The 22 victims of the Manchester Arena bombing have been remembered with a permanent memorial on the new Coronation Street set.
The ITV soap’s new-look set features a mosaic-covered memorial bench taking pride of place in an urban garden in memory of those who died, with a special mention for Corrie superfan Martyn Hett.
Mr Hett, who was such a big fan of the show he had a tattoo of Weatherfield stalwart Deirdre Barlow on his leg, was among those killed when suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a device as crowds left an Ariana Grande concert in May.
His family were among the first people to see the new set last week before it was officially unveiled on Monday in the presence of Corrie stars.
The plaque on the bench reads: “For Martyn and all those who lost their lives on the 22nd of May 2017. We stand together.”
Corrie star Lucy Fallon, who plays Bethany Platt, told the Press Association: “I think that, especially because Martyn was a massive fan of the show, it’s important for his family to have that tribute to him and all of the other victims and the survivors and everybody that was involved.
“And just for Manchester in general.”
Sarah Platt actress Tina O’Brien said it is the first time the programme has made “an actual conscious effort to go, ‘this happened in Manchester'”.
“We are showing that we support the people that were involved in this, so I think it’s lovely,” she added.
“I was saying it would be really nice if the survivors could be allowed to come and have a look around, visit and see it as well.”
Sue Nicholls, who plays Audrey Roberts, said she thinks it is a “lovely” area and that she is glad to see it has been incorporated into the new set.
The extended exterior set of the long-running soap, a continuation of the 1999 addition of Victoria Street, took three years to develop and will give viewers the chance to see beyond the area surrounding the soap’s famous terraced houses and cobbled street.
As well as the urban garden, the set features a new retail area complete with shops, restaurants, a tattoo parlour, a Weatherfield North tram stop and a police station.
The set also includes a Costa Coffee shop and a Co-op supermarket in honour of product placement deals with the broadcaster, marking the first time real retail outlets will be represented on the soap.
The entire area is made from cobbles reclaimed from the old Quay Street site which was home to Corrie residents from 1982 to 2013, and has been aged to make it look as though it has been there for as long as Coronation Street and Rosamund Street.
Kate Oates, series producer, said: “The Victoria Street extension represents an exciting chapter in Corrie history: an amazing new stage, full of dramatic potential.
“Our amazingly talented design team have created everything from scratch – but it still manages to have the feeling of always having been there, just around the corner.”
The new Wider Weatherfield will be seen on screen for the first time on April 20.