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That’s a Wrap!

24 Jan

This post is the first one in a very long time and I write it with a certain melancholy.

Like with all movies and TV series, after months of planning, preparation, research, location scouting and filming, comes the last day of shooting and with it, the director’s final words: “That’s a wrap!”

After writing almost every week for the first 14-15 months, 2015 was a fairly quiet affair. During the first part of the year, although some posts were ready on paper, I did not have a computer. Then, when back online and roaring to go, I was offered the opportunity to move abroad for an internal promotion… and I spent August packing. End of September, after 15 years in the UK and the last 6 in Islington, I took my suitcases and head off to Spain!

I will publish the few posts drafted early 2015 but after that it will be tricky to carry on from Spain and not being able to walk around Islington to take pictures. Talking of which, the Islington Film Locations Map will now be opened to everyone who knows and wishes to share with us an Islington film location. I hope to see this map growing and growing.

Thanks to everyone who dropped by at some point, followed the blog, enjoyed it and commented on it! You never know what the future may have in mind and maybe we’ll have a Lights, Camera…Islington! sequel in a few years time but for now, it is …So long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen, goodbye!

To Islington with Love, Xavier

4 Weddings & Funeral - Highbury Terrace - Final Kiss - FILM

 

 

 

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Caledonian Road on the Big Screen

11 Sep

Last Sunday, making the most of the glorious sunshine, we joined The Cally Festival festivities, by organising our first Cally Movie Tour.

photo

Departing from the West Library on Bridgeman Road, our Tour set to discover The Cally and its surroundings through some of the movies and TV series filmed there. A group of Islington residents and Londoners coming from slightly further afield walked from Thornhill Crescent to The Caledonian Market and its Clock Tower.

Icing on the cake, thanks to Islington’s Ecology Centre, the group was able to enter Barnsbury Wood. For most it was a first. Others recalled visiting friends living around the Wood and jumping the wall to play in it!

photo 1

Ready for Action in Barsnbury Wood!

Following the steps of David Suchet, Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Colin Farrell or ‘Joe of the Caledonian market’, and thanks to stills and clips of movies shot between 1933 and 2010, we saw Caledonian Road taking centre stage.

While on Frederica Street, talking about classic British dark comedy  The Ladykillers (1955) a local stopped by. Not only he did confirm we were in the right spot (phew!) but that his mum had managed to get an autograph from Alec Guinness!

IMG_0844

The Cally Market and its Clock Tower

Once the Closing Credits were over, we all made our way back to The Cally to enjoy the rest of the sunny afternoon.

IMG_0843

No plans yet but keep an eye on Lights, Camera…Islington! for future tours!

How to get there?

Buses to Caledonian Road

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road and Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Enjoyed the Cally Movie Tour? Feel free to comment and share it with your friends ! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at LightsCameraIslington(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

Cally Movie Tour: 7th September

2 Sep

To celebrate The Cally Festival 2014 on Sunday 7th September,

in collaboration with the organisers,

Lights, Camera…Islington! present

A FREE short Movie Tour of The Cally!

From black & white to colour, from award-winning movies to TV series, join us to discover The Cally from another angle!

 

Cally Movie Tour

FREE but Registration requested: See Eventbrite button on the right

When: Sunday 7th September 2014 @ 3PM

Depart: West Library, Bridgeman Road, N1 1BD

For more on The Cally Festival 2014 visit www.thecallyfestival.com 

Cally Movie Tour here we come!

Cally Movie Tour here we come!

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Buses to Caledonian Road

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road and Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Barsnbury Wood: The Key to Hercule Poirot Investigation

21 Aug

We saw some time ago how Belgium detective Hercule Poirot (David Suchet) came to the rescue of Lt Race (Tom Burke) to solve a Murder in Thornhill Crescent, or Wilbraham Crescent in The Clocks (Season 12 – 2009).

However, it is fair to say that in this instance Agatha Christie’s hero benefited from some help. Indeed it is thanks to two young girls playing in their tree house at the back of the properties where the crime took place that Poirot will uncover the final piece of the jigsaw.

While trying to solve the murder, Poirot and Lt Race keep coming back to Wilbraham Crescent to speak to the different neighbours and check alibis. A few of those scenes and interviews take place in what seems to be the back garden of such houses. In those, a tree house can clearly be spotted with two young girls playing.

Poirot - Barnsbury Wood - Film 01

Poirot - Barnsbury Wood - Film 02

They even talk to Poirot on a couple of occasions, enquiring about where he is from.

Poirot - Barnsbury Wood - Film 03

Finally, towards the end of the episode, they give Poirot a walking stick they have found. Such stick will prove crucial for Poirot’s case.

