There were some extraordinary sights to behold when photographers gained access to the hallowed set of Coronation Street half a century ago.
Not least was prim and proper Annie Walker, landlady of the Rovers Return, lying down on a bed with husband Jack – in broad daylight too!
Campaigner Mary Whitehouse would have had a fit!
But it was all perfectly innocent. Actress Doris Speed was taking a break from filming to brush up on her script while fellow actor Arthur Leslie was catching up on forty winks.
It was just one of many insights into everyday life on the set at the nation’s favourite soap in April 1968.
Street stars were snapped in the canteen, in make-up, relaxing in the rehearsal room and even at home.
We saw what the wooden sets looked like from behind the TV façade. Even the famous front of the Rovers was an inside prop without a cobblestone in sight.
The front doors and twitching curtains on the Street were shown to be little more than flimsy panels bolted on to scaffolding.
It was just about enough to look convincing on low resolution black and white TVs. But at least the curtains were real!
The outdoor set was only built in 1968 – eight years after Coronation Street was first aired in December 1960. Before then, everything was on the inside.
To mark the occasion, Granada organised a cast publicity shot celebrating the wedding of Dennis Tanner (Philip Lowrie) and Jenny Sutton (Mitzi Rogers).
Included in the line-up with the newlyweds were Annie Walker (Doris Speed), Ena Sharples (Violet Carson), Emily Nugent (Eileen Derbyshire), Valerie Barlow (Anne Reid), Ken Barlow (William Roache), Len Fairclough (Peter Adamson) and Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix).
All the TV shots were on a tight angle, so it was impossible to see the end of the scaffolding clearly visible behind the happy couple on the small screen.
Originally the houses on the interior set were built to three-quarters scale. Actors had to walk more slowly than usual to make the houses look normal.
Everything was shot inside because early production techniques made it difficult to record and edit sequences filmed in different locations.
The studios at Granada were not big enough for the entire street to be built in one section, so it had to be split into two halves.
The pavements and cobbled street were painted on to the studio floor!
In spite of the limitations and cramped conditions, some the Street’s most dramatic scenes were filmed there – including the collapse of Number 7 due to a faulty beam in 1965.
There was more tension two years later when Ena Sharples was buried under the rubble of a train crash. There was an agonising wait to see if the Street stalwart was alive or dead.
Fortunately she was dug out by Dennis Barlow and later discharged herself from hospital to stride back into the Rovers as bold as brass.
The new outside set was built on railway sidings near the Granada studios. The TV storyline said it was due to the demolition of the Mission Hall and Elliston’s raincoat factory, and the building of maisonettes opposite the terrace.
The actors called the new set ‘the coldest place on earth’ because the wind was naturally funneled directly down the street. Filming outside was rare anyway as it was far more expensive than interior shots.
It was a lot more cosy inside in the corner shop counter and lounge, complete with a battery of stage lights and cameras.
It was cosier still in the canteen where Margot Bryant, who played the wonderful Minnie Caldwell, was pictured queuing up with her tray.
Taking her turn in make-up was Eileen Derbyshire who played Emily Nugent, the longest-standing female character in the serial.
Emily first appeared on screen in January 1961 and only left in January 2016 after a stint of 55 years.
The 1968 set fared less well. It became the New York Street on the Granada Studios tour but resurfaced occasionally in Coronation Street.
The first time was in 2004 when it doubled as the Davenports car dealership where Sally Webster had an affair with her boss Ian Davenport.
It was also the strip club where Lloyd Mullaney met Cheryl Gray and the nightclub where Kylie Platt was working in 2012.
An almost full-size street exterior was finally built in the Granada backlot in 1982 – and was officially opened by the Queen.
If you enjoyed this head over to the iNostalgia website here for more interesting tales about Manchester’s history.
Artist creates haunting post-apocalyptic images of Manchester
This is so spooky…
We’ve probably never been as close to an actual ‘apocalypse’ than this shoddy year…
James Chadderton is a British mixed-media artist who works consistently on creating apocalyptic landscapes.
They often show nightmare-inducing scenes of cityscapes that blend the line between reality and fiction.
James takes inspiration from dystopian films and video games, drawing the viewer into a crazy alternative reality.
Using famous Manchester landmark he turns the urban landscapes into haunting post-apocalyptic scenes.
Not only does it give us an insight into what the world might look like after an apocalypse, it gives you the chance to let your imagination run wild and wonder how and why.
James’ portfolio includes work for Manchester legend Peter Hook, who he designed the cover of his EP 1101/2011 for. He’s also even worked with EA on the Battlefield franchise.
His work has been displayed up and down the country but now you can have it in your very own home.
He’s also done images of London, Liverpool and even the iconic Blackpool tower.
You can see more images here and even buy one for your house!
What the stars of legendary ’90s show Gladiators are up to these days
Including prison, drugs and religion.
It’s been 20 years since the hit ’90s show Gladiators graced our screens for the last time, but where are all the muscly stars now?
