Seeing stars

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Next to each title you will see one or more stars indicating the amount or type of “Tube action” there is in the production:
▲ Usually just a single appearance of a station or train in the background of the main action, but of which it is not the main focus. Often merely an establishing shot within which a station or train is visible.

▲▲ Some degree of interaction between characters and the Underground system, such as them entering/exiting a station, or a brief shot of them in transit on a train, but generally dialogue-free. Can include multiple shots in one production that individually would normally only merit ▲, or a single ▲ shot where the Underground element is fictitious, or a studio or back-lot mock-up, rather than “the real thing.”

▲▲▲ Multiple ▲▲ shots, or a single ▲▲ shot where the Underground element is fictitious, or a studio or back-lot mock-up.

▲▲▲▲ More complex scenes on Underground premises and trains, usually with dialogue, but can include those without, e.g. extended chase sequences.

▲▲▲▲▲ Films where the main narrative or a significant part of it is substantially – if not almost wholly – set around the Underground, to a degree that it could not be substituted by a non-Underground location. This includes substantial dramatisations of actual events.
▲▲▲▲▲▲ Above and beyond. There are only three – see if you can find them!


28 Days Later… [2002 feature film]

Wri: Alex Garland

Dir: Danny Boyle

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

During his randomised walk across the deserted central London, Jim (Cilian Murphy) passes the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England, with one of the stairwell entrances to Bank station visible in one high-angle shot. There is also a similar long-shot of the junction of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, with one of the stairwell entrances to Tottenham Court Road station barely visible. There are then much better views of the entrances to Piccadilly Circus station when he arrives there. After Jim is rescued by Mark (Noah Huntley) and Selena (Naomie Harris), they lead him to their hideout in the darkened Canary Wharf station.1 In the morning the three of them are seen heading off along the elevated DLR tracks towards Crossharbour station – with the canopies of South Quay just visible – before descending to street level.
All shot on location, although the sequence on the DLR tracks finishes with the characters walking across the bridge over Aspen Way (A1261), which actually serves East India station. As originally scripted there was to be a scene in which the three characters find a stalled DLR train that has been used as a makeshift hospital. The Region 2 DVD extras include the train interiors for this sequence – shot inside a B90/B92 Stock unit – while in the accompanying commentary Alex Garland and Danny Boyle explain that it was discarded because they were unable to shoot the exteriors due to poor weather (which is fairly obvious from the interior footage!).

28 Weeks Later… [2007 feature film]

Wri: Rowan Joffé, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, E. L. Lavigne, and Jesus Olmo

