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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Vikki White

First peek at new Coronation Street replica set - and you can enjoy a pint at the Rovers

Pretending to pour a pint of Newton and Ridley on the replica set of the Rovers Return, it’s hard not to channel favourite­ Coronation Street barmaids from over the past 63 years.

From ditsy Raquel Watts to Bet Lynch and her big earrings, there are dozens of much-loved characters to choose from.

It’s been possible for fans to tour the exterior of Weatherfield for a while but the attraction has stepped it up a notch with an exhibition space featuring replica sets and props galore.

The Mirror has been given a sneaky peek of the new Coronation Street Experience, which opens to the public today.

“It means you’re getting to read about your favourite characters and take pictures in replicas of the Rovers Return and Roy’s Rolls,” says guide David Owen, who has been showing fans round the soap’s exterior for more than a decade.

A pint of Newton and Ridley (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

“There is a mural – or ‘muriel’ as Hilda Ogden would have called it – running around one of the rooms, looking back on plotlines from over the decades.”

Inside the exhibition, open daily with the tour ­available on weekends due to filming during the week, a gaudy wedding dress catches the eye.

The bright orange meringue gown belongs to Gemma Winter, who recently married show favourite Chesney Brown.

Jack and his beloved pigeons (ITV / Rex Features)

An unhappier sight is Daisy Midgeley’s wedding gown, damaged when stalker Justin Rutherford targeted her in an acid attack earlier this year.

“Whenever they’re doing a wedding scene they always have more than one dress,” David explains. “Because things often have to happen to it.”

For older visitors, there is plenty of memorabilia on offer. After a quick puzzle over the convoluted Barlow family tree, next is Dev Alahan’s fetching wedding suit from his 2004 ceremony with Sunita.

Check out the menu at Roy's Rolls (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Many a Corrie wedding doesn’t run smoothly and in this instance Dev was arrested for bigamy on the day.

The sight of Deirdre Barlow’s thick glasses raises a smile, along with a stuffed pigeon belonging to Jack Duckworth and – gasp! – even an Ena Sharples hairnet. Elsie Tanner’s red telephone from No11 is there, as is Fred Elliott’s butcher apron. Try not muttering, “I say, I say our Ashley”.

Corrie is famous for its balance of light and shade when it comes to plots and darker offerings here include an array of murder weapons.

Vikki with David Owen (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

The statue used by Tracy Barlow to kill evil Charlie Stubbs in 2007 is there, and in another corner a sign appeals for witnesses following the live episode tram crash of 2010, in which Ashley Peacock and Molly Dobbs lost their lives.

“One of my first memories of Coronation Street is when Val Barlow died when she was electrocuted by a plug socket,” says David. “It frightened me to death and kept me away from sockets for years.”

The guide said his visitors are most excited to see the Rovers Return, and when it comes to characters, they have a special fondness for Ken Barlow, the longest-running character in any soap, his wayward son Peter Barlow and ­Underworld manager Carla Connor.

Ken Barlow’s shiny gown (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)
Betty Driver as Betty Turpin (ITV)

His personal favourite is Rovers landlady Annie Walker. “I loved her,” he says. “Daisy [Midgeley] is a bit of an Annie Walker, not as much for her snobbishness, but for her putdowns.”

Stepping on the Rovers Return replica set, complete with Betty Turpin hotpots, optics and the famous Newton and Ridley pump, is a thrill and round the corner you can take a seat in Roy’s Rolls, spying the cafe owner’s beige coat on display.

“Everybody needs a bit of Roy in their life,” smiles David. Coronation Street was first filmed at Granada Studios on Manchester’s Quay Street, before production was relocated to Media City in Salford in 2014.

Deirdre Barlow’s specs (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

This allowed for a bigger set to be built using 400,000 bricks and 11,000 cobbles, with Coronation Street now wide enough for two cars.

ITV had completely outgrown the old Granada site,” says David. “The set was scaled down to two-thirds and it’s now virtually full size.”

“When they were building the new set and filming at the old one they had to source a tree from the Netherlands,” he adds, of the 40ft tree planted outside Audrey’s Salon, which closed in 2020.

Drink up history at Roy’s Rolls (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

“It weighs about five tons and took six hours to plant.”

In a fitting nod to the history of the show, cobbles from the ­original Weatherfield set adorn the walk-up to the new Coronation Street Experience.

“Originally everything was filmed inside the studio,” says David. “There was no outdoor set until 1968, the cobbles and footpaths were painted on the studio floor. They still do things like that today, for example painting on floor tiles in Roy’s Rolls.

Murder weapons on display (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

“A wooden set was later built outside. They built a facade for the front of the houses and when they were doing scenes in the upstairs windows they had to make sure there was a curtain.

“The actors were up on a ladder behind the back. Can you imagine that now with health and safety? That set lasted until 1982. Jean Alexander [Hilda Ogden] said it was the coldest place on Earth.”

David and his fellow guides show groups of up to 50 around on weekends come rain or shine.

At the newsagent (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

“The furthest we’ve had visitors from is New Zealand,” he smiles. “The show is big over there. When we started doing the tour at Quay Street we found out that New Zealand was two years behind in the plotlines when two ladies burst into tears when they saw Hayley [Cropper]’s coffin. After that we had to ask at the ­beginning of every tour if there were any visitors from the country and warn there were a few spoilers ahead.

“We also have regular super fans.”

Stepping onto the cobbles, David warns not to head into the ginnel on our own because he hasn’t seen Stephen Reid, Audrey Roberts’ illegitimate son turned serial killer, who used the ­passage for nefarious means.

With Betty’s hotpot (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Braving it anyway, we find the ­backyard of the Rovers where Deirdre Barlow and Liz McDonald spent hours putting the world to rights.

Thanks to the new experience, which also includes a cinema, cafe and shop, once the tour finishes fans can head inside for even more fun – and we suspect this will be as much of a hit as the soap itself.

* See

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