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Eyewitness in Manchester masthead
Issue number 2 Sunday 26th of January 1997

New Arch under construction in Hulme
New arch under construction in Hulme

Some of this week's local news items seem to bear out the less favourable aspects of the city's image, moulded by shows such as X-Cars, showing police car video action, and tv drama Prime Suspect Five, chillingly realistic and set in Manchester.

Crime fiction became real life on Wednesday when a security guard was shot and seriously wounded during a raid on a Securicor van at Tesco's supermarket in Wythenshawe. And this weekend, four men were arrested in Manchester in connection with an armed robbery in Dorset.

Reports of more shootings in Longsight add to a worrying trend. Statistics point to a greater rise in crime in the North West than in other parts of the UK. Out and about in the city, though, you don't see much evidence of the problem. It's nowhere near as bad as in some American cities.

It can certainly be difficult for a place to shake off a bad image, but the inner-city district of Hulme is doing just that at the moment. Featured this week on tv, the area continues its transformation from 70's urban planning nightmare to a model of 90's community-led regeneration.

The brothers Gallagher have been strangely absent from the news this week, but a music-related story of a different kind was the announcement on Thursday that DJ team Mark Radcliffe and Marc Riley will be taking over the Radio 1 primetime breakfast spot starting February the 15th.

The job became vacant after the departure from the BBC of controversial DJ Chris Evans after bosses turned down his request for Fridays off. The show will be presented from Manchester, something Mark and Marc insisted upon.

On a less happy note, this week sees the demise of the city's longest-running cinema. After 85 years, Cine City in Withington closed its doors for the last time, the result of competition from the big multiplex cinemas. Local residents are sad, but hope that a new buyer will come along.

During the week we had a stretch of cold, drizzly, overcast weather, but by the weekend, the skies had cleared, and as I write, it's a bright, glorious day in Manchester.


Text and photos by Aidan O'Rourke


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