Judi Dench: From Highbury Place to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

7 Aug

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011) is a British comedy about a group of retirees from different backgrounds who travel to India to stay at what is supposed to be a magnificent and luxurious hotel.

Before their departure, we get to briefly know them in their UK environment and see why each and everyone of them need or want a change. This is how we end up in Islington to meet Evelyn.

In fact, this is the very first scene of the movie. As the camera zooms out, we can hear Evelyn (Judi Dench), a recent widow, trying to reach a call centre (in India) to understand her Wi-Fi from her broadband: an unchartered territory her husband used to deal with.

When the camera zooms out towards the inside of her house, we can see some grass, a footpath leading to a building and some trees.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Highbury Place - FILM 01

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Highbury Place - FILM 02

We are in Highbury Place, and the footpath is the one leading to Highbury Pool and Fitness Centre!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - Highbury Place - MRX 01

After filming in Islington for Notes on a Scandal and the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Judi Dench must love our borough…She was recently spotted with Dustin Hoffman shooting around Bevin Court!

 A big Thank you to Islington resident and film producer Nicola Gallani of Greengrass Media for this tip!

Fade Out

 

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Highbury Place N5

Highbury and Islington Station (Zone 2)

Many buses to Highbury Corner

 

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

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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

 

Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham’s Naughty Games in Highbury New Park

24 Jul

This week, Lights, Camera…Islington! is particulary pleased to take you to an area of the borough we have not yet visited. Something quite surprising considering the strong connection to the movies this road has.

In British drama Killing Me Softly (2002) Alice (Heather Graham), is a young American who lives with her boyfriend in London and is happy in her secure and steady job. One day on her way to work she meets Adam (Joseph Fiennes), a well-known mountain climber. A passionate encounter follows that same day. Once back at home she realises that she cannot replicate the same feelings with her boyfriend. Dropping everything for Adam, the two initiate a torrid affair. Adam proposes to Alice and although she is over the moon, she starts receiving a series of calls and notes warning her about her husband’s past.

The film was mainly shot in London, and to our knowledge, there is only one Islington film location in it. Such location can actually be seen a few times in the movie but only for a few seconds each time and from close ups, making it hard to spot it. We are referring to Adam’s house where Alice comes time and time again for their intense encounters.

Killing Me Softly - 59 Highbury New Park - FILM 01

Killing Me Softly - 59 Highbury New Park - FILM 02

We will probably never know if the interiors of Adam’s house were filmed on location or in a studio but the steps and front door of his house can be seen at the South end of …Highbury New Park!

Killing Me Softly - 59 Highbury New Park - MRX

In fact, this quiet and leafy Islington street looks beyond suspicion. Who could possibly imagine what Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham were up to behind closed doors (if you forget the  20+ crew around them that is!)

More interestingly maybe is the fact that Adam’s house is only yards from what was once the home of Highbury Studios.  Film and TV Studios since 1933, they were acquired by the Rank Organisation in 1945 but would eventually be demolished in 1960. Next to those, in a disused church hall, was a training school, The Company of Youth, also known as the Rank Charm School.

If the studios and school are no longer here, many of the young actors who trained at such school made a name for themselves…Christopher Reeve or Joan Collins to name but two. So when a twenty-year-old Joan Collins stepped out of Holloway Women’s Prison in 1953’s Turn the Key Softly she was only minutes away from her school!

Fade Out

 

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Highbury New Park N5 2ET

Canonbury Overground Station (Zone 2)

Highbury and Islington Station (Zone 2)

Buses to Grosvenor Avenue, Highbury New Park and Highbury Corner

 

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

Northampton Square: Home of Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams

17 Jul

When starting Lights, Camera… Islington! a few months ago, I made the conscious decision to concentrate on the borough. In doing so I was aware that I would only be mentioning a few scenes from each movie. Three, four or five at best with movies such as Happy-Go-Lucky, Notes on a Scandal or Fever Pitch, more often than not just the one. What I had not anticipated was to find a full length feature movie shot primarily in Islington, and where most scenes were filmed around one square or within yards from it!

