Sunday, 4 January 2009

Eric Rosser - Coronation Street's Original Archivist

From the Daily Mirror, June 18, 1983:

Two souvenir brass plates on the wall of Eric Rosser's office were used on the coffins in the TV funerals of Ernie Bishop and Cyril Turpin, late of Coronation Street.

Not that Eric needs any reminders. He knows everything about everyone in the Street. Eric, 58, is Mr Memory, the programme's official archivist.

Off the cuff, he can recite births, marriages and deaths or the name of an actress who had a two-episode part in 1963. His encyclopaedic knowledge is at his finger tips in his files, card index and bound story volumes.

Mr Rosser saw the first episode of the Street during a lengthy stay in hospital in 1960. "I was hooked," he said.

In 1970, he wrote a Coronation Street script.

Harry Kershaw, then executive producer, was amazed by Eric's knowledge. He put him under contract as a consultant.

Every week Eric sits in on the final rehearsals and the recordings of two episodes. He still watches every Monday and Wednesday night.

Once, while Eric was on holiday, the studio props man provided an egg-and-bacon breakfast for Stan Ogden.

Regular viewers knew, of course, Stan is allergic to eggs.

Eric said: "I felt myself go hot in my chair. I knew we'd get lots of letters."

He still shudders over the script in which Annie Walker complained that her grandchildren were noisy. She has none.

Now Eric helps vet scripts and regularly meets the writing team. He reminds them of anniversaries and bits of Street history.

Storyline writer Esther Rose said: "He knows more about the Street than anyone else. He's a gold mine of information. Absolutely invaluable."

Bill Podmore with Eric Rosser in the 1980s.

Personally, I always appreciated the tremendous attention to detail in the Coronation Street saga. The fact that the events we were watching would be catalogued and could influence events years into the future added tremendously to the reality of the show, as did the details Mr Rosser kept on file concerning the characters - their backgrounds, likes and dislikes, birthdays, etc.

The archivist was very much behind the scenes, the press clipping featured here is a great rarity. But Mr Rosser's contribution to the sense of reality in the show was absolutely massive.

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