Looking For Eric | 2009
Ken Loach’s feelgood movie (who’d have thought that phrase would ever be written?) doesn’t quite pull off the tonal shifts from whimsical comedy to serious drama, ending up like an Ealing Studios revamp of Play It Again Sam.
Set among the diehard fans of Manchester United FC, it’s filmed near the club’s ground on the southern fringes of Manchester.
The home of footie fan Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) is 26 Keppel Road, at Warwick Road in the city’s southwest suburb of Chorlton cum Hardy. Finding his way back after something of a breakdown, Eric is helped by the mysterious appearance of his hero and namesake, soccer legend Eric Cantona, who helps him find his way back with suitably gnomic utterances.
Keppel Road’s former claim to fame is that number 51 was for eight years home to the Gibb family, before they relocated to Australia in 1958, where brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb found fame as the BeeGees.
It’s a couple of miles east to Withington to find what was the pub in which Eric and his mates drink, and rant about corporate sponsorship of football. It used to be the White Lion, standing at 496 Wilmslow Road at the corner of Burton Road, but though it still looks like a boozer, it’s been converted into a Sainsburys Local store.
Further north, in Hulme on the edge of Manchester itself, is Hopton Court on Booth Street West, which is the tower block where Eric Cantona seems to remember few of his great moments but does manage to blast out La Marseillaise on the trumpet.
Still in love with her, he takes Lily just a little to the south, to the Famous Trevor Arms, 135 Beech Road, where he painfully reveals why he’d walked out on her.
The flashbacks to 1979 and the couple’s first meeting, were filmed a few miles away to the northwest of Manchester in Swinton. The Fifties-style dance competition was filmed in Swinton Palais, 11a Station Road, Swinton.
And, of course, it would be unfair not to mention Old Trafford on Sir Matt Busby Way, north of Chorlton. The real home of Manchester United football club is seen in genuine match shots and, if you want to pay homage at the Theatre of Dreams, you can tour the stadium and its museum.