The Road to Florizel Street

Transmitting this week on BBC4 as part of their Great North season, THE ROAD TO CORONATION STREET can also be seen online for seven days here

We scouted period 1960 locations along the A6 corridor (Manchester, Salford, Swinton, Bolton) for this low-budget drama, probably the first to be shot for British TV using the Canon 5D.

Directed by Charles Sturridge and written by Daran Little the drama is about the creation of long-running soap opera CORONATION STREET (working title FLORIZEL STREET) in 1960 at Granada Television by 23 year-old Pendlebury scriptwriter Tony Warren.

The Salford streets which inspired the original Corrie pilot scripts were important locations – I submitted all the shots b&w as we were matching reference photographs of the area.

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This was the house where Tony Warren and his mother lived during this period

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To replicate the architecture of the distinctive Granada TV building we looked for buildings with a similar modernist aesthetic. This well-known Fallowfield landmark didn’t quite make the cut:

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Several sets were built on the current ITV Studios site, but we scouted other city centre options for the canteen and rehearsal room scenes.

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We heard about a brilliant period canteen in a haulage firm nearby:

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And spent a great deal of time looking for spit-and-sawdust pubs not decked out with England football flags. This was tricky during the first week of a World Cup.

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We stumbled across this in a Salford distribution warehouse – a massive 1960s staff ballroom, completely disused and five minutes from the city centre:

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Finally this, taken with my phone on the day we shoot scenes in the actual Granada TV board-room.
The view across Salford and Manchester from the office of the Bernstein brothers who established the broadcasting franchise, and (after some persuasion) commissioned the longest-running drama in British television.

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Broadcast in September 2010, the programme won the BAFTA for Best Single Drama, and can be viewed on iTunes here. Enjoy.

M62 Location Scout

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