Monday 9 October 2017

The NorthWest UK On Location

Brookside was filmed on a housing estate in Liverpool, I visited as a 14 year old. You could get as far as the end of the road without being on a pre-booked tour and as he left I managed a close sighting of Barry Grant (or Paul Usher as his Mum calls him). That was enough to please my teenage self. A real-live TV person in the flesh. Brookside and Neighbours were really the only things I really watched regularly and I was unlikely to spot anyone from Neighbours any time soon.

I'm contacted to work on some unusual collaborations sometimes and aside from my encounter with Brookside Close, being asked to write about locations for TV and Films in the NW for a #SeenOnTheScreen post had me stumped at first. I don't really watch a lot of TV nowadays and although I watch a ton of movies, I've never paid much attention to where they're actually filmed.

When I moved to Manchester everyone I met at first seemed to watch Coronation Street. I wasn't sure if I was expected to join in, I hadn't expected soaps to be a condition of living up here. Thankfully I've winged it for 10 years, but I've had some close calls. Several times I've spotted someone tanned, with great hair and perfect make up, but aside from knowing they're in a soap, I'm lost. That feels bad. I know someone else could get far more from the encounter. They could have their Barry Grant moment.

It's not only through blogging that my path has crossed with TV actors. Any given day in Manchester you will probably see at least one film crew as you walk around, so much so that most people don't give it a second glance. I've several friends whose children have been on TV, some of them in show after show. Acting is really quite prevalent, so TV locations are everywhere.

The Manchester Evening News was pretty helpful at listing TV Shows and their locations. Manchester TV Shows even have their own Wikipedia Entry. Awesome. And extensive. It seems everything from Brideshead Revisited to Cold Feet, Red Dwarf to Jeremy Kyle has been or still is filmed in Manchester.

Obviously I was aware of the Granada Studios, and when we were up on the rooftop of St John's Hotel a couple of years ago building snowmen for Disney On Ice, we could even see inside over the top of the wall. Coronation Street had already moved by then, over to MediaCity where the BBC and ITV both have large studios.

These are studio locations you can visit on pre-booked tours, but what about the everyday places that you can just walk past? Pretty much the whole of Manchester has been used as a backdrop, from Ancoats for Dragons Den to Didsbury for Cold Feet.

A few years ago Dale Street in the Northern Quarter was turned into New York for Captain America: The First Avenger, but that wasn't anything new, Manchester has played New York quite a few times, including the remake of Alfie starring Jude Law. It does mainly play itself though, and the list of TV Shows and movies made here is massive.

Google is your friend if you want to find out exactly where something was filmed. Use the name of the show and 'location' and you'll usually be rewarded.

My household were big fans of Fresh Meat, and it didn't take long to find out that the University scenes were filmed at the Manchester Metropolitan campus on Oxford Road. Their house was actually a real house in Mayfield Road in Whalley Range. You can check an address by using the Post Office address/postcode finder, but there is a limit each day (heavy or business users need something like the

The Fresh Meat gang have been seen on film enjoying a beverage or two in Canal Street and in St John's Gardens on Byrom Street, but they're usually in the pub. Their pub is the real hostelry The Kings Arms Pub in Salford and it's owned by ex-Housemartin Paul Heaton. I don't know if Fat Boy Slim Norman Cook ever bobs in for a pint or not, but it's an interesting image. I know I'm quite tempted to look up the address for a sneaky peep sometime...

I genuinely had no idea so many of the programmes I have watched and enjoyed were filmed in Manchester, even if they were set here. I can see now why each half term we are bombarded with leaflets about week long children's drama clubs and I'm almost disappointed that only one of ours has ever been interested in acting. We are clearly living in exactly the right place for them to have a great shot at achieving that dream...

Sometimes I accept jobs to put food on my table. This is one of them... I still write it all myself. Actually I quite like these posts because I enjoy writing and I rarely get enough time or justification.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like it has so many great places to visit and see. This is really interesting x


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