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Short History of the Kray Twins

The Kray twins were notorious perpetrators of organised crime in London’s east end during the 1950s and 1960s. They were known as Reggie and Ronnie but there full names were Reginald Kray and Ronald Kray. They were responsible for a number of crimes in their days including murder, torture, arson and armed robberies. Even though they committed terrible atrocities they actually became celebrities and were even interviewed on television by David Bailey. They were arrested in 1968 and were convicted a year later and both were sentenced to life imprisonment.

From an early age the twins were aware of breaking the law as their father Charlie went into hiding when he was called up for the army during the Second World War. Charlie travelled the country as a trader trying to avoid the law catching up with him. Later on in life the twins were called up for national services with the Royal Fusiliers but they deserted several times. On one of the last occasions they assaulted a police officer who was trying to arrest them. This landed them Shepton Mallet military prison. Interesting before they were sent to prison they were held at the Tower of London and went down in history as being among the last prisoners ever to be kept there.

Before they were called up for national service the boys got into boxing. Their grandfather got them into the sport. It is rumoured that they never lost one single fight before they became professional aged 19. There criminal record and dishonorable discharge put a stop to their life as boxes and it seems as a result of this turned to a life of crime. They started off by buying a snooker club and started a protection racket. By the end of the 50’s they had been involved in many crimes including hijacking, arson and armed robbery. Ronnie was sent to prison for 18 months in 1960 on charges relating to the protection racket and a number or related threats.

As the swinging 60’s evolved they became celebrity nightclub owners and were part of the London swinging scene. As their fame grew they were pictured with famous socialites, and actors and actresses from the world of show business. In Ronnies autobiography he stated “They were the best years of our lives. They called them the swinging sixties. The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were rulers of pop music, Carnaby Street ruled the fashion world… and me and my brother ruled London. We were fucking untouchable…”

Throughout their life they were bullies and intimidating to people. Even as children at their first school, people who knew them were too scared to say anything to them. Towards the end of their criminal life they were getting too big for their boots and their crimes were getting out of hand and led to murder. Eventually in 1968 after a year of collecting evidence and talking to witnesses the police arrested the Kray twins with 15 other members of their so called “firm”. This led to more witnesses coming forward and the Krays and 14 others were convicted. The twins were both sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 30 years for the murders of Cornell and McVitie. At that time it was the longest sentences ever passed at the Central Criminal Court, London.

The twins were allowed out of prison to attend their mother’s funeral. But due to the amount of publicity it created they didn’t attend their father’s funeral a few months later. Ronnie died in Broadmore Hospital aged 61 on the 17th March 1995 after a heart attack. During incarceration, Reggie famously became a born again Christian and after serving more than 30 years was released from prison in August 2000 on compassionate grounds due to having inoperable bladder cancer.  A few weeks later he died aged 67.

Krays Tour

Here at BMT we offer you the unique opportunity to enjoy a great afternoon with with Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels actor Stephen Marcus, aka Nick the Greek.  On the tour you will get to see film locations from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Krays, Face, The Crying Game and Gangster No 1.  You will learn about some of the methods used by some of the most feared gangsters in 1950s and 1960s London such as the Krays and Mad Frankie Fraser who helped the twins ‘run’ the capital.  At the end of the tour you will get to enjoy a Q&A session with Stephen in a pub that was used as a location for Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.

The tour lasts for 2 hours and starts at the Blind Beggar pub which is 337 Whitechapel Rd, just a minute walk from the Whitechapel tube station.  The Krays tour ends at the Corner Shop pub on Shoreditch High Street.  The cost for the tour is £20 per person and the minimum age for this gangster tour is 16 years.  We also offer private tours where you will receive a signed photograph.

For more details and booking head over to this page: http://britmovietours.com/bookings/gangster-tour-of-london/.

 

 

Can’t wait for Series 8 of Doc Martin? Take a Doc Martin Tour

If you’re a committed fan of the ITV show Doc Martin, no doubt you’ve watched the whole seven series with gusto. However, there were rumours that once Series 7 had finished its run, that meant the end for the socially inept doctor. Now we want to put your minds at rest, and confirm that there’s set to be another series, scheduled to be filmed in 2017, although this really is likely to be the last outing for the Doc and his friends.

