London’s Borough Market Set To Star Again?
Due for release in July 2015, Bridget Jones’s third big screen adaptation seems to be finally underway. Following the hugely successful novel “Mad About The Boy” by Helen Fielding, this movie will continue the story where “The Edge of Reason” left off. The first two movies were commercial successes so expect a nationwide release through large cinema chains, like Cineworld, and an accompanying heavy-duty marketing campaign. Fans of the comedy drama will be delighted to hear that location shooting could begin as soon as this summer and – it is expected – that Borough Market in Southwark will again feature in a Hollywood film.
Located a stone’s throw from LondonBridge, Borough Market has been a favoured shooting location in the capital for a number of directors. Bedale Street ,which runs between the market and Borough High Street was the chosen location for Bridget Jones’ flat, just above the Globe pub which is still there, squashed between two overhead rail lines. The memorable scene in which Colin Firth and Hugh Grant fight was shot in this street, although the steps leading to an Underground station in the background are entirely fictitious.
A traditional wholesale fruit and veg market for decades, Borough Market’s fortunes were dwindling in the mid 1990s with many stall holders moving away or going out of business. Nowadays, the largely Victorian architecture is a huge hit with trendy market traders selling gourmet foods and farm produce directly to customers. The mostly covered roof and intense atmosphere really evokes a bygone era despite all of the newcomers. As such, it really feels very different from somewhere like Covent Garden, itself once a flourishing fruit and flower market.
In 1998, Guy Ritchie chose the alley that is just on the other side of Borough Market from Bedale Street for a number of scenes in “Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels”. By this time in the market’s history, bistros and artisan cheese makers had already begun trading close to the market on Park Street. Yet, the location was simply made over and retained enough of its back street London look to match Ritchie’s gritty visual style. Whether he knew it or not, Ritchie was following in the steps of Merchant Ivory, who also chose to use Park Street for a location in “Howard’s End”.
A year later, some scenes of “Entrapment”, a Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones thriller, were shot in the market itself. The location directors also used part of London’s financial district – just over the river Thames - for some shots. The contrast between the two sides of London that were depicted really added to the sense of location, before the action moved to Kuala Lumpur for the film’s finale.
More recently, Borough Market’s distinctive and historic visual appeal has been selected by location directors working on the Harry Potter franchise. Along with Leadenhall Market, a now defunct market in the City of London, it features as the secret entrance to Diagon Alley. It was perhaps this other-worldliness that attracted Terry Gilliam to the area, too when he chose Borough Market as a location for “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”. Gilliam’s movie used Green Dragon Court for his shots, just paces away from Bridget Jones’ fictitious home on Bedale Street.
With so many movie locations to spot and such gastronomic fare on offer, Borough Market is really well worth a visit. If you can, head there mid-week, when there are less crowds and it is subsequently easier to spot the various locations used.