First opened in 1906, the striking Victoria Baths has since acted as a morgue, prison, hospital, fish market, auction house and even, on occasion, a swimming pool.

You may have spotted it in shows such as Peaky Blinders, Houdini & Doyle, Cold Feet, Mrs Biggs, World on Fire and many more.

And now, a brand new tour will take visitors ‘behind the screens’, as Manchester’s Water Palace reveals its starring role in some of the most popular TV dramas of recent times.

Victoria Baths launches ‘behind the screens’ tour for TV fans I Love Manchester

The tour will include some of the areas not usually accessible to the public, and where some memorable TV moments have taken place. 

You’ll find yourself in the filter room where a famous Tom Hardy scene from Peaky Blinders took place, and in the basement where a prison cell was built for Houdini & Doyle

You’ll be able to see original props used in the popular TV shows, as well as learning backstage secrets – and you’ll be able to pose for some photos, too, of course.

Photographs will help to illuminate key scenes such as the beautifully staged book launch by the Cold Feet team in the Gala Pool, and the horse auction in Peaky Blinders.

Victoria Baths launches ‘behind the screens’ tour for TV fans I Love Manchester
ITV Cold Feet filming at Victoria Baths

Filming at Victoria Baths has not only helped to raise its profile, it has made an important financial contribution towards the running and maintenance costs of the historic building. 

Early film crews, such as Cracker (1993-5) and Prime Suspect (1996), used the building when it was in a derelict state, after it closed in 1993.

Today, film crews are welcomed to a much-loved building that is used as a heritage arts and events venue, supported by an enthusiastic team of staff and volunteers.

Victoria Baths launches ‘behind the screens’ tour for TV fans I Love Manchester
Props used as signage at Victoria Baths for World on Fire (left) and Peaky Blinders (right)

All the money raised from the events and activities held at Victoria Baths helps to keep the building open to the general public and supports the Trust’s long-term vision, to bring back into their original use some of the building’s historical features, including the Turkish Baths.

“We all love the excitement generated by the filming at Victoria Baths and appreciate the way production teams showcase the building,” says operations manager Elizabeth Sibbering.

“Victoria Baths has fuelled the imagination of wonderfully creative and talented individuals and we want to share these stories and moments with visitors in our new Behind the Screens tour.”

Victoria Baths launches ‘behind the screens’ tour for TV fans I Love Manchester

The new Behind the Screens tour will complement the weekly tours that take place every Wednesday at Victoria Baths between April and October.

And there’s an extra treat for Peaky Blinders fans, too.

An exclusive fine art print of a photograph of Cillian Murphy taken at Victoria Baths by fashion photographer John Balsom will be auctioned to raise money for the Baths’ restoration fund.

The reserve price of £500 includes the framed photograph, and the auction will be open for bids until Saturday 14th March 2020. You can bid here.

Behind the Screens tours will take place at 2pm once a month on a Wednesday, between April and October 2020. Doors open 12.30pm and the tour lasts 1 – 1¼ hours.

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