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Who’s going to be the next James Bond?

A few years ago it was made public that Daniel Craig was no longer happy playing James Bond. It’s quite understandable considering how difficult it is to play the world’s greatest spy. First of all there’s the gruelling fitness regime, the amount of time that each movie takes to produce and the effect of being tied to a specific role thus making other openings difficult to fulfil.

Recently the final shortlist of the next 007 was released, here are the top five candidates:-

Idris Elba

Idris ElbaBorn in London on the 6th September 1972 to a Ghanaian mother and a Sierra Leonean father, Idris Elba is a true example of a Briton in today’s society. The world is a wonderful, diverse place and Hollywood has got into a lot of trouble over the years for ‘whitewashing’ most casts, and it’s about time that films represented real people. If cast Elba would be the first non-white 007, and if you’ve seen any of his work, you know that there are few actors more charismatic, suave, hardworking and deserving of that mantle as Idris Elba.

His first TV roles were appearances on ‘Crimewatch’ in murder reconstructions followed by quest appearances on shows including ‘The Bill,’ ‘Absolutely Fabulous,’ and ‘The Ruth Rendell Mysteries,’ and ‘Law & Order.’ Elba’s first major role was in the classic HBO TV crime drama ‘The Wire,’ as the intelligent drug lord Russell “Stringer” Bell, which later helped him land the lead role in ‘Luther’ as the morally ambiguous titular character loosely based on Sherlock Holmes.

Elba is a Golden Globe & BAFTA nominated actor for his role as the despicable rebel Commandant in Cary Fukunaga’s film ‘Beasts of no nation.’ He has starred in a few blockbusters such as ‘Thor,’ ‘Pacific Rim,’ ‘Star Trek: Beyond,’ ‘Prometheus,’ 2016’s ‘The Jungle Book,’ and the animated films ‘Zootopia’ aka ‘Zootropolis,’ and ‘Finding Dory.’

Idris Elba is the front-runner to play Bond, yet perhaps the only thing going against Elba is his age, 44. Thus far, the oldest actor to be cast as Bond in the main film series is Roger Moore at the ripe old age of 46 in 1973 for ‘Live and Let Die.’ These days, if you want an actor to sign on for a four/ five movie deal for the next 10-15 years, you may want to hire someone younger so they can keep up with the process of training and doing the stunts for Bond for longer.

Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender

 

Born 2nd April 1977 in Heidelberg, West Germany to a Northern Irish mother & a German father, they later moved to Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. Fassbender speaks fluent German, which may come in handy as an international spy.

His first on-screen role was in the Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks production “Band of Brothers,” and his first movie role was as a Spartan in the Zack Snyder film “300.” Since then he has appeared in a number of blockbusters such as “Inglorious Basterds,” “X-men: First Class,” “Prometheus,” and the upcoming video game adaption “Assassin’s Creed.” The issue with being a part of these blockbusters is that some of the films are still an ongoing series, with the X-men, The Prometheus/Alien, and Assassin’s Creed series all having sequels potentially every other year and adding another frequent commitment may be too much for Fassbender to maintain.

 

 

 

Tom Hiddleston

Tom Hiddleston

Born 9th February 1981 in Westminster, London to a Scottish father and an English mother. At the age of 13 he began boarding at Eton College, and continued on to Pembroke College at The University of Cambridge.

He first broke onto the scene as the enigmatic, silver-tongued brother of Thor in the movie “Thor.” He got invited to the audition for Thor after working with the director of the film –Kenneth Branagh- on the TV show “Wallander.”

Hiddleston’s more famous roles are in “Thor,” “War Horse,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Crimson Peak,” “The Avengers.” He recently gained some attention playing the soldier turned intelligence operative in espionage thriller the TV show “The Night Manager” which a lot of people assumed was almost a try-out for the role of Bond. Incidentally the rumoured director of the new James Bond film is the director of the Night Manager TV series, Susanne Bier, so the fact that they’ve already worked together may play a part in the casting.

 

 

 

Charlie Hunnam

Charlie Hunnam

 

Born 10th April 1980 in Newcastle, England. He received his first on screen role in the school drama “Byker Grove” at the age of 17, and a year later landed his first lead role in the hit drama series “Queer as Folk.” He was later cast as the lead in the big screen adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “Nicholas Nickleby,” and in the film “Green Street” as the leader of a West Ham United firm, for which his performance was well-received even with his much derided cockney accent.

