10 filming locations of new Netflix series Stay Close
- Credit: James Stack. 2021 Netflix, Inc
Stay Close is Netflix's latest Harlan Coben adaptation.
The eight-part drama stars Cush Jumbo, James Nesbitt, Richard Armitage, Sarah Parish, Eddie Izzard, Jo Joyner, Daniel Francis, Andi Osho, Bethany Antonia and St Albans' very own Rachel Andrews as Bea.
In keeping with previous adaptations by RED, the original Harlan Coben novel has been transposed from New Jersey to "somewhere in the UK".
So where was Stay Close filmed? Here's some of the filming locations in the North West for the Netflix series in a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Stay Close.
The original bestselling Stay Close novel is set in Atlantic City, but the Netflix series was filmed in and around Manchester.
Executive producer Nicola Shindler said: "Well, we’re not doing the North of England, we’re doing ‘Somewhere in the UK’. We think it works better to make it more generic."
Nicola added: "I think Manchester and the North-West is a brilliant place to film.
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"I’m very proud of where I come from and where I’ve set up RED and now Quay Street Productions. I don’t do it in order to show it off.
"It’s not a tourist film but there are so many different locations. The fact that you can be in the city centre and then out in the countryside the same day to shoot is really exceptional to probably most cities outside of London."
Cold Feet star James Nesbitt plays DS Michael Broome in the series and enjoyed returning to Manchester.
"Obviously I love filming in Manchester," said Nesbitt.
"The place that we used for Vipers is a bar that used to be called something like Bar 37 back in the day when I was doing Cold Feet.
"It’s this wonderful, beautiful, seductive, sexy, smoky set for Vipers."
Talking about nightclub Vipers, Stay Close location manager Mark O'Hanlon said: "In the old days that would have been a set but we found a club called Impossible in Manchester.
"It’s on three floors. The subterranean floor, which is what we used, wasn’t used all the time so in lockdown that was fantastic.
"That was ours no problem but we were filming for nearly six months. From when we started filming in February to when we finished filming at the end of July everything was open again.
"Luckily we had a really good relationship with the guys there."
Dave Shaw’s stag do was filmed filmed at the Edwardian hotel in Manchester.
"They were starting to open up to the public again but we managed to get in there and film it all," said Mark O'Hanlon. "The exterior and the atrium are nice."
"We got excited by the faded grandeur of Blackpool when Daniel O’Hara went there and said he could make it really beautiful and really strong," said executive producer Nicola Shindler.
"Having that as our Atlantic City is great because there are ways of looking at Blackpool, which has only ever been filmed from the grotty side, that I don’t think have been seen onscreen.
"Daniel has done these massive seafront shots and some of them look like Santa Monica, which is extraordinary because it’s Blackpool."
Mark O'Hanlon was location manager for Harlan Coben's Stay Close. He said: "Manchester is very fortunate in that you are close to certain coastlines.
"We ended up using Blackpool as the story’s coastal town. You have Southport, Formby and Morecambe, all within striking distance of Manchester."
On the key locations in the series, Stay Close author Harlan Coben said: "In the book it was Atlantic City, New Jersey, so we looked for a place in the UK that was sort of close to giving us those things and I think Blackpool does.
"It’s got the seedier side, the rundown side. And yet there is a fun energy and a colour there. Life is lived there."
"The wide, wooden piers in Blackpool do feel very American in an Atlantic City way so that was brilliant," said location manager Mark O'Hanlon.
"Morecambe Bay and Blackpool were amazing," said James Nesbitt.
"Walking along the beach for six miles from Lytham to Blackpool was beautiful with the sun shining as the world started to open up after lockdown."
Mark O'Hanlon added: "We did the Mardi Gras scene in Blackpool and the day before we got there we were given hurricane warnings. It was the worst weather I have ever seen.
"You had these poor souls who all deserve a medal doing samba dances with basically a feather on their head and that was it in minus whatever temperatures.
"All the crew were there with North Face coats on, woolly hats and scarves and you’ve got these poor souls doused.
"They couldn’t even have fire breathers because the fire kept going out. Jugglers couldn’t juggle because whatever they were juggling was suddenly six foot behind them. It was crazy."
3. Morecambe Bay
Lorraine Griggs’ flat in the series has glorious views across Morecambe Bay to the Lake District.
"That’s a lovely place," said Sarah Parish, who plays Lorraine. "From Lorraine’s flat you can see right across Morecambe Bay to the Lake District, which is stunning."
Location manager Mark O'Hanlon knew the area well from working on The Bay.
"Part of me will always love Morecambe. We had a couple of good years there. It’s magical. There is so much happening there now since they put the new dual carriageway in. It’s brought a new lease of life to the town.
"The bay itself has the best sunsets and sunrises. Funnily enough I never used Lorraine’s flat for The Bay but I knew the owner, Ruth. She’s got a few businesses in the area so I got to know her from filming up there.
"When I read Sarah’s character Lorraine I just thought she would have this Northern Quarter but not Northern Quarter vibe, lots of fun things going on in the flat.
"When I went round to see Ruth it worked perfectly, the side was double-fronted. It was all open-plan. It wasn’t too high. It still had a connection to the ground and the beach and the sea."
4. St Helens
The 'Dream' sculpture in St Helens was the landmark used to replace New Jersey’s Lucy the Elephant, which is in the novel
Series creator Harlan Coben said: "The Dream Head is a great substitute for the giant elephant, Lucy, in the book that you can go inside outside of Atlantic City."
