ELL goes to Hollywood: a guide to film and TV locations in the boroughs

From All of Us Strangers to James Bond, The Eastlondonlines boroughs are a treasure trove of blockbuster locations. Rosie Harris-Davison, Louisa Riley and Jordana Seal take you on a tour

From left: the Top Boy cafe; the scene of Bond’s car chase in Skyfall; Peep Show‘s apartment block. Pic: Louisa Riley

Rosie Harris-Davison, Louisa Riley, Jordana Seal

When you think of the glitz and glamour of blockbuster filmmaking, the Eastlondonlines boroughs certainly aren’t the first place that comes to mind. After all, there must be a limit on how many films you can set in pie and mash shops. However, from housing award-winning films to classic comedies, the ELL boroughs are actually closer to Hollywood than you think. 

Find out here which local spots are home to some of your favourite film and TV  programmes and use this guide to visit filming locations close to you.


Peep Show (C4, 2003):

One of Britain’s most iconic sitcoms was set in Croydon, with dysfunctional flatmates Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) moving to the heart of South London – the perfect area to learn how to navigate the awkward post-university era. The duo’s flat can be found in Zodiac Court or visit 263 High Street to immerse yourself in their daily antics. 

Co-writer Sam Bain told The Guardian that Croydon was chosen as it added to the feeling of missing out that Mark and Jez experience. As of 2023, apartments in the tower block sell for around £300,000; a small price to pay to join the El Dude Brothers!

Peep Show’s Apollo House (right) is actually named Zodiac Court (left). Pic: Louisa Riley

The Da Vinci Code (Ron Howard, 2006):

Nothing screams mystery like the Louvre Museum and the cryptic streets of Paris. The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks, begins with a murder but leads to the discovery of a secret society and a religious conspiracy that could ruin the foundations of Christianity itself. The film opens with Robert Langdon’s (Hanks) lecture on symbols, a subtle introduction to the structure of the mystery; you can visit the hall yourself at Fairfield’s Concert Hall in Croydon.  

The venue has since been used for many other purposes, such as professional wrestling and a mass Covid-19 vaccination centre.

The interior of Fairfield Halls was used for The Da Vinci Code (right) and Made in Dagenham. Pic: Louisa Riley

Made in Dagenham (Nigel Cole, 2010):

Set in the late Sixties, Made in Dagenham follows Rita O’Grady and her campaign for equal pay and respect for women working at the Ford factory. Fairfield Halls and St George’s Walk were used as the backdrop for several strike scenes, empowering generations of women on and off screens. 

The Dark Knight Rises (Christopher Nolan, 2012):

While you may be thinking that the gloomy streets of the fictional Gotham City share similarities with Croydon, only one building from the borough is featured in the film. The former BT Offices in Delta Point were transformed into Gotham General Hospital for Christian Bale’s take on Batman

The building has since been redeveloped into over 400 one- and two-bed apartments, the perfect homes for superfans of Nolan’s trilogy.

Jason Bourne (Paul Greengrass, 2016):

In this Hollywood production, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is an ex CIA agent who, luckily for audiences, finds himself back in the action battling a terror network in the series fifth installment. For one of Bourne’s signature fight scenes, the old Art College Building on College Green doubled as a Berlin Warehouse. 

Filming of the scene took a crew of over 200 and lasted 10 days, with a base being established in the nearby Toys R Us car park.

All of Us Strangers (Andrew Haigh, 2023):

Part of this film on relationships and memory shows Adam (Andrew Scott) revisiting his childhood home in Croydon. Many locals can recognise public areas such as Sanderstead recreation Ground, Sanderstead Station, and the Whitgift Centre. Most notably, Adam’s home can be found on 151 Purley Downs Road CR2 0RN.

This home is the actual childhood home of Andrew Haigh, the film’s writer-director, as the character of Adam was based on him.


Babylon (Franco Rosso, 1980):

Although a modern audience may think of Damien Chazelle’s 2022 epic when they hear Babylon, a film of the same name was set and shot in Lewisham in the 80’s. The cult film follows Blue (Brinsley Forde) and covers important issues such as racial hate and police brutality. Many Lewisham locations can be seen, including New Cross Road, Deptford High Street.

