The Best Manchester Films and TV Shows to Stream this Winter
We've put together a list of films and TV series shot in the city to keep you company through the final winter hurdles.
By Emma Davidson | Last updated February 1st '22
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The afternoons are still dark and it's going to get even colder over the next couple of weeks (or so Micheal Fish says) - so why not explore our city without leaving your warm, comfy sofa? There's some truly outstanding movies and TV shows here, so get binging and enjoy... Peaky Blinders Heart-throb Tommy Shelby and co will be returning to our screens VERY soon. I’ve started to develop separation anxiety, it’s been that long. Last year, the cast and crew were spotted filming around the city again, transforming Castlefield into 1930s England ready for their fisticuffs. The new series is set to grace our screens the earlier part of this year, but, if you need a recap in the meantime, you can watch every single episode on Netflix or BBC iPlayer right now. Available on Netflix & BBC iPlayer The Crown The Crown has been a massive hit since it graced our TVs back in 2016, providing a glimpse into the life of the royal family, with names such as Olivia Coleman and Helena Bonham Carter making an appearance in the series. The show chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern day, and many of the scenes were filmed in our beloved bustling streets! A set was made in the heart of the Northern Quarter, as well as in the iconic John Rylands Library and the Free Trade Hall. Available on Netflix Stay Close Don’t know about you, but brand-new Netflix series Stay Close has had us GRIPPED. Based on the 2012 Harlan Coben novel, Stay Close documents the events that occur when the lives of a photojournalist, a soccer mom and a homicide detective are disturbed by a terrible event from the past. Many of the locations you’ll see in the series will be familiar, from a hen party set in The Refuge, to the Victorian mansions of Didsbury. Available on Netflix Fresh Meat Manchester is so full of students, there’s even a TV Series about the lazy scumbags set in the city! Fresh Meat ran from 2011 until 2016 and you can find every single episode up on Netflix right now. Featuring Jack Whitehall, Zawe Ashton, Charlotte Ritchie, Greg McHugh and Joe Thomas, the show is set in Manchester, with some of the scenes filmed inside the Man Met campus, as well as the famous Salford boozer, The King’s Arms. Available on All 4 & Netflix Supersonic The very Manc of story of the very Manc bushy eyebrowed brothers, Liam and Noel Gallagher is currently streaming on Netflix. Supersonic is an exploration of Oasis’ chaotically creative career, from the early days of Maine Road, to headlining Glastonbury and their final farewell. The thick Manchester accents will have you feeling right at home, and I’m sure you’ll recognise some of the locations, too. Available on Netflix Cracker Cracker ran from 1993 to 1996 and follows the life of Dr Eddie ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald as he aids Manchester’s coppers in profiling and catching notorious criminals. A fairly antisocial character, Fitz is a deeply flawed but thorough psychologist, a bit like a Northern Sherlock, and Robbie Coltrane AKA Hagrid from Harry Potter plays him marvellously. It was predominantly filmed in south Manchester around Didsbury and the Longsight police station, as well as Old Trafford and Salford University. You can stream all 3 series on ITV Hub Peterloo An epic portrayal of the events surrounding the infamous 1819 Peterloo Massacre in Manchester’s St Peter’s Square, Peterloo is available to stream right now on Amazon Prime. 15 people died after a peaceful pro-democracy protest turned into a violent attack from British Forces, subsequently leading to a crackdown on reform, as the government feared that the country was heading towards armed rebellion. The outcry led to the founding of the Manchester Guardian and played a significant role in the passage through Parliament of the Great Reform Act 13 years later! Available on Amazon Prime Life on Mars Possibly the best detective drama to ever grace our screens, the whole Life on Mars series was set and filmed in the city, and every single episode is available to stream on BBC iPlayer. Featuring John Simm and Philip Glenister as Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt, the drama follows Sam after he is hit by a car and wakes up in 1970s Manchester, forced to work within a team of police an archaic work ethic. Throughout the series, the plot is based on the ambiguity of Tyler's predicament and the lack of clarity, to both the audience and the character, whether he has died, become comatose or time travelled. Available on BBC iPlayer First Dates Channel 4 fictional favourite, First Dates has only recently moved locations, setting up its love shack in the heart of Spinningfields. The series is a heartwarming fly on the wall look at the awkwardness of a first date, who should pay the bill and whether or not it’s alright to snog the face off a person you’ve only known for 3 hours. The innocence of the programme makes great hangover telly, and most episodes are available to watch for free on All 4. Available on All 4 It’s a Sin Russel T Davies’ outstanding TV series, which focuses on the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 90s is available to watch on All 4. This incredibly moving show follows the lives of a young group of friends, predominantly gay men, at university, right in the middle of the AIDS epidemic. It highlights the ignorance and homophobia of police, journalists and medical staff at the time in heartbreaking, sometimes harrowing scenes, put together by an expert cast including Olly Alexander, Nathaniel Curtis and Callum Scott Howells. Available on All 4 The Royle Family A classic bit of Northern telly, The Royle Family