Coronation Street: Out of Africa is a 2008 spin-off DVD set in sun and seaside resort of Sun City, South Africa. Cilla Battersby, the mother from hell, brings her son, Chesney and other "son", Kirk Sutherland, over to Africa to win a competition for $500,000.
Chesney Battersby-Brown tells all his customers on his paper round that he is off to Sun City in South Africa for a week at the behest of his mum and dad, Cilla and Les Battersby-Brown, flying there in the company of a “responsible adult” i.e. Kirk Sutherland…
Continuing to learn that nothing is as it seems with Cilla, the two lads arrive to find that “Les” is not the man they know but Lesedi Mushapamwe, a South African dressed in traditional tribal costume plus sunglasses. Their Les was last heard of travelling with the Gypsy Creams group in Azerbaijan. They also find out why they have been called out: a competition is being run in the resort to find the “Sunshine Family of South Africa” with a prize of half a million dollars for the winners and Cilla has entered her “family”. On the entry form, Les is her second husband and Chesney and Kirk are her “tragically disabled” sons, Kirk having a mental age of eight and Chesney confined to a wheelchair. Chesney tells her it’ll never work but is staggered to find they are in the finals which are being judged as part of a seven-night, all expenses paid holiday in Sun City. He tries to stand his ground and not take part in a deception, emailing Fiz Brown to tell her that it’s all a con and he wished he’d never come. He spends the holiday in a sulk but does play his part when interviewed by host Alfie Vlok but he tells Cilla that he is laying down a condition- she must return to Weatherfield after the competition because he wants his family round him again. Touched, she agrees.
The competition begins. There are three families in the final and they are introduced on stage with Cilla recounting a story of how Chesney was disabled following a freak earthquake back in Weatherfield. She isn’t fazed by the Jones family and their prolific family of eleven adopted boys but the perfect Teal family, who have arrived after a 1000km across Namibian desert in aid of Leukaemia research, give her cause for concern. Chesney is taken though with the Teal’s teenage daughter, Ellie. Alfie wonders where “Sister Fiona” is and tells Cilla that her being there would enhance their chances. Cilla rings Fiz with the news that Chesney has been in an accident.
Cilla is delighted to hear that the Jones family have been disqualified for cheating while Ellie takes an interest in Chesney though he is initially cynical of her motives but she tells him of the pressure she feels being part of a perfect family. Cilla tells Chesney to integrate himself with the Teals and dig out any dirt on them he can and when Fiz arrives she too is inveigled by Chesney into taking part, although she is none-too-pleased to have to wear a nun’s habit…
A talent contest takes place between the Battersbys and the Teals with the “perfect” family easily winning. Cilla gives Chesney a camera to capture anything dodgy the Teals are up to and he quickly records footage showing that Ed Teal is a hard-drinking, bullying, control freak who needs the money to pay for the plastic surgery he forced his wife to undertake.
A two day safari takes place where Chesney sets up Cilla, telling Alfie that her ambition is to swim with crocodiles and he gives her the opportunity to do so. A romance develops between Chesney and Ellie. Kirk has bad luck when all he spots of the wild animals is a chicken and he drags the rest into a bush to see real wildlife, resulting in them getting lost all night. Kirk leads them to safety but Cilla says that they should say that Lesedi saved them to make him look like a heroic father.
Fiz doesn’t take part in the safari, having no interest in wild animals or temperatures that are higher than that she washes her smalls in. Instead she hits the casino, still wearing her nun’s garb, where she meets a security man, Alex with who she begins a holiday romance when he finds out that she has not taken holy orders. He falls for her and asks her to live with him in South Africa permanently. She doesn’t want to leave Chesney to Cilla’s wiles and suggests that Alex come home with her but he tells he can’t as he went AWOL from the army and could face a prison sentence if he applied for a passport and the authorities traced him.
