Rovers Return open for business by the seaside

Corrie star Simon Gregson pulls the first pint at the Rovers Return set at Madame Tussauds
Corrie star Simon Gregson pulls the first pint at the Rovers Return set at Madame Tussauds

Fans of Britain’s longest running soap opera are in for a treat at a new Blackpool attraction.

The Rovers Return set at Madame Tussauds on Central Promenade has been given a dramatic facelift to create a fully licensed bar, which can seat 86 people.

The Rovers is my home away from home and the set at Madame Tussauds Blackpool is just like the real thing

Simon Gregson

And for the ultimate Coronation Street fan, the venue can even be hired out for events – even weddings, giving couples a chance to celebrate in true Weatherfield style alongside screen icons such as Bet Lynch and Hilda Ogden.

And on Saturday Corrie legend Simon Gregson, who plays current Rovers’ landlord Steve McDonald, was on hand to officially open the attraction.

Some of the soap’s most iconic couples reside at the waxworks attraction, with inspiration for marital ‘bliss’ coming from Ken and Deirdre Barlow, Jack and Vera Duckworth.

Simon was the first person to step behind the bar and unveiled a plaque in his character’s name before pulling the first pint.

He said: “The Rovers is my home away from home and the set at Madame Tussauds Blackpool is just like the real thing.

“The wax figures here are so lifelike, it is easy to get carried away chatting to them.

“It is great to be by the seaside, Blackpool and Coronation Street are both British institutions.

“I just have to watch out for the trams.”

Simon said he used to visit the resort every Christmas as a child and it brought back happy memories.

He added: “Being in this ‘Rovers Return’ the one thing I won’t be able to get out of my head is constant theme going around and around!

“It is a lot bigger here but it is just like home, especially with Ken, Deirdre, Jack and Vera and Hilda Ogden.

“It is nice to see all the fans and they have been very nice.

“We have been to Blackpool filming a few times – never in the summer though!

“We used to come here all the time when we were kids. I remember having selection boxes in the hotels around Christmas time – they are happy memories and it is nice to be back.”

General manager Matthew Titherington said: “Everyone knows the Rovers Return and the people who drink in it.

“This is our testament to more than 54 years of a national treasure.

“We can’t imagine life without Coronation Street and I can’t imagine Madame Tussauds Blackpool without the Rovers Return set.”

“It is a venue with a difference; visitors can book for all types of functions alongside their favourite characters.”

A spokesman for the venue added that although a weddings licence had not yet been applied for, as soon as any prospective couples expressed an interest, it would be arranged.

The attraction is unveiling a host of new faces this year. Downton Abbey and Paddington actor Hugh Bonneville took up residence last month, and new waxworks of Olly Murs and John Bishop are being created.