Hunnam’s role as the football hooligan caught the eye of the creator of the, then, upcoming series “Sons of Anarchy” based on a fictional motorcycle club, Hunnam starred as Jackson “Jax” Teller throughout its entire run from 2008 through 2014. Hunnam’s first blockbuster came in the form of giant robots called Jaegers in the 2013 film “Pacific Rim.”

 

 

 

 

James  Norton

James NortonEnglish actor James  Norton was born in London on the 18 July 1985  and is currently the bookies favourite to be the next Bond.  He is best known for roles in the British TV series Happy Valley, Grantchester and most recently War & Peace.  He was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2015 for his role as ex-convict Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are the top five candidates to play the world’s greatest spy, however, there are some good outsiders that could be considered for the role.

Who would you think could take on the role?

For those die hard fans we have a 9 1/2 hour James Bond Locations Tour from London.  As well as seeing many James Bond filming locations you will also enjoy learning how the films were made and see movie clips as you pass the locations.

Bloggers Wanted!

Brit Movie Tours is one of the many companies looking for bloggers.  Our tours educate and entertain visitors of all ages, nationalities and interests.  We pride ourselves on bringing your favourite movies and TV shows to life on our tours. To spread the word, we are looking for bloggers who would like to go on a free London tour in exchange for a review published on their blog.

We are aware online reviews are essential for our reputation and we pride ourselves on our Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor. You can read all of our reviews here.  You only have to read some of the reviews to see how impressed people are by our tour guides. Recent comments include one from Phil who wrote a couple of days ago: “I was given a James Bond walking tour as a gift but would not have regretting paying for it myself! I was extremely impressed with our guide – Phil…”  Another review the day before is from Nikki from London where she quotes “one of the most fun days I’ve had”.  We look at the very few negative reviews we get as an opportunity for us to do better.

Because more than 90% of online shoppers look for reviews on products and services before buying, we are always striving to be the very best in our industry.  Ensuring we do the best job we can to attract the best reviews is paramount in our business. We want our business to go from strength to strength by reaching more more people from all over the world.

Free Tours in London

If your a blogger and looking for opportunities of working with companies like us then get in touch.  We are looking for all types of bloggers from all around the world.  If you a bit of a film buff then you would be ideal.  Perhaps you’re a big fan of Dr Who, James Bond or Harry Potter.  Maybe you can’t get enough of Made in Chelsea, or TOWIE and would love to view these locations and share your experience with your readers.

Ideally we want established blogs and those with a good following. Travel bloggers or those that blog about days out and experiences would also be welcome.

If you are interested and would like to be considered for a free tour in exchange for a review, then email us your name, email, your blog address and a little bit of information about you, your blog and readers to: marketing (at) britmovietours (dot) com. Please use BLOG REVIEW in the subject heading.

 

 

 

 

Emmerdale – What’s going to happen next?

Emmerdale Set TourEmmerdale the nation’s favourite soap is going from strength to strength with compelling story lines, beautiful sets and characters that we can all relate to and believe in. So what does the future hold for us fans…

We have seen in the national press recently the actor Bill Ward who plays James Barton is leaving the soap, but how is he going to leave? The hottest rumours at the moment are that he is going to be killed off in one of the most dramatic story lines for a few years.  His departure is going to be in the New Year so ensure you keep your eyes on the screen to see how this story line develops, it’s sure to bring many a tear to viewer’s eyes.

Another shock departure is going to be actress Sophie Powell who plays Holly Barton, we all remember her return earlier this year and the high profile story of her relapse with drugs, her mother Moira’s cold turkey intervention and how her marriage to Cain broke down as a consequence.  Rumours are that Sophie has already filmed her final scenes and this will be a big story. However she is keeping tight lipped about any details of this.

We have all been riveted with actress Eden Taylor-Draper’s who plays Belle Dingle and her magnificent portrayal of mental illness, but how is the future likely to be for Belle. Over the next few weeks we are going to see Belle’s illness deteriorate with Ellie’s negative influence in her head make more rash decisions and put herself into more danger, and the police scale down the search for her.

Belle is now on the streets searching for scraps of food and being at the mercy of unscrupulous people who take advantage of young vulnerable girls. Will Belle be found by her worried family before it is too late? While the portrayal of mental illness is not a new concept for a soap, Emmerdale has managed to show the reality, not just for the sufferer but the impact on family and friends, by using a ‘real’ actress, Ashlie Robinson.  Emmerdale has allowed us viewers to get a real insight into how Belle must be feeling and what she must be going through. I have much admiration for all the cast for how they filmed the scenes with Belle and Ellie, how they made it so believable and how this made these scenes so compelling for us all.

