Queen Elizabeth treads cobbles on set of longest-running soap

London (AFP) –


Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday visited the set of the world's longest-running television soap opera, Coronation Street, praising the popular show's cast as "marvellous" for keeping going through the pandemic.

The British show is recognised by Guinness World Records as the world's longest running television soap, on air for 60 years.

The 95-year-old, who is Britain's longest-reigning monarch, walked through the exterior set, including its famous cobbled street and Rovers Return pub.

The royal visit belatedly celebrated the show's 60th anniversary in December last year and the show's makers described to the queen how filming has adapted to virus restrictions.

The show has twice briefly paused production and has switched to socially distanced episodes with actors two metres (6.5 feet) apart, using camera tricks to make them look closer.

Outside the Rovers Return, the queen talked to a group of actors, including 89-year-old Bill Roache, who has appeared since the first episode as Ken Barlow, known for romancing women.

"It's really marvellous that you've been able to carry on," the queen said.

"Well ma'am, you're the one who's carried on," Roache said, to laughter from other cast members.

The queen received a cobble stone from an earlier set as a present, but she was warned not to walk on the cobbles, however, not an easy feat in high heels.

"No, I know. I've been told. Probably better not," the queen said.

The monarch has resumed official duties since the death of her husband Prince Philip in April and is set to mark 70 years on the throne next year.

She last toured the Coronation Street set with Philip in 1982, while other royals have dropped in since.