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Sunday 20 August 2017

Fan Review: Coronation Street Cast vs Fans Quiz

Michael and Lucy Fallon

Michael from our friends over at the Coronation Street podcast Conversation Street took part in the Coronation Street Cast vs Fans Quiz in Manchester this week.   Here, Michael shares his experience with fans.

Visit the Conversation Street podcast and follow them on Twitter.

On Thursday night at the Black Dog Ballroom in Manchester's Northern Quarter, a room packed full of crazy Corrie fans took on the combined force of some of the Street's finest minds in a quiz that tested knowledge of Coronation Street, LGBT history and Mancunian pop culture.  Considering I made the nine-hour coach journey from Southampton to take part in the event, which was put on to raise money for Manchester Pride, I consider myself to be among the craziest of these fans - but boy, was it worth it!

Some of the Corrie cast team

I turned up at the venue around half seven, walking past the bar and generally looking nervous as I hadn't come with anyone and didn't really know what was going on. Fortunately, the staff at Black Dog were very welcoming and, after handing me a drink, showed me to a table in the quiz room, where I became the final member of the team already assembled there. A bunch of Corrie fans who'd travelled from all over the country to get to the event, 'Team Phelan Lucky', as we named ourselves, got on like a house on fire, and together raced through the picture round of the quiz that was left out on tables before the event started. The round consisted of ten Corrie characters of the past 57 years, who we had to name and say how they died. From easy ones like the recently departed Kylie Platt to characters that tested the hardcore (I was proud of myself for instantly naming Dennis Stringer!), we finished the picture round feeling pretty confident.

Lucy Fallon arrives

It was after this round that I had a proper look at the cast that had turned up for the event. Sitting at a long table at the front of the room and dressed to impress was 'Team Cobbled Together': Dolly-Rose Campbell (along with her real-life canine mascot!); newcomer and self-confessed Corrie fan Nicola Thorp; recent returnee Georgia Taylor; 2017's rising star Lucy Fallon; the gorgeous Julia Goulding; gone-but-not-forgotten Hayley Tamaddon; Shelley King (a personal favourite of mine);  a boisterous Sue Cleaver and the brilliantly bearded Dan Brocklebank. Apprehensively, not really sure if it was the done thing, I snapped a few candid photos of the team, none of which turned out too well in the gloom of the venue.

The "Phelan Lucky" team
Never mind: Onto the first question round! After welcoming us officially to the quiz, one of the organisers began to read out twenty Corrie-related questions. Like the picture round, there was a mixture of hard and easy ones, and Team Phelan Lucky racked our brains to get them all answered. A lot of them we knew we had right (Jenny Bradley was the one to save Jack from the tram tracks last year; Samir Rachid was Deirdre's Moroccan husband, for example) whilst others we had to have a bit of a guess (there was some heated debate on the table about whether Corrie was originally commissioned for 12 or 13 episodes!). My personal shame was not remembering the details about why Fred Elliott lost the black pudding contest in France - when I found out the answer later, I was kicking myself!

After the Corrie round was over, everyone had a little break and a chat. It was at this point that some of the braver members of my team decided to go up and get some pictures with the cast at the front. Nobody had said we could, and we'd all been promised a group photo with them after the quiz, but in the end, I thought: "Why not?" Reasoning with myself that it was for the sake of the podcast and the Coronation Street Blog, I strode up to the front table and asked Lucy Fallon for a picture. She graciously accepted and posed for the camera, and I started to move along the rest of the line of actors. I'm very pleased to report that every single one who I spoke to was an utter delight - if they were feeling peeved by being bugged by a bunch of rabid fans, they definitely weren't showing it!

I was also chuffed to hear that some of them had listened to the podcast on occasion too: Hayley Tamaddon thanked me for our glowing review of Chicago, which she was touring with in the role of Roxie Hart last year, and Nicola Thorp and Georgia Taylor's eyes lit up when I said where I was from. "Sorry we moan about Toyah banging on about her IVF so much..." I told Georgia, sheepishly. She laughed it off: "I don't write the lines, love!" I also managed to get a little chat with Shelley King before she ducked out and went home early.

Michael with Shelley King (Yasmeen Nazir)
Letting her know what big fans of Yasmeen we are on the podcast, but that we think she needs more scenes, she smiled and assured me that we'll be seeing quite a bit more of her soon. The impromptu meet and greet ended abruptly, one of the organisers chasing us away and announcing over the mic that they don't have time to do individual photos with the cast - we need to get on with the quiz! Team Phelan Lucky returned to our seats, smiling smugly about our ballsiness.

The next two rounds had questions about LGBT and Mancunian culture - definitely not my strongest subjects, but fortunately, the rest of my team were much more knowledgeable than me and we muddled our way through, albeit with a few more guesses this time! As we pondered the location of the first Pride and the name of Take That's debut single, we were brought a couple of large pizzas by the Black Dog staff - delicious, and just what we needed to nourish our little grey cells!

By the end of the quiz, we were still feeling fairly confident, although we realised that our performance in the last two rounds might have cost us a place in the prizewinning top three. We swapped papers with a nearby group and tallied up their scores. Hmm, they got full marks in the Corrie question round, and... of course! Fred lost the black pudding contest because he bribed the judges! Now we were feeling a little less self-assured. At least we wiped the floor with them in the picture round though...

After a little bit of arguing with the judges about when Sarah-Louise became pregnant (they said 2000; we said 1999 - in the end, they gave points for either answer!), we handed in our papers and had an agonising wait while the winners were decided.

To cut a long story short - alas! - we didn't come in the top three, but were still proud of finishing in fifth place (there must have been around 15 teams there in all). Our rival team from earlier just got ahead of us with a few more points, while the cast team came a respectable couple of places behind us. The victors, though? A duo with the team name 'Yes We Ken!' - quite fitting, we think, for the worthy winners, who earned themselves a VIP tour of the Coronation Street set.

Michael and Nicola Thorpe
The night ended with speeches from Corrie Pride organiser Woody Wade, and Sue Cleaver, who thanked us all for coming and offered some congratulatory words to the winners. This was followed by a massive singalong, as 'Come On Eileen' was blasted through the speakers - another opportunity, of course, for Sue to take centre stage and dance along! The atmosphere was absolutely buzzing - everyone was having the time of their lives, and it was a shame when, around ten o'clock, things started to draw to a close. Each team was called up to have a group photo with the cast, and after having a very quick word with Dan and Sue - neither of whom I'd had a chance to say hello to earlier - I said my goodbyes to the rest of Team Phelan Lucky and left.

Was I crazy for taking that nine-hour journey at five in the morning for just a couple of hours of fun? Maybe some of you think so, but I don't mind! I had a ball at the quiz, met some great new people, and did a bit of networking for the podcast which, incidentally, celebrated its fifth anniversary this weekend. A fantastic night, and I'm champing at the bit to go back next year!

Visit the Conversation Street podcast and follow them on Twitter.

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Tvor said...

Sounds like a mad, wonderful adventure, even including the crap hotel!

abbyk said...

That sounds like it was so much fun. Glad you went and that you shared with us.

Flo said...

Sounds like it was great fun, glad to hear about it! One thing I have noticed on Twitter is that so many of the cast members are so nice to the fans. Glad to hear they are like that in person as well.


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