FILM LOCATION: LONDON (Part 1 – The London Underground)

London is a popular tourist destination boasting attractions of all kinds, and it is often associated with the film industry. You will find that it provides the backdrop for a multitude of films of all genres.
The London Underground, functional though it may be, has served many productions well. King’s Cross Station will forever be linked in our minds to Harry Potter’s wizarding world, which can be accessed through Platform 9 ¾. Needless to say, this is not a real platform. Since the hype around ‘the boy who lived’ however, a luggage cart that seems to protrude from the wall in line with the story’s idea has been installed at the station. It stands beside a shop selling anything to do with the series – from souvenirs and clothing items to replicas of the magic wands.

Meanwhile, the marmalade-loving Paddington Bear from the book series created in the fifties by Michael Bond got his name from Paddington Station, which boasts a bronze statue of the Peruvian bear at Platform 1. The film Paddington (2014) sees the railway station used for the interior shots, but the exterior scene actually belongs to Marylebone Station. Later on in the film, it is Maida Vale Station that stands in for the fictitious Westbourne Oak Station.


Image: Paddington (2014)


Sometimes things are not what they seem in films, and in About Time (2013), Tim and Mary also catch their daily trains from this same station, despite that, in truth, it about a mile away from the flat they share, which is situated in the Notting Hill area.

The entire plot for Sliding Doors (1998) revolves around the idea that missing the train could have changed character Helen Quilley’s whole life. The interior of Fulham Broadway Underground Station was used in filming this Comedy/Drama, as well as Waterloo Station, including shots of the Waterloo and City line with its blue train.


Image: Sliding Doors (1998)


Underground stations seem to suit MI6, which has a base in Vauxhall Cross Tube Station in Die Another Day (2002). This station does not exist and the interior shot is a set which in reality serves as a security booth close to Westminster Bridge. Meanwhile, Skyfall (2012) does use real underground stations extensively. The exteriors of Temple Station and Embankment Station were filmed, but the inside shots belong to a disused section of Charing Cross. Another obsolete section of the railway, which are the vaults beneath Waterloo Station, stand in for the interior of Smithfield Car Park.

Actors playing James Bond have been filmed in various locations around London, even as far back as the 1967 version of Casino Royale, which includes shots of Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, as well as the façade of 10 Downing Street, home to the Prime Minister.

These places also appear in other films, so stay tuned for Film Location: London (Part 2 – The London Landmarks).



Image: Skyfall (2012)