Coronation Street is getting a new look as ITV unveils the first images of an expanded Weatherfield set that includes a new precinct.
The set expansion is hoped to provide a “grittier” alternative setting to the famous cobbles.
In the week that the long-running Manchester-based soap moves to hour-long episodes and an 8pm time slot, ITV has unveiled plans for an “ambitious” new exterior set build that includes the ‘Weatherfield Precinct’ – an impressive two-storey construction that will feature maisonettes, a staircase and balcony leading to the properties, a piazza, and an array of accessible local shops and units.
The soap’s production team says the precinct will “enhance and extend” the set based on the programme’s 7.7 acre site in Trafford.
It’s not the first time Corrie fans have heard of the precinct, as it’s already been part of the wider Weatherfield community and has often cropped up in the soap’s dialogue with characters heading off to the parade of shops.
According to ITV, the development – which is the vision of Production Designer, Rosie Mullins-Hoyle – begins construction this week, and will take six months to complete before the programme’s cast and crew can begin to film “exciting” new storylines.
The new set also give scriptwriters the chance to make the most of the show’s “broadening horizons”, and create opportunities to explore storylines beyond the cobbles.
“We are extremely excited to be starting to build Weatherfield Precinct this week after a year of technical drawings, model making, visualising and planning,” Rosie Mullins-Hoyle said.
“An incredible amount of research has been carried out focussing on 1960s local architecture and we are striving to create an authentic area of Weatherfield with a grittier vibe to the existing street that we know and love.”
She added: “I cannot wait to meet the characters that may call it home and see the businesses that will be created and the storytelling potential of an old but new part of Weatherfield.”
Series producer Iain MacLeod said the design for the set had been inspired by nearby Salford.
“The fabled Weatherfield Precinct has been much discussed, but little seen on the show in our 61 years, and I am really excited to be expanding the Coronation Street universe,” he explained.
“The plans for the shopping area are drawn directly from the real-world Salford environs that inspired the show’s creator Tony Warren and exemplify the authenticity and ambition we still prize as we move to hour-long episodes this week.”
Looking ahead to the future of the ITV soap – which currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s longest running soap – John Whiston, Managing Director of Continuing Drama and Head of ITV in the North – said: “As we (hopefully) come out of COVID and start to stretch our dramatic legs again, it will be great to be able to play exciting new stories against a brand new backdrop.
“And it’s a testament to the confidence ITV has in the show that it is investing so much in our future.
“Mind you, I guess it won’t be long before we blow it up, burn it down or crash a tram into it.”
Featured Image – ITV