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The famous film and TV scenes that were actually shot around Manchester

Could Manchester be the next Hollywood?

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BBC

It’s no secret that Manchester is growing in popularity among film makers these days, what with the recent rise of Salford’s very own film and TV hub, Media City.

But I bet you had no idea that so many huge TV shows and movies had been filmed here over the years. Here are some of the best ones…

Channel 4

Shameless

Let’s start with an obvious one.

Though the Channel 4 series is famously set in a fictional Manchester council estate, it was actually filmed in a real Manchester council estate – Wenlock Way, in West Gorton. Other filming locations included Miles Platting, where Sheila lived, and The Pie Factory in Salford.

Frank Gallagher’s bleak yet rowdy haunt, The Jockey, was also set at a real-life pub, The Wellington Inn. However, it was knocked down by the council a few years ago, so I’m afraid there’ll be no recreations of some of Shameless’ more barbarian scenes.

Fresh Meat

Another Channel 4 special, Fresh Meat followed the comedic antics of an unlikely group of students who attended the fictional Manchester Medlock University.

In the series, the students were said to live in Rusholme though, in real life, a lot of the scenes were filmed at The Sharp Project. Manchester Metropolitan University’s campus and its student’s union also provided the backdrop for a lot of episodes, as they were at the University of Manchester.

Morbius

Quite surprisingly, the latest Sony movie in the Spider-Man universe had several scenes filmed here in Manchester.

In early 2019, filming began on Sony Pictures’ Morbius – set to be released in 2022 – with location shooting taking place in London. However, the production team then moved to Manchester in late March to make the city’s Northern Quarter their home while they filmed a number of scenes featuring lead actors Jared Leto and Matt Smith.

The Northern Quarter was transformed to resemble New York (because why go to the Big Apple when you can visit the capital of the North instead?) and both Oldham Street and Stevenson Square were cornered off as extras adorned the streets.

Peaky Blinders

Despite being famously Brummie, many scenes from the popular BBC series are actually filmed here in Manchester.

Some of the most prominent filming locations have been the Northern Quarter’s Dale Street, Mangle Street and Back Piccadilly – which can be spotted during some of the most pivotal moments throughout the series. Other locations include the Castlefield Canals – as recently as March 2021, Cillian Murphy, who plays the lead role of Tommy Shelby, was seen filming on a barge on the Bridgewater Canal.

The Stockport Plaza, Rochdale Town Hall and Victoria Baths are other locations where the film crew has been spotted.

Netflix

The Crown

Despite having a somewhat different vibe to Peaky Blinders, the fourth season of Netflix’s royal smash hit, The Crown, also had scenes filmed here in Manchester.

In the episode, Princess Diana – portrayed perfectly by actress Emma Corrin – embarks upon her now-famed solo trip to New York to visit the not-for-profit Henry Street Settlement to meet with homeless mothers and children, as well as an AIDS patient at Harlem Hospital.

Our trusty Northern Quarter was used once again as an alternative to the Big Apple, with Stevenson Square and Dale Street being magically transformed into NYC, all decked out with yellow cabs, Subway entrances and a whole lot of extras wearing outfits reminiscent of Diana’s time.

The Stranger

Netflix’s 2020 crime drama, The Stranger, featured a ton of locations right here in Manchester.

Stockport, Manchester city centre, and Bolton were just a few of the spots used to serve as a fictional area called Cedarfield, Greater Manchester.

Some of the locations used on the series included the city’s St Peter’s Square and Whalley Range, as well as the disused Moor Lane Bus station in Bolton, the Plaza theatre and cinema in Stockport, and the Peel Memorial in Bury.

Meanwhile, indoor scenes were filmed in the suburban district of Didsbury in Manchester, while the animal farm scene was shot at White Peak Alpacas in Mobberley, Cheshire.

@filmtourismus / Twitter

Captain America

Another unexpected one!

Viewers can spot a glimpse of Dale Street, Finlay’s Warehouse and Tariff & Dale early on in the 2010 Marvel blockbuster, Captain America. The film is one of the early instalments in the huge Disney franchise, following Steve Rogers – played by Chris Evans – as he becomes the Captain America fans know and love today.

It marked the first time Marvel Productions had filmed outside of the US, with producers picking the Northern Quarter to recreate the Big Apple in the 1940s because of its towering buildings and pre-war architecture.

