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Image of film still advert Monument Street channel 4

Monument Street in Channel 4 advert

Date posted: 01.01.2010

A highlight of Channel 4's scheduling for 2010 is the new India Season. A trailer was developed and filmed at Monument Street in order to publicise the season, where a colourful, bustling Indian marketplace - complete with dancers, musicians and animals - was re-created in the heart of London.

Channel 4 has brought together the very best in film, drama, features and factual programming in a season that celebrates India - exploring its rich culture and culinary traditions. Kicking off with the UK TV premiere of Danny Boyle's Oscar-winning feature Slumdog Millionaire, the season continues with shows from top TV personalities, Gordon Ramsay and Kevin McCloud, an investigation into the real slums of Mumbai in a special strand of Dispatches, as well as a season of Indian cinema - including an all-night tribute to Slumdog composer, AR Rahman.

Much of the preparatory art department and green screen work for the trailer took place at Pinewood Studios. However, the real challenge for the production team was when it came to locations. The complex shoot on Monument Street - which has previously been used for feature film Incendiary, as well as BBC's drama series, Hustle - was in December, and timing proved to be of the essence.

Location Manager, Algy Sloane, explains: 'This job had to be turned around in a matter of days. Both El and Mick from the Film Office in the City of London bent over backwards to assist us. The location was chosen on a Tuesday, the technical recce was on the Wednesday and the shoot was on the Saturday.  On top of this, the location had to take the pressure of a crew of 90, as well as 200 extras, market stalls, tents, a 29 foot long removals truck and a water buffalo!'

For maximum impact, the location also needed to have a particularly British feel to it - something that Monument Street offered both in its surrounding architecture and its cobbled streets. Logistically, by filming at the weekend, the City again proved its level of flexibility and diversity in what it can deliver. Eleanor Downey of City of London explains: 'The east leg of Monument Street is an easily controllable location and with the help of the City Police, Highways Department, Street Management and Animal Health Teams we managed to turn it around in record time. 

'Algy liaised with the local businesses and residents and knew that access had to be maintained - this was achieved with the clever placement of action vehicles and props. It looked stunning and those members of the public who were lucky enough to stumble upon it found a little piece of India in London for the day.'

Broadcast in the New Year, this magical trailer just goes to prove what can be achieved in the capital - as Algy surmises: 'No need to go abroad for even the craziest of shoots!'

For filming requests in the City of London, please contact Joanna Burnaby-Atkins at joanna.burnaby-atkins@cityoflondon.gov.uk or Mick Bagnell on 020 7332 3202.

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