Nativity!

Date: 2009
Director: Debbie Isitt
Production Company: Mirrorball Films, BBC Films, Screen West Midlands

Stars: Martin Freeman, Ashley Jensen, Jason Watkins, Marc Wootton, Alan Carr, Pam Ferris, Ricky Tomlinson
Location(s): California (USA), Warwickshire, West Midlands

Region(s): ,

Storyline:

A primary school competes against a posh rival school for the honor of the best reviewed nativity play in town.

Additional Information:

Screen captures by Phil Wilkinson

Buy this film on Amazon link

Can you help:

If you have any information regarding this film, any of the stills, or even better, some NOW shots please contact us.


<?php echo 1; ?>

Inside the Midlands Academy of Dramatic Art, the "Three Amigo's" of Paul Maddens, Jennifer Lore and Gordon Shakespeare perform in a Christmas Revue. The Albany Theatre facing Butts Road in Coventry, West Midlands. The theatre closed in 2009 but re-opened four years later after the local council intervened.

image no 1

The former Technical College is now styled as Earlsdon Park and contains a hotel, a car park and the Albany Theatre. (PW)

  • 'Now' required

Paul Maddens (Martin Freeman) and his girlfriend Jennifer Lore (Ashley Jensen) visit her parents over the festive period.

<?php echo 3; ?>

Fire years on, after Gordon lands a position at the best school in the city and Jennifer leaves when she gets a job in Hollywood, Paul hates Christmas. Spon Street in Coventry city centre.

image no 3

A clearer view of the same section of street. (PW)

  • 'Now' required

St. Bernadette's School in Coventry where Paul always has a difficult time keeping his class under control. In reality, Holy Family Catholic Primary School on Penny Park Lane, Coventry.

<?php echo 5; ?>

Paul arrives for another fraught day to discover that he's been put in charge of the school's nativity play. A suitably dressed Holy Family Catholic Primary School.

image no 5

Without the prop sign. (PW)

<?php echo 6; ?>

Gordon Shakespeare (Jason Watkins) leads his well behaved pupils into Oakmore School before encouraging them to win another 5-star review for their nativity. Bablake School on Coundon Road, Coventry.

image no 6

With acknowledgement to Kiley and the staff at Bablake School for their hospitality and assistance. (PW)

<?php echo 7; ?>

During break, Mr. Maddens' new classroom assistant Desmond Poppy (Marc Wootton) appears in the playground. The playground of Holy Family Catholic Primary School.

image no 7

With thanks to Head Teacher Mrs. Griffiths and the staff at Holy Family School for their help and for granting access. (PW)

<?php echo 8; ?>

With another tiresome day over, Mr. Maddens walks home along a brightly decorated street. Lower Ladyes Hill, Kenilworth in Warwickshire.

image no 8

Not an exact comparison due to the street being full of parked cars. (PW)

<?php echo 9; ?>

Paul arrives at the only unlit house in the row and begins to work on the nativity play. Lower Ladyes Hill in Kenilworth.

image no 9

Here's a suitably decorated property. (PW)

  • 'Now' required

The disruptive and childlike Mr. Poppy accompanies Mr. Maddens to buy a Christmas tree and overhears him lie to Mr. Shakespeare that a Jennifer, now a Hollywood producer, is coming to see St, Bernadette's school nativity.

<?php echo 11; ?>

After Mr. Poppy spreads the rumour about a Hollywood producer coming to St. Bernadette's, a BBC Reporter (Ashley Blake) arrives at the school.

image no 11

The same corner taken on a very drizzly day. (PW)

  • 'Now' required

Television, radio and newspapers carry the exciting word throughout the city. Looking over Coventry city centre with the ruined Cathedral to the right of centre, the replacement St. Michael’s Cathedral behind and the Council House and offices towards the bottom.

  • 'Now' required

Having missed hearing the news that he has unintentionally created, Paul cycles to work.

<?php echo 14; ?>

Mr. Maddens arrives at school where he is shocked to discover that he’s arranged for a Hollywood producer to visit. To the right is the entrance to Holy Family Catholic Primary School with properties on Penny Park Lane visible through the gateway.

image no 14

From a similar viewpoint. (PW)

<?php echo 15; ?>

At Oakwood School, an enraged Gordon Shakespeare searches for something extra special for this year’s production. Bablake School on Coundon Road.

image no 15

Looking across the same playing field on a damp day. (PW)

  • 'Now' required

Paul arrives at Jennifer’s parents’ house in an attempt to contact her and arrange a visit from a Hollywood producer.

