The makers of Britain’s longest running soap, Coronation Street, have produced a special Christmas episode based around the country’s favourite festive song, Shane MacGowan’s Fairytale of New York.
The song was voted the nation’s favourite in a text poll ran by ITV last year and so the producers decided that a special episode based on the story of the song would be perfect for this year’s holiday season.
They have remained tight lipped about whether or not MacGowan will appear in the episode, due to aired this Friday, or as to exactly how the story of the song is portrayed by the characters of Weatherfield.
Will Peter Barlow be alone on Christmas Day?
Chris Gascoyne is understood to be one member of the cast playing a leading role in the episode.
Being a recovering alcoholic and a failed betting shop owner, perhaps Gascoyne’s character Peter Barlow is the most obvious choice to portray MacGowan, the down-and-out main character of the song.
But what about his love interest? Ardent followers of the show will know that Peter has just got married to factory owner Carla Connor.
However, he is grappling with his conscience over his illicit kiss with the gorgeous Tina McIntyre. Will he be the one who ends up alone come Christmas Day?
Of course the song ends in heartbreak as the two lovers argue and fall out and both end up alone at Christmas wondering what might have been.
‘As much a national institution as the queen’
There is a history of famous people making cameo appearances in Coronation Street. Prince Charles appeared in the show’s first ever live episode in 2000, to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Maybe the most famous cameo on Coronation Street was by legendary British rock band, Status Quo. They famously played at the wedding of lifelong fan Les Battersby before leaving Weatherfield, taking one of the street’s regular characters with them as Candice Stowe joined them be their on tour stylist.
Victoria Mary Clarke, MacGowan’s partner, was invited to spend the day on set while the episode was being filmed. She spoke of her excitement at visiting the famous street: “This is a momentous occasion for me. Not a lot of people get to sit in the Rovers, and even if they do, I am assured that not many get served a real gin and tonic: the actors get fizzy water.
“Being asked to be on Coronation Street is a flattering and terrifying proposition, especially if you have lived in England for any length of time, for it is as much a national institution as the queen.”
It was recently revealed that MacGowan, and Jem Finer who co-wrote Fairytale of New York, receive around €450,000 each year in royalties for the song. Now it is to be featured in Britain’s longest running soap opera, with MacGowan getting the opportunity to enjoy a pint in the Rovers.