A lifelong Coronation Street fan has celebrated her golden wedding anniversary on the famous cobbles.
Gillian Metcalf watched the very first episode in 1960 when she was just 14 and has been hooked ever since so was delighted when her husband Len, 70, booked a tour of the soap’s set to celebrate 50 years of marriage.
After a week away in London, the couple, who first met at a dance hall, came back up north to visit the studio where the soap was filmed for more than half a century.
Gillian, 69, who lives with Len on Royds Avenue in Accrington, said: “I have watched it all these years, it’s my guilty pleasure. I think it’s because we’re northern. We didn’t want a big anniversary ‘do’ so just decided to do something different.”
And the grandmother-of-two’s favourite episodes over the years have all featured weddings.
She said: “Rita and Deirdre have both had a few. I’ve always liked their characters as typical northern women who don’t let things go by.
“I used to like Pat Phoenix as Elsie Tanner and Violet Carson as Ena Sharples too. They were grittier than today’s characters, but I do like Carla Connor now, played by Alison King.”
Popping in to the locations she’s watched for years on screen was an ‘eye-opener’, she said, adding: “In Gail Platt’s house you have to stay at the top of the stairs as there is nowhere else to go. And the factory is just a staircase and a couple of machines, it’s nothing like what you see on the telly.
“The set is really good but much smaller than you think - how they do everything in there I don’t know.”
A highlight of the tour was visiting the Rover’s Return pub, where the couple got to pull a pint and sit in one of the booths. And there was yet another surprise for Gillian in store.
She said: “The man who showed us round said ‘knock on that door’, and behind it was a big bunch of flowers from our family.”
The tour was not the first time the soap has featured in real life for the pair though. Len used to work at Granada where he met the late Betty Turpin, played by Betty Driver, and the couple’s daughter Andrea, 47, used to deliver milk to William Roache, who plays Ken Barlow, on her milk round.
Gillian said: “The tour brought a lot of my own memories back. I just can’t believe where the time’s gone.”