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Saturday 26 October 2013

Coronation Street - to OB or not to OB?

Coronation Street has a long tradition of outside broadcasting, or OB.

I'm thinking particularly of filming locations outside of Weatherfield and away from the set, places like Freshco and Bettabuys, that were woven into the lives of regulars of the Street.

Even places that we knew were sets but, importantly, appeared to be away from Coronation Street itself were important to the storyline and a regular part of it - places like Mike Baldwin's favourite restaurants The Clock, Delphine's and Valandro's.

Maybe it's because we're in a recession and we don't have characters like Mike Baldwin any more  to splash the cash, but there's a distinct lack these days of any outside filming at all.

When did we last see the inside of the Weatherfield Arms or the Flying Horse?  Come to think of it, even nearer to home, when was the last time we saw inside the chippy? We know it still exists because characters go out to buy a chippy tea. But we never see inside it, not any more.

All we see these days for a bit of excitement is the Bistro - over and over again.  We see the Red Rec now and then and we saw Salford Quays a couple of years ago, likewise the canal.  We might see churches for hatches, matches and dispatches, but not much more, any more. That's why when Corrie does do OB, as in Roy and Hayley's recent trip to Blackpool, we lap it up a lot.  But nothing seems to be woven regularly into the lives of the characters any more, like the pubs and the supermarket used to be.

Even Audrey's house in leafy Grasmere Drive seemed an exotic diversion away from the cobbles but we haven't been inside her hallowed hall for, ooh, yonks.  Speaking of which, wasn't there a storyline brewing about a damp patch that Owen was quoting for mending for the fragrant Mrs Roberts? And didn't Audrey move out of her des-res into flat-share with Marcus, Maria, little Liam and Ozzy?  What's going on there, then?  Mind you, when Owen had his run-in with Pat Phelan, we did see Pat's house, which has been used before for filming on Corrie.

I wonder if the Street's set move to the new site at Media City will mean more, or less, outside broadcasts for Coronation Street?  For now it looks like all we'll get are yet more scenes shot in The Bistro and the medical centre (which appears to double for Weatherfield General Hospital too).  

Will we ever see the likes of The Clock again? Will the Wethy Arms be shown on screen or just be talked about and never seen, much like Fat Brenda and Big Garth? And what'll happen to Terry Duckworth's unfinished and abandoned club, 7eventh Heaven? 

Which Corrie set that we no longer see, would you like to make a come-back?

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Anonymous said...

More of the Weathy Arms with @debbiearnold needed

dave said...

I'd like to see the butcher shop open again.

Janice said...

Of course we do get regular trips to various court houses. The police station is well seen. And they do film regularly inside a prison. OBs are still there but it is just that plots are now crime driven.

70sStreetFan said...

Have to admit,I prefer when the action is mainly confined to the Street. It reminds me of the first three decades,which was mainly studio based with even fewer shots on the Street itself than we get nowadays.
Soaps these days have no connection to the real world,so it's almost better when they remain almost exclusively in their own world.

Helen said...

I like when characters venture off the street once in a while; it helps make the plots more believable, how can it not?

The nature of soaps is to entertain by having unrealistic, albeit exciting plots,however the show works hard to educate the public at the same time.
Having realistic scenery helps validate the plot.

I find that the street and it's inhabitants become suffocating when all the action is on the cobbles.

We have had our share of seeing the inside the courthouse; but for me, any new scenery or setting is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I must say I disagree with 70sStreetFan - I like the OB scenes a lot and think the 70s episodes have more of them than nowadays. Characters used to go to the Precinct - think Mavis and her stalker, Gail and Brian at the movies, and Elsie when she worked at that women's clothing store. There was also Gail and Brian's house in the new development that required (we were reminded often enough) two buses to get there! There was Arnold Swain's pet store, Bet Lynch's bedsit, the denim store where Gail and Suzie worked, and, like Flaming Nora said, the fine dining places where Mike Baldwin took his dates. Stanley Ogden and Eddie Yeats had their share of misadventures OB as well, as when they stored a valuable tandem bicycle in a shed slated for demolition. When characters travelled, even if we didn't see the destination, the trip became more of the story - like the Factory girls' weekend in Charlesville, or Mavis's holiday in Malta. There were also more characters who came to the Street from elsewhere, like the string of lorry-drivers (and French exchange students) who lodged at Elsie's house.

