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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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Meet Joe…of the Caledonian Market

20 Nov

In a similar way that we have already seen how the historical Holloway Women Prison, built in 1852 as a mixed prison, featured prominently in the opening scene of Turn the Key Softly (1953) today’s post will take us to another historical Islington landmark, also opened in the mid-19th century: Caledonian Market

Opened by Prince Albert in June 1855, the London Metropolitan Cattle Market was established by the City of London in order to supplement Smithfield market. Smithfield will concentrate on meat whereas the new market on live cattle.

Cally - Metropolitan_Cattle_Market_Islington_1855

The Metropolitan Cattle Market

However, by the early 20th century trade in live cattle had declined and the Caledonian Market, became a bric-a-brac market until the breakout of World War 2. Ultimately, the conflict will mark the end of trading since, after the market moved to Bermondsey.

Why am I telling about all this? Because it is as a bric-a-brac market and shortly before WW2 that we get to spot The Cally, in a movie that offers us a brief snapshot of life at The Cally in the 1930s.

Friday the 13th (1933), a (local) Gainsborough production not as scary and bloody as the title may suggests, opens on a stormy London evening. Various individuals are on a double-decker bus when at midnight, lightening strikes a crane. In a desperate attempt to avoid the crane collapsing, the bus driver crashes into a wall. We then go back in time to see who were these people and why they were on that bus on that tragic night. Among them is ‘Joe of the Caledonian Market’, played by Max Miller.

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 03

We first meet Joe when he is getting ready to go to the market. In fact, he is even singing his love for The Cally while getting ready:

Of all the markets I love best, there’s none that beats The Cally…”

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 04

Then, later in the movie, we can see how traders wait for the Cally Clock Tower to strike 10 o’clock for the Market Gates to open and the mayhem that follows, presumably to take the best spots and get the best bargains. Images in many ways similar to those we see 80 years later on Boxing Day Sales.

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 05

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 06

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 07

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 08

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 09

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 10

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 11

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 12

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - FILM 13

Friday the Thirteenth - Caledonian Market Clock Tower - MrX04

I truly recommend to watch Friday the 13th if you have the opportunity and you will most likely look at Caledonian Park and the Cally Tower differently from then on.

If you are interested, check out Islington Council’s website on a regular basis since they do organise regular Cally Clock Tower opening days!

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Market Road

Caledonian Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian and Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Buses to Caledonian road and York Way

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

Yvonne Mitchell and Kathleen Harrison at Holloway Tube Station

2 Nov

The last time we spoke about Turn The Key Softly (1953), we saw how the historic Holloway Women’s Prison also known as ‘The Castle’ stole the show in the first minutes of the movie and how three women of different backgrounds Monica (Yvonne Mitchell), Stella (Joan Collins) and Mrs Quilliam (Kathleen Harrison) were released on the same morning.

The following sequence of Turn The Key Softly was also shot in Islington. Not only nearby the prison, but it somehow followed a certain logic. When the 3 women leave prison, Stella’s fiancé is waiting for her outside and they soon vanish. However, nobody has come to meet Monica or Mrs Quilliam and they make their way together to…Holloway Tube Station!

 They can be seen walking on Holloway Road passing under the railway bridge, opposite the station’s entrance,

 Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Tube Station - FILM 01

 and waiting at the pedestrian crossing, at which point Holloway Road, the bridge and the tube Station are easily recognisable.

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Tube Station - FILM 02

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Tube Station - FILM 03

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Tube Station - MrX 01

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Tube Station - FILM 04

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Tube Station - MrX 02

 

Fade Out

Related Turn The Key Soflty post

Joan Collins released from Holloway Prison

 

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Holloway Tube Station (Zone 2)

Many buses to Holloway 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

Colin Firth House Hunting in Highbury

31 Jul

Barely 2 months have passed since the FA Cup final frenzy, two weeks since the 2014 World Cup Final and yet, Fever Pitch is once again brewing.  With the Emirates Cup taking place this weekend in Islington, a new Premiership season is looming. Let’s hope for Arsenal that it is as successful, if not more, than the last one.

Arsenal Fans around the borough (and worldwide) would have kept an eye on the market transfers, the fixtures calendar, and all the gossips. What would be the ultimate goal for an Arsenal Fan: The Champions League Trophy? A Premier League Title? Retaining the FA Cup?

