Twenty three years ago (while still a teenager), one of my first professional jobs was working at the Granada Studios Tour in Manchester. It was a great experience and I performed magic for visitors on the Sherlock Holmes Baker Street set for a year. Just a few yards away was the set of Coronation Street, which I walked along almost daily and, since I had grown up watching this iconic soap opera, it was quite surreal.
Last weekend, I was back at ITV on the new Coronation Street set performing at an open day for ITV staff. It was great to be back and, although the new set was a few miles away from the original and only a year old, it looked practically identical. Of course, the names of a few shops have changed, but it’s practically the same – a great piece of work from the ITV set department.
Walking behind part of the set reveals a facade – scaffolding supporting a two-dimensional wall, which from the front appears to be a full row of houses. It occurred to me that set designers do a similar job to that of a magician. One could say we both deceive the public for a living – as, in a slightly different way, do actors. But it’s all done for entertainment and if my magic can bring half as much enjoyment to my clients as Coronation Street does to households up and down the land, then its all been worthwhile.