Sunday, 8 December 2013

More Daisy Nook happenings

More pictures of Daisy Nook's Christmas stock above.  We had our annual Reindeer Night last week.  We've done this twice before - a couple of live reindeer, some owls, a brass band, hog roast. Lovely.  We've had about 400-500 people come long each time.  This year over 3000 came - thanks to the power of social media!  Sadly we had to ask people to keep driving past as there was a two mile tailback into town.  We were very popular!

New Corrie set about to open

You'll probably have seen all the pictures of the new Corrie set at Salford Quays.  Filming will begin there in January following the Christmas break.  It is, of course, bigger than the current one and as such there are a few adjustments such as the odd extra window here and there.  This picture (courtesy of ITV) shows the back yards.  The yards for Coronation St are on the right but on the left are the yards of the street behind.  They've always had these on the current set but they are now a bit bigger and will, no doubt, be used for aerial shots.  Who knows - maybe we'll see the occasional neighbour emerge from a yard now?

The current set, which dates back to the 80s, will be opened to the public for a few months in 2014 and will then be demolished.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

It's all going on at Daisy Nook

Our Christmas events are all in  full swing now with Santa and Cinderella appearing each Saturday and Sunday until the big day!  The pantomime themed displays are proving a big hit too!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

I'm a bit sad - I keep all the theatre programmes from productions I've seen and now and again I have a flick through a few. 

Yesterday I came across one for 'Randle's Scandals' a play about the great comedian Frank Randle (if you don't know anything about him, Google the name - it's well worth a  read).  Anyway, the show starred Keith Clifford who played a couple of memorable Corrie characters - the chap who owned the turkey, Charlie West, and the old chap in the care home where Cilla worked.  Keith is a great expert on Frank and he played him to a tee.  Along side him was a young actress making her debut, one Kate Merrington and an actor called Noel Kelly.  Noel is her dad and her real name was/is Kate Kelly - who went on to play Becky in Corrie.

Incidentally - some of you will recognise Keith as Billy from Last of the Summer Wine.  You may not know that he's a very talented painter.

Catching up with Curly

It was great to catch up with Kevin Kennedy last week.  He was at the garden centre launching his autobiography and meeting fans at our Corrie exhibition.  Since leaving the show he's done quite long runs in several theatre musicals including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and We Will Rock You, which he's still starring in in London's West End.
Each time I've met him he's been so kind and very entertaining - and I have to say I'm working my way through his book - which is quite a read.  Very honest  (but not in a sensationalist way like some books) but also very insightful - I'm really enjoying it.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Meet Curly Watts

Actor Kevin Kennedy will be at Daisy Nook Garden Centre in Manchester on Wed 30 October between 6.30pm and 8.30pm signing copies of his new autobiography in the Coronation St exhibition!  It's part of the Christmas launch night which includes free drinks and cake, 10% off all purchases (some exclusions apply), the unveiling of the pantomime themed displays by the Fairy Godmother and Cinderella and flora art demos by Kathleen Williams.  Admission is free!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Upcoming events....

A few events you might be interested in:

Sept 27-29:
At Daisy Nook Garden Centre, M35 9WJ
Raising money for the Mayor of Oldham's charity appeal.  Free admission during normal opening hours with over 25 floral displays from groups across the North West.  Raffles, dancing and demos also taking place!
PLUS: 26 Sept 7pm - 9pm: Gala Preview Evening - £5 each
ALSO: 27 Sept: All day in Cafe Riverside we're raising money for Macmillan!

Oct 30:
At Daisy Nook Garden Centre, M35 9WJ
10% off goods throughout the store (a few minor exclusions may apply), a free glass of wine and slice of cake PLUS floral demo with Kathleen Williams and book signing by Corrie star Kevin Kennedy (Curly) and see our stunning pantomime themed displays for the first time!

Nov 29:
At Daisy Nook Garden Centre, M35 9WJ
Real reindeers, live brass band, birds of prey, stalls, hot sandwiches and the shop and cafe open.
Free admission! 6pm - 9.30pm

Every Saturday and Sunday during November and December
At Daisy Nook Garden Centre, M35 9WJ
An hour long experience for up to 40 people!  Suitable for all ages!  Cakes, sandwiches, squash and the chance to meet two beloved characters up close and personal in a lovely setting.  Tickets on sale from 16 Sept at the main tills.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Meet Curly Watts in October

Come along to Daisy Nook Garden Centre's Christmas Preview Evening!
October 30th  6.30pm - 9pm

Be the first to see the fantastic pantomime themed Christmas displays!
Free glass of wine and slice of cake!
10% off everything! (some minor exclusions may apply)

Meet Corrie's Curly Watts!  Actor Kevin Kennedy will be signing copies of his brand new autobiography in the Coronation St exhibition!

