Manctopia: Billion Pound Property Boom focuses on the immense transformation in Manchester that’s happened in recent years, which we can see happening ever since the IRA detonated a bomb outside the Arndale Centre on Saturday June 15th, 1996, and which forced the hand of the council to redevelop the city, starting with that area.
More recently, flats have sprung up which are made solely for rental, with a £1.4m penthouse costing just a mere £8000/month. As such, it’s pricing the original residents out of the centre and ruining any chance of social housing ever returning there. If you watch the opening episode of Life On Mars, there’s an early scene as Sam Tyler (John Simm) is in the process of waking up in 1973, with the camera spinning round him showing both the old AND new Manchester in the same scene, due to the then-ongoing development.
Similarly, Salford Quays has had massive redevelopment over the past ten years or so with Media City seeing the BBC and ITV moving in. I’m only surprised that Channel 4 didn’t do the same.
On the one hand, property developer Tim Wheatley is spending £2m per WEEK, transforming land next to Manchester Piccadilly railway station, while on the other hand, Christina Hughes and her family are being forced out as the landlord wants to sell up, even though she’s never missed a payment and the rents are a crazy £670/month. But then… y’know, the Tories and their “Northern Powerhouse”.
We also see the problems of trying to find residents the aforementioned social housing, including homeless citizens, and where Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham gives a speech about the “Bed every night” scheme which relies on charitable donations, and who’s the chairman? Tim Wheatley. Oh, the irony.
This also includes a woman who’s planning to move from an isolated country cottage to a high-up place in town which is ridiculously huge for one person, stupidly expense, and… despite being in a city full of a zillion people, you’ll still feel isolated being somewhere like that, so I wouldn’t have thought that’s the answer for anyone.
In addition, there’s some footage from the July 2019 concert to raise funds for the charity, planned featuring Rochdale’s The Courteeners and Stockport’s finest, The Blossoms – albeit not including any of the songs due to copyright.
Manctopia: Billion Pound Property Boom‘s first episode is a disparity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, and overall, it’d be nice to see equality for all, for a change.
UPDATE: I watched the whole series, and I had a horrible feeling this final Manctopia would end with the old man, Johnny, passing away. At least he got to stay in his house until he died. Those tower blocks built by Capital Centric et al are so fucking soulless and distant from reality, you’d want to throw yourself out.
Manctopia: Billion Pound Property Boom begins tomorrow night on BBC2 at 9pm. The series isn’t available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD, but after broadcast, each episode will be on the BBC iPlayer.
Overall: Worth a look
Director: Nick Mattingly
Narrator: Sally Lindsay
Producers: Lyndsay Rowan, Kat Jackson
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.