So what else does the Yorkshire based soap hold for us in the future, we have all seen Charity and Cain’s relationship undulate as much as the Yorkshire Dales the series is set in, how low the scheming Charity likely to go to get her man ? Hot gossip at the moment is saying that she is going to set Cain up so that his wife Moira catches them in a clinch, will this be the final nail in the coffin for Cain and Moira’s marriage or will he be able to realise before it is too late and turn the tables on Charity. This story line is likely to keep us on the edge of our seats for a while yet.

The recent departure of Andy Sugden, actor Kevin Fletcher, was an emotional farewell for us all and especially for Kevin himself as he had been in the soap since he was aged twelve. Kevin has been heard recently dropping hints of an return “sooner than we think”. Will justice prevail and the truth about the shooting of Laurence finally emerge?

With all the problems in the Dingle clan recently we have all seen Zak and Lisa getting closer and Zak lying to his new wife Joanie about his whereabouts. This story line is likely to keep us guessing for a while to come yet but you can be sure it will be fireworks for the Dingles at some point.
Britain’s Got Talent winner George Sampson who made an appearance earlier this year as the troublesome Ryan is rumoured to be returning for more episodes and likely to become a regular in and around the Woolpack. We are also going to be seeing a new Faith Dingle in the near future; no doubt this is likely to upset a few applecart’s.

Finally, producer Iain McLeod has given us some food for thought stating in a recent interview “There is a massive week coming up on 17th of October” “ its unbelievably exciting” I for one can’t wait and will ensuring I have my Yorkshire tea and Parkin at the ready for this week.

Can’t get enough of Emmerdale? Why not book a guided Emmerdale Set Tour and walk on the famous cobbles yourself and get a selfie outside the The Woolpack.

Guided Emmerdale Set Tour Emmerdale Set Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Where was Harry Potter Filmed?

The Harry Potter films were filmed all over the UK and many locations you can visit on our tours. Some of the fictional locations like Diagon Alley were sets filmed at Leavesden Film Studios, but many of the external shots can be found in locations around Oxford, London and Scotland.

For big fans who want to visit the external locations below is a list of the main locations and links to their google maps listing.

Where was platform 9 3/4 filmed?

Platform 9 3/4 was filmed at King’s Cross station in London on platforms 4 and 5.  The beautiful exterior shots were of  St Pancras Station and the bridge which Harry and Hagrid walk over at Kings Cross was actually shot in York train station.

Google Maps Link – King’s Cross Station

Google Maps Link – St Pancras Station.

Where was Number 4 Privet Drive filmed?

The Dursley family home was really 12 Picket Post Close, Winkfiled Row in Bracknell.

Google Maps Link

Where was Hogwarts Filmed?

Alnwick Castle is the location used for Hogwarts Castle in ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.’  This is where you see Harry having broomstick lessons.  The exterior scenes were filmed at Gloucester Cathedral in Gloucestershire, England and where you can look for Moaning Myrtle. Hogwarts Great Hall was actually modelled after the Great Hall at Christ Church in Oxford England.

Google Maps Link – Alnwick Castle

Google Maps Link – Gloucester Cathedral

Google Maps Link – Christ Church

Where was The Hogwarts infirmary filmed?

The Hogwards infrimary was filmed at the Bodleian Library Divinity School in Oxford

Google Maps Link

Where is the famous bridge that Hogwarts Express travels over?

The bridge that Hogwards Express travels across which can be seen in a number of the Harry Potter films is actually the  Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland. It is located on the West Highland Line in Glenfinnan, Inverness-shire and overlooks the Glenfinnan Monument and the waters of Loch Shiel.

Google Maps Link

Where was the The Leaky Cauldron filmed?

In the first film the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron was filmed in Leandenhall Market in London. Leandenhall Market was built in the late 19th century and is a beautiful example of a Victorian market.  Also this was the location for some exterior Diagon Alley scenes.  In the Prisoner of Azkaban film they used Borough Market and the interior shots were done in the Leavesden Film Studios.

Google Maps Link – Leandenhall Market

Google Maps Link – Borough Market

Where was Hagrid’s Hut filmed?

