London Eye and Jubilee Gardens in Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?
Date posted: 01.12.2014
The Nativity franchise returns, joining a number of London-shot films in cinemas this Christmas. With the young members of the cast heading to the capital to compete for a trip to New York, many locations feature in this festive film. But for a central flash mob scene only one iconic London location could work: The London Eye and surrounding Jubilee Gardens.
For Nativity 3: Dude, Where's My Donkey?! Debbie Isitt, writer and director of the prequels, returns to the helm with a cast including Martin Clunes (Doc Martin), Catherine Tate (Gulliver's Travels) and Celia Imrie (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).
Misplaced Memories and Donkeys: how the fun plays out
New teacher Mr. Shepherd (Clunes) must get his memory back in time to marry his fiancée Sophie (Tate). Meanwhile the school donkey responsible for his memory loss is on the loose. Cue London adventures, pending Ofsted inspections, flash mob competitions and general chaos!
When Clunes' pupils hear about the chance to win a trip to New York through a flash mob competition, they head to London to take part. Location Manager Tony Hood spotted the London Eye's potenital – delivering both an iconic visual backdrop for the flash mob scenes, and the flexibility to act as the setting for multiple other scenarios.
The surrounding area of Jubilee Gardens and the South Bank also helped to boost the Christmas spirit!
Flash Mobs and Eye Pods
"The whole area was very lively" recalls Hood, "which only added to the festive feel of the scenes." With a big cast of children for the flash mob scenes, this festive atmosphere could have proved difficult. Luckily "we managed to get loads of kids in and out of the various sets around the area quickly and safely," says Hood - and it was in no small part down to the expertise of the team at the location: "London Eye and the Jubilee Gardens Trust were excellent with their assistance".
To get the perfect viewpoint from which to film the London Eye pods, the team based themselves at Room 615 at the County Hall Marriott Hotel. As Hood explains, "It is the closest you can get to one of the London Eye Pods without having to build anything." This proved to be very handy when filming dancing Santas in the iconic pods!
For Sahrette Saayman, Head of Communication at the location, the right type of project presented itself. Not only were they able to accommodate the shoot, the scenes also chimed with their ethos and approach to content. "Christmas is a very special time at the London Eye so we were especially happy to be included in a family friendly Christmas film," says Saayman.
The production was able to fully utilise what the area and location had to offer, making the most of the river cruiser, ice rink and Jubilee Gardens itself. Saayman continues "This was a great opportunity for us to give a really well rounded view of the attraction which looks so beautiful all lit up for Christmas."
"We're always keen to hear from Location Managers" continues Saayman, "and this project in particular was just right for us."
The Jubilee Gardens were first laid out in 1977 and have now been transformed into a soft, green and sustainable park. Added features include:
- New flowerbeds
- Granite pathways and seating edges
- 69 new trees
- A contemporary playground.
The Southbank Centre's external site jurisdiction runs from the Jubilee Gardens and the Queen's Walk opposite the London Eye to in front of the National Theatre. The Park has recently been re-landscaped.
The London Eye is the world's largest observation wheel. As each of the 32 passenger capsules reaches its zenith, 135 metres above Britain's capital city, the views are quite simply sensational, stretching up to 25 miles in any direction from Hampton Court to Dartford and from St Albans to Croydon.
Other films to have shot at the London Eye and Jubilee Gardens include All Things to All Men, Skyfall and Jab Tak Hai Jaan whilst Get Him to the Greek has filmed at the Marriott Hotel, County Hall.
Filming at the London Eye and Jubilee Gardens
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Filming at the Marriott Hotel, County Hall
Contact Alexandra Abrahams
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