Although no name is given to the fictional city in which GBH is set, it was filmed largely in and around Greater Manchester. However, speculation that the city is intended to be Liverpool stems from the fact that the character of Michael Murray is a thinly veiled characterization of Derek Hatton, the former Labour deputy leader of Liverpool City Council. Hatton achieved notoriety in the 1980s when he refused to co-operate with the rate-capping policy of the Conservative government and was a strong follower of Trotskyist Militant Tendencies. Hatton was expelled from the Labour Party in 1986, and in 1993 he was accused of corruption during his time as Deputy Leader of the Council. He was brought to trial but was exonerated.
The title "GBH" is never properly explained. In normal parlance, the initials "GBH" refer to the criminal charge of Grievous Bodily Harm (ie beating someone up). However Alan Bleasdale hinted that in this case, they might stand for "Great British Holiday".
Alan Bleasdale originally offered the role of Michael Murray to Michael Palin. At that time, Robert Lindsay was busy working on a film in the USA and was not available. When Lindsay became available a few weeks later because his US project had fallen through, Bleasdale offered him the role of Michael Murray, saying that it was the part that he (Bleasdale) had always wanted Lindsay to play. Rather embarrassed, he asked Palin to play Jim Nelson instead. Michael Palin freely admits that Robert Lindsay portrayed Michael Murray far better than he (Palin) would have done.