From Wagatha Christie to Batman, Liverpool’s museums and galleries offer the perfect atmospheric backdrops…
The museums and galleries of National Museums Liverpool (NML) are some of the most iconic settings in Liverpool – from the classical grandeur of World Museum and Walker Art Gallery on William Brown Street, to the heritage of Maritime Museum on the city’s Royal Albert Dock and the iconic Museum of Liverpool situated on the world-renowned Pier Head.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Liverpool’s museums have been featured on the big screen for years – with a number of high-profile shoots taking place throughout these emblematic spaces.
Here is just a small selection of the many films and TV shows that have used NML venues as filming locations:
1. Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story – Walker Art Gallery:
It was the social media sensation that gripped the nation – and now, the Disney+ documentary as told by Colleen Rooney herself will premiere this week. Dubbed the Wagatha Christie trial, the documentary will tell the story of the infamous trial and the fall out between Rooney and Rebekah Vardy. The courtroom scenes were filmed at County Sessions House on William Brown Street, part of the Walker Art Gallery.
2. Funny Woman – World Museum
This adaption of Nick Hornby’s novel Funny Girl was shot in Liverpool during September 2021, and saw World Museum transformed into a hospital in episode three. Other familiar scenes include Hawke Street in the city centre behind the Adelphi Hotel and Broughs Butchers and Rowlands Pharmacy in Birkdale, the latter of which was transformed into a hairdressers. Starring Gemma Arterton as charismatic Barbara Parker, the series saw a young woman from Blackpool finding her comic voice in the male dominated world of the 1960s sitcom.
3. Doctor Who – Museum of Liverpool
“Nobody has got a top floor like the Museum of Liverpool, because nobody has got our history.” – Dan Lewis (John Bishop)
Doctor Who visited Liverpool in early 2021 to start filming for the thirteenth series of this iconic British TV staple. During the episode, we’re introduced to Dan Lewis, portrayed by Liverpool comedian John Bishop, on a visit to the Museum of Liverpool.
4. The Batman – Walker Art Gallery
NML played a role in The Batman, providing a backdrop for the filming and also hosting a backstage film crew hub in Liverpool. Warner Bros’ The Batman, released in March 2022, was shot in Liverpool during October 2020 and was the world’s first largescale production in an urban area to shoot under the new Covid-19 industry guidelines. The striking Walker Art Gallery was used as one of the filming locations that transformed Liverpool into Gotham City. The official still from the film shows Robert Pattinson, as Bruce Wayne, in front of St George’s Hall with Walker Art Gallery in the background.
5. Digging for Britain – Museum of Liverpool
In summer 2022, NML welcomed the Digging For Britain team. Filming took place for the 10th series of the popular TV programme, with Professor Alice Roberts following a year of British archaeology, joining up the results of digs and investigations the length of the country.
NML featured in episode 6, Headless Romans and Anglo Saxon Gold. In it, Professor Roberts speaks with Vanessa Oakden, Lead Curator of Archaeology, Jeff Speakman, Assistant Curator Regional Archaeology, and dig volunteers about the history of the Piermaster’s Green, the impact of the Second World War on the area and looks at some of the fascinating finds.
6. Eurovision 2023 Turquoise Carpet – Walker Art Gallery
There’s no doubt that Eurovision fever swept Liverpool in May 2023 and NML was no exception. The Walker Art Gallery hosted the official “Turquoise Carpet” event of the 2023 edition of the globally known singing competition – the official red carpet event that opens the week of Eurovision festivities in each host city. The event saw the acts from each of the 37 competing countries descend the stairs at the Walker, before heading out along the carpet towards St. Georges Hall to speak to fans and media. The event was broadcast live on YouTube.
7. Anthony – Walker Art Gallery
In 2020, Anthony Walker’s story was told in a one-off film on BBC One, produced by Liverpool-based LA Productions. Jimmy McGovern’s new drama could not have been shown at a more pertinent time, when more people than ever are having crucial conversations on race and representation. The powerful film imagines Anthony’s ambitious future, but grounded in brutal reality. Select scenes were filmed at the County Sessions House, next to the Walker Art Gallery.
8. Silent Witness – Museum of Liverpool and Maritime Museum
BBC Studios’ hugely popular drama celebrated its 25th series in 2022, with six thrilling new episodes – opening in Liverpool with an edge-of-your-seat assassination attempt. Liverpool is favoured by filmmakers for doubling-up locations as New York, London, or Moscow, but Silent Witness is set to showcase the city’s landmarks in full glory.
Production filmed for over a week in Liverpool last year, with cast and crew filming key scenes in some of the most well-known locations including the Museum of Liverpool and the Maritime Museum.
For more on Liverpool as a location for film production click HERE.
For more on National Museums Liverpool Click HERE.