Earlier this year the cast and crew of the popular TV show were invited to dinner by ITV bosses to thank them for their stellar work, which led to an all time ratings’ high of 7 million viewers for the series. When you think that that’s about the same number of viewers as received by Downton Abbey, you can see why the TV bosses were extra pleased. In fact they were so pleased that they announced there and then at the dinner that another series was on the cards.

Now popular on both sides of the Atlantic,  ITV probably had no inkling of how successful this show was going to be when it was first aired in 2004. However, Martin Clunes’ portrayal of Doctor Martin Ellingham , a doctor who can’t stand the sight of blood and whose bedside manner is dour, to say the least, has made the show into unmissable viewing for its legions of fans.

Despite its popularity, members of the cast, including Clunes, feared that the finale of Series 7 spelled the end of the show. They had the traditional wrap party, although they did notice a few subtle differences. For a start, the food and drinks were the best they’d ever experienced at an end of series party, plus the bosses organised a photograph of all the crew and cast together, another one-off occurrence. This set everyone thinking that the show had finally run its course, especially as the finale of the series had wrapped everything up nicely with no real loose ends. However, TV bosses know a good thing when they see one, and they decided to give the winner of a British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Drama, another lease of life.

Clunes, who plays Doc Martin, is nothing like his on-screen character, who’s deadpan, grouchy and curmudgeonly, but in reality is kind-hearted, warm and funny. Plus, he loves the fact that he gets to film in some of the most beautiful areas on the Cornish coast. The whole crew and cast decamp to Port Isaac for four months of the year, living and working together, just like one happy family, complete with four to five hundred ‘spectators’ every day, who are keen to catch a glimpse of the show being made.

However, if you can’t wait until 2017 to get your fix of Doc Marten, taking an organised Doc Martin tour is probably the next best thing. Imagine it now, joining a fully guided walking tour around Port Isaac, which doubles as the fictional seaside village of Portwenn. Located on the Atlantic coast of north Cornwall, it really is a beautiful place to visit. The tour includes all the main locations used in the show since it first hit our screens 12 years ago, such as the Doc’s house and surgery, the school where Louisa teaches and the pharmacy run by Mrs Tishell. What’s more, the tour itself is led by a local resident who’s also been an extra on the show so, of course, you’re bound to hear some show secrets and insider gossip.

The Movie Buff’s Guide to Islington, part 2 of 3

Islington has a rich history in film and is used in many modern movies. Jaime Pond, editor of Anglonerd magazine, has compiled three self-guided walking tours through this London borough: The Clerkenwell Tour, the Upper Street Tour, and the Highbury Tour. Whether you take the tours separately or all in one go, you better get your walking shoes on, movie buffs! (You can also take this tour virtually with Google Maps.)

The Upper Street Tour

Welcome back. If you’re joining us from the Clerkenwell tour, you’ll find you are now at the base of Upper Street, ready to head north through film history. If you’re just joining us for the first time, you can easily get here by taking the Northern line to Angel Station. Remember the time Liam Neeson pops up at this station during The Other Man (2008)? Let’s follow his character, Peter, as he heads north on Upper Street to Camden Passage. You can get into Camden Passage a few blocks up on the right. Follow Peter—or Colin Firth and Ruth Gemmel in Fever Pitch (1997) if you prefer—through the passage and then take a moment to browse the market. This is where I bought my favorite handmade paper notebook, thumb ring made of bone, and neon orange tie. I’m sure you’ll find something that suits your fancy. If you follow the Passage south, you’ll find Frederick’s restaurant, where the characters in the new psychological thriller The Ones Below dine. This David Farr flick, starring Clemence Poesy and David Morrissey, is filmed almost entirely in Islington. It follows two neighboring couples in London, each expecting their first child but with varied emotions about the big change to come.

If you follow the Passage north, you’ll find Pierrepont Arcade, an indoor market that sells antiques on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, and books on Thursdays and Fridays. It was here that, in July 2015, Mick Jones and Paul Simonon filmed a scene in their forthcoming The Clash biopic, London Calling, which is based on the recording of the band’s 1979 album by the same name.

