2024 is here and with a new year comes lots of exciting entertainment on our screens, with so much having been filmed in our region to look forward to. One of these is the highly-anticipated Fool Me Once, based on Harlan Coben‘s thriller novel, starring the likes of Michelle Keegan, Joanna Lumley and Richard Armitage, with filming locations all over Greater Manchester.
The thriller follows Maya Stern (Michelle Keegan) who is trying to come to terms with the brutal murder of her husband, Joe (Richard Armitage). But when Maya installs a nanny-cam to keep an eye on her young daughter, she is shocked to see a man she recognises in her house. Her husband, who she thought was dead.
Having only just been released on New Year’s Day, it’s still pretty fresh, but eagle-eyed Mancs have already been spotting some familiar Greater Manchester filming locations used for Fool Me Once, and we’ve got the run-down.
All the Fool Me Once filming locations in Greater Manchester and Cheshire
Runway Visitor Park
Part of the first episode of Fool Me Once takes place in Runway Visitor Park just next to Manchester Airport, which houses the staggering Concorde jet. In this scene, viewers get to see how Maya and Joe first met, making this a particularly poignant location, as all the drama flows from here. Runway Visitor Park plays host to many glitzy events throughout the year, including several Candlelight concerts, so it really isn’t a stretch to see the gala event in Fool Me Once being held there, and what’s more, it’s open to visitors who fancy a nosy. As one of the most fleeting filming locations in Fool Me Once, this spot does pack a punch right at the start.
The impressive country estate where the Birkett family live is called Farmwood in Fool Me Once, but for the Netflix drama, they used the stately Arley Hall and Gardens, near Northwich in Cheshire. The hall has also featured in Peaky Blinders and the grounds were the location of the magical Harry Potter: A Forbidden Forest Experience.
While the main hall itself is the setting for the grand home of Judith Birkett, played by national treasure Joanna Lumley, the cottages on the estate were also used for filming – Joanna even set up home for the whole of filming inside one of the holiday cottages that the public can rent on the estate. Flashback scenes of Maya and Joe’s wedding also used Arley Hall as one of the filming locations, using the existing chapel for the dreamy scenes in Fool Me Once, providing some respite from the action.
Michelle Keegan said Arley Hall was her favourite filming location on Fool Me Once, adding: “I live half an hour from Arley Hall, and I take my dogs walking there but I had never been in the house itself. For me to go in the house and look around and learn about the Arley estate, I found that fascinating. It was one of those pinch-me moments.”
Maya is seen in the drama in her stylish and very large modern home in the fictional Winhurst. For filming, this was a real, residential property that the crew found in Alderley Edge in Cheshire. The gorgeous modern house spreads over three floors with its own swimming pool, and for Fool Me Once, production had to build in Maya’s gun room, as typically, you won’t find those in houses in England, nevermind Alderley Edge.
In flashback scenes, viewers will see the terrifying moment Joe is murdered as his wife Maya screams for help. The setting for these scenes was Alexandra Park in Oldham, which doubles as Winhurst Park in Fool Me Once which the crew wanted to base on somewhere resembling Central Park in New York. The beautiful Victorian follies and bridge did the trick, allowing the cameras to capture the prettiest aspects of it – the New York comparison isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds.
Stockport air raid tunnels
A throwback for many Greater Manchester kids who will remember primary school trips here, the old air raid tunnels in Stockport proved the perfect setting for Corey’s den in Fool Me Once. Whistleblower Corey has a ‘den’ like a woodman’s hut, which was created in the grounds of Arley Hall, but it was made to look almost like a TARDIS as the crew connected it to a separate location – all the way over in Stockport’s air raid shelters. By the magic of filming, the two appear to be the same place. These old war bunkers are now also a visitor attraction in the town centre, when they’re not being used for blockbusters, of course.
As part of the storyline viewers will learn that Maya’s sister Claire Walker, played by former Emmerdale star Natalie Anderson, was also murdered. In Fool Me Once we see the family she has left behind, her husband Eddie Walker, played by Marcus Garvey, and their teenage children. The location for their large family home is also a real residential property that, this time, the team found in Bramhall, Stockport.
