What is the history behind the first cat seen in the Coronation Street opening titles? Well, a little detective work indicates that the cat was actually filmed around spring 1969. The moggy was caught on camera whilst a Granada film crew was out filming scenes of back streets and high rise blocks in colour - to be used for The Street's new opening titles when the show made the transition to colour later in 1969.
But the cat scene was not selected for the new title sequence - and did not make its screen debut until 1976!
Bill Podmore, who took over as the show's producer in 1976, wrote in his book Coronation Street - The Inside Story (1990):
When I took charge of the Street its opening sequence niggled me. The quick-changing views over the slated rooftops of Salford, where the imaginary Weatherfield is supposedly set, seemed to be out of time with the slow, haunting refrains of Eric Spear's signature tune.
I asked to see all the sequence film, shot years before in the backstreets of Old Trafford and Lower Broughton. Although much of it lay on the cutting room floor, it was reassembled into a continuous film. Suddenly, on walked that wonderful cat. When it curled up in the spring sunshine I knew I had found the perfect clip. It looked exactly as though it had contentedly sat down to watch the programme, and from that day the Coronation Street cat became almost as famous as any character on the show. It provided us with an enduring mystery, too. Any number of people, impostors all, insisted they were the owners, but its true identity was never discovered.
Minnie Caldwell (Margot Bryant), with her beloved cat, Bobby. Many viewers thought the cat in the opening titles was Bobby! This lovely snap is courtesy of Flaming Nora over at the Coronation Street Blog. Ta, chuck! Over here at Back On The Street, we have more Minnie, Margot and Bobby in the pipeline.