Coronation Street producers are hurriedly rewriting storylines and juggling filming schedules after a sinkhole opened up on the cobbles.
The pit, which measures roughly three metres across and some six metres deep, appeared overnight just outside the doors of the famous Rovers Return pub.
David Neilson, who plays wholesome Roy Cropper, and Malcolm Hebden who plays bumbling Norris Cole, were the first of the cast to be affected by the hole when their scenes outside the Rovers were forced to transfer to shooting outside The Kabin.
The sinkhole has since been deemed a health and safety risk by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and all filming has been suspended until the cause of the collapse is established.
There is speculation that the incident may be related to the construction of the soap’s new set in Manchester’s Salford Quays.
After 53 years’ filming at Granada Studios in central Manchester, the soap’s buildings and iconic cobbles were painstakingly recreated at the new site.
It is feared that two years of heavy construction work may have weakened soil on reclaimed land on which the set is built.
But one Corrie stalwart, who asked to remain anonymous, told BT.com that there may be wholly unearthly reasons for the collapse.
“Dear old Violet Carson, who played Ena Sharples, once told me that if we ever left her Granada Studios she would see to it that the show went down with it. Poor Vi left us 30 years ago but I can’t help but wonder…,” she said.
With the BBC based just across the Manchester Ship Canal in Media City, the insider also feared some inter-soap skulduggery could have taken place.
“The producer warned us to keep an eye out for an EastEnders mole, but I don’t think he was expecting anything quite that big.”
Forthcoming broadcasts will be unaffected as storylines are filmed several weeks in advance, but the programme’s unrelenting filming schedule has led producers to consider a temporary move back to the old set, which was due to open as a tourist attraction.
“The set is smaller, I’m sure the viewers would notice the difference,” said the concerned source.
“Either way there’s going to be a major plot hole.”