The end credits of the film thank “all the people of Lewisham” for making the film possible, so it truly is a love letter to the borough.

Bridget Jones’ Diary (Sharon Maguire, 2001):

Beloved British classic Bridget Jones’ Diary was mostly filmed in West and Central London, with Bridget’s humble apartment actually being way out of most Londoners’ price range. Although, superfans may remember that in the infamous scene where Bridget (Renee Zellweger) slides down a pole onto a live TV camera below, giving an unflattering view of her bottom, she’s actually reporting from Lewisham Fire Station, which can be found at 249-259 Lewisham High Street.

Zellweger was actually held up by wires during the scene, and it’s her backside seen in the close up, though a stunt double was used for wide shots.

Bridget Jones’ Diary (right) was filmed inside of Lewisham Fire Station (left). Pic: Louisa Riley

Skyfall (Sam Mendes, 2012):

The James Bond films conjure an image of luxury, of casinos and expensive suits and shaken-not-stirred martinis. So, it’s rather surprising then that a key car chase in 2012’s Skyfall takes place in New Cross

Bond (Daniel Craig) and M (Dame Judi Dench) drive from Deptford, down Lewisham Way before coming onto New Cross Road. Popular boozer The New Cross Inn and the now-closed nightclub Venue can be seen in the background.

An Aston Martin DB5 was used for the scenes, the same model featured in 1964’s Goldfinger, which was what originally tipped off local residents to the filming.

New Cross Road (left) and the clip from Skyfall (right). Pic: Louisa Riley

Dark Shadows (Tim Burton, 2012):

Tim Burton’s vampire flick Dark Shadows may be set in the US state of Maine, but was partially filmed in Lewisham. Scenes set at Windcliff Sanitarium were actually filmed at a golf course in Beckenham Place Park, Beckenham Hill Road. Maggie (Bella Heathcote) can be seen escaping from the asylum at the beginning of the film.

Bohemian Rhapsody (Bryan Singer, 2018):

Four-time Oscar winning Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody surprisingly filmed many scenes in South-East London. The exterior of the home Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) grew up in is in fact 52 Malyons Road in Ladywell. However, the interior of the home was recreated on a soundstage.

While in the borough, the production team donated to For Jimmy, a charity set up in remembrance of Lewisham schoolboy Jimmy Mizen who was murdered in an unprovoked attack in 2008.


The Elephant Man (David Lynch, 1980):

The Elephant Man tells the story of John Merrick, who is a severely deformed man living in late 19th century England. The 1980 film, which was nominated for eight Oscars, was filmed across several locations in London. 

Among such locations was the Eastern Hospital in Lower Clapton (now the Homerton Hospital), which acted as the London Hospital in Whitechapel, where John Merrick stayed. 

James Bond: Die Another Day (Lee Tamahori, 2002):

The 20th film in the James Bond series, sees Bond (Pierce Brosnan) captured in North Korea, travelling to Cuba, and uncovering a scheme concocted by a British millionaire. In Cuba, Bond enters a Cigar Factory, which is closer to home than you think. The interior of the factory was filmed in Simpson House on Stoke Newington Road, a clothing factory built in 1929. 

In fact, Brosnan’s Bond never actually sets foot in Cuba; the other scenes are filmed in Cadiz, Spain.

Top Boy (Ronan Bennett, 2011):

Top Boy is set on a fictitious council estate in Hackney, but the series is filmed across the borough, including locations such as Haggerston, London Fields, and Dalston. Some recurring spots can be located. The main market where the gang deal drugs is filmed in Ridley Road Market in Dalston, while the iconic Number One Cafe is real and functioning in London Fields. 

The three brothers, Jamie, Stefan, and Aaron, also have a bench, a symbolic mark of their relationship, which can be found in the Old English Garden at Victoria Park. This bench is also where the show’s creator Ronan Bennett goes to remember his wife Georgina, who died in 2014, as they sat there the day she gave birth to their second child.

