Predictably, the latest Christmas and New Year break was punctuated by a number of James Bond films on the telly, and on New Year’s Day it was the turn of Spectre, the 2015 production and the fourth to feature Daniel Craig as James Bond. As always with the Bond films, the locations are an exotic mix, ranging from Mexico to Rome to Austria, to Morocco, but in between there are glimpses of some of London’s best known landmarks.
The riverside headquarters of MI6 makes an early appearance, looking rather sorry for itself following a terrorist attack in the previous Bond film, Skyfall. The building finally disappears in a cloud of smoke in an explosion later in the film. The new Centre for National Security which has been built opposite the ruins of the former MI6 building is portrayed by Riverwalk House on Millbank, which has been transformed into swanky apartments. As for the interior scene featuring a distinctive spiral staircase, this was filmed in the City Hall building, also known as the headquarters of the Mayor of London. Early in the film, Bond and M are in a car in the environs of a rather imposing crescent-shaped building. This is Admiralty Arch, commissioned by the British Government in the reign of Edward VII in memory of his mother Queen Victoria. The environs of Trafalgar Square also feature in this sequence, which was filmed in May 2015. Another famous London landmark seen in an aerial shot is the London Eye big wheel.
|Admiralty Arch. Photo by Richard Croft, via Wikimedia Commons|
The River Thames features heavily in some parts of the film, with one scene involving Bond and the MI6 Chief of Staff roaring along the river in a speedboat, a scene filmed in December 2014. They also spend some time on the Regent’s Canal near Camden Lock, home to the famous market. During a scene involving a helicopter and car chase, Westminster and the Houses of Parliament feature, with the helicopter crashing on Westminster Bridge. During the filming, smoke was seen billowing from the area, which would no doubt have caused alarm if it were filmed nowadays following the terror attack which took place there last year. Lambeth Bridge, Hungerford Bridge and Vauxhall Bridge also get a look-in during the boat and helicopter chase scene.
Big Ben and Westminster Bridge. Photo by ktanaka, via Wikimedia Commons
The oldest restaurant in London is Rules in Covent Garden, established in 1798 by Thomas Rule. In Spectre M, Q and Miss Moneypenny are seen meeting in a dining room, a scene which was filmed in Rules. Also in Covent Garden, the Freemasons’ Hall in Great Queen Street provides the interior shots for the corridors of the British Intelligence Headquarters.
Blenheim Palace. Photo by Simon Q, via Wikimedia Commons