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The Real Roker Bridge




Roker Bridge is of course a fictional town. As such, the production team had freedom in creating the town. They made use of locations in Lancashire, but also in the Midlands, near to Pebble Mill in Birmingham where production was based.

Padiham

The town of Padiham near Burnley in Lancashire provided many of the key Roker Bridge locations.

The Roman Holiday LEFT: Mr Wang's restaurant, The Golden Dragon/Roman Holiday, is at the top of Mill Street where it meets Church Street. It is the red painted building building in the photograph, now unfortunately boarded up and disused. The light blue painted building next door was the newsagents where Hodge meets Laura in "Eric's Won Ton". Mill Street is also the setting for the driving test centre from "Hodge's Driving Test".

RIGHT: The Starkie Arms, at the top of Church Street, a pub that was seen in a number of episodes when it was renamed as The Roker Arms. The road that the car is coming out of is Mill Street; the Golden Lion and the newsagents can just be seen. The buildings on the right are two more pubs, The New Black Bull and The King's Arms, which can sometimes be seen on screen using their real names. The Starkie Arms

BELOW: Two pictures of the bridge on Station Road, from where Eric dropped the Yukka plant that Hodge gave him in the first series. The view on the left, with the Church in the background, was sometimes used as a shot in the series. The white building in the centre of the picture on the right now sells car hi-fis; it was a newsagents called Robinsons in Series 1.

A bridge   Station Road

Clitheroe

Moor Lane LEFT:
Hodge tries on a dinner jacket at Roker Menswear in "Dawn's Ball" (before rejecting it when he sees the price). This scene was filmed in Moor Lane, Clitheroe. As he and Eric leave the shop, Lloydy and Spock pass by, test driving a Rover, heading towards Clitheroe town centre. The menswear shop is now a tanning salon.

Coal Clough

Coal Clough wind farm features in "Ally's Husband" and "Polson's Lilo"; it is on the moors to the east of Burnley. In the first of these Ally and her husband visit it as part of a treasure hunt when they must an answer a clue that asks for the number of turbines. The answer given in the programme (24) is actually correct.

Coal Clough wind farm   Close up of a turbine

Darwen

Darwen is a town just south of Blackburn which also served as the main location for Hetty Wainthrop Investigates.

Sudell Primary School
LEFT:
Sudell Primary School in Sudell Road appears as Roker Vale County Primary where Dawn does her teaching practice in Series 1; the staff and pupils of the school are credited for their help at the end of "Eric's Job".

Hapton

RIGHT:
Hapton is a village to the south of Padiham where several street scenes were shot here. In particular, Manchester Road (which runs from the A679 Burnley Road to Padiham) was the location for the sequence in "Diesel's Out Of Body Experience" where Lloydy's Jeep flies over the hump-back bridge.
A humped back bridge

Stone Moor
LEFT:
Between Hapton and Padiham is Stone Moor; this is where the "Welcome to Roker Bridge" sign was located. Over the course of the series the "Twinned With…" legend was progressively defaced; starting with "Aix-en-Availle" it soon became "The Golan Heights".


Haslingden

Site of the Drill Hall LEFT:
The TA Drill Hall used in Series 1 and 2 was in Bury Road, Haslingden. The site is still used as an Army Cadet Centre, although the original building has been torn down and a new one built further back from the road. Presumably, this happened before Series 3 was filmed as that used a different (and as yet unidentified) location.

Ramsbottom

Several locations in Ramsbottom were used in all three series. People who know the area may well be surprised by the skills of the video editor; seeing Eric and Hodge walking down a street in Ramsbottom, turning a corner and appearing immediately in Padiham, some 10 miles away!

A frequently-used atmospheric view shows the whole of Ramsbottom shot from a small piece of common land beside the B6214 Helmshore Road at Holcombe. Hodge and Laura sit there in "Diesel’s Garage", surrounded by candles "nicked from the garden centre". Dawn and Eric sit on a bench at the same spot and the church of St. Emmanuel, Holcombe is visible behind them ("Kirsty’s Biscuit"), and the whole gang meet there at the end of "Lloydy’s Ark" to contemplate life, the universe and Lloydy’s future as a businessman.