In short, the 70s was an airier time than now, where the incestuous quality of life has become stifling. The OB scenes back then were also shot differently, with natural lighting and hand-held camera. It gave a sense of alternation and space that today's episodes sorely lack, IMO.

Humpty Dumpty said...

There was a time when any action away from the Street heralded death and disaster. These days, it would be realistic to have some residents working at least in the Precinct and to see them chatting on the bus going to work. It's become really silly that anyone out of work or homeless immediately gets fixed up on the Street.

Helen said...

No wonder that in less sophisticated times, viewers would wish to live on the street. No housing shortage there, or work either.
Latest examples; Chesney and Sinead; with Sinead just happening to be an excellent seamstress I'm supposing it won't be long before she's behind a machine.
Even Tracey has a job now.

Anonymous said...

whatever happened to Jack's allotment? I quite liked those scenes...

Anonymous said...

What about the time Albert Tatlock went to lay a wreath on the Manchester War Memorial on Remembrance Day? That was a great use of OB!

Defrost Indoors said...

The storyline about Audrey staying with Marcus and Maria feels like it was supposed to go somewhere and then was forgotten about. Personally I *LOVE* the OB scenes and wonder how people don't go mad spending all their free time in the pub or on that short little street. The only people with jobs outside the main set are Brian and Marcus; it's simply not realistic, in a city like Manchester.

NZ Coro Junkie said...

If characters were allowed to live or work off the Street, we could allow some of the more talented kids to at least get an education. They could visit their parents on the street without having to be written out, and become more interesting characters.

We'll have to wait and see what has happened with Todd, but I thought he had gone on to University in London after Sarah knocked him off his Oxbridge course.

Amber and Ryan could have either finished their studies and returned or transferred to a University or tertiary institution in Manchester to be close to the family.

And why was Sophie allowed to be a drop-out. She was doing well at Weatherfield Comp (or whatever it's called) - ironically much better than vacant Rosie ever did at her private school. Why can't she be studying and working part-time at Dev's? Jenna could decide to get a Master's in Public Health and inspire Sophie to study social work. Neither of them will grow rich despite the qualifications and can continue to live, credibly, on Coronation Street.

Frosty the Snowman said...

We could have a few scenes in the Market with Chesney and his stall and a few of the market trader characters in as cameos. I think we had scenes there with Sally and her latest bloke when they had a housewear stall. But of course Chesney is now to be manager of the Kebab shop - another convenient open postion for the little dullard.

John McE said...

Not all OB works, though. I can still remember the few times the street outside the (original) Kabin was shown - and it was completely wrong.

And we've seen so many different parks masquerading as the "Red Rec" that none of them are believable.

Worst yet was that ludicrous shot used recently when Deirdre encountered the sleep-walking Roy. The picturesque summer-house on a hill top looked magnificent in the moonlight, yet it was completely impossible to believe that Roy had sleep-walked his way to a setting that looked a million miles from Weatherfield. And poor little Eccles must have been exhausted walking so far.

On the other hand Roy and Hayley's recent trip to Blackpool was terrific, even if they did enter some strange time bubble that saw friend Jane plunge from being overjoyed at having cancer to comatose by the time they came back.

Anonymous said...

I think Owen was pulling a fast-one at Audrey's - doing work where it wasn't necessary in order to fleece her. I also wonder is she back home or what? No mention there that I remember. Somebody should open a sushi bar in the old butcher shop.

Anonymous said...

I loved Gail and Audrey ower walking in the countryside!

Anonymous said...

*sorry 'power walking'

70sStreetFan said...

In response to the sixth reply from Anonymous.
Yes,there were often scenes away from the Street in the 70s and 80s. But,they usually only tended to do them when it was was for the odd brief scene or when there was no viable studio alternative. They would often build a new studio set for such things as a courtroom,hospital ward,police station,restaurant etc. Even the church for the Bishops wedding was in studio,although granted that was the early 70s. And as for Bet's bedsit,Brian and Gail's houses and the shop where Suzie and Gail worked worked,they were,of course,studio sets. Even the "outside" part of Len's yard was shot in the studio until the late 80s.


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