Following a successful run on Amazon Prime; Victorian crime series ‘Ripper Street’ returns to terrestrial telly this month for a welcomed encore on BBC One.
Familiar faces head back to the blood-stained streets of Whitechapel for the show’s third series, including Matthew Mcfadyen’s Det. Edmund Reed, Jerome Flynn’s Det. Bennet Drake and Adam Rothenberg’s Captain Homer Jackson, with Myanna Buring joining the cast as the mysterious brothel owner Long Susan.
Renowned for filming on location in Dublin, ‘Ripper Street’ also travelled to the English regions to shoot selected scenes. Among the many locations featured, perhaps the most prominent and well recognised is Manchester’s historic Town Hall. ‘Ripper Street’ used the venue to double Thrawl Street and utilized its cobbled square to replicate London’s East End circa the late 1800s. The building was chosen for its period design and broad size, perfect for housing numerous extras and an extensive crew.
Creative England’s Production Services team were on hand to assist the logistics of filming in this well-known and busy area of Manchester, using their expert knowledge to facilitate permissions and road closures. However, this isn’t the first big-budget production to make use of the Town Hall’s amazing architecture. Here’s a few other films that couldn’t get enough of Manchester’s most sought after venue…
The 2009 Guy Richie film ‘Sherlock Holmes’ which starred Robert Downey Junior used the location as a double for the Houses of Parliament as they would have appeared in the late 19th century. The Town Hall is the stage where Holmes’ nemesis Blackwood (Mark Strong) divulges his plans to overthrow the British government and subsequently to concur the world.
The location has also hosted the forthcoming ‘Victor Frankenstein’ with lead actor Daniel Radcliffe playing the role of Igor the assistant and grave robber for the eponymous scientist. The film is set for UK release in December this year with Radcliffe starring alongside British actors James McAvoy and Jessica Brown Findlay. The Town Hall in this particular adaptation is expected to look very different with a gothic scene dressing.
‘The Iron Lady’ is the biographical film that looks at the life and actions of Baroness Margaret Thatcher during her time as Prime Minister. Similar to ‘Sherlock Holmes’ the production used the location to double as the Houses of Parliament, this time circa the 1980s. The town hall hosted three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep and supporting actor Jim Broadbent who played Thatcher’s husband, Denis.
This ITV film is an adaptation of the novel ‘Forgotten’ by author Frances Hodgson Burnett. The story follows the life of Emily, a young girl who grows up with a desire to marry for love but soon finds herself in a life governed by people’s greed; forced to wed only to survive. The production shot on location at the Town Hall filming scenes of the building heritage and period décor.
Manchester Town Hall also played home to selected scenes in BBC One’s political drama ‘State of Play’ starring David Morrissey, Bill Nighy, James McAvoy and Kelly Macdonald. The series focused on a newspaper investigating the mysterious death of a young woman and the journalist’s relationship with an old friend and Parliament member. For ‘State of Play’, the hall once again doubled as the Houses of Parliament.