Manchester is a TV star again in new drama Little Birds – here’s where it was filmed


If you think you spot anywhere familiar when watching new drama Little Birds on Sky Atlantic, which stars Juno Temple and Hugh Skinner, then you might just be right.

The six-part series, based on Anais Nin’s collection of erotic stories, was filmed primarily on location in Spain, but had its production base at Space Studios in West Gorton.

And viewers might recognise a few Manchester landmarks, too, as some location scenes were shot in and around the city centre.

Spring Gardens and Hotel Gotham provide a perfect New York cityscape in the new drama, while viewers might also recognise Victoria Baths, Manchester Hall and Edgar Wood Centre.

The series is set in 1955 in the famous ‘international zone’ of Tangier and weaves stories of love and desire with personal drama and political intrigue.

The first episode, which comes with a warning for strong sexual content, sees heiress Lucy Savage (Juno Temple) arriving in Tangier, 1955 – one of the last outposts of colonial decadence, and a culture shock in more ways than one.

She is engaged to Hugo Cavendish-Smyth (Hugo Skinner, previously seen in Fleabag and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), an English aristocrat who is often torn between his fiancée and his lover, Adham Abaza.

Working closely with location manager Jessica Dove, Bobby Cochrane of Screen Manchester was on hand to facilitate the road closure request for the city’s Spring Gardens area.

“It was fantastic to welcome the Warp Films/Sky Atlantic Little Birds production to the city and we worked closely with the production’s location manager to secure the necessary permissions to film,” says Bobby.

“One of their key Manchester locations was the Spring Gardens area of the city and we facilitated a request to close the road in order for the production to film their 1950s New York scenes.

“Our highways department were instrumental in allowing the production to create their required controllable filming area, which contributed to a successful shoot.

“Having another high profile drama like Little Birds choosing Manchester as a place to double for New York continues to showcase how adaptable the city is as an ideal filming location.” 

Last year Screen Manchester, the city’s film office, enjoyed its busiest year to date with a record number of dramas filming around the city.

From Bancroft and Brassic to The Stranger and Peaky Blinders, Manchester has become a familiar backdrop in our favourite TV shows.

“Manchester is such a diverse city with a rich heritage, it can offer so much in way of filming locations,” says Little Birds location manager Jessica.

“Spring Gardens made a brilliant convincing stand in for 1950s New York to help open the series of Little Birds

“Filming in busy cities is often a challenge but with the help and support from Screen Manchester, obtaining the relevant council permissions was the relatively easy part.

“The service they provide was invaluable to achieving the show’s ambition.

“To top things off they are bloody lovely to work with as well!”.

Little Birds started on Sky Atlantic on Tuesday 4th AugustAll six episodes are available to stream on NOW TV.

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