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How TV gets switched on by Bradford
As well as its influence on the big screen, Bradford has provided the backdrop for a huge range of television dramas.
Most recently, the television adaptation of David Peace’s Red Riding “Yorkshire Noir” crime books took place in and around Bradford. Set against the turbulent times of the Seventies and Eighties, with the hunt for the Ripper and allegations of police brutality and corruption, Red Riding made for often bleak and disturbing viewing.
With a stellar cast including Sean Bean, Warren Clarke, Lesley Sharpe and David Morrissey, the series filmed on location in Little Germany, Lister Park and the former Masonic hall the Connaught Rooms on Manningham Lane.
Last year, the former Tyrls police station off Centenary Square became the base for the production team behind Spooks: Code 9.
Set in the near future, this series on BBC3 was a spin-off from the hugely popular MI5 drama Spooks. It postulated a situation where a terrorist nuclear bomb had wiped out much of London, meaning the security services had to operate with raw recruits from provincial bases.
Among the cast were Joanne Froggatt (Life On Mars, Coronation Street), Liam Boyle (The Street, The Bill) and Georgia Moffett (Doctor Who), daughter of Peter Davison.
The crew and cast could be seen filming in several parts of the city centre – as well as using the Tyrls for indoor and outside shots, they also went on location to Little Germany, the Kirkgate Centre and City Hall.
There was a huge outcry recently when ITV announced that it was “resting” hospital drama The Royal, which has been partly filmed in Bradford.
The popular medical drama, set in St Aidan’s Royal Free Hospital in the 1960s, was launched in 2002 as a spin-off from Heartbeat.
Filming has been divided between Bradford, with interior scenes shot in a disused ward at St Luke’s Hospital, and Scarborough, where the exterior of St Aidan’s is a former hotel. Filming locations also included Saltaire and Burley-in-Wharfedale.
ITV said earlier this year: “Heartbeat and The Royal are an important part of the ITV schedule and are currently in production.
Production will take a rest after this year’s filming finishes, but a large number of episodes have been stockpiled.”
The Royal Today, a contemporary version of The Royal, was also filmed at St Luke’s. The series was aired last year but has not been continued.
The Royal stars Ian Carmichael, Wendy Craig and Robert Cavanah. Bradford actress Natalie Anderson, who was born at St Luke’s Hospital, played Nurse Stella Davenport, killed in a gas explosion in the latest series.
One of telly’s longest-running soaps, Emmerdale, did of course used to be filmed at Esholt, although it is now shot on a purpose-built lot on the Harewood Estate. But the original Woolpack still does a lively trade with visiting coach parties anxious to see the “real” Emmerdale.
Kay Mellor’s prostitute drama Band Of Gold turned the spotlight on to the streets of Manningham and put Lumb Lane on the map for the TV-watching world.
The Channel 4 nursing drama No Angels was filmed at High Royds Hospitals at Menston, as was the BBC’s dark medical drama Bodies.
North and South, based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, used a Keighley mill as a location.