Stay Close Locations
While the TV series is set in the fictional suburb of Livingstone, the shooting locations are all in England. The cities and areas in Manchester, Blackpool, Prescot, Lancashire, Runcorn's Silver Jubilee Bridge, St. Helens, Morecambe, and Formby were used. The backdrops of these locations, shooting styles, props and setups were set in record time since the majority of the film shooting took place during the Covid-19 lockdown. However, considering all the social distancing challenges, the shooting that should have gotten over in a few months took nearly 6 to 8 months.
For most of the shoots, Blackpool seemed like the perfect location for what is supposed to be Atlantic City, New Jersey (as per the book), and the crew had to make very few changes to fit the scene descriptions. Similarly, Northern Manchester was used for filming most indoor and city center shooting locations.
Teaser: While the team was scouting for Stay Close locations, they chose the popular tourist attraction of the massive head sculpture. This sculpture is authentic and is the 'Dream' statue by artist Jaume Plensa at St. Helens. While no Stay Close action scenes are shot there, the sculpture is a work of art that tourists should surely visit. You can see it from junction 7 by the M62 between Liverpool and Manchester.
In the Netflix adaptation of the book, most viewers found it hilarious that Megan flees her old life just to move to the other side of town and reinvent herself. Considering all the pain she took to escape suspicion and start a new life, viewers felt that leaving the city or at least the state would have been a better plot move.
Megan's friends throw her a hen party scene in Stay Close
The Refuge Bar, Manchester, England
The hen party is one of the few funny scenes in Stay Close with Megan (Cush Jumbo) and her girlfriends having a fabulous time at a bar where they call a male model, and they all sit to paint him while he poses in his underwear. Before the model enters, Megan and her friends take selfies in caps that say 'Megan <3 Dave' and instead of 'Cheese,' they say 'Pinot Grigio!' Her friend toasts Megan, "They're finally getting married after 16 years together. To Megan and Dave!" Megan says, "Oh, thank you! I'm so sorry about the stupid caps!" Megan's friends do not know anything about her past and have no idea about how their words can affect Megan and her emotions.
Her friend says, "Now I know it's not your traditional hen night. We're way too classy for strippers. However, we do have… Marcus!" All the women start cheering and screaming when they see a hot guy walk into the bar in a robe. Her friend continues, "Oh! So, fill up your glasses, grab an apron. Let's get painting!" Megan's face falls when her friend makes a derogatory remark about strippers.
This fun scene is shot at the famous Refuge Bar in Manchester, UK. It is a favorite of most locals and has the feel of an elegant, roomy dining room with an atrium ceiling and ceramic pillars. To get here, hop onto any bus going to Oxford Road Station (Stop B) and walk for one minute to reach Refuge.
Megan has an uncomfortable conversation with Lorraine scene Stay Close
Gin Bar Section, Impossible Bar, Manchester, England
One of the best scenes in Stay Close is at the beginning when Megan Pierce-Shaw (Cush Jumbo) and Lorraine Griggs (Sarah Parish) are reunited after several years. They have both been colleagues earlier and are reuniting after 16 years.
Megan is highly uncomfortable meeting Lorraine since Megan has given up her old life and has changed her name and identity, is now a mother of three children, and is marrying her boyfriend soon. Megan feels Lorraine will jeopardize everything that Megan has built over the past decade and a half.
Megan asks Lorraine, "How did you find me?" to which Lorraine replies, "Everybody's findable, darling. I got to tell you kid; I'm impressed. House… kids. Charity job." Megan gets irritated, "What do you want, Lorraine?" Lorraine replies, "Do they know who you were in your previous life? I mean I assume not, with the new name, and the new look and everything."
This scene is shot during the day at the Gin Bar Section at Impossible Bar in Manchester, England. This pub is open to the public and is divided into three parts – The Gin Bar, the underground nightclub (where other scenes were shot), and the restaurant. To get here, either walk a few minutes from Liverpool Rd or hop onto bus number 50, get off at Bridge Street (Stop WF), and walk for a few minutes.
Michael Broome and Erin Cartwright visit the club scene in Stay Close
Theatre Impossible (Underground Nightclub), Impossible Bar, Manchester, England
In this scene, DS Michael Broome (portrayed by James Nesbitt) and DC Erin Cartwright (Jo Joyner) go to the nightclub Vipers to ask about the disappearance of Carlton Flynn (Connor Calland). As Broome and Cartwright are both police investigators, they think it is best to go ask around the club to check if anyone has seen Carlton since he may have visited Vipers earlier Friday night.
As soon as Broome shows his badge, the bald bouncer at the door says, "There's no discount for cops." Cartwright rolls her eyes and takes out a picture of Carlton Flynn, "We're investigating the disappearance of a young man, Carlton Flynn. Think he might have visited your club Friday evening?" The bouncer looks at the photo and says, "Nah. Never seen him." So, Cartwright responds, "Can we ask around? Maybe someone else saw him." He doesn't reply and changes the conversation topic to Broome and how his hair has turned gray.