Back on Upper Street, still heading north, pass Islington Green on your right. Just around back of the Green is Into Film, a place for youth who are interested in film to get training in setting up a film club and making movies.

Beyond that, you’ll find the Everyman Screen on the Green, a cinema more than one hundred years old—one of the oldest cinemas in the U.K. Incidentally, the cinema does feature in the 1988 teen flick Just Ask for a Diamond, based on The Falcon’s Malteser by Anthony Horowitz. If you’re feeling peckish at this point, there’s a great restaurant called Café La Divina at 134 Upper Street that has a huge collection of oldie movie posters on the walls.

Farther up Upper Street, just past Richmond Grove, is Town Hall, where Islington residents can get married—like two characters in the 2006 Brittany Murphy/Catherine Tate movie Love and Other Disasters (not telling which two characters—it’s a surprise!)—or register deaths and births—like how the two expecting mothers in the previously mentioned The Ones Below register their children in Town Hall. Islington Film Office’s Karen Everett says, “Organising to film in the real town hall involved extensive negotiations, but was thoroughly worth it for the authenticity. It’s a delight to see Islington playing such a strong role in a film that is unmistakably about Londoners.” (FilmFixer)

Keep heading north on Upper Street, and I’ll meet you at the end where we’ll begin our Highbury tour next month.

Jaime Pond is the editor of Anglonerd.com. She lives and works in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

References: Lights, Camera…Islington! | Islington Film Locations Map | LaDivinia.co.uk | Film Club | Camden Passage website and Twitter | Uncut | FilmFixer

Game of Thrones is back!

Game of Thrones season 6 has kicked off with a bang and fans were not disappointed.  When the title of the episode “The Red Woman” was announced we all assumed Melisandre’s magic would bring Jon Snow back from the dead. Well we all hoped. But us fans were disappointed as it didn’t happen, not yet anyway, Jon Snow is definitely still dead, but we are holding out for future episodes.  The title of the episode became clear in the last scene when Melisandre removed her choker and turned into an old frail woman!  This just led to more questions and many people have been quick to point out she’s been seen without the necklace as in the bath scene in Season 4 Episode 7 which was not in the original books.  This just leads to more questions and speculation.  There are plenty of theories flying around but only time will tell.

One question we had when season 5 ended was whether Sansa would escape the clutches of her nasty husband Ramsay Bolton and whether she is pregnant.  We last saw her when she and Theon jumped off the castle walls into the snow.  Well they didn’t get far before Bolton’s hunters found them, but good old Brienne of Tarth came to their rescue and saved the day. Brienne then bowed and pledge to serve and protect her and Sansa accepted.  Finally she sees sense!  Whether she is pregnant is anyone’s guess, but knowing GOT, she wont escape his clutches that easily.

Poor little Arya Stark is now blind and homeless and reduced to begging on the streets.  This is all down to her stabbing Ser Meryn Trant in the eyes before slitting his throat.  This made the faceless man punish her by taking her eye sight away. The blindness is apparently induced by the milk she drinks every night so is a temporary affliction.  The actress Maisi Williams hinted that there was some “bad stuff” for her this year, so if the first episode is anything to go by then her decent is not going to be a pretty one.

As for Daenerys Targaryen, her hopes of fulfilling her destiny and invading Westeros are currently not going to plan. The Meereen people had turned on her and she lost her dragons and army. The first scenes of Daenery was as a prisoner of the Dothraki horsemen.  She managed to stop them raping her by announcing she was the wife of Khal Drago.  This led to her being untied and being spared the horror of rape as it was against Dothraki law to sleep with another Khal’s wife.  But she is not completely free as she learns she would be taken to a temple to live and die her final years– with other widows of dead warlords.

