Arresting viewing as Shirehall stars in top BBC show

Shrewsbury's Shirehall, which is at the centre of controversy over its future, has copped a taste of screen stardom – as a stand-in for a police training college.

Walking down the painting-lined corridor – incongruously, the portraits are of senior Shropshire public figures from yesteryear.
Walking down the painting-lined corridor – incongruously, the portraits are of senior Shropshire public figures from yesteryear.

It turns out that the 1960s council headquarters was selected by the team behind the BBC's acclaimed Small Axe series, directed by Steve McQueen and featuring five stories of the experiences of black people in Britain between the late 1960s and early 1980s.

One instalment, "Red, White, and Blue," starred John Boyega in the true story of a black man who joined the Metropolitan Police to change racist attitudes from within.

And for the scenes featuring his training, Shropshire Council's headquarters took on the role of the "police college."

Shrewsbury Crown Court as seen in "Red, White, and Blue."

He is shown ascending the Shirehall steps as he nervously starts his first day, on parade in the shadow of the distinctive ovoid council chamber, and receiving courtroom training in Shrewsbury Crown Court, before passing out in triumph and walking down a corridor lined with paintings of what are no doubt meant to be distinguished police chiefs of yesteryear – in fact they are distinguished Shropshire council figures from yesteryear like Sir Offley Wakeman and Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Heywood Lonsdale.

Eagle-eyed viewer Robert Saunders of Telford said: "It is not quite a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ scene but it does feature the inside of Shirehall, in particular the large open stairway and first floor where there is access to the council chamber and rear suite of offices."

And Shropshire Council spokesman Gareth Proffit confirmed the council headquarters' role.

The new recruit's nervous entry to police training college – actually the Shirehall.

"The production company behind the Small Axe series spent a weekend filming in and around Shirehall in late 2019, I think, for the Red, White and Blue episode. The building doubled up as Hendon Police Training College, which I understand has long since been demolished," he said.

"I watched with interest when the programme was broadcast last year, as I was keen to see the Shirehall on prime time TV.

"Locations that appeared in the episode included: inside the council chamber, the landing outside the main committee rooms, outside the front of the building – which was used as a parade yard – the car park and public entrance, and inside the court building.

The landing by the Shirehall committee rooms was one of the locations featured.

"From memory, I believe someone on the production team knew of the Shirehall and thought it would be a good fit and approached the council.

"If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth a watch on iPlayer and you’ll see for yourself what I’m referring to."

The episode was shown as part of the series broadcast in November and December last year.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News