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Thursday, 9 June 2022

Coronation Street skits and sketches from Isolation Creations

I've become a huge fan of Isolation Creations who have an abiding love of Coronation Street and other classic TV shows. Their Corrie skits and sketches online are amazing, a real labour of love. I went behind the scenes and found out more...

Annie Walker, Elsie Tanner, Betty Turpin
Ena Sharples, Deirdre Barlow, Kevin Webster

How and when did The Isolation Creations begin?

We have been together for 25 years, so I guess you could say it started back in 1997! We are both actors, we met on a gig all those years ago and have been creating stuff ever since. We've done Cabaret, Panto, Theatre and Comedy together as well as on our own. However, The Isolation Creations really started in Lockdown 2020 - like everyone else in the arts industry we found ourselves stuck at home with very little to do ... however, we also had a bag full of wigs! 

We wanted to make our friends and family laugh and so we decided we would try and recreate a TV show or movie at home using all the bits and bobs we have around the house. We shared one picture or video every single day during lockdown and our friends started sharing them and we found ourselves with followers and fans around the world waiting and looking forward to seeing what we would create the next day. It grew and grew - a local newspaper featured us, we got interviewed on Radio 2 and even approached by Strictly Come Dancing to create a skit for their BBC2 show. So, when we came out of lockdown we decided not to stop, we still have plenty of ideas and people still need cheering up, everyone will always need a laugh

How often do you do them?

Like I said, it started with us creating something new every single day and we kept that up during each of the lockdowns. We've done everything and anything from Crossroads to Tiger King, from Are you Being Served to Scott and Charlene's Neighbours wedding! As 'normal work' has resumed we have slowed down with our creations but we try to do a new one every week and we also host a weekly live Facebook and YouTube show from our very own virtual pub 'The Wig & Slingback' ... in fact we just hosted a Corrie special where we all chatted about our fave Coronation Street moments.

Ivy Tilsley

Why did you add Coronation Street to your sketches?

We are all about nostalgia and the classic TV shows and movies which we grew up with - everything we spoof, skit or homage has to be something we have genuine affection for and Coronation Street is of course a huge part of all of our TV past. We also knew that the 60th year Corrieversary was approaching in 2020 and so we decided to create separate homages to Corrie decade by decade - so that we could get some of our favourite characters of yesteryear in there - we managed the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s ... we have still to do the later years, so keep watching this space!

You can watch some of  their amazing Corrie decades videos here:

Which are your favourite Corrie characters to dress up as?

We loved creating the more classic Coronation Street characters which include Ena, Martha, Minnie, Elsie and Phyllis. I (Jamie) liked creating the looks for Gail and Deirdre as they appear throughout the decades.  Perms and eye glasses were hard to come by but somehow, we managed. And it’s not just drag - Alan also made a few great resemblances to Albert Tatlock, Stan Ogden, Alec Gilroy and Jack Duckworth.  We were also lucky to get hold of a blonde tight perm wig so that Vera could be added to the mix!  We both liked including the 1970s Baldwin factory girls in there too, who doesn’t love a bit of Ida Clough!

Curly Watts

How long does it take you to dress up as the Corrie characters?

Some are very simple. Some not so. Rita and the more glamorous characters needed full make up and, in some cases, a dressed wig. For Bet Lynch we even had to add and stack two or three wigs together to create her beehive looks! It was also very difficult to get a ‘blue rinsed wig’ so we just hand dyed a grey wig with a blue and lilac tint so the iconic Phyllis Pearce could be created. 

One of you appeared in Coronation Street recently - how did that happen?

That was me, Jamie. I've had two small roles in Coronation Street, it's a dream to get a larger role but luckily my two little 'cameos' have been cracking fun. A few years ago, I was a very jobsworth delivery depot worker called Morris who stood up to Norris, that scene created quite a stir and it still pops up on TV from time to time.   

Jamie as Morris in Coronation Street

Recently I was lucky enough to film a funny couple of scenes in the Rovers where I was on a date with new character Frank who used Sean to get him out of the date with me ... charming! I have an acting agent, so like everyone else I had to audition for the job.

We were also asked in 2021 to take part in the annual ITV Coronation Street vs Emmerdale Quiz aka The Big Quiz. We were asked to appear live but due to Covid restrictions we had to change plans and instead film various characters from both Coronation Street and Emmerdale in our Isolation Creations style for the teams to guess who we were. We created Fizz and Chesney, and Rita. From Emmerdale we were Betty and Seth, Cain Dingle, Mandy Dingle, Marlon and Paddy. It was a lot of fun and our ‘lookalikes’ went down well!

Any experiences you can share about your stint on Corrie?

Both times I have worked on the cobbles have been wonderful. First time round working with icons like Norris and Rita was just fabulous - Barbara Knox paid me the biggest compliment by telling me that my comedy acting was very 'classic Corrie' she even took my arm and walked me down Coronation Street itself to show me round! 

Jack and Vera Duckworth

The second gig I was actually filming in the Rovers itself which is just incredible, it really is like stepping inside your telly! Everyone on the show has always been so welcoming and friendly, it can be a bit of a lonely job being a 'bit part' in shows, popping in for just a couple of days and then disappearing but everyone on Corrie goes out of their way to make you feel an important part of the big picture. 

Which actor / character would be your dream Corrie guest on your YouTube channel - dead or alive?

We love a lot of the old actors and actresses from Coronation Street. The funny old battle-axes like Ena, Hilda, Maude and Blanche would be great guests. Coronation Street has had many fine actors walk on the cobbles and any of them would be welcome to pop into Isolation Creation towers for a pint or some hot pot. We have even become good online buddies with Georgia Taylor, Sally Carman and Patti Claire who follow our work online!

And what are your plans for the future?

We love doing what we are doing - we think there is a charm to our crafty, homemade comedy - so we have no intention of stopping creating from here in our Scarborough home. We are also exploring how we might take the show on the road! We are actually in talks with the local theatre here in Scarborough about perhaps hosting some cabaret or interactive events - we both love performing live, nothing beats getting that immediate feedback and rapport from an audience, so we are excited to see where that takes us. And we might pop up on your screens in one way or another as we are followed by quite a few industry names who they are always thinking of ways we could fit into telly shows .... so, all we can really say is watch this space!

From Blog editor Glenda - thank you for the interview and pics, this was amazing!

Follow the guys on their social media links below!
Twitter: @createisolate

Glenda Young
Twitter: @Flaming_Nora
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All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License


Anonymous said...

Brilliant blog Glenda, big fan of these two and nice to see them getting some well earned attention!

Lisa D said...

I've been following Alan and Jamie since they started doing their Isolation Creations. Their recreations showcase their talent, skills in creating props and costumes, and absolute affection for classic shows. Thank you for featuring them on your blog.


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