With over 8,000 episodes recorded in its 50 year history, “Coronation Street” has seen its fair share of drama, action, romances and comedy, all of which has taken place on Weatherfield’s cobbles.
Up until recently, the soap opera was filmed at the Granada TV studios in Manchester. However, due to advancements in technology, the decision was made to move filming to Media City in Salford and, on Monday, December 22nd, 2013, the Granada TV studios set was used for the last time.
On Saturday, April 5th, 2014, the set reopened to the public, as part of “Coronation Street – The Tour” – allowing fans to explore behind the scenes of the world famous street.
Coronation Street: The Tour begins in the green room, where the stars of Coronation Street used to relax, socialise and learn their lines. In here, you’ll find the actors’ pigeon holes, which include some well known names (such as one marked “Dame Antony Cotton”).
Visitors are then taken down the “corridor of the stars”, where they can peek into some of the dressing rooms and see framed photos of some of the big names to walk down the cobbles. A personal highlight is an old photograph of Simon Gregson (who plays Steve McDonald), which can be found on a locker.
At the end of the corridor is the make-up and costume department, where a lot of the character’s costumes are archived (including Carla Connor’s most recent wedding dress). The guide, who reels off facts about Coronation Street and its history throughout the tour, explains how the costume designers went about providing outfits for the characters and the process involved.
This is followed by a five minute video montage of some of the street’s best moments, before visiting the sets of Carla’s former flat, the Platt’s living room and kitchen (which contains fully-working appliances) and the Duckworth’s (including the armchair both Jack and Vera passed away in).
Then, the moment fans of the soap opera have been waiting for; it’s off into the Rovers Return for a pint and a hotpot. While in the Rovers, there’s a photo opportunity where visitors can be pictured pulling a pint behind the bar (these can then be purchased later on, as photography is not allowed on the first part of the tour).
After a quick visit to the Underworld factory and the interior of the barrage that Ken Barlow (William Roache) and Martha Fraser (Stephanie Beacham) had an affair on, there’s a look at some iconic soap costumes and props, including Deirdre Barlow’s (Anne Kirkbride) glasses, Roy Cropper’s (David Neilson) anorak and artificial rubble from the tram crash, amongst other instantly-recognisable objects.
The tour also shows the production rooms where the programme was edited. Along with the outdated technology, it’s worth noting that the Christmas decorations are still up from the last day of filming (December 22nd, 2013).
As the first part of the tour comes to a conclusion, visitors are then left to explore the iconic exterior Coronation Street set, taking in the sights and sounds of Britain’s most loved soap opera. There are many fantastic photo opportunities, including Roy’s Rolls, The Kabin and The Rovers Return itself. The medical centre on Rosamund Street doubles as a gift shop, which proves a nice touch and a great way to end the tour.
With so much of Coronation Street’s history covered in such a short space of time (approximately 45 minutes, plus as long as you want to explore the exterior), Coronation Street – The Tour is the ideal day out for fans of the soap opera, that shouldn’t be missed.
Coronation Street – The Tour runs until Saturday, October 4th, 2014. For further details, visit the Ticketmaster website.