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Locations, Locations, Locations - News

What's your favourite film? It's one of the classic icebreakers to find out about someone you've just met. And as opening gambits go, it's a good one. Are they thrill seekers who enjoy action movies? Do they love to laugh along with a classic comedy? Or are they an old romantic who melts at the sight of a rom-com? Their taste in celluloid can tell you a lot.

The enduring appeal of a film – or classic TV series – is easy to understand. They can transport us to another time, place or dimension all from the comfort of the sofa. With a bag of popcorn, we're able to become someone else for an hour or two.

It's no surprise that some buffs take that a step further, with legions of superfans scouring the planet to get that little bit closer to their favourite stars and storylines. Whether that's to New York to see the Ghostbusters' headquarters, Skiathos to dance in the steps of Mamma Mia!, or to recreate James Bond's iconic scene on the Skyfall Road in Glencoe, there's no shortage of options both near and far.

Of course, finding any film or TV location is now only a few clicks away. Superfans on countless forums seek out locations around the world, and there are websites dedicated solely to the pursuit.

Sometimes it's very obvious where the locations are. Few would fail to spot Buckingham Palace in The Queen, Times Square in Taxi Driver or Rodeo Drive in Pretty Woman.

But what if you're looking for something a little more specific or obscure? Lee Farrow from Suffolk spends much of his spare time researching locations for two of the shows he holds particularly dear: the BBC's Detectorists starring Mackenzie Crook, and Lovejoy which made Ian McShane a household name in the 1990s.

"I'm lucky to live close to many of the filming locations," Lee told us. "Lots of the filming was done on location around Suffolk and Essex, and much of it is instantly recognisable to me."

But for Lee, it's about finding some of the more obscure locations that may have a central role in the storyline. "The obvious High Street buildings are easy to spot if you have a rough idea of the area they film in, but often you'll see the interior or outdoor scenes where there aren't any clues at all. That's where a bit of gut instinct comes into play," he said.

"I start by looking at Google Maps to track down any landmarks that might appear in the back of shots," Lee told us. "I have examples of where I've found an indoor location and the only clue has been a window. These are particularly tricky, as they can be almost anywhere in the UK, within reason."

"Local knowledge can really help; the Detectorists crew filmed a lot around Framlingham, Suffolk, but also in the surrounding towns and villages."

"A lot of programmes will film multiple scenes fairly close by, so when you find one it can be quite easy to find the others. But there are some curveballs that often require quite a bit of legwork. For example, when I've been researching Lovejoy, you'll find several scenes in Long Melford, Suffolk, then they'll cut back to a street 55 miles away in Norwich."

"So, what looks local on the TV can be very spread out – and that adds to the challenge and the sense of satisfaction."

But finding the locations can be one thing, getting to them can be quite another. Lee reckons it's a good idea to take some screenshots on your phone to compare with the real-life locations and says it's vital to get permission if you're trying to get on someone's land.

Of course, all of this requires a lot of research and it can take hours – or even days – to find the most elusive locations. And if it's all on private land, it might not be possible at all.

Which is why we're able to take the legwork out of finding some of the locations in some of the UK's biggest and most fondly remembered shows. These include...

  • Harry Potter Tour, which takes in London locations used as the backdrop for The Leaky Cauldron, Gringotts Bank and 12 Grimmauld Place and Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross Station.
  • James Bond Tour, which visits locations in the Capital from films including The World Is Not Enough, Spectre, No Time To Die and Goldeneye – as well as the real MI6 building in Vauxhall.
  • Game of Thrones Tour, which depending on the tour package you select, will head North or South from Belfast. Locations include Winterfell, King Robb's Camp and Storm's End, as well as Giant's Causeway and Carrick-A-Rede rope bridge.
  • Peaky Blinders Tour includes sites located in Liverpool including the Shelby's Birmingham homes from series 1-3, and the home of Field Marshall Russell which the protagonists targeted with a letter bomb.
  • Gavin and Stacey Tour covers Barry Island to see Gwen and Stacey's home, where Nessa works as a mime article and Nessa, Dave and baby Neil's caravan.
  • Only Fools and Horses Tour takes in famous 'Hooky Street' locations around Bristol including Nelson Mandela House, The Nags Head pub, Boycie's car showroom and the exact spot where the hilarious Batman and Robin mugging scene took place.
  • Derry Girls Tour will take you and a group of up to five around in a private taxi for a tour around some filming locations in Belfast used in Lisa McGee's hilarious Channel 4 sitcom set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

You can find these and many more TV and film tour packages over on our relaunched Road Tours Experiences page today on the TrackDays website, available to book through our open Gift Vouchers.

Locations, Locations, Locations
03 July 2023

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