IF you have settled into the new year by binge watching the new Netflix thriller Stay Close, then you will no doubt have seen St Helens' iconic Dream structure looming large throughout the sinister series.

Forming an integral part of the show, Dream is not only used in the opening sequence of Stay Close but a place where characters consistently return as they try to figure out strange events or run from their own secrets.

Since airing on Netflix on December 31, the eight-part series has quickly become one of the most popular on the streaming platform and has clocked more than 31 million streams worldwide.

With such high global viewing figures, questions have inevitably been raised about where the strange sculpture which shrouds the series is located - with those not familiar with the landmark unaware it is right here in St Helens, based atop the old Sutton Manor Colliery.

St Helens Star: James Nesbitt stars in the eight-part Netflix seriesJames Nesbitt stars in the eight-part Netflix series

Unveiled to the public in spring 2009, Dream was commissioned by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa, who worked closely with a group of local ex-miners.

The 20-metre structure is coated in white Spanish dolomite to contrast with the coal and mining industry which stood before it, and is carved to resemble the head and neck of a young girl who is looking forward and dreaming of a brighter future.

After the success of Stay Close, ex-miner Gary Conley said that a brighter future is now possible for Dream, with visitor numbers already "massively increasing" at the Sutton-based site.

Gary, a member of the Dream focus group who helped bring the sculpture to the town, said: "We always wanted Dream to be a vibrant, uplifting and iconic landmark that people in St Helens could be proud of.

"With Netflix choosing it to be such an integral part of their series, this has given the sculpture global acceptance and a global platform - and you just can't buy that kind of publicity or recognition."

St Helens Star: Gary Conley at the filming of Stay Close last yearGary Conley at the filming of Stay Close last year

As the James Nesbitt starring show has proven so popular, Gary stresses that the town now needs to "capitalise" on this success and cement the sculptures position as a global piece of public art.

Firstly, Gary suggests this can be achieved by improving the tree maintenance and lighting at the site, in order to make Dream "highly visible" to the millions of motorists who drive past the sculpture on the M62 every year.

Additionally, attracting more guests may be attained by improving the car parking facilities at the site, incentivising local businesses to invest there and and creating Dream-associated merchandise to solidify its status as a proud St Helens landmark.

St Helens Star: The Dream celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a host of events in 2019The Dream celebrated its 10 year anniversary with a host of events in 2019

Gary, a grandad-of-three from Newton-le-Willows, added: "The Dream is a unique structure that is one of a kind in the UK - and the artist has since taken this idea to sculptures around the world.

"The Netflix backing is a lottery win for us so we have got to build on this, improve, and invest in the site in order to bring more and more people here.

"So let's not hide from our achievements; let Dream symbolise the beacon of hope for the future of St Helens."

St Helens Star: St Helens' 20 metre DreamSt Helens' 20 metre Dream