Tag Archives: Travel

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

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

Liam Neeson: from Angel Station to Milano

30 Jan

After Farringdon Station in V for Vendetta, our Islington Stations mini series bring us this time to Angel for a new movie and a new star to film in our borough.

In The Other Man (2008), Liam Neeson is Peter, a Cambridge based software engineer whose wife (Laura Linney), a shoe designer, passes away at the beginning of the movie. While grieving, Peter discovers emails she kept private and understands that he may not have been the only man in her life. Confused, he decides to get to the bottom of this and track down that other man. A quest he initiates in Islington and will take him to Milan and Lake Como.

Having discovered the emails, he gets on a train. We are left to wonder where is he off to until…we spot him walking out of Angel Tube station, head down, deep in thought.

The Other Man - Angel Tube Station - FILM

Angel Tube Station - MRX

Where is Liam Neeson heading? Will he be staying in Islington? You’ll have to keep reading your favourite Islington Film Locations blog to find out!

 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

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Angel and Islington

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

In Great Sutton Street Christmas is All Around, Actually

19 Dec

Switching on the Lights, Advent Calendars, Christmas cards, the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree, Ice-rinks blossoming across London, Selfridge’s Christmas windows, Christmas jumpers… In case you hadn’t notice the Christmas frenzy is upon us.

It is precisely 10 years since rom-com expert Richard Curtis, already behind Four Weddings and a Funeral, masterminded another one of his little gem: Love Actually (2003).

Using a tried and tested recipe, Love Actually tells us the story of interrelated characters and couples dealing with their love lives in the madness that is the run up to Christmas. To do this, Curtis brought together a plethora of British actors such as Emma Thomson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Billy Nighy, Rowan Atkinson to name but a few, and not forgetting his trusted accomplice Hugh Grant. All this wrapped up in a well-crafted soundtrack and song selection…Bingo! Ten years on cinemas around the UK reprogram the movie while radio stations blast away Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is You.

One item missing from my list above, as you may have noticed, is the sacrosanct office Christmas party. Hate it or love it, this event is an untouchable part of office life, as regular as clockwork. Which is just as well in the present case.

In Love Actually, Harry (Alan Rickman) asks his flirty PA Mia (Heike Makatsch) to find a venue for such party. One of Mia’s friend runs an Art Gallery on the South Bank and this is where the event will take place. Well, sorry to say Richard but this did not fool Lights, Camera…Islington!  The ‘South Bank’ gallery isn’t on the South Bank at all but…in Great Sutton Street, off St John’s Street!

Love Actually - Art Gallery - Day - FILM

Love Actually - Art Gallery - FILM

In the movie we mainly see the inside of the gallery but we get a quick chance  to spot it first by day, and then on the night of the Christmas party.

Love Actually - Art Gallery - MRX

On this Christmassy note, we would like to wish you all, all the best for the festive season.

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

Great Sutton Street EC1V 0DX

Barbican Tube Station (Zone 1)

Farringdon Station (Zone 1)

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

Claremont Square: Harry Potter caught outside Number 12 Grimmauld Place

12 Dec

So, Harry Potter fans and wizards of this world: you’ve travelled the world to come to the UK, went up and down London to visit Leadenhall Market – sorry the Leaky Cauldron and Diagon Alley – tried your luck at Australia House – Gringotts Bank – and made it to King’s Cross Platform 9 ¾ to board the Hogwarts Express…or, failing that, take a picture.

Since you flew on your broomsticks all the way to King’s Cross, you’ll be delighted to know that Number 12 Grimmauld Place, the Order of the Phoenix’s Headquarters, is only a stone’s throw away from you!

Based on the book of the same name published by J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), is the fifth instalment in the Harry Potter franchise. There is probably no point in me setting up the scene of such story. Suffice it to say that, early on in the movie, a group of wizards come to get Harry and take him to meet his Godfather, Sirius Black.

What follows is a flight over the Thames that screams “Made in London” to the world: Canary Wharf, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast, Blackfriars Bridge, Houses of Parliament and… Islington’s very own Claremont Square!

Harry and friends emerge from behind the trees, open an iron gate and, seconds later, Number 12 Grimmauld Place appears.

Claremont Square - Harry Potter & Order of Phoenix - FILM 01

Claremont Square - Harry Potter & Order of Phoenix - FILM 02

Claremont Square - Harry Potter & Order of Phoenix - FILM 03

The strange shape of Claremont Square is due to the fact that, back in the 18th century, a water reservoir was there. Following the construction of a larger one nearby, houses were built and, later, the reservoir emptied and covered with grass, hence its steep aspect. A rather wizardly shape you’ll admit.

HP - Claremont Square - Grimmauld Place - MRX 01

HP - Claremont Square - Grimmauld Place - MRX 02

HP - Claremont Square - Grimmauld Place - MRX 05

Later on in the movie, we can spot again Claremont Square for a brief moment with children playing with the snow.

Claremont Square - Harry Potter & Order of Phoenix - FILM 04

So, Harry Potter fans of this world – what kind of wizards are you if you don’t fly to Islington?

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

Claremont Square N1

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

King’s Cross Station (Zone 1)

Many buses to Angel, Pentonville Road and St John’s Street

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

5 Dec

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

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

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

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

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - House and Bridge - FILM

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

The LadyKillers - Federica Street - MRX 02

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

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

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

Frederica Street - The Ladykillers - Tea Party

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

Fade Out

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

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

How to get there?

Islington Film Locations Map

Frederica Street N7

Caledonian Road Tube Station (Zone 2)

Caledonian Road & Barnsbury Overground (Zone 2)

Many buses to Caledonian Road

Islington Green: The Screen on the Green “In Cinemas NOW”

28 Nov

This week, The Screen on the Green cinema in Islington is celebrating a very, very special birthday. It is 100 years since the Pesaresi brothers opened this purpose-built cinema after having acquired and demolished a few old shops. The Screen on the Green has changed hands a few times along the way, seen a few refurbishments, in particular to its auditorium, but its peculiar façade outlined in red neon has survived the years and become a local landmark.

To join in the celebrations, I wanted to find out if the cinema has had its 15 minutes of glory. Surely, in its 100 years, and with all the movies filmed in London and Islington, it must have featured in one way or another in a movie. It took some time to go through all my film locations books and usual resources to find one on time for this week’s celebrations but I eventually did.

Just Ask for Diamond (1988) is a teenage comedy based on The Falcon’s Malteser, the first book of The Diamond Brothers series published by British novelist and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz. Hopeless Herbert, who goes by the pseudonym of Tim Diamond (Dursely McLinden) works as a private investigator and, thank God for him, lives with his younger and smarter brother Nick (Colin Dale).

The movie opens with our heroes in a desperate situation: cold, starving, no money left and waiting for that ever-elusive first client. Out of nowhere comes the mysterious Johnny Naples (José René Ruiz) to leave a package. They must not open it and must take care of it for 2 to 3 days in return for… £200!

With things looking up, the two brothers decide to go to the movies and head off to…The Screen on the Green!

Just ask for Diamond - Screen on the Green - FILM

Once the movie has ended, they can be seen leaving the cinema and crossing Upper Street towards Islington Green with the familiar façade all lit up behind them.

Just ask for Diamond - Screen on the Green - MRX

If you do know of any other film featuring the cinema please do get in touch! In the meantime, let’s all raise our glasses to The Screen on The Green and to the next 100 years!

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 Green N1 0NP

Angel Tube Station (Zone 1)

Highbury & Islington Station (Zone 2)

Many buses to Angel, Islington Green

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