On Monday (12 March) afternoon, Weatherfield officially changed forever as ‘Coronation Street’ bosses unveiled their much-talked about set extension.
The all-new Victoria Street area includes a new restaurant, an urban garden, a tram station and the (already infamous) Costa and Co-Op branches.
For the first time ever, episodes will show characters walking around the corner of the current set and “Wider Weatherfield” will be on screen for the first time on Friday 20 April.
Ahead of that, though, there was the small matter of officially opening the extra street and HuffPost UK were in attendance as the ribbon was cut.
Here are 16 things we learnt about the extension, after spending the afternoon snooping around and chatting to the cast...
1. Monday (12 March) wasn’t just our first chance to see the extension, but the cast’s too. Nicola Thorp, Jack P Shepherd, Daniel Brocklebank and Tristan Gemmill were among those in attendance at the grand opening.
2. As previously announced, the set extension includes an urban garden, with a memorial bench for Martyn Hett, and the 21 others who lost their lives in last year’s Manchester bombing. In tribute to Martyn (who created the infamous “Audrey Roberts noise” viral video), Sue Nicholls cut the ribbon.
3. The extension’s 7000 cobbles are the bricks that were used at the soap’s old home, the Quay Street set, which was in use from 1982 to 2013. “I love that we’re standing on the cobbles,” Tristan said. “You’re standing on history. I didn’t know about that until today.”
4. The much-discussed Costa Coffee and Co-Op branches - the result of a product placement deal struck by ITV - sit next to an all-new tram station, Weatherfield North.
5. Will the trams to Manchester and Weatherfield South put Street Cars out of business though?
6. The bus stop outside the station is slightly less practical. A bendy-buses-only rule will surely have to operate if they plan on pausing outside.
7. Despite the fact scenes won’t actually be filmed in the two shops, the set designers have not held back when it comes to attention to detail and the Co-Op is jam-packed with stock. It also has a fake noticeboard in the window. Yoga classes anyone?
8. We could be seeing the characters sporting some impressive new body art. One of the most left-field fixtures on Victoria Street is a tattoo shop, brilliantly named “Tattoo’ll Do Nicely”.
9. The designers are clearly big fans of puns as the new Pakistani restaurant and takeaway is called “Speed Daal”.
10. It’s also pretty reasonably priced, with a plate of four lamb kebabs coming in at a fiver, and sweet samosa for desert at just £3.
11. And between the two of them is a snooker hall, which has given Nicola Thorp - who plays Nicola Rubinstein - some interesting ideas. “I want to know what’s going on in the snooker hall,” she told HuffPost UK. “I’d like to think that Nicola, after a long day in the office, kicks back and plays some pool, maybe to try and set the youths straight. She’s a cool social worker.”
12. Nicola also has big plans for other possible scenes as, in case you can’t tell, she’s super excited to start filming in the new areas. I’d love to have a scene in the community garden,” she said. “Or maybe Nicola gives birth in the Co-Op!” We’re rooting for the latter, by the way.
13. It’s not just the cobbles that are a piece of ‘Corrie’ history, as the station’s handles are the original Rovers Return door handles, that were removed from the set after the 2013 fire.
14. A workforce of almost 1000 people spent a total of 150,000 designing, building and perfecting the set extension.
15. Everyone loves the new West Side Story-esque fire escape. Jack P Shepherd (David Platt) couldn’t get enough of it, and Tristan (Robert Preston) told us it’s one of his favourite bits. “It makes me think there’s going to be some sort of future musical routine,” he explained.
16. We also pointed out Robert’s home will have gone up in value, thanks to the Street’s extension. “It’s just off my doorstep,” he said, jokingly adding: “I was canny when I bought it, wasn’t I? I don’t know what I bought it with but I was canny.”