TV & Showbiz

Viewers react to discovering new TV drama A Gentleman in Moscow was actually filmed in Bolton

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 3rd April 2024

Viewers are just discovering that the new TV drama series, A Gentleman in Moscow, was actually filmed in… Bolton.

That’s right, whether you can believe it or not – and much to the shock of local residents, too – the Greater Manchester town had itself a bit of a Stalin era-themed makeover last year, and served as the perfect place to recreate the Russian capital city for a brand-new TV drama miniseries starring Ewan McGregor.

Based on the bestselling 2016 novel of the same name by Amor Towles, the new series titled A Gentleman in Moscow has now started airing on streaming platform Paramount+ in the UK.

Over the course of the gripping eight-part series, it tells the story of aristocrat Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov, played by McGregor, who has recently returned to Russia from Paris, and spends decades banished to an attic hotel room following the October Revolution after being sentenced to house arrest by a Bolshevik tribunal.

But, despite the very-Russian theme running through the show – which also stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Fehinti Balogun, Daniel Cerqueria, Johnny Harris, Leah Harvey, and more – production crews never actually ventured to Moscow to film.


Instead, they chose several locations across northern England, and one of those locations was, none other than, Bolton.

Filming began in Victoria Square outside Bolton Town Hall on 27 February 2023, with the Town Hall itself appearing a handful of times throughout the show’s first episode, and took place into March, before returning again in April 2023.


As well as Bolton, Liverpool Town Hall was used as a filming location in June 2023, and filming also took place in Halifax and Leeds Civic Hall too.

Eagle-eyed viewers who tuned into the first episode of the show and spotted Bolton Town Hall in all its glory were quick to head on over to social media to share their reactions – and disbelief, mostly – that the Greater Manchester town had an unexpected starring role.

One fan wrote on X: “Very bizarre moment for me. I’m from northwest England, but live in Moscow. I’m watching the new TV series ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’, couldn’t help but notice that it had been filmed in Bolton…”


“Learnt that A Gentleman in Moscow was filmed in Bolton yesterday and my interest shot way up. How did they pull that off?,” another viewer commented.

A third pointed out that Bolton has actually doubled as Russia before.

“It’s been used before for same purpose,” they wrote on X, “In the late 80s when I was in my teens, we went shopping to Bolton, and there was a giant portrait of Stalin hanging from the front of the town hall. My mum thought there had been a Militant takeover on the Council.”

Others were also quick to add that Bolton has been a popular filming location for movies and TV shows for the past couple of decades.

Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley, Red Rose, Traces, The Reckoning, and Brassic are just some of the smash-hit shows having been filmed in the town in recent years.


One viewer wrote: “When I first visited Bolton in the early 90s, I was told the Town Hall often stood in for European Government buildings in films. No need to change a good thing”, while another commented that they “thought it looked familiar”.

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You can watch A Gentleman in Moscow streaming now on Paramount+ in the UK.

Featured Image – Showtime & Paramount TV