11 January 2022 667 Views

London Has Played Host to Some of the Best Movies for the Silver Screen

by James Murphy

Christmas is always a great time for people to spend time with their loved ones and with 2022 now upon us and Christmas having recently finished, let’s celebrate some of the best and most loved films that have ever been set in London and were released prior to the Christmas Holidays. 

Love Actually

Love Actually recounts several different interlinked stories that all revolve around the spirit of Christmas and love.

It stars big-name actors such as Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson and Emma Thompson and is set across various parts of London including Heathrow Airport, Oxford Street, and  Notting Hill.

Though a number of scenes were filmed in a studio, the majority of the movie was actually shot on location throughout London. The real 10 Downing Street wasn’t used as all the internal scenes were filmed at Shepperton Studios, but many other landmarks like Trafalgar Square and Somerset House had key roles to play in the film’s production. 

One of the key scenes for the silver screen for this film is located in Canary Wharf where Jamie (Colin Firth) is having to do a last-minute dash around the city for his Christmas shopping while also trying to learn Portuguese. 

Mary Poppins Returns

In the original Disney classic, Julie Andrews stars as the magical nanny Mary Poppins who flies into the Banks’ household to take care of Jane and Michael. They are visited by all sorts of imaginative characters, including a dancing penguin and a bumbling man with a cane.

The sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, features Emily Blunt in the title role as the fabulous flying nanny. While the original film was filmed at Disney’s Burbank Studio in California, this sequel actually has some scenes shot on location in London.

External shots around London were filmed in 2017 with some bike riding captured outside Buckingham Palace. External shots of Michael’s bank were from the real Bank of England which is located on Threadneedle Street, Central London. In the streets near this landmark, they were transformed back to the era of the 1930s for filming as well. 

The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppet Christmas Carol was shot on location in London, England at Shepperton Studios where many classic British movies were filmed. It follows the classic Dickens’ tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, using characters made famous by The Muppets. 

Whilst this story is not true to the original book – notably with Tiny Tim’s storyline being rewritten for both dramatic and comedic effect – it offers a fantastic festive experience to the whole family.

The film is set at Christmas and during the rest of the story, we see Scrooge visiting scenes from his past, present and future. He is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past (voiced by Jessica Fox), Christmas Present (voiced by Jerry Nelson) and Christmas Yet to Come (Robert Tygner is the puppeteer and Don Austen is the in-suit perfomer).

It’s a beautiful thing when you can take an ordinary-looking cityscape and make it extraordinary. This is exactly what directors did with their film in order for us viewers, who are more accustomed to futuristic landscapes on screen. 

We see London as one vast street scene complete with short buildings which become prevalent during crane shots at certain points throughout the musical sequence entitled “It Feels Like Christmas.”

Final Words
London has played host to some of the best films of all time and it’s a great filming location that enables filmmakers to film key scenes at any point throughout the year whether that be Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter. 

The Christmas holidays might have finished but that doesn’t mean to say you still can’t enjoy watching any of these films throughout the year at any time!  Pick up some popcorn, sit back, relax and enjoy some of the greatest films that had their initial release date just prior to the Christmas holidays. 



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