Six police TV dramas that have been set and filmed in Liverpool (2023)

The long-awaited new BBC One cop drama The Responder set in Liverpool is due to hit our screens on January 24.

Funding for the show was secured from the Liverpool Film Office and the ECHO has previously teased snippets of on set action, photographing crews filming in Everton and Lark Lane in Aigburth.

The drama joins a long line of prestigious and sometimes groundbreaking police dramas to be set in the city.

READ MORE: The scandalous history behind one post box in Liverpool city centre

Over the last two decades, Liverpool has become an increasingly attractive location for production companies to stage their films, TV shows and even commercials.

The city boasts some of the most unique period buildings and architecture in the country, and often doubles as other cities such as New York or even the fictional Gotham City as it is in the latest Batman movie to be released this year.

But when it comes to cop shows, Liverpool has often been the place the drama is set as well as filmed.

So here we've put together a list of the police crime dramas where the city also serves as the primary location for story line.

The Responder (2022)

Six police TV dramas that have been set and filmed in Liverpool (1)

Starring The Office and Hobbit star Martin Freeman, the five-part crime drama is set and filmed in Liverpool.

Its creators are promising a no-punches pulled cop show, said to "hold a mirror up to the emotional extremes of life on the front line of British policing".

The action centres around Chris (Freeman) as he tries to keep his head above water both personally and professionally while being forced to take on a new rookie partner Rachel (Adelayo Adedayo).

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Described as a challenging TV series, sometimes funny sometimes tragic, Freeman plays a "crisis-stricken and morally compromised" police officer tackling the night shift on the beat in Liverpool.

Written by Tony Schumacher, his first original series for television, with Tim Mielants (The Terror; Legion; Peaky Blinders) as lead director and produced for BBC One and BBC iPlayer.

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Tin Star (2017)

The show featured an all-star cast including Christina Hendricks and Hollywood actor Tim Roth. Roth plays James "Jim" Worth, a former Metropolitan Police detective and Jack Devlin, Worth's violent alter-ego, which he slips into when under the influence of alcohol.

Roth's former undercover police detective is the seemingly gentle police chief of Little Big Bear, a small town at the edge of the Canadian Rockies, where his family of four has moved to escape his violent past.

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The first two series of the Sky Atlantic crime drama are set in Canada but its third and final series first broadcast in 2020 took place here in Liverpool.

During filming for the final series, crews were spotted on Water Street shooting a dramatic scene involving armed police.

Six police TV dramas that have been set and filmed in Liverpool (5)

Actors dressed in full armed police uniform and carrying guns were engaged in a stand-off with other cast members and police scrambled out of riot vans.

Police cordon tape was also used to seal off parts of the set, with actors and extras filling the area.

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Good Cop (2012)

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Set in Liverpool, Good Cop was a four part series first broadcast on BBC One on 30 August 2012.

The plot centred on police constable, John Paul Rocksavage, played by ex-Hollyoaks star Warren Brown, whose life changes forever when his best friend and colleague Andy Stockwell (Tom Hooper) is attacked and killed in a savage ambush.

Filming locations included Liverpool city centre and Crosby beach, which featured heavily in the first episode. The show also also starred other well known Liverpool actors including Stephen Graham, Mark Womack and Michael Angelis.

Six police TV dramas that have been set and filmed in Liverpool (7)

Stephen Graham played Noel Finch, one of Stockwell's killers, and in one scene is seen to be harassing a waitress played by young up-and-coming actress Jodie Comer.

(Video) Drillin | Episode 6 | Original Series: @romanosmithofficial

Impressed by her performance, Graham recommended her to his agent who agreed to represent her. Seven years later, after winning the 2019 BAFTA Award for Best Actress for her performance in Killing Eve, Comer thanked Graham for his mentorship and introducing her to his agent.

The show never returned for a second series and the BBC postponed the final episode, which featured a violent attack on a female police officer, following the murders of two Greater Manchester policewomen.

Liverpool 1 (1998)

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Liverpool 1, produced by Lime Street Productions for ITV, centred on the work of a fictional Merseyside Police vice squad.

The drama starred Samantha Womack (nee Janus) alongside Liverpool actors Mark Womack and Paul Usher, who rose to fame as Barry Grant in Brookside.

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The gritty story lines set at the heart of the city's underworld involved drugs, sex, paedophilia, and murder.

Tensions in the squad and the growing relationship between the two main characters is developed through the two series.

Despite consistently strong viewing figures, ITV chose not to re-commission the show after the second series.

Waterfront Beat (1990)

Written by Hollyoaks, Brookside and Grange Hill creator Phil Redmond, this early 90s cop drama set in Liverpool's docklands was touted as the BBC's attempt to rival hit ITV series The Bill.

A total of sixteen episodes were broadcast over the course of two series and featured a large ensemble cast.

The BBC said the series would explore "aspects of police work not normally featured and disabuse us of the notion that TV crime is always cracked in 50 minutes."

Unfortunately, despite the initial acclaim, the show was axed after its second series.

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Z-Cars (1962)

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Set in Newtown, a fictional setting to the north of Liverpool, Z-Cars was filmed in Kirkby. Produced by the BBC, it debuted in January 1962 and ran until September 1978.

Such is the enduring impact of the show first aired in 1962, in a British Film Institute poll in 2000 it came 63 in the top 100 Greatest British TV Programmes of all time.

Inspired by the memoirs of a of ex Detective Sergeant Bill Prendegrast of the Liverpool City Police, the show was set in Kirkby and Seaforth as its creator, Troy Kennedy Martin, was intrigued how police would deal with the newly developed over spill estates that sprung up following World War II.

Six police TV dramas that have been set and filmed in Liverpool (12)

The show was an instant hit, with the public loving the show’s harsh realism and viewing figures soon exceeded 14 million. The BBC quickly extended the show’s initial 13 week run to 31 episodes with many of the shows broadcast live.

However, it was not well received by the police. Despite their initial involvement, Lancashire Police tried to persuade both the BBC and the Home Office to drop the show, feeling it depicted his officers in a negative light.

These days the show is still remembered fondly on Merseyside, especially at Goodison Park where the Everton players still run out to its rousing theme tune.

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