Tag Archives: London

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

Lloyd Square: Gary Oldman Spies on You

12 Oct

After a few weeks spent working on movies shot on the sunny Italian Riviera (no I was not in Venice for The wedding), we are back in Islington and to talk about another British actor and A-Lister: Gary Oldman.

Born in South London in the late 1950s, Oldman has been on our screens for the last 30 years, often in enigmatic roles in JFK, Dracula, The Fifth Element or Immortal Beloved – showing my age here. Younger audiences will of course know him from his roles in the Harry Potter and the Dark Knight franchises.

In award-winning Cold War drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011), Oldman plays George Smiley, a retired spy back in action to uncover a Soviet agent who has infiltrated MI6.

In the movie, George Smiley’s house is located in a quiet residential area, as you would expect from a spy. We can spot such house on 3 different occasions and from 3 different angles, most probably all shot on the same day in… Lloyd Square!

First at the beginning of the movie when Smiley is forced into retirement,

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Lloyd Square - FILM 01

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Lloyd Square - MrX 01

Then, halfway through, we can spot him going back home and noticing someone got in,

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Lloyd Square - FILM 02

And finally, right at the end of the film.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Lloyd Square - FILM 03

 

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy - Lloyd Square - MrX 02

So the next time you find yourself in Lloyd Square, you may want to double check that nobody is looking at you from behind the curtains.

Fade Out

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Lloyd Square WC1X 9AJ

King’s Cross station (Zone 1)

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to King’s Cross Road, Pentonville Road and Rosebery Avenue

 

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

Closed for Extended Bank Holiday Weekend!

28 Aug

Making the most of the last UK Bank Holiday before Christmas, yours truly is… enjoying a few days off!

No new Islington Film Location this week then, but feel free to peruse our previous posts and Islington’s Filmography to choose a movie to enjoy, discover which Movie Stars ‘Live’ in Islington, find out which of our Tube Stations appears on screen and which Films were recently shot in the borough!

If walking and wondering around Islington is more your thing, wherever you live or whichever area you fancy we will have covered it at some point. From Clerkenwell to Finsbury, Tufnell Park to Highbury or Holloway to St Luke’s, you can plan your walk with our Islington Film Locations Map.

 

  ‘Coming Soon’

To whet your appetite, in the next few weeks we will be spotting Gary Oldman’s House, having a date with Ricky Gervais, and travelling back in time with a 1933 black and white movie featuring not only a scene but also a song to the glory of one of Islington’s iconic landmark!

 

Usherettes 1

 

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

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

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

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

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