It’s no exaggeration to say that some of the nation’s most riveting crime dramas have come alive on the streets of Manchester.

Cracker, Strangers, Prime Suspect and Blue Murder are just some of the powerful TV programmes shot in the city.

More recently, we’ve seen Life on Mars, Conviction, New Street Law and Scott and Bailey – to name just a few.

Geraldine Somerville and Robbie Coltrane starring in Cracker, October 1995

Geraldine Somerville and Robbie Coltrane starring in Cracker, October 1995

It’s a rich tradition which started with the popular weekly programme The Odd Man, produced by Granada TV studios.

Broadcast in four series from 1960 to 1963, it starred William Mervyn as the pompous police Chief Inspector Charles Rose and Keith Barron as his colleague Detective Sergeant Swift.

The title The Odd Man originally referred to theatrical agent and detective Steve Gardiner (Geoffrey Toone) who was meant to be the star of the show.

Robbie Coltrane plays criminologist Dr. Edward ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald in Cracker, November 1992

Robbie Coltrane plays criminologist Dr. Edward ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald in Cracker, November 1992

But Rose proved so popular that he took over as the main attraction. The series ended with him retiring to write his memoirs, but returning to the screen as a private detective.

Another early Granada production was The Corridor People, aired in 1966. It starred veteran actor John Sharp, who played corner-shop owner Les Clegg in Coronation Street.

Sharp’s character in The Corridor People was security agent Kronk, who pitched his wits against the villainous Syrie Van Epp, portrayed by Elizabeth Shepherd.

Prime Suspect star Helen Mirren, December 1993

Prime Suspect star Helen Mirren, December 1993

In 1978, Manchester was the setting for the ITV drama Strangers. It was created by writer Murray Smith who was later to work on The Sweeney and Minder.

Strangers starred Don Henderson as eccentric Detective Sergeant George Bullman. He headed Unit 23 – a group of police officers brought in from other parts of the country to solve crimes beyond the scope of the local force.

Other parts were played by Mark McManus, later to become a household name as gruff Chief Inspector Jim Taggart, Frances Tomelty, David Hargreaves and Dennis Blanch.

Steven Mackintosh as Manchester crime boss The Street in Prime Suspect, October 1996

Steven Mackintosh as Manchester crime boss The Street in Prime Suspect, October 1996

Strangers ran for five series until 1982, after which Henderson appeared in his own ITV spin-off as a private detective. It was simply called Bullman.

In 1989, Henderson teamed up with EastEnders star Leslie Grantham to play the lead roles in another Murray Smith creation – The Paradise Club.

Fast forward to 1993 and the launch of one of the most well-known crime series on British TV – Cracker.

Leslie Grantham and Don Henderson in The Paradise Club, September 1990

Leslie Grantham and Don Henderson in The Paradise Club, September 1990

Robbie Coltrane starred as the hard-living criminologist, or cracker, Dr Edward ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald. He was called in to help Greater Manchester Police solve some of their most extreme cases.

Fitz was the ultimate anti-hero. He summed himself up by saying: ‘I drink too much, I smoke too much, I gamble too much. I am too much.’

It often took several tense episodes for Fitz to crack a case, with his relationships with fellow police officers often being severely tested.

John Sharp as Coronation Street corner-shop owner Les Clegg with Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix) and Maggie Clegg (Irene Sutcliffe) in April 1968

John Sharp as Coronation Street corner-shop owner Les Clegg with Elsie Tanner (Pat Phoenix) and Maggie Clegg (Irene Sutcliffe) in April 1968

These included his friendship and then romance with Detective Sergeant Jane Penhaligon, played by Geraldine Somerville.

Coltrane, who was equally at home playing humorous roles in programmes like The Comic Strip Presents and Alfresco, was superb in the acerbic role.

Cracker ran for five series and came 39th in the British film Institute’s list of 100 Greatest British Television programmes.

Caroline Quentin who played DCI Janine Lewis in Blue Murder, January 1998

Caroline Quentin who played DCI Janine Lewis in Blue Murder, January 1998

Not far behind in the top 100 was the Granada TV police drama Prime Suspect, written by Lynda La Plante. It was ranked 68th.

Series Five of Prime Suspect, broadcast in October 1996, was set entirely in Manchester.

It saw Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison, brilliantly portrayed by Helen Mirren, battle crime boss The Street, played by Steven Mackintosh.

The Street ran a drugs operation with brutal smugness – and always seemed to stay one step ahead of Tennison as she tried to break his hold on the local criminal underworld.

Writer Jimmy McGovern, the creator of crime drama Cracker, November 1994

Writer Jimmy McGovern, the creator of crime drama Cracker, November 1994

Also filmed in Manchester was the ITV series Blue Murder, broadcast in five series from 2003 to 2009.

It featured Caroline Quentin as Detective Chief Inspector Janine Lewis, who balanced her police career with bringing up four children as a single mother.

Constant rows with her ex-husband added more tension to the mix as Lewis and her sidekick Detective Inspector Richard Mayne (Ian Kelsey) attempted to solve a string of grisly murders.