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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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The Shepherdess Café: Storm in a Tea Cup

29 May

This week, we are back in City Road flirting with our Hackney neighbours to visit one of our favourite Islington film location. In fact, one of our favourite Islington spots, full stop.

In Islington Arts & Media School Star among the Stars we saw how Richard Eyre’s Notes on a Scandal (2006) had used extensively IAMS, central to the story of teachers Sheba Hart (Cate Blanchett) and Barbara Covett (Judi Dench).

When not in classrooms or preparing lessons, what do teachers do? In some cases, and like most of us, they enjoy a good old cuppa. And where best to enjoy a good old cuppa than The Shepherdess Café on City Road?

Towards the beginning of the movie, after a hard day’s work, Barbara, Sheba and their colleague Sue (Joanna Scanlan) head off to their nearby caff. Not sure when looking at our Islington Film Locations Map, that The Shepherdess is the nearest local from Islington Arts & Media School nearby Finsbury Park but that’s movies for you!

 Notes on a Scandal - Shepherdress Cafe - FILM 02

Notes on a Scandal - Shepherdress Cafe - FILM 01

Notes on a Scandal - Shepherdress Cafe - MRX 01

Undoubtedly very characteristic The Shepherdess, which recently celebrated its 31st birthday, has become an institution in its own rights and counts numerous guest stars and VIPs among its customers as can be seen on its walls. Plus, bonus for Lights, Camera…Islington! It has starred in a number of films and adverts along the way.

Either as a starting point or a final destination for an Islington film locations tour, not only you can enjoy a cuppa in this good old greasy spoon, but you can also sit in Cate Blanchett or Judi Dench’s seat while enjoying an award-winning breakfast!

A BIG THANK YOU to Hussein and the Café staff for welcoming us and allowing us to take a few pics!

Shepherdress Cafe - 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

Sheperdess Café

221 City Road EC1V 1JN

Old Street Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to City Road and Old Street

Cowcross Street: Jude Law lives Closer than you think

10 Apr

In our first post on Closer (2004), we left Dan (Jude Law) and Alice (Natalie Portman) outside Anna’s studio (Julia Roberts) in Westland Place, off City Road. We find Alice and Dan back in Islington later on in the movie.

After heartbreaks, affairs, and a few arguments along the way, Alice and Dan are eventually back together. However, one evening, as Dan keeps asking Alice the same question, the couple argues. In the end, Dan apologies and goes to make tea. While in the kitchen, Alice disappears.

When he realises it, he runs down the stairs behind her only to find out that she has vanished in the night.

The first shot we see from Jude Law outside his flat does not tell us much. We primarily see him, in the dark, with an open door behind him.

Closer - Cowcross Street - FILM 01

Closer - Cowcross Street - MRX 01

However, the following one, from a different angle, allows us to recognise the Victorian structure of Smithfield Market which is all lit up. Yes, Ladies & Gents, Jude Law lives in Cowcross Street!

Closer - Cowcross Street - FILM 02

Closer - Cowcross Street - MRX 02

That’s the Wrap!

This post is our last one on Closer but if you know otherwise, please do let me know.

 

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

Cowcross Street EC1M 6DR

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Barbican Tube Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road and St John’s Street

Clerkenwell Close: A Fish Called Wanda Returns

20 Feb

 As promised in November we are back for more A Fish Called Wanda adventures, with the sequel of Fishy Wanda on the Run.

As you may remember, we had seen how George, Ken and Otto (Georgeson, Palin, Kline) having just carried out a heist in Hatton Gardens, made their way to Clerkenwell Green where Wanda (Curtis) was waiting for them in a getaway car. We left them vanishing towards Farringdon Road.

One may assume that they would want to go as far away as possible surely. You would not expect to find them just around the corner, would you? Well, that’s exactly what they did!

In the next scene, our culprits swap cars. They can be seen stopping their car in an alleyway, running down a flight of steps where another car is waiting for them, getting rid of potential clues not to mentioned Wanda’s moustache.

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 01

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 02

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 03

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 04

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 05

All this was shot within yards of the previous scene in Clerkenwell Green: They leave their car on Robert’s Place, off Bowling Green Lane and get down the steps to reach Clerkenwell Close.

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - MRX 01

While they change cars, a police one passes by coming from Pear Tree Court and rushing towards Clerkenwell Green.

 A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - FILM 06

A Fish Called Wanda - Exchanging Car - MRX 02

If you look at our Islington Film Locations Map, you will be able to see how close both scenes were shot.

Interestingly, as part of the promotional material used ahead of the release was a photo of the four actors posing in front of the car in Robert’s Place. Not quite as obvious as the Houses of Parliament or Tower Bridge but there you go: Shot in Islington!

A Fish Called Wanda - Lobby Card

Publicity picture for the release of the film

While George, Otto and Wanda are off in their new car, Ken gets on a motorbike.

