Posted In Video Production
Silver Screen Stations
The London Underground is one of the most iconic elements of the capital, but did you know that it isn’t just commuters and tourists who make use of the stations? Tube stations are one of the most popular filming locations for blockbusters.
When it comes to video production in London, location is one of the most important elements. It sets the backdrop for the story and creates the world for characters. Audiences can easily spot studios or non-authentic locations on their screens. That’s why, if your film features London, making use of the Underground is one of the best ways to set the scene.
We’ve dug out the most popular stations used for the silver screen and the much-loved movies that featured them. We have even included the exact moment they are featured so you can take a look yourself.
One of the most famous stations featured in a film about the world’s most-loved bear. Paddington Bear was named after the station he was found at by the Brown family after moving from Peru.
The platforms of Paddington station are certainly iconic, it was only natural for Paddington to film on location.
Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
The first movie in the Harry Potter franchise is a favourite among many. Not only does it introduce the audience to the compelling characters, incredible school and the mind-blowing world of magic, but also the connection between the wizard and muggle world.
One of the most recognisable bridges between the two is platform 9 ¾ at Kings Cross station. Walking through the magical barrier allows young wizards to access the Hogwarts Express to school.
Such an iconic moment needed to be done properly and the real Kings Cross station was used to film this scene that sent Harry on his journey.
In fact, there is now a physical recreation of the magical barrier at the site where platform 9 ¾ would be within Kings Cross to cement the film’s legacy and inspire future generations of aspiring wizards and witches.
Fast and Furious 6 (2013)
Aldwych station hosted the cast and crew of the sixth instalment of Fast and Furious. This film moved from its classic USA location across the pond to London.
While the cars may not have made it into the Underground, many of the cast did. While exterior shots of other stations were used throughout the film, it was Aldwych station that was used for platform shots.
V for Vendetta (2005)
Natalie Portman fights to overthrow the tyranny of a dystopian Britain in this cult classic. As she jumps on an Underground train, explosives are detonated.
This led to Aldwych station being the ideal filming location. As it is no longer in use, it provides a certain derelict charm needed for the film, while being safe to set off explosives away from the public.
Love Actually (2003)
While filming took place across the UK and the world for Love Actually, it is still largely thought of as a ‘London film’.
Canary Wharf was used for a scene in which Colin Firth’s character, Jamie, is rushing around to finish Christmas shopping at the very last minute. While most tube stations are too busy to film movie scenes, Canary Wharf is typically quiet at the weekends due to the lack of commuters.
The scene was filmed with very little disruption or closures to the public.
Rogue One (2016)
A second film that used Canary Wharf, but the only one on the list that wasn't aiming for a tube station.
Towards the end of the saga, Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor and K-2SO run through futuristic platforms from hoards of Storm Troopers. While the real Canary Wharf is certainly not as cutting edge, clever set dressing and CGI gave the perfect setting.
Doctor Who (1986)
The Doctor Who franchise has featured in London numerous times and in 1986 The Trial of a Timelord featured a prominent storyline around Marble Arch and the collapse of the station along with many other elements of the capital.
While many of these shots were done in a studio, a few select scenes were actually filmed in the station itself.
Billy Elliot (2000)
Billy Elliot is mainly set in County Durham; however, when the ballet prodigy performs the famous Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, his father and brother travel to London to support him in his prima debut.
Both Billy’s father and brother are shown to feel discomfort in being in the capital, a far cry from their mining lives in the North East. What better way to reflect the two worlds colliding than representing the bustling world of the Underground in Westminster.
However, towards the end of the film, we discover that they both met their demise and never had the happily ever after Briony told, due to lies told in her childhood.
Keira Knightly’s character Cecilia is killed during an air raid, while hiding in Balham station.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
In this installment of the Thor movies, the title character visits London and uses the Underground numerous times. The most prominent of these scenes was shot in Charing Cross where he asks a passenger how to get to Greenwich.
However, if you are going to shoot a complex tube scene, make sure you get it right! Londoners have been outraged when the passenger responds that Greenwich is ‘three stops away’. Anyone with even a little knowledge of the Underground will know that it is much further, with at least one line change in between.
Nothing is more British than a James Bond film. Naturally, there had to be a scene in a tube at some point.
Daniel Craig battles the bad guys in a classic chase scene through the tunnels of Temple station, across the tracks and along the platforms.