Skins

On the other end of the spectrum, we have the grungy teen drama series, Skins

The E4 show took the UK by storm during its six seasons on air, so much so, that an additional seventh season was commissioned, which followed three of the most popular characters from the previous seasons.

Skins Redux revisited Jack O’Connell’s Cook and were shot here in Manchester, with filming locations in the Arndale shopping centre, Dale Street in the Northern Quarter, and alleyways in Salford.

The Darkest Hour

Manchester Town Hall and the John Rylands Library could both be seen doubled as the WWII-era Houses of Parliament in the 2019 Winston Churchill biopic, The Darkest Hour.

The Working Title Films production team chose the two staple Manchester locations to film key scenes in the film, recreating the Houses of Parliament in 1940.

The locations offered the perfect period back drop, and with permissions secured and with Manchester’s long established film friendly approach to film & TV production, it ensured the crew had a hugely positive experience of filming in the city.

Feature

The Manchester charity pairing young people with the elderly to combat loneliness at Christmas

Manchester Cares is doubling down its efforts to prevent loneliness among communities over the festive period

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For most, Christmas is a time for family and friends, but for others it is instead a time of isolation and loneliness. 

According to the Campaign to End Loneliness, around 45% of adults in the UK experience some form of loneliness, a feeling that intensifies over the festive period.  

So this is why local charity Manchester Cares is doubling down on its efforts to combat the issue of loneliness among communities across Manchester this Christmas.

Founded five years ago, Manchester Cares brings younger and older generations together through group activities and one-on-one friendships, giving them the opportunity to build genuine and meaningful connections. 

Manchester Cares

Manchester Cares hosts and organises a whole variety of Social Clubs for its community members to enjoy together, including pub quizzes, wine tasting, documentary clubs and even trips to Manchester Art Gallery.

All free for those wanting to join them in their mission of bringing younger and older people together to build community and connection across our wonderful city. 

The charity relies heavily on the help of its members and volunteers to keep loneliness and isolation at bay. But as the cost-of-living crisis plunges the UK further into a loneliness epidemic, Manchester Cares needs your help more than ever before. 

Manchester Cares’ Head of Programmes Vicky Harrold says the charity will be organising and hosting a whole array of neighbour meet-ups and activity sessions for those struggling with both loneliness and financial pressures this Christmas.

Manchester Cares

Vicky told Proper Manchester: This Christmas we will be continuing to do what we do best, curate spaces that bring younger and older people together to share time, stories, and laughter. We want to be the place that provides emotional respite to all the challenging things that are happening in the world right now.”

Vicky also said that the charity will also be extending the length of its clubs this winter in order for neighbours to have somewhere warm to spend their time at no extra cost.

She added: “We’ll be offering food and refreshments along with festive films, parties, wreath making and most importantly the opportunity to have a chat with someone you wouldn’t ordinarily meet.” 

Manchester Cares

In addition to the Festive Clubs, Manchester Cares members will also be paying visits to anyone who they think will be spending the Christmas period alone in the week leading up to the big day.

Vicky explained: “Initially, we would give out little gifts, but we now recognise that it’s sharing time that means the most.

But Manchester Cares recognises that community and connection don’t just matter at Christmas; they matter all year round.

That’s why the charity is always welcoming new members to join its community network in its fight against loneliness in Manchester, regardless of the time of year.

Manchester Cares

People are now being urged to sign up through the Manchester Cares website and come along to one of its general inductions. Vicky stressed that there’s no expectation for anyone to get involved, and that it’s simply an opportunity to hear a bit more about what Manchester Cares does and how people can get involved.

Offering a final bit of advice for anyone struggling with any of these issues, Vicky said: “Try stepping away from social media and investing that time into creating meaningful interactions every day.

“This can be anything from making that call to a friend you’ve been meaning to for a while, to saying hello to the bus driver on your way to work.

“And if you’re lucky enough to still have older family members, we really encourage you to go and chat to them, pick up the phone or have a brew – we hear the best stories every day just from starting that conversation.

Manchester Cares

“And finally, there are so many amazing charities like ours doing such great work- volunteering your time can be such a fun and rewarding way to meet new people.

“We’ve seen over our first five years, sharing time is the best gift you can ever give.”

