Updated: Jun 3
I can’t believe it’s already a whole year since we were invited to appear on Coronation Street alongside Lorraine Kelly (also playing a cameo role). While we are not as famous as Lorraine, we had a lot of fun and it was something a bit out of our ordinary...
There was someone with one of those clapper boards who shouted 'action', lots of big lights and camera equipment. And people I’ve actually seen on the telly standing right in front of me! Now, I’m not really a watcher of Coronation Street. Currently in our household all television seems to centre around Paw Patrol but even I recognised some of these people.
The overall premise of this storyline is that Lorraine is spotted by Gail, after she hears rumours that the presenter is staying at the same holiday park as her. Gail enlists daughter Sarah and granddaughter Bethany to help track her idol down and, sure enough, spots Lorraine on a pedalo on a lake – with the starstruck Gail giving chase in a bid to meet her TV hero. It ends up with Lorraine getting shot in the leg with an arrow during an archery session. Take a look here to see a video summary of this light hearted and fun storyline!
Well that was the storyline for them, but for us it was a different storyline! I was emailed in early Feb through my website enquiry form by a chap called Alan, an ITV vehicle sourcing specialist, who wanted us to come up to Nantwich for two days filming, one in late March and again in early April, to create a scene akin to a Center Parc-esque holiday park. Two 160 mile round trips, which is a significant journey in the wee truck, and considerably outside of our usual area of coverage. But it sounded like something interesting and unusual, so I didn't want to miss it.
Some trips in Nicole are fun – think sunny mornings and quiet roads - others have been downright dangerous in the dark and rain with our dim headlights running off their 6V system. With pretty short daylight hours and an early start required, I decided to go up the day before and camp over, with any discomfort from a cramped and unheated nights sleep on the floor in March, being more than offset by reduced stress levels. As it was, the A41 route I chose to take seemed to be the main through route for trucks rushing for ferries and I was tailgated by a series of massive juggernauts for the entire duration of the trip north so stress-free it was not…
Now, she was not the most luxurious camper van in the caravan site. Having said that, I’m sure we’ve got a better coffee machine than even the most top of the range unit out there. As temperatures headed down towards zero by early evening, I rolled out my mat and sleeping bag in the walkway of the van for an early night. Waking up to a hard frost and condensation all over the windows I fired up Frank (Nicole’s gas powered, two group, lever operated Fracino coffee machine) for that perfect morning flat white while watching the sun rise through the mist.
Arriving on site I was shown to my spot and after a bit of off-roading through the woods and a chat with the set designer, we (Nicole and I) were left alone to set up next to a lake and some pedalos that were to feature in the storyline. They asked me to keep some photo records of our set up, clothing etc so that it could be replicated for the second day of filming. For that first day, we were not central to the activity, the actors and camera people were out on the water and we were just in the background.
We trucked back down at a steady 40mph using the A51 around Stone, Stafford and Rugeley which was a much better route for us. A couple of weeks later we were heading back, leaving in the morning on the cusp of daylight, and arriving at about 8:30. This time I was on my own for hours until there was a sudden flurry of intense activity and we became centre stage.
There were cameras set up in the van, outside the van, lights, people coming up to be served and I got chatting to the lovely ladies of coronation street who loved the van and were really kind in suggesting a picture of us all in front of her. Me looking extremely awkward attempting a smile, while it came so naturally to them. I guess that’s why they’re in television and I do something different!
I served a flat white to Lorraine Kelly and her on-screen husband. There were quite a few takes as kids and dogs were involved in the shot. The actors were very cold as they had to spend a lot of time without their coats on during filming. I warmed them up with our luxury blob-on-stick hot chocolate which they were very happy with.
The cameraman was insistent he take some photos of me in the van, which I was resistant to as I’m not a big fan of seeing myself in photos, but nevertheless was very happy to have them after the event!
As suddenly as everyone arrived they disappeared again and we were left to pack up and wend our way home and wait a couple of months to see ourselves on the television when obviously everyone would track us down and want to book us for their own garden party!