Movies and TV shows shot in Cheshire – all the times film crews have descended
Cheshire has been a hotspot over the years for filming due to its rolling hills, stately homes and cobbled streets – the county has them all.
These are just some of the features that make the county a firm favourite with film and TV crews.
Over time the area has been chosen as the backdrop to some of the most classic scenes in film and TV history, and we think it’s about time we revisit the best.
From the structured reality of the Real Housewives of Cheshire to the gritty drama of Peaky Blinders, Cheshire has played host to it all.
Here are some of the TV shows and film shot in the county:
The hit BBC One TV show set in Birmingham in 1919 follows Tommy Shelby, a dangerous man, who leads the Peaky Blinders gang.
The A-List cast of the show has descended on Arley Hall and Gardens on numerous occasions as it is transformed it was into the residence of lead character Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murphy), most recently in January this year.
Back in 2015, the filming of Peaky Blinders at Arley Hall even saw visitor numbers shoot up as fans flocked to see the infamous Thomas Shelby’s home and site of his wedding to Grace Burgess (Annabelle Wallis).
In August of the same year Antiques Roadshow also headed to Arley Hall as experts in antiques and fine art gathered to offer the public their advice.
Back in January 2020, Netflix show The Irregulars, about a group of street urchins who solve crimes while Sherlock Holmes takes all the credit was filmed in Chester.
Programme-makers used the city’s Georgian Abbey Square, in the shadow of the cathedral, as the backdrop for a shoot in September 2020.
Based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the American-made TV crime drama features the Baker Street Irregulars working for Dr Watson saving London from supernatural elements.
Writer Tom Bidwell, who penned the script for BBC1’s recent Watership Down adaptation, has described the programme as ‘my dream project and my oldest idea’ and takes a different view of Holmes and his relationship to the Irregulars.
The Irregulars has also been filmed in Liverpool, near Stoke-on-Trent and Dorfold Hall in Nantwich.
BBC One drama, Our Zoo was first broadcast in September 2014.
The six-part series, written by Matt Charman and directed by Andy De Emmony, is about George Mottershead and his dreams of creating a cage-free zoo, his family and how their lives changed when they embarked on the creation of Chester Zoo.
Arley Hall and Gardens, Walton Hall and Great Budworth village was used as a filming location for the mini-series.
The War of the Worlds
Peter Harness’ adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic sci-fi novel is set to hit our screens on BBC One later this year having begun filming in April 2018.
One of the locations the team visited recently was Cheshire’s Delamere Forest, where Rafe Spall was spotted dressed as lead character George among extras donning World War Two military uniforms.
Delamere Forest will provide the backdrop for some dramatic alien attack scenes in the three-part adaptation.
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
The 1995 BBC television series of Pride and Prejudice favoured three different locations for Darcy’s Pemberley Estate, with shots of the exterior completed at Lyme Park in Disley.
The famous ‘lake scene’ that sees Mr Darcy, played by Colin Firth, emerge fully clothed from Pemberley’s lake was filmed at Lyme Park.
It was not part of the original story, however the scene secured Colin Firth status as a sex symbol for many and made Lyme Park one of television’s most recognisable backdrops.
Two Pints of Lager and Packet of Crisps
Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps ran from February, 2001 to May, 2011 first broadcast on BBC Two.
It starred Ralf Little, Will Mellor, Natalie Casey, Sheridan Smith, Kathryn Drysdale, and Luke Gell and was created and written by Susan Nickson and set in her hometown of Runcorn and revolved around the lives of five twentysomethings in the noughties.
The soon-to-be demolished Fiddler’s Ferry power station was also in the opening credits.
ITV’s 1940s detective drama has made use of Cheshire’s idyllic locations a few times for filming.
In April 2014 cast and crew of Foyle’s War descended on the village of Tattenhall and the nearby village of Church Bank to shoot scenes for the post-war era series that sees DCS Foyle (Michael Kitchen) on the hunt for the culprits of various crimes – everything from murder to profiteering.
Members of the cast also filmed scenes on Albion Street and Steele Street in Chester, with residents hoping their family pets might make it as extras.
Northwich was one of the locations of choice for the creators of ITV thriller Paranoid.
Cast and crew of the series filmed in the area in 2016 for the show that follows the murder of a female GP.
The thriller, starring Robert Glenister and Indira Varma (Game of Thrones), aired in September 2016 and was also streamed on Netflix.
Residents were out spotting stars in March this year when Sky TV series Curfew was being filmed in Crewe town centre.
Sean Bean (Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones), Adrian Lester (Hustle, The Day After Tomorrow) and Robert Glenister (Hustle, Spooks) were just some of the stars seen filming on location.
Spots used for the street racing drama include Crewe bus station and Charles Street.
The eight episode series, which has recently added The OC star Adam Brody to its cast, is due to hit screens next year on Sky One and Now TV.