From November 29th to December 6th 2022, Manchester Cares is taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge to help bring our neighbours together to stay warm, active and connected. Donations made during that week are doubled, meaning your gift will make twice the difference this winter. Find out how you can support here. 

Manchester Cares is always on the look out for new volunteers, community members and neighbours to join them in their fight against loneliness. 

People can join the community, or can alternatively make a referral for anyone over 65 they think will benefit from the clubs and programmes. 

All of this can be done via the Manchester Cares website.

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Feature

Chester Zoo has a paid apprenticeship scheme that doesn’t require qualifications

We spoke to Rachel McCann, who is helping Chester Zoo with its mission to save Eastern black rhinos from extinction

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When news first arose of Chester Zoo’s apprenticeship scheme earlier this year, many people couldn’t help but ponder the possibility of a swift career change.

For the first time, the UK’s leading conservation zoo was giving people the chance to embark upon a career in conservation without the need for any qualifications.

The scheme opened up opportunities in a variety of roles, including zookeepers, aquarists and horticulturalists, as well as positions in animal and plant logistics.

But a role at Chester Zoo isn’t for the faint of heart, which is something rhino keeper Rachel McCann can most certainly vouch for.

Rachel joined the zoo’s team three years ago as a giraffe keeper, but was later transferred to the rhino team thanks to her specific skill set and past experience.

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Yet while many might assume her day consists mainly of spending quality time with Chester Zoo’s eight Eastern black rhino inhabitants – Kitani, Malindi, Ema-elsa, Kasulu, Ike, Jumaane, Zuri and Gabe – Rachel actually plays a huge part in the conservation and repopulation of this critically endangered species.

Thanks to human conflict, poaching threats and habitat destruction, there are only 5,000 Eastern black rhinos left in the wild and a mere ninety in zoos around the world – something Chester Zoo is working tirelessly to change.

Rachel told Proper Manchester that her role as a keeper takes a predominant focus on reintroducing black rhinos back into the wild and boosting birth numbers among the animals not only at Chester, but at a variety of zoos across Europe and in the wild in Africa.

And this all starts in one place; the faeces.

Several times a week, Rachel is tasked with collecting faecal samples from the female rhinos, which are then sent off to the zoo’s on-site conservation lab for testing and analysis.

Manchester’s Finest Group

Thanks to these samples, the zoo’s conservation team are able to track the rhino’s ovulation cycles and determine when to pair them with males to breed. 

Rachel explained: “Through this testing, we’re able to see which pairs work best for breeding going off their cycles, their weight and their personalities. The rhinos are now matched up going by the best genetic compatibility. 

“This research is also applied to how we can help rhinos out in the wild – any of our research, for that matter, can be applied for helping wild animals too.”

And a higher number of births at the zoo equates for a better chance of the black rhinos’ population being increased out in the wild, which is part of Chester Zoo’s mission to prevent extinction.

However, the process of reintroducing rhinos back into the wild is a lengthy one. Rachel explained: “The main bulk of the reintroduction process is reducing human contact, because we don’t want them approaching people once they’re back in the wild.

Manchester’s Finest Group

“Keeper contact is gradually fazed out, so they don’t see us hardly ever, whether it be putting food out or tidying up the paddock. Once they’re ready, they’ll be released into a secured area with zero human contact.

“They are then released into protected areas with rangers on duty for their safety. Without all of that, we wouldn’t be able to save the species.”

And Chester Zoo’s conservation work isn’t just restricted to breeding; the zoo has a dedicated team out in Kenya that educates local communities about the animals in a bid to allow them to co-exist peacefully, ultimately reducing conflict.

Rachel said: “We fund rangers out in Africa to protect wild black rhinos and also work with local communities and schools to reduce wildlife conflict.

“Poaching is their biggest threat alongside habitat loss, so it’s important when working with communities to reduce this conflict. Local people struggle because rhinos destroy their crops, so it’s about finding solutions for them to coexist and live alongside each other.”

Manchester’s Finest Group

Though Rachel’s responsibilities don’t end there, as the role of zoo keeper certainly isn’t without its graft – and many cups of tea, something she says is ‘definitely the most important part of the day’.

