Alternate Versions of London in Film and TV

A little while ago, I posted about my favourite novels featuring alternative versions of London (other than mine). I promised a follow-up post on alternative film and TV versions of London.

It’s a slightly shorter list, I’m afraid. I’m more a reader more than a filmgoer. So I’ll start with films and TV shows that are books too.

Harry Potter was obviously on my list of novels although the films are just as famous. I love the fact that the real Kings Cross station now features a platform 9 and 3/4. Neverwhere was originally a TV minseries, and Johnathan Strange and Mr Norrell was adapted into one. The film version of Children of Men, unlike the novel, is set in a crumbling and dangerous London. The movie version of V for Vendetta was quite different to the graphic novel, much to Alan Moore‘s consternation.

28 Days Later showcases an eerily deserted London and a new twist on the zombie theme. Another famous London zombie movie – Shaun of the Dead – is set in my old neighbourhood, and from the moment I saw the posters on the Underground, I knew I’d love it.

Reign of Fire is an odd one, with dragons found hibernating beneath London which soon destroy civilization as we know it, in spite of a species flaw that seems rather convenient for the protagonists.

Films I have not seen include Franklyn (set in London and Meanwhile City), The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz  (billed as an avant-garde comedy about the Apocalypse, which makes me desperate to see it), and of course the classic It Happened Here, set in Nazi-occupied London. I have also always intended to watch the classic British sci-fi Quatermass films and TV serials, but have yet to get around to it.

Finally, I have to mention Doctor Who. Considering the Doctor has all of time and space to choose from, he seems to find himself in present-day London an awful lot. And I love him for it.

Once again, what have I missed?

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1 Response to Alternate Versions of London in Film and TV

  1. Elsie L says:

    Great list! I never really noticed the “fantasy” version of London until I live here. Same as Toronto when film/TV try to alternate Toronto as Chicago and NYC etc.

    Bridget Jones Diary I & II – I love how she walks through Westminster Bridge and lands on Piccadilly Circus on the other side of the bridge, she must be on some magic bridge there!! She technically lives above The Globe in Borough Market, the last scene where she runs out of her flat in tiny pants, as she turns the corner, it became Cornhill/London Stock Exchange in BANK! Also when Darcy landed in suppoedly “JFK” airport in NYC, to the disappointment it’s really Stansted Airport in Essex.

    Sherlock – BBC TV series, in Season 3 Episode 3 – a scene was obviously shot in the City of London, it’s of an exterior modern office building on Ropemaker, then as Sherlock and Watson went inside, it was the interior of my office St Botolph Building with the really cool elevators but then as they went up the building, it was some other building!

    Other London films: Notting Hill, Happy-Go-Lucky, Bend it like Beckham (well it’s in Hounslow really), An Education, Blow Up, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy… that’s all I can think of now.

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