They would say that if The Knowledge wasn’t taking over your life, you weren’t doing it right. The problem, once qualified, is that it doesn’t leave you.
Soon after receiving my Green Badge, I watched one of my favourite London films, Brannigan, starring John Wayne as a Chicago detective. It is as if Visit London had commissioned Paul Greengrass to direct a travel documentary aimed at American tourists.
Fast-paced it has The Duke pursuing villains around London with each shot featuring a tourist destination and his ability to cross the capital at speed is impressive.
One minute he’s in Battersea’s Prince of Wales Drive (my first question on The Knowledge), then next Buckingham Palace appears behind his shoulder as he tears around London. Within minutes he is driving his 1973 Ford Capri over an opening Tower Bridge in pursuit of justice.
Watching dramas at home I’m still forever trying to spot the location, no matter how tight the shot.
I’ve spotted Bridget Jones’ flat above the Globe pub on Bedale Street, just around the corner from Borough Market. Another market easily identified was Leadenhall Market in one of the Harry Potter sequels.
You can tell when a film is getting tedious when instead of listening to the dialogue I try to locate the exact street. Having worked in Clerkenwell my concentration was focused in and around the diamond district in The Hatton Garden Job, by my reckoning the ‘job’ was on the corner of Greville Street and Hatton Garden.
Years earlier a group of us rode our motorcycles to Pride and Clarke in Stockwell Road, London’s biggest motorcycle dealer known as ‘Snide and Shark’. Our long trek was partly due to its appearance in Blow-Up with David Hemmings driving a Rolls Royce past the blood-red building, but more I suspect his co-star – Veruschka a 6’4″ model. Then decades later I spotted the shop now painted white when on The Knowledge.
In Killing Eve I identified the Barbican Estate, but couldn’t place the ‘nearby’ churchyard, not surprising it was St. George in the East in Shadwell.
But the one that has evaded me is 221b Baker Street in the latest BBC adaption of Sherlock Holmes. The famous sleuth’s flat is above Speedy’s Sandwich Bar and isn’t to be found in Baker Street. Sadly I had to resort to the world wide web to find it’s just around the corner in Euston Road.