CORONATION Street cast and crew have returned to set ahead of filming the soap tomorrow for the first time in three months
Production was halted on the ITV drama due to coronavirus and actors Michael Le Vell (Kevin Webster), Harry Visconti (Seb) and Sally Carmen (Abi) were among the first to make their way back into the studios today.
Kevin Webster actor Michael was the first to arrive at the gates of the huge set in Manchester’s MediaCity.
And no doubt he noticed a few things had changed since his last visit.
The star was met by a security guard donning a protective face mask as he stood next to a sign that said in bold print ‘maintain social distance’.
Sally Carmen, who plays Kevin’s love interest Abi was also spotted approaching the white gates in her bottle green mini and looked delighted to be back despite the unfamiliar changes.
Aerial photographs of the Corrie set revealed how the staff are already social distancing as they try to kick star the huge operation of filming the ITV soap.
The set moved out to MediaCity nearly six years ago and consists of early 20th-century terraced houses, The Rovers Return at one end, and the corner shop at the other.
The images taken today showed the crews setting up their positions along Coronation Street as they kept a wide berth from each other.
And just a few cars and people were seen dotted around the lot, that would ususally be brimming with camera crews
The backlot at MediaCity was rennovated in 2013 to accomodate the filming of Corrie.
The streets were widened to allow cars to safely pass each other, and it will now mean camera crews have plenty of space to film scenes at a safe distance.
Meanwhile, Coronation Street stars were warned they’d have to fix their dramatic hair transformations if they want to be allowed back onto set.
But as the national lockdown dragged on for more than 70 days, a number of Corrie cast got bored and decided to get creative with the tresses.
They either changed their hair colour dramatically or in the case of Steve McDonald actor, Simon Gregson, lost their hair entirely.
Alexandra Mardell, 25, who stars as Steve’s daughter Emma Brooker, has gone through a number of new hairstyles in lockdown.
First, she experimented with long braids the changed her brightly-coloured hair first from purple then to blue.
When she first coloured her hair, Alexandra posted the makeover on Instagram and captioned the image: “Quarantine made me do it”
Next up was Tina O’Brien who has played Sarah Platt since 1999 in the long-running ITV soap.
The mum-of-two unveiled a gorgeous new pink ‘do to her followers, calling it an “isolation creation”.
Sue Cleaver who plays Eileen Grimshaw on Corrie was the latest star to undergo a major transformation.
She coloured her hair pink saying, “as Eileen is locked in the prop cupboard for the foreseeable thought I’d dabble with the hair dye.”
Actor Charlie de Melo also looked unrecognisable after he shaved all of his hair off.
An insider told HOAR Online: “They were asked at the outset to be mindful of big style changes — a crazy haircut like going bald all over for the blokes or bright green hair for the ladies. Or even the other way round!!
“The writers don’t need the added headache of having to explain some homemade haircut in new storylines when filming resumes.”
But the team at Corrie think they will be able to work around the changes, a spokesperson from the soap told the Sun Online.
The spokesperson said: “The cast are sensible and mindful of the fact that they are returning to work. It is evident from all their social media posts that no one has done anything extreme at all.”
Thankfully, hair and make-up experts will be on hand at the ITV studios near Manchester to give help and advice from a safe distance – but they won’t be allowed to touch the actors.
Instead they’ll give stars tutorials on applying their slap and styling their locks minutes before the cameras roll.
Sally Dynevor, who plays Sally Metcalfe, had also raised concerns, saying: “People will tune in to see how awful my hair and makeup is. I’m terrible at it.”
Producers have told makeup and costume staff to offer remote tips via iPads on how to put on the slap in Zoom chats.
The insider said: “When they call for costume and makeup checks they’ll radio through whether the actor needs to put their hair behind their ear or whatever the direction is. Costumes will be left outside an actor’s dressing room the night before filming.”