Jaime and Cersei Lannister were finally reunited after a season apart when Jaime tried to rescue their daughter Myrcella.  Not surprising she got poisoned on the ship home and we see Cersci looking devastated and talks about the prophecy she was told by a witch as a child.  In episode 1 of season 5 we saw Cersci have a flashback to when she asked a witch (Maggy) three questions in exchange for some blood.  One question was whether she would have children, which the witch replies she would have 3 but gold would be their shrouds, in other words they would die.  This is where the flashback ended.  However in the book the witch goes on to real and state “And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” Now a ‘valonqar’ is High Valyrian for “little brother”, so the prophecy implies that one of Cersei’s younger siblings will strangle her to death some time after Tommen dies.  Well he isn’t dead yet but once he is it will be a waiting game to find out who kills Cersei.  The obvious one would be Tyrion as she has always hated the imp and blames him for their mother’s death.  But maybe her Jamie turns on her, but hey ho its game of thrones, they might pull out another younger brother which she didn’t know about. Only time will tell.

As for Tyrion who spent the last year trying to track down the Deaenerys only to watch as she was attached and swept off by an angry dragon is looking a little lost amongst the Meereen people. Tyrion Lannister who is played brilliantly by Peter Dinklage is one of the surviving favourite characters and I am sure there is plenty in store for the likable imp.  There is talk that maybe Tyrion isn’t a Lannister after all. Also there is little point reading the books for answers as there have been a lot of differences between the books since the last series.  All we can do is wait and see what’s in store in episodes to come.  But the first episode proved to be everything we expected, lots of drama, fight scenes and a couple of tender moments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy the mysticism of stunning Skellig Michael

Take a trip to a place far, far away and enjoy the mysticism of stunning Skellig Michael

Could there been a better place to film the finale of ‘The Force Awakens‘, than the mystical Irish Skellig Michael? Jutting out into the Atlantic, seven miles off the South West Irish coast, this magical pinnacle of rock has a long history of spiritualism, myths and legends. As such, it lends itself beautifully to the latest in the Star Wars series of films, particularly as they themselves are an intriguing fusion of myths which have been borrowed from everything from Eastern philosophies to modern day wars. Doubling as the location of the mystical remains of the First Jedi Temple, the stunning World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael was an inspired choice as, far from just providing a perfect cinematic backdrop for the film, the island itself is steeped in history that goes back for centuries.

Ever since Medieval times, there’s been a monastery on Skellig, so when we see the fictional characters from Star Wars walking among the ruins, they’re walking among some of our finest historical remains. Devotees of the Christian religion sought solitude on this magnificent island, thinking that being so isolated from the rest of the community would help them to find salvation. At that time, Ireland seemed to be at the end of the Earth, with Skellig Michael being one of the furthest outposts in the Christian world.

For hundreds of years, pilgrims made the perilous journey to experience the solitude, and to walk in the footsteps of the saints who had been immortalised in Medieval Irish myths, involving other worlds, monsters and spiritual battles between the forces of good and evil; the dark side and the light. It was also a popular place for fleeing kings to take refuge, the location of a kidnapping by Viking raiders, and has long been a mystical location for stories and legends of all kinds. And, even though it had long been abandoned, 18th century records suggest that the local people deemed that the island was a place that didn’t fit into normal space and time, thus making a place where couples could be legally married during lent.

A visit to the island today will bring you to a place littered with archaeological remains from the 11th and 12th centuries, when Skellig was probably at its busiest in terms of pilgrimages. Dotted across the island are stone beehive huts, churches, crosses and penitential stations which had been provided by the Church for visiting pilgrims to experience some of the mysticism associated with the place. ‘Michael’ was added to Skellig’s name as a way to dedicate the rock to the saint and increase the appeal of the place for pilgrimages.

Now immortalised as the home of the older and wiser Jedi knight, Luke Skywalker, Skellig Michael is the ultimate destination for fans of the latest Star Wars film. In fact, you can go on a little pilgrimage of your own, courtesy of Brit Movie Tours on our Skellig Michael Tour. Depending on your preferences you can either arrive at Skellig Michael by boat, and explore the rock at your leisure, climbing the steep steps just like the Daisy Ridley character, Rey or, if you’re unable or simply don’t want to climb the stairs, just enjoy the stunning location on a boat trip around the rock.