Floral artist Kathleen Williams will be demonstrating her skills in the Christmas floral and foliage section!

Lots of fun for everyone!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Corrie wedding locations

A list of some of the filming locations used for Corrie weddings (In some cases the weddings didn't actually go ahead!):

Chadderton Town Hall, Manchester:

Curly and Raquel


Arley Hall, Cheshire:

Maria and Liam

Karen and Steve

Mike and Linda

Steve and Tracy


St Mary’s Church, Prestwich:

Shelley and Peter

Maxine and Ashley

Maureen and Reg

Peter and Leanne

Fred and Bev

Ashley and Claire

Sharon and Ian

Jason and Sarah


St James’ Church, Didsbury:

Lucy and Peter

Betty and Billy


Knowsley Hall, Merseyside:

Gail and Richard

Leanne and Nick


Nunsmere Hall, Cheshire:

Eve and Fred


St Boniface Church, Charlestown, Manchester:

Rita and Len

Gail and Brian


St Clement’s Church, Ordsall:

Concepta and Harry


Hale Chapel, Hale Barns:

Sophie and Sian

Tyrone and Kirsty


Holy Trinity Church, Prestolee:

Alec and Bet

Eddie and Marion

Deirdre and Ken


Manchester Costume Museum:

Deirdre and Ken


Ryecroft Hall, Manchester:

Karl and Stella

Steve and Becky

Gail and Joe

Rita and Dennis

Jason and Sarah

Graeme and Xin

Liz and Vernon

David and Kylie


St Mary’s, Nether Alderley:

Tyrone and Molly


Tatton Hall:

Roy and Hayley


Old Chapel, Dukinfield:

Roy and Hayley


Sunita and Dev:

Granada Studios


St John’s, High Legh, Cheshire:

Emma and Curly


Holy Trinity, Heaton Moor:

Cilla and Les


Thursday, 27 June 2013

New Regatta Clothing store at Daisy Nook

Mark with Graeme Hawley and Jennie McAlpine (the Stapes)
Opening this Saturday (29 June) is a new regatta clothing store at Daisy Nook Garden centre.  Selling men's, women's and children's clothing why not come along and see it?
We'll have music from Belle Vue Brass Band on Saturday and Sunday and the Mayor and Mayoress of Oldham will be coming along at 3pm on Saturday.

We also have an exhibition of my Corrie memorabilia, a history garden and a superb café!

Sunday, 2 June 2013

My Corrie collectables on show

For many years I've talked about Corrie to groups - and, as a frequent visitor to the studios, I've been given bits and bobs (supplemented by a few things bought from eBay) to use in the talks.  This collection grew and grew and eventually I couldn't cart it all around with me so it got put away in the attic.

Then, a few months ago, the people at Daisy Nook Garden Centre asked if I would like to lend them a few things to put on exhibition in an empty space they had.  Out it all came and before long we had a few glass cabinets full - so if you're in Manchester why not call in and visit this 'unofficial' collection of all things Corrie.  Amongst the exhibits are:
The sweatshirt worn by Roy Cropper in the live 40th anniversary episode with 'Save Our Street' on it.
Alec Gilroy's Sunliners uniform from the video filmed on the QE2
A brick from the very first outdoor set (68-82) - I think it was part of Hilda's house.
A roll of credits.
Maxine's handbag and script from the episode in which Richard Hillman killed her.
A copy of The Pathfinder, the picture in Barlow's hall.
The 1967 producer's dossier of storylines to shake up the show.
Some pictures and music from Jill Summer's (Phyllis) personal collection.
Some of Betty Drivers' sheet music.
Original 60's memorabilia including a mug, jigsaw, glasses etc.
A tray, used in the Rovers, signed by the whole cast.
The statuette Tracey killed Charlie with.
etc etc

They also sell lots of the official Corrie merchandise right next to it! - the website includes details on how to get there (it's about 6 miles from Manchester city centre).

Remember this is just a collection of Corrie things collected by me - it's NOT an official exhibition nor is it run by, or endorsed by, ITV.  There is no admission charge.

