Anna Daly: Only when I visited Corrie did I realise how much I love the Street -- and now it's going to be devastated in a tram crash

Anna Daly

It's the longest running drama in the world bar none and with the most dramatic scenes from Weatherfield to ever hit our screens in a few days and a fiftieth birthday to celebrate, there's never really been a dull moment on the cobbles of Corrie.

When I visited the set, I couldn't help thinking that over the last half a century we've celebrated 39 births, mourned the deaths of 114 characters, thrown confetti at 88 weddings and watched 51 different barmaids serve drinks at the Rovers. It's part of what makes the show such a huge success?

Its creator, Tony Warren, once suggested that it's "like a friend". Very often viewers will have formed an affection for it in their childhood or when they're going through a difficult time in their lives, so when they return to it, it's like returning to an old friend.

I agree Tony. Let's be honest, we don't feel threatened by any of the characters or their lifestyles. We're far from intimidated by their run-of-the-mill lives, in fact, if the truth be known, although we find it a safe and warm place to be, we feel better about our own lives when we see theirs.


Cilla Black told me something that really made me laugh and served to reinforce the fact that we love their ordinariness.

She explained that she was glued to the first episode when it aired back in 1960 on black and white TV and there's good reason she remembers it. She tells a story of how her dad was mending a puncture on his bike in their front room and when Coronation Street came on, the Barlow's household appeared and they were doing exactly the same thing. Cilla says that "all of a sudden we all agreed it was wonderful, they were just as common as us, we were all instantly hooked!"

When I hobbled up the cobbles of the Corrie set myself, I was completely awestruck. It's a truly fascinating place with great sets and charming actors who wing their way in to our lives every other evening.

It was part of my childhood, it reminds me of home where my mam was a loyal viewer and as a result, so was I.

Since I've moved out of home I've let it slip and only now dip in and out when there's some big drama going on. I'm disloyal these days.

When I do tune in though, I'm comforted by that ordinariness. If Anthony Hopkins won't miss an episode then I'm going to attempt to tune in more often too. There is however nothing ordinary or typical about the drama to come on Monday.

When a tram comes crashing off a viaduct, the fabric of the street will be changed forever. You can see my interviews with all the key cast members on Ireland AM this Monday from 7 to 10am.

Top Gear lads were total gents to me

I interviewed the Top Gear lads just before they hit Dublin on a flying visit earlier this week and I was pleasantly surprised by their attitude.

I'd been warned that Clarkson in particular can be less than cheery with the media.

So I was relieved to discover he was a pleasure to interview, as were Hammond and May. And good fun to boot.

They also told me that they look forward to their nights out in Dublin more so than anywhere else and planned to hit the town hard once their duties are done at City West. They tell me Lillie's Bordello is their favourite haunt as they've had so many good nights out there.

I was also brought around a track at Earl's Court by one of their stunt drivers. I'm a petrol head so I absolutely loved it but my heart was in my mouth at one stage. I was able to put all that good practice to use with a charity race in aid of Turning the Tides of Suicide which involved myself, Brian Ormond, Malcolm O'Kelly, Dave Fanning and Kathryn Thomas all racing against each other.

Poor Malcolm came in last during the first race but the guy is 6ft 8ins and while that's great on a rugby pitch, that has to hinder him in a cramped space like a car.

Myself and Glenda came in joint third and fourth place so this evening we're going to be going head-to-head again in another race, so it's going to be handbags at dawn!

Cheryl Cole's style just leaves me cold

Like the rest of the nation, I'll be indulging my X Factor obsession this weekend again.

I also have a secret crush on Dermot O'Leary. Ever since I met him, I just think he's the cutest guy ever.

Of course, I'll be cheering on Mary Byrne and Niall Horan in the contest, I think they pair of them are doing a brilliant job to lift our spirits.

But one thing that really gets me going is the increasingly bizarre wardrobe choices of Cheryl Cole. Sometimes she gets it right but it's going hard that forget that hideous hair bow inspired by Minnie Mouse.

She needs to stop trying so hard. When it comes to real style, I always think Harry Potter star Emma Watson is a real inspiration. When she stepped out in a little black dress with a subtle tan, it was a magical look.

Why I'll really miss you, Gillian McKeith

Given all the doom and gloom recently, watching the antics of Gillian McKeith has been a real diversion for me and I'm terribly sorry to see the back of her.

From her infamous fainting episode to smuggling salt in her underwear, the TV nutritionist and poo inspector knew a thing or two about ratings and what gets people talking.

Gillian was a dream contestant for I'm A Celeb and whoever cast her in the jungle has probably just had their pay doubled.

We love to hate people on TV, then discuss afterwards how much they annoy us but continue to tune in, and McKeith was that classic example.

We liked to see her suffer, let's be honest, to see her squirm, to cry and when she hit the ground in a dramatic Ronaldo-style dive, it was TV gold.