They won’t be building a walk of fame any time soon, but Altrincham has acted as location for more than its fair share of casts and crew.
Here Laura Hudspeth selects her favourite seven…
Everyone can tell you where they were on that fateful day when the British-American series filmed in Hale Barns – mostly because they were all in the same traffic jam as filming held up rush hour on Hale Road.
But we forgive and forget, given that this gritty 10-part series is loosely based on the very cool 2000 Guy Ritchie film of the same name.
With a whole new cast including Harry Potter star Rupert Grint, the bad news was this meant there was no chance of seeing Brad Pitt propping up the bar in the Bulls Head. The good news was this meant there was no chance of seeing Vinnie Jones propping up the bar in the Bulls Head.
Given that nearly all residents live, work and socialise on the same street, you’d be forgiven for thinking that there was an invisible electric fence, keeping them confined to those infamous cobbles.
However, it is on occasion that the nation’s sweetheart of the soap world ventures out and about, and last year paid a visit to our very own Cresta Court Hotel in Altrincham.
Scenes saw Bethany (Lucy Fallon), Gary (Mikey North) and Sarah (Tina O’Brien) play out a classic French farce narrative, as daughter made a move on mother’s boyfriend. It’s not a spoiler some months down the line to say that awkward scenes ensued at the Cresta. Nowt good comes of leaving those cobbles, I tell thee.
The series with two lifespans returned to our screens again last year with a trip to the Swan with Two Nicks, in Little Bollington. Cycling in the steps of many, the episode saw characters Adam (James Nesbitt), David (Robert Bathurst) and Pete (John Thomson) break up a bike ride with a trip to our favourite county inn with the oft-misquoted name.
Because the Swan with Two Necks makes much more sense, I mean just imagine the picture on the pub sign – disturbing. Not for the first time has the ITV favourite chosen to set up in the area. Whilst Didsbury became synonymous with the series in the 2000s, Bowdon also played its part, providing the location of Karen (Hermione Norris) and David’s less than harmonious marital home.
Peter Kay’s Car Share
The nostalgia-loving woman’s (and man’s – let us not discriminate) crumpet, Peter Kay took his special brand of comedy out on the road with this, his first sitcom for the BBC.
Set around a company car share scheme, scenes saw Kay’s supermarket assistant manager, John, with promotions rep Kayleigh (Sian Gibson) driving round and about Altrincham. Set to a memorable soundtrack provided by ‘Forever AM’, eagle-eyed viewers will have spotted locations such as John Leigh Park, Oldfield Road and even the local Halfords getting a look in. I was going to be highly original and shoe-horn garlic bread in here somewhere but I can’t. And so I shan’t.
Last Tango in Halifax
Crossing the Pennines, this charming ITV drama took a trip to our equally charming Altrincham Little Theatre for last year’s Christmas Special two-parter. Doubling up as home to the ‘Halifax Players’, viewers saw Celia (Anne Reid) appear there in an am-dram production of Blithe Spirit.
Mind you, the cast and crew are no strangers to the area, with the Harrogate set home of Sarah Lancashire’s character, Caroline, actually filmed at a beautiful eight-bedroomed house in Altrincham.
In fact some viewers were aghast when the character moved home in the same festive episodes, mourning the loss of scenes at the house; some describing them as ‘property porn’. Often spending hours with my nose pressed up against the windows of local estate agents, I can relate…
New Netflix drama Safe, starring Dexter star Michael C Hall, was filmed over the course of seven months last year. Hale and Altrincham feature heavily in the eight-part drama, about wealthy families living seemingly perfect lives in a gated community.
Hall plays the part of widowed surgeon Tom Delaney and can be seen running down Ashley Road in the opening episode. Other Altrincham locations – doubling for somewhere in “middle England” – include Hale Railway Station, The Con Club and Altrincham Grammar.
Last and certainly not least is Channel 4’s Shameless. If Corrie is the nation’s sweetheart, Shameless was the nation’s nightmare.
A very funny and enjoyable nightmare but one that came with an ASBO and a tag. As brazen and bolshy as their musical mancunian namesakes, the Gallaghers took the nation by storm, headed up by David Threlfall’s pathetic patriarch, Frank. And so it was series 7 that brought the cast and crew to Timperley, shooting scenes at the local library, where Frank’s new love interest Libby the librarian (Pauline McLynn) could be found amongst the books.
Whilst filming brought much excitement to the locals of Timperley, there will only ever be one Frank who rules supreme on that patch, and that’s one Mr Sidebottom. Now scatter…