My day started at 6.15, and by 7.05 I was sat in Gregg’s in Leeds Bus Station with a bacon bap and a lovely cup of coffee, which set me up a treat for the day ahead. I caught a bus to the hotel where I met up with the rest of the Soapy press (most of whom had spent the night there) and our merry little band then boarded the coach for our day out at the seaside.
Luckily, the drizzle had stopped by the time we arrived at a very breezy Blackpool, and we were welcomed off the coach by SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer before entering the venue for a quick coffee, quickly followed by a short escorted walk through the Pleasure Beach by Wallace & Gromit to partake in a trip on their ‘Thrill-O-Matic’ ride!
Having never seen the shows/films I’m afraid I couldn’t exactly say that it was the highlight of my day. That was yet to come …
Tears, and many more to come
Back inside the venue, after an introduction from Coronation Street’s Senior Publicity Manager (Alison Sinclair), the Producer, Stuart Blackburn (Emmerdale’s producer until January 2013) gave us an insight into what’s coming up, and said of Wednesday’s hour-long episode: “I defy anyone to watch it and not come out sobbing”.
Boy, was he right! I had my hankie out and had to force back the tears (at one scene in particular) and know for a fact that when I watch it again on Wednesday (on my own and in front of my own TV) I’ll be blubbing like a baby. I’m filling-up even just thinking about it.
The Roy and Hayley storyline is being handled with real sensitivity and has never once crossed the line into overly-sentimentality, which is a testament to both the writing and the extraordinary performances we’re seeing from both characters. It’s so tremendously moving, and half the country will surely be in bits when they screen Hayley’s final scene.
Few of us haven’t been touched by the death of a loved one, and it must be a huge challenge for a Soap to follow a much-loved character’s decline (as opposed to the instantaneous moment of being hit over the head with a metal statue or run over by a tram, for example!), but we know we can rely on Corrie to get it just right.
More tears still, as a family is torn apart
As well as Roy and Hayley’s Blackpool trip, back in Weatherfield it’s the day of baby Lily’s christening and (as is always the way when you get the Corrie crowd inside a Church) there’s the usual delightful mix of comedy and drama as the ‘Who’s the daddy?’ storyline comes to a head.
I’ve always loved Kylie’s character, but we’ve seen more and more of her (previously hidden) vulnerable side over the last few months, and I’m so full of admiration at Paula Lane’s acting skill for having turned Kylie from a self-centred ‘good time girl’ into a very real person whose concern for her children now takes precedence over any thought of herself.
It’s cracking stuff, and although the christening is a huge contrast to Roy and Hayley’s storyline, it’s none-the-less heart-rending to watch as – yet again – a family is torn apart by both revelations and the discovery of the secrets and lies which went before.
Stormclouds are brewing, and not just in Blackpool
After a ‘proper’ northern dinner (not lunch: we have dinner at dinner time up here) of fish, chips, mushy peas and bread and butter, we did our interviews with the cast. Here’s Hayley and Roy giving us the inside story about filming their scenes in Blackpool.
You can read about all the day’s interviews on the Tellyspy site, or in any number of articles written by the many journalists that were present (including Glenda from the Coronation Street Blog whose report is here). There’s a lot of BIG stuff coming up, and there’s dark days ahead for more than one character on the Street …
The tram dropped us off at the Tower Ballroom and (without wanting to give anything away) it was the absolute highlight of my day to find it not only open, but hosting a tea dance!
All will become clear after Wednesday’s episode airs, but it was pure joy for me to sit (very briefly, because we were running late and only had about ten minutes in there) in that beautiful building. I felt as if I’d gone back to my childhood for a moment – seeing the dancers and listening to the wonderful sounds of the Wurlitzer organ!
Wurlitzers and Whirls
Experiences like this are something money just can’t buy, and I think we all felt a little bit special ourselves when the organist turned round and announced that we were “The Corrie Press”, and a couple of hundred pairs of eyes turned in our direction!
Sadly, we then had to make a swift exit as it was going to be a race against time for the coach to get through the traffic to Preston in time for everyone to catch their train back to London, but they made it with a couple of minutes to spare and that left just three of the Press team, the driver and me on the two-hour coach journey back to Leeds.
That was fun too. We stopped at a Tesco (not sure where!) to drop one of the girls off, and the driver managed to get the coach parked so that we could all quickly nip to the loo and then grab a takeaway coffee! We spent the rest of the journey back in a lovely warm coach as the light faded and the drizzle … drizzled; chatting about all things Soap and TV-related.
It was a nice end to a great day, and after dropping my bag in my hotel, walked the short distance into the City centre where I WAS going to have a meal, but ended up back in my room with some Nando’s, wine and the footie on TV!
I returned to Swindon on Saturday afternoon with some very special memories of a great couple of days and would like to thank both the Emmerdale and Coronation Street Press Teams for the tremendous effort they went to in order to make it so much more than just a round of interviews.
If you haven’t seen it already, take a look at Hayley’s (heartwarming) Video Diary.
Click on ‘Emmerdale-y’ (right) to read about The Woolpack Siege
PS ‘Corrie Corner’ and ‘Carla/Carchelle Corner’ will be back very soon. Watch this space!