A Tale Of Two Cities

Jimmy McGovern was interviewed in last weekend’s Knowledge section of The Times, where he discussed his forthcoming drama series The Street which starts this Thursday.

The idea for The Street has been percolating inside McGovern’s head for years, loosely based on the street where he grew up in Kensington, Liverpool. He was the fifth of nine children of a betting shop manager and did not speak properly until he was 8, and then with a stutter.

All the writers are Scousers but McGovern did not want the dramas to be filmed in Liverpool, so tired is he of Liverpudlians complaining that they are portrayed in a bad light, so it was made in Manchester. McGovern believes it’s a “f***ing shame” that people here are so sensitive. “I’m sick of it. Every Cracker I’ve done has been based in Manchester. I’ve filled Manchester full of psychopaths, but no one there complains.”

Which I suppose could suggest a couple of things. Perhaps it is evidence that there is something in the claim that many Liverpudlians exhibit a chippy siege mentality, a persecution complex of the sort that Boris Johnson (or was it Simon Heffer?) was referring to in that infamous Spectator editorial that followed Ken Bigley’s murder.

Alternatively, it could show that Mancunians are a more dour and depressive lot, that they are just more grimly accepting of the fact that theirs is a city riddled with sickos and psychos and that they simply get on with it.

Or it could illustrate a combinations of both of these points, or none of the above, or something else entirely. I dunno.