Posts Tagged Locations

Danny and the Human Zoo – Mon 31st Aug 2015

In the week before the screen debut of Lenny Henry’s semi-biographical story of a young comedian growing up in and finding fame in Dudley, Roz Laws in the Birmingham Evening Mail has been running a few stories about the making of the show and what to expect when it goes out on Monday 31st August.

Lenny Henry on the things he wished his father had said

Arthur Darvill’s on creating a 1970’s sleazeball

Behind the scenes on the set of Danny and the Human Zoo

In the articles Roz reveals some of the locations used by the production team when making the show, they include;

  • Banqueting Palace on Birchfield Road, Aston
  • Margaret Street, Birmingham
  • Moseley Village, Birmingham
  • Claughton Community Centre, Dudley
  • Dudley Market
  • Fountain Arcade, Dudley
  • Dudley Zoo and Castle
  • Koh-i-Noor Restaurant on Bristol Street, Birmingham
  • Albany Theatre, Coventry
  • Buffery Park, Dudley
  • Netherton canal tunnel
  • Thomas Dudley Foundry, Dudley
  • Blackpool North Pier Theatre – The only non-Midlands location used

Look out for these and other familiar locations during the 90 minute drama at 9pm on Bank Holiday Monday.

If you missed the show you can catch it on iPlayer until 28th September and if you are still unsure if you should watch then check out these twitter comments that were posted during or shortly after it aired.  It was a huge hit.

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Doctors Celebrating 3,000 Episodes – Ian Kelsey Interview

Back in May 2015 the cast and crew of Doctors went out on location in Birmingham city centre to record scenes for a special hour long episode to celebrate the milestone of reaching 3,000 episodes of the popular BBC daytime soap.  With the special hour long episode due on screen on 10th September it won’t be long now before we all get to see what happened

The official press release is cloaked in secret but does give a hint of what to expect in what promises to be an exciting climax to an ongoing story of police corruption in Letherbridge.

A shooting in a city centre, A dance with a whiff of romance, A damaged child saved…and corruption exposed.

Ian Kelsey plays Howard Bellamy

Ian Kelsey waits on set during the filming of Doctors 3000th episode in Birmingham.

I was fortunate enough to catch up with a few of the cast in between scenes. My second cast interview of the day was with the soon to be departing, Ian Kelsey, who plays The Mill’s Practice Manager, Howard Bellamy.

Ian is no stranger to TV soap drama, having played Dave Glover in Emmerdale for 6 years in the 1990s, so I started by asking Ian how the filming schedule on Doctors compared to other serial dramas he’s worked on.

Ian was very clear on the pressures of working on the BBC daytime show, “The speed, I’ve never worked on anything as fast as this, never. It takes you a while to get used to it, well actually you never get used to it. Even after three years there are still scenes that slip by that you could have done a lot better but because of the speed your quality content just drops, you have to drop your level of acceptance of what has just been filmed because you can’t say can I have another take, it just doesn’t work on a show like this.”

“On other jobs you do have time to get it right, I’m not saying we get it wrong but there are sometimes when it’s a situation that if all the right words are in the right order and the boom [microphone] didn’t show then we’re moving on.  It’s tough because you are against the clock, but it’s also the content you have to learn. Once you’ve finished a big day you’ve got to go home and put another fifteen scenes in your head.”

The five times a week show films on a triple banking shooting schedule with three different crews filming different stories across multiple episodes at the same time, so I asked Ian how much this contributed to the busy workloads the cast often find themselves under.

Ian explained, “There are three of four of us that get hit every year, when the extra director steps up, carrying three episodes himself, so at any point during a triple strand you’ve got nine episodes in your head and you are crisscrossing all day long onto different blocks. You’ve really got to be on your game and know, have I had an argument with that person, have I kissed her yet, have we fallen out yet and even has she had her baby yet, it’s ridiculous and it’s tough. It’s mainly me and the receptionists, when it’s that time of year, we get hammered, because it’s just like working in the Queen Vic, you’ve got your fingers in everybody’s pies as our position in the show means we know about everybody’s goings on.”

Playing Practice Manager, Howard, means that Ian has to work with most of the other cast on a regular basis, so I asked him how he prepared for all the different relationships he needs to maintain throughout the show.

