“IT’S definitely him. Whats-his-name. Pete Postlethwaite. It’s him, isn’t it?”

Turns out it wasn’t Pete Postlethwaite (who died in 2011) in the doorway of a Saltaire shop last week, dressed as an undertaker from 1916. My sister and her colleague, who work in the village, were watching the crew of Alan Bennett’s new film The Choral setting up a scene when they noticed a familiar actor, through the window of Herbert Trickett Undertakers. “He was standing very still, dressed in black, in character,” my sister told me. “It was him, Pete Postlethwaite.”

Actually, it was Alun Armstrong. Herbert Trickett Undertakers is a shop front set from the film which, along with other props like Grundy & Sons Milliners, vintage bicycles on street corners and a sign for ‘Women Suffragists Celebration’, have taken Saltaire back to 1916.

The model village is, of course, a gift for film-makers. With its charming Victorian streets and cobbled passages, flanked by the mighty Salts Mill, the World Heritage Site is a ready-made set for period drama, from 19th century Calder Valley in Gentleman Jack to small-town 1970s Lancashire in Funny Cow. The Choral is set in the First World War. When the younger members of a choral society are packed off to the Front, it’s left to old men and teenagers to keep the choir going. The new recruits discover the joy of singing, and the urgency of life in wartime.

Saltaire’s “living history” vibe adds poignancy to the backdrop. In recent weeks scenes have been filmed on streets where, in 1916, real life lads in uniform left these terraced houses, some never to return. Like the community in this film, the impact of that war was felt strongly in these tight-knit streets, long before they were granted listed status and opened up for heritage tours and arts trails.

The Choral - Bennett’s first original screenplay since A Private Function, filmed in Ilkley 40 years ago - is the latest of many productions shot in and around Bradford. Barely a month goes by without a film crew turning up, and we mortals tend to be unfazed by it all. John Malkovich mooched round the city centre, while shooting a murder mystery, and no-one batted an eyelid. Helen Mirren went to the Alhambra panto while filming The Duke. Cillian Murphy wandered in Centenary Square between takes of Peaky Blinders in City Hall. And this week Ralph Fiennes, star of The Choral, filmed a scene in Saltaire’s main street, as locals passed nonchalantly by.

We’re used to seeing A-listers hanging around, surrounded by cameras, cabling and people in puffer jackets clutching clipboards. We just let them get on with it. And that seems to go down well with film crews. From what I know of filming in places like Saltaire and Little Germany, both popular for film and TV dramas, it’s a positive, co-operative relationship between production crews and residents/businesses. When Netflix drama The English Game filmed in Saltaire, the director chatted with onlookers who, in turn, were respectful during filming.The Choral team have sent nice letters to properties in Saltaire, highlighting the “understanding and goodwill of local residents.”

When a film starring Maxine Peake was shot in a Saltaire house, the producer was touched by the friendly welcome from residents, despite their little street being flooded with light and noise at all hours. I’ve been on TV sets with Sally Wainwright and Kay Mellor, both full of praise for Bradford folk while filming in public places.

The same can’t be said for snooty Downton Abbey. When the first film was shot on a Bradford back street - an entire night shoot for what ended up a two-minute scene - I went along and was met with signs warning the hoi polloi to keep out. A jobsworth in a puffer jacket was muttering into a walkie talkie, like he was keeping hordes of crazed onlookers at bay - despite me being literally the only person on the street. The jobsworth sent me packing. A week later I was hanging out with Cillian Murphy in City Hall. That’s showbiz!