Primrose Hill to Hollywood

By Leonardo Shaw (aged 15)

Primrose Hill has seen its fair share of movie crews, careering around with their trailers and props. Although the frequent film crews can cause traffic jams, for all the strife, it is fun to try and poke your head through the crowd to see if there are any famous actors in the neighbourhood. It’s great that the place we choose to live is also the place where so many of the world’s filmmakers choose to set their stories. Some of these crews have gone on to create … well not always masterpieces, but definitely some fun films. Here are just a few of the best.

 

Paddington and Paddington 2

Anyone local to Chalcot Square might have come across Hugh Bonneville and his furry friend filming around the crescent. These family-friendly ventures were adored by many and truly embraced the pantomime-esque story involving a little bear from Peru.

101 Dalmatians

A literary and film classic,101 Dalmatians has captured the hearts of children and adults alike. Up at the top of Primrose Hill, Pongo and his wife Perdita barked a call for help to find their missing pups. Many a time has a passing tourist waited through the bitter cold evening in an attempt to hear the starlight barking. However, it does not exist. Oh well … you win some, you lose some.

The Lady in the Van

If you cross under the railway and over the canal, before you get to Camden Market, you will come round another famous crescent, Gloucester Crescent. This street used to be home to playwright Alan Bennett and an eccentric lady living in his driveway. After many different interpretations of the book, 2015 brought the story to the silver screen.

Filming in Alan Bennett’s old house, Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings took us on a crazy journey spanning fifteen years. Not only did this film attract unanimous praise, but we are lucky to be able to revisit the scenic crescent on our way to the Tube.

Bridget Jones and The Edge of Reason

This guilty-pleasure chick-flick was embraced by a generation of young flamboyant Brits and went on to inspire two very popular sequels. Our local scene is the opening dream sequence in the second of the trilogy. It entails our heroine skipping and dancing around on the top of Primrose Hill. This iconic viewpoint epitomises the peace of the hilltop contrasted with the backdrop of crazy bustling London city.

From Paddington to Bridget Jones, our village seems to represent a peculiarly British vibe, and it’s clear that Hollywood have picked up on Primrose Hill showcasing the best of Britain. Perhaps one day we can truly claim to be the Hollywood of Europe.

Leonardo Shaw is a 15-year-old Primrose Hill resident who has lived his whole life in the area. He is a film buff who loves all kinds of films, whether or not they are made in Primrose Hill.

Main photo by Jason Pittock

1 thought on “Primrose Hill to Hollywood

  1. I was born in 1957 in Chalcot Square and can remember two movies made there in the early 1960’s; Allez France aka The Counterfeit Constable was an ango french farce which starred French comedian Robert Dhery and a host of British comic actors and Dianna Dors. Dhery played Henri a French rugby fan who through a series of mishaps impersonates a policeman. Two scenes were filmed in and around Chalcot Square. Us local children were used in a scene, we had to sit on the church wall in Berkeley road and watch the actors run up the road – we were all given ice creams from a local Italian restaurant to eat as they ran past. Another science was shot just on the corner of Chalcot Square, I spoilt the first take by walking into shot to join my friend who had been positioned to be in the background.
    Another film made around the same time starred Harry H Corbett – better known for Steptoe and son, ‘The rattle of a simple man’ which follows the exploits of a group of northern football fans go on a coach trip to watch a Cup Final in London. Filming took place in and around 38 Chalcot Square, where my older brother was ‘trapped’ inside whilst a scene was completed. Scenes from both these fils showing now and then can be found on the http://www.reelstreets.com web site which is dedicated to identifying where movies were made in the UK.

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