Look out for a key scene in the drama played out in an iconic Manchester location – Castlefield Viaduct. Now owned by the National Trust, the old railway line has been transformed into a visitor park, and made for the perfect location for the Netflix drama. The industrial ironwork proved a rich backdrop and the crew on Fool Me Once were actually the first to be allowed to film up on Castlefield Viaduct, so make sure you look out for it.
Peveril of the Peak
One of our favourite pubs in Manchester, and one of the oldest, the mighty Peveril of the Peak, makes an appearance after Sami and his fiancée’s dance lesson as they decompress with a drink. If you’re a fan of this Manchester boozer like us, you’ll recognise the beautiful double-sided bar, stained glass and proper old pub vibes. This one truly made us point at the screen like Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood…
Barton to Delamere helicopter flight
Michelle Keegan’s character Maya is a former army officer and now works as a private helicopter instructor – and we get to see her pilot skills in action in the drama. Scenes of her flying a helicopter were captured at Barton Aerodrome in Eccles, and sees Maya fly all the way to Delamere Forest, Cheshire, boasting beautiful greenery below – it really makes you appreciate our region.
Philips Park and Arley Hall
Arley Hall returns alongside Philips Park Cemetery in Miles Platting for the funerals of Maya’s sister Claire and husband Joe, for which the crew built a mausoleum, integrating a stone folly already in the grounds and adding graves. Joe’s funeral is very much the turning point from which things kick off, so the grounds around Arley Hall were really put to work throughout.
The Arcade Club, Bury
Maya’s search for answers leads her on quite the journey in Fool Me Once, and at a few points she’s seen at a huge amusement arcade where employees are unwilling to help her. The industrial Player One arcade is a real-life venue, The Arcade Club in Bury, which is known as “Europe’s largest arcade” no less, and is packed with retro machines to play on – why not pop down the next time you’re looking for something to do?
In more flashback scenes, we see the posh private school that Joe went to in the 1990s, and the location for this was Bolton School. So as not to cause any disruption to the school though, they filmed over weekends and into the school holidays.
Bolton School is one of the most perfect filming locations for a posh school in Fool Me Once, rivaling those in the south with its the origins of the Boys’ School being traced back to at least 1516, showing in the beautiful architecture. Bolton has been quite the hotspot for filming over the past few years, with several productions set to be released this year filmed in the Greater Manchester town.
St Ann’s Square & Church
Maya’s niece and nephew Abbie and Daniel are on a hunt for the truth, too, in the absence of their mother Claire, and as they’re on their journey to find out what their dad has to do with everything, we see them take a perch in St Ann’s Square. Passing city centre shops such as Fjällräven before entering the square, the children discover the results of their film developing escapade right in the city centre.
St Ann’s Church also makes a star appearance in a dramatic scene involving Sami and fiancée Molly, featuring the husband-to-be running in, and promptly out of the historical Manchester landmark. In Fool Me Once, we get a sneaky look inside the church, which is more than we’ve had before, as we usually just admire the outside.
The Corn Exchange
In a pivotal scene in episode eight, Sami and Marty are forced to chase a suspect through the Corn Exchange, where he works, and subsequently leads to Sami scaling the roof – terrifying, but you really can see the whole of Manchester from up there! Next time you’re walking along Cathedral Street, past Mowgli and Sixes, watch out for falling people from the rooftop.
Ducie Street Warehouse/Native
In a fleeting scene where Maya is attempting to track down Joe and brother Andrew’s old school friend Christopher Swane, she frantically sneaks around an apartment complex knocking on doors, being chased by a pretty lackluster security guard. You may notice the striking interiors of bright orange/red doors and light blue iron beams in this warehouse-like building, and it is, in fact, Ducie Street Warehouse. The Native part of the building is listed and is now used as aparthotels in the centre of town, providing a bit of industrial history and luxury, all in one – not necessarily housing dodgy characters like in Fool Me Once.