BBC war drama filmed in Wigan
The glitz and glamour of prime-time TV production has descended on Wigan as the town was visited by crews shooting a new war drama.
Production teams behind epic BBC World War Two series World on Fire are training their lenses on the town with a number of local spots appearing in the filming schedule for the big-budget series.
Crews used The Old Courts in Wigan town centre to stand in for venues including Levenshulme Palais in Manchester and a decadent Parisian nightspot called Club Amour.
And the crews will close Kendal Street in Gidlow today to work on the eight-part series, which examines lives across the world during the turbulent first months of conflict and stars Academy Award-winning actor Helen Hunt at the top of a stellar cast.
The BBC confirmed some of the lead actors in the programme, which features the talents of Olivier Award winner Lesley Manville and rising British stars Jonah Hauer-King and Julia Brown, did visit Wigan but would not say which stars were in the borough for filming.
Residents who have stepped in as extras and the owners of film locations have also been sworn to secrecy on many of the details.
The Crawford Street culture hub will welcome crews again in the new year for more scenes based in the Palais.
And those working on the exciting drama have been keen to say how impressed they have been with the borough.
Andrew Bainbridge, location manager for World on Fire, said: “From the first time I visited Wigan, I knew that it would offer us some great locations for World on Fire and I wasn’t wrong.
“The town offers great streets and some very interesting spaces (not all of which we are using) but most of all the welcome from the residents, businesses and the council has been overwhelming.
“The town has a real can-do attitude and I will always consider filming in Wigan again.”
Written by Peter Bowker, who has worked on the likes of The A Word, Eric and Ernie and Blackpool, World on Fire features an international cast as it follows how war draws together the fates of ordinary people from Britain, Poland, France, Germany and the US.
As well as Wigan the cast are shooting in Manchester, London, Paris, Berlin and Prague.
Stories include a young English translator in Warsaw trying to smuggle his Polish girlfriend out of the country, a young factory worker taking the opportunities war brings for them and a German family trying to protect their disabled daughter from the inhuman Nazi regime.
It is being produced by Mammoth Studios and will be on BBC One next year.
The extent of Wigan’s inclusion in the final cut is yet to be decided.