Poirot - Barnsbury Wood - Film 04

So…where could you possibly have a tree house nearby Thornhill Crescent? The back gardens of Victorian houses are nice but not necessarily that big. However, you do not have to go far to find such place, but simply need to go over the wall or, more simply, enter Barsnbury Wood via Crescent Street!

Poirot - Barnsbury Wood - MRX 02

Now a Local Nature Reserve for wildlife managed by Islington Council, Barnsbury Wood was once the private garden of Number 7 Huntingdon Street, property of George Thornhill, Member of Parliament for Huntingdon who had developed the nearby square.

Barnsbury Wood is open all year round on Tuesdays between 2 and 4 PM, and again during those hours on Saturdays from July to end of September thanks to local volunteers.

Interestingly once in Barnsbury Wood, you do realise that what seemed to be the back garden of the houses was actually Barnsbury Wood overlooking such houses, it was shot the other way round!

Poirot - Barnsbury Wood - MRX 01

Again, a particular Thank You to our Twitter friends @thecallyroad and Jan in particular for pointing us in the right direction!

Once again, we will come back to Thornhill Square for more Islington Film Locations adventures…

Fade Out

Related Agatha Christie’s Poirot post:

 Hercule Poirot solves murder in Thornhill Crescent

 

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Barnsbury Wood (entrance via Crescent Street) N1

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Many buses to Caledonian Road

 

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at LightsCameraIslington(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

Copenhagen Tunnel: The Ladykillers Part 2

20 Mar

In Frederica Street: Sweet Old Lady in 60,000 bank robbery! I explained how Ealing Studios’ classic The Ladykillers (1955) was dear to me: One of the first movie I saw after landing in the UK, one that reminded me of a bygone era and that I was over the moon when I realised it had been partly filmed in Islington’s Frederica Street.

Sadly, we also saw how this excitement was short lived when I walked to Frederica Street and realised that shortly after the filming the area had undergone a major redevelopment to give way to the Nailour Estate: Nothing remained from 1954.

Nothing? Hummm, maybe not. Despite all the changes around Frederica Street, if you look carefully, you will find that 60 years on something is still here: The Copenhagen Tunnel. The bridge and the mouths of the tunnel that stood right at the back of Mrs Wilberforce’s house, so crucial in the final stages of the film, can still be seen today.

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - House and Bridge - FILM

The LadyKillers - Bridge - FILM 01

Alec Guinness (Professor Marcus) and Herbert Lom (Louis)

The LadyKillers - Bridge - FILM 02

The LadyKillers - Bridge - MRX

Yes I confess, it is particularly difficult to reach since Frederic Street is no more but…where there is a will, there is a mean. The long option will take you via York Way and then Yale Road through the industrial estate.

A shorter and maybe more comfortable route might be to simply catch the Overground from the Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Station towards Camden Road. Within seconds of departing, looking north, you’ll see it.

The mouths of Copenhagen Tunnel from the Overground

The mouths of Copenhagen Tunnel
from the Overground

A final option might be to know someone living in the Bunning Way flats (off the former Frederica St) and who may let you have a sneak peek from their window or car park… you know my email.

CALL OUT: In an interview available online Tom Pevsner, Assistant Director on The Ladykillers, recalls that in Frederica Street, the crew “used rooms in various houses as dressing rooms, rest rooms for the artists, make-up, hair and all that fitted in and we were there for quite a long time.” (…)  I should think probably 3 or 4 weeks and the people got quite used to us and enjoyed it (…) I think all the people in Frederica Street or a lot of them knew each other (…).

Pictures found online show a tea party organised by the producers and attended by the cast for the schoolchildren of Frederica Street as a thank you for their co-operation during the many weeks of location shooting.

Frederica Street - The Ladykillers - Tea Party

Do you know anyone who lived in Frederica Street or the area back then? Anyone who may have opened their doors to the crew? Attended the tea party? We would LOVE to hear from them!

Fade Out

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Vale Royal, N7

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Many buses to Caledonian Road and York Way

Hercule Poirot solves murder in Thornhill Crescent

27 Feb

In a similar way than Chapel Market, this week’s Islington Film Location survived the upheavals of the 20th century without any major changes. Similarly, it features regularly on our screens and you can be sure that “we’ll be back”. This is where the similarity ends.

Agatha Christie’s crime novels have been adapted time and time again for the big screen, the television or the stage. It is for an episode of ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Poirot, that Belgium detective Hercule Poirot (David Suchet), graces us with his presence.

