Lights, Camera Action. Manchester is no stranger to our TV screens. In fact, some of the UK’s biggest shows are filmed here from quiz shows to iconic soap operas, period dramas to cutting edge thrillers. Greater Manchester is the perfect place for filming, it has a huge variety of locations and scenes, dedicated studios and technical skills, a vast amount of talent and it’s full of creative flair. MediaCityUK is at the heart of British broadcasting right now, but Greater Manchester has a legacy in film and TV that spans decades and there are plenty of ways to celebrate it and learn more about it in the coming months. 

Film buffs and TV lovers get ready. Whether you want to delve into Greater Manchester’s history of media or want to see your favourite filming locations for yourself, here are some great activities to feed your passion for film and TV. 

100 Years of the BBC in Manchester at The Science and Industry Museum

The Science and Industry Museum has introduced a new display to celebrate 100 years of the BBC in Manchester. From the early radio experiments in the 1920s, right up to the digital and broadcasting hub it is today, this exhibition looks at the BBC’s time in Manchester and how the broadcasting giant has made this city home. The display will feature 14 objects and photographs which all tell their own story, taking visitors on a journey through the past, present and future of the BBC in Manchester. The exhibition will also tell the story of 2ZY, Manchester’s first radio station which was created by one of the founding members of the BBC. You’ll be able to imagine what it was like to work and perform in the studios as well as explore the new technologies created in MediaCityUK to transform how we watch and listen to media.

The British Pop Archive at The John Rylands Library

Manchester is undoubtedly the home of pop culture and a new archive at The John Rylands Library will let you take a deep dive into its history. This national collection shows the influence British bands, television and youth culture have had across the world. This Manchester-flavoured exhibition will display iconic items and celebrate why Manchester is the perfect home for such an archive. Music fans can look through hand-written lyrics, photographs, tour posters, magazine covers and so much more. Expect to see a lot of Joy Division, The Smiths, The Hacienda and Factory Records. There will also be exhibits from Granada TV, showcasing the best of its output over the years, and yes, that includes the iconic Coronation Street. The British Pop Archive will be open to the public from Thursday 19 May and with so many unseen artefacts on display, it’s the perfect way to lose yourself for a few hours.

Locationist Tours

For film and TV fans, there’s nothing better than seeing iconic locations for yourself. Imagine picturing your favourite actors walking the same streets as you. With The Locationist Tours in Manchester, you can do just this. Starting from Manchester Piccadilly Train Station, you’ll see the locations where Manchester has been transformed into 1940s Brooklyn, Victorian London and 1980s student hangouts. This four-mile tour will show you locations from Captain America, It’s A Sin, Peaky Blinders and The Crown to name just a few, and all in Manchester City Centre. You’ll learn behind the scenes facts and get to join in with the fun, interactive quizzes as you walk. So, whether you love a period drama or comic book action, this walking tour will give you a chance to go behind the scenes and relive the magic for yourself.

The Cosgrove Hall Archive at Waterside

If you love animation, then a visit to the Cosgrove Hall Films Archive is a must. The studio founded in 1976 was once the UK’s largest animation house, bringing to life some of the most influential and inspiring children’s stories. Since October 2017 Waterside in Sale, Trafford has been home to an internationally acclaimed animation collection featuring Danger Mouse, Count Duckula, Chorlton & the Wheelies and many more. Reignite your childhood memories as you explore this crucial part of Manchester’s cultural heritage. Nostalgia is guaranteed and we bet you’ll be singing your favourite childhood theme tunes all the way home.

Coronation Street Tours

You can’t talk about TV in Manchester without mentioning Coronation Street. As the world’s longest-running soap and arguably one of the most recognisable streets in the UK, Coronation Street is a staple of Manchester Culture. Created by Tony Warren in 1960, and based on an inner-city Salford Town, Coronation Street has long been at the heart of Manchester. Now, you can visit the MediaCityUK set for yourself and walk down the infamous cobbles with Coronation Street The Tour. See The Rovers Return, Roy’s Rolls, The Cabin and the houses of your favourite characters as you walk down the street with a tour guide filling you in on behind the scenes secrets. If you’re lucky you may even see an exclusive spoiler. Take in this Manchester TV institution and see how Weatherfield is brought to life.

Take On Your Favourite Game Shows

TV game shows have a firm place in the hearts of UK TV watchers. Now, if you’re a TV fan that’s up for a challenge, Greater Manchester can give you a chance to step into your favourite game shows. When watching certain game shows and quizzes, we’re all a little guilty of thinking we could do better so now is your chance. Greater Manchester has some TV show experiences that put you in the spotlight and give you the chance to experience your favourite shows in real life, making memories that will last a lifetime.  

Salford Quays is home to the I’m A Celebrity… Jungle Challenge, where you and your friends can put yourself through an action-packed adventure with physical challenges like a treetop trail, Zipline and a Jungle Run. Plus you can take part in a Dingo Dollar Challenge and collect stars to be crowned king or queen of the Jungle. 

Fans of The Cube can also put their skills to the test and step into The Cube for themselves. Located in Manchester’s Arndale shopping centre, The Cube will give you some of TVs most challenging tasks to try your hand at. Expect the full intensity of the game show as you take on your favourite games and tasks from the series, but don’t let the pressure get to you. Can you beat The Cube? 

For a team challenge like no other, dive into  The Crystal Maze Live Experience. This immersive experience will put you in the famous game show, giving you the chance to run around and unleash your inner 90s kid. Gather your friends to test your skills and solve both mental and physical challenges in the four adventure zones – Medieval, Industrial, Aztec and Futuristic. This challenge isn’t easy and will test you in ways you least expect. The more Crystals you collect, the more time you’ll have in the iconic Crystal Dome, just like in the hit 90s show. 

And that’s a wrap. For anyone with a love of TV and film, there are plenty of ways to learn more about your favourite shows and the industry as a whole in Greater Manchester. These activities make a great day out and celebrate what we do best. 

 To learn more about activities in Greater Manchester, visit our What’s On page