Does anyone watch the tv soap called Florizel Street?
Certainly, everyone would instantly recognise the signature tune. It's about the daily lives of ordinary people living in one street of a Northern city.
No? I think you might do, because Florizel Street was the original working title of a proposed 13 part series written by 24yr old Tony Warren, until some-one pointed out that the title was more like the name of a disinfectant.
The name was swiftly changed to Coronation Street and indoor studio sets made of wood were created for filming. The programme initially went out on 9th December 1960 on Granada TV in the North West of England. The street was based on turn of the century streets in Salford, then a district of Manchester, and thought more likely to appeal to Northern audiences.
It quickly gained massive viewing figures and soon went out on all ITV stations. Early characters like Ena Sharples, Ken Barlow and many more remained with it for decades.
In 1968, the decision was made to transfer the indoor sets to the outdoors and they were relocated to a lot at the rear of the studios.
These lasted until 1982 when a more robust street was constructed using real Salford bricks. All were three-quarters real size.
In September 2010, the programme became the World's longest running tv soap in production, now with more than 8,500 episodes to it's credit as well as numerous awards.
On the move once again in 2014, a new and full scale set was built in Salford at Media City and this took two years to construct. Filming now takes place there and it is closed to the general public.
So, what to do with the old set? Open it as a tourist attraction of course, until it is redeveloped for other uses.
On arrival at the studios, visitors are issued with a security lanyard and given a brief history talk by one of outgoing and knowledgeable tour guides. The guided tour takes about fifty minutes and reveals the inner workings of television, with visits to the green and quiet rooms, dressing rooms, make-up and costume areas.
There are many pieces of memorabilia and costumes on display.
A montage film of some of the emotional, dramatic and humorous moments is then shown before entry to the studio sets themselves, including all the interior rooms and the famous bar of the Rovers Return. You can have your photo taken pulling a pint here (at additional cost).
The highlight, however, is the moment that double doors are flung open, the theme tune blares out, and you are thrust onto the famous cobbles to see the outdoor set in all it's familiar glory.
Daaaah, dah dah da da daaaaaah!
Here you are free to wander at will and to take all the photographs and time you wish, posing outside the Rovers, Roy's Rolls, the factory, Rita's and Dev's corner shops, Audrey's hairdessers etc.
A Soap fan's dream.
There is a limited time in which to undertake the tour as it will close on 4th October 2014. See it whilst you can.
The location is in Manchester city centre, a level walk from the railway station and not too far from Deansgate, the main shopping street.
For further details go to www.coronationstreettour.co.uk