Coronation Street boss Iain MacLeod was told what every TV producer would love to hear.
The producer of the ITV soap was told that “money’s no object” as they began planning for one of the soap’s biggest ever weeks.
The huge week of episodes – dubbed ‘Super Soap Week’ – will air later this month when a catastrophic rainstorm brings death and destruction to the cobbles.
Filmed over three weeks, both throughout the day and at night, viewers will be treated to a gripping set of episodes as a catastrophic rainstorm causes drama for some of the soap’s most-loved characters.
And it’s not just action on the cobbles – it’s below them too.
Viewers will be sent on a rollercoaster of emotions and high drama with a catastrophic rain storm, a collapsed sinkhole, fireball car crash, an escaped convict and revenge plans that go anything but to plan.
“What you can expect is truly massive,” Iain told press including the Manchester Evening News ahead of the epic week.
“We had a conversation with the network earlier in the year and they said, ‘what about we did something in the autumn where money is no object, you just went nuts and we re-announced to the world that Coronation Street is still operating in top gear’.
“As a producer when someone says ‘imagine money is no object’, you do kind of rub your hands together slightly.”
Iain and the team then set to work to create something “huge”.
“I wrote an outline of what I wanted this week to be and in my mind, I thought there’s no way we’ll be able to do all this. It’s just too ambitious.
“I gave it to our incredibly talented production team and crew and they went, ‘Yep, we can do that’.”
Then it was all systems go, once Iain had ‘picked his jaw up off the floor,’ he said.
He says viewers can expect something “thrillerish” while keeping in “heartfelt and humorous” moments that fans have come to expect from Corrie.
As mentioned, scenes were filmed both day and night with plenty taking place away from the Salford-based set and on location.
The stunning saw the use of special effects to create the storm – even in Manchester – and the intricate underground sewerage system was designed and built at Space Studios in Manchester before being attached to a sophisticated pulley system so it could be lowered into a swimming pool for filming.
“It was a challenging shoot and a long shoot for everybody concerned but having now seen the more or less finished episodes, I think it was worth all the blood, sweat and tears that have gone into it.
“The result is incredibly dramatic and heart-stoppingly brilliant.”
And Iain finally got to make use of the sinkhole that suddenly appeared in the Platt’s back garden last September.
While it turned out sleazy Bistro boss Ray Crosby orchestrated the massive problem at No.8, it’s now set to cause problems for other members of the street.
Iain revealed that when they “collapsed the Platt’s back garden” they did have possible plans for it to be involved in the 60th anniversary back in December.
However, Covid restrictions put a stop to any big plans they had in mind leading to a “frustrating” wait.
“A number of times people in the production have gone, ‘Shall we just fill that hole in?’ and I’ve always said ‘No, we’re leaving it because I’ve got a plan for that and we just need to wait until we’re actually able to do the thing I want to do,'” Iain said.
“And we finally got to a stage now thanks to the incredible graft and professionalism of our crew that we were able to finally do what it was we’ve always wanted to do with that sinkhole.”
He added: “Every time we’re in the Platt’s or someone references the sinkhole I think, I just want to get on with the big thing that we want to do.”
But the ‘Super Soap Week’ won’t be the end of the troubles for Weatherfield.
In fact, it’s just the start for some.
“It’s only worth doing if the aftermath is more interesting than the week,” Iain said of doing the huge five days of stunt episodes.
“It’s very well ‘blowing the street up’ but if at the end nothing’s changed and everyone’s lives proceed exactly as nothing’s happened, it’s not worth doing at all.”
He added: “There are brilliant final chapters of stories going on in this week but there are also exiting, novel chapters in all kinds of different areas, some of which I think will be quite surprising for people.
“It’s the launchpad for most of the big stuff that we’ll be doing into Christmas and well into New Year.”