Ian gave huge credit to the writers in his response, “Sometimes you have to make it up yourself and eventually the writers pick up on, very quickly on this show I may add, if I put a character trait in, and keep my eye on how often I can do that, then the writers will grab hold of that and you’ll find within weeks or months, what you’ve developed somebody will have put in for you. It’s like when I read a script the other day, I’d got a scene with Ian Midlane who plays Al, and that writer has absolutely nailed his rhythm, everybody has different rhythms, and when I was reading it I could just absolutely hear him talking and that writer has obviously paid attention and nailed Ian Midlane’s delivery.”

With Ian completing over 400 episodes as Howard, I asked if there was any particular one that stood out as a personal favourite of his and after a bit of thought he said, “Well, the one I wrote myself, that was [a] brilliant [experience]. It was such an interesting learning curve having to write to the perimeters of a budget. Only having three people, other than cast members, to tell your story, and you can’t have a fourth, and you realise just how difficult it is to tell a story with just three people. You are always needing them to talk to someone else, so you are having to engineer phone calls or conversations away from camera and they have to come back and say ‘have you heard what they have just said’. Of course getting Caroline Quentin in to play my sister was a laugh, as she’s good fun.”

With a stream of guest actors coming and going in Doctors I took the opportunity to ask if there was anyone in particular that Ian would like to bring in to work alongside. After a short pause he went for, “Sandra Bullock, that would be good, she could come in and be my girlfriend I suppose.”

With news of Howard’s departure still fresh, and his final scenes to be filmed on the 10th July, I asked Ian what was next,

“I don’t know, that’s the exciting thing. I’m writing a ten or twelve part kids with Justin Fletcher (Mr Tumbles), we went to drama school together, and we are developing this kids series at the moment. He’s just finished working for the BBC recently, so hopefully we’ll get some time together to get that off the ground. Let’s see what happens, that’s the exciting thing about taking my leave. I’ve had a lot of fun [on Doctors] but when it’s time, it’s time.”

Ian Kelsey Interview

Ian Kelsey being interviewed by What’s on TV

Since the interview it’s been announced that Ian will be touring the UK in the lead role of banker Andy Dufresne in the stage play of The Shawshank Redemption alongside his former Casualty co-star, Patrick Robinson.  The show opened in Windsor on 18th August and can be seen at theatres around the country until November, when it finishes in Cardiff.

You can see and hear more of what Ian Kelsey had to say during the filming in a video on the What’s On TV website.

I’ll publish more of the interviews and photos from the day in the lead up to the special hour long episode on 10th September and the Doctors filming location now features in the Birmingham TV & Film locations walking tour that operates in conjunction with Film Birmingham.

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Lenny comes home – bringing Danny and the Human Zoo

I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Dudley Premiere of Lenny Henry’s Danny and the Human Zoo on 20th August 2015 and now I have watched the 90 minute drama, I can confidently say you are in for a Bank Holiday treat.  The wonderfully entertaining 90 minute premiere was followed by a Q&A, hosted by Radio WM’s Adrian Goldberg, with questions put to director Destiny Ekaragha, writer Lenny Henry and lead actor Kascion Franklin.

Danny and the Human Zoo is loosely based on Lenny’s own early life in Dudley and his rise to fame through the ATV Talent Show, New Faces, which was recorded at the recently demolished ATV Studios on Broad Street, Birmingham.

Danny and the Human Zoo Review

Following an opening text that claims the ‘events are real…honest’, a needle drops onto a vinyl record and we are treated to a brief burst of Mille’s My Boy Lollipop and introduced to a dancing Danny, way back in 1964.  The next decade soon arrives and so do the hits of the era, which cement the action firmly in the seventies, and bring a recollective smile to the faces of many of the lucky few that have obtained tickets. The music throughout is wonderful, it even has a theme tune, Pharrell William’s Freedom, that is so catchy you will be humming it for days to come.

As well as the music the 70s fashions, cars and even the TV shows of the era are all perfectly represented with clips from Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game, Mike Yarwood and Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em featuring on the family TV. Director Destiny Ekaragha made an amusing reference to the Dudley Zoo chair lift in the Q&A, stating she was scared to ride it as she thought it was a very authentic 1970s attraction, to be corrected by Lenny Henry who informed it it WAS the original 1970s Dudley Zoo attraction she had ridden.

The title role of Danny is played by Wednesbury actor  Kascion Franklin, in his first major role, and if this is the standard of his performance then he has a long and successful career ahead of him. He absolutely shines as Danny, playing comedy and tragedy with seemingly effortless and equal measure and creates an extremely likable character that you warm to immediately.  Danny struggles with racist bullying both in and out of school and there are a few phrases that were difficult to hear in our modern era, but that only helps to recreate the social environment of a 1970s era Dudley.

