Tuesday, 5 August 2008

On location

Exciting times for the less glamorous fringes of Nappy Valley. A letter popped through our door the other day informing us that some scenes for a new Channel 5 series of Minder were to be filmed just around the corner from our house this week. Apparently, it’s an updated version featuring Shane Richie as Arthur Daley’s nephew.

So I took a break from work and sneaked out earlier to have a look. I caught a glimpse of Shane - looking cheery, if a little rain-sodden, in a pinstripe suit - and had a chat to the location scout, who tells me that it’s all to do with the interior of one of the cottages in that street being 'perfect' for the series. (Apparently, people can hire out their houses to film units for £1500 a day - nice little earner, as Arthur Daley might have said.)

Actually, I never really watched the original Minder much but remember my mother being something of a fan. (I think maybe she fancied Dennis Waterman. Well it was the eighties). But I am aware that it was supposed to be set in ‘Sarf’ London.

It’s always fun to watch something filmed in a place you're familiar with – I particularly enjoyed the recent BBC series Mistresses, which was filmed in Bristol, a city I lived in for several years and love (quite apart from the fact that it starred one of my favourite actresses, Sarah Parish, and some seriously sexy blokes).

But sadly South London doesn’t feature in many glossy dramas – anything filmed here tends to focus on the grittier side of life. Aside from stuff about loveable con-men, like Minder or Only Fools and Horses (Peckham) all I can think of was an unpleasant, brutish Channel 4 drama last year called Clapham Junction, which featured gay men being beaten up or murdered on Clapham Common – a place where I take the Littleboys to play at least twice a week. At least one local mummy friend has confessed that it seriously put her going to the Common, despite the fact that, during the day, you could not find a safer and more child-friendly place.

Occasionally, EastEnders ventures ‘south of the river’ - and usually manages to make it look even more deadbeat and drab than Walford. But, aside from the forthcoming John O’Farrell adaptation mentioned in my previous post, there’s a serious dearth of shows that demonstrate the nicer parts of South London. In contrast, any ‘posh’ drama set in London usually takes place north of the river - in the Docklands, Notting Hill or Hampstead.

So come on TV drama commissioners, pull your fingers out. South London isn’t all cottaging on the Common and hoodies shooting each other up in McDonalds (well, OK, yes these things do happen, but not all the time….). We have lovely green parks, trendy cafes and some top-class restaurants, like Chez Bruce and Trinity. We have celebrity residents like Vivienne Westwood, Gordon Ramsay and, apparently, Mark Owen from Take That. We can do glamour.

So: I’d like a combination of This Life and Sex and the City please, ideally starring Sarah Parish and some seriously sexy blokes. In other words, something that’ll do for Clapham what Notting Hill did for house prices in W11.

17 comments:

Mud in the City said...

Fame and fortune! The closest I get is a local church featuring in 'The Omen'. Not so great for house prices it has to be said.

Although a friend's house in Wimbledon was featured in The Bill!

Frog in the Field said...

I was shocked the other night when I watched the first series of Bonekickers.
It started off in Bath with a character who has the same name as my sister in law who lives in Bath.
Then they all jumped in the Landrover and set off for Garway Church...10 minutes from here...spooky!!
I don't like the colour of the pram cover..can we have a pink one now please??

valley girl said...

No, Mud, I can see that the Omen would be no good for house prices.....

Hi Frog, that does indeed sound spooky. Agreed about the yellow buggy, it is rather nasty. I couldn't possibly have pink with two boys, but look, I have changed it to a blue Phil and Teds, complete with raincover - exactly the model the Littleboys are transported in.

Nota Bene said...

Oh yes, it's so exciting when you see your neighbourhood on the screen...we love Bridget Jones and Harry Potter because of the filming in Borough where we lived once upon a time...and Brighton Rock because I used to catch a number 6 bus from the station. Can we have your autograph?

GoneBackSouth said...

I remember the original with Dennis Waterman - haven't watched it since the 80's though!

Tara@From Dawn Till Rusk said...

We had the lovely David Tennant filming an episode of Doctor Who in Coventry recently.
And I can no longer think of Dennis Waterman and Minder without seeing the Little Britian sketch with David Walliams as diddy Dennis "write the theme tune, sing the theme tune"

valley girl said...

Nota Bene, you certainly can have my autograph, but Brighton Rock is way cooler than Minder...

Hi GBS, yes it is probably a show that does not date well (don't tell Shane Richie though).

Tara, now you are seriously lucky - I LOVE David Tennant (and definitely want to see him play Hamlet). And yes, I thought of Little Britain too - poor Dennis, can he ever live it down?

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Nunhead Mum of One said...

Excellent plan, it's about time Sarf London got in on the act! Hoorah!

valley girl said...

Thanks for visiting Charlie - will be in touch.

Hi Nunhead mum, yes I feel we South Londoners are definitely missing out. Let's start a campaign....

Frog in the Field said...

Appreciate the buggy change..much nicer, I'm so sensitive you know (grin)

The Dotterel said...

What's even more interesting is seeing how the place looks when it appears on screen. They used Stamford for the Pride and Prejudice film, and we saw the set and some of the filming, but the shots looked nothing like the one's we thought we'd seen.

valley girl said...

Frog, you are welcome to make design suggestions any time you like....

Hi Dottorel - that's the thing isn't it? you can never believe what you see on the screen any more than you believe what you read in the papers. Does does this mean I have to watch Minder now?

The Dotterel said...

Probably, yes - best of luck!

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Valley Girl - be careful what you wish for. That blue door from Notting Hill became a tourist attraction and apparently really pissed the real owners off...
Also, you live in an area where loads of famous people live (Jack Dee, Gordon Ramsey, Ian Hislop, Jane Moore, Judith Chalmers son Mark Durden Smith and his cute twins)...who could wish for anything more?! Hee hee

valley girl said...

CTTF, I do see that could be a problem - although I don't see tourists flocking to Clapham just yet. And thanks for telling me about more of my famous neighbours - of that list, I only knew about Gordon (although I think Ian Hislop no longer lives there). Another one I recently heard about is Rupert Penry Jones - hoping I bump into him in the playground!

Loopyloobyloo said...

I met some of the film crew after they were packing up their van for the day between Tate Modern and Southwark tube on Sunday - after laughing at me and my friend one of them got some cold water in a bottle to try to ease the pain of my sprained ankle. It's my nearest "claim to fame".