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Thoughts and teasers on Corrie's tram crash

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The residents look on in horror after the tram comes crashing off the viaduct

© ITV

On Friday, I was lucky enough to attend a special press screening of tonight's Coronation Street episodes, which feature the Joinery bar explosion and all-important tram crash stunt.

As the soap first announced its 50th anniversary disaster on July 7, there's been five long months of intense speculation surrounding this massive storyline - so there was definitely an air of excitement in the room as the lights dimmed and the events that everyone's been talking about started to play out on screen.

Many of you will already know that there's a special twist to proceedings from the very beginning of tonight's first episode, as it starts off with a stunning shot showing life beyond the viaduct and wider Weatherfield.

The special shot certainly makes for a beautiful opening and it's fantastic to see the street in context after so long - cementing the idea that this is just an ordinary street with ordinary people, which looks to be all-important for this 50th anniversary week as it'll be the human touches which take centre stage despite the disaster.

Tonight's first episode is very much a continuation of the build-up we've been seeing over the past few weeks as many of the soap's ongoing storylines are coming to a head, although the pace ramps up more than a few gears as the episode progresses, coupled with the sense of foreboding as we know what's coming.

Becky brings Max downstairs to say goodnight to Steve
Despite being excited to see the tram crash - which occurs in episode two - it's important to say that there's no sense of impatience as we wait for the big event to take place. The storylines that the Corrie team have set up have been so gripping that I was as interested to see where those were going as I was to see the crash itself. It's a real credit to the writers that, with the biggest soap stunt ever about to occur, our attention can still be captured by the characters that we care so much about and tune in each night to see.

The classic Corrie humour is also present in the episodes as Leanne's hen night leads to some funny moments and lines at The Rovers. It's clear throughout that the producers are respecting the show's heritage with this - yes, there's a big stunt on the way, but we're not suddenly seeing a whole new Corrie on the show's 50th anniversary. It's bigger and better in terms of stunts and visual effects, but it's not at the expense of familiarity and won't alienate any long-term viewers.

I don't want to give too much more away about what we saw on screen, as part of the magic of watching tonight's two episodes was seeing the moments that we haven't heard about in spoilers, or those that play out a little bit differently than we might expect.

Molly tells Tyrone that Jack is not his son
However, it's no secret that Molly and Tyrone's story will be one of those to reach a climax tonight and Alan Halsall gives a standout performance as his heartbreak turns to anger after Molly drops a bombshell.

Although less prominent tonight, Jane Danson and Alison King are as brilliant as ever in their respective portrayals of the love-torn Leanne and always-complex Carla.

Graeme Hawley and Becky Hindley continue to impress in the twisted tale of John and Charlotte, and fans may also be struck by Ben Price's performance as we see more of that elusive softer side to Nick Tilsley.

An explosion rips through Coronation Street
The stunt itself is also something that's best to see for yourself than read too much about beforehand, but it more than lives up to the hype - so credit must also go to special effects supervisor Danny Hargreaves, his team at Real SFX, as well as visual effects company The Mill, who worked on the CGI.

One thing I will say is that the stunt isn't just one moment. As producer Phil Collinson recently said that Corrie will "wring every ounce of drama and emotion" out of the disaster's aftermath, the team do the same with the bar explosion and the crash - it's certainly not all over in a flash!

Once the screening of tonight's two episodes were over, we were also treated to the first look at the stunning video montage of the entire week. While there was a round of applause after the episodes were screened, the montage was greeted by more of a stunned silence at first! It really is an amazing video.

All in all, it looks like fans are in for a fitting tribute to 50 years of Coronation Street. I can't wait to see what's in store for the rest of the week…

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