From The NORTH
This is Brick No.966.
On January 12th 1970, it made it's television debut on ITV in Episode 944.
Always kept away from the glare of sunlight and rain, it can be found in a small padded box in my home. It bathes in a constant temperature of twenty two degrees and a relative humidity at forty-five percent.
This is Brick 966 of 3000.
I'll tell you more later...
Did you know that the former Granada Television Studios on Quay Street, Manchester, were the UK's first purpose built television studios? Although the casual visitor would note a Studio 12, there were only seven in the building. The North has always thought big.
From this Manchester Palace, the first episode of Corrie went out live and The Beatles made their first television appearance.
CityLife Magazine, The De-regulation of broadcasting. Thinking Actors' Peter Carroll - July 1989.
Today, with UK rehearsal and studio space in big demand, it's great to see the imminent re-opening of this 1950's Quay Street icon - reconditioned for a bright new future of media content and entertainment. The front office block may be penned for demolision but the studios have been very wisely preserved: welcome to the newly named complex of Manchester Studios and new owners, Allied London.
The revisioning of Quay Street also includes the new ABC Building - housing content creators such as post-production masters The Farm.
The North West continues to take a lead in theatre, broadcast and film. A richness of life experience - of joy and sorrow, conflicts and opportunities - have fed the region's writing talent and the ambitions of a creative population.
The preserved GRANADA red letters
Television and film production in the North West continues to shine bright. Nicola Shindler's RED Productions (named after Manchester United) is home to some of the nation's most popular drama. RED has produced critically acclaimed shows such as Sally Wainwright's Scott & Bailey (ITV), Last Tango in Halifax (BBC One) and Happy Valley (BBC One). Other Manchester productions include Sky Atlantic's Curfew, Russell T Davies' Cucumber (Channel 4) and, currently in production, 'Years And Years'.
The region's architectural variety and world class production facilities are helping to secure a new generation of storytelling.
Now, about that precious brick...
I was once sat in a restaurant in Manchester. While enjoying the company of friends, it was impossible to ignore the lavish and animated recollections from the gentleman who was sat immediately at the back of me. I was curious. Some fifteen minutes later, he left his table and walked briskly towards the door. It was Tony Warren. I wish we had spoken. Tony recognised the need for the Northern voice, the need to decentralise the narrative and tell a different story. His gift is Coronation Street.
Brick 966 is from the original brick-built set on Grape Street, Salford. It's from Number 13, to be precise. That's Stan and Hilda Ogden. If you put it to your ear, I swear you can hear a shrill and slightly out of tune song.
I went out to buy an alarm clock in the mid-eighties and bought that instead. It was for charity - funds raised went equally to The National Institute for the Blind and the Cinema & Television Benevolent Fund.
As alarm clocks go, it's the best I've ever had. Everyday, it reminds me of a story that is yet to be told and a script that is yet to be written.
At Thinking Actors, we want to embrace the North West's legacy of storytelling.
We want to be a part of a creative community that brings both actors - emerging and established - together with writing talent. We're already working with some of the region's most talented independent filmmakers, writers and actors.
We're putting into place screenings and discussions with some of the region's sharpest new talent.
If you're interested in how Thinking Actors can facilitate your next project as an independent filmmaker and/or script writer, please contact Peter Carroll at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to meet you.
Photograph Credit: Salford 1968. Actress Violet Carson in role as Ena Sharples ponders over a changing Salford . Photograph by John C Madden