The third episode of the latest series of the prime time police drama Happy Valley is, as usual, packed full of drama – and has now put a Bolton café on the map. The episode begins with a 10-minute scene between sisters Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) and Clare (Siobhan Finneran), an intense back and forth about Clare’s involvement in facilitating meetings between Catherine’s grandson Ryan and convict father Tommy. They meet in a Sheffield café, but wait… isn’t that Bolton?
Amico Café has received much attention since providing a backdrop for the much loved police drama. Standing on Corporation Street in Bolton, opposite the Market Place shopping centre, the café featured in Happy Valley donned posters alluding to its Sheffield setting, but any local would know that location, and locals are pretty thrilled with the novelty. There’s now a ‘Happy Valley’ sandwich, with fillings of chicken, prosciutto ham, mozzarella, pesto, chillies, red peppers and rocket, and fans have been queueing round the block to sit at the table where that all-important conversation took place.
It is the point where Catherine gets up and walks away from her sister, leaving the café and descending down the hill down one side of the shopping centre that really brings it home for Boltonians, passing the local landmark of the traditional red telephone box and, of course, H&M on the corner. The cobbled streets and Victorian market hall make for a nostalgic atmosphere, one that evokes a feeling of the tradition still living on in Northern towns, whether it be Greater Manchester or Yorkshire.
Bolton seems to have had a renaissance in the last decade in terms of being a filming location, with the likes of Peaky Blinders, It’s A Sin, and The Stranger taking parts of the Victorian Le Mans Crescent that wraps around the town hall, and the town square in front.
As well as Bolton making a pretty good stand-in for other locations that might’ve been more difficult to film, its popularity in the media seems to have done a world of good for the town. Bolton Council’s deputy leader Cllr Hillary Fairclough said recently: “As a council, we do all we can to support filming in the borough and to showcase the best of Bolton to a primetime audience. We look forward to a busy film schedule in the year ahead, and to hosting even more big-name productions in 2023.”
Happy Valley has previously been filmed in Bolton, however never so overtly – and we’re glad the production team felt implored to revisit this Greater Manchester town.