The Movie Buff’s Guide to Islington, part 1 of 3

The Movie Buff’s Guide to Islington, part 1 of 3

Islington has a rich history in film and is used in many modern movies. Jaime Pond, editor of Anglonerd magazine, has compiled three self-guided walking tours through this London borough: The Clerkenwell Tour, the Upper Street Tour, and the Highbury Tour. Whether you take the tours separately or all in one go, you better get your walking shoes on, movie buffs! (You can also take this tour virtually with Google Maps.)

The Clerkenwell Tour

“Islington” is mentioned in the opening monologue of the 2005 movie V for Vendetta, so it is only appropriate that we start our walking tour at Farringdon train station, where a young Evey can be seen handing out leaflets in a V for Vendetta flashback. You can easily get here on the Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City, or Circle lines of the tube. But beware, according to ghost-story.co.uk, it’s haunted by the ghost of Anne Naylor!

Not convinced? Okay, let’s get out of the station and head east on Cowcross Street. On your way toward St. John Street, you’ll pass the intersection of Cowcross and Greenhill Rents where Jude Law’s character lived in Closer, the 2004 Mike Nichols drama. It’s that blue door where the Subway sandwich shop is now (4 Cowcross St.). Hang a left onto St. John Street and follow the left fork where St. John Street turns into St. John’s Lane. Walk until you see St. John’s Gate, an archway more than 500 years old that houses the Museum of the Order of St. John. It has a long history of knights, the Crusades, medicine, and the Olympics, but most importantly, it’s where you saw Michael Palin riding a motorbike shortly after a heist in A Fish Called Wanda. Speaking of that heist, let’s follow the footsteps—or tire tracks—of Jamie Lee Curtis (Wanda) as she makes her big getaway! Continue north (it’s important you’re doing this on foot, as cars can’t go through the archway) and take a left onto Clerkenwell Road, then the first right onto Clerkenwell Green, and another left onto Clerkenwell Cl. It’s here, across from Crown Tavern Pub (43 Clerkenwell Green), that our heroes/villains jumped into the getaway car, nearly bowling over the unlucky elderly lady and her fleet of yappy dogs.

Don’t worry, we won’t let Wanda and company get away, but first, have a look around the corner on Clerkenwell Green at the old Clerkenwell House of Detention, a disused prison that has been featured in several films, including the new Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, posing for the hero’s and the heroine’s homes. It’s also where Cary Mulligan’s character was force-fed in the 2015 bio pic of Emmeline Pankhurst, Suffragette.

Speaking of being fed, let’s stick our heads into the Crown Tavern while we’re here for a pint or a meal. They’ll do you everything from a burger to a quintessentially British meal like fish & chips or shepherd’s pie. Upstairs, you may recognize the “Apollo Lounge” where Judi Dench was seen in the 2006 film Notes on a Scandal. History nerds will enjoy knowing that, allegedly, Stalin and Lenin first met here in 1903 when the pub was called the Crown and Anchor.

Once sufficiently nourished, let’s flag down a cab to help with the illusion that we are in the chase scene from A Fish Called Wanda. Say, “Cabbie, take me to the alley at the end of Clerkenwell Close, as quick as you can!”

One minute later, your cabbie is annoyed that it was such a short fare. You are equally surprised that Wanda and company had such a brief escape before ditching the car. Well, you might as well stay in the taxi. Ask your cabbie to take you to Northampton Square.

You may not have seen the 2008 film Incendiary, starring Ewan McGregor and Michelle Williams, but if you have, you’ll want to spend a while wandering Northampton Square because most of the film was shot right here! The director, Bridget Jones’s Diary’s Sharon Maguire, uses her alma matter City University, on the west side of the Square, as the exterior shot for a hospital, and Michelle Williams’ character apparently lives on the Brunswick Estate (posing for the Wellington Estate farther east). If you haven’t seen the film, maybe give it a rent before heading out. A rare chance to run around the set of an entire movie without having to leave the block!

