University of Bolton Special Effects student, Emma McGranaghan, has helped the nation’s favourite soap celebrate its 50th birthday with a bang!
Coronation Street is the one of the world’s longest running TV programmes and commemorated its half-century on the air with its most explosive storyline to date. Emma has helped build the pyrotechnics for the climactic blast just before a Metrolink tram smashes into the county’s best known street.
Emma is in her final year at the University and found the opportunity of working on Coronation Street through another work placement for her pyrotechnic module. She was helping at the Southport Air Show with specialist explosive engineers company, Event Horizons. Event Horizons have worked on a host of top TV programmes and Hollywood blockbusters, like Batman: The Dark Night.
They were also the brains behind the Street’s big-bang, so when the opportunity arose to work on the project, Emma jumped at the chance. She said: ‘The placement was amazing, I learned so much. It was very hands on and very demanding. I did all sorts, from the specialist stuff to basic heavy lifting, carrying big bags of skeet up and down ladders. It was a small team so it really was hard work but I learned a lot.’
She chose Bolton after meeting Special Effects (BDes) Programme Leader, Simon Wiggins, at an open day. Emma had originally thought about doing a design or animation course but was ‘blown away’ by what Simon showed her.
So, clear with what she wanted to do in her mind, Emma had a look at other special effects courses but opted to go with her original choice. She said: ‘There are two areas of special effects. The physical side, this involves blowing things up, set building and designing landscapes. The other side is related to things like CGI and animation. I chose Bolton because it was the only course I found that taught you both aspects.’
Special Effects (BSc) Programme Leader, Damien Markey, has also praised Emma’s attitude. He said: ‘Enthusiastic and motivated students like Emma have shown they can be trusted to contribute to large scale commercial projects. This work is another example of the opportunities presented to the students on the Special Effects degrees.’