The Corrie Tour – from the perspective of a non-fan.
Apart from being a nice opportunity to spend time with my partner and his brother, I begrudgingly accepted the invitation when asked if I would attend a tour of the alleged famous cobbles. In hindsight, I don’t know why I wasn’t initially up for it… A) My degree is in Creative Writing with Screenplay being my favourite module and B) it’s based nearby in Manchester. Overall, it was an absolute pleasure to attend and I must admit that I now want to search and binge on all the best old episodes, as well as feed on the current ones. I was even eager to buy a souvenir book by the end, despite not having a penny to my name!
Coronation Street is the longest running soap in the UK. In fact (as we learnt during the tour) it is the longest running in the world. So, despite the street only having been down the road from me for all this time, it did seem like a significant landmark once there. It is a piece of our history, albeit local history but fascinating nonetheless. For those who don’t know, the studios (and all the actors, unfortunately) have relocated. This means there are tours taking place in the old Granada Studios until it gets demolished. I’m not ashamed to admit that, having explored this northern landmark, a little piece of me will be sad when demolition day comes.
“He was the perfect mouthpiece for the soap”
We were then taken on a winding tour through various sets, including the Rovers, the knickers’ factory and the living room where both Jack and Vera Duckworth died. Alongside this visual feast, we were spoon fed tricks of the trade and staging secrets, each accompanied with humour. We skirted past the dressing rooms and touched up famous outfits in the costume area before floating past the Director’s section (which was flooded with dust covered retro TVs and sound equipment).
Finally, we reach the street itself, and were free to roam the back alley, the gardens, even Prima Donna kebab house. Elliot’s Butchers was there too (Seriously, Corrie, you need to get a Fred Elliot back on the street!) as was the Rosamund Street’s bus stop. Each window had a list of its current and previous inhabitants which really added value to the experience: I was suddenly whisked down memory lane, but not one which the tour guide dictated; a purely personal one. I was reunited with Curly Watts, although his notice stated he vacated number 3 Coronation Street in 1988? (If this is the case then how do I even remember him? I was three years old!) …I can only imagine he moved into another house because there is no way my memory is that good! Ivy Tilsley is another one; I vaguely remember a curtain twitching at number 5 after she’d died. I don’t know whether she came back as a ghost or if it was something else but it was enough to stop me sleeping at night as a 9 year old boy…
These are just a couple of the flashback memories I experienced. Yours will be different. I think it’s this that makes the experience so personal. Soaps are something we’ve probably all dipped in and out of over time; they’re something the family come together for at Christmas and something we might binge on when out of work. For me, a good character is someone you feel you have actually met. They’re like family figures from years gone by. It may sound cheesy, but until walking down Corrie’s cobbles, I never realised how much of an impact some of these characters may have actually had on me over the years…
If you’re reading this thinking I sound lame, check it out for yourself; you might see what I mean.
Thank you Coronation Street. And good luck in your new home.