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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Some more of our visit to Manchester...

Manchester is where DH's favourite soap opera is filmed. He used to watch it with his mum before he left home. It disappeared from Aussie TV for many years but it made a comeback when pay TV came to Australia. He tries to never miss it, and often records episodes to watch later. So which show am I referring to? Coronation Street of course! Lol.
Production of the program moved at the end of last year, from the rather cramped Granada Studios in Manchester out of the central city, to a purpose built premises at Media City (81 ha) on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal at Trafford and Salford. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaCityUK

Before we had left home, DH had read that there would be tours of the old studio for 6 months, but no other details. Then in a Plymouth newspaper he saw an ad for the tour. The tours were starting the week that we would be in Manchester. So he booked on line. For someone who doesn't really watch the show, I know a fair bit about the show...I often sit in the room knitting while DH watches episodes, so that's possibly why I know most of the characters etc. :-)

We caught the train into the city of Manchester from where we were staying. We had been told of a free bus that runs from a particular station (Piccadilly) in the central city area of Manchester. This bus has a stop right near the Granada studios, making it easy to access by public transport.  

The station near our hotel which was quite a ways from the centre of Manchester

Just inside the gate at Granada...

This is the back of the streetscape...seen from near the entry...


We got our lanyards and Tour ID cards...

We were taken to the cafe first, where there were some films running about the history of the show...then when it was time for the tour, our guide collected us and took us to the entry of the studio...
No photos could be taken of the inside sets or costumes and props. We saw the 'green room' first where the actors wait until their scene. Then we were taken down a corridor where the dressing rooms were. Nothing very ostentatious mind you! 
Green room...
A dressing room...


Then we went into the large area where all the room sets are, including the clothing factory Underworld and the shops, caf├ęs, hair salon, and of course the pub, Rovers'Return. 

Some facts we discovered...
*These old sets were built at 75% of full size, which means very narrow camera angles and actors perched on a ledge at the top of stairs that go no where! hoping their shoes don't show.
*Special occasion costumes such as wedding dresses often have up to 4 or 5 copies made to keep them looking smart for all the 'takes' necessary. We saw Carla's and Rita's wedding dresses...well, one copy of each, lol.
*the beer in the show is actually a very, very weak shandy! and very sweet! Whiskey sold at the pub is diluted apple juice and vodka and gin is water, sometimes with a drop or two of lime juice.
* there are only 2 sewing machines in the factory and when scenes are needed, trained machinists come in to supervise as the actors aren't allowed to actually sew anything. 
* We were told how many weddings and funerals have been in the show but I've forgotten. However, we did see Hayley Cropper's cardboard coffin with it's lovely floral design. 

Most of the wardrobe for the show is at the new site but some was left in the old studios for the tours. So the former makeup area had these racks of clothes, along with makeup and wigs etc. 
Then it was time to head to the Rovers Return set...and of course it was small! DH and I (and everyone else on the tour) rather fancied ourselves as possible licensees! Lol



This was the one photo which was allowed on the sets...and of course the resultant photos were available at the gift shop! 
The last set we saw on the tour was the Bistro...then we were ushered out the door and we found ourselves in Coronation St...and we could take as many photos as we liked...and we did! 




Dev's Store...it's like an Aussie Convenience Store...as you can see, most people on the tour are getting lots of photographs...





Looking towards the factory entrance...with the garage on the left.


DH recognized Gail Platt's house...so we waited for the others to take their photos...


And DH went and knocked on the door...


But no one opened the door! I would suggest that DH would have got a big fright if the door was opened! Lol
Another home...




The house with the blue door was Jack and Vera's home when those characters were alive...it was a popular photo opportunity with people on the tour...




Some more of the houses on the street...


Audrey's hair Salon...


 
A close up of the sign above the door to the pub...



Looking towards the bridge where trams supposedly run in Coronation St...but it's only pretend :-/


In this photo we are looking towards the pharmacy and the medical centre...now the gift shop!


The 'Chippie' that the characters talk about in the show...


The bus stop...


The pawn shop...



A closer look at Roy's Rolls Cafe...


Me having a sticky beak at Owen's Builder's yard...


The smarter part of the set...the apartment block where some of the younger 'go getters' of the street live, like Carla and Leanne.

A few more random photos of these outside sets...






Now at the other end of the street is another viaduct bridge...


You can see more of the mythical suburb of Manchester called Weatherfield beyond the bridge...

Or can you? 
Is that a 'wrinkle' there in that street view? 



Yes it's a huge painted canvas and it was moving in the breeze! 

Occasionally scenes take place in the tiny backyards...so we checked them out too!


We both had a wonderful morning going behind the scenes of one of DH's favourite TV shows...it had been really interesting. The tours are supposed to be just for 6 months; whether the area will be completely redeveloped or meet some other fate that prevents tours, we were certainly lucky that we happened to be in the area at the right time. Years ago there were regular tours of the set but when the number of episodes shown each week was increased to 5, tours were abandoned as the extra hours in filming time precluded having tours coming through.

3 comments:

Janice said...

I really wish now that when you were at our house I had shown you the treasured recording of our daughter Jess, with her "extra" role in Corrie, where she spent 5 minutes wiping tables down at the back of the refuge where Rita met up with Denis again, and where Jess actually had a sentence to speak meaning she got paid twice as much as she would have done for just a walk on part.
The tour looks great, much better than the one I went on 20 odd years ago. I do wish Gail had answered the door when Bruce knocked. Jx

Una said...

This is fascinating. I'm a great Corrie fan and I have booked to visit the set in August. I just couldn't resist going there.

Susan said...

That's really nice you both got to do such a full tour of the set. If DH has been a fan of the series for that long he certainly deserved the look-around - good on him.
I saw the show for a while so many years ago - when the lady with the hair net was on it (heck, hope I haven't confused it with another show - oh well ;D)).
Cheerio Maria and, as always, have enjoyed your post.