This Stay Close filming location is the underground nightclub, Theatre Impossible, which is part of the Impossible venue. The gin bar and restaurant are used as other shooting areas for scenes from Stay Close. It is easily accessible from Liverpool Road and is on Peter Street in Manchester.
Ray proposes to Cassie at the carnival and beachside scene in Stay Close
Blackpool Beach and Carnival
Ray Levine (Richard Armitage) remembers a time when he and Cassie (Cush Jumbo) leave Viper, where she works as a stripper, and head to the carnival. The flashback scene starts with the usual carnival gaiety and arcade-style games, children screaming and playing around in the background, and Cassie trying to shoot some arcade hoops. Ray wins a cheap plastic ring at one of the games (the one with the claws where you lift things).
He goes down on one knee in front of Cassie and says, "Will you…." Before he can finish asking Cassie a question, she yells, "Yes!" Ray says, "No. No. You don't know what I'm gonna say!" She's simply screaming out of joy. Ray gets up and kisses Cassie. He's trying to get a picture of her happiness and says, "One more. Don't move. Don't move."
This flashback scene is shot at the Blackpool Beach and Carnival. It is pretty famous among locals and is open nearly every day. To get here, simply hop onto bus number 68 on the yellow line and get off at Central Pier. If you walk for a minute, you will reach the beach and can visit the carnival, play some games, and win a stuffed teddy!
Ken, Kayleigh, and Megan at the log cabin scene in Stay Close
Knowsley Safari Park, Prescot, England
In this scene, Kayleigh Shaw (Bethany Antonia) is kidnapped by Ken (Hyoie O'Grady) and Barbie (Poppy Gilbert) and kept locked up in a log cabin at an undisclosed location in the middle of a forest. It is extremely isolated with no people coming or going. Ken stays on guard outside the log cabin while Barbie leaves. He's constantly humming and singing songs to pass the time while Kayleigh is trapped inside.
Kayleigh tries to get Ken to open the locked door by saying, "I'm not trying to leave, can I just come out for a wee?" Ken responds, "Oh! That's what the bucket is for!" Hearing this, Kayleigh sighs and resigns herself to remain in the cabin.
In the meantime, Megan sees Barbie leaving the place and backtracks till she sees the log cabin. She hears Ken singing and realizes that's where her daughter Kayleigh is probably kept. She comes up from the rear of the cabin, realizes Kayleigh is inside, tells her to stay quiet, and helps her escape through the backdoor, duping Ken.
The Stay Close production team chose the picturesque Knowsley Safari Park in Prescot for this rescue scene. Visitors can tour the Park in cars or safety buses and view various animals in their natural habitat. If you're traveling from Liverpool, catch the 10A Q from St. Helens Platform 2 and get off at Knowsley Park Lane. From this stop, the Park is approximately an 8 to 10 minutes walk.
Dave's stag party with his friends in Stay Close
The Edwardian Manchester, England
In this scene, Dave's friend blindfolds him and gets him to a hotel. As they pass through the doors, Dave (Daniel Francis) starts hearing music playing in the background and people talking around him. Dave tells his friend, "This is starting to feel like a hostage situation!" His friend laughs and tells him, "Nearly there!" Dave suddenly hears the electronic beeping of a door opened in front of him and gets pushed in by his friend.
As he steps in, his friend closes the door and yells, "And… now!" When Dave removes his blindfold, he finds all his friends wearing black t-shirts with neon green ink that reads 'Daves Dudes' with face masks on Megan's (his fiancée's) face. All his friends scream, "We love you, Dave!" Dave starts laughing and realizes his friends have kidnapped him for a stag party!
This filming location of Stay Close is the luxurious Edwardian Manchester, A Radisson Collective in Manchester, England. A few rooms at this hotel were chosen to host Dave's bachelor party to make it seem like a boys-only experience. Catch the Blue Line and get off at the St. Peter's Square stop. From here, it's a 4-minute walk to the hotel. You can book rooms and stay for a bit or visit the gorgeous spa for a relaxed time.
Stay Close is an intriguing, chair-jerking thriller with plot twists that leave viewers flabbergasted, with many guessing who could be the culprit. Either way, Stay Close is an entertaining watch, with many fans wishing it was not a Netflix mini-series but one that spanned several seasons.
The Stay Close production team has done a fabulous job with all the filming locations, adaptations, and dialogues and has tried to stick as close to the original book as possible. Plenty of viewers (who have also read the novel) criticized the makers, saying there should have been more detail, but considering its adaptation, that is practically impossible.
Fans do have something to look forward to, with author Harlan Coben having signed a 14-books, 5-year deal with Netflix. What fun! With so many adaptations coming your way, fans can catch up on their reading and anticipate the visual treat coming their way!