Manchester’s Northern Quarter was transformed into 1960s Soho for the filming of major new BBC drama Ridley Road.
The city’s Thomas Street, Tib Street and Hilton Street were transported back into the swinging sixties with retro shop fronts and a cast of actors in true-to-era costumes descending on the hipster district over the weekend.
The Northern Quarter was used as a double for 1960s Soho, with shop fronts turned into everything from record stores to seedy strip clubs and old style barber shops.
A fleet of original 1960s cars were parked up across the area and the filming drew large crowds on a sunny Sunday in the city.
The BBC period drama is based on Jo Bloom’s novel about a young Jewish woman Vivien Epstein who goes undercover in a neo-Nazi group in 1960s London and stars Aggi O’Casey in the leading role.
Aggi was seen on set in Manchester at the weekend, alongside Ray Donovan star Eddie Marsan in the new scenes by Manchester’s RED Productions.
Thomas Street’s Evuna Spanish tapas restaurant was transformed into a 1960s pizzeria for the filming, and restaurant owner Jane Dowler took a host of atmospheric shots from behind the scenes on the filming.
Shots show how half of Evuna was taken back into the 1960s, while the other half remained firmly rooted in 2020!
Jane said that for many of the businesses in the area who have been forced to close during the lockdown, the filming brought a ray of sunshine.
Jane said: “It was incredible to see the area completely transformed into 1960s Soho and many of the cast and crew used Evuna as a bit of a base to get out of the cold.
“It was a bit of a morale boost for some of our staff to come and see it all going on and for something nice and positive to be happening amid everything else that is going on at the moment.
Ridley Road, adapted for the screen by Sarah Solemani, has been in production since the Autumn and a number of scenes have already been filmed across Manchester with drama stars including ex-EastEnders actresses Tamzin Outhwaite and Tracy-Ann Oberman and James Bond star Rory Kinnear.
Announcing the drama earlier this year, the BBC said: “Ridley Road is a thriller set against the backdrop of a swinging sixties London we haven’t seen: an East End world where far right fascism is on the rise.
“When Vivien Epstein follows her lover into danger and he is caught between life and death, Vivien finds herself going undercover with the fascists, not only for him but for the sake of her country.”
A date for when the four-part drama will air on the BBC has yet to be announced.