It’s a ten minute saunter from Northhampton Square to Myddelton Square Garden (though you can hop the 153 bus if your dogs are barking). Here, you’ll find St. Mark’s Church, a setting for Suffragette. Near here, Barbara Riddell allowed Meryl Streep to use her balcony for a scene, and she provided the cast and crew with food for the three-day shoot. In an article on the Islington Film Office website, Riddell remembers, “Carey Mulligan couldn’t eat my biscuits as she was going to do the force-feeding scene the next day.”

Now we’ll walk down River Street, which turns into Lloyd Baker Street, around the site of Ruby Film and Television, an Islington-based film production company. Hang a right and go to the north side of Lloyd Square where you’ll find the house Gary Oldman’s character lived in in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Next, we’re going to zig-zag northeast to Claremont Square, which harbors the Order of the Pheonix’s headquarters in Harry Potter at the south side of the Square. Continue up the east side of the Square to Pentonville and make a right. Follow this road a few blocks and turn left onto Islington High Street where we begin our Upper Street tour. Stay tuned for the next installment!

Jaime Pond is the editor of Anglonerd.com. She lives and works in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

Sources: Lights, Camera…Islington! | The Crown Tavern Website | Islington Film Office | Islington Film Locations Map | Internet Movie Database

Outlander is Back Again

Outlander is back again, well in a couple of weeks, but not long now! After its first season, the historical American-British time travel drama Outlander has garnered a whole lot of attention: and a whole lot of adoring fans. The Outlander series is a Starz original, and it’s been one of a few shows that has really injected some much-needed life into the premium cable network in recent years. The television series is based on the books written by Diana Gabaldon, and Caitriona Balfe stars as the show’s main character, Claire Randall. The book series was extremely thorough, so you can only imagine how in-depth the writing team had to get to make sure all of the best elements were pulled from the text for the small screen.

There were sixteen episodes in the first season, and that gave fans more than enough opportunity to get interested in the storylines. Almost right away, Outlander was becoming a huge hit and people were quickly becoming engulfed in all the drama. It doesn’t take long for you to realize that main character Claire used to be a nurse in World War II, and her life is about to get more interesting once she and her husband make a trip to Scotland for some sightseeing and exploration.

History begins to unfold in Claire’s life in a real way once she comes face to face with Jamie, an injured Scottish man whom she must heal with her combat medical skills. Over time they become very close, and their love unfolds for the eager audience, and they eventually become married. On the other side of her life, Claire’s husband lies in wait, hoping that she might come back to him one day after disappearing into thin air. Claire is torn between two worlds, being almost like a fortune teller with her knowledge of the things that the future holds for the cause she’s aligned with. She fights with all her might to make sure good prevails at the end of the day, and that’s one of the things most admirable about her character.

Season one ended with a crazy cliffhanger when Claire revealed to Jamie that she was with child, and the anticipation for the second season has certainly been buzzing ever since. Speculation about what Jamie and Claire’s child might be like started in almost instantly after the revelation, and news about the actress cast to portray their beautiful and wise daughter has finally broken. Brianna will be brought to life by actress Sophie Skelton, and it’s clear that she’s more than ready to take on her brand new role for season two. A few cool press photos have been released since the announcement was made, and Skelton seems to have the perfect look for Brianna already well practiced. Sophie has already donned the stunning red tresses that serve as one of Brianna’s highlighting features, and we cannot wait to see Brianna in all her glory once season two releases to the public.

Outlander has got to be one of the most anticipated shows of 2016, and we can’t wait to see what other surprises are waiting. The second season is just a few weeks away and premieres on April 9 on Starz and on Amazon Prime a day later.

Below is the latest trailer to wet your appetite! For those that want to visit the filming locations of Outlander click here.

Reece Shearsmith Wants to Do a Gef the Talking Mongoose Drama

The Isle of Man resides in a pocket of the Irish Sea between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. It is known for its motorcycle racing and its…ghosts. Yes, the Isle of Man is steeped in a history of fairies and spooks, not least notably the Dalby Spook—the spirit of an Indian Sheik, reincarnated into a mongoose with a bushy, golden tail. In 1931, this spirit haunted a farmhouse called Cashen’s Gap, where James Irving and his family lived. Irving, his wife, and his daughter said the mongoose sang to them, told them gossip from around town, and claimed to be the eighth wonder of the world. When journalists rushed to the Isle of Man to scoop the story, everyone in town claimed they had heard the mongoose speak and that it rode the buses to catch up on gossip. However, the journalists never found any evidence, and it was eventually written off as a hoax, or possibly a mass hallucination. Eventually, the mysterious “Dalby Spook” was rebranded “Gef the Talking Mongoose.”

