Archive for March, 2013

WPC 56 – Series One

A new Birmingham based five part BBC daytime drama first aired between Monday 18th March and Friday 22nd March 2013.

With series three due to start on Monday 9th March 2015, the BBC are repeating series one, followed by series two the following week, from Monday 23rd February 2015.

WPC 56 was set in fictional Brinford Police Station, just outside Birmingham and was filmed on location in Birmingham and locations around the wider West Midlands.

Set in 1956 it starred 23 year old Jennie Jacques as WPC Gina Dawson, the first policewoman to arrive at the headquarters of the Midlands Constabulary, who faces bullying and sexism in the 1950s male dominated workplace. Certainly ‘grittier than Heartbeat’ the daring daytime plots featured murder, rape and child abuse which will no doubt raise some eyebrows, however, Will Trotter, Head of drama at BBC Birmingham, is hopeful the show may get a Sunday afternoon repeat due to it’s nostalgic themes.

The interior of the 1950s station were filmed in a disused building on Vittoria Street in Birmingham Jewellery Quarter and the Birmingham & Midland Institute on Margaret Street doubled as the exterior of the station. The Anchor Inn on Bradford Street near Digbeth features in a scene in Episode 2.

Other West Midlands locations include the Black Country Living Museum (also seen recently in the BBC2 drama Dancing on the Edge), Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham Town Hall, Victoria Law Courts, the Electric Cinema and Dudley Zoo.

Check out some of the locations used on the WPC 56 Locations Page.

WPC 56 aired on Monday 18th March on BBC1 at 2.15pm Jennie Jacques stars in new BBC1 crime drama WPC 56. Picture BBC/Gary Moyes

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Take Me High – FREE Birmingham Screening

Sunday 24th March sees a FREE screening of Sir Cliff Richard’s, Birmingham based, feature length musical Take Me High for the finale of the weekend Art Soak  programme. Filmed in the Birmingham city centre in the early 1970s the movie is a fantastic time capsule of an ever changing city landscape that takes viewers back to the days before the trendy wine bars and restaurants arrived in Brindleyplace.

If you have been on the TV & Film tour of Birmingham you will already know that tales of Take Me High are featured in a number of key locations along the tour route, including Victoria Square, Gas Street and Alpha Tower.

If you can get along to watch this enjoyable dose of 1970s pop ‘cheese’ in all its glory then be sure to look out for Cliff reading map of Birmingham really badly while ironically belting out a song called ‘Winning’ before finally arriving at a very different looking Gas Street to the one you will know today. You can also catch a very quick glimpse of the splendid architecture of the Church of the Messiah on Broad Street which stood (demolished in 1978) above the canal at Gas Street near the end of the movie.

Don’t even think about sneaking out before the final credits either, as the final aerial panning shot from the peak of Alpha Tower reveals a very different view of Birmingham as it looked almost 40 years ago, and it’s well worth the wait.

Presented by Stirchley Happenings’ Travelling Bug House, Take Me High can be seen at 8pm at TASCOS, Hazelwell Street, Stirchley, B30 2PR.

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Behind the Scenes at Dancing on the Edge

As I write I still have the final episode of this great period drama to watch, but the first four episodes have been gripping.  After a slow first twenty or so minutes the drama really kicks in, especially as the character personalities start to develop, adding extra intrigue to the drama. The music, whilst not my normal listening pleasure, has been fabulous and really helps set the mood of the period.

The cast are all excellent with star performances from Matthew Goode and Chiwetel Ejiofor and Stanley and Louis respectively. I should also add that the vocal performances from Angel Coulby and Wunmi Musaka are simply breathtaking and lift the Jazz band sound once they are added to the line up in episode one.

If you’ve missed the series the DVD and soundtrack are available to order on Amazon and I highly recommend them both.

Birmingham Film & TV Tour update

I recently met with Film Birmingham again and we have discussed the possibility of including some of the locations used in Dancing on the Edge in some TV & Film walking tours later this year. I’ll update this site with details as and when they become available, so watch this space.

Meanwhile you can check out some fascinating behind the scenes photographs of Dancing on the Edge from Creative England on their Facebook page, including the stunning Ballroom at the Grand Hotel on Colmore Row and the impressive Banqueting Suite at Birmingham’s Council House. They also feature other West Midlands and Warwickshire locations with details of scenes filmed at Dudley’s Black Country Living Museum and Alcester’s Ragley Hall.

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