Manchester has been used as a backdrop for countless films and TV shows over the years, and it’s not hard to see why. We’ve got everything in this region, from urban backstreets that double as New York and a spectacular cityscape, to incredible inner city green spaces and rolling countryside, and the latest production to have used Manchester for filming locations is the BBC’s modern-day witch drama Domino Day, the first episode of which was aired last night (January 31).
The new original series has been created and written by the BAFTA-nominated Lauren Sequeira and developed and produced by the team behind The Responder and The Salisbury Poisoning for the BBC. Set and filmed in Manchester, the supernatural six-parter stars the BAFTA-nominated Siena Kelly (Adult Material, Hit & Run) as Domino Day, a young woman on all the dating apps – but Domino isn’t swiping to find her soulmate – she’s swiping to hunt.
A young witch with extraordinary powers, Domino is desperately seeking a community who can help her understand who she is, but she doesn’t need to look far, as a coven of witches is already tracking her every move, convinced they have to stop her before her powers destroy everyone and everything around her.
This fresh new drama deserved a city like Manchester as a backdrop, and we’ve got the lowdown on the Manchester filming locations used in Domino Day.
Manchester filming locations used for Domino Day
Northern Quarter back streets
Expect to see a lot of the back streets of the Northern Quarter like Back Piccadilly for some thrilling scenes in the drama. Meanwhile nightlife areas around Stevenson Square will also be seen with a number of locations used throughout (more on this later).
Takk Coffee Shop – BYOM Coffee Shop
Takk coffee shop on Tariff Street becomes the BYOM coffee shop where central character Domino is working. The production team took a lot of what was already there and continued to create BYOM, so if you take away some additions, a visit to Takk will make you feel as though you’re in Domino Day.
NQ Warehouse – Domino’s flat
The production team were able to use the vast, and empty, Grade II listed building on the corner of Piccadilly and Newton Street to create Domino’s warehouse apartment. The expansive flat encompasses what many see as ideal city living, showing off Manchester’s industrial heritage and is the space Domino needs to explore her powers.
Manchester clubs and bars
Project Halcyon at the Bonded Warehouse, Dog Bowl on Whitworth Street, History Nightclub on Longworth Street and Beyond Tokyo in Stevenson Square were all used in Domino Day, with the nightlife in Manchester being a crucial part of the show – this is where many of Domino’s victims are found. These scenes also explore where young people enjoy going in Manchester, much like Secret Manchester, we like to think.
Ardwick Green – The witches’ coven
Production created a farm shop on the end of a street in Ardwick Green, on the outskirts of the city, where the witches’ coven is. By day they’re running a cool lifestyle plant shop, but they’re actually doing magic there. There’s a secret life to the location, but upstairs it quite accurate of many plant shops in Manchester such as Flourish, Nice Things and Glass House.
Insitu, Hulme/Barton Arcade – Antiques shop/Subterranean world
The character of Kat is seen running an antiques shop – and this is the real reclamation shop Insitu on the corner of Chester Road in Hulme. But in the basement more dangerous magic is going on… By the magic of TV, the team created the subterranean world not beneath the shop itself, but heading further down Deansgate to Barton Arcade for its subterranean layers. This Manchester gem is pretty rare in terms of filming locations, so Domino Day has really taken good advantage of the opportunity!
St John’s Gardens – Picnic scene
St John’s Gardens was used for a picnic scene, with the team wanting to exhibit beautiful green spaces in Manchester, amongst the urban cityscape. St John’s Gardens are some of the most beautifully landscaped gardens in the city centre, with gorgeous bright flowers, palm trees and lovingly cared-for benches for us to sit and enjoy, and is an example of a slice of quiet amongst the noise – perfect for this scene in Domino Day.
Beehive Mill, Ancoats – Leon’s flat
Meanwhile Leon’s flat was all shot at Beehive Mill in Ancoats to capture aspirational Manchester with loft living – the building just so happens to be the old Sankeys soap factory, famous city-wide for being the hub of nightlife in the 90s and 2000s.
Dunham Village – Esme’s house
One of the senior witches, Esme’s house will be seen and this was filmed out in the village of Dunham. One of the prettiest areas around Manchester, Dunham boasts incredible greenery and countryside, and gorgeous houses, so we’re pretty jealous of Esme here.
Macclesfield Forest – The Endless
The “other world” called The Endless where you can be banished to if you fall foul of any of the witches was created in Macclesfield Forest. The forest lent a supernatural feel for Domino Day, and although just outside of Manchester, many will be pleased to know some important scenes were filmed there, and can pay it a visit.
Castlefield‘s canals and bridges can also be seen in the drama, creating an interesting and culturally rich backdrop, as in many other dramas filmed in Manchester, including Fool Me Once and Cold Feet. See how the area is effectively used in Domino Day on BBC iPlayer now.
Dock 10 Studios, MediaCity – Post production
While the drama was all filmed on location around Manchester, special effects were all added afterwards by Manchester’s Dock 10 studios, considered ‘Hollywood studio level’. The production also benefitted from actress Siena being professionally dance trained, so she was able to use her physicality to “feed” on her victims to brilliant effect in the drama.