Posts Tagged Brinford

WPC 56 Series 3 Episode 1 Preview Screening

Having received a very kind invite from BBC Birmingham PR a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending the preview screening of the first episode of series three of WPC 56 this afternoon at the new Everyman cinema in the Birmingham Mailbox and here is my report (no spoilers) on the event and the episode.

Everyman cinema

Birmingham’s latest cinema experience was hosting today’s event, which was organised by BBC Birmingham Public Relations. I’d seen pictures of the Everyman cinema in the press a few days ago and it looked very impressive and I have to say it didn’t disappoint. I was welcomed by BBC PR (Thanks Bryn George for the invite) and introduced to WPC 56 series producer Mike Hobson before being shown into the screening. I took a seat on one of the very comfortable double sofas, plumped up my cushion and tucked into the complimentary pizza that was waiting on the small round drinks table between the sofas. This was a great cinema experience, and one I’m sure to try again soon.

WPC 56 Series 3 Episode 1 – A Different Beat

The proceedings were kicked off with a short introduction from Joe Godwin, Director of the BBC Academy in Birmingham, who then handed over the introduction of the screening to series producer, Mike Hobson, who wasted no time at all in getting the episode started and we were about to be treated to 45 minutes of brilliant, edgy daytime police drama.

I won’t go into too much detail of the actual plot but I will share a couple of things of interest (no spoilers).

It’s been well documented that WPC Dawson (Jennie Jacques) would not be featured in series three and we would see the arrival of a new WPC (Taylor) played by, the Moseley born, Claudia Jessie so I was interested to see how this change of lead character was handled. The answer to my own query, was that it was done well and quickly.

After a quick recap from series two the opening credits subtly revealed the character change as the silhouetted outline of the WPC in the police line had taken on a new shape.

All open plot threads from series two were cleared up within the first few minutes, covering WPC Dawson’s absence, and we were soon introduced to WPC Taylor, who now wears the WPC 56 badge, and her police family.  The second new character, DI Harry Sawyer (Oliver Rix), was also pretty quick to appear on screen, and his character was soon established in the opening scenes. As the episode progresses we learn that DI Sawyer has a complex family background, that I’m sure will develop nicely over the five episode series.

New character introductions and series two housekeeping swiftly out the way we were then left to enjoy the rest of the risqué and gritty subject matter of the first episode, all done in a way that stays just about suitable for a daytime audience of course, although I’m sure some of the ‘Mary Whitehouse brigade’ will find some of the content a little too near the mark for a 2.15pm show, but then they should maybe find something else to watch if they are not happy.

By about halfway through I’d almost forgotten that there were new characters to get used to as they blended into the series so effortlessly it seemed like they had been there all along. WPC Taylor is much feistier than her predecessor Dawson and DI Sawyer is clearly a troubled man with an interesting personal back story. Both these new characters bring a new dimension to the show which I’m sure viewers will warm to very quickly.

The whole cast were superb, from screen newcomer Amy Shepherd, as beauty pageant contestant Helen Reilly, to established actor Brian Capron, as comedian and compare Clifford Starkey, but the standout performance for me was from Susannah Doyle, who played June Sawyer, in a role that was a complete change from the character she played in Drop The Dead Donkey back in the 90s.

There was also a welcome return of a well loved ‘character’, which Liam Jeavons told me afterwards, was the same one we were introduced to in series two, although I wasn’t convinced. If you saw series two you will spot, as I did, the brief reappearance and when I did I found a smile breaking out across my face, as I recalled the series two episode they first appeared in.

Location spotters will no doubt be delighted to see the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley playing yet another starring role in a TV drama as well as an appearance of Château Impney in Droitwich, famously the venue for the wedding reception of Meg & Hugh Mortimer in Crossroads way back in 1975 , and the return of familiar Brinford Station exterior in Margaret Street.

The end of the episode left us all wanting more of this great drama, but, as always, the only disadvantage of these sneak preview screenings is that we now have to wait nearly a week to see how the story progresses when episode two airs.

Cast and Crew Q&A

Following the episode screening we were introduced to new WPC, Claudia Jessie, series creator, Dominique Moloney and series producer, Mike Hobson and the host for the Q&A, BBC Midlands Today’s, Satnam Rana. The initial Q&A saw the cast and crew quizzed by Rana about the change of WPC, the locations used, and the risqué subjects covered, all of which were confidently answered by each guest in turn.

The questions were opened up to the audience and they asked further questions about locations, and story lines and also the use of the Birmingham accent, which Jessie answered brilliantly, giving her Nan the credit for her being able to drop back into a native Birmingham twang for the role.

Rana also revealed that BBC Midlands Today have a WPC 56 feature which they will air on Friday 6th March 2015, featuring a look behind the scenes of making the drama in Birmingham, so make sure you don’t miss that.

Claudia Jessie (WPC Annie Taylor) and Liam Jeavons (PC Tommy Perkins) pose for a quick photo after the screening.

Claudia Jessie (WPC Annie Taylor) and Liam Jeavons (PC Tommy Perkins) pose for a quick photo after the screening.