Coronation Street Walking Tours - bookings now being taken

Visiting Manchester?  Want to take a walk around the city with an experienced guide and hear all about Corrie?  Then this is for you!
Guide Jane Hodson, who has appeared in the soap herself, is available to take you on a personal tour.  You'll start at the luxury Midland Hotel at 10am and take a 3-4 hour tour which will take in many Corrie filming locations, and a walk past the Granada Studios complex where she'll show you the site of the original Corrie street set and the entrance to the area where the show is filmed today.  You'll see where Alf and Audrey married, where John  Stape fell from the hospital roof, where Molly and Kevin enjoyed their trysts, where Tony Gordon tried to drown Roy Cropper and much more - plus you'll hear the fascinating story of Manchester's history.  Then it's all aboard a tram to Salford Quays where Jane will finish by showing you where the new Corrie studios are being built, the BBC centre, and much more.  She'll bid farewell at the Lowry Outlet Mall with its shops and cafes!

This tour is for your group* so we charge £45 set fee for up to 4 people.  It doesn't run on set days - if you are interested please email with the date(s) you're in town and how many will be in your party and we'll email you back to let you know if Jane is free! 

*We reserve the right to combine groups if necessary.  You will be responsible for paying your own tram fare.
Please note that Granada Studios is not open to the public and therefore this tour doesn't visit the studios or the Coronation Street set.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Visiting Manchester? Things for Corrie fans to see/do!

I'm always being asked for ideas for things Corrie fans can do when in Manchester - so here are a few.

A NEW ONE! Daisy Nook Garden Centre (lovely in its own right) now sells the official Coronation Street merchandise and has a small exhibition alongside it of Corrie memorabilia including costumes, props etc.  Well worth a visit! It's about 20 minutes from the city centre (nearest tram: Hollinwood or train: Ashton under Lyne then bus 231, 168 or 169 from the bus station opposite).  The 231 bus from Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens passes by the centre.

STUDIOS: You can't get in but you can see the outside of both the current studio (Quay Street, Manchester) or the new one (currently being built) at Salford Quays (next to the Imperial war Museum).

FILMING LOCATIONS: In the city centre - The Castlefield area is lovely anyway but it's also where things like Tony trying to drown Roy, the turkeys in the water, Sian and Sophie before their wedding etc have all been filmed.  You might walk along Deansgate and try spotting Liz Mc's old pub (near the Hilton), where Alf and Audrey wed (junct with Quays St).  The Midland Hotel's been used a few times also.  Out of the city: The Red Rec is on Langworthy Rd, the registry office is Ryecroft Hall, Ashton under Lyne, the church is usually St Mary's in Prestwich, the spot where Richard Hillman drove into the canal is Portland Basin in Ashton under Lyne. 

WALKING TOUR: You can hire a guide for a private walking tour of the city centre and Salford Quays.  He/she will meet you at the Midland Hotel and the whole thing is about 4 hours finishing at Salford Quays.  It includes a trip on a tram and you'll hear about Corrie, see some of the filming locations, find out a bit about Manchester's history and pass both the current and new Corrie studios.  It costs £45 and can be booked by emailing

COACH DAYS OUT: Elite Coaches of Sale Moor offer the occasional day trip around locations (you don't go into the studios).  Check out their website or Eddie Browns do them from Yorkshire.

LONG GONE: You'll find some suggestions on the web which are out of date such as: The Old Grapes.  It's still a nice old pub but is no longer owned by Liz Dawn and does not have Corrie pictures on the walls anymore.  Also, you used to be able to look down on the Corrie set from the Science and Industry Museum.  Not any more! 

The entrance to the section of Daisy Nook's Corrie goodies.
Hope that helps!
Castlefield - near the studios it's been used for filming many times.

Ryecroft Hall - a community centre used for Rita's, Gail's, Graeme's, and Becky's weddings.

Upcoming Tours and Talks

I'll be talking away at the following events:
18 April: Corrie locations day tour for Coronation Travel of Nova Scotia.
23 April: Talking about Victorian crimes and cons at Ashton Civic Society
1 May: Talking about cruises at Ryecroft Ladies.
7 May: Talking about Corrie at Denton Probus.
18 May: Talking about Corrie to Oldham MS Group.
3 June: Talking about Daisy Nook's history to Hartshead Ladies.
5 June: Talking about Corrie to Ryecroft Ladies.
6 June: Talking about Corrie at Stalybridge Church.
10 June: Talking about my career at Dukinfield Library.
23 July: Talking about Corrie at Daisy Nook.
25 July: Guiding on a Hidden Manchester day for Elite Coaches.
18 September: Taking Kemptville Travel's group of Canadians to Granada Studios.
20 September: Taking Kemptville Travel's group on a Corrie locations day.
16 October: Talking about pantomime at Ryecroft Hall.
A little bit of hidden Manchester - right gorgeous!

