Habonim helped to prepare Louise for job running Corrie

Simon Yaffe chats to a TV woman millions will envy - Coronation Street's series editor Louise Sutton

THE cobbles, the back street terraces, the pub, newsagent and corner shop make it the most famous street in the world.

But for Louise Sutton, Coronation Street's series editor, that special feeling when she hears the legendary show's theme tune never dissipates.

"There is something really familiar and comforting about it," she told me from her office at Manchester's Granada Studios.

"I grew up watching it - it is the law to do so if you're northern.

"It's definitely a generation thing.

"Doing what I do is a big responsibility and I feel protective over it - I have a real fondness for Coronation Street."

Brought up in the leafy suburb of Moseley, Birmingham, Louise attended King David Nursery and Primary schools in the city before moving to Edgbaston High School for Girls.

A member of the Jewish youth movement Habonim Dror, Louise spent time on its Israel tour as well as completing its year-long programme in Israel, shnat.

"Habonim definitely taught me how to communicate properly and how to get my point of view across," she said.

"I met lots of like-minded people in Habonim from all over the world."

Louise's first real taste of Manchester - although she does have family there - was when she moved to read modern history and politics at the city's university.

Originally intending to be an actress but "losing my bottle", she chose history as she was passionate about the subject and had learned much about the Second World War while in Habonim.

"I also thought about becoming a journalist," Louise revealed.

"However, I was quite meek and didn't think I had the right temperament to do it."

After graduating, Louise decided she wanted to be in television - a notoriously difficult industry to get into.

"I remember getting a Yellow Pages out and ringing every single television production company out there," Louise said.

She finally landed a job at a Salford production company, where she worked as a runner and then production assistant.

"I spent a year there and learned so much," Louise recalled.

"They mostly made commercials, which is an art form itself, and had to get what they wanted to sell into a 30-second advert.

"In the end, I didn't like doing it."

She went on to become a runner for the Channel 4 soap Brookside.

And then it was back to education for Louise as she enrolled on a Master's course in documentary making at Salford University, where she learned the basics of television production.

"I realised that drama is about telling stories and going into intricate details of people's lives," she explained.

"There are all walks of lives in a soap such as Coronation Street.

"We have the opportunity to take one character and put them with another for a certain storyline and seeing what happens.

"These characters are in people's front rooms five nights a week."

She then worked on Channel 4's Hollyoaks and ITV soap Emmerdale as storyliner and assistant script editor before Down-Under called.

Louise went to live in Australia, working in high-end children's drama for three years.

"It was incredible," she remembered.

"I had a beautiful apartment 30 kilometres from the beach on the Gold Coast.

"I used to sit on the balcony with an orange juice and read the newspaper - I never thought I would leave."

But then Coronation Street came calling and she returned to the UK after being invited to work on the programme by Steve November, whom she had met at Emmerdale.

"It had to take a lot to make me leave Australia and I was in two minds about coming home," Louise explained.

"But Corrie was the zenith - it was what I wanted to do."

Despite suffering from jetlag and feeling somewhat delirious, she flew home on the Saturday and immediately started work on the Monday.

Louise, who lives in West Didsbury, said: "I was terrified, but it was a quick transition and everyone was so lovely.

"The first time I was in the green room was really odd because the characters are there and you think you know them.

"I still find it weird when I am sitting in a cast meeting and Ken Barlow is in the same room."

Louise oversees everything on Coronation Street, together with producer Phil Collinson.

A normal day usually means being on site from eight in the morning until seven in the evening.

She makes key casting decisions and reads up to 15 scripts per week - seven hours of television.

Louise also has script meetings two or three times a week in order to prepare for the filming of episodes, which are usually filmed up to six weeks in advance.

Her proudest moment came when Coronation Street celebrated its 50th birthday in December with five straight episodes - including a live, hour-long production which included a devastating tram crash.

"We'd had an idea about what we were going to do for the live episode in the March of 2010," Louise recalled.

"There were so many machinations going on and it was a massive challenge. "In the end, it was the most amazing day of my career - we had more than 500 cast and crew on set for the live episode and my heart was in my mouth.

"It was terrifying."

There have never been - identifiable - Jewish characters on Coronation Street.

"That is a question I get asked the most by Jewish people," Louise admitted.

"What we are is a character-led show, not an issue-led one, so I am not saying it will never happen.

"It is on my list - being Jewish is a big part of who I am."

© 2011 Jewish Telegraph