Hagrids Hut and the beautiful surroundings were filmed at Clachaig Gully in Glencoe, Argyl, Scotland.  The hut is no longer there but you can see the beautiful scenery.

Google Maps Link

Where was Snape’s potions classroom filmed?

The Hogwarts corridors and Snape’s potions classroom were filmed in Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire.

Google Maps Link

Harry Potter Tours – Brit Movie Tours

If your looking for a guided Harry Potter tour, we run a number of tours which can be found here.  We have a number of tours to suit everyone.  If you are just in London for the day and fancy a walking tour then our Harry Potter London Walk tour is the one.  If you want to see the Warner Bros Studio as well as locations around London and oxford we offer a couple of tours.  All of our Harry Potter Tours are operated by us and are not official ‘Harry Potter’ events and are not endorsed, sanctioned or in any other way supported, directly or indirectly by Warner Bros Entertainment Inc, the Harry Potter book publishers or J.K.Rowling.

Not sure whether to book with us?  Read our reviews on Trip Advisor here before making your decision. We look forward to welcoming all muggles, wizards and witches on our magical tours.

 

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/.

 

 

The Movie Buff’s Guide to Islington, part 3 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.)

Highbury Tour

Welcome back. Hope you enjoyed our tour of Upper Street. We’re going to pick up right where we left off to journey around Highbury, the birthplace of the late George Martin and the home of Mayor Boris Johnson, Nick Hornby, Jimmy Carr, and Mr. Bean (and also Rowan Atkinson).

At the top of Upper Street, past the roundabouts that gave Sally Hawkins trouble in Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), we see the footpath in Highbury Place leading to Highbury Pool & Fitness Center. Across the street was the setting of the opening scene in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011). You remember: Judi Dench is on the phone with the internet provider, looking out the window. “Is wireless the same as wifi? And what do either of them have to do with broadband?”

Dame Judi Dench must know Islington pretty well by now because if you follow Holloway Road, you’ll follow her straight into another movie: Notes on a Scandal (2006). Hers and Cate Blanchett’s “scandalous” teacher characters—Barbara and Sheba—do a little window shopping around Egerton Pharmacy (145 Holloway Rd), which is a chemist that is still operating ten years later.

Farther up Holloway Road, past London Metropolitan University, my old stomping grounds, you’ll see Holloway Road tube station on your left. Although nearly 110 years old, there haven’t been a ton of films shot here, but long before its 2008 refurbishment, Turn the Key Softly included a scene here. This is a 1953 movie about three women released from Holloway Prison. The prison is not in Highbury, but it’s nearby in Islington, so the fact that they are shooting at Holloway Road station is geographically accurate. Incidentally, you may be interested to know that Holloway is the name of one of the characters in Vincenzo Natali’s debut film, Cube (1997), because all of the characters in that movie are named after prisons.

Onward. Just beyond Biddestone Park (left), you’ll see 304 Holloway Road (right), where Joe Meek founded RGM Records and recorded Telstar, which bestowed on Meek no royalties based on the claim that he’d ripped off the tune from the Napoleon film Austerlitz (1960). However, shortly after Meek’s murder/suicide in 1967 in this very Holloway Road apartment, the court deemed this claim of plagiarism invalid.

Let’s loop around to Emirates Stadium (sometimes referred to as Arsenal Stadium). If you hang a right on Tollington, you can then take another right onto A103, which will lead you straight there, near the Thierry Henry statue. (You probably saw this football/soccer star on The Late Late Show with James Corden this past March, alongside Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson.) Enjoy the stadium and pretend this is where the characters in Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch (1997) went to see a match, or where the big mystery took place in The Arsenal Stadium Mystery (1939). Then shake your head of this illusion because actually the Emirates Stadium wasn’t built until 2006. The original Arsenal Stadium used to stand where Highbury Square is today. Go have a look if you like, but I don’t know if you’ll recognize any of it.

Finally, let’s pop over across the train tracks to Highbury Terrace where Charles (Hugh Grant) lives in Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994). It is right here outside 22 Highbury Terrace that Charles (spoilers!) proposes to Carrie (Andie MacDowell) in the romantic yet torrential downpour of the final scene. What a perfect ending to our tour! Now get on up Holloway Road and catch the latest flick at Odeon Cinema.

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

Sources: Lights, Camera…Islington! | Islington Film Locations Map |Black Cab London | IMDB.com | Islington Tribune

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.

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