My Neighbourhood On Film

Christopher Fowler
lady002 There are a lot of film locations around Kings Cross, where we live, including the most of the Harry Potter films, 'Alfie', 'The Ladykillers' (above), 'Smashing Time', 'Batman' and
'Chaplin'. I always remember the scene in Ken Russell's 'The Music Lovers' where Richard Chamberlain as Tchaikovsky tries to drown himself in Regent's Canal (standing in for Russia!). Mike Leigh's charming (and horrendously funny) 'High Hopes' was shot a couple of streets away from me. I suggested to Mike that he change the title of the film, which he had originally planned to call 'Winter'. Ruth Sheen and Philip Davis are the couple trying to keep it together in the backstreets of King's Cross and here, at Karl Marx's tomb, in Highgate Cemetery. high-hopes-1988-001-ruth-sheen-phil-davis-in-front-of-marx-statue Just up the road from me, the Monty Python dead parrot sketch was filmed in Cally Pets at 345 Caledonian Road. The pet shop is still pretty much the same all these years later. screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-13-12-45Cally Pets Michael Palin wrote about the filming in his diary... screen-shot-2016-11-07-at-13-30-02 Thanks to the King's Cross Environment website for this! Most London streets need little set dressing for filming. The most common thing they do is spray them down because wet London photographs better. There's a website that contrasts British film locations then and now here. Ken Russell was the master of substituting British locations for more exotic ones. In 'French Dressing',
he made Herne Bay look like the Cote D'Azur, and often used Greenwich to stand in for other countries. Now, though, it's so hard to find any parts of the original Soho that British period films have to be shot in the Baltics. But a good director steps away from tourist sights and finds oddities that others fail to notice. I liked the sequences in 'Skyfall' that showcased London more realistically. Daniel Craig stars as James Bond in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/Columbia Pictures/EON Productions’ action adventure SKYFALL.


Jeanette (not verified) Sat, 12/11/2016 - 20:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

There was filming of a Rolls Royce driving in Finsbury Park in about 1969. I still don't know the film it featured in. Love the photo of 'Ladykillers', mainly because of the lamp. There are still quite a lot of gas lamps in London, I found one in Leadenhall Market, which was used for filming in the Harry Potter films, perfect 'Diagon Alley'. The clocks in the lamps are wound every 14 days to set the timing for dusk and morning.

Wayne Mook (not verified) Sat, 12/11/2016 - 20:18

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Agreed the views used in Skyfall are refreshing. Highgate cemetery appears in a number of horror films and a few spy ones, wonderful creepy place.

In Manchester round Hulme the town hall building in Bonnie & Clyde still stands but they gave it an artistic make over, not too far they shot part of Empire of the Sun, the British colonial houses. The blocks I live in have been made-over as well so hardly look like the blocks used in that Edward Woodard true murder programme that used our blocks to stand in for Glasgow. Cracker set in Manchester used some excellent places, as did parts of Llife on Mars. The film that does show a lot of change, is Hell is a City starring Stanley Baker, it proves Piccadilly Gardens was not ruined by the war, the recently renovated The Refuge Building (Palace Hotel) where part of it was shot, they put up boards showcasing the building (like the bees on the clock face - bees are a symbol of Manchester (3 of them, look at Boddingtons bitter to see the bees,even though it's no longer brewed here.) and of course they had a board for Hell is a City starring Donald Pleasance, no mention of baker - how the mighty have fallen.

Just the other day they were filming just near where I work, no idea what.


Jan (not verified) Mon, 14/11/2016 - 23:23

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Am originally from Manchester - Well a,little,town outside. I went back last year after about a decade and found it so changed. Familiar buildings still existed but the cityscape was foreign to me. It felt like being in a Northern American or a Canadian city almost. So different had me scratching my head.
For all the moans,and groans there are about city changes it strikes me that everywhere is beautiful now,compared to when I was kid. The new BBC in Salford unearths Quays. That was,a bloody awful place in the early seventies. Look at it now. The Trafford centre my own home town. It was gobsmacked. Not to mention the buses the public transport was gr8

Jan (not verified) Mon, 14/11/2016 - 23:24

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

That should read in Salford near the quays. Ruddy predictive text