Eagerly-anticipated police drama DI Ray – with plenty of Birmingham links - has received rave reviews after hitting our screens on Bank Holiday Monday (May 2).
Bend it Like Beckham star Parminder Nagra plays a Birmingham-based detective in relentless pursuit of the truth in the intriguing series executively produced by Jed Mercurio of Line of Duty fame.
There is some serious pedigree behind the camera as DI Ray was created and co-written by Brummie Maya Sondhi, who starred in Line of Duty as doomed PC Maneet Bindra.
Much of the series has been filmed in Birmingham city centre in locations including Snow Hill station car park and Livery Street approaching the Jewellery Quarter.
The series follows Rachita Ray who takes on a case which forces her to confront a lifelong personal conflict between her British identity and her South Asian heritage.
DI Ray began last night on ITV and will air over four consecutive evenings at 9pm until May 5. You can also watch the series on the ITV Hub.
Sondhi said: “You don’t want to bash people over the head when you talk about race and identity.
“You just want to gently explore things, to see how other people respond to stuff and how other people are feeling.
“Also, all of these things are very real to me. If you ask anybody, any person of colour, (the question they have) probably been asked more times than they can count on their fingers is, ‘Where are you from?...No, I mean, where are you from-from?”
As the action unfolds throughout the week, BirminghamWorld takes a look back at other memorable television which has been created in the city.
Line of Duty
Most of the first series of anti-corruption police series Line of Duty was filmed in Birmingham.
The police HQ featured Birmingham City University’s (BCU) Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment, which is housed at Millennium Point.
In fact, as the search for ‘bent coppers’ unfolded, the elusive ‘H’ turned out to be none other than former BCU student Nigel Boyle, who played DI Ian Buckells. Boyle also starred as a policeman in Peaky Blinders.
All That Glitters
BBC prime time show All that Glitters is filmed at BCU’s Birmingham School of Jewellery, based in the heart of the Jewellery Quarter.
The series features eight talented jewellers striving to land a top career by impressing at the School of Jewellery, which first opened in 1890.
The Gadget Show
Filming for Channel 5’s The Gadget Show also took place in Birmingham as the TV production team from Birmingham-based North One TV had a team of 40 crew members working in BCU’s media facilities.
Many people think Hustle was entirely filmed in London, but in fact series six, seven and eight were put together in Birmingham.
Producers created the con artists’ penthouse suite in a warehouse on an industrial estate in Saltley and even used a picture of the London skyline outside the window.
Locations for filming included the business district around Colmore Row – which convinced viewers of a London base – and also Victoria Square, Brindleyplace, the Hyatt Hotel, Hotel Du Vin and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.
Talking of cons, 1920s crime drama Peaky Blinders, whilst being set in Birmingham, was mainly made in Liverpool. However, there was plenty of filming in the West Midlands as all the scenes at Charlie Strong’s yard, many involving Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) were filmed at the Black Country Living Museum.
Dalziel and Pascoe
Another BBC detective series - Dalziel and Pascoe starring the late Warren Clarke and Colin Buchanan – was set in Yorkshire but was filmed almost entirely in Birmingham and the Midlands.
Their police station was an office on Hagley Road and other locations for filming included the roof of Pebble Mill and Millennium Point.
Dancing on the Edge
Back in 2013, BBC drama Dancing on the Edge had filming at The Grand Hotel on Colmore Row and fellow drama By Any Means featured a fake Colombian Embassy on Waterloo Street and other scenes in the Mailbox and Birmingham Magistrates Court.
Soap opera Crossroads – broadcast between 1964 and 1988 – was made in Birmingham.
Whilst the series was set in the fictional Crossroads Motel in the similarly fictional suburb of Kings Oak – most likely an amalgamation of Kings Norton and Selly Oak – filming took place at studios in Broad Street, Gas Street and Sutton Coldfield’s former Penns Hall Hotel (now the Ramada).
Ready Player One
Sci-fi action-adventure film Ready Player One also has its roots in Birmingham, with filming having taken place in Digbeth for Steven Spielberg’s 2018 blockbuster starring Tye Sheridan and Olivia Cooke and based on Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name.
There was so much excitment with Spielberg spotted in town.
Tom Cruise was spotted filming scenes for Mission: Impossible 7 in Birmingham New Street in August last year, as part of an eventful visit to the city.
He could be seen wearing a dark suit and sunglasses in Grand Central, and was believed to have filmed scenes in the former John Lewis store. He also popped to celebrity haunt Asha’s for a star-studded curry! The film is due to be released next year.
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