MANZE'S DEPTFORD: PIE & MASH SHOP FEATURED IN BBC1 COMEDY-DRAMA

It doesn’t get more British than dark comedy and pie & mash. Frequenters of Manze’s in Deptford may have already spotted one of London’s oldest pie shops in BBC 1’s recently-aired ‘Back to Life’.

After an 18-year stint in prison, Miri Matteson returns home to her childhood coastal town of Hythe and struggles to integrate back into adult life. So begins the comedy-drama ‘Back to Life’ which aired on BBC1 in November last year to critical acclaim. To date, the series has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In the second episode of the series, protagonist Miri (Daisy Haggard) is offered a job in the fictitious Nathan’s Fish & Chip Shop, which was filmed inside Manze’s Pie & Mash shop in Deptford.

The Manze family’s shops are dotted around London and have been proudly serving up the same recipes for the 200-odd-years that they’ve been open. While they’ve eased up on the traditional eel that was once a working class staple and used to receive equal billing with pie & mash in the shop’s description, the fact remains that few businesses in London have retained the traditional feel that is strikingly present in their branches.

M. Manze in Tower Bridge is cited by some as possibly the oldest surviving Pie & Mash shop in the world. It was opened in 1902 by Michele Manze. Manze’s in Deptford was opened years later and is now managed by Michele Manze’s grandson George.

To the confusion of locals, Manze’s Deptford was closed for the duration of the filming in 2018, sparking rumours of a forthcoming closure which Manze’s staff consequently put to rest online. They certainly seem excited to be able to spill the beans after keeping it secret for months, judging by the homepage of their website.

The owner, George Manze, is reported to have had great fun collaborating with the production company and Lewisham Film Office in making over his establishment for the sake of the show and gave special mention to the thoroughness and care put in to re-instating the shop’s interior to its previous look and feel before wrapping up. He apparently looks forward to welcoming future productions.