In a recent episode of Book Shambles, the podcast for book nerds, co-creator of The League of Gentlemen and Inside No. 9 Reece Shearsmith admitted that the 1930s English folk tale Gef the Talking Mongoose is crying out for a dramatization, and he wishes to be the one to make it. Although no plans are in place, it does excite the minds of film and television fans. What would a Shearsmithian urban legend retelling feel like? Would it be shot on location on the Isle of Man? Most importantly, who would play the voice of the mongoose?

Incidentally, Book Shambles co-host Josie Long hosts a monthly comedy variety night in Camden called Lost Treasures of the Black Heart, and many of these shows have been preserved as an audio podcast, available for free on iTunes. In the 5th July 2011 episode, about an hour in, you can hear We Are Goose sing their song about Gef, which has a chorus that goes, “Mongoose with human hands and feet / He was born in New Delhi / He’s over a century old / Gef Gef Gef Gef! / He will turn you into stone / so he hid behind a wall / offered wisdom to us all / from the Irving family home.” So, basically…if Shearsmith is in, he’s already got a soundtrack to his film.

Jaime Pond is the editor of Anglonerd.com. She lives and works in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.

Sources: Book Shambles | Lost Treasures of the Black Heart Podcast | Mental Floss

Harry Potter Takeover in 2016

The Harry Potter series will live on forever in the hearts of those young and old, and 2016 has been a particularly poignant year for the ever-growing franchise. J.K. Rowling has very clearly defined an entire world and universe around The Boy Who Lived and the many other characters she dreamed up: and people everywhere still continue to take part in all the magic!

Potter News in 2016

Amusement park lovers are excited to learn that the grand opening date of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Hollywood, California at Universal Studios opens its doors on the 7th April this spring! If you’ve been lucky enough to visit the park in the last year or so, those taunting views of castle and mountain probably drove you very close to madness.

The first Wizarding World in Orlando, Florida has been around for years, and most recently it has been updated with a Diagon Alley district and a train out of King’s Cross Station that transports you from there to the Hogsmeade district. It’s no great surprise that the popularity of the flagship Wizarding World prompted the planning and construction of the second one a long time back.

Of course the brand new attraction in Hollywood is only a peek at what more lies ahead. The Wizarding World in California will be expanded on over time, and it will most likely grow to be just as big as the original location. The Harry Potter fandom is a hard one to compete with, and being able to visit either one of these inspired attractions is sure to be an amazing time!

Everything looks and feels like a picture perfect moment inside these amusement parks today, and this is the closest thing you’ll ever have to living inside of the saga that we’ve all come to love. Browsing in all the neat little shops and taking a load off for some grub in the pubs is sure to make for a great day! As long as you’ve got your comfy shoes on, you should be able to get through most of the meat and potatoes of the attractions before you’ve worn yourself down.

In Orlando, the Wizarding World actually spans over two separate parts of the park, so you’ve got to spend extra cash on park passes that will allow you to see everything Harry Potter related. Beyond that, the pass upgrade that allows you to skip lines is also extremely useful. The biggest downside to visiting any amusement park is waiting in the super long lines.  If you choose to swing for that upgrade, you’ll be able to see and do more with your time in the park. It might cost you more upfront, but you won’t have to stress in the least bit: and you can take in all of the beautiful scenery.

If you’ve been thinking about planning a trip to one of the Harry Potter attractions, expect to get a lot of planning and number-crunching out of the way beforehand. Disney parks are busy most times during the year, but you can get started on the right track by planning your trip during the slow season.

