Back in 2010 Coronation Street reached a significant milestone, the world’s longest running soap opera celebrated its 50th birthday and it did so in style.
Seven nights of back to back episodes culminating in an hour long live show, all of which were filmed at the Granada studios in Manchester, and which centred upon a dramatic tram crash and its aftermath.
Almost 16 million viewers watched the live episode and the prop making team at EC Creative were proud to have created the centrepiece of the show – two trams, a pre-crash version and a post-crash version.
The trams each consisted of one car (where the passengers sit) and one cab (for the driver); one tram was a shell used for exterior shots whereas the other was fully kitted out both internally and externally so all of it could be used for filming.
The tram crash was filmed in slow motion so attention to detail was critical (especially with hundreds of thousands of Mancunian tram users watching). EC worked off detailed drawings of real Metrolink trams provided by Transport for Greater Manchester to ensure the finished products were accurate. The job had a tight turnaround with just four weeks to build the two trams from scratch.
The rigging of the trams was not without its challenges either. EC Creative worked closely with Granada to get the trams in-situ, a massive feat considering the size of the trams, the enormous crane needed to manoeuvre them into position and the fact that the studios are in the centre of Manchester city centre.
Everything was all right on the night though. Well, not for the characters bumped off by the tram or the actors having to perform live in front of millions but our team at EC were able to sit back, relax and enjoy the show knowing that they’d successfully built another iconic piece of TV set history.
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