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Jane Soans, Camden's film officer talks locations!

Sherlock
Filming Sherlock

Jane Soans works with Film Fixer who manage film access to a huge variety of set locations in Camden. Every year they oversee about 1200 films shot on location. She has a keen local knowledge of everything visually striking in the borough and is a passionate advocate for the borough's comprehensive location portfolio. We caught up with her at the film office to find out her top Camden locations...

  1. Camden has been a rich back drop to many films, can you name a few?

There are so many, Camden has had a bit part in a lot and a starring role in many, here’s a little list off the top of my head:

Charlie Chaplin with Robert Downie Junior, directed by Richard Attenborough

Breaking and Entering with Jude Law directed by Anthony Mingella

Blow up was shot in Hampstead

Night at the Museum 3 was shot in Great Russell Street and inside the British Museum

Brideshead Revisited (the version with Ben Wishaw) was shot in Great James Street

Paddington was shot in Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill

Truly Madly Deeply features Lauderdale House and Waterlow Park

Richard lll with Ian McKellan was shot in Senate House

Withnail & I features Kentish Town

Paddington-Snow-Scene
Paddington, Snow scene in Chalcot Crescent, Primrose Hill.


2. Why Camden? What is it about this Borough that makes it iconic on screen?

Camden's position in London gives location managers a unique historical image of the city. It is surrounded by Georgian, Victorian and later residential streets, for example Bedford and Russell Squares and Lincoln's Inn Fields. Despite Gower Street running down the east side, Bedford Square is one of the most perfectly maintained Georgian Squares in London. And more generally, Camden's garden squares provide tranquility combined in many cases with original planting patterns - ideal period settings.

To the north of the borough, Hampstead has retained much of its village atmosphere with alleys and steps and really ancient pubs, cheek by jowl with late 20th and early 21st century residential developments.

In the 1960s and 70s, Camden's innovative architectural department sponsored, designed and built public housing that is totally unique. For example Alexandra & Ainsworth Estate, the Brunswick Centre, the Whittington Estate, Branch Hill, I could go on!

And on top of all those 'period' buildings, Camden is constantly changing with major industrial developments around major London terminus stations.You have this ever changing landscape that provides unique locations for film makers.

3. We're looking at the last 50 years and also the future 50, what films are coming to the cinema soon that have been shot in Camden?

We’ve had some good shoots in the last few months, here are my highlights:

Suffragette with Carey Mulligan

Spectre, the new James Bond film.

Mr Holmes, about a retired Sherlock Holmes and starring Ian McKellan.

The Lady in the Van, Alan Bennett's account of Miss Sheppard moving her van onto his drive for a couple of weeks that turned into 15 years. Stars Maggie Smith and James Corden.

Patient Zero, a pandemic thriller shot in an old sorting house in Holborn.

Lady-in-the-Van
The Lady in the Van, filming in Camden Town

4. Finally, what is your favourite Camden location and why?

So many to choose from! My favourites would be The 1920s Conway Hall; Great James Street; Bedford Square and Senate House. I also think the Brunswick Centre is amazing and so futuristic looking. One more? Bloomsbury Square combined with the west entrance to Victoria House has featured in several films I worked on.

Bedford-Row-7
Bedford Row.

If you love Camden's film history, make sure to visit one of our film screening's at The Hospital Club and take a guided walk through famous locations with the Camden Tour Guides. #Camden50