I mentioned in this post that I recently went to Manchester, except I didn’t explain why I was there. It was for a little wander across the cobbles of Coronation Street! Here’s a little photo diary of our afternoon on t’cobbles.
Wandering up one of the nation’s most famous streets.
My Mum’s a big fan of Coronation Street, so I’ve grown up watching it. In the past, I’ve even worked opposite the set. So, when the opportunity arose to go along on a tour of that set earlier this year, we jumped at the chance.
We actually went on the tour all the way back in June. (I’m just terrible at getting blog posts done quickly these days!)
Beforehand, we were a little worried because the first influxes of tour-goers had some criticisms about value for money, and also about the tour being shorter than advertised. Our tour actually lasted roughly ten minutes longer than advertised, and despite it being a huge amount of money for an afternoon out (£35 per ticket!), we did enjoy ourselves.
Plus, we got a family photo in front of The Rovers thrown in for free! (I heard that previous groups had to pay for that, which they weren’t happy about, understandably.)
The tour itself flew by, but there is quite a lot to see. You start off at the viaduct end of the street, by the Bistro. There are plenty of stops along the street for you to take photos or videos, as you make your way past the factory and up to The Rovers. The tour ends at the new extension of the set, which includes the shiny new Co Op store, Costa Coffee and the lovely memorial gardens. (We weren’t allowed in there, sadly.)
David, our tour guide, gave us snippets of information and behind the scenes goss as we went along. Like, on the old set, Ken Barlow’s house was built too close to The Rovers, so when drinkers went to the loos in the pub, they were technically weeing in Ken’s kitchen sink instead… The handles on the doors of the new tram station (pictured above) are actually the original Rovers door handles, and the cast go through an incredible amount of makeup and hairspray every month.
The scenes that they’d been preparing to film when we ventured on the tour aired about a month ago.
‘Swear I saw Steve McDonald buying a Pot Noodle in the Co Op…’
Okay, maybe not. And that was our main criticism, really. It didn’t quite feel ‘real’.
It was certainly an experience, but the one thing we all said afterwards was that it didn’t feel quite as authentic as we thought it would. It didn’t feel like we were actually there, if that makes sense? Perhaps if we’d have actually seen Steve browsing the Pot Noodle aisle, or Chesney dishing out kebabs, or Gail and Eileen tearing each other’s hair out before our very eyes, it would’ve felt more genuine.
As I said, we did enjoy it. And thankfully it seems like the company running the tours are taking all the negative comments on board and doing something about them. David even mentioned to us that they were considering bringing in cast members (on their days off) to do meet and greets. I don’t know whether they’ve managed to do that yet, but I think it would make a massive difference to the feel of the street if you could see some familiar faces as you walked along the cobbles. It’d definitely make it feel more ‘real’.
They’d left some vehicles parked up to add to try and add some authenticity. The Underworld and Bistro vans were at one end of the street. A people carrier was parked up outside Dev’s shop, and Ken’s hatchback was parked about a foot away from the kerb outside his terraced house. One of the Streetcars taxis was outside too, as you can see in one of the pictures.
It’s also worth noting that it’s only a tour of the external set. There’s no opportunity to wander through the internal sets, like previous tours had allowed. All because some sneaky people took photos when they shouldn’t have done on those tours, and sold spoilers to the press. (Thanks for ruining it for everyone else, guys…)
I wish I could show you a decent picture of The Rovers, but sadly every single one I took had a gazillion people standing in front of it, and we were ushered on before I had a proper chance!
If you’ve got any questions about our tour experience, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment and ask!
If you’re interested in seeing what we got up to in video form, I filmed snippets of our tour for IGTV. Find the link to that video here! Plus, you can find out more about the tour (which runs on weekends until December) on the Corrie Tour website!