Dir: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

At the start of the film the British refugees are repatriated via London City Airport, before being taken by DLR into Canary Wharf, passing through one intermediate station in the process. Soon after there are some scenes with Don Harris (Robert Carlyle) and his children, Tammy (Imogen Poots) and Andy (Mackintosh Muggleton) shot in the plaza between the two entrances to the Jubilee line Canary Wharf station.
After the Rage virus gets loose again Sergeant Doyle (Jeremy Renner), Major Scarlet Levy (Rose Byrne), Tammy, Andy, and Sam (Raymond Waring) escape via the Greenwich Foot Tunnel, just as the Isle of Dogs is bombed. The napalm flows into the tunnel, and explodes out at the southern end, destroying the domed entrance building just as they get out. From Greenwich they make their way into central London, while a crowd of the Rage-infected are seen running into the Moorfields entrance to Moorgate station, and down the escalators.
With only Tammy and Andy also left alive, and the streets around Whitehall being enveloped in nerve gas, Scarlet drives their commandeered car into an Underground station. Leaving the car in the subway, they walk through the deserted ticket hall, and then down the escalators, with Scarlet using the night-vision scope on Doyle’s M4A1 Carbine2 to lead the way in the darkness. They make their way through a dead body-strewn passageway, and down a second set of escalators, eventually reaching a platform occupied by a stalled train, where Don kills Scarlet, and Tammy shoots him as he is attacking Andy, who then runs off into the tunnel. She eventually catches up with her brother, and they head off down the tunnel towards Wembley. Finally, the film’s coda shows a swarm of the infected rushing out of the Paris Métro’s Trocadéro station.
The initial DLR journey is somewhat inconsistent, with the B92 Stock train departing King George V station – at the time of filming, the terminus of the branch – towards London City Airport at the start, with the camera favouring the track rather than the surroundings (the distinctive point-work is a bit of a giveaway). There is then a long helicopter shot of a train traversing the then-undeveloped land between West Silvertown and Canning Town stations (neither is actually seen), at least heading in the right direction. The following shot, though, is again from a train running from King George V to London City Airport; the flats with “I AM HERE” painted on the roof being on the corner of Newland Street and Holt Road, E16. The train then passes from east to west through Pontoon Dock station, but the area where the (CGI) Chinook helicopter is landing is next to waste ground north of the Thames Barrier Park, east of Pontoon Dock. Canary Wharf station is real, with B92 Stock unit 13 arriving. Under normal operation, DLR trains coming from the Woolwich Arsenal or Beckton branches would not run directly to the Lewisham branch for Canary Wharf, but could be in this scenario by way of the East Curve between Poplar and West India Quay.
The long ramp to the “station” into which Scarlet drives is actually the pedestrian underpass running between the side of the King’s College building (the old Royal Hospital) and the slip road from Upper Ground to Waterloo Road on the South Bank. The car is then seen crashing down the steps of the entrance to Charing Cross station on the north side of the Strand (i.e. the one that always closes early!). Most of the rest of the sequence is also Charing Cross – including a 1996 Tube Stock train (Trailer 96216 is identifiable in one shot) – but when Tammy jumps down onto the tracks to chase after Andy, the train is suddenly the 1972 Tube Stock unit at Aldwych.
The Region 2 DVD includes a deleted dream sequence with Andy sat on the deserted Charing Cross platform as a crowded train pulls in. He boards UNDM 96513, makes his way to the end of the car, and then sees his mother alone in the next one. The DVD also includes several short making-of documentaries, which cover some of the filming at Charing Cross. In particular, Getting Into the Action shows the lower escalator to the Jubilee line platforms being dressed with numerous fake corpses, as well as the filming of the car sequence in the station subway. [2010 feature film] ▲▲▲

Wri: Noel Clarke

Dir: Noel Clarke and Mike Davis

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

At the beginning there is a fast-cut montage sequence in which Joanne (Emma Roberts) is seen on board a Hammersmith & City train, then exiting through the Wood Lane station ticket hall. Later, after Cassandra (Tamsin Egerton) returns to the UK, she is seen going through the gateline at Shepherd’s Bush Overground station. These are the first screen appearances of both stations.

About Time [2013 feature film] ▲▲▲▲

Wri/Dir: Richard Curtis

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)
After creepy and manipulative time traveller Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) gets together with Mary (Rachel McAdams), they are seen going down the stairs to the ticket hall of Maida Vale station. They descend the escalator, and part to go to opposite platforms (him south, her north), while some buskers3 play on the concourse between them. This leads to an extended passage-of-time sequence in the same location – occasionally following them onto the platforms and views of 1972 Tube Stock Bakerloo line trains – indicating the development of their relationship, ending with a shot of them going up the escalator.
After Tim has dinner with almost-old-flame Charlotte (Margot Robbie) on the South Bank, he is seen running across one of the Golden Jubilee bridges, then up the steps at Maida Vale, which prompts the question why didn’t he simply go to Waterloo to catch the Bakerloo line there?! Towards the end Tim is seen on board a Northern line train, and then again when he lives the same day again.
When Tim misses the train, it appears to include UNDM 3461, Trailer 4561, and DM 3561. There is also some National Rail footage, including Tim’s journey from Cornwall to London, arriving at Paddington. When he travels back to save Harry’s (Tom Hollander) play, Waterloo station is visible in the background, including the bridge that once carried the line linking the station to Waterloo East.

Accidental Farmer [21/12/10 BBC1] ▲▲

Wri: Daisy Coulam

Dir: Mandie Fletcher

Source: TV (UK)

When Erin Taylor (Ashley Jensen) visits cheating boyfriend Mike (Raza Jaffrey) at his photographic studio, a couple of shots show it to be adjacent to the Hammersmith & City line, with C69/C77 stock passing on the viaduct.
The location used for the studios was actually BBC property to the south of the iconic Television Centre, next to the H&C line between Shepherd’s Bush and Wood Lane stations, just before it crosses Wood Lane itself.