In The Clocks (Season 12 – 2009), Hercule Poirot investigates a murder in Wilbraham Crescent. Wilbraham Crescent? No such crescent in Islington my dear Monsieur X, non, non, non!

In fact, there is no reason why one should think or realise that we are in the heart of Islington. The whole episode is set in Dover, as the regular views of the Castle and the sea remind us, not to mention the seagulls we hear on most outdoor scenes. Furthermore, when Lt Colin Race (Tom Burke) presents the case to Poirot he refers to Wilbraham Crescent as “a quiet street away from the seafront”. How could you possibly guess you are in Thornhill Crescent?

Since Wilbraham Crescent is the crime scene, Poirot keeps coming back to it: to visit the house where the body was found, talk to the neighbours, once, twice…

The first time we get to spot Thornhill Crescent is when typist-for-hire Sheila Webb (Jaime Winstone) arrives to the house of Ms Pebmarsh (Anna Massey). She arrives from Crescent Street and turns left.

Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - Film 01

Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - Film 02

Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - MRX 02

Later on Poirot and Lt Race go back to ask the neighbours a few questions. We can see them arriving by car from Bridgeman Road (east side) and turning right onto Thornhill Crescent.

Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - Film 03

After their visit, they stop on the pavement to discuss progress with Inspector Hardcastle (Phil Daniels) who has joined them.

Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - Film 04

Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - Film 05

Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - MRX 03

Finally, when our Belgium detective has all the evidences he needed, he rings Inspector Hardcastle. The red phone box used was a prop but St Andrew’s Church can be seen in the background.

 Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - Film 06

Poirot - Thornhill Crescent - MRX 04

A particular Thank You to our Twitter friends @thecallyroad and Jan in particular for  pointing us in the right direction us!

We will come back to Thornhill Square for more Islington Film Locations adventures…

Fade Out

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Thornhill Crescent N1 1BJ

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Many buses to Caledonian Road

Frederica Street: Sweet Old Lady in £60,000 bank robbery!

5 Dec

 More than ten years ago, a few months after landing on the shores of Dorset, the landlady I was renting a room from, recommended me to join her family for the evening. By then, I had spent quite a few hours with them talking movies and cinema. She knew I was keen on the subject. That evening, she said, I had to watch that movie, a “British classic” starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers amongst others. Indeed she was right.

Watching The Ladykillers (1955) I could see how this Ealing Studios black comedy had grown to be cherished and become a national treasure, and is still regarded today as one of the best British film of all time. In many ways, it reminded me of some movies I had grown up with, and my parents before me. Post war films that year after year TV channels keep scheduling and that, invariably, get top viewing figures. Everyone in the family has their favourite characters, their preferred scene, and know the dialogues inside out. A certain melancholy, nostalgia for a bygone era hangs around such films.

I doubt there is any point in summarising the story nor should I want to spoil it should you not – really? – have seen it. Make sure you do, you won’t regret it. I am as honest as Mrs Wilberforce here…

With all this in mind, I was surprised and excited to found out that Mrs Wilberforce’s house was in Frederica Street, Islington. Although the views from her house are actually Argyle Street with St Pancras in the background, her house had been built specially for the movie on an empty plot at the end of Frederica Street with the railway line leading to King’s Cross just behind it.

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - House and Bridge - FILM

Sadly, but understandably considering the year the movie was made, Frederica Street as it was then is no more. In the following years the area underwent a major redevelopment to give way to the Nailour Estate and only a very short part of it remains.

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - MRX 02

Nearly 60 years have passed and I wonder how many locals know about this. Maybe someone out there remembers…

CALL OUT: In an interview available online Tom Pevsner, Assistant Director on The Ladykillers, recalls that in Frederica Street, the crew “used rooms in various houses as dressing rooms, rest rooms for the artists, make-up, hair and all that fitted in and we were there for quite a long time.” (…)  I should think probably 3 or 4 weeks and the people got quite used to us and enjoyed it (…) I think all the people in Frederica Street or a lot of them knew each other (…).

Pictures found online show a tea party organised by the producers and attended by the cast for the schoolchildren of Frederica Street as a thank you for their co-operation during the many weeks of location shooting.

Frederica Street - The Ladykillers - Tea Party

Do you know anyone who lived in Frederica Street or the area back then? Anyone who may have opened their doors to the crew? Attended the tea party? We would LOVE to hear from them!

Fade Out

Enjoyed this post? Feel free to comment, share it with your friends and come to Islington to discover our locations! Don’t forget to send me your pictures.

And if you do know any Islington location used for Film, TV, photo shoot or have been involved in the process, drop me a line at TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Frederica Street N7

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Many buses to Caledonian Road

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