WHEN the cast of BBC Two series Peaky Blinders set foot in Le Mans Crescent, it was not the first time a director was eager to capture the town as the backdrop to their story.

Bolton has for a long time been a prime filming location for top movies and TV shows including Shameless, Last Tango in Halifax, and Life on Mars.

Perhaps one of the most well known is that of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, which was filmed at St Gregory’s Social Club in Church Street, Farnworth — near to the comic’s own birthplace.

But it is not just local celebrities that are attracted to the town — Hollywood heavyweights are also keen to scour the area for spots that suit their scenes.

Singer and comic actor Bernard Wrigley, known affectionately as the Bolton Bullfrog, has spent many a day filming for a variety of TV shows, including Phoenix Nights and Cops, which was set in Turton Street.

He believes that the town has a charm and character that other places do not. He said: “I think visually there is a lot going on around Bolton. It does lend itself to a number of different locations.

“This isn’t a recent thing. Back in the ‘60s I wrote the theme music to Faith and Henry about a couple at school and their relationship. That was shot in Deansgate near the old butchers’ shops.

“Also in The Family Way you can see the old red buses going across past the town hall before it was pedestrianised.

“With Phoenix Nights, Peter Kay knew exactly what he was doing when he picked St Gregory’s as the club’s location.

"It is so typical of all that kind of club rolled into one. It had the stage, the tinsel and the mini-Las Vegas-type singers.”

The most recent to grace the Crescent is Peaky Blinders, a gangster family epic set in Birmingham in 1919, featuring Hollywood stars Cillian Murphy and Tom Hardy in the title roles.

The Bolton News reported in March that the British stars were seen filming just outside the town hall.

The road was cordoned off and vintage cars parked neatly around it, with male cast members wearing caps and carrying umbrellas.

A BBC source said at the time that the section of road had been chosen as it “resembles a London street”.

Mr Wrigley said: “Le Mans Crescent is very popular. When I have done interviews in the past, TV crews have often opted to film them there.

"When you look at the stone it is the equivalent to places abroad such as Vienna.

“The Victorian element of the town has a certain character and charm about it. That’s a big attraction for directors I would say.”

In contrast to this, Bolton has also become a star in reality TV thanks to BBC1 series Scrappers — a fly on the wall documentary following the lives of workers at Bolton scrapyard Metro Salvage.

Mr Wrigley added: “I must say Scrappers worked really well. The family came across great and it was very entertaining.

“All this proves that Bolton really is a sought after place to film — and will continue to be.”