Updated: Tuesday, 25th February 2020 @ 8:29pm

MM’s top five... TV shows set in Greater Manchester

MM’s top five... TV shows set in Greater Manchester

By Matt Simpson

Over the years, Greater Manchester has played host to some of the best and most iconic shows seen on British television. MM takes you through the top five programmes which have best showcased the area.

5. Life on Mars (2006-2007)

Set in 1970s Manchester, and featuring some of the best music of the decade, this series followed the story of Sam Tyler of the Greater Manchester Police.

Tyler (John Simm) wakes up in the past, after suffering a coma, and finds himself working alongside the politically-incorrect Gene Hunt (an excellent Philip Glenister).

The BBC1 series offered a realistic look at Manchester 40 years ago and was hugely successful, spawning the 1980s spin-off Ashes to Ashes.

4. Phoenix Nights (2001-2002)

Possibly Peter Kay’s finest creation, this sitcom was centred on the troubles of a Farnworth working men’s club owner, the hapless Brian Potter.

Potter and the rest of his staff, including lovable doormen Max and Paddy, do everything they can to keep the club still standing, often to hilarious effect.

Starring some of the North West’s most popular comedians, including Paddy McGuinness, Dave Spikey and of course Kay himself, the comedy became a massive hit.

3. Cold Feet (1997-2003)

This very popular comedy-drama followed the life and love of three couples living in Manchester at the turn of the century.

Boasting an excellent cast, including James Nesbitt, John Thomson and Fay Ripley, the critically-acclaimed show was praised for its portrayal of various social issues.

So popular was this series that it took ITV several years to find another drama series with wide appeal which could comfortably replace it.

2. Shameless (2004-2013)

In at number two is cult classic Shameless which shows the dysfunctional Gallagher family struggle through life on a rough Manchester council estate.

The Gallagher clan are lead by the alcoholic and neglectful patriarch Frank (David Threlfall), who is usually good for a drunken rant on just about anything.

The C4 show – ending this year after its 11th series – became a guilty pleasure across the UK and even spawned an American remake.

1. Coronation Street (1960- )

What else but Coronation Street could be the number one television show set in Greater Manchester? Nothing else comes to mind.

Set in the fictional town of Weatherfield, the down-to-earth Northern community of the nation’s longest running soap has captivated millions for more than 50 years.

The theme music and terraced housing are instantly recognisable, and along with the soap’s memorable characters, have made this an integral piece of Manchester’s culture.

And finally some honorable mentions for those shows which missed out on a place in the top.

Children’s show Sooty and Co. was broadcast on ITV and became a staple afterschool programme for the Nineties child during its five-year run.

The show centred on Matthew Corbett as he tried to run a Manchester junk shop alongside the lovable puppets Sooty, Soo and the often annoying Sweep.

Another show which missed out on a top spot was LGBT favourite Queer as Folk which chronicled the lives of three gay men living in and around the gay village in Canal Street.

Controversial at times, the show was a successful depiction of gay life – so much so a North American remake set in Philadelphia was commissioned.

And last but not least is one of the nation’s best loved sitcoms – the quintessential slice of Northern domestic life that is The Royle Family.

Picture courtesy of Ninian Reid, with thanks.

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