  • 'Now' required

Casting and rehearsals for St. Bernadette’s nativity play begin. Looking across the playing field at Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Keresley, Coventry.

  • 'Now' required

So that the class can learn more about the nativity, Mr. Poppy suggests a field trip to the maternity ward of a hospital. University Hospital on Clifford Bridge Road in Coventry.

  • 'Now' required

Mr. Maddens and headmistress Mrs Bevan attend a function where the Lord Mayor offers St. Bernadette’s use of the Cathedral as a venue for their show. Coombe Abbey Hotel on Brinklow Road in Binley, Coventry.

<?php echo 20; ?>

Looking up at the spire of the Cathedral Church of St Michael on Priory Street, Coventry.

image no 20

The same spire. (PW)

<?php echo 21; ?>

As the play starts to find form, Paul and Mr. Poppy sing one of the songs in the Cathedral ruins. The Grade I listed ruins of the first St. Michael's Cathedral which was bombed on the night of 14th November 1940.

image no 21

The nave of the Cathedral. (PW)

  • 'Now' required

Mr. Maddens arrives at the airport with William and Saffron for their flight to the USA. Birmingham Airport on Bickenhill Lane to the north of Bickenhill in Solihull, West Midlands. The airport was known as Birmingham International Airport at the time of filming with the name being changed in 2011.

  • 'Now' required

Flight 715 from Birmingham lands in the States. The LAX sign stands at the intersection of West Century Boulevard and World Way in Los Angeles, California.

  • 'Now' required

With Saffron (Rebecca Maguire) and William (Michael McAuley) faring better than their teacher on the eleven hour flight, a cab is taken to the hotel. Los Angeles International Airport on World Way, Los Angeles.

  • 'Now' required

Having settled in, the trio set off in search of Jennifer, and do some sightseeing on the way. Outside the Pacific Sands Motel on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, California.

  • 'Now' required

The beach at Santa Monica with Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park in the distance.

  • 'Now' required

The children call Mr. Maddens over to see the Hollywood sign and he comments that they’re nearer than they were at the beach.

  • 'Now' required

Saffron stops to look at the Beverly Hills sign in Beverly Gardens Park on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, California.

  • 'Now' required

The three enter the studios of Independent Pictures where Jennifer works. The entrance to Prospect Studios on Prospect Avenue in Los Feliz in Los Angeles.

  • 'Now' required

Taking an electric cart, Paul, William and Saffron escape the pursuing Security Guard. ABC Televison’s Prospect Studios in Los Feliz.

  • 'Now' required

Having found Jennifer, Security are called to eject the intruders while they sing to Mr. Parker the Studio Boss. Santa Monica beach with Hotel Casa del Mar in the left background.

<?php echo 32; ?>

Back in England a hopeful Mr. Poppy is told “No Joy”. The nave of Coventry Cathedral on Priory Street.

image no 32

Taken from a respectful distance. (PW)

<?php echo 33; ?>

At St. Bernadette’s, Mrs. Bevan reprimands Mr. Maddens for taking two pupils to the USA and fires Mr. Poppy when she learns that no producers from Hollywood were ever coming to visit.

image no 33

With thanks to everyone at Holy Family School for helping to find the locations. (PW)

<?php echo 34; ?>

Happier Christmases are recalled as Paul walks through the streets after Mrs. Bevan cancels the nativity. Bayley Lane in Coventry with the Cathedral ruins to left.

image no 34

In daylight. (PW)

<?php echo 35; ?>

Mr. Maddens is impressed when he goes to see Oakwood School’s extravagant production of ‘Herod’.

image no 35

With thanks to everyone at Bablake School for allowing access. (PW)

<?php echo 36; ?>

Finding Mr. Poppy, the two head into the city and remove the cancelled stickers from the posters advertising St. Bernadette’s nativity. The Cathedral Church of St. Michael on Priory Street.

image no 36

A rainy morning in Coventry. (PW)

<?php echo 37; ?>

Along with newspaper critic Patrick Burns (Alan Carr), the audience begins to applaud as the show gets under way. The nave of St. Michael’s Cathedral in Coventry.

image no 37

Heavy clouds make this shot almost as dark as the night time screen capture. (PW)

<?php echo 38; ?>

The Nativity is a great success and watched by Jennifer and Mr. Parker who arrive by helicopter. Coventry Cathedral in Coventry, West Midlands.

image no 38

Taken from the same position. (PW)

<?php echo 39; ?>

Now reunited, Paul and Jennifer decorate the house for Christmas. Lower Ladyes Hill in Kenilworth, Warwickshire.

image no 39

The same location without the dressing. (PW)

20i