For most Arsenal fans those would do. For Paul (Colin Firth) however, the ultimate dream is another. A Gunner since he was a kid, he wants to live his passion to the full this means live as close as possible from his family. Having conquered Sarah’s heart (Ruth Gemmell), not so keen on football herself, they look for a place to move in together and Paul has found the perfect house…on Conewood Street, opposite Highbury Stadium, where else?

Fever Pitch - Arsenal Stadium - Main Entrance - FILM 01

Having parked outside the house, they visit it.

Fever Pitch - Colin's House - FILM 02

Fever Pitch - Colin's House - FILM 01

 

Fever Pitch - Colin's House - MRX

Paul is over the moon. Even better, the bedroom windows allows him to keep an eye 24/7 on the Directors’ Entrance !

Fever Pitch - Arsenal Stadium - Main Entrance - FILM 03
Fever Pitch - Arsenal Stadium - Main Entrance - MRX

Sarah is less than impressed and is adamant that, had it been possible, Paul would have moved in Highbury Stadium. Just as well for her that Arsenal Football Club had not yet moved to the Emirates. No doubts that Paul would be looking for a flat in Highbury Stadium Square!

Fade Out

 

Related Fever Pitch posts

Highbury: It’s Fever Pitch around Here

Fever Pitch rises again around Arsenal Station

Night Stroll in Camden Passage for Colin Firth 

 

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Conewood Street N5

Arsenal Tube Station: Piccadilly Line (Zone 2)

Drayton Park Train station

Many buses to Holloway Road station and Highbury Park 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 TheUnbelievableMrX(at)gmail.com or via Twitter

 

At Highbury Corner, Keep Your Lane! #Enraha

3 Jul

This week we are staying in the same neck of the woods than last week, literally yards from it.

In our last Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) post, On Holloway Road Mind the Driving Instructor, we left Poppy (Sally Hawkins) and Scott (Eddie Marsan) in the middle of a major discussion while at one of Islington’s busiest junction: Tollington Road, turning right onto Holloway Road towards Archway.

Logically we would be spotting them on their way to, or nearby, Archway… Maybe they did go towards Archway. Maybe they didn’t. Only Mike Leigh, his crew and the actors would be able to enlighten us here.

The truth is that, in the next shots we can still see Scott driving on Holloway Road, but going towards…Highbury Corner!

Then, while he explains to Poppy how to keep in lane in roundabouts we can quickly spot:

Local businesses Mc Donald’s and The White Swan pub,

Happy Go Lucky - Highbury Corner - FILM 01

a car waiting to exit Highbury Station Road,

Happy Go Lucky - Highbury Corner - FILM 03

and the pedestrian crossing between the Highbury Corner Post Office (now gone), and Highbury Place.

Happy Go Lucky - Highbury Corner - FILM 02

Scott then turns left heading back to Holloway Road.

Not from a car but…here is a picture of Highbury Corner soon to be improved.

Happy Go Lucky - Highbury Corner - MRX

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Highbury Corner N1 1RY

Highbury and Islington Station (Zone 2)

Many buses to Highbury Corner

 

Related Happy-Go-Lucky posts

Mountgrove Road: A Vintage Sally Hawkins Lived Here

On Holloway Road, Mind the Driving Instructor 

 

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

 

 

Ooh-La-la! Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench on Holloway Road

26 Jun

After two lazy week spent in sunny Liguria eating pasta al pesto, focaccia col formaggio and gelati while working on my Hollywood on the Italian Riviera project, yours truly is back in town. Lights, Camera…Islington! series 2 is now on.

In our last post before our departure, we talked about Notes on a Scandal (2006) and left teachers Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench enjoying a good old cuppa in one of Islington’s favourite greasy, The Shepherdess on City Road.

The following scene of the movie was also shot in Islington you’ll be delighted to hear. Shortly after their cup of tea and on their way home Sheba (Blanchett) and Barbara (Dench) can be seen strolling and chatting on…Holloway Road!

Having just passed the Ooh-La-La! vintage shop, they stop and have a look at the window of the Egerton Pharmacy, nearby St Mary Magdalene Gardens and Islington Central Library.

Notes on a Scandal - Holloway Road - OhLaLa - FILM

Notes on a Scandal - Holloway Road - OhLaLa - MRX

That’s all for this week: short and sweet as I am still on Italian mood!