Back at Sun City, Chesney shows Cilla the footage he shot of the Teals and she passes the evidence to Alfie. All looks set for the Battersbys to win but Chesney overhears Cilla telling Les that she has no intention of returning home and realises that all her promises have been lies. At the prize ceremony the Battersbys win but Chesney is disgusted and stands up out of his chair to show that their claims are lies. They are disqualified and, rather than give the competition to the Teals, the prize is withdrawn.
Cilla leaves Les and the resort but Alfie goes after her, for reasons of his own. Pamela Teal starts divorce proceedings while Ellie tells Chesney that he’s a big a liar as his mother. Fiz and Alex say a sad goodbye to each other. Alfie makes a celebrity of Cilla on television, billing her as the “world’s worst mother”.
- Cilla Battersby - Wendi Peters
- Fiz Brown - Jennie McAlpine
- Chesney Battersby-Brown - Sam Aston
- Kirk Sutherland - Andrew Whyment
- Becky Granger - Katherine Kelly
- Tina McIntyre - Michelle Keegan
- Sophie Webster - Brooke Vincent
- Lesedi 'Les' Mushapamwe - Momelezi Ntshiba
- Alfie Vlok - Tim Plewman
- Rick - Sibusiso Mamba
- Pamela Teal - Kate Normington
- Ed Teal - Langley Kirkwood
- Ellie Teal - Lise Marie Richardson
- Alex - Theo Landey
- Eric - John Lata
- Croupier - Mongi Mthombeni
- Receptionist - Dorette Potgieter
- Nuisance Gambler - Darren Maule
- Devon Jones - Anton Dekker
- Tashni Jones - Nancy Austin
- The idea of the story came from Assistant Producer of Coronation Street Gavin Blyth who considered other parts of the world, including the United States of America, for the setting before settling on South Africa and passing the project on to Joe Turner and Mark Wadlow to write the script. Blyth was producer of the film.
- A minimal crew of five people - Blyth, Foster, Andy Hibbert the Director of Photography, publicist Laura Graham and line producer Josh Dynevor flew out from Manchester as the majority - and all of the guest cast - were sourced in South Africa, together with all of the equipment used. Blyth commented at the time, "We have several productions working in this area at the moment with Wild at Heart and Prisoner, and it really meant that we could tap into their experience, and this would save us a lot of time, short cuts and legwork on the ground, particularly working with the production company Out of Africa, as this has meant that any questions we had would be answered very quickly and simply because of their knowledge of the area."
- Principal filming, using High Definition cameras, took place over fifteen days in July and August 2008 and the main locations were Sun City for ten days, Lanseria Airport and the Glen Afric Lodge close to Hartbeespoort dam (known more commonly as "Brookers"), owned by John and Jenny Brooker which is a game reserve set up in the 1980s and which meant that the animals could be brought before the cameras rather than the crew having to search for them for shots.
- The music was provided by Mark Russell and the end credits - a series of "blooper" shots - were played over the song "Playboy Money", performed by Andy Chandler and written and produced by Chandler and Lewis Allen.
- The movie was given a premiere on 4th November 2008 at the Odeon Cinema, The Printworks in Manchester followed by a party at the Tiger Tiger nightspot. As well as the cast of the production, cast members of the main programme, past and present, attended as well as assorted "celebrities".
- Cilla was credited as Cilla Battersby, rather than the full "Cilla-Battersby-Brown" which had been her final credited name in Coronation Street.
- The DVD release includes features of "The Return of Cilla", "Filming in Africa" and "The Making of".
- A Region 1 release was issued in North America by E1 Entertainment in November 2009.
Cilla Battersby: "Three months ago, I was ‘humble cocktail waitress in Vegas. Oh, don’t get wrong - I were damned good at me job. So good, they named a cocktail after me!"
Kirk Sutherland: "No way!"
Cilla Battersby: "Yeah!"
Cilla is then shown serving drinks in a flashback shot.
Cilla Battersby: "One Margarita, one Singapore sling and a Poisonous Evil Witch!"