I briefly chatted with both Liam Jeavons (PC Tommy Perkins) and Claudia Jessie (WPC Taylor) as well as writer and creator Dominique Moloney as everyone started to exit the plush new cinema. They spoke about the cast surprise at the subjects covered in the scripts; especially for episodes 4 and 5, the fun they have making the show and the friends they have made while working on it and way the introduction of the new characters was handled to avoid a repeat scenario of the very first episode introductions. They were all happy to chat and spend some time discussing the show and my blog updates, which they all seemed genuine appreciative of, which was really nice to hear.

You can see episode one of WPC 56 series three when it starts at 2.15pm on Monday 9th March 2015 and you can still catch up with Series One and Two on BBC iPlayer if you need a recap before next week.

Thanks to BBC Birmingham PR for the invite and thanks to all those I spoke to for being friendly and appreciative of my promotion for this great show.

If anyone is interested you can enter a free competition to run alongside the new series.
NB: The competition is not organised by the BBC or the programme writers and is not affiliated with the show and is just for fun.


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WPC 56 Series 3 – Episode Guide

An authentic 1956 station

A new set of stories from Brinford Police station start on Monday 9th March at 2.15pm on BBC One

Here is the much anticipated episode guide summary for the new series of WPC 56 which starts on BBC One at 2.15pm on Monday 9th March 2015.

The new WPC makes her arrival at the station

The new WPC makes her arrival at the station

Monday 9th March – A Different Beat (Episode One)

Brinford’s new WPC, Annie Taylor (Claudia Jessie) is on the trail of a shady predator who is targeting contestants at a beauty contest. There’s a shock in store for Briggs (Mark Healey) and DI Sawyer (Oilver Rix) who are haunted by old foes and former wrongdoings.

Susie heads off to post her parcel

Tuesday 10th March – Walk the Line (Episode Two)

Annie’s involvement in a gruesome murder case causes a rift with her father (John Duttine). As Briggs struggles to be a good husband, Susie (Rachel Leskovac) continues to infuriate lovesick Sergeant Swift (James Barriscale). When an old colleague asks Fenton (Charlie De’Ath) for help he worries he’s no longer up to the job.

Wednesday 11th March – From the Shadows (Episode Three)

When DI Sawyer’s missing suspect makes a violent reappearance, events take a sinister turn. The net tightens around Briggs as Coulson (John Bowler) recruits Fenton to do his dirty work. Annie and Tommy (Liam Jeavons) play cupid to Susie and Swift.

Episodes 1 to 3 Directed by Lisa Clarke

Thursday 12th March – The Wayward Wind (Episode Four)

Briggs’ misfortune allows Coulson to reassert his power at the station, and DI Sawyer questions a suspect with a chilling wartime story to tell. When Gloria (Melissa James) is accused of a crime Tommy struggles to be professional, and Fenton makes a shocking discovery at a boarding house.

Oliver Rix & Claudia Jessie head back to the station

DI Sawyer & WPC Annie Taylor head back to Brinford police station

Friday 13th March – Requiem (Episode Five)

The team are forced to decide where their loyalties lie after news of a tragic event, but will they take a stand against Coulson? Annie and DI Sawyer are running out of time as they struggle to unlock the dark secrets of the Petra Project.

Episodes 4 and 5 Directed by David Beauchamp

Series One is available on BBC iPlayer

Series Two is repeated from Monday 2nd March 2015 at 2.15pm on BBC One.

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WPC 56 returns, but changes are coming…

With WPC 56 making a welcome return to our TV screens this week, it’s worth a quick review of how the staff of Brinford Police Station have changed over the last three years. Series three is scheduled to start on Monday 9th March, with Sgt Sidney Fenton the only survivor from the group photo from the first series.  So here is a collection of promotional images that show the changes in personnel since we first visited Brinford in 2013.

Series One

A repeat of series one of the BBC Birmingham produced drama WPC 56 began at 2.15pm Monday 23rd February on BBC One.

The drama set in the 1950s shows the battles that WPC Gina Dawson has being the first female police officer at the Brinford police station in a male dominated profession. If you missed episode one it will be available on BBC iPlayer for the next month and the remainder of series one airs daily at 2.15pm for the rest of this week (23rd – 28th February 2015).

Series One Cast - 2013

WPC 56 Series One Cast: Left to Right: Sgt Pratt (Gerard Horan), Cathy Sinclair (Justine Cain), PC Eddie Coulson (Chris Overton), WPC Gina Dawson (Jennie Jacques), DI Jack Burns (Kieran Bew) , Sgt Sidney Fenton (Charlie De’Ath), Chief Inspector Roger Nelson (John Light).

Image Source: BBC Birmingham PR Twitter.

Series Two

Series two repeats from Monday 2nd March 2015 and introduces us to a number of new characters to the Brinford beat, but still features the same edgy and gritty story lines that we saw in series one. Series two features a large number of on location scenes filmed at The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley.

WPC 56 Series Two Cast

WPC 56 Series Two Cast: Left to Right: Sgt Sidney Fenton (Charlie De’Ath), Chief Constable Arthur Coulson (John Bowler), Chief Inspector Walter Briggs (Mark Healy), WPC Gina Dawson (Jennie Jacques), PC Tommy Perkins (Liam Jeavons), DI Max Harper (Ben Turner), Sgt John Swift (James Barriscale), Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac).

