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  • Liverpool and the Media

    Liverpool has been the centre on many television programs over the years, with the city being featured in a variety of sitcoms, soaps and films. The main attractions of the city are its coastal region and the people themselves. The character of the people of the city has resulted in many different programs being made over the years.

    Sue Johnstone and Ricky Tomlinson in “Brookside”

    Between 1982 and 2003 Liverpool was home to the soap “Brookside”. The show was aired three times a week and depicted life on a typical Liverpool modern housing estate. The show dealt with challenging storylines and even aired the first pre-watershed lesbian kiss on British television in 1994.

    The actual filming of the series took place in the North-West of the city, in a cul-de-sac off Deysbrook Lane. The show ended up buying thirteen houses of which six were used to film in. The show’s success resulted in it being the launch pad to many of the cast member’s careers.

    Episode
    Episode

    In fact, the city has been home to two soaps, with “Hollyoaks”, which was created in 1995, still running today. The show is filmed in Liverpool and has a young cast with none older than 35. It has a high cast turn over and the show is shot in Childwall in the city, and the show is set in the fictional suburb of Chester called Hollyoaks

    There have been many sitcoms that have been based in Liverpool and one that achieved real success in the 1980s was “Bread”. The series focused on the escapades that the Boswell family from the district of Dingwell got up to in their daily lives.

    Often the weekly episodes would have story lines incomplete so that viewers would feel compelled to watch the following week. The shows were filmed in traditional terraced housing of the city, and the different characters that the family possessed was very much a feature of many Liverpool households.

    One of the country’s most popular sitcoms in the 1970s was the “Liver Birds” which ran from 1969 until 1979. The program featured Nerys Hughes and Polly James sharing a flat in Huskisson Street in Liverpool. The episodes dealt with many of the issues that young women were facing during that period, and the show’s popularity resulted in it producing Christmas specials in 1975, 1976 and 1977.

    “Onedin Line” being filmed outside the port of Liverpool

    The history of the city was clearly illustrated in the filming of the 1970s drama series the “Onedin Line” which aired on television between 1971 and 1980. The series was set in Liverpool between 1860 and 1886 and dealt with the rise of a fictional shipping company.

    The show was filmed both in the city and at the docks, where traditional sailing ships were used to illustrate Liverpool’s past and its role in all of the trade that resulted in the rapid growth of the city. Many of the issues, such as slavery, were covered and it was an accurate portrayal of many of the events that have taken place.

    “Ferry Cross the Mersey”, the sight and sound of Liverpool

    Many films have been shot on location in the city and few have made a bigger impression than “Ferry Cross the Mersey” which was released in 1965. It was the first movie that used Liverpool’s emergence as the city at the centre of the nation’s growing pop culture, and it used many of the city’s clubs and emerging stars.

    The film score was written by Gerry and the Pacemakers and the theme song was “Ferry cross the Mersey”. The song, written by Gerry Marsden, is today regarded as an anthem of the city. When the song is played around the world, an image of Liverpool appears in most people’s minds.

    “Champions”, Aldiniti at Aintree

    TV and records
    TV and records

    There have also been a number of films shot in the city that have covered Liverpudlians thirst for gambling. “Champions” released in 1984 told the story of Jockey Bob Champion who recovered from testicular cancer to go on and ride his horse Aldiniti to victory in the 1981 Grand National.

    Another popular film “Win Each Way” was released in 2003 and told the story of Merseyside County darts champions battling for dominance. Both of the films’ lead roles are filled by characters who are fond of a gamble and attempts to pigeon hole the typical Liverpool youth as those people who are always acting on a tip in order to win easy money. In reality, the present-day picture is far different, with Liverpudlians no longer keen on rushing to the nearest bookmakers. The emergence of on-line gambling sites means that they can make their bets from the comfort of their own living room, or if they wish, they can visit sites such as SkyVegas just to play their favourite games.

    One of the most popular films to have been filmed in the city that dealt with the city’s transient population was “Letter to Brezhnev” which was produced in 1995, and told the story of two working class girls from Liverpool meeting two Russian sailors. The film is set in the period of Liverpool’s history when the working-class areas were suffering from high unemployment levels and were quite dangerous to reside in. The love story gave a realistic impression of what the city was like during this period. There are many films made about the city’s maritime history, and Liverpool is constantly occupied by television and film crews shooting scenes for their story lines.