The view over Ramsbottom

ABOVE: The view over Ramsbottom.


Callender Street LEFT: Closer in to the town centre, another often-used scene is that looking down into the valley with the factory chimney in the centre of the shot. Hodge and Eric walk out of Series 1 into this scene at the end of "Kirsty’s Biscuit". This shot was taken from Callender Street in Ramsbottom, where it crosses the A676 Bolton Street.


BELOW: Ramsbottom Station on the preserved East Lancashire Railway doubled as Roker Bridge Station (a "no snogging" station) in Dawn’s Ball. The footbridge at the end of the platform is where Hodge gives Eric advice on how to greet Dawn in "Brief Encounter" style.

Ramsbottom Station   Ramsbottom Station again

RIGHT:
The "Happy Trucker" transport cafe (seen in "Ally's Husband", "Lloydy's Fish" and "Dawn's Ball") can be found on the A56 Manchester Road near Fletcher Bank on the other side of the Ramsbottom valley.
The Happy Trucker


Peel Brow LEFT:
Peel Brow (running from the A56 down into Ramsbottom) is where the street shot in the Series 2 titles (behind Ally) was filmed.

Bromley Cross

Diesel's Garage LEFT:
Diesel's garage was located in Darwen Road in Bromley Cross, just north of Bolton. However, it has now been demolished and replaced by a block of flat. The real name of the garage was HS Motors (the name can be seen painted out on the front of the building in many episodes).

Oswaldtwistle

RIGHT:
This war memorial is seen in the episode "Lloydy's Fish". The chip shop that is featured in the same episode is also in this town.
Oswaldtwistle war memorial

Other Lancashire Locations


RIGHT:
This picture was taken from the viewpoint on the A56 at its junction with A679 to Accrington; a scene from "Lloydy's Fish" was shot opposite here when we Eric drives Hodge to Kirsty's school and we see the Metro driving accompanied by the theme to The Big Country.
Viewpoint near Accrington

ACCRINGTON: The location used for the Royal Lancaster Hotel, where Rundle and Polson worked, was the Dunkenhalgh Hotel near Accrington.

BURNLEY: Roker Fisheries ("If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a happy Welshman") in "Laura's Mousse" is in Standish Street, Burnley. In real life it is E. Bramwell, Fishmongers. When Hodge and Eric talk to Lloydy about his advance for Gurkha Tank Battle, they are standing outside Dawsons Music.?

CHIRK AQUADUCT: This aquaduct on the Shropshire Union Canal is where Eric drops the dragon costume at the end of "Eric's Job".

PRESTON: Despite the name of the series, the show made very little use of Preston itself; the only filming to take place there was for the sequences on board Greg's yacht in "Lloydy's Ark", which used Preston Dock.

The Midlands

HURRANS GARDEN CENTRE: The scenes at Roker Vale Garden Centre, where Hodge works, were filmed at this garden centre near Blakedown in Worcestershire, on the A456 between Stourbridge and Kidderminster. Filming there took place on three occasions (one for each series), making use of the main building, the outdoor shrubbery and the coffee shop (for Series 3). Unfortunately the garden centre was subject to an arson attack in January 1998 and the resulting fire destroyed many of the buildings, so the centre is no longer recognisable from the series.

CANNOCK CHASE: This is a large area of common land north of Cannock in Staffordshire which doubled for Germany during the filming of the exercises that take place in "Kirsty's Biscuit".

THE BLACK COUNTRY MUSEUM: The heritage museum which is visited by Spock, Dieter, Ingrid and their students in "Spock's Leg" is this real-life museum in Dudley, West Midlands.

THE CANALS: The canal where Lloydy sails his new narrowboat in "Lloydy's Ark" is the Birmingham Canal Navigation Main Line. In particular, Smethwick Pumping Station and a flight of locks at Tardebigge feature in the episode.



Compiled by Guy Hawley, with Matthew Newton

More on Preston Front at Newton's Laws Of Television 

Copyright G Hawley/MJ Newton 2003. All rights reserved.
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