Despite boosting a promising cast (Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor and Matthew Macfadyen), and being directed by Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary), Incendiary (2008) did not hit the headlines.

In fairness, the subject and the timing (the 7/7 London bombings still fresh in people’s mind), probably did not help. Based on a book of the same name, Incendiary depicts the aftermath of a suicide bombing at a North London football ground on a May Day derby game.

A young unhappy and adulterous wife (Michelle Williams) lives in a big estate with her husband and kid. Her life is torn apart when they are both killed by a suicide bombing during an Arsenal football game while she was with her lover, Jasper (Ewan McGregor), a journalist.

Islington appears on screen from the first moment: the opening shot showing huge blocks of flats before descending towards smaller houses. We are in Northampton Square and the blocks of flats are part of the Brunswick Estate.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 01

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 02

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX

However, probably for contract reasons, in the film, when the young mother meets Jasper for the first time, she says that she lives at the Wellington estate.

Him: Are you from around here?

Her: Over there, the Wellington estate.

Him: That’s right opposite me. I can see the Wellington estate from my place.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 20

Indeed, the two of them live around Northampton Square hence why many scenes are shot in this specific area of Islington.

At various stages of the movie we can spot the path and row of garages leading to Northampton Square. For example. coming back from shopping or when heading towards the Arsenal Football Club game.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 07

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 08

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 11 Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 03

 

Emberton Court, where the family leaves, is easily recognisable thanks to the mosaic by the entrance:

 When Jasper comes to visit her,

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 13

when Terrence (Matthew Macfadyen), her husband’s boss, comes to meet her after the accident or, again,

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 12

when the young mother looks for her son, convinced he is still alive.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 18

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 19  Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 04

Similarly, Northampton Square features a number of times in the movie:

When she sees Jasper getting home late with a date from her window although, technically speaking, she could not possibly see his front door from her flat!

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 04

When Jasper gets into his car parked on Northampton Square,

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 03

and when her husband and kid on the way to the game stop to look at Jasper’s car.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 09

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 06

When she talks to Jasper on her way back from shopping, and when she leaves, we can recognise the bandstand in the centre of Northampton Square and the red structure of City University.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 10

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 09

The final scene is also set up on Northampton Square. This time from another angle, where City University stands in for an hospital. Jasper is seating on a bench while behind him a direction sign has been put up and extras in nurse uniform walk.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 21

Incendiary - Northampton Square - MRX 11

Finally, when he stands up and starts running the camera zooms out and we can see the square quite clearly.

Incendiary - Northampton Square - FILM 22

A lot happening within a small perimeter as you can see. As for Ewan McGregor’s character, I am not sure he did study journalism at City University. Interestingly I believe the director, Sharon Maguire, is a City University alumni and did a postgraduate in journalism there!

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Northampton Square EC1V 0HB

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Goswell Road and St John’s Street

 

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 St John’s Gate, the clues you’ll get

10 Jul

This week, Lights, Camera…Islington! is back in Clerkenwell on the lookout for the A Fish Called Wanda (1988) gang.

We already saw that while the robbery was going on in Hatton Garden Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) was waiting for the gang in a getaway car on Clerkenwell Green, and how shortly afterwards they swapped cars on Clerkenwell Close before vanishing.

However, to make it the perfect robbery our culprits had to make sure that no clues remained behind them, in particular Wanda’s fake moustache! And this is where Ken (Michael Palin) came in. When Wanda & Co. leave Clerkenwell Close in a car, Ken gets on a motorbike and with the bin bag to get rid of.

Before you know it, he rides under St John’s Gate and throws the bag into a skip.

A Fish Called Wanda - Moto Escape - FILM

Originally built in 1504, the Gate was the south entrance to the inner precinct of the Priory of the Knights of Saint John. Quite a stunning structure, St John’s Gate was selected to represent Islington for the London 2012 Games.

Since you are there you might as well visit the Museum of the Order of St John.