Her day typically begins at 8am, where she begins the laborious jobs of cleaning up the paddocks, tidying up any left over food and droppings from the previous day and replenishing the rhino’s food and water.

Keepers also use this time in the mornings to give the animals a quick once-over to ensure they’re of good health. This can involve checking their eyes, ears and even the insides of their mouths for any sign of infection or decay.

A zoo keeper’s afternoon tends to consist of a lot of prep for the following day. Rachel explained: “We have really busy days, so prepping the day before helps a lot so we can make the most of our time.

“We’ve got a lot of mouths to feed! We sometimes switch up the feeding times to reduce the rhinos anticipating us coming. Switching up the routine keeps them on their toes.

Manchester’s Finest Group

“They’re very smart and switched on, so it’s good to give them a challenge and ensure their days are different. We don’t want their days to be too repetitive. 

“We give out our last feeds during the afternoons and carry out the final checks. And then, we go home, go to bed and start it all again the next day.”

Yet while the role may be laborious, challenging, and even testing at times, Rachel wouldn’t change any of it.

She said: “I love working with the rhinos, they’re magnificent but have a soft and sensitive side too. That makes working with them every day very different, no day is the same.

“They’re always getting up to mischief.

Manchester’s Finest Group

“My favourite part of the job though is getting to work with such a rare species every single day. While it is sad to see how endangered their species are, for me it’s actually a motivation each day to get out of bed and come to work to help get them back into the wild. 

“The rhinos at Chester Zoo are ambassadors for their species, they show the public and visitors how amazing they are and why we should be saving them.”

For more information on Chester Zoo’s family of black rhinos and what they’re doing to save the species, visit the official website here.

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Feature

Here’s what happened to the infamous Kersal Massive after their early viral fame

The ringleader of the notorious rap trio was tracked down a few years ago…

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YouTube

Back in the early days of the internet, before the birth of TikTok and when YouTube reigned supreme, an unassuming rapping trio from Manchester were catapulted to viral stardom.

C-Mac, Little F*****g Kevin and Ginger Joe, all from Salford, made up the Kersal Massive, a rap trio that would go on to become instant internet stars thanks to their rap song about day-to-day life in Manchester.

Instead of using their music to address social inequality or political issues, the Kersal Massive instead opted to rap about life in Manchester, grand theft auto and using their day saver bus passes. 

Their rap song was actually an entry for a contest to win a Kano-themed BMX, hosted by former record label 679 Recordings. Shockingly, the Kersal Massive didn’t win, but the video wound up on the internet, where they found online fame instead.

The video was one of the first viral sensations to ever grace the internet, and today has over 1.8m views on YouTube alone. 

For years people have been trying to decipher the meaning behind the song, with one YouTuber optimistically commenting: “By referring to a ‘day saver’, Little Kev highlights the struggle of the working class, while at the same time bringing up questions about religion and culture with the following ‘laid low, did a grand theft auto’ line, and how the incarceration of the young in today’s western world is affecting our society.

“Such a lyrical genius. A poet in his own right.”

Another commented: “It has been said Ginger Joe now travels the globe giving lectures on philosophy and ethics… and is also a UN spokesman answering questions on the [meaning of] being human.” 

Someone even went to the bother of creating a lyric page to search for any hidden meanings or political agendas behind the track – unsurprisingly, none were found. 

Despite their initial success and claims of having ‘all the money ’cause we know how to rap’, however, the Kersal Massive only ever released the one song, and were as quick to slip out of the spotlight as they were to enter it. 

This has caused many people to wonder what exactly happened to the Kersal Massive over the years, and what the rapping trio are up to these days. 

Well, The Tab claimed to have tracked down the infamous ringleader of the Kersal Massive, C-Mac, back in 2016.

They said at the time that C-Mac – real name Callum – still lived in Salford and was working for a law firm in Manchester.

He told the publication of the video: “It was uploaded to the internet over ten years ago. It was done as a joke and then it just went viral. I don’t actually know who uploaded it to YouTube, it wasn’t me.”

Then, Callum went on to break the hearts of Kersal Massive fans far and wide by adding: “I am not in touch with the other two lads anymore.”

While the beloved Ginger Joe is yet to be identified or tracked down, many social media users believed a man on the run from GMP for a series of gun-related offences was in fact a grown-up Little F*****g Kev… though this was never proven. 

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