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Manchester on film

Check out 20 notable examples of Manchester at the movies and on the telly.

National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Manchester is a beautiful city, as we all know. Its buildings, canals and nearby countryside all add up to a fantastic location for films and TV shows. So, whether made here or about here, we bring you 20 examples of films and television programmes filmed in Manchester.


Who would have believed that an epic about the birth of Soviet Communism, directed by and starring Warren Beatty, would film some of its key scenes right here in Manchesterford, where parts of the city stood in for New York at the turn of the century. 'Reds' is a hugely impressive film, co-written by Beatty with Mancunian Trevor Griffiths and co-stars Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson. If it's ever on TV, Rusholme to see it...

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Sherlock Holmes

Manchester Town Hall provides some stunning backdrops, passing as the Victorian streets of London town in this Guy Ritchie romp which starred Robert Downey Jnr and Jude Law, someone who crops up later on in this list. Much excitement abounded in the city when this was being filmed...

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The Iron Lady

When Manchester Town Hall was doubling as the Houses of Parliament for this film, there was also a wedding taking place. The film crew had been told to keep the noise down and not disrupt the celebrations. Following the ceremony, when the bride and groom took their seats for the wedding breakfast, a handwritten card had been left with a bottle of champagne, signed with love from Meryl Streep. Iron? Sugar and spice and all things nice, we say.

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24 Hour Party People

Michael Winterbottom's take on 'Madchester' with Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson. They managed to film inside the old Hacienda just before it was turned into flats, and in capturing those hedonistic days, it's pretty near faultless.

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Captain America: The First Avenger

Just behind Piccadilly, where it isn't quite but is almost the Northern Quarter, hunky Chris Evans ran up and down our streets in tight spandex for a couple of weeks back in 2010, filming scenes for the action adventure which would be released a year later. When you watch the film now you can't help but notice how he's running down a Manchester street only to turn the corner onto Albert Dock, Liverpool... Amazing!

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Queer as Folk

Queer as Folk

Iconic. Ground breaking. A game changer. Clichés all. And yet, each applies to this still astonishing TV drama, shot in part in and around Canal Street. It's hard to underestimate the impact it had, not only on the LGBT community, but on how Manchester came to be viewed as a city where difference was not tolerated, it was celebrated. Quite something for a show nobody expected to work.

The Royle Family

Surely one of the greatest TV shows ever. Caroline Aherne's glorious, beautifully observed, gentle comedy, a peeping eye over the strange ways of a Northern family, is Mancunian through and through. And yet it manages a universal charm which has the power to leave you in tears. Quite wonderful.

Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice

Remember when Colin Firth emerged from that lake, dripping wet, and the nation's hearts missed a beat? Lyme Hall and Park were the backdrop, helping to make this one of the most memorable of TV romances.

East Is East

Set in Salford in 1971, 'East Is East' has become a firm comedy favourite, still managing to say a thing or two about some difficult racial attitudes on all sides. Filmed partly in Openshaw.

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Raining Stones

A Ken Loach comedy drama about a man's desire to get a communion dress for his daughter, depsite having no job and no income, was largely filmed in Middleton back in 1993.

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One of the first films to exploit the beauty of our Town Hall was this steamy drama starring Jeremy irons and Juliette Binoche, in which a Tory MP has his career and reputation damaged by an affair with a younger woman.

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For this poorly recieved remake of the Michael Caine classic, Dr Watson himself, Jude Law, once again found himself on the streets of Manchester, where parts of the Northern Quarter looked unconvincingly like NYC. This was plowing a fallow field from the off.

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A Taste of Honey

Feeling nostalgic for the Lowry-esque billowing factory chimneys and cobbled streets of yester-year? Then look no further than this fine adpatation of the ground-breaking play by Shelagh Delaney, for which we can also give thanks for a hundred Morrissey lines as well. Grim up north? Not arf.

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Billy Liar

John Schlesinger’s quick-fire satire of post-war British values starred Tom Courtney and Julie Christie and was filmed in part within Greater Manchester. Its story of a young man who longs for escape, but who allows his imagination to take over, is still a touching one.

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The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue

Made in '74, filmed in the Lake District and also known as 'Let Sleeping Corpses Lie', this gory horror remains absolutely terrifying to this day. It makes England look like the most gloomy place on earth....

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Second Coming

What would happen if Christ did come back? And what if he came back as a Mancunian? Russell T Davies' unexpected drama culminated in miracles at Man City football ground (and that doesn't happen very often!) with Christopher Eccleston as a very Mancy Christ.


Joy Division and the legacy of Ian Curtis live on not only in the band's recordings but in the beauty of this black and white film, made by photographer Anton Corbijn. Absolutely a Manchester story.

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Hell Is A City

And that city is Manchester! A jewel thief is pursued by the Manchester police which culminates in a spectacular chase across the rooftop of what is now the Palace Hotel on Oxford Road. This is a film to watch when you want to see what the city centre used to look like.

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Hobson's Choice

Set in the 1890s, this adaptation of Harold Brighouse's working class comedy, a favourite rep company standby since it was first performed in 1916, sees Laughton's tyrannical Lancashire bootmaker brought to heel when his plain-speaking daughter (de Banzie) marries his downtrodden, simple-minded employee (Mills) and sets up a competitive business. It could so easily have been a load of old cobblers; but Lean's sharp direction and impeccable performances from the cast transform a slight comedy into a timeless delight.

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Coronation Street

Corrie. What else is there to say?