Adam Adamant Lives! [BBC1]
British hero and Edwardian gentleman adventurer Adam Llewellyn de Vere Adamant (Gerald Harper) is frozen in a block of ice by his arch-nemesis The Face in 1902, but is awakened to once more fight espionage, crime, and general evil-doing in the swinging London of 1966.
A Vintage Year for Scoundrels [23/06/66#1] ▲▲▲▲

Wri: Tony Williamson

Dir: David Proudfoot

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

While disorientated shortly after his resuscitation, Adamant wanders into the ticket hall of Leicester Square station, and then down the escalators to the Piccadilly line. He expresses his bafflement as to where he is to a commuter, then manages to get back up to the surface, and out onto the pavement again, followed by young Georgina Jones (Juliet Harmer), destined to be his sidekick for the rest of the series.
The actual location was used, specifically the 1930s Charles Holden-designed entrance and ticket hall, and the escalators down to the Piccadilly line. Some commentators have suggested that Adamant’s unfamiliarity with the Underground is anachronistic, since parts of the network had already been built by the time he was frozen in 1902. It should be remembered, however, that by that date the only deep-level tubes were the section of what is now the Northern line between Clapham Common and Angel stations, the Central line between Shepherd’s Bush and Bank, and the Waterloo & City line. Although Adamant later showed himself to be very clued up on the latter (see below), it’s more of a stretch to think he would have been quite as aware of the bills then before Parliament that eventually led to the opening of the first section of Piccadilly line in December 1906, let alone that in his post-revival confusion he would have made a connection between those theoretical plans, and the strange building he found himself in. The first escalator on the Underground to enter public use4 was not installed until 1911 at Earl's Court, but Adamant would almost certainly have been familiar with the one that opened in the Harrods department store in 1898. He probably didn’t even need the smelling salts.5
Ticket to Terror [29/09/66#14] ▲▲▲▲▲

Wri: Dick Sharples

Dir: Tina Wakerell

Source: n/e – camera script

Adamant’s butler, Simms (Jack May), boards a Waterloo & City line train which leaves Bank, but mysteriously vanishes en route. Waiting for Simms’s arrival at Waterloo, Adamant learns of a new central control system run by Dr Klein (Max Adrian), and his assistant, Launa Caldwell (Ann Lyn). The missing train suddenly reappears, but is completely empty. A second train departs Bank and also vanishes, only to finally arrive at Waterloo full of skeletons. Adamant eventually discovers that a diabolical plan is afoot to rob the Bank of England itself.
Sadly, out of the sixteen episodes of the first season of the series, this is the only one that is missing. This is a particularly unlucky twist on the situation covered in Appendix 3, in that it was the only instalment made on – and broadcast from – video tape, all the rest being produced on film, albeit with electronic cameras. The camera script for the episode shows that it made extensive use of location filming at Bank, including the exterior of the station, the ticket hall, the Trav-O-Lator™,6 and a train departing from one platform, and also at Waterloo of the escalators, ticket hall, and arrival platform.7 Filming took place at Waterloo on the evening of Tuesday 19 July 1966, and at Bank the following night.8 In the studio, mock-ups of a platform and a section of running tunnel stood in for various locations.
Curiously, dialogue in the episode treats the W&C as part of an integrated London Underground as a whole, with the opening date for the line being erroneously given as 1899, when it was actually 11 July 1898. The narrative refers to a fictional disaster eight years previously, when over 200 workers were killed in the collapse of a “test tunnel,” which was then bypassed by a new bore in which the trains now run, the bodies being left in situ (the source of the skeletons). This particular detail may have provided some inspiration for the film Death Line (qv) a few years later.

