Monday 30 July
And of we go. When working out the itinerary I try and avoid starts which are too early – I mean, people are on holiday! This was a 10am one and this morning is a chance to learn a little about Manchester and see the city. I always start with a drive through the centre pointing out some Corrie locations – Liz McDonald’s pub, where Alf and Audrey married, the pub Liz dawn used to own, the roof John Stape fell from and so on. Then we pass Granada Studios and I talk about its history, show where the very first outdoor street set used to be and where the current one is. We then get off the coach for a 40 minute walk around the historic Castlefield area with its old industrial buildings, criss-cross of railway and tram bridges and its canals. Here you have Manchester’s story – plus where Tony Gordon tried to kill Roy Cropper, where Les contemplated suicide, where Zoe took the Mallet’s baby, where Danny said goodbye to Jamie and so on. Then it’s all aboard the coach for a drive past the Town Hall, China Town, the Cathedral and so on. We then head north to see the Commonwealth Games Stadium, now home to Manchester City, and Ryecroft Hall where a number of Corrie weddings – from Rita and Dennis to Gail and Joe have taken place.
Next stop was the canal basin where Richard Hillman tried to kill the Platts and where later David drove his car into the water to try and stop Sarah and Jason’s wedding. A busy morning huh?
The we had some free time in Ashton under Lyne town centre to take in the shops and market and enjoy a bite of lunch.
We rounded off our tour with a drive through the lovely Saddleworth villages, a set of villages which have provided the backdrop to number of films including Brassed Off, Yanks and have even appeared in Corrie – remember The Sage of Saddleworth, Victor Pendlebury?
Back to the hotel for a couple of hours to put our feet up before we moved next door to one of the oldest pubs in the city. Dating back to the early 1800s the Briton’s Protection hosted a lovely buffet meal and we were joined by a very special surprise guest – the lovely Julie Hesmondhalgh who plays Hayley. She spent the evening with us posing for pictures and answering questions.