Image Source: BBC WPC 56 Programme page

Series Three

Series three has now been confirmed as starting on Monday 9th March and BBC Birmingham PR have released this image of the team that will lead us through the next series of five episodes of life in and around Brinford. Some clues to the characters we’ll see, story lines and locations can be found elsewhere on this site.

WPC 56 Series Three Cast

WPC 56 Series Three Cast: Left to Right: Sgt Sidney Fenton (Charlie De’Ath), Chief Constable Arthur Coulson (John Bowler), Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac), Sgt John Swift (James Barriscale), DI Harry Sawyer (Oliver Rix), WPC Annie Taylor (Claudia Jessie), Chief Inspector Walter Briggs (Mark Healy), PC Tommy Perkins (Liam Jeavons).

Image Source: BBC Birmingham PR Twitter.



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WPC56 Series 3 – FAQs

An authentic 1956 station

An authentic 1956 station

With series three filming due to complete by the end of November, I’m finding the site is currently attracting a lot of interest from fans of BBC1 daytime drama WPC56 right now, so I thought I’d be helpful and create a page of FAQs based on the common search terms people have used to arrive on the site.

  1. When will series three be on our screens?
    Filming completed at the end of November 2014 and no doubt the BBC will formally announce the exact start date, once confirmed, on their weekly programme listings.
    However, a new update of forthcoming TV listings currently shows WPC56 is due to return to BBC One on Monday 23rd February 2015, with a repeat of Series One. We can probably assume from that we will see Series Two follow on Monday 2nd March 2015. Leaving Monday 9th March 2015 as the most likely start date for Series Three.
  2. How many episodes will there be?
    Initially the BBC press release stated there would be 10 new episodes and then Endemol Distribution stated there would be 5 x 60 minute episodes. However, James Barriscale (Sgt Swift) questioned the BBC release on Twitter, tweeting “not unless they’re 20 mins eps!
    The fact that the shooting schedule hasn’t been any longer than in previous years suggests that it will be a regular series with 5 x 45 minute episodes, in keeping with series one and two.
  3. Will WPC Gina Dawson be back on the Brinford beat after the dramatic ending to series two?
    Actress Jennie Jacques (WPC Dawson) is unavailable due to other filming commitments. Jennie has been busy filming series three of Vikings for the History channel. She plays Judith, the daughter of Saxon King Aelle and bride to Aethelwulf, son of Saxon King Ecbert. Aethelwulf and Judith’s child is the historical figure, Alfred the Great. Almost as soon as filming on Vikings completed Jennie started work on the ITV sitcom The Delivery Man.
  4. So is there a new WPC in Brinford for series three?
    With WPC Dawson off to pastures new in the Met, the new Brinford WPC is Annie Taylor, played by 24 year old actress Claudia Jessie. Annie is the daughter of a policeman and the force is in her blood, but as the first female police officer in the family she has something to prove, but she faces an uphill battle as she contends with the same old attitudes, both at home and at work. Annie has never given up on anything before but she’ll need to use all of her determination to prove herself.
  5. Where will we have we seen Claudia Jessie before?
    Claudia has previously appeared in BBC shows Doctors, Casualty, By Any Means and The Paradise. She has recently filmed Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, playing Mary the maid, for the BBC, which will debut on BBC America in 2015. Recently she has, again, been seen in BBC1 daytime soap Doctors, playing Poppy Conroy in a huge storyline that saw the exit of long term regular Dr Kevin Tyler. You can still watch Claudia online in the CBBC murder mystery Dixi and you can hear her beautiful singing voice on her soundcloud page.
  6. Which cast members are returning to the show for series three?
    Series One and Two ever present, Charlie De’ath, returns as Sgt Sidney Fenton, having featured in all 10 of the previous episodes it remains to be seen if he can make it to 15 episodes after series three.
    The only other cast member from series one to make a return is John Bowler (Chief Superintendent Arthur Coulson).
    Returning cast from Series Two include;
    Liam Jeavons as PC Tommy Perkins
    James Barriscale as Desk Sgt John Swift
    Rachel Leskovac as Secretary Susie Nightingale
    Daniel Brocklebank as Carl Saunders
  7. Will Ben Turner reprise his role as DI Max Harper?
    Ben Turner is currently touring the UK in the successful theatre production ‘The Kite Runner‘ so will not be returning to Brinford in series three. With no sign of Kieran Bew returning either, then we can expect a new DI at the station in series three. DI Harry Sawyer will be played by Oliver Rix
  8. Who will be joining the show in series three?
    There are obviously some new characters and cast members for series three, they include;
    John Duttine as Douglas Taylor
    Susannah Doyle as June Sawyer
    Joanna Higson as Vicky Hall
    Adam Lawrence as Marty Havers
    Melanie Kilburn as Lydia Taylor
    Amy Shepherd as Helen Reilly
    Rosanna Holland as Pru King
    Melissa James as Gloria DaCosta
    Jim Cartwright as Wally King
    Nick Danan as Reverand West
    Stephen Casey as Captain William Sheppard
    Brian Capron as ‘Run-down comic’,  Clifford Starkey – (Thanks to Garry Cannell for the tip-off)
    Matt Kennard as David Meyer
  9. What storylines can we expect to see?
    Expect to see plots involving psychiatric patients, beauty pageants, a murder enquiry, a fire and a tear jerking funeral as well as the arrival of the new WPC. Requiem appears to be the suggested title of Episode 5 of the new series.
    Update: Series Three Episode summary
  10. What locations have been used for series three?
    Series three filming has seen the crew return to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, Vittoria Street in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter (Brinford Station interior), Margaret Street in Birmingham (Brinford Station exterior) as well as shooting scenes at Chateau Impney in Droitwich and Moseley School. A Birmingham cemetery/graveyard has also been used, but the exact location is currently unknown.
  11. Who wrote the WPC56 Theme?
    The composer of the theme tune to WPC56 is Debbie Wiseman MBE. Debbie also writes the original music used throughout series Debbie and has confirmed she will be working on series three.
    Debbie has over 200 credits for TV and Film including other BBC Drama Village production, such as Father Brown and Land Girls. YOu can find out more about  Debbie’s work on her website, where you can also hear the WPC 56 theme.