Other news Potterheads can look forward too is an upcoming two-part West End state play written by Jack Thorne.  The play sets to open on the 30th July this year at the Palace Theatre, London.  Also later this year Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be released as a book. Fans went into overdrive calling it the 8th Harry Potter book however J.K.Rowling has cleared up the rumors and stated it is not a prequel as Cursed Child takes place 19 years after the battle at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

So there is plenty for Potter fans to look forward too. For fans visiting London there is always our very own Harry Potter Tours to consider. We have 5 Harry Potter Tours which are summarised below. But please follow the links for more information on each unique tour:

Harry Potter Tours

Harry Potter Bus Tour London
3 hour mini coach Harry Potter tour taking you to all the locations around London.
http://britmovietours.com/bookings/harry-potter-london-tour/

Harry Potter Tour of Oxford and Lacock
10 hour day tour which takes you to some of England’s most historic places. You will see Harry Potter sites which were either used in actual scenes from Hogwarts School or which served as an inspiration to the film makers.
http://britmovietours.com/bookings/harry-potter-day-tour/

Harry Potter Walking Tour of London
Short 2 hour walking tour which takes you to a number of film locatons as well as some of Londons iconic landmarks and attractions.
http://britmovietours.com/bookings/harry-potter-walk/

Harry Potter Tour of England
Tours runs over 2 days and the first day you get whisked off to Lacock village, starting with a tour of the village and the local Abbey. Then it’s on to the Gloucester Cathedral, where you will see numerous settings including the Gryffindor Common Room. The day will finish with your own hands-on Owl flying Experience.
http://britmovietours.com/bookings/harry-potter-england-tour/

Harry Potter Studio Tour
An all day event starting with a tour of London locations before visiting the Warner Bros Studio where you can get up close and personal with the amazing costume and props used in the filming.  Also you will be able to walk around the actual sets used in the films. A true HP fan delight!
http://britmovietours.com/bookings/harry-potter-studio-tour/

With all our Harry Potter tours you will learn about magic and how the films were made and there will be plenty of opportunity to buy Harry Potter merchandise. We do like to get into the Harry Pottery spirit and your welcome to join us by dressing up as muggles, wizards or witches, but of course only if you want too.

Jon Snow Speaks

By now, most of us have seen or at least heard of the American HBO smash-hit series Game of Thrones. The popularity of Game of Thrones has caused it to span the globe, and people all over the world are anxiously awaiting the next season. There have been five seasons released to date. The television show is adapted from the best-selling book series written by George R. R. Martin, and HBO has truly brought the mystical, medieval realm to light. Although the book universe and the universe onscreen may be a little bit different at times, pop culture definitely holds a place for Game of Thrones: and we just can’t seem to get enough!

If you’ve been watching the show up through the latest season, you know that there was quite a cliffhanger placed that dealt with Kit Harington’s beloved character, Jon Snow. Kit Harington recently came to speak about it himself, and you can decide what you think with your own insight!

Kit Harington noted very clearly that Jon Snow is in fact “dead”: but that shouldn’t discourage anyone from thinking that they won’t finally see him again when the latest series is released! Harington hints at supernatural themes that might keep Snow in the fold throughout the rest of the show somehow, but all we can do is wait and be patient!  Harington also urged fans of the show to hang tight and make sure to tune into the upcoming season when it comes out. This is the only way we can expect to get any of the concrete answers we might be after!

If you’ve been wondering what Harington has been up to otherwise, he’s busy promoting his upcoming theater show openings and working on feature films! Even if Kit’s comments get you down, diehard fans of the show are bound to stick around until the gory end: at this point in the show, there have already been quite a few deaths that were quite unnecessary.  Nonetheless, the next season is bound to give us more of the action and treachery we signed up for!

Although it seems like a world away, we will be getting the next season of Game of Thrones before we realize it! April 24th is the official release date at its usual 9pm slot. Sky Atlantic will premiere the first episode the same time as HBO, which will be 2am in the UK. In the meanwhile, you could always binge watch your favorite episodes or seasons, or even plan a viewing party for the upcoming release! Why not plan a trip to Ireland and come on tour with us. Join us as we walk around Winterfell and see over 10 locations from all of the series. There’s a lot you can to do to get your Game of Thrones fix while you wait!

Click here to book a Game of Thrones Tour with us.

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