Iconic Brit soap Coronation Street celebrated its 50th anniversary with a bang last night.

The special one hour, staged live, depicted the aftermath of a gas explosion and tram crash which ended with at least one character’s death, a birth and a marriage.

The spectacular show involving 65 actors and a 300-strong crew followed months of feverish speculation over which characters would “die” after an explosion at the Joinery Bar.

Tram-crash victim Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns) died of her injuries but not before revealing that Kevin (Michael Le Vell) was the father of her baby Jack.

In other drama Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) married Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) from his hospital bed before appearing to succumb to his injuries while Fiz Stape (Jennie McAlpine) gave birth to a premature baby girl.

The last time Coronation staged a live broadcast was to mark the soap’s 40th anniversary in 2000.

The show has become the longest-running TV soap in the world after originally being commissioned for only 13 episodes in 1960.

Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson admitted that the soap needed to create ever more spectacular storylines to compete with other programs, particularly reality TV shows.

“Television has changed,” he told the BBC. “Programmes like Coronation Street have to stand up against massive pieces of event television like Strictly Come Dancing and The X Factor.”So we had to do something extraordinary. When drama pushes the boat out, it has to push it out really far.”I think the days are over when television drama can sit back and leave it to your imagination. We have to compete against those great big juggernauts.”