BBC documentary series focuses on Manchester’s city living boom

Starting on BBC Two on Tuesday evening, Manctopia: Billion Pound Property Boom meets the people living and working in the city’s residential development market.

Manchester is one of Britain’s fastest developing cities, with the population of the city centre set to double in the next five years. Filmed over 12 months, primarily within a one-mile radius of the city centre, Manctopia zooms in on the personalities who find themselves interconnected by the housing race.

Developers featured in the four-part series, which was filmed over 12 months, include Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric, pictured in a scene from the first episode.

Manctopia Tim Heatley

There are also interviews with housebuyers new to the city and established residents who share their views on the volume of new people moving to the city.

Emma Loach, BBC documentaries commissioning editor, said: “Property can be a dry financial issue – but behind every property deal is a person and a family. This series tells the stories of their lives and the highs and lows of the property process.”

Grace Reynolds and Sophie Leonard, executive producers from Minnow Films, said: “We were struck by the building boom in Manchester and felt there must be a human story to tell behind the skyscrapers. We found people with compelling stories, living through an astonishing time, many of them strikingly interconnected. Through them we are able to learn all kinds of things about cities and their development, what home means to us and what the future may look like.”

From the millionaire looking for the perfect penthouse with room for 250 pairs of shoes, to the mum who just wants to find an affordable home her kids will love, to the heartwarming friendship of homeless shelter pals trying to get themselves off the streets, there are no good guys or bad guys, just real people trying to make a home for themselves – and others – in the city they love.

Narrated by Mancunian Sally Lindsay, everyone has their own challenges in Manctopia and they all tackle them with humour. With billions being invested in two square miles of city centre, this series speaks to the property developers and decision makers shaping the city and the communities who are struggling to keep up but so desperately want to keep calling their part of Manchester home.

With many new homes being built in Greater Manchester not classed as affordable housing, families who have lived in the area for generations are getting outpriced. The programme also meets some of the 5,000 homeless people across the city and looks at the services and charities out there to support them.

Manctopia will be shown at 9pm on Tuesday 18 August and at the same time weekly after that.

Manctopia Skyline


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