The fun-filled show was packed with dramatic battles, HUUUUGE muscles and too-tight lycra.
Let’s begin with Michael Ahearne, aka Warrior, who started life as a junior England rugby player before joining the hit show and earning up to £100,000 a year.
In 1998 Ahearne was sent to prison for perverting the course of justice in a famous firearms case involved Phillip Glennon Jnr, an associate of former international cocaine baron Curtis ‘Cocky’ Warren. He was found guilty, and Ahearne served six months of his 15-month sentence.
Then in 2018, he was subject to a police raid of his home in the Wirral where officers uncovered a stash of anabolic steroids. He was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class C drugs with intent to supply but wasn’t charged in the end – however, Ahearne was charged for possessing CS spray and received a six month sentence suspended for 12 months.
Sharron Davies, otherwise known as Amazon, was a successful swimmer before the show, even winning a silver medal at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. She’s now a TV presenter.
Mike Van Wijk, aka Wolf, was one of the most popular Gladiators, starring on the show for seven years in which time he became the main villain.
He’s now 67 and in the ‘best shape of his life’ with arms bigger than my head – he lives in New Zealand and owns his own business called Wolf’s Gym. This year, he announced on Lorraine that he’s begging producers to bring the show back.
Diane Youdale, or Jet on the show, bowed out of the programme after four seasons due to a neck injury. She’s now a psychotherapist and pilates instructor.
James ‘Hunter’ Crossley started on the show when he was just 19, and ended up secretly dating the show’s presenter Ulrika Jonsson between 1996 and 1997. Since Gladiators ended he spent years pursuing an acting career, but has consistently kept up with fitness. He’s now a personal trainer.
Kim Betts, aka Lightning, was one of the toughest Gladiators. After bowing out of the Gladiator ring she took to property development and also has her own beauty parlour. She has maintained her physique and regularly posts gym photos on social media.
Michael Wilson, known as Cobra, struggled with drink while on the show and by his own admission was sometimes ‘bleeding drunk’ while on the show. He admitted last year to press that he ‘didn’t take it too seriously’, adding: “There were end of show parties, when we had international Gladiators come over, we would be up all night boozing.”
Now, he is a motivational speaker attending schools and clubs up and down the country. He suffered with pneumonia last year and became seriously ill, blaming the tough workouts on the show for it.
Jefferson ‘Shadow’ Kin found himself at the centre of a drug scandal in 1995. At the time he said: “There is no excuse for cheating. I was mixing with drugs before Gladiators and when I was tested during the show there were no traces of cocaine but they found steroids.”
He spent the best part of 20 years battling with drug addiction. He got clean and now works in a rehabilitation centre helping others with drug issues.
Mark Smith, aka Rhino’, has made multiple TV appearances including a stint on EastEnders and in shows such as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Warren Furman, known as Ace, became most well-known for his two-year engagement to Katie Price – who was then known as Jordan – before they broke up in 1999. However, he turned his back on show business, found god and now lives in York with his wife and two kids.
Inside the Wigan home ‘frozen in the 1970s’ that’s on the market for the first time ever
This is ICONIC!
If you love the ’70s you’ll love this house that is going on the market for the first time, which will transport you to the decade of platforms, flares and shag pile carpet.
The family home in Wigan is thought to be going on the market for the first time ever, but inside is a ’70s lover’s dream.
Throughout the entire house is décor from the decade, including a retro orange sofa, plenty of frosted glass and shag carpets of course.
It’s three bedroom and is tucked away in Parbold on Croasdale Drive.
Estate Agent Regan and Hallworth say that ‘despite requiring extensive modernisation’ the house ‘has an undeniably timeless appeal’.
You’ll also find teak wood storage units in just about every room, and plenty of earth-toned accessories throughout.
There’s a huge copper fire place in the living room complimented by dark brown walls and a patterned ceiling.
The kitchen is covered with white cabinets with a wood trim, an unusual corner sink situation, plus a fitted microwave on the lower half of the cabinets.
The bathroom is covered in dark marble tiles and a frosted window above the bath, complimented by gold furnishing and trims on both the toilet and sink – plus a gold shower!
For all the quirky features the house is actually surprisingly minimalist, it’s bright and has a big open plan living room.
It’s also been designed with an upside-down layout meaning the bedrooms are on the ground floor while the living room is on the second floor, taking advantage of the views over the trees.
The house is located on a leafy lane and features a glass-front, extensive driveway space with a double garage and plenty of greenery to enjoy from your orange sofa.
Regan and Hallworth add: “We don’t believe that ‘Beech Hill’ has ever been on the open market before and offers an incredibly rare opportunity for a wide range of buyers to purchase a home of true distinction with tons of potential without having to pay the huge premium you normally expect to pay to live in one of West Lancashire’s most sought after locations.
“Available with the added benefit of no upward chain, early viewing is highly recommended.”
Offers are in excess of £400,000. Find out more info here.