Mancunian Film Corporation, situated on Dickenson Road in Rusholme, was the first British film studio to operate outside of London and the South East. The studio was famed for it’s low budget productions and northern comedies.
Originally operating in London under Blackeley Productions, Ardwick born owner John E. Blakeley cast a young George Formby in his first production Boots! Boots! (1934.) Despite some unfavourable critics reviews, the film was well received by audiences and instigated Formbys forthcoming success as a movie star and entertainer.
Blackeley Productions soon became Mancunian Films and set up home in it’s iconic Rusholme location. The studio operated successfully for many years, catering to it’s northern audience. Films featured the likes of Josef Locke, Frank Randle, Sandy Powell, Diana Dors and Jimmy Clitheroe. In 1954, the studio was taken over by the BBC. This was the first regional BBC TV studio outside of London and hosted some of the first episodes of Top of the Pops, including the very first edition on New Years Day 1964. The programme featured The Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, The Hollies and The Beatles.
It’s a Knockout was also filmed at the Mancunian Films Studio as well as the Harry Worth comedy series and the Hammer Horror feature film Hell is a City (1960.)
When the BBC moved to New Broadcasting House on Oxford Road, the Dickenson Road studio was demolished. A row of houses now occupies the area where the studio once stood. A green plaque visible on the wall of one of the houses marks the exact location.
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