Red Rose: The BBC's Terrifying New Horror series set in Bolton & Manchester

This week saw the long-awaited release of the BBC's brand-new horror series, primarily set in Bolton...

By Ben Brown | 16 August 2022

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There’s a moment in Red Rose, the BBC’s new horror series, where some of the main characters, kids who have just finished their GCSEs, bump into ‘The Twins’, two troublemaking girls, and a bit of a scuffle occurs.

This all happens right outside Ye Olde Man & Scythe on Churchgate in the centre of Bolton, which, incidentally is often considered to be the most haunted site in the whole of Greater Manchester. The inclusion of the pub is not a coincidence.

You see, the series revolves around the group of happy teenagers who become haunted by an app (yes, it sounds silly), which has the ability to manipulate everything in your phone – and essentially – their entire lives.

It’s obviously a clear allegory to the dangers of social media, online bullying and simply using your phone too much, but it’s done in such as terrifying way that you really won’t be able to stop watching – probably through your fingers.

Set entirely in the centre and suburbs of Bolton, the gang also take a trip on the train into Manchester in one episode, ending up in Castlefield and then exploring the city’s many subterranean tunnels and passageways.

The series comes from the producers of Netflix’s Sex Education but is a much more grounded and true-to-the-North representation of life here. There’s parties on the moors, visits to food banks, games of Guess Who in dimly lit living rooms and free pies at the local offy.

Being set in Bolton was key to writers Micheal and Paul Clarkson who said: ““Bolton was a fascinating place to grow up in and the people are really inspiring. Normally, when you hear northern accents on the TV, they’re working in the kitchens on Downton Abbey or they’re crack addicts on The Bill. We thought ‘why can’t we see real human beings?”

It’s a great show, the scares are aplenty and there’s a real Northern sense of humour that permeates through everything. I binged 4 episodes late last night and can’t wait to watch the rest when I finish doing this.

Red Rose is available on BBC iPlayer right now.