Over the years, countless films and television programmes have been filmed or set in Liverpool, but very few are filmed and set in both. One soap opera that usually springs to mind when people recall TV shows set in Liverpool is Brookside, which ran from 1982 until 2003. However, going a bit further back in time, two of the most classic sitcoms written, set and filmed in the heart of Liverpool are The Liver Birds and Z Cars.


The Liver Birds 1 and 2 Collection


The Liver Birds was written by the infamous Carla Lane (also known for writing Solo, Bread and Butterflies) along with Myra Taylor, and aired on BBC1 between 1969 and 1979. The popular series documented the good, the bad and the downright hilarious goings-on of two young women, Dawn and Beryl, sharing a flat together in 1970s Liverpool. Named after one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, The Liver Birds was known for its relationship, work and money-related issues consistent throughout all ten series.


With the storylines still relevant to young girls living in Liverpool in the 21st century, Dawn and Beryl experience some major ups and downs throughout the first few seasons. From trying to move to a new flat and pet sitting for a neighbour, to dramatic arguments with boyfriends and losing their jobs, the pair go through every-day problems and dilemmas that are still relatable to this day. The pair reunited for a final comeback season in 1996, 17 years after the final episode of the original series was broadcast. On a local scale in particular, in regards to those who know the area well, The Liver Birds is a hilarious yet significant part of Liverpool’s television history.


Z Cars Collection 1 and 2

Z Cars was set in the fictional town of Newtown in Liverpool, which was based on Kirkby in Merseyside. In reality, Kirkby was built between the 1950s and 1970s, hence the fictional name “Newtown”. The drama was centred around the work of the police force in the area, and was the first of its kind to portray the police in a Northern setting. Z Cars’ theme tune was taken from a traditional Liverpool folk song, which is now more famously known as the official anthem on Everton Football Club.


The main characters included Detective Inspector Barlow, Detective Sergeant Watt, Bert Lynch and Fancy Smith. The stories revolve around pairs of officers on patrol, and the plots were around a range of social and political topics that hit the public on a personal level, making the show an instant hit. One common belief with Z Cars fans is that the show was named after the cars driven in the show, the Ford Zephyr and the Ford Zodiac. In actual fact, the ‘Z’ was in reference to the fictional division within the police force; at the time, the real-life Lancashire constabulary identified the areas in the North West region with letters of the alphabet.


With hours of historical Liverpudlian entertainment available, why not treat yourself to a classic series on DVD to get into over the coming winter months? The Liver Birds and Z Cars are available now from Acorn DVD.