Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Corrie Walking Tours

Since I announced the Corrie Walking Tours I've taken several couples and groups of friends on the Corrie heritage trail - so here's a little more about them.

These walks are exclusive to you (I don't do them on set days or at set times and it's just you and me) and include a history of Corrie, Tony Warren, Granada, a bit about how the show is produced and a bit of Manchester history too.  Here's a bit more about what we see:

Part 1: The city centre.  We meet in a city centre hotel and do a two-hour walk around the city centre.  You'll see the building that Hitler wanted to own, the Town Hall, the site where the Suffragette movement was born, the concert hall, trams, the tallest building, the Roman remains, Liz McDonald's pub, the site where Steve and Michelle broke up, where Tony tried to drown Roy Cropper, the studios, site of the original outdoor street set, where the Rovers fire took place, the cast entrance, the oldest passenger station in the world, and much more.  We finish in the Old Grapes, the pub owned by Liz Dawn (Vera Duckworth).
You can either end the tour there or go the whole hog and, after a short rest, head off on ...
Part 2: Weatherfield Quays.  We board a tram and cross a few viaducts and arrive after about 10 minutes in the Quays area of Salford - you'll hear about the American star who brought his huge entourage here, see where Leanne plied her wares as a prostitute, where Steve proposed to Karen, where Don Brennan tried to kill Alma, where the first outside filming took place, where the real Coronation St stood.  You'll find out why Canada is so linked to this area, you'll see where Mike Baldwin, Danny and Dev all lived and where the Coronation St studios are moving to.  This takes about another hour or so and I then leave you there to take some lunch, look at the shops, visit the gallery or take the tram back into Manchester.

Bring your cameras too!  This week my party bumped into Mikey North (Gary Windass), last week we met Johnny Briggs (Mike Baldwin).  You never know who you might see en route!

Everyone in your party receives a free guide book as a souvenir at the end.

The beautiful Castlefield area which
you will see on the tour. 
Picture: Copyright Mark Llewellin
 Please note that we do not enter the studios - it is not possible to visit the street set anymore.
This tour is not authorised by Granada TV or ITV.

Some answers to popular questions:
Can you get me into the studios? No, sorry.  The studios are not open to the public.
Can you guarantee we see a cast member?  No.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to just see someone in the street, sometimes we see no cast members in town at all.
Should I bring a camera? Yes - the city is very picturesque.
Where can I buy Corrie souvenirs?  Individual shops may stock items such as calendars, books etc but there is not a particular souvenir shop.
I'm bringing a large group - can you give us a tour?  The walking tour is aimed at groups of up to 6 people.  I am able to book minibuses or coaches for larger groups and put together an itinerary of outer Manchester locations.
What dates are your tours on?  As explained these walking tours are for your party only so please let me know when you're in town and I'll see if I'm available.  We normally set out at 10.30am and finish at around 2pm.  Email me with possible dates and I'll then advise you of the cost.
Do you give talks on Corrie? Yes.  I am happy to travel anywhere in the UK.
Is the walking tour very easy?  Yes, it's almost all on the flat.  At one point there are some steps but these can be avoided if necessary.
Is it all outside on the walking tour?  Yes, we only go inside at the Old Grapes Pub (as described).  If it's wet just bring a brolly.
I've only watched Corrie for a few years, is the walking tour for me? Yes.  It doesn't matter how long you've watched it for, you'll enjoy it.
My partner doesn't watch Corrie, will they be bored?  I include quite a bit on Manchester and the buildings we pass so it's not all Corrie.
I'm not sure about the walking tour - what else can I do that's Corrie related?  Not a lot!  There's the Corrie! play touring UK until July (visit www.corrietheplay.com for more information and a tour date list) which you will enjoy.  You used to be able to see the Corrie set from the Manchester Science and Industry Museum next door but you can't anymore.  They have a very small Corrie exhibit, which will be enlarged to include 'the tram' in due course but that hasn't happened yet.  You might find an ex-Corrie cast member appearing in something at the theatre (google Manchester Theatres for listings info).  That's about it!

