Recreating the nation's favourite street
We helped ITV Studios recreate Coronation Street’s famous cobbles in a new state-of-the-art production facility in Manchester’s MediaCityUK.
Coronation Street Project summary
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Coronation Street is one of the UK’s most loved TV shows watched by over 9.5 million people each week. After 51 years of producing the show in the same studios, they decided to move into new a purpose-built facility fit for the 21st century, with four studios, a studio support building housing actor, production and post-production facilities.
ITV's priority was to maintain continuity for viewers so that they wouldn’t notice a change once the move was completed. This required meticulous attention to detail and where new materials were used, they had to exactly replicate the old.
Originally we were the project manager securing planning permission for the new site, but Mace was then also appointed as construction manager. Our carefully planned construction programme meant that we completed and handed over ITV Studio’s new production facility on time, enabling the show to film at its new site from January 2014.
This project profile features in our Northern Powerhouse section.
Points of note
It’s all so quietHaving great acoustics is vital in a television studio facility. Therefore the acoustic protection at Coronation Street included concrete roofs and walls comprising three layers of block work were built. Two new sound stages house permanent and changing sets for interior filming. Internal reverb control helps minimise disruption from outside noise – essential for a tight production schedule.
Creating historyTo replicate ITV’s original facility we created special structural backdrops which mimicked the buildings that surrounded ITV’s facility in central Manchester. These included a five-storey, 80m-long backdrop of the Museum of Science & Industry and viaduct arches. These were constructed from solid steel on concrete foundations.
Out with old, in with the newCreating a like-for-like replica of the old set required specialised quality assurance. Our trade contractors had to resist improving the look of the original works, while still delivering a quality project. Site visits to the old set and laminated hand-outs with close-ups of the original works helped guide our suppliers. Specialist scenic artists aged, broke, scuffed and degraded materials to achieve the look and feel of the original Street.
“Every last idiosyncrasy of the set had to be duplicated – if the brickwork was ‘bad’ on a particular building on the old set, it had to look equally ‘bad’ on the new one. We had to instruct trade contractors to resist improving the look of the original works!”
“The most challenging piece of the jigsaw has been to rebuild Coronation Street - terraces, pavements, cobbles and all the fine detail of Weatherfield. It has been the most incredible experience. Hundreds of people have been involved in delivering what you will see today, their craft and attention to detail has been amazing and they should be collectively proud of what they have achieved.”