Tony Warren, the creator of the quintessential British soap opera Coronation Street, has died. The news was announced this morning on the show’s Twitter account. He was 79. Coronation Street is the world’s longest-running soap, having aired continuously since December 1960, when it was first broadcast on Manchester-based Granada Television. Its theme music has become iconic in the UK.

Warren first conceived the show, set in the UK’s north-west and centered on a little street with a pub at one end and a shop at the other, while falling asleep on a train. Since then, it has become an institution in the UK, regularly going head to head in recent years with the BBC’s own long-running soap opera Eastenders. Coronation Street has tended to veer towards the more genteel, family-oriented side of the street in contrast to Eastenders’ grittier take on everyday urban life.

Warren was born Anthony McVay Simpson near Manchester in 1936. He worked as a child actor before segueing into his most famous creation at the ripe old age of 24. He had a handful of other credits, including The War of Darkie Pilbeam and Biggles.

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