Corrie! - a second review of the stage play

Elsie Tanner back on the
cobbles in Corrie!
Jonathan Harvey's stage play Corrie! opened at the Lowry in Salford last summer and I gave it the thumbs up on this site.  Such was the success of the fortnight's run that the play has now embarked on a national tour and the role of narrator is being played by different actors in different towns. (see below).  So what's changed?  Quite a bit actually.  Firstly, the original version was a little too long whereas this new version comes in at just under two hours which is much better.  We now have six actors playing about 55 characters and they do a great job too.  They've also added the tram crash which is very spectacular and done as a silent movie.
Last night, in Liverpool, the Narrator was Ken Morley (Reg Holdsworth).  Now, I have to confess that Reg wasn't one of my favourite Corrie characters but Ken did a great job in play - remember that the Narrator is the actor rather than the character so he played it as Ken rather than Reg.
The strength of this new version is that it is much pacier than the original and you move from very funny scenes to some very touching ones (Hilda coming back from the hospital with Stan's things for example) which work on two levels - the first is that the actors in the play are so good but on a second level we also remember the original on-screen versions of these classic scenes.
It is a must-see and worth travelling for!

The narrators will be: Bromley, Bath, Woking, Birmingham, Nottingham, Darlington, Northampton - Ken Morley / Sheffield, Ipswich, Stoke, Brighton and Hull - Gaynor Faye / Southampton, Cardiff, Bradford, Malvern - Roy Barraclough MBE.
For more info go to http://www.corrietheplay.com/

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Corrie Quiz

THE CORRIE QUIZ – how many can you get right?

1. Tony Warren’s first choice of name for the show was inspired by Sleeping Beauty – but what was it?
2. In which year did Betty make her first appearance?
3. Who did Billy Walker plan to marry in 1974?
4. How did Anne Malone die?
5. Alec Gilroy was married twice – to Bet and before her, to Joyce. Who did Joyce leave him for?
6. Alma once had a crush of Stephen Reid – who was he?
7. In 1996 Maxine had an affair with Fiona’s boyfriend – who was he?
8. What was the name of Vicky’s MacDonald’s horse?
9. Why was Vera sacked by Reg after a trolley dash?
10. In 1979 Deirdre thought Tracy was dead – why?
11. Who died pegging out the washing?
12. Her mum was knocked down by a car whilst walking a dog – name the dog..
13. Who was driving the car?
14. How long were Ted and Rita married for?
15. Where was Sally and Kevin’s daughter Rosie born?
16. Who drilled a hole in Reg’s water bed?
17. What was the name of Percy’s budgie?
18. Who did Phyllis Pearce clean for?
19. What did Rita call Mavis’ friend Victor Pendlebury?
20. Who did Maureen marry in 1997?
21. Who bought a baby which eventually died of meningitis?
22. Why did Len give the Kabin to Rita?
23. Who shaved off Kevin Webster’s moustache?
24. Jack and Annie Walker were blackmailed in 1965 – why?
25. What job did Ivy do at Baldwin’s?
26. Which of these people has not appeared in the show – Cliff Richard, Prince Charles or Tony Blair?
27. Which relative of Kens did Mike Baldwin marry?
28. Which actor plays undertaker Archie?
29. Who had a horse-drawn funeral cortege?
30. What was the first name of the Harris dad killed in the garage?
31. Who did Todd Grimshaw practise his kissing on?
32. What is the name of the actress who played Yana Lumb?
33. Which other famous British soap-opera did Ian Reddington (who played Vernon) appear in?
34. Which of these characters is to return to the show later this year? Jim McDonald, Todd Grimshaw or Alec Gilroy?
35. How many actresses have played Blanche Hunt?

Scroll down for the answers.

1. Florizel Street – named after the prince in the story.  2. 1969.  3. Deirdre. 4. She froze to death in a freezer.  5. A footballer.  6. Audrey’s son from Canada.  7. Tony Horrocks.  8. Saracen.  9. She told everyone he’d fixed it for Rita to win because he fancied her.  10. She’d left her in her pram outside the Rovers when a lorry ploughed into it.  11. Judy Mallet.  12. Scamper.  13. Tony Horrocks.  14. Three months.  15. In the back of a taxi.  16. Derek Wilton.  17. Randy.  18. Des Barnes.  19. The Saddleworth Sage.  20. Fred Elliot.  21. The Mallets – from Zoe.  22. He was facing bankruptcy and wanted it in her name.  23. Steph Barnes.  24. They had an under-age barmaid.  25. She was the Supervisor.  26. Tony Blair
27. Daughter – Susan.  28. Roy Hudd.  29. Mike Baldwin  30. Tommy.  31. Nick Platt  32. Jayne Tunnicliffe.  33. EastEnders.  34. Jim and Todd (Alec returns to the Corrie stage show).  35. 2