Throughout his story Danny is supported by his Black Country mates, who have some great lines all delivered in a wonderful local dialect by the young cast, however, they are knocked firmly into second place in the accent stakes by Danny’s Jamaican family, in particular Cecilia Noble, who puts in an award winning performance as Danny’s mother Myrtle.  Lenny Henry’s role, as Danny’s dad Samson, is also perfectly played and while his screen time is quite limited, he puts in a perfectly measured performance while letting the other characters and his heartwarming and honest script take centre stage.

Other familiar faces to look out for include, Arthur Darvill (Dr Who) as Danny’s manager Jonesy, Mark Benton (Waterloo Road) as a not so pleasant compare, Syd Bolton, at a Working Man’s Club, Cherrelle Skeete (Ordinary Lies) as Danny’s policewoman sister Dee Dee and Evanna Lynch (Harry Potter) as Danny Irish barmaid girlfriend, Bridget.  There is even a brief appearance by Richard Wilson as promoter James Broughton, who thinks absolutely nothing of adding the young black impressionist to the line-up of his Black and White Minstrel show as well as appearances from James and Oliver Phelps (Harry Potter) who play the twin managers of the Queen Mary’s Ballroom at Dudley Zoo.

There are plenty of location spotting opportunities throughout with scenes filmed at Dudley Zoo, Netherton Canal and a factory in Tipton as well as some scenes that were filmed in Moseley and Birmingham, including the Banqueting Palace at Perry Barr.

The show is witty and funny with some laugh out loud moments but it also has some darker moments with family tragedy, manipulative agents and those brief racist moments that will no doubt leave those viewers too young to remember the seventies open mouthed in shock.  What comes across really clearly is that Lenny loves Dudley and as he said in the Q&A he could not have made this film anywhere else and he seemed genuinely proud to bring his story back home.

Even though I’ve seen it already, I can’t wait to watch it all over again on Bank Holiday Monday.

Further Coverage

Birmingham Mail

Express and Star

Radio Times

BBC Midlands Today

 

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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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Discovering Kinsey – Series One, Episode One

With the kind help and co-operation of the contacts I’ve made through the TV Location tours, I have been lucky enough to obtain copies of both series one and two of Kinsey, a BBC drama from the early nineties. I was unaware of the series until recently and was interested to see which Birmingham locations were used throughout the series.

Kinsey was made at BBC Pebble Mill and set in Birmingham and ran for just two series, broadcast in 1991 & 1992. It told the story of a maverick Birmingham solicitor, Neil Kinsey, his business partners, rival solicitors and the cases they were fighting for their various clients. Neil Kinsey was played by Leigh Lawson, husband of model and actress Twiggy, and also featured a number of now well known actors and actresses which you can discover on the pages I’ve now updated on the IMDB.

What I find most interesting about shows from several years ago is how the city centre landscape has altered over such a relatively short period of time and I’m pleased to report that Kinsey was certainly no disappointment in this area.

Birmingham at night

An aerial panning shot of Birmingham at night provides the opening credit backdrop

As the theme tune to the show played, a catchy Dave Greenslade composition with vocals performed by Marti Webb, it set the tone for the story that was about to unfold in episode one.

“There’s no escape to paradise, just live the life you’re in
With all to lose you cannot choose but win the life you’re in
Pick up the broken pieces, prepare the broken heart
One day you’ll find the pain has gone
The game’s about to start”

I had not reached the end of the opening credits before I was treated to a fantastic view across the Birmingham city centre at night.  The Rotunda dominated the centre of the shot and in the foreground I could just make out the huge crane that was building the new TSB Head Office on the site of the former Post Office in Victoria Square.

It was also apparent that the current work on the New Street station area would again change the shape of the city and this fantastic panning shot was taking me right back to a 1990 Birmingham that was missing so many of the current landmarks that are now taken for granted.

Hall Green Greyhound Stadium

Hall Green Greyhound Stadium, where Kinsey meets Gerry Hollis and Keith Schofield

Episode one opens with car driving through what is now the pedestrianised Victoria Square, which is followed by a secret meeting in the car between two mystery people. What becomes clear in the next 50 minutes is that they are a very key part of this story. They are Kinsey’s business partner, Barry Haynes, and the practice cashier, Linda Barnes, and they are planning an escape but first need to find more money to fund the venture.

