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20 Nov 2020 - 4 minutes

Seven films and TV shows that you didn’t know were shot in Manchester

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Manchester has been home to hundreds of productions over the years, from hit Netflix dramas and massive Hollywood blockbusters, to iconic British sitcoms and even soup adverts (one of which features our very own AXIS, check it out here!)

Some show the city in all its glory, others use the varied architectural styles and historic buildings as an opportunity to transform it into other cities and different periods of time.

Take a look below at how Manchester has been used in some of our favourite film and TV shows over the years.

The Crown

The highly-anticipated fourth season of The Crown, one of Netflix’s biggest high-budget dramas, was released early this month to rave reviews. Many were blown away by the performance of newcomer Emma Corrin in the role of Princess Diana. The final episode of the season, ‘War,’ retells the story of Diana’s solo trip to New York in 1989.

Manchester's Northern Quarter is transformed into downtown New York, complete with police cars, yellow cabs and subway signs to film scenes for The Crown season four

Rather than flying the cast and crew all the way across the pond to shoot these scenes, the production team chose Manchester to fill in as the Big Apple. Back in February, the Northern Quarter was completely transformed into downtown NYC. To replicate such a well-recognised city, full shop fronts were transformed into American diners, yellow taxis cabs clogged the streets and hundreds of extras were kitted out in 80s New York fashion.

Emma Corrin, who plays Princess Diana in season four of The Crown, can be seen sheltering underneath an umbrella between takes as they film scenes in Manchester's Northern Quarter

Cold Feet

The iconic British sitcom, Cold Feet, was filmed throughout Manchester and its surrounding areas. The shooting of the latest season primarily took place around Bowden and Didsbury. The gang can often be seen visiting their local pub, the Woodstock Arms on Barlow Moor Road.

The cast of Cold Feet can be seen wrapped in coats and holding umbrellas in a rainy Manchester

The Stranger

The Stranger was a massive Netflix hit across the world, brought together by author Harlan Coben and Manchester-based production agency Red Productions. The show is based on a man whose perfect life is thrown upside down when a stranger comes to town and shares a secret about his wife. Many areas of Manchester are used and can be seen in the show, including the beautiful £1.5m main house in Didsbury, a café just outside the Cathedral, the Central Library's archways, Spinningfields and Ancoats Coffee Co.

Richard Armitage and Dervla Kirwan in a scene from Netflix's The Stranger, shot in a garden in Didsbury, Manchester

Captain America: The First Avenger

The Crown hasn’t been the only production to transform the Northern Quarter into New York. Ten years earlier, scenes for Captain America: The First Avenger were shot in and around the area. Starting at Dale Street, the production crew took advantage of the pre-war architecture that the area is famous for. The scenes in question took place during the 1940s and involved a high-speed car chase, culminating in a dramatic explosion.

Hayley Atwell who plays Agent Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, points a gun as a car explodes behind her

Peaky Blinders

This hit BBC drama follows the Shelby gangster family, aka the Peaky Blinders, as they rule the streets of Birmingham. And while some of the production is filmed nearby at the Black Country Living Museum, most is filmed further north in cities such as Bradford, Liverpool and yes, you’ve guessed it – Manchester.

The cast and crew took over Mersey Square in Stockport to film one of the biggest scenes of the latest season. The theatre and cinema transformed into Bingley Hall, the setting for a large rally held by Sam Claflin’s Oswald Mosely. Other recognisable locations shot in and around the city include the Victoria Baths, Harter Street and Princess Street.

A crane can be seen preparing a set of season five of Peaky Blinders. Crews are transforming Stockport theatre and cinema into Bingley Hall

Life On Mars

The BBC series follows John Simms’ character, Sam Tyler, as he travels back in time to the 1970s. It is both set and shot in and around Manchester. Surrounded by many nods to Manchester's past – such as cotton mills and industrial scenes – prominent filming locations across the two series include Ancoats, the Northern Quarter, streets in Gorton, Ardwick, Bolton, Rochdale, Miles Platting and Stockport Council offices.

A promotional image of John Simm as Sam Tyler in Life on Mars

Fresh Meat

The brainchild of Peep Show creators Jesse Armstrong and Sam Brian, the Channel 4 sitcom Fresh Meat follows a group of misfits in their first year at university in Manchester.

Some location scenes are filmed on the campus of Manchester Metropolitan University, including scenes set within the students' union. Scenes where Jack Whitehall and the gang are at the pub are filmed at the King's Arms in Salford. Many exterior shots were filmed at the University of Manchester’s main Oxford Road campus, particularly outside the library. The iconic Fresh Meat house at 28 Hartnell Avenue is a real house located at 28 Mayfield Road in Whalley Range.

The cast of Fresh Meat, including Jack Whitehall and Kimberley Nixon, shoot scenes for the final season in Manchester
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