Finally the most random search that has directed the user to these pages was;

“Television series from England WPC56 what earings is she wearing?”

To which I have no suitable answer!

Hope some of your questions were answered above and that the information has whet your appetite for new series, and to finish here is a sneak preview of a scene from the series.

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Welcome to Brinford 1956

On Sunday 16th November 2014 something very odd happened as I walked my normal route towards Victoria Square. Walking up Great Charles Street everything looked, and seemed, normal but as I turned first left towards Victoria Square I began to understand how Goodnight Sweetheart’s Gary Sparrow must have felt as Margaret Street had became Birmingham’s equivalent of Duckett’s Passage and I found myself staring at a street scene from the mid-fifties.

The street had no road markings, the double yellow lines and disabled bays that were there on Friday had now gone. Two gentlemen, both dressed in long drab overcoats and sporting trilby hats stood passing the time of day next to a black Wolseley Four Forty-Four Police Car and a Birmingham Corporation, Daimler number 6 bus was noisily transporting a couple of flat cap wearing passengers to the Town Hall, well at least that is what the sign said.  Had I actually stumbled on time vortex right here in Birmingham or was it all a strange dream? CUT! echoed the voice from across the street. I then spotted the small group of people gathered around a camera on the other side of the road all nodding with approval at the scene they had just captured. Yes, WPC 56 was back and this was Brinford police station exteriors filming day.

Previously on WPC 56…

We were first introduced to WPC 56, in the shape of the lovely Jennie Jacques, back in March 2013. The new show told the story of WPC Gina Dawson, the first female officer at Brinford station and was set in 1956.  For a daytime drama the content was daring and edgy and featured racial prejudice, sexism, murder and corrupt officers.  Series Two continued the daring themes with prostitution, more murder, more police corruption, con-men, blackmail and homophobia some of the topics covered.

Series Three reportedly involves both a murder and a beauty pageant, although it is not yet clear if the two are linked and with WPC Dawson moving on to The Met, the station sees the arrival of WPC Annie Taylor, played by the equally lovely Claudia Jessie, as a her replacement.

WPC 56 could easily fit into the Sunday evening, Call The Midwife slot, however daytime budgets and programming are currently limiting this great series to an afternoon outing on BBC1, but it’s one well worth setting your Sky+ box for as it’s cracking TV.

Meanwhile back on Location…

Margaret Street had been transported back to 1956 and the Birmingham & Midland Institute building had become the same Brinford Police Station exterior that we were familiar with from Series One and Two of the show, with one noticeable addition, a bright red Victorian postbox.

Brinford Police Station

Back in 1956 Brinford station has a red postbox which replaces the modern plastic bin that normally occupies the same spot in the modern day 2014.

Police Station signs and noticeboards had been added to the building foyer and a period bicycle was casually leaning against the black railings, it was an amazingly simple, but very effective transformation taking a modern street nearly 60 years back in time.

Disguising the street furniture

A blue police box cleverly hides the newly installed parking ticket machine.

Covering double yellow lines

Double yellow lines to mark parking restrictions were not introduced until 1960, so these had to be covered up with tarmac colour strips.

Modern street signs were turned or removed to hide them from the cameras and parking restriction markings, that were not introduced until 1960 in the UK, had to be covered too.  The recently installed, and very modern looking, parking tickets machines were obscured behind what seemed to be a custom made blue police box, which when viewed from the correct angle made the modern world simply disappear.

UPDATED: The attention to detail was perfect, so I was quite surprised when I originally thought that they were using a car that was ahead of its time. I thought the Wolseley 1500 had not been manufactured until 1961, however, the supplier of the police cars used for the scenes (APL Film Cars),  has now confirmed that the car used was made in 1957.  With the third series moving us on a year from the original series the placement of the car is accurate, which is maintains the level of the detail you would expect from this quality drama.

Hiding a very modern disabled access sign

Hiding a very modern disabled access sign

I had arrived on ‘set’ just in time to see some opening shots, involving period cars, vans and buses; as well as a few suitably attired pedestrians; being filmed as they drove past the station. In fact, Sunday’s filming was to capture all the exterior shots required for the new five episode series that is due on our BBC1 screens in early 2015, so there were quite a few takes to get through which also involved a great deal of careful manoeuvring of these large vehicles. There was a slight delay as a couple of modern cars, that had ignored the suspended parking signs, were towed away.

That may seem a little harsh, but this was a single day shoot and they could not afford any delays, so the cars just had to go.