Adulthood [2008 feature film] ▲▲▲▲

Wri/Dir: Noel Clarke

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)
This sequel to Kidulthood (qv) includes even more of the Underground than the first film. When Sam (Noel Clarke) returns to his mother’s high-rise flat after his release from prison, a 1972 Tube Stock Bakerloo line train can be seen passing in the distance in the vicinity of Queen’s Park station. Later a C69/C77 Stock Hammersmith & City line train crosses the bridge over Ladbroke Grove as Sam runs into the station. Shots of him on the platform, boarding the rear DM, and then actually on board the train, are inter-cut with Jay (Adam Deacon) entering, inside, and then on the platform at Latimer Road station. Sam’s train pulls in to the same station, and he gets off one end of the car, just as Jay gets on at the other – they only spot and recognise each other as the train pulls away. Sam exits the station, while on board the train Jay phones a friend. Sam is then seen meeting Lexi (Scarlett Alice Johnson) as a D69/C77 train passes on the viaduct behind them. Jay subsequently goes through the ticket barriers Hammersmith (H&C) station with a stolen Oyster card, while gobbing off to a member of LU staff. Later he has an argument with Moony (Femi Oyeniran) outside the same station. When Dabs (Ben Drew a.k.a. Plan B), Omen (Jacob Anderson), and Blammy (Don Klass) finally catch up with Sam, it is below the H&C viaduct, with a C69/C77 train passing.
Actual locations used, although understandably the car Sam boards is C69 DM 5580, but at Latimer Road he gets off C77 DM 5719 (C77 UT 6719 is visible ahead of it), the whole train being led by C77 DM 5709. When it pulls away again, the rear car is C77 DM 5727.

Adventures of a Taxi Driver [1976 feature film] ▲▲

Wri: Suzanne Mercer, from an idea by Stanley Long

Dir: Stanley Long

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

As lascivious taxi driver Joe North (Barry Evans) drives his fare, Linda (Jane Hayden), to Lambeth Bridge, Lambeth North station is briefly visible in his rear view mirror.
Towards the end Joe drives through the West End at night, and the original Leslie Green-designed entrance to Piccadilly Circus station on Piccadilly is visible during a panning shot, unfortunately somewhat blurred.

Adventures of a Plumber’s Mate [1978 feature film] ▲

Wri: Stephen D. Frances & Aubrey Cash

Dir: Stanley A. Long

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

When villain Billy Biggs (Leon Greene) is released from HMP Wormwood Scrubs, and is met by Carson (Peter Cleall), a 1962 Stock9 Central line train can be briefly seen passing on the embankment in the background, on the opposite side of Du Cane Road.10

The Adventures of Barry McKenzie [1972 feature film] ▲▲▲▲

Wri: Bruce Beresford & Barry Humphries, from the comic strip by Barry Humphries

Dir: Bruce Beresford

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

This feature film of the Private Eye comic strip has the titular Aussie-in-London (Barry Crocker) mistaking Barons Court station for a cinema, with its name being the title of the film showing, and the “Underground” sign as an indicator of the genre. Once inside, though, he realises his mistake, exclaiming, “it’s a flaming underground railway!”
The exteriors are the real Barons Court (complete with topical Oz magazine graffiti), but the interiors were shot on the Waterloo & City line departure platform at Waterloo, during its days of British Rail ownership. Initially a British Railways Class 487 train is seen leaving the platform in the direction of Bank, just as McKenzie and Lesley (Mary Ann Severne) come onto the platform via the entrance at the bottom of the long ramp down from the lower concourse and ticket hall level. They meet Lesley’s husband, Dominic (Peter Cook), before another train is arrives from the depot, which they all board.
The original screenplay – which is quite different as a whole from the finished film (Lesley was also originally called Fiona) – shows an early version of this scene. The initial set-up of McKenzie mistaking the station for a cinema is the same, but he then gets to subject an “Indian” LU ticket seller to some casual racism:
BARRY: Give us two in the back stalls, woggy boy, and a box of Black Magic.

INDIAN: Two Arsenal. Here you are, sir.

This is followed by:
M.S. BARRY and FIONA going down.
BARRY: That tinted bastard's flogged me the wrong tickets. This isn't the flicks, it's the flamin’ tube.

FIONA: Sometimes you act like you're not the full quid, Bazza. Let's go for a ride now we're down here. I feel like a breath of stale air.

M.L.S. BARRY and FIONA riding the tube. The compartment is relatively deserted. Various angles.
C.U. FIONA – she looks around, idly, then reacts…11
It is only at this point that she spots her husband, so the subsequent conversation which takes place entirely on the platform in the finished film originally occured on board the train. Apart from the dialogue changes, the finished version was presumably a result of logistical requirements, not least being that there aren’t escalators at either Barons Court, or the part of Waterloo used for filming.

An Affair in Mind [05/01/88 BBC1 in association with A&E] ▲▲▲▲

Wri: Michael Baker, from the novel The Face of Trespass by Ruth Rendell

Dir: Colin Luke

Source: VHS (BBC Video World12 Vol. 1 No. 14, October 1989)

Struggling writer Gray Harston (Stephen Dillane) alights at the rarely-seen Theydon Bois station, at the eastern extreme of the Central line.
The eastbound platform was used, with the 1962 Tube Stock train looking particularly weather-beaten.

