Much-loved characters lie motionless amid the rubble after a tram crashes on to Coronation Street, leaving viewers to wonder who will survive the devastation.
The soap's 50th anniversary celebrations kick off on Monday night, when an explosion in The Joinery bar causes a Weatherfield tram to plummet off the viaduct on to the cobbles below.
After celebrating his stag night in the new bar, Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) is left trapped and fighting for his life alongside love rival Nick Tilsley (Ben Price).
Also in peril in the debris of The Joinery are butcher Ashley Peacock (Steven Arnold), cabbie Lloyd Mullaney (Craig Charles), barman Ciaran McCarthy (Keith Duffy), barmaid Cheryl Gray (Holly Quin-Ankrah), businessman Dev Alahan (Jimmi Harkishin) and Cheryl's ex Chris (Will Thorp).
Familiar landmarks The Kabin and Corner Shop are demolished, leaving Molly Dobbs (Vicky Binns) and her baby Jack, Dev's wife Sunita (Shobna Gulati) and Kabin owner Rita Sullivan (Barbara Knox) overcome by flying bricks and shards of glass.
Ken Barlow (William Roache) and bride-to-be Leanne Battersby (Jane Danson) are knocked off their feet by the blast as they rush to stop Nick revealing her affair to fiance Peter.
The disaster and its aftermath will unfold over five nights next week, with a special hour-long live episode due to air on Thursday night, 10 years after the soap staged a live broadcast for its 40th birthday.
Producer Phil Collinson said the tram stunt cost "not far off" £1 million.
William, who has been in the soap since the first episode, said he shed "tears of pride" when he watched the drama unfold at a preview screening yesterday. And he said departed cast members would have been "proud and impressed" by the spectacle.