Cosy crimes and gritty sagas by Corrie Blog editor Glenda, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Welcome to Weatherfield Precinct! - The Making Of ...

December 1st 2022 marked a new era for Coronation Street studios in Manchester, as the new Weatherfield Precinct set was unveiled! Alongside the assembled Corrie cast, PR Team, TV crew, and soap mag cameras, it was an unbelievable privilege to also be attending this auspicious occasion for the Coronation Street Blog. Ready with my dictaphone, smartphone, spare camera, chargers, Corrie Tour Guide book (I got overexcited) and just a hint of nervousness, myself and Sophie Williams are now among the few fans ever! to step foot on this new set! It's been a week now, and we've still so much content to share with our fellow fans. In my first (of a few) blog posts from our exclusive set day visit, I thought I’d give you the lowdown on the new Weatherfield Precinct with a few behind-the-scenes exclusive pictures, and an interesting listicle of facts about what was involved in the making of Corrie’s newest piece of TV history. 

Weatherfield Precinct - Under Construction! Image @rybazoxo 

Designed and developed by the Coronation Street Design and Construction teams the new set has been cleverly aged and weathered to look like it has been there for decades. Weatherfield Precinct has long been a part of Corrie's 62-year history, characters talk about visiting, but has always remained unseen - until now that is!

Weatherfield Precinct - new filming locations! Image @rybazoxo

Stood in Weatherfield Police station, with a hot coffee, and admiring the buffet, I began to wonder just how you go about designing a TV set? Head of design, Rosie Mullins, explained the process: “Back in 2013 Coronation Street moved into its new home at Media City. With this move came the exciting potential to continue to develop and expand our Weatherfield Community onsite. The first expansion came in the form of Victoria Street and Weatherfield Police Station builds back in 2018. In February 2021 I set about the first pencil drawings for a fascinating new exterior build - Weatherfield Precinct. We have often heard about this precinct and although we have filmed over the years at a range of shopping locations, we had never established our own Weatherfield Precinct. It had always intrigued me - what would it look like and who would we find there? I wanted there to be aspects of the Precinct that people from all walks of life identify with and recognise. I cannot wait to see the arrival onscreen of Sweety Nuff dessert & milkshake shop, Gregory Pope Foundation Charity Shop, Rutland's bakery, Pound Outlet and Bargainanza Pawnbrokers’’

She's not the only one, eh?

Logo designs for those new shops! image @rybazoxo

To see the technical drawings, a 3D model layout (main article image) and a 'making of' exhibition before venturing onto the set itself was a huge treat. Being from the north myself, I feel I know where this is if you know what I mean. Such a familiar layout and built-in no time at all! I went on the Corrie Tour back in April of 2022 and the tour guide showed us what was essentially a building site car park and told us they were planning on building a set extension. To visit again in December, as a media guest, and to be one of the first fans on Weatherfield Precinct is something that will always stay with me. The attention to detail is astounding - you can sit inside ‘sweet ennuf’, the balcony is accessible, the outside of the flats (with a Victoria Court -style entrance) look too real not to have new residents next year, and the recycle bins are calling out for a Stephen Reid tantrum and/or murder. It looks like it's been there for years, and I can't wait for all of you to see it on-screen. Whilst we wait for January 13th 2023 to arrive, here's an interesting list of Weatherfield Precinct facts; 

Weatherfield Precinct - Under Construction Image @rybazoxo

*The build was completed in just 9 months whilst filming 5 days a week continued around it.

*From the Corrie team, it took; 1 Production Designer, 1 Construction Manager, 1 Art Director, 2 Site Supervising Joiners, 2 Painter & Decorators, 2 Scenic Painters, 11 joiners, 2 builders, 3 Construction workers applying brick slips, 5 dressers, 4 electricians, 2 Production buyers.

*Many elements of the building like the shop fronts, windows and doors were created in the Construction Workshop with a prefab approach to the building. They are all designed to limit reflections and to make the precinct filming-friendly.

*The building, like Victoria Street, is a facade. Some of the doorways have displays dressed inside the doorways giving the illusion of depth. The dessert shop has a shop front you can sit in and the charity shop has a selection of goods outside. 

Sweety Nuff - We sat outside!! Image @rybazoxo

*The precinct was built using the steelwork at the back of Victoria Street 

*The concrete 3D wall tiles seen are actually scenically painted to look that way and are a lightweight PVC

*The stained glass windows in the dessert shop were created by Richard Brockless who’s the Corrie Scenic Artist.

*Approx 5000 brick slips were used! To help visualise the build alongside technical drawings we produced a 3D computer-rendered model and a hand-painted cardboard model. These were used as a reference throughout the build 

*There is a practical balcony that can also be used for filming. Look out for the interior set of the charity shop in the future! 

*The construction method has been from a timber frame secured to existing steel covered with cement board with a final application of brick slips. The windows, doors and businesses were all made offsite in the construction workshop from hardwood for longevity and fitted onsite. We used it to share skills and a mortaring master class was run onsite.

*Claude the ice cream-loving french bulldog was commissioned as a mascot for the dessert shop!

..... Thank you @coronationstreet for these interesting facts...

Charity Shop Ginnel. Scene of future crimes? Image @rybazoxo

 Did I tell you there was a ginnel as well, like the crime alley that we love on Victoria Street? It's down the left-hand side of the charity shop. I went to look, put my head around the left-hand corner to see where it leads... and saw this door; 

Trim Up North - back door Image @rybazoxo 

 - it's the back of the barber set!! I've more of this kinda thing to come in my 'Behind the scenes at Weatherfield Precinct' future blog post - keep an eye out for it. 

A bakery, a charity shop, residential flats, a pound shop outlet, pawnbrokers, a children's playground, a Weatherfield community hub, recycle bins, and a new ginnel. Tony Warren would certainly approve!

Keep your eyes on this blog for on-set exclusive cast interviews from myself @rybazoxo and @sophie_writer1  Give us a follow on Twitter and view our recent timelines for videos, selfies with the cast, and loads more on Weatherfield Precinct! 

All original work on Coronation Street Blog is covered by a Creative Commons License

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