Monday, 20 July 2009

The Granada Studios Tour - Appearing In The Rovers!

Appearing in the Rovers by the miracle of chroma key. One has blanked out one's physog as one finds it displeasing.

This is isn't strictly about the '60s, '70s or '80s, but, did you know that, at the start of the 1990s, Granada Studios Tour in Manchester was offering, for a very small fee, a VHS cassette of your very good self, stood in the Rovers Return, nattering with Betty Turpin and that Mike Baldwin (you know 'im, little fella, thinks he's it!).

It was all achieved by something rather technical and rather wonderful called chroma key, and you never actually met Betty or Mike at all - you simply stood in a little cubby hole, waiting for your cues to speak. And at the end of it all, there you were, obviously superimposed, on video in a Rovers scene, yacking away about buying one of them posh new houses on't t'other side o't street.

It were lovely. And you could keep it and keep it again.

Simple pleasures? Have a heart: the World Wide Web, which opened computers up to the vast majority of us dimwits, wasn't even invented until 1989 and not up and running till the early '90s, so we had to do other, simpler, things to keep ourselves amused.

During my hotpot chroma key experience, I was so nervous I might miss a cue that I ending up sounding rather like Margaret Thatcher.

One of my lines was something like "I've been looking at the houses for sale," and it came across sounding flat, sombre and sinister, which was odd because in the recording booth I was sure I sounded like just the sort of neighbour anybody would love to have.

A former work colleague of mine visited the Granada Tours in 1989 and came back chanting: "Cue, Sally Webster, cue, Sally Webster, Sally Webster, cue..."

We've lost touch now and I never did get to the bottom of it.

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