Local Expert Recommendation: The King’s Speech, London as film set

By London Expert: Gavin, United Kingdom, March 2011

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Much has been made of the phenomenal success of the King’s Speech. It is an excellent film with fine performances from Colin Firth as the stuttering King George VI (the present Queen’s father) and Geoffrey Rush as the speech therapist, Lionel Logue.

It is also a reminder that London is one of the greatest film sets! With its 2000 year history and buildings of every conceivable style, it makes a memorable backdrop for the movies. No wonder, film directors love shooting here. As writer and director Richard Curtis of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill fame has said, “it always seems to me that the star of the film is London”.

But things are not always what they seem! Some famous sites don’t allow or are not suitable for filming so other buildings stand in for them! For example, in the King’s Speech, Lancaster House became Buckingham Palace.

One of the most beautiful scenes in the film was of the King and Lionel walking through a park. This was filmed early one morning in Regent’s Park, named after the Prince Regent, later George IV.

Some of the London street scenes were filmed at the Old Royal Naval College at Greenwich which has appeared in countless films. It has even stood in for the Pentagon!

One location that was filmed in the “right” place was the exterior shots for Logue’s consulting rooms in Harley Street. The historic site was in the basement of #146, but the street still looks as it would have done in 1936. Since the mid C19th, Harley Street has been the centre for private specialists in medicine and surgery. 

I always try to include references to films made in London on my tours, and some clients have even requested film-related tours, so why not come and experience one of the world’s greatest film set for yourself! 

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