On Monday I posted a film review on Last Night In Soho which I watched when it came out on Friday. Having been busy on Saturday I had mused over the possibility of creating a special themed tour much as I do for several other famous shows such as Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, James Bond and various Cult TV and Romcom films.
With the film only being out for 2 days, there wasn’t much information on the locations used and many of the famous websites had both missing and incorrect facts or were just blandly stating “London” which of course is a huge help in a city of 607 square miles / 1569 square kms.
As it happened I knew almost every single location from having walked by them countless times and one or two others which I may never have been but could take a good guess where they were due tot he building types, street furniture and the positioning of the tall BT Tower that can be seen in some key locations.
The only spot that had me scratching my head a little was the 1960’s club Rialto where Jack takes Sandy for an audition as only seeing it once and its at night in the film with all the music and exciting car scenes it wasn’t easy to find.
I narrowed it down to two or three streets and went round on Google Streetview and I was convinced I had found the right spot but it didn’t look right. I found out after doing some digging that the building in question has been undergoing complete refurbishment with only the shell of an exterior remaining the same. So the filmmakers took advantage of this by making a set and so a fake doorway and entrance to a club that doesn’t exist.
I knew my hunch was right and across the road was a clothes shop that the character Ellie is shopping inside when she sees the same ‘fake’ doorway almost 60 years later.
So I decided to make a new walking tour as in many ways the film locations made for a perfect walk, presuming I could find the other two I hadn’t been to before. As all my tours are in the day time, I couldn’t very well go round and take photos at night as that would be a little disingenuous and besides some of the atmospheric alleys used in the film at night are atmospheric for a reason!
On Sunday morning I awoke to a torrential downpour and stormy weather and I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to go off taking photos and planning the route. For some reason most horror films seem to take place in the rain when it isn’t actually dark and I know in Last Night In Soho, they would use a hose to wet the roads and pavements to make the neon lights reflect as well as to make things a little more gritty.
So I started at the southern end of the locations, just beneath Soho and what a a wonderful happenstance occurred. Below you can see the moment Ellie steps back in time to the 1960’s.
So I went to the very spot and instead of James Bond being advertised, there was Last Night In Soho. With that, I immediately knew I was going to have a successful day.
From there I made my way around the famous Carnaby Street and Piccadilly to find Cafe De Paris which I myself remember attending a rather wild birthday party at some years ago.
From there I went to some quieter areas around Soho including finding that missing ‘fake’ entrance and the place where the leading actress stayed right in the middle of Soho for three weeks to immerse herself in the area.
Onwards I went to the pub that plays a very prominent part in the film where not only Ellie works but where she repeatedly comes into contact with an older man who clearly knows his way around the seedy parts of town and has likely done so since the 60’s.
Then up through Soho Square which is full of influential media organisations and the offices for possibly the most famous 60’s star both then and now and this area too was featured heavily in the film before reaching the famous Oxford Street which really marks the northern limit of Soho.
From there it was up into Fitzrovia, a neighbourhood which is very central but with a totally different and somewhat calmer feeling and very happily, without looking at any maps all morning I found myself in the key street where Ellie ends up living with Mrs. Collins, her house being on the right.
The prominent tower which looms overhead is the BT tower which in the 1960’s was the new Post Office Tower with its famous revolving restaurant. The ’empty’ sections towards the top of the tower once housed microwave communication dishes until they were superseded by satellites and the internet.
From there it was a few streets further north where we get to the student accommodation block in the film where Ellie struggles with her suitcase and is housed up with those dreadful students that make her life so hellish that she feels she has to move away.
I wouldn’t dream of taking anyone inside but there are scenes set in the street outside and then 2 or 3 minutes away when she is running away in terror.
Of course the tour visits many other places from the movie as well as many famous sights in Soho with their often interesting histories. If you’re interested one day then do check out my Last Night In Soho Movie Tour. It will soon be available on Trip Advisor, Viator, Get Your Guide and many other prominent tour sites.
I totally love creating new tours from sometimes crazy and always niche ideas and then seeing them go live and soon having bookings come in and turning it into what is for me, actually work but in a way I can share my love and passion with others who feel similarly.
It’s clear no-one else could do this or know all of the locations off the top of their head and its a reminder that during these 21 months thus far that the government has left me Excluded as it so hates creative types, that when it comes down to it history, culture, films, music, pubs, clubs and tourism are what make London special. Last Night In Soho captures all of this, the good ways and the bad and in my own little way, I am part of what make Soho and London special too.