Betty’s picture is back on the wall, there’s fancy new filigree design on the sign outside….Yes, it can only mean one thing – the Rovers Return is once again open for business.
The renovated pub is to be unveiled to Corrie fans on Sunday 26 May during an episode in which Gary and Tina’s secret comes spilling out. Izzy will finally learn the truth about the move Gary made on Tina at the beginning of a week of high drama that will see Coronation Street broadcast on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 9pm on ITV.
As the pub reopens following the fire that recently gutted it, Tina will also be seen collapsing as recriminations fly. Is the baby on the way?
“She’s not due for another two months and she’s scared,” says actress Michelle Keegan. “Tina doesn’t understand why the baby’s coming so early, she’s only 7 months gone and she’s only a 21 year old girl so she is very frightened.”
The shock development is sure to put paid to Stella’s desire for the night to go well. She makes a poignant speech before Gary’s shock bombshell, but can’t help but feel for an emotional Dev. Are any of them really ready to move on from the fateful night that led to the death of Sunita? And how will killer Karl react to the pressure of the event?
Says Michelle Collins, who plays the landlady: “Running the Rovers is not just Stella’s job, it is a way of life for her and her life revolves around the pub. So she is thrilled to be back in but then of course nothing ever runs smoothly in soapland. What with Tina going into labour, Dev still niggling away to her about whether Sunita really started the fire and Karl’s increasingly erratic behaviour it does put a bit of a dampener on things for her.”
At first glance, the new Rovers may not look too different from the familiar layout. This was deliberate, says Coronation Street art director Rosie Mullins-Hoyle: “I was given a brief from producer Stuart Blackburn that the pub needed to feel like the Rovers – it needed to keep its character, the changes needed to be subtle and people had to notice new things about it after seeing a few episodes.
“Stella had made a conscious effort to try to make it feel like the same pub. In the back room she has picked out the same wallpaper she had before, as this is her home and she wants it to feel like it did. Every aspect of it was carefully thought out, down to the detail on the panelling and bar top. The wallpaper was bought in bulk in case it’s discontinued – it potentially needs to last us for the next 50 years!”
Mullins-Hoyle says weeks of hard work went into making the Rovers look new, and yet old. “Stuart wanted it to feel like it had been kitted out with items from a pub that had shut down. I sourced a stained-glass bay window online from a pub in Birmingham that had been knocked down. This was used to create the glass partitions in between the booths. Additional reclaimed stained glass was sourced and used in the back bar optics, which were redesigned. Both the seating and the new back bar have an art deco detail to them, adding to the theme that these have come from another old pub and are continuing their life in the Rovers. The curtain fabric was sourced from a local company that provided us with upholstery and curtain fabric for the last Rovers redesign. The dressings were all sourced with the original Rovers in mind and with us not wanting it to look shiny and new.
“The buyers sourced across the country to get every detail right – old Salford prints, brassware, hot plates, old pub stools and tables, pictures, establishing a pub poser table and a new juke box. Look out for the Rovers continuing to change in its first four weeks on screen – and then subtly in time as it gets its life back.“