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

Ooh-La-La! & Egerton Pharmacy

147 & 145 Holloway Road N7 8LX

Highbury and Islington Station (Zone 2)

Holloway Tube Station (Zone 2)

Many buses to Holloway Road

Islington Arts and Media School Star Among the Stars

7 May

Just over two months ago Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett went head to head for the Best Actress in a Leading role Oscar. No strangers to such feat, it was not long ago that the two actresses collected awards and nominations around the world for their roles in a drama shot mainly in North London and Islington in particular.

In Richard Eyre’s Notes on a Scandal (2006), adapted from Zoe Heller’s book of the same name, Judi Dench plays Barbara Covett, a history teacher nearing retirement who befriends Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett), a younger and new art teacher. Upon realising that Sheba is having an inappropriate relationship with one of her student, Barbara realises that Sheba’s mistake might be her opportunity.

Now that we have set the scene, we need, well, a school for our teachers. Where do Barbara and Sheba teach? At St George’s School. St George’s? No such school in Islington… unless of course, we are talking the old George Orwell School…the Islington Arts and Media School!

Before going any further, we would like to thank Islington Arts and Media School (IAMS) for opening their doors to us and making this post possible, in particular Martina and Ashley Grey, Community Arts Coordinator, for being our Tour Guide.

Considering the school is the workplace of our two main characters, it appears time and time again throughout Notes on a Scandal – as Leading Role do.

Although since filming took place IAMS underwent a major redevelopment, many key features seen in the movie are still visible today.

In the opening minutes we get to see the Victorian building facing Marriott Road.

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 04

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - MRX 04

And again later in the movie from a slightly different angle.

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 02

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - MRX 02

Also in the opening minutes, once Barbara has parked her car, we can see her walking towards the school. However, we are being slightly tricked since what looks like to be the school entrance is in fact the interior courtyard of Islington Arts & Media School. Thanks Ashley for spotting this one!

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 01

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - MRX 01

Again in this initial sequence, Barbara watches the students entering the school through the school gates on Marriott Road, and within seconds Sheba Hart arriving on her bicycle.

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 06

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 07

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - MRX 05

The Sports Hall has also a ‘Supporting Role’ in the film. Initially when Head Teacher Sandy Pabblem (Michael Maloney) meets all the teachers and Sheba Hart arrives late.

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 03

And again from a different angle for a School Event hosted by the Head Teacher.

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 05

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - MRX 03

Angle from first scene

A special thank you to the class who allowed us to enter the Sports Hall during their classroom for a quick snapshot!

Other ‘Guest Appearances’ in the movie include  the black staircase which used to be in the main entrance is still there but the entrance has now been relocated, and the school canteen.

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 09

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 10

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - FILM 08

Notes on a Scandal - Islington Arts and Media School - MRX 06

Quite a Star among the Stars our Islington Arts and Media School as you can see. Who knows, next time you visit it, you might bump into Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench or another film crew!

Once again a BIG THANK YOU to Islington Arts & Media School, Martina and Ashley.

 

Looking for a space to organise an event?

Be it for training events, conferences, sports facilities or arts studios, Islington Arts & Media School has plenty to offer: http://www.iamschool.co.uk/about/facilitieslettings

For any enquiries feel free to contact Ms Ashley Grey: Ashley.Grey@iams.islington.sch.uk

or Mr Tony Derrett, Lettings Manager lettings@iams.islington.sc.uk

 

With many scenes of Notes on a Scandal shot in Islington, we’ll soon get back to it for more. To be continued…

 

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

Islington Arts and Media School

Turle Road N4 3LS

Finsbury Park Station (Zone 2)

Crouch Hill Overground Station (Zone 2)

Buses to Hanley Road, Hornsey Road, Tollington Park and Crouch Hill and Finsbury Park stations

Fever Pitch rises again around Arsenal Station

17 Apr

Ever since Gillepsie Road Tube station was renamed Arsenal (Highbury Hill) in 1932, football fans across the world have been able to pinpoint where the home of Arsenal Football Club was.

Gillepsie Road Sation  pre November 1932

Gillepsie Road Sation

As we saw in part one of our Fever Pitch (1997) franchise, Highbury: It’s Fever Pitch Around Here, as a kid Paul (Luke Aikman) discovers Arsenal Football Club with his dad (Neil Pearson). As you would expect, in the same way that the old Arsenal Stadium features a number of times, so does Arsenal Tube Station.

On his way to the stadium, we can see him exiting the station on several occasions, here with his dad…

Fever Pitch - Arsenal Tube Station - FILM 01

and returning to it after the game.

