Creating the icon: Prime Suspect 1973 filmed across London
Jane Tennison in 1973 might be a doe-eyed police newbie, a long way from becoming the iconic Prime Suspect character we last saw in 2006. But the series doesn’t shy away from car chases, gunfire and explosions, in the prequel series starting on Thursday on ITV.
London’s communities worked together with the production to make the 70s period locations available and to manage the stunt sequences with little disruption.
Along with loads of action filmed across Lambeth, Southwark and Kingston in particular, the production also made use of a real (though disused) mortuary in Lewisham.
FilmFixer manages the film office service for Southwark, Lambeth, Kingston and Lewisham. FilmFixer director Andrew Pavord said, “It was brilliant to see the Ladywell Coroners Court and Mortuary being used as an actual mortuary in the series.
“It’s a great location; a red brick Grade II listed building, built in 1894. It’s still fully equipped with medical furniture and supplies. In fact the medical instruments already there were used, an actor was put in one of the real fridges (after it was deep cleaned), and “bodies” were laid out on the original slabs.
“London still has brilliant locations like this tucked away.”
Andrew Pavord adds that extensive community consultation was needed ahead of the explosions, car chases, gunfire and other action sequences filmed.
“Together with the production, we worked very closely with the Pullens Estate and Hampton Court Tenants and Residents Associations in Southwark and the Lambeth Estate Residents Association. Very generous donations were made to the groups to thank them. With their co-operation, these incredible scenes were possible.”
The series filmed between June and August last year.
In Lambeth’s Whittlesey Street, a criminal is caught red-handed, police cars pull up, and the chase is on.
In Southwark’s Bagshot Street, an empty shop was dressed as a 1970’s bank, with armed police officers racing in to make an arrest.
In Kingslake Street, we see Jane Tennison directing traffic, with a whistle.
We see police walking along Grove Lane in Camberwell, and interiors filmed in Hampton Court Palace Hotel in Hampton Street.
Characters drive through Abbey Street, Long Lane, Great Dover Street, Harper Road, East Street, Thurlow Street, Kinglake Street, Albany Road and Shorncliffe Road.
In Penton Place, a man is chased up on to the roof and threatens to jump, but Jane Tennison tries to persuade him not to.
In Iliffe Yard, outside the Community Centre, we see actors going in to the pub. We also see actor walking up to an abandoned car there.
And in Kingston the Blagdon Road carpark hosted a car chase as well as some interior scenes on the top floor.