Meanwhile Kinsey is meeting an old friend and rival solicitor, Gerry Hollis, at the dog track. Their discussion is interrupted by the shady figure of Keith Schofield (brilliantly played by Gavin Richards) who is unhappy and suggests that Barry may be avoiding him. Schofield suggests he may have to speak to Gerry about changing his solicitor, but after he leaves Kinsey advises that Schofield may best be avoided.

Kinsey Haynes Solicitors Offices were located at Coleridge Chambers

Kinsey walks past Coleridge Passage as he arrives at his office in Corporation Street

The next morning Kinsey walks down Corporation Street to the offices of Kinsey Haynes Solicitors.

The exterior of the practice office in series one was the Coleridge Chambers building, which was ideally located right next door to the Birmingham Victorian Law Courts.

Kinsey is greeted by practice secretary Valerie, played by Wolverhampton born actress Meera Syal. She informs him that Eddie, played by Mark Womack (the husband of Eastenders actress Samantha Womack), is out working on one of Barry’s cases. Eddie is busy tackling a battle with some squatters who have taken up residence in a shop premises.

Barry and Linda are putting the final details of their plan together by clearing out the funds of the Schofield account, which they do on a 1990s era VDU screen.

Fletchers Walk, Birmingham

Kinsey and Eddie arrive to evict the shop squatters

Kinsey and Eddie work out a plan to remove the squatters. They arrive outside the XL club (now known as Subside Bar) in Fletchers Walk with a fake gas leak story that they hope will remove the squatters long enough for them to reclaim the premises for the shop owner.  While they are busy carrying out their plan, Barry is busy clearing out the practice safe and making a getaway.

We next see Barry and Linda meeting at Birmingham International Airport where they catch a flight to Portugal.  Kinsey is first alerted to their deception when neither of them arrive for work the following day.

The episode concludes with Kinsey discovering the scale and impact of Barry and Linda’s actions and the disappearance of the Schofield account funds. This news is made worse when rival solicitor Max Barker is appointed by the Bureau to oversee the running of Kinsey’s practice following Barry’s indiscretion.

I think I’m going to really enjoy discovering this series from nearly 25 years ago and I will post an episode by episode guide to some of the locations used over the 12 episodes in the weeks to come, starting with an episode one slideshow below.

 

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We Are The Freaks … Goes Large with Justin Edgar

We Are The Freaks (2013)

We Are The Freaks is the latest movie from Birmingham’s very own Justin Edgar and 104 Films.

Following its success at the Edinburgh Film Festival last summer the Handsworth born writer and director brings the anarchic movie about three misfits having the night of their lives to wonderful The Electric cinema in Birmingham on Friday 25th April 2014 for a special screening and a Q&A session with the director and some of the cast (Sean Teale and Amber Anderson).

Set in Birmingham during the end of the Thatcher government with a thumping 90s soundtrack, from bands such as New Order and Happy Mondays, the movie introduces us to Jack (Jamie Blackley – Misfits), Chunks (Sean Teale – Mr Selfridge & Skins) and Parsons (Mike Bailey – Skins) and draws some of its influences and styles from the likes of The Inbetweeners, Ferris Buellers Day Off and Trainspotting.

There are a few obvious Birmingham locations included in the two minute trailer (see below) including Water Street (last seen in By Any Means), the former ATV/Central studios and the iconic Birmingham Municipal Bank vault.

The movie gets a quick DVD release too and is available from 5th May 2014 so there will be more opportunities to discover the Birmingham locations in your own home.

Large (2001)

Justin Edgar is no stranger to filming in Birmingham as his 2001 feature film debut Large was shot on location in and around Birmingham and The Black Country and edited at Pebble Mill. Filmed in just six weeks in March and April 2000 on a budget of £1.4m it featured cameos from TV stars Les Dennis and Phil Cornwell.

The movie didn’t fair too well at the cinema but was a huge success in the DVD market having been picked up by Pathé distribution. This tale of a young eighteen year old trying to keep to the strict conditions of his rock star father’s inheritance picked up a cult following that meant it sold around 30,000 copies to the home entertainment market.

There are a number of Birmingham locations to spot throughout Large, but the shooting style gives them an odd colour cast throughout that makes Birmingham look a lot more vibrant than normal.

