As you know, London has featured a lot in films. Movies of the 70s and 80s couldn’t not have a red bus or a shot of the Houses of Parliament or Tower Bridge to make absolutely sure you knew where you were. Here’s the first of occasional posts detailing some of those films and the bits of the capital they feature:
- Acton Lane Power Station – Park Royal, NW10. The interiors of 1989 Batman‘s Axis Chemicals factory were filmed here. Rumour has it that Battersea Power Station was the original choice but was not to be. It’s the one where the soon-to-be Joker falls into a vat of toxic poison. The Atmosphere processing station’s interiors in Aliens (1986) (the one with the orphan rather than the cat) was also filmed here. Unfortunately, now demolished.
- 2006 film Venus was filmed in a large part around QT’s old stomping ground Kentish Town. The great Peter O’Toole was filmed shopping on the main street, sitting in The Abbey pub (a very pleasant spot for a bit of outdoor grub – burgers and the like), in a cafe, and even lived at the end of my street (Grafton Road where it meets Athlone Street). Other locations for Venus were Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Trafalgar Square and St Paul’s church Covent Garden. This church incidentally is also known as the Actors’ church and is a quiet haven for having your lunch in, in an otherwise manic area. An interesting bit of trivia – apparently Peter’s only ‘on location’ demand was a heated arctic tent in which he could avoid the weather. See Peter O’Toole unzips for Venus.
- An American Werewolf in London as the title would suggest, was partly filmed in and around London. Jenny Agutter’s flat is to be found in Coleherne Road, Earls Cort and the hospital she worked in is around the corner at the former Princess Beatrice Maternity Hospital in Finborough Road (now a hostel for the homeless). The city guy was eaten in Tottenham Court Road tube station and Piccadilly Circus was used for the climax of the film. The werewolf is finally cornered in Winchester Walk near Borough Market posing as the West End.
- Borough Market has been a popular film location – it featured in Bridget Jones’ Diary, Entrapment, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Wilde, The Young Americans, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and The French Lieutenant’s Woman.
- In The Omen (the classic 1976 version- don’t bother with the more recent one) Parliament Hill appears on a family day out with the young anti-christ. The actual US Ambassador to London’s office in the American Embassy (Grosvenor Square) was used for Patrick Troughton’s confrontation with Mr Elegance himself, Gregory Peck. Former Dr Who Patrick Troughton is not very pleasantly spiked at All Saints Church, Fulham (on the north side of Putney Bridge).