Coronation Street has announced big plans to extend its set into a new shopping precinct area that promises to bring a "grittier vibe" to the ITV soap.
The Weatherfield Precinct will be a two-storey construction with a ground floor level of shops and units, topped by maisonettes reached by a staircase and balcony, and with a piazza in front.
Building begins on the set this week, which also saw Coronation Street move to a new schedule of hour-long episodes, and is expected to take six months to complete.
Pictures of how the precinct will look show a run-down looking parade of shops with graffiti on the shutters and, although it might be a new sight to viewers, fans of the soap are sure to have heard the cast mention visiting the shops before.
Corrie series producer Iain MacLeod said: "The fabled Weatherfield Precinct has been much discussed, but little seen on the show in our 61 years, and I am really excited to be expanding the Coronation Street universe.
"The plans for the shopping area are drawn directly from the real-world Salford environs that inspired the show’s creator Tony Warren and exemplify the authenticity and ambition we still prize as we move to hour-long episodes this week."
It also gives the chance for a new storyline setting, as managing director of continuing drama and head of ITV in the North John Whiston jokingly acknowledged: "I guess it won't be long before we blow it up, burn it down or crash a tram into it."
Production designer Rosie Mullins-Hoyle explained how the new area, which adds to the 7.7 acre site in Trafford on the Manchester Ship Canal which the soap moved to in 2014, would extend the world of Weatherfield.
She said: "We are extremely excited to be starting to build Weatherfield Precinct this week after a year of technical drawings, model making, visualising and planning. An incredible amount of research has been carried out focussing on 1960s local architecture and we are striving to create an authentic area of Weatherfield with a grittier vibe to the existing street that we know and love.
"The build is being led by myself and construction manager Keith Eccleston and is a fantastic opportunity to use some of the amazing behind the scene talents we have on the show with bespoke joinery, scenic art work, graphic design and set dressing skills all being involved.
"I cannot wait to meet the characters that may call it home and see the businesses that will be created and the storytelling potential of an old but new part of Weatherfield."
The ITV show is not the only soap to be getting a new area of set. This week, BBC One's EastEnders unveiled a refreshed Albert Square that has widened the set and includes garages, gardens and a Chinese takeaway.
Coronation Street continues on its new schedule of hour-long episodes at 8pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on ITV.
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