The former Bell Edison Building on Newhall Street is the location where a young Jason Mouseley (Luke de Woolfson) discovers the details of his father’s will and the strict rules for him to collect his inheritance when he reaches 18 years of age.

The changing city landscape is noticeable in a few scenes however one is the more obvious than most as the Suffolk Street footbridge was demolished around eight years ago, some 5 years after the film was released and we also get a fleeting glimpse of Alpha Tower and Central TV Studios. Interestingly the characters were off to the Registry Office on Broad Street, which moved to Holliday Wharf in February 2006, but instead of using the ‘real’ offices they headed into a ‘re-signed’ Baskerville House for the ceremony.

In one scene outside the ‘Registry Office’ you can see the Municipal Bank and the Central TV Studios Reception on the other side of Broad Street.

Also featured are The Burlington Arcade, Cherwell Court in Sutton Coldfield and a scene at the Black Country Living Museum.

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Further Information

We Are The Freaks Edinburgh Review – Variety

104 Films on Twitter

We Are The Freaks on Twitter

Large Opening Night Story

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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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Brassed Off – 1996

Brassed Off. The interior of the Royal Albert Hall scenes were shot at Birmingham Town Hall in Victoria Square.
Image Source: British Film Locations Website

Released in 1996 this story of the Grimley Colliery Brass band and their struggles against the Conservative Government’s policy of pit closures was filmed mainly in South Yorkshire, but when the band win through the finals of the national brass band competition they head off to the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The movie starred a number of big name UK actors including Ewan McGregor, Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, Stephen Tompkinson and Sue Johnston.

Filming the competition in a major London venue obviously proved too costly or logistically difficult so they used the Birmingham Town Hall, Victoria Square, as an interior ‘double’ of the Royal Albert Hall.

In a memorable scene the band win the competition with a blistering rendition of the William Tell Overture before Danny (Pete Postlethwaite) makes an heart-felt and emotional speech about the closure program ruining industry and lives and refuses to accept the trophy.

An supporting artiste on the day of filming, 30th November 1995, has posted a two part blog about the experience.  Bobby Civil was in the audience listening to the Grimley Colliery Band but also was asked to play one of the competition judges. You can see Bobby in clip of the Pete Postlethwaite speech link above, the middle of three judges standing behind the trophy table.

Brassed Off – Part One – Bobby Civil’s Blog

Brassed Off – Part Two – Bobby Civil’s Blog

Added Trivia

So inspirational was that Pete Postlethwaite speech recorded in Birmingham Town Hall on a cold November day that it was used in the intro of the 1997 UK no. 2 hit Tubthumping by Chumbawumba.

“Truth is, I thought it mattered; I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks! Not compared to how people matter.”

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TV Tours Feature in Birmingham Mail

On January 10th 2014 The Birmingham Evening Mail online published their Top 5 Birmingham locations used in TV

They were;

  1. Hustle – Houghton Auctioneers: School of Art Margaret Street
  2. Line of Duty – Canal Jump Stunt, Fleet Street
  3. Brassed Off – Birmingham Town Hall, Victoria Square
  4. WPC56 – Birmingham & Midland Institute, Margaret Street
  5. Survivors – Birmingham Municipal Bank, Broad Street

Have a look through the list of locations index on the site and see if you can spot your own favourites

New tour dates will be announced Spring 2014

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By Any Means – New BBC Drama

Last Sunday (22nd September 2013) saw the start of By Any Means, a new BBC drama from the makers of Hustle. It started with great promise pulling in 4.1 million viewers despite being up against the formidable Downtown Abbey.

As with Hustle the show is set in London but was filmed on location in Birmingham over 16 weeks between April and August 2013 so those eagle eyed Birmingham viewers may spot some familiar landmarks as the six episode drama unfolds.

The show follows a clandestine team who do things the police can’t do, who step outside the law to catch people, using any means and stars Gina McKee, Warren Brown, Shelley Conn and Andrew-Lee Potts and a host of guest stars such as Keith Allen and Birmingham’s David Harewood,

Producer Tim Key is quoted as saying “It shows how film-friendly Birmingham is. The more productions that come here, the better. We are good for the local economy, as we’re using local caterers and are basing our production facilities at The Bond (Digbeth).”

By Any Means Links

Episode One locations mapped

Birmingham Post inside By Any Means

Arsenal Kit Boycot By Any Means

By Any Means continues on Sunday 29th September at 9pm on BBC One.

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