Claudia Jessie (WPC Annie Taylor) gets some finishing touches to her make up

Claudia Jessie (WPC Annie Taylor) gets some finishing touches to her make up.

Enter WPC Annie Taylor

Once the back and forth of vintage vehicles had concluded we finally got to see the new Brinford WPC on set.  Claudia Jessie might be the new girl but she arrived with the confidence of a series regular and took direction from crew to ensure they got through the opening scenes very quickly. Claudia was well prepared for the cold November morning, arriving in a virtually full length red quilted jacket and warm looking boots, however, it wasn’t long before she changed into her regulation black police shoes and a smart red coat. With a number of supporting artists adding to the street scene we were treated to the new WPC’s first arrival at Brinford Station, which she seemed to take with a noticeable spring in her step.

Claudia Jessie films WPC Annie Taylor's first day arrival at Brinford station

Claudia Jessie films WPC Annie Taylor’s first day arrival at Brinford station

After a number of different versions had been captured, presumably for different episodes or scenes, Claudia’s work was done (for now anyway) and she tried, sadly in vain, to get the rest of the crew to join in her own one woman Mexican wave celebration of the wrapped scene. This was just one of the many moments of ‘friendly and fun banter’ that I witnessed during the day and it certainly gave the impression that the cast and crew are thoroughly enjoying filming this series which I hope will translate well onto the screen when the series airs.

Charlie De'ath on set of Series Three on WPC56

Sgt Fenton (Charlie De’ath) takes cover on the set of Series Three on WPC56

With Claudia’s opening scenes completed, next up on the Brinford streets it was WPC 56 series regular Charlie De’ath’s turn to reprise his role of Sgt Sidney Fenton. In another carefully choreographed scene involving cars and supporting cast Sgt Fenton is seen crossing the road towards the station before being startled by what sounds like gunfire (see picture right).

Having completed his scenes for the morning, Charlie (now dressed in his civvies) headed off into Birmingham, only to return a few hours later armed with shopping bags, he’d clearly found time to visit the Bullring between his scenes.

I then missed about an hour of filming as I ventured off to get myself a warm drink, to try and warm up my nearly numb fingers, but the German Christmas Market crowds (yes, I know it’s only the middle of November!) made getting around the Birmingham streets quickly a huge challenge. Having finally battled my way to a coffee shop, on my return I called into a supermarket and picked up a large tub of chocolates. On my return to Margaret Street I handed the chocolates to a very surprised crew member, and called it my ‘Random act of kindness’ for the day. They were obviously well received as they were soon being passed around and enjoyed by everyone on set.

New Inspector Clues…

The Inspector and WPC Taylor quickly leave the station and jump into the car as the press pack surround them.

The new Brinford Inspector and WPC Annie Taylor quickly leave the station and jump into the car as the press pack quickly surround them.

The next scenes filmed, once again, involved WPC Taylor and what I gathered was the new Chief Inspector at Brinford (Oliver Rix). The Brinford Inspector certainly looked the part, wearing a long dark coat and a trilby hat and driving the aforementioned, slightly futuristic, Wolseley car with WPC Taylor assuming the role of his supporting officer in the two scenes filmed during the morning  session.

In the first scene they had to run the gauntlet of a waiting press pack outside the station entrance.

The 1950s look of the waiting press contingent was completed with a couple of ‘period’ cameras and the supporting artists used them to great effect as they hounded the couple to their car.

In their second scene together the duo arrived back at the station, where a lone reporter was looking for information on a suspect they had in custody and was demanding details of any charges that may have been made.

As the Inspector and reporter parted company WPC Taylor was joined by Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac), carrying a large parcel. They had a quick conversation before Susie left, presumably for a trip to the Post Office.

Rachel Leskovac keeps warm on a cold November morning on set

Rachel Leskovac tries to keeps warm on a cold November morning on set in Birmingham

The glamorous secretary Susie Nightingale sets off to post her parcel

The glamorous secretary Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac) sets off to post her parcel

Wearing a floral blouse and navy pencil skirt with a pink headscarf and a long overcoat, Station Secretary Susie looked as glamorous as ever, which was a big transformation from just 30 minutes earlier when Rachel arrived on set in a long navy dressing gown and warm boots (see picture).  In fact the make up department worked their magic throughout the day, often rushing in and out of the Birmingham & Midland Institute Building armed with cosmetics and styling tools, to fix or transform that perfect 1950s look.

They also snapped a number of ‘continuity’ photos of both the main cast and supporting artists to help them recreate the same look for other scenes in the future.

With another couple of scenes completed, it was time to break for lunch and everyone left the Margaret Street location to head back to the production base for a visit to the catering team, so I took the opportunity to have a closer look at the finer details of the set design (see photo slideshow at the end of the post).  I too then headed off to my base (or home) for a warm and a drink before heading back out to Margaret Street as dusk approached.

Finally, As Darkness Descended…

Back in Margaret Street a Black Morris Police Van had joined the parade of vehicles on display and was lined up with the two Wolseley’s outside the station. A camera on a long swinging, crane like, arm had been set up opposite the station and was running through a few practice sessions of the planned shot, which would start low and slowly rise into the air as the cars were pulling away from the station.

