Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Tuesday, 11 August 2009 10:56 UK

Hollinwood sign apes LA's rival

Hollinwood sign
The sign appeared by the side of the M60 on Monday

Manchester may have signed up to be friends with Los Angeles, but it is neighbouring Oldham that is displaying a little touch of showbiz glamour.

A recreation of the iconic Hollywood sign, which nestles in the Californian hills, has appeared on a grass verge by the side of the M60 - in Hollinwood.

No-one has yet claimed responsibility for the sign, which at 3ft (0.9m) high is dwarfed by its famous cousin.

An Oldham Council spokesman said it was "definitely not a council initiative".

Last month, Manchester City Council signed a formal "friendship agreement" with Los Angeles to develop culture, business and tourism links between the two cities.

There was a scheme proposed to put an iconic piece of art at the Hollinwood roundabout - but I don't think this is it
Councillor Keith Pendlebury

The sign, 4.5 miles (7.2km) away from Manchester, appeared on Monday by the side of the eastbound carriageway of the motorway between junctions 21 and 22.

News of its appearance is spreading and local ward councillor Keith Pendlebury was set to visit the new attraction on Tuesday.

But he admitted he was also in the dark about the origin of the wooden lettering.

"There was a scheme proposed to put an iconic piece of art at the Hollinwood roundabout - but I don't think this is it," he told BBC News.

Hollinwood sign (pic: MEN Syndication)

Despite the similarity in names, Hollinwood and Hollywood are separated by more than just 5,200 miles (8,366km).

Hollinwood is a largely industrial area of Oldham with a population of almost 10,000 people - none of them famous.

Hollywood, a district of the sprawling Los Angeles metropolis, boasts more famous faces than any other city in the world, many of whom work in the film industry.

Unfortunately for film lovers in Hollinwood the area's only cinema, The Roxy, was knocked down in 2007.

The famous Hollywood sign, originally erected to advertise a housing development, was unveiled in 1923 and quickly became a draw for tourists.

But it remains to be seen whether Hollinwood's latest attraction will inspire similar devotion.

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