Monday, 30 August 2010

Kemptville Travel Tour - Day Four

Monday 30 August 2010

It’s a public holiday here today and we took the opportunity to have a noon departure giving anyone with jet-lag chance to lie in or the more adventurous to take some city air and explore the streets around the hotel.

We did a quick drive around the outside of the Granada Studios complex so that I could tell them the story of Granada itself – of the Bernstein brothers who founded it, where the name comes from, why Canadians were brought over to help start it, and just how many Corrie street sets there’ve been.

Next we crossed into the city of Salford, where creator Tony Warren was born and raised. First stop was a real Coronation Street. Yes, it has terraced houses and yes, that’s its real name. We found out why Prince Charles has visited it and how it’s featured in several TV shows. Then we drove past rows of terraced houses and back yards until we reached the park they use to film the Red Rec scenes. It’s also the spot from where they used to film the shots of roof tops and chimneys which were featured in the opening and closing credits. I say ‘used to’ because the houses here have been renovated and look nothing like they used to. As we drove to our next locations we passed a spot where someone (you’ll have to wait for this is Canada) escapes from an ambulance. ….

The Granada Studios
Then we had a surprise for our guests as we entered the Salford Quays area. We saw the locations where Don Brennan drove his taxi into the water (he had Alma with him!), where Steve proposed to Karen, where Leanne worked when she was a prostitute, where Mike Baldwin lived and where the first church ever used for a wedding (it was in 1961) stands. There waiting for us was the film crew shooting the up-coming Debbie Travis show ‘Corrie Crazy’ to be shown on CBC on the 50th anniversary (9 December). They filmed us arriving and chatted with some of the guests about the tour (I took Debbie on a tour a few weeks ago which was also filmed). They then joined us as we learnt about the Quays and its Canadian connections (did you know many of the waterways and streets are named after Canadian places – that’s why Mike lived in Montreal House at Weatherfield Quays) and passed the Manchester United Stadium, Archie Street (which was used as an early double for Coronation St when outdoor filming was required) and the new BBC studios.

Next stop was a little street where Weatherfield Community Centre sits (remember Blanche holding forth at the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in there?) and it’s also been used when Roy and Ken were accused of drug dealing and when Chesney ran away. It also gives me an opportunity to explain how filming is done and what makes a good Corrie location (it was a bit odd giving this talk whilst being filmed!)

The film crew then left us as we headed to the Trafford Centre, a huge indoor shopping mall built in an Italian style. After an hour or two it was back to the hotel for a free evening. Again, we were lucky, ITV were airing a double episode focused on a big event!

Spoiler bit – Tony Gordon escapes and returns to Weatherfield.
Tonight ITV is showing Roy and Hayley’s wedding.

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