A line of vehicles parked outside Brinford station awaits the police force

A line of vehicles parked outside Brinford station awaits the police force

A number of different camera angles were used to record the Inspector and the police officers running from the station to the vehicles before they raced off down the road. After each take the cars were reset and the action repeated until the scene had been captured from every possible direction. There was, however, a heart-stopping moment for one of the car owners when during a reset of the scene the two-tone Wolseley lurched forward, nudging the back of the black police car at the front of the line.  A worried looking Oliver Rix, the driver of the car, checked with the crew that there was no damage to either vehicle before the scene continued. It could have been a lot worse and I think he got away with it, just.

This final scene of the day involved a lot of the main cast with Sgt Fenton (Charlie De’ath) and PC Perkins (Liam Jeavons) jumping into the black Police car, the Inspector (Oliver Rix) and WPC Taylor (Claudia Jessie) getting into the Wolseley and Sgt Swift (James Barriscale) riding shotgun in the Morris van.

Liam Jeavons and James Barriscale happily posed for a quick picture before they left the Margaret Street location.

Liam Jeavons and James Barriscale happily posed for a quick picture before they left the Margaret Street location.

As the production crew called it a day there were cheers all round and everyone congratulated each other on a job well done. Before they all headed back to base I managed to briefly chat with Liam Jeavons and James Barriscale who both happily posed for a photo.

It had been a long, but very interesting day, and the small crowds that gathered throughout the day seemed excited to see a TV show being made on the streets of Birmingham.

It was merely a taster of what series three has to offer, and I was already looking forward to the series anyway, but now I’ve had a glimpse of what is to come, I can’t wait to see how it is transformed on the screen. If it’s as good as series one and two then it’s sure to be another cracking series.

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for anything that is filmed in Birmingham as I enjoy seeing how the city has been used on screen and what locations have been utilised to make the show work, however, the show still needs to grab my attention and entertain me as well and I can safely say that WPC 56 delivers in this department. With huge doses of 1950s nostalgia, great characterisation and gritty and entertaining story lines the show truly earns its Worldwide success with the earlier two series currently airing in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Hopefully the BBC will repeat series one and two before the new series airs so that those in the UK who were slow to pick up on the show can catch up on the previous episdoes.  Series Three is due on our screens early 2015.

Finally here is a slideshow of some more pictures from the filming that took place on Sunday in Margaret Street.

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WPC 56 Series 3 – Who’s in?

When the BBC Media Centre broke the following news on 27th August 2014;

Both Father Brown and WPC 56 returns for a third series. A Halloween ghost story, a Christmas wedding, the arrival of a new nurse and farewell to some familiar faces, tune into Doctors this autumn on BBC One to find out more.
WPC56 will – tx BBC One late Autumn – 10 x 45 mins. Produced by BBC Birmingham

A whole TEN episodes, that was unexpected, especially as series one and two only had 5 x 45 mins episodes. It certainly seemed that the daytime show was set for even greater exposure, and rightly so. However, just under one month later a star of the show confirmed that the 10 episode announcement was likely to be a mistake.  In a tweet, James Barriscale (Sgt Swift) doubted the release by commenting; “not unless they’re 20 mins eps!

A press release from Endemol Distribution, confirms that there will be just FIVE new episodes for series three, but it also states that they will be one hour long (Series one and two episodes were only 45 minutes long).

Here is the series three synopsis from that release;

It’s 1956 and fresh faced WPC Annie Taylor (23) is the one and only female officer in the Brinford Police. Trailblazer WPC Gina Dawson has now moved on to pastures new in the Met, leaving Annie to walk the very same beat, but with a rhythm all of her own. Hailing from a respected police family this way of life is in Annie’s blood, but as the first woman amongst them to join up she has big shoes to fill, not least of all her father’s. Annie is determined to be the best policewoman she can be, and with the same old attitudes to contend with at work and at home, it’ll be an uphill struggle. But Annie Taylor is gutsy and tenacious; she’s never given up on anything in her life, and she’s not about to start now.

So who will be returning for series three?

Filming on series three commenced on Sunday 19th October 2014 and some of the cast have already announced their involvement.

An appearance from Jennie Jacques is now looking very unlikely (unless in a flashback or in brief cameo role).  Jennie has been exceptionally busy in 2014, first with Vikings;

and then on September 17th Jennie revealed her next project would be The Delivery Man for ITV;

WPC56 Series Three

WPC Annie Taylor (Claudia Jessie) and PC Tommy Perkins (Liam Jeavons) on set during filming of series three. Photo: Liam Jeavons

So, with WPC Dawson heading to the Met, we will be seeing a new WPC on the beat in Brinford and she will be played by Claudia Jessie, revealed in this tweet from her agent.

At the end of week three filming Liam Jeavons (PC Tommy Perkins) posted a few pictures on his Facebook page and we finally got a look at the new WPC.

You can catch a glimpse of Claudia, as the nurse’s daughter, in the new Boots Christmas 2014 Advert

Confirmed – Liam Jeavons reprises his role as the shy PC Tommy Perkins

Initially heavily hinted – James Barricale will return as Sgt John Swift, unless he normally wears 1959 cardigans!

and then later confirmed

Confirmed – Rachel Leskovac returns as bubbly station secretary Susie Nightingale

So Susie, PC Perkins and Sgt Swift are back, as confirmed by this picture from Liam Jeavons on Twitter, but who else will we see?

