For anyone fed up with prime-time TV timeslots filled with repeats or seeing the torrent of new programmes on subscription channels turning to a trickle, perhaps this latest Reel Life will perk you up a bit. It does contain a dinosaur after all.
In the first few weeks of March 2020, one or two TV productions emailed the film office to say they were postponing filming with us for a couple of weeks. Some more epidemiologically savvy ones predicted a month off, but none said they would be the three months (at least) that it took for them to return to location filming in London.
Here’s the pick of the productions that moulded their creative processes around the heavy detail of the new, lengthy but very necessary COVID-safe film industry guidelines, then rolled back into the streets of Ealing to film again.
Jurassic World: Dominion was right in the middle of location shooting in the UK in March 2020 when the first lockdown took hold. To get the dinosaur movie back on track, it was reported the production hired out an entire hotel to allow the cast and crew to quarantine before filming resumed in July.
Part of that resumption involved filming a mock-up news report outside a parade of shops near Northolt Village. Watch out for a tiny dinosaur in a cage if you get to see the film.
Motherland returned to Ealing to film its third series in late autumn last year. Setting up camp on Ealing Common as a base, they flitted to and fro across the borough from there.
Some of the Christmas special saw the main characters graffitiing a wall (not a real one) in Acton Park with heartfelt Christmas messages. Joanna Lumley even makes an appearance in one of the borough’s plush cafes.
The Fantastic Flitcrofts is a new feature film written by Simon Farnaby (Horrible Histories) and Scott Murray. Based on the true story of Maurice Flitcroft, the story focuses on his entry into the qualifying round of The Open golf tournament in 1976. Nothing wrong with that, you might assume, except that Maurice was a chain-smoking shipyard crane operator from Barrow-In-Furness whose only golfing experience was hacking round some playing fields near his house. Blagging his way in he scores a record worst round of 121, after which he is banned for life.
Spot the ever-popular northern street down south – Goodhall Street in NW10 – as one of the locations in this one.
During the second lockdown, filming on location was allowed to continue with a strong emphasis on those COVID safety guidelines. Apple TV’s Tailspin was based in Ealing Studios and kept things close to home by shooting for a few days around Acton and Ealing. Pitzhanger Manor doubled as a school for one scene.
Starring Uma Thurman, it’s a fast-paced thriller in which her son is kidnapped and the suspicion falls on four hotel guests… Cue intrigue, accusations and tense moments a-plenty.