Agent Cody Banks 2 – Destination London [2004 feature film] ▲▲▲▲

Wri: Don Rhymer, from a story by Harald Zwart, Dylan Sellers, and Don Rhymer

Dir: Kevin Allen

Source: TV (UK)

The secret CIA facility underneath the summer camp at the start of the film is actually the middle escalator landing of the Jubilee line Canary Wharf station, with an LU signage and iconography masked. Later on – once Cody Banks is in London – there is a cutaway back to the facility, with the unnamed CIA Director (Keith David) coming down the escalator from the (eastern) Montgomery Street entrance to the station. After Banks escapes from the back of the Kenworth Industries truck, his taxi passes one of the stairwell entrances to Westminster station. Later on a cycle rickshaw takes Banks and Emily (Hannah Spearitt) through Piccadilly Circus, with one of the stairwell entrances to the station visible.

Airwaves Active: Alien [2006 TV commercial] ▲▲

Source: TV (UK)

An alien is welcomed to Britain with a pack of Wrigley's Airwaves Active chewing gum. With the tag-line of “back to normal,” he is then seen doing all manner of traditional British activities, such as queuing, waiting to be served in a dingy greasy spoon café, and – of course – being crammed like a sardine into a Tube train. This appears to be a studio mock-up in blue and red LU livery.

Alfie [1966 feature film] ▲▲▲▲

Wri: Bill Naughton, based on his play

Dir: Lewis Gilbert

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

After their assignation at the start of the film, Alfie (Michael Caine) drops Siddie (Millicent Martin) off at Temple station. He delivers a monologue to camera, while she buys her ticket from the seller in the passimeter, and then departs. She is then seen coming out a station, where her husband is waiting for her. Later, when Gilda (Julia Foster) is having lunch by the Thames, London Underground’s Lots Road Power station can be seen across the river.
The real Temple station was used, but despite the addition of the sound-effect of an Underground train, the second is actually St Margarets [London] station, between Twickenham and Richmond.

All Neat in Black Stockings [1969 feature film] ▲

Wri: Hugh Whitemore, from a screenplay by Jane Gaskell, from her novel

Dir: Christopher Morahan

Source: DVD (Region 2/UK)

Early in the film Ginger (Victor Henry) picks up Carole (Vanessa Forsyth) opposite Tooting Bec station. Towards the end there is a scene with Dwyer (Jack Shepherd) hanging around near Paddington station, with the original Bakerloo line station entrance visible in some shots. There are also a number of shots throughout the film showing British Rail units on viaducts near Wandsworth Town and Battersea Park stations.

All or Nothing [2002 feature film] ▲

Wri/Dir: Mike Leigh

Source: TV (UK)
When Jason (Daniel Mays) and Donna (Helen Coker) leave the flat to go to the pub, a B90/92 DLR unit can be seen passing on the viaduct in the background.
The flats used as the main location for the film were the at-the-time derelict and now-demolished New Haddo Estate, on the north side of Greenwich station. National rail units can also be seen at the start of this sequence, as Mays walks up to the flat.13

All the Right Noises [1971 feature film] ▲▲▲▲

Wri/Dir: Gerry O’Hara

Source: Blu-Ray (Region B/UK)
After Len Lewin (Tom Bell) and Val (Olivia Hussey) leave the pub, they head for Leicester Square station, where they are seen in the ticket hall, then going down the escalator, with Len lighting up (as you could). At platform level they catch a Piccadilly line train, and have a conversation on board, before eventually getting off at the Uxbridge terminus. Bell asks a platform attendant when the last train back is, only to be told: “You’ve had that… it’s not a 24 hour service, you know!”
The ticket hall is actually Notting Hill Gate station, along with the escalator down to the Central line platforms, but the lower cross-passageway and platform are Aldwych, with “Leicester Square” roundels. The branch’s “short” 1959 Tube Stock train shuttle was used, conforming with the same stock arriving at Uxbridge, although obviously it’s a “full-length” train there. Amusingly, when the train stops at Aldwych, the right-hand door of the double set does not move, and so Bell has to yank it open himself. The night-time shoot at Uxbridge, though, is particularly nice.

All Things to All Men – see The Deadly Game

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