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Video and review: The Coronation Street Tour
How do you fancy standing behind the bar of the Rovers Return? Or maybe you’d be more at home in the knicker factory, Underworld?
Now that Coronation Street’s new home is in Salford, the original set in Manchester has opened up to the public, giving you the chance to walk on the hallowed cobbles, which was the Street’s home for more than 50 years.
The tour starts in the Green Room, a place where the stars would pick up their scripts, learn lines, relax and have a brew. You’ll then glimpse inside some of the dressing rooms before having a tour of ‘make-up and costumes’, which includes Carla’s recent wedding dress, designed by Street favourite, Hayley Cropper.
Speaking of Hayley, her flowery coffin is one of the objects on display, along with Roy’s coat, Deirdre’s famous glasses and various murder weapons from throughout the show’s history.
One notorious killer was Richard Hillman, famously described by Gail as ‘Norman Bates with a briefcase’. Actor Brian Capron was reliving some of his street memories with a visit to the old set, ahead of the official opening.
“I was in the show for just under two years, but I did more than 200 episodes and by the end of it, I was absolutely exhausted,” he said. “But I loved it – all of the twists and turns - the writers did a fantastic job. I’m very grateful to Coronation Street, as I’ve not stopped working since leaving the show.”
Stepping inside the Rovers Return is a strange experience – it’s smaller than you’d imagine and there isn’t a drop of alcohol to be found anywhere. When you see the characters enjoying a refreshing pint of Newton & Ridley’s, it is simply watered down shandy and the vodka is plain old water. And Betty’s famous hotpot is stone cold!
At the end of the tour is the ‘grand reveal’ when you’ll step out onto Coronation Street from Nick’s Bistro. This is a surreal moment, yet comes with a strange sense of familiarity as well.
Stuart Blackburn, producer of Coronation Street, admitted that he and the cast will miss the old set, but says the new purpose-built street in Media City is designed purely as a film studio and is fully-equipped for the modern world.
"We love this place, but it was falling apart!" he said. "It's great that the tour is selling so well as it reflects well on the show. When we lost the ability to do tours all those years ago, it felt like we were cheating the audience - we wanted to get people around, but we were working five or six days a week and it was impossible."
Asked why Coronation Street continues to be so successful, Stuart said:
"Tony Warren created a show about a working class community in Manchester - and we have never veered from that. It also never loses its wit, no matter how dark some of the scenes and storylines are.
"There's also a warmth there - people care about each other."
A team of knowledgeable tour guides are on hand to answer questions on the tour and you’ll also have the chance to pick up some souvenirs from the gift shop, which is situated inside the medical centre on Rosamund Street.
If you’re a die-hard Corrie fan, the tour is an absolute must – although you’ll need to hurry, as it is only operating for a limited time. For more details, visit www.coronationstreettour.co.uk
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