This time last week I visited one of the most famous streets in the world: Coronation Street! It's safe to say this post is fairly photo heavy, but let me take you behind the scenes of this iconic set.
The way the tour works is through time tickets. They said on my receipt to be there half an hour early but I don't think you need to worry about that; 15 minutes is sufficient enough. The tour then begins in the cast green room, which was used by the show's stars up until the final day of Quay Street filming on December 20th 2013, and still has traces left behind from the current cast. It even had a production sheet on the wall from the last day of filming.
From the green room you walk down the famous 'Corridor of Stars', which housed the dressing rooms of some of the show's cast members. Our tour guide joked that rumour has it that Bet's perfume could still be detected! But what surprised me most about the dressing rooms were how small and low-key they were considering all the famous names that have graced the street. It was actually really nice to see and made me realise how down-to-earth it all seemed. Also, I loved the fact that in one part lots of wallpaper had been ripped, and this was because cast members took this with them as a souvenir.
It was then off to the wardrobe and make-up department- naturally a highlight for me! Here you can see in person the character's most seminal outfits that is so much apart of who they are. So for example, Julie's kitsch cupcake dress she wears was on display, Roy's famous anorak and Carla's stunning wedding dress. I thought it was really interesting the attention to detail here. So, for characters like Ken, they wardrobe team shop exclusively at M&S, to sum up his classic style, whereas Carla's clothes come from top boutiques in Manchester. And with hair and make up, photos were on the wall so that if they were filming over several days, they had to re-create the look exactly as it was the day before.
From here you are led to Stage One with one of the tour's main highlights, which housed the sets for the show's interior scenes. On the day of the tour I saw Carla's former flat, the Platt family's home and the Dobbs house. Here you can see the sets displayed in exactly the same way they would for a scene. I think what struck me the most is how small they seem in real life! The Platt's home for example just seemed so teeny tiny, it's difficult to imagine how the cast all fit in! And of course there's the stairs aspect to all of the sets and the fact that there's no upstairs which makes it seem even more teeny. Yet again, the set designers always made sure that attention to detail was totally on point so for example Carla's kitchen was spotless because obviously they wanted reflect how infrequently she ever cooked, and in contrast, the Platt's house was a lot messier, which illustrated the chaotic reality of their family life.
And of course, what's a Coronation Street tour without a trip to one of the most famous pubs in the world: The Rover Return. Here you can get your picture taken while pulling a pint behind the bar, and pretending your the next Liz McDonald, Betty or Tina. If you wish, you can then pick up your photo at the shop (which is the medical centre).
After the main studio sets our tour guide there a plenty of props and memorabilia to be found from storylines old and new from Deirdre Barlow's glasses to the tram crash rubble and Roy Cropper's train set. Your tour guide then takes you through production suites for an insight into the responsibilities of the behind-the-scenes crew who get all the action onto your screen each week. But to finish your tour in style, which lasts about 45 minutes, you are then led onto the Street itself through Nick's Bistro! When on the famous cobbles you are left to wander around for as long as you like and here you'll see the The Rovers, The Kabin, the Corner Shop, Roy's Rolls and of course all the famous residence houses.
Overall I highly, highly recommend the Corrie tour for any fan of the show it's a real must-have experience. Just be warned that you learn so much about the soap and the illusion of TV that you may view it in a completely different way! I honestly never realised how seriously small-scale everything was. As well as the obvious excitement of touring the show's famous locations, the attraction really does offer a strong insight into what life was like for the cast and crew as they worked on one of the UK's most famous TV shows.
If you're a Coronation Street fan I really hope you get the chance to visit. I'm so happy I got to walk the iconic cobbles one last time! To get your tickets click here. But be quick because the tour ends on October 4th 2014. Tickets are under £20.