Queen has peek inside Rovers Return on visit to Coronation Street to mark 60 years of soap

Two much-loved British institutions came together when the Queen visited the set of Coronation Street to help celebrate the long-running soap’s diamond jubilee.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 10:14 pm

The cobbles of Weatherfield have seen a host of famous faces but for only the second time the head of state walked down the street, home to the ITV soap, celebrating its 60th year on our screens.

On a 40-minute tour of the set and studios, the royal visitor, wearing a teal Angela Kelly outfit with matching hat, met a host of cast and crew of the show, walking beside the cobbled street before popping into the studio where the interior of the Rovers Return is filmed.

The Queen began her tour with four actors who between them have more than 200 years service on the show.

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Bill Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, Barbara Knox who is cast as Rita, Sue Nicholls who plays Audrey and Helen Worth, known to millions of soap fans as Gail, greeted the Queen with bows and curtsies outside the Rovers Return.

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Roache told the Queen he had first seen her when she visited Jamaica in 1963, when he was serving as an officer with the Royal Welsh Fusiliers.

He added: “Thank you so much for coming today.”

Queen Elizabeth II meets actors (left to right)William Roache, Barbara Knox, Sue Nicholls and Helen Worth, during a visit to the set of Coronation Street.

Knox told the Queen when she first arrived: “Good morning, your majesty, you have brought the sunshine.

“You know you are like a ray of sunshine.

“And you’ve given us all such a lift (with) you coming, thank you very very much indeed.

“We all absolutely adore you, the world adores you.”

Queen Elizabeth II meets actors (left to right)William Roache, Barbara Knox (hidden), Sue Nicholls and Helen Worth, during a visit to the set of Coronation Street.

The Queen, who asked how they had managed to keep filming during the pandemic, replied: “It’s really marvellous you’ve been able to carry on”, and Roache replied to laughter: “Well, ma’am, you’re the one who has carried on.”

Further up the street outside number five, the Queen met the fictional “Bailey” family, and was told the set’s cobbles were the original ones taken from the old Granada street set in Manchester, before it moved three miles up the road to the new ITV Studios in 2013.

Kate Spencer, who plays Grace Vickers, warned the Queen: “Hard to walk on, as well, in heels.”

To laughter, the Queen, looking down at her shoes, replied: “No, I know. I’ve been told. Probably better not.”

After chatting to back stage production staff, including writers, camera operators, set designers and sound engineers, the Queen spoke to the fictional Dobson family, including Jennie McAlpine, who plays Fiz and Maureen Lipman, who plays Evelyn Plummer holding the lead of Bob, or Cerberus in the show, a pet whippet.

Next the Queen spoke to cast members who live on the “posh” side of the street, over the road from the terraced houses.

As the Queen studied the cast members she asked: “I have not been able to see it all the time.

“Are you all nice?” Ben Pryce, who plays Nick, stood alongside Corrie “villain” David, played by Jack P Shepherd, said: “I can confidently say Jack is a bad boy.

“There always has to be conflict.”

The royal visitor finished her tour outside the corner shop, speaking to cast including Jimmi Harkishin, who plays Dev and being told of the sometimes challenging issues plot-lines in the soap has dealt with.

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