Fever Pitch - Arsenal Tube Station - FILM 03

Towards the end of the movie, while looking for Paul (Colin Firth), Sarah (Ruth Gemmell) can be spotted on Highbury Hill with the station in the distance.

Fever Pitch - Arsenal Tube Station - FILM 05

Finally, all is well that ends well. After the celebrations, Sarah & Paul can be seen strolling down Highbury Hill making their way towards Arsenal Station.

Fever Pitch - Arsenal Tube Station - FILM 06

Arsenal Tube Station - MRX

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

Arsenal Tube Station (Zone 2)

Many buses to Blackstock Road and Holloway Road

On Holloway Road, Mind the Driving Instructor #Enraha

13 Mar

In our first Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) post, we left Poppy (Sally Hawkins) confronting Scott (Eddie Marsan) about an earlier incident, outside her house in Mountgrove Road. Once in the car, with Scott behind the wheel, they disappeared onto Wilberforce Road towards Finsbury Park.

Where are they off to one wonders: Hackney? Islington? I am glad to say that you do not have to wait long to get the answer as it lies in the next shot. Here they are again, right in the heart of Islington: Holloway Road.

In fact, Poppy and Scott are at one of Islington’s busiest junction. we can spot them on Tollington Road, turning right onto Holloway Road towards Archway.

Happy Go Lucky - Holloway Road - Waitrose - FILM

Happy Go Lucky - Holloway Road - Waitrose - MRX

And if they have just turned right towards Archway, it would be reasonable to believe that they should next be seen around there, wouldn’t it? Well… they may still be in Islington, but not quite where ‘Enraha’ might expect them… To be continued!

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Holloway Road N7

Holloway Tube Station (Zone 2)

Many buses to Holloway Road

 

Related Happy-Go-Lucky posts

Mountgrove Road: A Vintage Sally Hawkins Lived Here

At Highbury Corner, Keep Your Lane!

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

Joan Collins released from Holloway Prison

6 Feb

If the borough of Islington as we know it today was established in 1965, our Islington film location of the week has been around since 1852. Movies did not exist back then and Holloway Prison would have to wait another 100years before being the set of a film. Initially a mixed prison when it first opened in 1852, it became a women only one at the turn of the century in 1903 and has remained so to this date.

In Turn the Key Softly (1953), Director Jack Lee tells the story of three women of different backgrounds who walk out of H.M. Holloway Prison together: Monica (Yvonne Mitchell), Stella (Joan Collins) and Mrs Quilliam (Kathleen Harrison). As they are about to leave prison, Monica proposes that they should meet up later for dinner to discuss how their first day of freedom has gone.

Holloway Women’s Prison steals the show from the first second of the movie. The entire opening credits sequence is set against the backdrop of ‘Holloway Castle’ as it was known back then due to its peculiar appearance. Outside the prison one can see a few cars and trolley buses passing on Parkhurst and Camden roads on a foggy London morning.

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Women Prison - FILM 04

‘Holloway Castle’

Straight after the opening sequence, the first scene takes was filmed inside the prison rather than in a studio. Indeed, a ‘Thank You’ message was added to the credits: “We acknowledge, with gratitude, the help given by the Home Office, the Prison Commissioners and the Governor of H.M. Prison, Holloway”.

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Women Prison - FILM 01

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Women Prison - FILM 02

In the early 1970s, Holloway Prison met a similar fate than The Ladykillers’ Frederica Street and a new prison was built on the same spot.

Today, standing across the road, the trees seem to be the only remains of the Castle.

Turn the Key Softly - Holloway Women Prison - MRX 01

Outside of the prison not much has changed though.

When the 3 women leave prison, Stella’s fiancé is waiting for her outside. Behind him on the left, on the corner of Camden Road and Hillmarton Road is a three-floor house. This is still here and is ‘The Castle Bar’. I do not know what it is was back then, but wouldn’t be surprised to learn it had been a pub or small hotel for the families visiting their relatives and friends.

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Women Prison - FILM 06

Turn the Key Softly - Holloway Women Prison - MRX 02

Turn the Key Soflty - Holloway Women Prison - FILM 03

A young Joan Collins on her way to Hollywood

Last but not least, not only did Holloway Women’s Prison made it to the big screen, it also featured on the Lobby Cards used to promote the films in cinemas around the world.

Turn the Key Softly - Holloway Women Prison - Lobby Card

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

Parkhurst Road N7 0NU

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Buses to Camden Road and Parkhurst Road

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