Rumours abound that ITV may award the rights to the Rovers Return to a national pub chain, with Coronation Street themed pubs quickly popping up on high streets near you.
How tragic that it has come to this. Our pubs have so lost their way that they may attempt to copy the Rovers Return, which is itself an attempt to copy the traditional community local.
One local independent, whose family’s been brewing for 180 years, William Lees-Jones says it’s the pub chains’ fault. And it’s certainly true that taking pubs into management, rather than leaving licensees to get on with it, has led to the creation of McPubs like the John Barras chain, part of Spirit Group, the anonymous managers of 8,400 pubs (about one in seven) and in turn part of Punch Taverns. (Although I should confess that when I worked for Tetley Pub Company in the mid-1990s, an estate now largely absorbed by Punch, I helped roll out some awful ‘concepts’ and attended events where licensees were advised to check out McDonald’s to learn how effective branding works.)
Of course it will never happen, partly because ITV hasn’t been very good at protecting this particular intellectual property, as the pic shows.