A brand new hotly-anticipated drama series aired on Channel 4 last week and it joins the ever-growing list of productions filmed right on our doorstep.
Greater Manchester has been earning itself a reputation over the past few years as one of the go-to filming locations for an impressive roster of tv shows, films and blockbuster productions, with the streets of our city and boroughs often doubling up as London, New York and more.
And now it’s emerged that the star-studded cast and critically-acclaimed team behind Channel 4’s newest drama series is the latest lot to have taken advantage of what our region has to offer.
It’s A Sin is a five-part drama series created by revered screenwriter and producer Russell T Davies – who is best-known for his work in Doctor Who, Queer As Folk and Casanova, and has also previously set and filmed a number of his other shows in Manchester too, including trilogy series Cucumber, Banana & Tofu in 2015, and Years & Years in 2019 – and it explores the lives of three young gay men affected by the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
The series is loosely inspired by Davies’ own real-life experiences, who was also an 18-year-old gay man at the start of the AIDS crisis.
The show has a seriously-impressive line-up of up-and-coming talent and big names too, with popstar and actor Olly Alexander leading the series, alongside newcomers Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells, and supporting roles coming from veteran actors Stephen Fry, Neil Patrick Harris, Keeley Hawes and Shaun Dooley.
But perhaps one of the most interesting facts about the series for Mancunians is that, while the show is predominantly set in the English capital, a significant chunk of scenes were actually filmed in Greater Manchester.
It was confirmed that principal photography for the show began in Manchester in October 2019.
One of the most-notable Greater Manchester locations to be utilised for the series is Bolton – which has seen the likes of Peaky Blinders, The Stranger, White Lines, The English Game and more filmed on its streets, with BBC’s Ridley Road the latest the pitch up – with its central cobbled street Le Mans Crescent, behind Bolton Town Hall, being transformed into a 1980s London to serve as the setting for for the programme.
Camera crews rolled into Bolton on 17th October 2019 to film for the show, and they brought an array of props, such as retro cars, which were used as a backdrop to the drama.
Several other central Manchester locations have also been identified by eagle-eyed viewers upon the series’ air, including inside of The Marble Arch, The Star and Garter, The Thirsty Scholar, and Gorilla, as well as on Great Marlborough Street and Paton Street.
Other familiar locations are likely to be spotted in further episodes.
Keen to know a little more about the show?
A Channel 4 description for It’s A Sin reads: “Ritchie, Roscoe and Colin are young lads, strangers at first, leaving home at 18 and heading off to London in 1981 with hope and ambition and joy… and walking straight into a plague that most of the world ignores.
“Year by year, episode by episode, their lives change, as the mystery of a new virus starts as a rumour, then a threat, then a terror, and then something that binds them together in the fight.
“It’s the story of their friends, lovers and families too, especially Jill, the girl who loves them and helps them, and galvanises them in the battles to come [and] together they will endure the horror of the epidemic, the pain of rejection and the prejudices that gay men faced throughout the decade.”
It’s A Sin airs on continues on Channel 4 this Friday at 9pm.
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.