To book me for events email

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The 1967 Dossier

I have, as those of you who have attended one of my Corrie talks will know, a fair collection of Corrie artefacts.  One  item I'm very pleased to have been able to give houseroom to is a file of notes compiled in October 1967.  Michael Cox had just taken over from Jack Rosenthal as producer and there was some debate as to the future of the show.  It was almost outgrowing itself and earlier in '67 there had been a great deal of difficulty filming the train crash scenes using the 7 year old indoor street set, a replica train and a real fire engine which towered over the houses, all but to scale.

So, at the end of 1967 there was a review carried out into the show's future and whether it was reflecting modern society.  The result was the building of an outdoor street set in 1968 and plans, overseen by Executive Producer Richard Everitt, to include more sex, pregnancy and drugs and homosexuality.  However, most of these stories were dropped for fear of upsetting viewers and instead a number of new characters were introduced to freshen up the show.

The document I have runs through the sets, the characters and the potential for bringing back old characters.  Here are some interesting snip-its:

Amongst the permanent sets available are listed: Jackson's Chop Shop, Miami Modes, Gamma Garments, Exterior Vestry, a stock room.
Listed as semi-permanent sets are: Raincoat factory, Loft, Mario's Café, Flying Horse, Roebuck Inn and Hotel Room.

There are sections on each regular character which includes these facts/descriptions:
The Rover's phone number was: Weatherfield 2271.
David Barlow - wealthiest member of the street with £1,000 in the bank.
Kenneth Barlow - the educated voice of reason - in conflict with more down to earth regulars.  A highbrow misfit. 
Valerie Barlow - note: is scared of wasps.
Emily Nugent - Lives over the corner shop.  Has a multitude of outside semi-educational interests, although she has played bingo with Florrie.  Plays the harmonium.  Nugent is looked upon by all members of the street with mild affection.  Possibly could get married and move away after June 1968.
Hilda Ogden - Kind and well meaning.  She has one weakness - Stan.  Hilda claims to be clairvoyant - her greatest triumph was foretelling the downfall of Kruschev.  She had a nervous breakdown in June and ran away to Liverpool frequenting clubs and cocktail bars.  There are research documents on this and it will not happen again.
Ena Sharples - Gossip and gardening are her hobbies.  Politics - will support first party to put pensions up.  Needs sharpening - make bitchy.
Elsie Tanner - Warm-hearted.  Interests - men, fashion, the pools.  Elsie met Steve in spring - engaged at Roebuck Inn.  Realises she married a dream.  Bring back toughness.
Dennis Tanner - Went to prison for 3 months - breaking and entering.  Has a yen for bright lights and show girls.  Not religious.  He is tolerated.  Will leave in June.
Albert Tatlock - Father figure. 
Annie Walker - enjoys a 'gracious' standard of living.  A tolerant superior. 

In the section on possible returning characters:
Frank Barlow - a note is made that 'actor cannot be used'.  This refers to Frank Pemberton being ill at the time.  He did return in 1971 for Val's funeral - it was his last appearance.
Ida Barlow - although she's on the list someone's helpfully noted in red ink that the character is dead.
Sheila Birtles -Not seen since 1966. Went out with Jerry Booth (a popular character who was in fact being lined up for a gay storyline which never came to pass)
Ivan and Linda Cheveski - Linda was Elsie's daughter.  They had been brought back for Elsie's wedding to Steve Tanner (they married her off to someone with the same surname so that viewers wouldn't be confused!) earlier in 1967.  Ivan didn't appear again but Linda returned in 1968 and 1984 when she cleared Elsie's things from her house and made a pass at Bill Webster before leaving for good.
Harry and Concepta Hewitt- Harry had actually been killed off in 1967 so why he's on the list is anyone's guess but Concepta returned a few times until the mid-70s.
Alf Roberts - had been seen in his job with the post office a few times in the '60s but had to wait until 1971 to return.  He became a regular and stayed in the show until 1999.
Jed Stone - a bit of a waster and friend of Dennis Tanner's he left in 1966.  He had to wait until 2008 to come back when he played a crucial role in the Tony Gordon storyline.

