Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Square Eyed London: Your Favourite TV Locations In Real Life

All of us, when watching TV, have a broadly similar reaction when we see somewhere we recognise. There's the first glance, where we say "that seems familiar". Then we look closer and realise that it looks familiar because we've been there. It could be an outside broadcast from our town or city centre or a drama set in a place we've been. Either way, it piques our interest.


On the other hand, there are places we go to because we've seen them on TV. Again, this can be for a number of different reasons. We may idly notice while watching a show about Vikings that, wouldn't you know it, fjords are beautiful. Or we may be such a fan of a show that we resolve to go and see where it was made - or what inspired it. The most obvious example is New York. Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, Taxi, take your pick. Most of us have watched at least one show set there.

Not all budgets stretch to a week in Brooklyn looking out for Dan and Jenny, or hoping to catch Carrie and Co drinking Cosmos in Manhattan. But if you're looking for a UK break spotting places you've seen on TV, London has plenty of options too.

EastEnders: The Albert Square Experience


Not Britain's longest-running soap, but possibly its best-known, EastEnders has launched many acting careers. It's not what you'd call "aspirational," though, unless your aspirations include divorcing at Christmas. Or being locked in a basement. However, the show has given rise to a sight-seeing industry. Albert Square is based on a real square - but the Queen Vic is not a real pub. Thankfully.

Ripper Street: Whitechapel In All Its ... Glory?


If you want to get the full Ripper Street experience, invent a time machine and also seek help. However, also don't look for parts of the set in London, as it was actually mostly filmed in Dublin. What they have done well, though, is recreate Victorian Whitechapel, where the story is set. On a Jack The Ripper Tour - a walk worth investigating by anyone's standards - you'll see the London of the show. It's been well enough preserved to make for a spine-tingling tour.

Sherlock: Step Back In Time, Sort Of


We all know enough about Sherlock Holmes to know that the original stories are set in Victorian London. In the popular TV series, the stories have been brought into modern London, but the character retained.

You can check out Baker Street (which is actually set on North Gower Street), or St Bart's Hospital. Both of these are authentic settings for the show and allow you to immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the show. Just don't look for Sherlock himself. He's not real.


Although many other shows don't film in London for cost reasons, the establishing shots you recognise are. So if you are looking for the boardroom from The Apprentice, you won't find it. But you will see Canary Wharf which features prominently in the show. Yes, TV sometimes lies to you - but you really won't mind when you've seen the real places.

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