Whether you’re planning to watch week by week or you’re saving it all up for a 6-part TV binge, it’s inevitable that at some point you’re going to ask yourself, ‘Where was Funny Woman filmed?’. In recreating 1960s London, the makers of this new series from Sky Max have used some fabulous locations. And we can reveal the surprising whereabouts of one in particular…
Before getting all giddy about one of Funny Woman’s most glorious filming locations, however, allow us to outline the show – a six-part comedy series from Sky Max, starring the brilliantly cast Gemma Arterton as Barbara Parker, who abandons her hometown of Blackpool – where she’s just been crowned Beauty Queen – and heads for the bright lights of London.
To begin with, there’s nothing at all bright about the dingy digs she finds herself in. But everything changes as she successfully auditions for a part in a new TV sitcom called ‘Barbara (and Jim)’ and becomes a household name, thanks to her uncompromising northern wit, almost overnight.
From digs to diamonds…
With her newfound success, ‘Sophie’ (that’s the off-screen pseudonym her male colleagues persuade her to adopt) is no longer one of the aspiring actresses working behind the cosmetics counter at Derry & Toms, but the kind who has the money to shop there. And it’s here where we encounter one of the most impressive filming locations used on Sky Max’s Funny Woman.
Famous for its Roof Garden, Derry & Tom’s was a hugely popular department store on London’s Kensington High Street until it closed and became home to Big Biba in 1973. So it’s not surprising that this iconic place features in the story. But with the site having since been developed into office and retail space used by the likes of Marks & Spencer, H&M, Gap and Sony Music UK, the show’s makers had to get creative with an alternative location…
Where were the Derry & Tom scenes filmed?
We can reveal that the building they settled on to represent Derry & Tom’s was Martins Bank in Liverpool, with the main banking hall being dressed to look like the famous department store! And we know because it’s one of the commercial locations in our library. Owned by our location partners at property investment company, Kinrise, Martins Bank is a Grade II* listed building that opened in 1932 and has been described as a “masterpiece… and among the very best interwar classical buildings in the country”.
Having acquired Martins Bank in July 2021, Kinrise is now in the process of restoring it and plans to reopen this glorious building to the public in 2024, providing “140,000 sq ft of leading work, social and restaurant space in Liverpool.” (Lucky Liverpudlians!). For now, however, Martins Bank is enjoying its incarnation as a popular filming location, having been used most recently as a filming location on BBC One dramas, Sherwood and Everything I Know About Love.
Funny Woman is due to be shown on Sky Max with NOW from Thursday 9 February 2023. In the meantime, you can whet your appetite with the official Funny Woman trailer (and catch a glimpse of Martins Bank as Tom & Derry’s department store 5 seconds in!).
Want more Martins Bank? Explore location #2892