Charlie De'ath in Series 3

News update from Waring & McKenna confirming Charlie’s involvement in Series Three.

Confirmed – Charlie De’ath (Sgt Sidney Fenton)

Charlie was last seen on our screens as a land agent in the BBC series Our Zoo, and it now seems that he will reprise his character from series one and two after his agents confirmed his involvement on their website.

Confirmed – John Bowler (Chief Superintendent Arthur Coulson) Visible on set in this series three filming image;

Confirmed – London Talent Agency, Cole Kitchenn have confirmed Daniel Brocklebank (Carl Saunders) will return

Daniel is currently dividing his time between the Weatherfield cobbles of Coronation Street and the 1950s streets of Brinford and was confirmed as being back on the WPC56 set in November in this photo from Liam Jeavons

Highly Likely – Mark Healey (Chief Inspector Briggs)

With confirmation that Daniel Brocklebank will reprise the character of Carl Saunders it does seem very likely we’ll see Mark Healey so they can pick up their storyline from series two.

Confirmed – Susannah Doyle (June Sawyer)

Susannah was a series regular in ‘Drop The Dead Donkey’ where she played, the not as cheerful as she sounds, PA Joy Merryweather. Susannah was last seen on the small screen in the 2012 ‘Outnumbered’ Christmas special, where she played Tatiana.

Confirmed – Joanna Higson (Vicky Hall)

Committed to the show until December, joining the cast in the role of Vicky Hall. Joanna has previously appeared in Shameless, Holby City and Doctors.

Confirmed – Adam Lawrence (Marty Havers)

A graduate of Birmingham School of Acting (BSA), fresh from his role as Polly Gray’s lover in the 1920s drama Peaky Blinders, jumps forward 30-odd years in time to play Marty Havers.

Confirmed – Melanie Kilburn (Lydia Taylor)

Melanie is certainly no stranger to a police drama. She has previously appeared in Juliet Bravo, Heartbeat, The Bill, Holby Blue, Lewis, DCI Banks and Law & Order:UK, so she should be quite at home in Brinford in a role quoted to be ‘Semi Regular.’

Confirmed – Amy Shepherd (Helen Reilly)

Amy graduated with a BA (Hons) Acting from ALRA: North (The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) in 2014 and this is Amy’s first TV role. Amy is a finalist in Monologue Slam at Birmingham Rep on 5th November 2014.

Casting Call Pro gave a hint to one series three storyline when they reported that Diane Ellis will play a Beauty Pageant Guest.

Out – Ben Turner (DI Max Harper)

Currently touring in ‘The Kite Runner‘, which runs until 22nd November. Due to his current commitment to his theatre tour, Ben Turner will not be available until late November, which will rule him out of a major role in series three. See comment #1 below

Location Updates

On 9th October 2014, Moseley School confirmed on Twitter they will be one of the 1950s locations used for series 3

The cast and crew completed a shoot at Chateau Impney, Droitwich on 30th October 2014.

During the first week in November series three scenes were filmed at the Black Country Museum, Dudley and in an old factory unit in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

No location for this scene, but sounds quite exciting;

When I hear any news I’ll update this post, so watch this space.

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WPC56 FAQs Series Two

The site attracted a lot of visits from fans of BBC1 daytime drama WPC56 at the start of 2014, so I thought I’d be helpful and create a page of FAQs based on the common search terms people have used to arrive on the site.

  1. Is WPC56 a new series or repeat?
    The new five part series (series two) started on Monday 10th February 2014. This was preceded a week earlier by a repeat of series one, again five episodes, that first aired in March 2013, to allow viewers to catch up on the plot lines that will continue into the second series.
    Series 3 will start filming 19th October 2014 and is likely to be on screen early 2015.
    Series Two gets another outing from Monday 2nd March 2015 on BBC One at 2.15pm.
  2. Where is WPC56 set?
    WPC56 is set in 1956 in the fictional suburb of Brinford in Birmingham.
  3. Where was WPC56 filmed?
    Series one and two were filmed on location in Birmingham and the Black Country. The exterior of Brinford Police Station is the Birmingham & Midland Institute in Margaret Street and the station interiors were filmed in an empty factory in Vittoria Street in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.  The Black Country Living Museum in Dudley was also heavily used for scenes in both series.
    Moseley School announced they will be a series three location before any filming commenced.
    Series One Locations (also see WPC56 Locations Facebook Group)
    Series Two Locations
  4. WPC56 on iPlayer?
    The episodes from series one and two are no longer available on iPlayer
  5. WPC56 on DVD?
    A DVD release of series one or two was released on 29th September 2014.
  6. WPC56 Danny Szam?
    Danny Szam plays Sapphire Club manager Chris Hutton in series two. You can find him on Twitter @DannySzam
  7. WPC56 Miss Susie Nightingale (Secretary)?
    Brinford’s new station secretary, Susie Nightingale, is played by Rachel Leskovac. You can find her on Twitter @RachelLeskovac1
  8. Who is the new D.I. in WPC56?
    DI Max Harper is played by Ben Turner. You can find him on Twitter @iamBenTurner
  9. WPC56 BBC full cast 2014?
    The best source for the main cast list is the official BBC website for the series. The Internet Movie Database will give you a full set of cast and characters for both series to date.
  10. Who plays Ruby Clarke WPC56 series 2 episode 2?
    Ruby Clarke is the undercover name that WPC Gina Dawson assumes so she can investigate the Sapphire Club. Gina (and therefore Ruby) is played by Jennie Jacques.
  11. WPC56 Theme?
    The theme was written by Debbie Wiseman OBE and a sample can be heard on her website – WPC56 Theme
  12. Who manages the Brothel in WPC56?
    Rosie Turner is the madam of the brothel and is played by Emma Cooke.
  13. What’s Lenny from WPC56 been in?
    Lenny Powell is played by Michael Higgs. Michael’s previous roles include, PC Eddie Santini in The Bill and Andy Hunter in Eastenders.