A Fish Called Wanda - Moto Escape - MRX

As you can see, the 3 sequences we talked about were all shot within yards of each other, and probably on the same day!

That’s the Wrap!

With this post we say goodbye to A Fish Called Wanda in Islington, unless you do happened to know otherwise. In which case feel free to let us know!

Fade Out

 

Related A Fish Called Wanda posts

Clerkenwell Green: Fishy Wanda on the Run

Clerkenwell Close: A Fish Called Wanda Returns

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

St John’s Gate EC1M 4DN

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

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

 

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 Film Locations: The Story so Far

5 Jun

As you get to read this post, yours truly is…

@Come_September PHOTO O

 

Although a film location, I am afraid to report that, as some of you may have noticed, it is not an Islington one. Indeed, I am enjoying a few days on the Italian Riviera, and San Fruttuoso in particular: the very same spot where Colin Firth had (another) swim in A Summer in Genova (2008).

Since this is the first break since launching Lights, Camera…Islington!, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the last few months.

So far we have talked about:

From comedies like Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Ladykillers and Happy Go Lucky to dramas such as Closer, Notes on a Scandal or V for Vendetta as well as documentaries, The London Nobody Knows, TV series and adverts, Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Mc Donald’s. Even Harry Potter stopped by!

  • 2 Filming in Progress Suffragette with Meryl Streep, Helena Bonham Carter and Carrey Mulligan, and Absolutely Anything directed by Terry Jones with Simon Pegg in the lead role.
  • Awards Winners and Nominees ‘Made in Islington’: Golden Globes, BAFTA, Oscars, Berlin Film Festival you name them, we have them: Islington can be proud of its filmography.
  • A plethora of movie stars: Cate Blanchett, Dame Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Liam Neeson, Joan Collins, David Suchet, Stephen Fry, Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis, Peter Sellers, Alec Guinness, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman, James Mason to name but a few.

I want to acknowledge here the collaboration of many of the blog’s followers who, by email, tweets, pictures, tips or spreading the word have and are contributing to Lights, Camera…Islington! Needless to say that the same goes for the public and private venues that have opened their doors to us.

Thank you as well to the follower who presented us recently with a very kind little detail.

MrX - iPhone Cover I

And there I was, hoping to remain anonymous when walking around the borough!

 

Usherettes 1

 

Fade Out

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

 

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

Night Stroll in Camden Passage for Colin Firth

22 May

After last weekend’s excitement and euphoria following Arsenal’s FA Cup Victory and Parade, it seemed appropriate this week to remain in the mood by going back to the one and only Fever Pitch (1997) starring Colin Firth and Mark Strong (an Arsenal season ticket holder by the way – where were you last weekend?)

Today, we visit for a second time one of Islington’s busiest locations: Camden Passage. The first time Lights, Camera…Islington! visited it, we were following the footsteps of an anxious Liam Neeson.

However, Liam was not the first star to grace Camden Passage of his presence. Fever Pitch brings us back to this well-loved Islington’s street. Having spotted them outside Highbury Stadium and Arsenal Tube Station, we can also see Paul (Colin Firth) and Sarah (Ruth Gemmell) enjoying a night stroll….although Paul is in his own world and, when asked about it, pretends to be thinking of English writer D.H. Lawrence.

To be honest, it is rather difficult to recognise Camden Passage while watching the movie. On one hand it is an evening scene with hardly any lights on and the shops are closed, on the other, to make matters worse, it is mostly a close up scene. You only get to see it by scrutinising the scene.

If you do so,  you can first spot the flight of steps on the left, now leading to a Mexican restaurant,

Fever Pitch - Camden Passage - FILM 01

and then the penny drops: Paul stops to look at two antique shops windows…

Fever Pitch - Camden Passage - FILM 02

before the couple crosses Charlton Place!

Fever Pitch - Camden Passage - FILM 03

 

 

Fever Pitch - Camden Passage - MRX

Not the most obvious of our Islington film locations I must admit. After such a romantic night stroll, who knows if Paul might convince Sarah to buy a house 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

Camden Passage N1 8EA

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Angel and Islington

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