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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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A history of Harrow on the Big Screen

It’s always strange to see sights that are typically so every-day in stories that are anything but – yet this has happened repeatedly for Harrow, with various locales across the borough having been chosen at various points for use in film and TV. 

With this in mind, this week let’s look at some of the other locations across Harrow that have doubled as film sets – however big or small they might be. As it turns out, there are a number of spots across the borough that have caught the eye of filmmakers. You can follow the links in the article to trailers of some of the films or shows mentioned, and in some cases the actual scenes which featured a Harrow locale themselves.

Unsurprisingly, Harrow’s world-renown school tops the list of local sites to have made it to the screen – with the school itself having featured in a Sky 1 documentary only last year. Equally famous though was the school’s role in the Harry Potter films – notably in the first, where Hermione managed to levitate a feather in the Fourth Form Room of Harrow Old Schools, which doubled as Professor Flitwick’s class. More recently, the school was used as an interior for Trinity College in the award-winning Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything.

Theory also found use for the local area outside the school though – namely in Pinner, where the St. John the Baptist Church, and its outside garden, was used. Pinner has likewise been used in a number of other productions too – like My Hero or more famously The Inbetweeners (which also used Ruislip High School), or, even earlier, for the show that encapsulated countless childhoods, Chucklevision.

The Harrow area has featured elsewhere, however – and in some cases, at rather usual places. Take, for example, Northwick Park hospital, used by much of the borough, which was apparently quite a popular spot for filming in the 1970s – where it featured as a set for an episode of the popular TV comedy Fawlty Towers, as well as for a death scene in the 1976 version of the horror classic The Omen.

Grim’s Dyke, meanwhile – whose history we explored many weeks back now – has also been a popular set for the Victorian locale that it offers, particularly in the 1960s, where it was used for the likes of The Avengers TV series, and significantly in the Doctor Who episode ‘The Evil of the Daleks,’ which had initially intended to be the Daleks final appearance on the show.

Elsewhere, the Harrow Arts Centre was used for the 2007 film St Trinians, while the Civic Centre Library has been used as a set for the recent TV comedy Cuckoo. Harrow-on-the-Hill station has also apparently been the set for a number of adverts – namely by Pimms and Morrison’s, the latter of which featured cricketer Freddie Flintoff.

Harrow, then, has an extensive history with the screen – and these are undoubtedly only a few of the locales that have managed to reach it.

Indeed, even the likes of Vaughan Road in central Harrow, which is otherwise mundane for those that walk it often, was used for the opening shot of Sir John Betjeman’s BBC TV film about Metro-land in the 1980s (which we looked at last week).

It’d be worth keeping an eye out for Harrow’s cameo in these films, and indeed others too – because, as Samuel L. Jackson’s and Ryan Reynold’s recent excursion to Harrow shows, it doesn’t seem like it’ll be any time soon that the Harrow area isn’t chosen as a location for the screen.

Do you know of local places that have been used in film or TV? Let us known in the comments below!


Written by Harry Turner.

Image Credit: Pinterest.com