Will we come across our culprits in Islington again? Probably, and closer than you may think…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

Clerkenwell Close EC1R 0AY

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road and Mount Pleasant

Related Article:

Clerkenwell Green: Fishy Wanda on the Run

Michael Caine’s Alfie in Exmouth Market

13 Feb

1960s London…The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, the first supermodels Jean Shrimpton, Twiggy, Carnaby Street, King’s Road… Swinging London at its best!  As for movie stars, if there is one who epitomizes the British actor of the mid-1960s, it would have to be Michael Caine.

Following the success of Zulu in 1964, Michael Caine shot to fame and become a household name thanks first to his role as Harry Palmer (The Ipcress File, 1965) and then to the title role in Alfie.

Alfie (1966), for those who really don’t have a clue, is an unrepentant womanizer who only cares about one thing: Himself. He charms women – sorry, birds – cheats on them, treats them disrespectfully… you get the picture. The role earned Caine his first Oscar nomination.

And where best to enjoy life to the full than…Islington!  Whereas James Mason strolled along Chapel Market, Alfie preferred Exmouth Market!

Early on in the movie, Alfie’s official girlfriend Gilda (Julia Foster) is getting back home. She gets off the bus and then can be seen running through Exmouth Market with the Church of Our Most Holy Redeemer clearly visible in the back…

Alfie - Exmouth Market - FILM 01

Alfie - Exmouth Market - MRX 01

… before disappearing in Northampton Row.

Alfie - Exmouth Market - FILM 02

Alfie - Exmouth Market - MRX 02

And what about Michael Caine I hear you say. No Michael Caine in Exmouth Market?

(cockney accent) Let me tell ya something luv. Bet ya he got busy with some bird in Spa Fields. Obvious, innit?

Ah…Swinging London: Carnaby Street, King’s Road…Exmouth market!

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

Exmouth Market EC1R 4QE

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Farringdon Road and Rosebery Avenue

Mountgrove Road: A Vintage Sally Hawkins Lived Here

23 Jan

From one Islington boundary to another and yet again it is with our Hackney neighbours that we are getting cosy. No surprise here when this week’s film was mainly shot in North London between Camden, Hackney, Islington as well as Southwark.

In Mike Leigh’s sparkling comedy Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is a cheerful and cheeky primary-school teacher whose happiness and exuberance irritate in no small measure her bitter driving instructor Scott (Eddie Marsan). Screenwriter and director Mike Leigh and his actors went on to collect countless awards and nominations for their work.

Once again ladies and gentlemen, we can proudly say that the main character of a movie ‘Lived in Islington’.

Happy Go Lucky - House - FILM 01

Or can we? Did she really?

Poppy’s house is on the corner of Finsbury Park Road (Hackney) and Mountgrove Road (Islington). Technically speaking the house’s door is the last one on Finsbury Park Road but the living room and its 3 windows overlook Mountgrove Road!

Since Poppy is taking driving lessons and getting in and out of the flat, you can spot it, the street and the area many times throughout the film. In fact, this is likely to be a familiar corner to many Islington residents. What in the film is an empty orange corner shop ‘To Let’ has since Happy-Go-Lucky become the popular Cafe Vintage.

 Happy Go Lucky - House - FILM 03

Happy Go Lucky - House - MRX o

On another occasion, when returning from a day out to visit her pregnant sister, Poppy and her flatmate Zoe (Alexis Zegerman) can be seen driving down Canning Road, at the corner of which Scott is standing, looking at their flat. When Poppy spots him, he shoots off, up Canning road.

Happy Go Lucky - Canning Road - FILM

Happy Go Lucky - Canning Road - MRX 01

At her next driving lesson, Poppy confronts Scott. While walking towards the car parked on Mountgrove Road you can recognise the blue front shop of Bennet & Brown, the peculiar grey double-doors next to it and the small food market store.

Mountgrove Road - Bennet & Brown FILM

Happy Go Lucky - Mountgrove Road - MRX

Once in the car, they turn left onto Wilberforce Road, back to Hackney. Where will we next spot our heroes? Yet again another movie we’ll be coming back to.

For now, and since you have made it that far, you may as well want to reward yourself with one of Cafe Vintage’s yummy treats!

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Mountgrove Road N5 2LT

Arsenal Tube Station (Zone 2)

Finsbury Park Station (Zone 2)

Buses to Blackstock Road and Clissold Park

 

Related Happy-Go-Lucky posts

On Holloway Road, Mind the Driving Instructor 

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

 

 

Westland Place: Julia Roberts’ Studio!

16 Jan

One of the funniest aspects of Lights, Camera…Islington! and one of the main reasons I started it, is the time spent walking around the borough discovering areas, streets and corners I did not know before, including its boundaries. Last week we stopped by Farringdon Station and were therefore within yards of Camden. Today, we stay in the southern part of Islington but head off to City Road, an area we have not yet covered.