Hope these help answer your questions and I think Nigel Travis sums things up with this tweet;

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WPC 56 Series Two – Repeats Monday 2nd March 2015

The hugely successful BBC drama WPC 56 returned to daytime TV on Monday 23rd February 2015 with a repeat of series one (originally broadcast 2013). These five episodes are quickly followed by a repeat of series two from Monday 2nd March 2015 on BBC1 (originally broadcast 2014).

So what can we expect from WPC Gina Dawson and her colleagues at Brinford station in series two? We have a healthy mix of truancy, prostitution, murder, forgery and bribery giving us a daring mixture of gritty storylines for a daytime show. Here’s a detailed look at what’s in store;

New characters

Joining Gina Dawson (Jennie Jacques)  and Sergeant Fenton (Charlie De’ath) from series one at Brinford station are;

PC Tommy Perkins (former Halesowen College student Liam Jeavons), Sgt. John Swift (James Barriscale – The Bill, Silent Witness), DI Max Harper (Ben Turner – Casualty) and new secretary Susie Nightingale (Rachel Leskovac – Coronation Street, Last Tango in Halifax, Shameless)

Series Two Episode Summaries

Episode 1 (Cry Cry Cry) sees WPC Dawson and her colleagues deal with the arrival of a funfair owner Brendan McCormack’s (Francis Magee – Game of Thrones, Eastenders) travelling fair and a feud over a teenage runaway. Sgt Fenton and DI Harper clash over the discovery of the body of a married councillor at the flat of Rebecca Jones (Jessica Duncan).

Episode 2 (Dead Man Dancing) introduces a young truant, Lizzy Maddock (Harmonie Lloyd), and her local boxing champion dad, Mike Maddock (Nigel Travis – Coronation Street, Peaky Blinders, Mrs Biggs, Nowhere Boy) who finds Gina’s interfering most unwelcome. Mike’s comeback is threatened when he is ordered to throw the fight. Gina goes undercover at the Sapphire Club, managed by Chris Hutton (Danny Szam), as part of the murder case.

Episode 3 (The Eye of the Storm) leads DI Harper and PC Perkins to the elusive Rebecca, who has been beaten while being held captive at a brothel by Lenny Powell (Michael Higgs), but she won’t talk. At the Sapphire Club, Gina is enjoying her undercover role as Ruby Clarke but finds she is growing fond of manager Chris and a murder turns Sgt. Fenton’s world upside down.

Episode 4 (That Old Devil Called Love) sees Lenny arrested and under suspicion of murder. Sgt. Fenton’s deceit is discovered and even his evidence against Lenny may not be enough to save him. Lenny’s escapes when his prison transport is ambushed giving him the opportunity to reveal the true identity of Ruby Clarke.

Episode 5 (The Harder They Fall) finds Sgt. Fenton discovering a local forger is making a fake passport for Lenny, but he is shocked when he sees who turns up to collect it. A shot is fired during a struggle with a suspect and WPC Dawson is shocked to find that she is the one under investigation. Can Gina clear her name as the series reaches its thrilling conclusion? 

Series Two Locations

A great deal of series two was filmed at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley (as were a number of scenes in series one) as it makes a perfect film set for a period drama. The production returned to Margaret Street in Birmingham city centre to film the exterior of Brinford station at the Birmingham & Midland Institute and the interior scenes were filmed in an old factory building in Vittoria Street in the Jewellery Quarter.

The brothel scenes were filmed at Bearwood Corks Club, Bearwood Road, Smethwick and other scenes were shot in Edgbaston and Barnt Green.

If you missed series one then make sure you catch up on BBC iPlayer before you catch series two next week. As Daniel Brocklebank (who plays Carl Saunders) confirms below it’s great pretending to be back in the 1950s and WPC56 will take you there each day at 2.15pm.

The WPC 56 Cast on Twitter

A large number of the WPC 56 cast are on Twitter,

Welcome back Brinford and here’s hoping that series two expands the fantastic viewing figures from the first series (22% share of audience) and we get a further series of adventures with WPC Gina Dawson.

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WPC56 – Series Two

It’s been confirmed for a while now that the great daytime series WPC56 would be getting a second series, hopefully airing at a  more mainstream time of day, but this evening the lead actress has confirmed they start shooting, in Birmingham this weekend.

Jennie Jacques Post

Confirmation that WPC56 series two starts shooting in Birmingham 19th/20th October








If you need a reminder of some of the locations used in series one then you can check the WPC56 Locations page and keep your eyes open for 1950s cars and clothes on the Birmingham streets over the next few weeks as shooting gets underway.

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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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