The makers of Channel 4’s period drama, The Mill, were so inspired by Quarry Bank Mill in Styal that they chose to create a whole two series around its history and the people that worked there.
The 10 part show spanned from 2013 – 2014 and starred Donald Sumpter (Doctor Who, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Barbara Marten (Eastenders, The Bill) and Jamie Draven (Billy Elliot).
It’s not surprising that the show’s directors were inspired by the Grade II listed building as it’s one of the best preserved industrial textile mills in the UK.
A large portion of the film biography of Stretford-born Ian Curtis, of the band Joy Division was shot in Macclesfield where Curtis lived for many years and even includes his gravestone which can be found at Macclesfield Cemetery.
The film is based on the book Touching From A Distance written by Curtis’s wife Deborah and documents their life together, as well as the formation of Joy Division.
In 2014 Corrie’s Tracy Barlow was set to wed partner in crime Rob Donovan in a wedding that would make soap history.
Tracy’s brawl with Carla Connor and Rob’s confession to murdering Tina McIntyre was all set against the backdrop of Siddleton’s Capesthorne Hall.
The entire cast of the ITV soap was present for the big day, which didn’t actually see them tie the knot.
The 2018 Netflix series follows a widowed surgeon who unearths dark secrets about the people closest to him after his teenage daughter goes missing.
It starts Michael C. Hal (Dexter, The Crown) Amanda Abbington (Mr Selfridge, Sherlock Holmes) and Marc Warren (Mad Dogs, Snatch).
The Marshall’s family house with a swimming pool is located at Stockton Heath in Warrington.
The Real Housewives of Cheshire
It’s impossible to talk about filming locations in Cheshire without mentioning the ITVBe reality series that sees the WAGs and businesswomen of Cheshire go about their daily lives – complete with glitz, glamour and feuds.
Some of the most frequently used areas where filming takes place include Hale Barns, where previous star Ampika Pickston’s beauty salon, Opium, can be found, Wilmslow, the location of star Tanya Bardsley’s boutique and Alderley Edge, where the women are often seen out socialising in some of the bars and restaurants including The Bubble Room, Gusto and Alchemist.
Spike Island is a 2012 British comedy film, directed by Mat Whitecross and written by Chris Coghill.
The film is based on The Stone Roses’ seminal gig on Spike Island in Widnes, where a lot of the film was shot.
It follows the story of a group of friends who idolise the band and try to get into the gig, but are faced with problems because they do not have a ticket or a way to get there.
The movie stars Elliott Tittensor (Shameless) and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones).
Mrs Biggs is a 2012 British television series based on the true story of the wife of the Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs.
The series covers Mrs Charmian Biggs’ journey from naïve young woman to Biggs’ wife and the mother of three young sons. Money worries force her husband to ask for a loan from Bruce Reynolds, planner of the most famous crime in British history, the Great Train Robbery of August 1963.
The aftermath of the train robbery and Biggs subsequent escape from prison leads to a life of flight for Charmian and her children as she tries to keep the family together.
Charmian Biggs is played by Sheridan Smith; Ronnie Biggs is played by Daniel Mays.
The series was written by Jeff Pope, in co-operation with the real Charmian Biggs. Smith’s performance as Charmian received widespread critical acclaim, and she ultimately won the 2013 BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress.
Part of the programme was filmed near Lower Peover Primary School in Knutsford.
The Ipcress File
Most recently, filming for a remake of the iconic novel The Ipcress File took place on Saturday, March 6 in Burton.
The Ipcress File, a popular Len Deighton novel, is being adapted into a six part TV series for ITV.
The series is written by BAFTA winner John Hodge, directed by Emmy Winner James Watkins and starring Joe Cole, Lucy Boynton and Tom Hollander.
The series, which will consist of six 60 minute episodes, is an ‘espionage thriller’ set in Berlin and London during the 1960s.
Following the announcement in December 2020 that the series had been commissioned, ITV’s Head of Drama Polly Hill said: “I’m thrilled to be bringing John Hodge’s brilliant adaptation of such an iconic novel to ITV.
“Harry Palmer is an incredible part and this would have been impossible without the right actor, so we are all delighted that Joe Cole will take on the role.
“The talent on and off screen means this will be a treat for audiences when it comes to ITV.”
A movie adaptation was released in 1963 directed by Sidney J. Furie and starring Michael Caine.
The series marks the first major production for Altitude Television, part of the larger Altitude independent British media group.
The group is behind notable releases such as Amy, Moonlight, Diego Maradona, Calm With Horses, Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten Romans, and Rocks.
The series will be produced in association with ITV Studios.
The Ipcress File was Len Deighton’s first spy novel introducing the iconic British spy Harry Palmer and set against the backdrop of Cold War Europe.
To date the novel has sold 10 million copies worldwide since it was first published in 1962.
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