other second-class stamp in this se-tenant pair depicts the working-class couple Stan (Bernard Youens, 1914-84) and Hilda (Jean Alexander, 1926-2016) Ogden.

Two more married couples are shown on the pair of nondenominated first-class stamps: Vera (Liz Dawn, 1939-2017) and Jack (Bill Tarmey, 1941-2012) Duckworth, and Deirdre (Anne Kirkbride, 1954-2015) and Ken Barlow. William Roache has portrayed Ken Barlow since the first episode of Coronation Street.

He is listed by Guinness World Records as the “longest-serving TV soap star.” The entry for Roache also says that he “holds the record for longest time to play the same role in any TV series.”

The first stamp in the £1.42 pair shows Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) and Norris Cole (Malcolm Hebden). Pictured on the second stamp in this pair are Hayley (Julie Hesmondhalgh) and Roy Cropper (David Neilson).

The two £1.63 stamps feature Sunita (Shobna Gulati) and Dev (Jimmi Harkishin) Alahan, and Tracy Barlow (portrayed by Kate Ford since 2002) and Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson).

Iain MacLeod, the producer of Coronation Street, said: “In our historic 60th year, it is an honour to have the show immortalised in this fashion. Coronation Street has had many iconic double acts down the years. Indeed, it’s a defining feature of the show. I hope fans will agree that the ones we’ve chosen, after much heated debate, are among the best of the bunch. This fun idea is a great way to pay homage to the nation’s best loved soap and give lovers of Coronation Street a little smile when an envelope pops through their letterbox and they see their favourite characters looking up at them.”

The souvenir sheet contains two first-class stamps and two £1.42 stamps. From left to right, they show Bet Lynch (Julie Goodyear), Raquel Watts (Sarah Lancashire), Liz McDonald (Beverley Callard) and Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell) with a continuous pub scene in the background.

The current second-class rate is 65p, and the first-class rate is 76p. The £1.42 stamps pay the rates for mail to European countries weighing up to 20 grams and for other worldwide countries up to 10 grams. The £1.63 stamps pay the worldwide rate up to 20 grams.

The Chase designed the stamps and souvenir sheet. International Security Printers printed them by lithography.

The stamps in se-tenant pairs were produced in sheets of 60 (sold in panes of 30 at most postal outlets). These stamps measure 41 millimeters by 30mm each and are perforated gauge 14.5 by 14.

The two first-class stamps also were issued in a booklet. In addition to these two stamps, the booklet contains four first-class Queen Elizabeth II definitives.

The souvenir sheet is 146mm by 74mm. The stamps in it are 27mm by 36mm and perforated gauge 14.

Other products offered by Royal Mail in conjunction with the Coronation Street issue include postmarks, first-day covers, a presentation pack, and 13 postcards reproducing the designs of the stamps and the souvenir sheet.

To order the stamps and related products, visit the Royal Mail website.

Ordering information also is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland. Royal Mail’s agency in the United States is Interpost, Box 400, Hewlett, NY 11557.

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