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Image of Luther Series Three - Idris Elba

De Beauvoir Estate in Luther

Date posted: 01.12.2015

Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) returns for a fourth series of Luther, continuing his role as the broody and volatile detective who is continually haunted by past cases.

A wholly dedicated police investigator, John Luther often becomes intertwined and consumed by the cases he pursues. The BBC series will be a welcome return for fans, and is set to be a popular alternative to more traditional Christmas viewing this festive season.

Tracking down a location

With Luther on a mission to solve another complex case, the hunt for a versatile location required Henry Woolley, location manager, to conduct his own detective work.

The location needed to be visually striking with an atmosphere that would enhance the story of the characters, and had to be "a neighbourhood where two characters lived in close proximity", explains Woolley. The production also required space that was practical for an action sequence.

After the first recce at the De Beauvoir Estate in Hackney, Woolley and his team agreed it fit the bill. In securing the location, Woolley says "after an initial conversation with Rebecca Staffolani at Hackney council to find out the lay of the land, things couldn't have gone more smoothly."

Rebecca Staffolani of Hackney Film Office adds "the De Beauvoir Estate is no stranger to filming, and with its range of low and high rise buildings and underground car parks, it's always been popular with film crews."

The clue to cooperation

The cooperation of local residents was integral to the success of the shoot. Staffolani emphasises that "the only way we can permit filming on our estates is with the good will of our residents." Woolley agrees, saying "there is a very proactive residents association and so we were able to iron out any potential problems in advance."

This open communication and planning was essential, as the crew filmed on location for a number of days, but also meant residents were able to enjoy watching an exciting action sequence with a motorbike and stunts.

Some residents, however, remained unaware of the famous television detective in their midst. Staffolani recalls "watching two little old ladies shuffling along the pavement, deep in conversation and in the middle of shot. They seemed totally unaware of the 40 strong crew on the other side of the road, waiting anxiously for them to pass. They stopped for a second, looked up, saw the towering figure of Luther standing motionless on some steps, agreed that it couldn't be him and slowly shuffled off."

Staffolani also commended Woolley's team, saying "It's down to the crew to make sure the experience is a positive one and this crew were great. Even though the scene was pretty big and dramatic we had no complaints." Woolley concludes "Filming on the De Beauvoir Estate was a pleasure. I'm glad to say it went without a hitch, though I'm not sure the motorbike survived!"

About De Beauvoir Estate

The northern part of De Beauvoir Town was rebuilt as the Metropolitan Borough of Hackney's Kingsgate estate in the 1960s. In the late 1960s a larger area west of the canal basin, which contained many small factories, made way for the De Beauvoir Estate. This was finally completed in 1971.

Filming features include:

  • Low and high rise buildings
  • Underground car parks
  • Street filming

The labyrinth of buildings and car parks have attracted much filming over the years which have included television and film projects such as 28 Weeks Later, River, Silent Witness and recently, A Street Cat Named Bob, as well as proving popular for music videos and commercials.

For filming at the De Beauvoir Estate, please contact Rebecca Staffolani, Borough Filming Officer, Hackney on 020 8356 3541 or rebecca.staffolani@hackney.gov.uk

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