This month, Ticketmaster Groups went along to the world famous cobbles of Coronation Street to chat to Kieran Roberts, Creative Director for ITV Studios, about the long running soap and what fans can expect from a visit to the tour.
Q: What’s your favourite Coronation Street moment?
A: There are so many unforgettable moments over so many years that it’s almost impossible to single one out. However, one that certainly stands out for me was the climax of the Richard Hillman storyline in early 2003, particularly the episode in which Richard confessed his crimes to Gail. It was the culmination of a story that had been running for more than a year and had gripped a huge audience. John Fay’s wonderful script was beautifully directed by Ian Bevitt and magnificently performed by Brian Capron and Helen Worth. If I had to choose a single moment from that episode it would be the unforgettable line, bringing gallows humour to a tense and emotional confrontation, in which Gail accused Richard of being “Norman Bates with a briefcase”.
Q: What are the differences between the old and the new set?
A: The new set is a loving and faithful recreation of the old but there is a subtle though important difference of scale. Our new 7.7 acre site gives us more space to play with, so we’ve slightly increased things like the size of the houses and the width of Coronation Street itself. What we have now is more realistic and gives us much more flexibility in how we choreograph and shoot scenes. And of course the extra bedroom window in the Rovers must be a relief to Steve and Michelle, who no longer have to share a room with Liz!
Q: What can people expect from the tour?
A: Coronation Street was produced from Quay Street for 53 years, which adds up to a huge number of episodes, stories, unforgettable characters and magical memories. To me, the tour is about sharing those magical memories of Coronation Street with the public and the fans of the show. From the stars’ dressing rooms to the props and costumes featured in great storylines to the iconic sets and the famous cobbles… this is a fun and fascinating journey through 53 years of the history of the nation’s street.
Q: Why do you think your fans are so dedicated to the soap after 53 years?
A: We never take our viewers and our fans for granted and are always hugely grateful for their support. I think they remain dedicated because we try very hard never to forget the history and the roots of the show. We are fortunate to have actors who have been with Coronation Street for many, many years and provide continuity with the early years. And we keep in close contact with the show’s creator, Tony Warren, who keeps us on our toes and makes sure that we don’t forget what Coronation Street is, and always has been, about. Having said that, we work hard to keep the show fresh and relevant to a modern audience and we tell stories about life in contemporary Britain. Hopefully by keeping one eye on our rich heritage and the other on the modern world around us we can continue to create a show steeped in history but packed with engaging modern stories.
Q: What inspires you with the storylines? Is it topical issues or do you get ideas from elsewhere?
A: Our guiding principle is that all stories should be character-driven, so we don’t go out looking for issues or for stories in the news. However, sometimes one of our characters naturally goes on a narrative journey that allows us to explore issues that matter to our viewers. The heart-breaking story of Hayley’s terminal illness last year was a good example. Of course it touched on important issues and sparked debate, but at its heart it was entirely true to her character and history and to the nature of Hayley and Roy’s unique and wonderful relationship. But all our stories are principally inspired by the characters themselves. And then created and delivered by an amazing team of writers and storyliners.
Q: Where do you see Coronation Street in 10 years?
A: I hope Coronation Street will still be hugely successful abroad as well as at home. Of course, we cannot take continued success for granted but we have a fantastically talented and hard-working team and a fabulous new state of the art production base in MediaCity UK. With those resources we have every reason to be optimistic that Coronation Street will remain Britain’s best-loved soap.
Q: What do you think makes Coronation Street: The Tour so appealing for groups?
A: The tour is a fun and fascinating experience for anyone interested in the rich history of Coronation Street. But what better than to share that experience and that rich history with others?
This unique opportunity is available for a limited time only, so call our dedicated Reservations Team on 08444 539000 for more information.