The reason I mention Islington boundaries here is that when I was strolling along City Road towards Old Street, as I was getting closer to our destination, I realised that at some point, on one side of City Road I was in Islington, on the other Hackney… Damned! Yep, you’ve guessed it. Our film location was on the ‘wrong’ side of the road. Dilemma. What should I do?

In the end, I opted to take the picture. I mean Come on !!! Five steps before I was in Islington. Worry not dear reader, Islington has film locations galore and I will not make a habit of trespassing our boundaries to travel all over London. I may on  similar occasions to this one do so when the location is within yards of the borough, and when other scenes of the same movie were shot in the borough. This point clarified, let’s reveal our Islington Film Location of the Week!

Closer (2004), is Mike Nichols’ adaptation to the big screen of Patrick Marber’s award winning play. This drama with a stellar cast that included Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Jude Law, tells the story of 2 couples whose relationships become, well, slightly complicated shall we say.

Early on in the movie, Dan (Jude Law) gets his picture taken by Anna (Julia Roberts) for his book. Dan’s girlfriend Alice (Natalie Portman), comes to meet him at the end of the session. It is when Dan steps outside to greet Alice that we can spot that Anna’s studio is in Westland Place, off City Road, in what used to be John Redman ltd & British Empire Pipe Company.

Closer - Ana's Studio - FILM 01

Closer - Ana's Studio - FILM 02

If you go there today, I am pleased to say that you will still be able to find studios. However, I am equally sad to report that, after months of keeping an eye on the door in thunder, lightning or in rain, no signs of Julia. Bet she’s moved to Islington! 

Closer - Ana's Studio - 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

Westland Place N1 7LP

Old Street Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to City Road and Old Street

Farringdon Station: Vendetta on the Way

9 Jan

Countless films shot in London feature its famous and instantly recognisable underground stations be it the corridors, carriages, ticket halls, exits or familiar London transport signs. Such scenes, no matter how brief they may be, allow the spectators to relate to those familiar sitesand at the same time act as ‘establishing shots’: in a blink of an eye, we know where we are.

I am pleased to say that Islington’s tube and train stations have enjoyed their fair share of spotlight.

In the science-fiction thriller V for Vendetta (2005), by the late 2020s Great Britain is a fascist state. One freedom fighter known as V (Hugo Weaving) fights this oppressive society and threatens to blow up the Houses of Parliament on 5th November, as attempted by Guy Fawkes in 1605. In doing this, he meets a young woman called Evey (Natalie Portman).

Before Islington appears on the screen, the borough is mentioned at the very beginning of the movie. While Evey is getting ready to go out, the TV is on and presenter Lewis Prothero (Roger Allam) warns his viewers about the situation in the USA and how similar it is to the one faced by Great Britain years ago “(…) Islington, Enfield, I was there, I have seen it all (…)”.

However, the first time we get to properly spot Islington is later on when Evey tells V about her childhood. While she talks about the death of her brother, her parents’ political engagement, we can see her as a young Evey (Madeleine Rakic-Platt) handing leaflets out outside Farringdon Station.

 V for Vendetta - Farringdon Tube Station - FILM

 

V for Vendetta - Farringdon Tube Station - MRX

Since many scenes of V for Vendetta were shot across Islington we will have the opportunity to get back  to it!

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

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Farringdon Road

Clerkenwell Green: Fishy Wanda on the Run

21 Nov

A heist-comedy co-written by, and starring John Cleese, fellow Monty Python’s star Michael Palin, Kevin Kline and Jamie Lee Curtis looked to have all the ingredients for success when it was premiered. Indeed, within weeks A Fish Called Wanda (1988) became an enormous critical and commercial success, scooping numerous awards along the way.

In London, George (Tom Georgeson) has a plan. Together with Ken (Michael Palin), Otto (Kevin Kline) and Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) they join forces to commit a multi-million pound jewellery heist. After their success, they all try to double cross each other for the loot, as you would. In her quest, Wanda needs to seduce George’s lawyer, Archie Leach (John Cleese).

We can spot our culprits in Islington when, having carried out their heist in nearby Hatton Garden, they arrive Clerkenwell Green walking to meet Wanda, waiting for them in their getaway car.

A Fish Called Wanda - Waiting Car - FILM

The car is parked on the south side of the Green with the Crown Tavern pub in the distance.

Pause for a second. Although Hatton Garden is fairly close to Clerkenwell Green I am not sure, should I ever consider carrying out a similar robbery, that I might want to walk all the way to Clerkenwell Green before getting into a car…Having said that, it suits us perfectly since, in doing so, they leave behind Camden to enter Islington!

A Fish Called Wanda - Waiting Car - MRX

They jump on the car and here they go – not without nearly running over an old lady and her three Yorkshire Terriers.

Where are they heading? Will they stay in Islington? 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

Clerkenwell Green EC1R 0DU ‎

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road, Mount Pleasant and St John’s Street

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