The Number One Cafe (left) shown in Top Boy (right). Pic: Louisa Riley

Captain America: The First Avenger (Joe Johnston, 2011):

While the Marvel franchise has become an international sensation, back in 2011 Captain America: The First Avenger was just the fifth movie to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For this film, two scenes were shot at The Hackney Empire. The first involved Steve Rogers, who would eventually become Captain America (Chris Evans) watching a newsreel, and the second showed him as Captain America posing on stage with the famous Rockettes.

Killing Eve (Phoebe Waller-Bridge, 2018):

The dark comedy takes place across Europe, but much of the programme is set in London, where Eve attempts to piece together the location and identity of Villanelle, a trained assassin. Hackney was one of the many locations featured in the series, and viewers may have spotted scenes taking place at The Clapton Hart in Hackney Downs

Bridgerton (Chris Van Dusen, 2020):

This hit Netflix series is all about classy ladies and secret scandals set in Regency era England. Much of the series was filmed in Bath, but the show also used the interior of The Hackney Empire to act as a Regency era opera house. 

In the show’s first series, oldest Bridgerton sibling Anthony has a secret relationship with opera performer Sienna Rosso, who can be seen performing in the Empire.

The Hackney Empire (left) was used for both Bridgerton (right) and Captain America. Pic: Louisa Riley

Tower Hamlets

Shiner  (John Irvin, 2000):

Shiner, an Action Thriller Crime film centres on Billy “Shiner” Simpson (Michael Caine) as a shady boxing promoter with big ideas, banned from legitimate fights in South London. 

The Bethnal Green based York Hall Sports Centre’s sweaty authenticity was perfect for the production’s fight scenes, having been home to many boxing matches for decades. Producer Jim Reeve also recruited local faces such as former East End Boxer Charlie Magri to give an authentic feel.

Luther (Jamie Payne, 2010):

Idris Elba stars as troubled detective DCI John Luther in this iconic BBC series. The gritty crime drama was set and filmed in London across various locations, many in Tower Hamlets. 

The fourth season saw a firearms shootout between Luther and his enemies in the LEB building on Birkbeck Street in Bethnal Green, as well as this spot being the series’ police office HQ. Corbridge Crescent, St Leonard’s Church on Shoreditch High Street and Shipton Street were all used for various comings and goings of main characters, along with the main killer’s house and backdrops for key character dialogue scenes. 

Corbridge Crescent (left) and it’s corresponding scene in Luther (right). Pic: Louisa Riley

This is Going to Hurt  (Lucy Forbes, 2022):

The darkly humorous BBC adaptation of Adam Kay’s autobiographical book is set in London during 2006, focusing on a junior doctor working on a chaotically busy obstetrics and gynaecology ward in an NHS hospital. 

Many viewers praised the show for its realism, questioning whether it was filmed in a real hospital. As it was filmed in the pandemic amidst restrictions, it was actually a specially created set built in an unused university building in Mile End. The Working Mens Club in Bethnal Green and Henriques Street both also become hot spots for scenes in the series. 

Bodies  (Marco Kreuzpaintner, 2023):

Based on Si Spencer’s mind-bending graphic novel, this fantasy thriller Netflix series follows four detectives attempting to solve the same murder across different time periods in London. The production filmed across various locations in Tower Hamlets including Wapping High Street, Brady Street and Bigland Street. A tense scene with a police surveillance van tracking the murder suspect was filmed at Watney Street in the West of the borough.  

The Kitchen (Daniel Kaluuya, 2024): 

Set in a futuristic version of London, dystopian thriller The Kitchen follows the city’s last remaining housing estate residents as they fight to protect themselves and their homes against eviction.The Old Electricity Board Building on Cambridge Heath Road in Bethnal Green becomes The Kitchen Market, and Poplar’s Robin Hood Gardens estate, a neglected neighbourhood where Benji (Jedaihah Bannerman) lives. 

Despite following a London-centric narrative, the Netflix film is shot between the UK Capital and Paris, with the exterior scenes of the Kitchen estate filmed at the Damiers de Dauphiné apartment complex in Paris. 

The Old Electricity Board Building (left) used in The Kitchen (right). Pic: Louisa Riley

Read the rest of our series, Lights, Camera, Action! here

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