What actually happened:
Well, plans to have Emily leave the show were obviously dropped and then it was decided that Emily should fall pregnant by her blind Hungarian lover and that they would buy the corner shop.  This too was dropped.  Instead, a new family - the Clegg's - came in to run the shop.  We would eventually discover that Maggie Clegg's son Gordon was in fact Betty's son!  Ray Langton, who had been seen briefly in 1966, returned and eventually married Deirdre and fathered Tracey (and other crimes).  Dickie Fleming and Audrey Bright were introduced as a new young couple who had eloped aged 16.  The Mission was demolished and replaced by trendy new flats and the hippest couple of them all - Ken and Val moved in.  Hippies moved in to one house, Hilda became besotted with a park keeper, Dennis married and Steve Tanner was murdered.

Have things changed that much over the years?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Some more Corrie trivia

Picture: Copyright of the blog's owner.  Not to be used without permission.
I'm always being asked to set Corrie quizzes - and sometimes to check facts for books and articles.  Here are a few Corrie facts you may not know:

Hilda Ogden wasn't the first character to have three flying ducks on her wall.  Long before the Ogdens even arrived on the show Elsie Tanner had three ducks in her front room.

Hilda was the owner of her famous 'murial' of course - but did you know that she actually had two?  One of mountains and one of the sea - not at the same time of course!

Ken's wife Val died in a fire - it was part of a plan to replace the flats on the street with a new factory building. 

Over the course of the years the stairs in the Rovers have moved - they used to run in the opposite direction from right to left.

Jill Summers and Bill Waddington (Phyllis and Percy) had a love-hate relationship on the show - and off screen too.  They'd both been stars on the variety circuit and had never really got along.

The door of the Rovers set is smaller on the outdoor set than the indoor one (the outdoor sets not being full sized) so watch people come out of the pub doors.  On the outdoor set they have to go in and out sideways but that's not necessary on the indoor set.

More to follow!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Anne Wilkie-Millar

A dear friend, the former locations manager on Coronation Street, Anne Wilkie-Millar passed away yesterday following a short illness.

Anne was larger than life, full of fun and a sheer delight to know.  Along with her husband Tony we spent many happy days together including a memorable trip on the QE2 lecturing on Corrie.

Corrie fans may also be interested to know that Anne and Tony were the owners of Scamper, the Mallet's dog - and they looked after, in retirement, the budgies once 'owned' by Percy and Mavis.

RIP Anne - a true legend.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Framed at last

At Friday night's Pride In Oldham awards I was a finalist in the Professional category - and was presented with a lovely framed citation.
Thank you to all who voted for me!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Great news for Corrie fans visiting Manchester

The Corrie Walking Tour is back!
There's not much for Corrie fans visiting Manchester to see Weatherfield-wise which is why I set up the Corrie Walking Tour some years ago but, sadly, due to other work pressures I was unable to offer them after mid-2012 - however, they're back!

I will publish full details in a few weeks - and I'm unable to take bookings  just yet - but here's how it works.

The tour starts at the Midland Hotel where your guide (either me or a lovely lady called Jane, who knows many of the cast and indeed, has appeared as an 'extra' on Corrie, Emmerdale, and other shows) will meet your party.  We take you on a gentle walk around Manchester city centre taking in many filming locations (you'll recognise these from many key stories) and we'll take you past the studios themselves (we can't take you in but you never know your luck - quite often we bump into a cast member going in or out!).  We also tell you all about Manchester's fascinating history too.  We then take a short refreshment stop in a lovely old pub before climbing aboard a tram and making our way to Salford Quays where again we'll point out lots of Corrie locations, show you where the new studios are being built ready for Corrie's move in 2014 and we'll leave you at a lovely mall which includes a Cadbury chocolate shop, fish and chip restaurant and much more.  You can then make your tram journey back into the city (takes 20 minutes) at your leisure.  We normally start at about 10am and leave you at about 2pm.  The cost is £45* for your group (up to 4 people)  - the guide is normally exclusively for your group but sometimes we put two groups together!  You get to ask loads of questions and the guide has many personal Corrie stories to share.
*In addition you'll pay your own tram fares (around £2.50 each return)

As I said, we expect to be able to start taking bookings soon - keep watching this blog!  There are no set days on which we run the tour - you tell us when you're in town and if we can we take you on the walk! Please note that you won't enter Granada Studios, won't see the set and we can't guarantee you'll meet any of the cast but we do offer a unique day, lots of insider gossip and it's a must for Corrie fans.