has always been a bit of a Christmas eve tradition for me. Written by some of the North West’s best comedians, including Caroline Aherne, Craig Cash and Ricky Tomlinson, the series follows the lives of a TV obsessed Manchester family. Potentially one of the earliest takes on a Gogglebox-esque TV show, The Royle Family is an absolute must watch for anyone with a lazy Northern family. That’s all of us then?! Available on BBC iPlayer Captain America: The First Avenger The bit in the first Captain America when he goes to Brooklyn as a weedy little sod and comes back as a superhero is really exciting, involving a fast-paced chase through the streets featuring explosions, screaming and lots of big bulging muscles. There’s one big distraction though – the Brooklyn depicted in the background of many of the shots is in fact Dale Street in the Northern Quarter, complete with fake shop fronts, the exterior of Boo Hoo and some Manchester street sludge. Available on Disney+ Shameless Frank Gallagher is a bit of an icon around these parts, in’t he? The main protagonist and head of the memorable Gallagher clan, Shameless follows the lives of the working-class family and Frank’s battle with booze. You’ll find all of the episodes on All 4 and you’ll recognise many of locations, too, as the show was filmed right across Greater Manchester! Available on All 4 Queer as Folk Another Russel T Davies queer classic, Queer as Folk made its debit back in 1999. The series follows the lives of three gay friends living in Manchester, and is set mainly around Canal Street. The show was a groundbreaking piece of queer television, giving viewers a glimpse into the queer party scene of the city and the difficulties surrounding sexuality. All episodes are free to stream on All 4! Available on All 4 Deep in Vogue Released back in 2020, Deep In Vogue celebrates the colourful, queer, emotional and political stories of Northern Vogue and its people. Synonymous with the black, gay ballrooms of 1980s New York, this documentary asks why we need Vogue in the UK now more than ever. It’s available to stream on BBC iPlayer, and it’s a gorgeous celebration of some of the city’s most creative and talented dancers. Available on BBC iPlayer Years & Years Riveting dystopian TV from Russel T Davies, Years & Years explores the story of a relatively normal British family contending with the hopes, anxieties and joys of an uncertain future. The six-part limited series begins in 2019 and propels the characters 15 years forward into an unstable world. The Britain of this imaginary drama is rocked by political, economic and technological advances and the family experiences everything hoped for in the future, juxtaposed by everything that is feared. Available on BBC iPlayer Control Directed by Dutch Photographer and Film Director, Anton Corbjin, Control offers an artistic look into the life of troubled Joy Division frontman, Ian Curtis. The film, streaming on Prime, explores his early life and how the band got to forming at no other than Manchester’s Free Trade Hall, as well as his difficult time with stardom and epilepsy. The film is a stunning watch, and the black and white filter gives it even more grit, synonymous with post industrial 80s Manchester. Available on Amazon Prime The Stranger Another one of Harlen Coben’s novels, The Stranger is a thriller that follows family man, Adam Price as he uncovers a web of dark secrets and tries to solve the mysteries surrounding those close to him. Predominantly using Stockport as its main stomping ground, the show also has scenes set in Ancoats and Eccles. Apparently Harlan Coben has totally fell in love with the city, so if another one of his books is turned into a film, he’ll know where to find us. Available on Netflix 24 Hour Party People A celebration of Manchester’s iconic music scene, 24 hour party people provides a documentary-style glimpse into the life of Tony Wilson and Factory Records. The place had a grip on the bands of the time, too, and they're not forgotten about in this biopic, with Joy Division, Happy Mondays and New Order all making an appearance. Steven Coogan has Tony Wilson’s mannerisms down to a T, and there’s a whole load of other Northern actors that make an appearance, too. You’ll also spot the real Rowetta from Happy Mondays in some of the scenes! You can stream this on Amazon Prime. Available on Amazon Prime Safe This one isn’t based on a Harlan Coben book, but it was created by the novelist and written by Danny Brocklehurst. The story centres around widowed surgeon Tom who has struggled to raise his two daughters alone following his wife's death a year ago. Things seem to be on the right track for the family, but the situation takes a turn for the worse when Jenny, Tom's oldest daughter, goes missing along with her boyfriend. Tom enlists girlfriend Sophie, a police detective, to help locate the teens, but her new partner is working on her own agenda. As the investigation intensifies, Tom unearths dark secrets about the people closest to him in his affluent neighbourhood. It’s filmed in places including Hale, Altrincham and various places around the city centre. Available on Netflix 28 Days Later Last but not least, 28 Days Later is another film with a fair few Manchester locations. Directed by Danny Boyle, it’s an exploration of post apocalyptic Britain, depicting the breakdown of society following a pandemic caused by the accidental release of a highly contagious, rage-inducing virus. The film focuses upon the struggle of four survivors (Murphy, Harris, Burns and Gleeson) and how they cope with the destruction of the life they once knew while evading those infected by the virus. Sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it? Maybe old Boris could’ve got a few tips off this lot. Their journey takes them to Manchester at one point in the film, and you’ll be able to spot a few familiar places. Available on Disney+