Explaining how it was chosen, location manager Mark O'Hanlon said: "When Harlan talked about this great, disused funfair in New Jersey we did look at a couple of old funfairs but they didn’t quite work.
"Then we tried Blackpool Pleasure Beach to see if there were any psychedelic rides that might be slightly different but that was surrounded by too many other buildings.
"I’d pass The Dream Head on the M62 between Manchester and Liverpool when I was working a lot in Liverpool. I used to see this head popping out between the trees and think what the hell’s that?
"So I looked into it and discovered it was a colliery that got shut down in the 90s. It lay bare for years and had basically turned back into nature with a nature reserve and walks.
"St Helens council then commissioned this piece. It looks awesome when you’re there, totally alien, so it fitted perfectly with the elephant vibe of the book.
"At one point production designer Luana Hanson got very excited because we were going to build the elephant. Then we talked about an octopus but this Dream Head just worked."
Executive producer Nicola Shindler admitted it was the most challenging location to match up.
"The one thing that we struggled with was in the book there is Lucy the Elephant, who is a well-known New Jersey artefact.
"We had to decide how do we replace Lucy. Do we do a Lucy? Do we do another animal?
"In the end we found somewhere that is integral to our location. It’s somewhere that exists, these huge dreamscape heads, which are so fantastic and odd but real.
"We couldn’t have built that. We felt that that worked as well as an elephant that you could sit in."
"Formby has all these lovely, vast beaches so we utilised some of those areas," said location manager Mark O'Hanlon.
"They gave us big sky and sand dunes and alpine trees that look fantastic."
While interiors shots of Vipers were filmed in Manchester, Formby was also used for the outside of the nightclub.
Location manager Mark O'Hanlon explained: "For the exterior of Vipers, there was this old nightclub in Formby. I’ve got a lot of Scouse friends and they all talked about this place saying they used to go there when they were 17.
"It reminds me of the country clubs you get in Essex. It’s between all these trees and near the beach. You feel like you’re near the coast.
"That to me was one of the nicest locations I shot. I’ve always looked at it and thought it would be amazing to use it. After this it’s going to be flattened. By the end of the year it will all be gone."
Sarah Green’s house is in Didsbury, just round the corner from the Shaw family home in fictional Ridgewood.
"It’s a slightly different feel," said location manager Mark O'Hanlon.
"I used the house next door to it for a show called Blue Murder about 20 years ago. You get to know certain roads.
"The house is beautiful but it looks a little bit sad. It’s ready for a renovation and that’s what we wanted.
"We wanted Sarah Green not to have moved on (in her life) since the day that Stewart Green left. It’s not got bifold doors on the back. It looks 15 years old."
He added: "The basement for Sarah Green’s was actually in an old Liberal club in Whalley Range. What worked with the club was you had these big access doors to the side so we had loads of air coming in and the ceiling was slightly higher."
A building in Ormskirk was used for Dave’s mum’s care home. Location manager Mark O'Hanlon said: "The care home was a tricky one. We didn’t want it to feel too municipal and white walls.
"We found an old rectory, which had a real scale to it. We wanted it to feel like it was a private care home rather than a generic 70s building.
"We looked at two or three options but when we got to that one the scale of it worked really well and it had the architecture. It’s a really stunning building.
"I think those kind of buildings, especially when they have a history attached to them, go down really well with American audiences."
When a car in episode two of Stay Close ends up in a lake the scenes were filmed at Nunsmere.
"We didn’t want to go down the quarry route. The problem with most lakes is that lakes don’t drop off to a deep dip. They gradually go out. It was trying to find something that a car would disappear into fairly quickly," explained location manager Mark O'Hanlon.
"We looked at nine or 10 different lakes in the area but Nunsmere was part of a private hotel so it was a private lake. That worked really well.
"That’s the first time I’ve filmed there. We had looked at it for the care home but the hotel was looking at reopening so it fell through."
Some of Stay Close’s most dramatic scenes were filmed in Chorley.
"For the woods that we used in Chorley we wanted somewhere that had ruins," said Mark O'Hanlon.
"We were going to use a place called Rivington Castle, which is just outside Bolton. That was part of United Utilities but Covid scuppered that.
"So then we had to go looking for ruins in woods of which there aren’t that many.
"The place we found in Chorley is privately owned. It’s on a farm. Joey, who is the farmer, was fantastic.
"Our first option might have gone but I think this worked out even better actually. Believe it or not the woods that we used are right next to a road but it looks like we are in the middle of nowhere."
There is a bridge in the series that links Cassie’s past in fictional Livingstone and Megan’s present an hour plus away in suburban Ridgewood.
"We wanted somewhere to connect the two," said location manager Mark O'Hanlon.
They ended up using the Silver Jubilee Bridge that links Runcorn and Widnes.
"I looked at about 10 different types. The Runcorn-Widnes bridge had been closed for nearly three years while they totally renovated it. It’s all ironwork and they’ve repainted it.
"I was trying to be clever asking them if we could film there before it reopened but it didn’t work with the schedule.
"It had been open for a week and they wanted me to go and ask them if they minded closing for a day again. They were really helpful though.
"We managed to do it on a Sunday. We had a stop and go and it looked fantastic. It’s a really interesting shape and we had some really good drone stuff that day as well."