Bolton is the unlikely star in Peaky Blinders and The Ipcress File

The unlikely star of tonight’s two big TV dramas? Bolton! Former mill town is standing in for Birmingham in the BBC’s Peaky Blinders and London for ITV’s spy thriller The Ipcress File

  • The same street appears in bit hit dramas Peaky Blinders and The Ipcress File 
  •  More than 20 shows filmed in the location in Greater Manchester last year alone
  • Other recent shows shot in Bolton include the CBBC drama Dodger with Christopher Eccleston, Channel 4’s Aids drama It’s A Sin and Dundee-set Traces 

America has Hollywood, India has Bollywood, and now Britain has… Bolton.

The former mill town has become such a magnet for film crews that the same street appears in both of the current big-hitting Sunday night dramas, standing in for Birmingham in Peaky Blinders and London in The Ipcress File.

Le Mans Crescent, an impressive sweep of Grade II listed civic buildings from the 1930s, served as the exterior of the fictitious Shelby Sanatorium for Sick Children in the BBC’s period gangster drama, while in ITV’s spy thriller it stood in for Whitehall and the Embankment. 

Bolton  has become a magnet for film crews, standing in for Birmingham in Peaky Blinders

Meanwhile, the former mill town is a stand in for London in The Ipcress File

Bolton again features in tonight’s episode, when its former magistrates’ court will represent Aldermaston police station

And that is just the tip of the Greater Manchester town’s burgeoning celebrity, with more than 20 shows filmed there last year.

Other recent shows shot in Bolton include the CBBC drama Dodger with Christopher Eccleston, Channel 4’s Aids drama It’s A Sin and the Dundee-set crime thriller Traces, starring Martin Compston.

ITV’s No Return, with Sheridan Smith, used the former British Home Stores building for the interiors of a Turkish hotel.

Upcoming dramas featuring Bolton include the final series of Happy Valley starring Sarah Lancashire; detective drama Ridley with Adrian Dunbar; Nottinghamshire-set political thriller Sherwood, with Lesley Manville; and The Reckoning, with Steve Coogan playing sexual predator Jimmy Savile.

More than 20 shows filmed in the location in Greater Manchester last year alone

Other productions have stronger links with the location. The comedy Alma’s Not Normal and the BBC’s new horror series Red Rose were created by Bolton writers. Local playwright Jim Cartwright hailed the town’s ‘accommodating Northern hospitality’ and varied landscapes. ‘You can cut from cobbled streets to canals to rundown townscapes to the historic majesty of the town hall, all compact,’ he said.

David Mason, of Peaky Blinders makers Caryn Mandabach Productions, said Le Mans Crescent ‘has great scale, stands in well for parts of London in the period we cover… and the whole area can be easily closed off’.

And Hilary Fairclough, deputy leader of Bolton Council, added: ‘It’s very exciting to see the town becoming a destination for these people. It is something we are very grateful for.’

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