Sunday, 5 October 2014

Meet the team behind Coronation Street

Copyright: Guardian Weekend
(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog September 2014, reposted to this blog with permission.)

 In today's Guardian weekend magazine there's a special all about the teams behind... Kylie Minogue, Spotify, Today, House of Holland - and Coronation Street. 

You can read it on the Guardian weekend website here.

"There are plenty of characters on the set of Coronation Street, behind the camera as well as in front. Prop man Alan “Ginge” Newton recalls a highlight of his Corrie career with glee: throwing a bucket of water at actor Jack P Shepherd, who plays David Platt (and won “best villain” at the Best Soap Awards in 2008): “I had to drown him three times. I really enjoyed that.”

To call the making of Britain’s favourite soap quite a production would be an understatement. First aired in December 1960, the show is not far off episode 8,500 and regularly attracts 8 million viewers (40% of all available viewers). So it seems fitting that such an institution is created within a 7.7-acre site nestled behind Manchester United’s Old Trafford and across the water from Media City, the new media hub of the north.

All things Corrie are here, from the dressing rooms to the editing suites to a warehouse full of interior sets and, of course, the famous cobbles. The security guards and receptionists make you feel as welcome as a relative, and cast members mill around – Simon Gregson, who plays Steve McDonald, is relaxing on a sofa and happy to chat to whoever is passing by.

If you ask members of the crew to name the best thing about working on the show, many say, “It feels like one big family”, which might sound trite if it weren’t for the fact that many have been working on it for more than 20 years. “I’ve been away and done other things,” says makeup artist Jill Stansfield, who started 21 years ago, “and coming back just feels like coming home.”

As they finish lunch, the crew piles on to set, an interior of the Rovers Return in the warehouse, complete with all the necessary props, including crisp packets, beer mats and those hot pot dishes. It looks significantly smaller in real life than on screen. There is plenty of chatter. Bev Callard, who plays Liz McDonald, jokes with her onscreen boyfriend Tony, played by Terence Maynard, and the makeup and wardrobe teams. A certain reverence surrounds director Peter Rose, and first assistant director John Folkard assumes a ringmaster-type roll, directing people into place in a booming voice with the occasional wry aside.

As our shoot concludes, the mick-taking and chit-chat comes to a halt. Folkard calls everyone to their positions and demands silence. The lights go down except for those on Callard and Maynard, the monitors are switched on and shooting begins.

If you click on the link to The Guardian weekend magazine they have a 'Who's Who' to explain who everyone is in the picture below, behind the scenes at Coronation Street.

(1) Ellen Taylor, 42, writer, with the show five years “Writing Hayley’s cancer diagnosis and funeral episodes was a high point; being part of a storyline that really affected the nation.”

(2) Robbie Sandison, 56, head of production, nearly three years

(3) Ros Aynsley, 36, art director, six months “I grew up watching Coronation Street, and the first day I couldn’t resist having a little walk around the cobbles. It was really early, and I was on my own walking down the street. It was brilliant.”

(4) Kieran O’Neal, 22, runner, three weeks

(5) Lizz Briggs, script supervisor, four years

(6) Simon Cleobury, 51, camera operator, 12 years “When Dev’s wife went on a reign of terror, blowing up all his shops, we went around town blowing things up, which was really good fun.”

(7) Neil Jones, 38, camera assistant, four years “Working on locations like the Lake District is great. It’s very challenging in winter.”

(8) Stuart Blackburn, 49, producer, two years

(9) Jill Stansfield, 48, makeup, 21 years

(10) Peter Rose, 62, director, four years

(11) Bev Callard, 57, plays Liz McDonald, 25 years “I have had great scenes – she’s been raped, she’s been held hostage at gunpoint, she’s been battered, there’ve been dead babies... but I think what we’re doing now is fantastic.”

(12) Terence Maynard, 45, plays Tony Stewart, nine months

(13) Daniella Pearman, 33, costume, 10 years

(14) Brian Owen, 50, charge hand/electrician, 13 years

(15) Chris Roach, 49, lighting director, six months

(16) Martin Robinson, 48, sound supervisor, on and off for 30 years

(17) Max Wilkie, 22, boom operator, two years

(18) John Folkard, 55, first assistant director, 10 years “I came here for three weeks and now I’m on year 10. The live show was really exciting and difficult. I had never done that before.”

(19) Linda Strath, 55, makeup supervisor, 33 years (rejoined after a long break 17 years ago) “I love doing all the injuries.”

(20) Alan ‘Ginge’ Newton, 48, prop man, four years

(21) Karen Bevins, 60, costume assistant and supervisor, two years

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