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Coronation Street Tour Reviewed

Joan Davies is charmed by the return of The Street as a MCR tourist attraction

Written by . Published on April 7th 2014.


Coronation Street Tour Reviewed
 

FOR A FAN who’s never been before, the ‘big reveal’ will be exciting: a cobble-lined street so familiar it feels like it’s just round the corner, yet it's a desired destination unattainable for nearly fifteen years.

Corrie is, after all, the world’s longest running soap opera. And the world’s best soap opera. 

Actually, it is just round the corner for me, but I’m sure fans will travel from far and wide to see this. I would. It’s already over 50% booked, we’re told, for its planned six month run from 5 April to 4 October.

Many Manchester folk thought they’d never see the set re-opened to public view; it was believed there was no commercial or civic appetite to retain the set. Quiet mothballing, followed by quick demolition was expected. 

Public opinion that the iconic set should be retained as a tourist attraction seemed to have no purchase. But the commercial world couldn’t ignore the prospects for profit and have been quietly holding talks for nearly two years.

The RoversThe Rovers

Expectations for the tour are high, and are largely met. This is a different experience from the Granada Studio tours of the past. It’s Coronation Street, only Coronation Street. No faux Baker Street, no false Downing Street, no House of Commons copy, no rubbish rides included in the hope of return custom. 

Just Coronation Street. 

The real Coronation Street. The outdoor set used for years. And you even get an inside view. Not of course by walking through the front doors, filming isn’t like that, but by gaining access to the famous Stage One, where Corrie has been filmed for its 53-year life.

The tour starts at the cast entrance, once exclusive to the cast but now open to the paying public, then moves into the Green Room. The coffee making facilities, and collection of tired arm chairs are surprisingly unglamorous, most teachers’ staff rooms are better equipped; it’s the names on the pigeonholes that will make it special, for fans.

Dressing roomDressing room

Then it’s a trip down the dressing room corridor to view costumes, make-up and indoor sets in Stage One. Carla’s home, with its barely used kitchen facilities, provides a catalogue-glamour contrast to the Platt and Duckworth/Dobbs homes. The Rovers’ Return set is there, as is Hayley’s coffin and Deirdre’s glasses.

The inside tour is guide-accompanied and takes 45 minutes before the ‘reveal’ where you’re let onto the outside set to explore at your own speed, but with guides on hand to answer your questions. There’s tea and bacon rolls on offer, and a gift shop placed in the Medical Centre on Rosemond Street. You can even look down the back alleys, haunted by voices of past encounters. 

Experienced operators, Continuum, have drawn on the design consultancy experience of Wilmslow-based Mather and Co and the knowledge of Corrie experts to produce a well-structured tour which will appeal to all fans and satisfy most, and there’s something to interest those with just a general interest in TV and a deal of imagination.

Corrie is, after all, the world’s longest running soap opera. And the world’s best soap opera. 

 

InteriorInterior

The standard ticket price is £16.50, down to £15 with concessions and offering further family ticket reductions. The guides have been well trained. They’re engaging, know plenty of Corrie history and backstage stories and seem genuine enthusiasts. They’ll have their work cut out taking round groups of up to 30 visitors at a time, mind.

Up to 250,000 can be accommodated over the six months. The set is also available for private and corporate bookings.

But will the tours continue after the first six months? 

Juliana Delaney, chief Executive of Continuum Leading Attractions, wasn’t giving anything away. At present the only agreement is for six months. I guess it will depend on visitor numbers, profitability and what the market research throws up.

But the city will certainly benefit from increased numbers of tourists staying in hotels and spending all their lovely cash in our shops and food and drink venues. As popular opinion said all along, led by Manchester Confidential, this is a no-brainer.

Tickets £16.50 here.

 

The streetThe street

AlleyAlley

PostboxPostbox

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16 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousApril 3rd 2014.

I use to work at Granada Studio Tours (including The Street). The rides weren't rubbish, it was just part of the overall experience. It was nice to walk around the street set way back in 1997 so I expect with all the changes and developments it'll be even better in 2014. (Just realised how much time has passed - mortality alert!!)

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousApril 7th 2014.

The rides were great and our kids loved the place. We only went for the rides and the backstage tour and the Land of the Giants set as we're not into Corrie (sorry).

Ghostly TomApril 5th 2014.

I don't understand Coronation Street, it's about as relevant to and representative of Manchester as Eastenders is to London. But it is amazing how many people from outside the city think I live in a two up two down terraced house and spend all my time in the pub on the corner. Maybe the writers would like to consider this?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidApril 6th 2014.

Are you so weak minded to be bothered by the ill informed social snobbery of others?.

AnonymousApril 6th 2014.

you really need to get over yourself,I live near Liverpool and if I took exception to being told to'calm down' I would never venture out of Merseyside !!!!

soulman1949April 6th 2014.

How many people in real life pop in to a cafe for a coffee when their house is round the corner? How many communities exist along the lines of the ones in Corrie or EE? Not many in the big cities. But who cares? It's about the interactions of ordinary folk, their lives, their worries, their cares. As anonymous says above, get over yourself. We all like different types of programmes, I like the leading soaps but loathe reality TV. Nobody forces you to watch them. I'm not surprised there's a lot of interest in the tours, there's been a lot of politics to do with the site and now the Granada have moved on, we can enjoy it unencumbered. The programme has been on the box for half a century and still pulls in the viewers. Doing something right, I think.

Alan WharrierApril 8th 2014.

Its hilarious thats all that matters, comedy gold!

John KirkhamApril 6th 2014.

Loads of people do live in two up two down in Manchester.

Josephine RichApril 6th 2014.

What`s wrong with living in a two up two down terraced house and spending your time in the pub on the corner ?!

Will AitkenApril 6th 2014.

I'm with Josephine on this, works for me, social and friendly neighbours with the local on the weekend, and I live on a terraced cobbled street in rossendale, lovely place!

AnonymousApril 6th 2014.

don't get too attached... i get the feeling this is getting smashed to pieces before long

GimboidApril 6th 2014.

I WISH I there was a pub on the corner of my street.

MarkApril 8th 2014.

Is it 15 years ago?? I remember last time I went, the houses on the street were smaller than they looked on the telly. (£16.50 seems a lot to get in.)

AnonymousApril 8th 2014.

They are built at 2/3 size, Mark. And from friends that have been, they reckon it's good value. I will have to find out for myself, of course.

Barrie JeffersonMay 1st 2014.

I went yesterday, and it was brilliant ! I have followed Corrie for 33 years now, and to be on the Set was exhilarating and exciting . I just hope I didn't miss anything ! Where, for example, was Owen's Builders Yard ? Anyway, I hope it's not all pulled down in the Autumn. I want to go again.....and again....and again !

MeanghostMay 1st 2014.

I really love the street if only it was a real place to live i'd live there ,and i hope that they dont demolish it and keep it open for tourists for ever .what would they gain from demolishing it .nothing at all .its part of history now i dont see them demolishing old castles .they should live the street as it is .the street are my childhood memories born in 57 i can remember the early episodes from when i was 6 or 7 Ernesto d'ascenzo

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