Homes Used As TV Locations in 'Partners In Crime'
OK it hasn't aired yet but we are so excited that we had to start working on it. The new version of Partners In Crime is intended to refresh the Agatha Christie franchise on TV with a first series that is set to broadcast on BBC One in 2015. The six-part series is an adaptation of two Tommy & Tuppence detective novels by Agatha Christie. The first three episodes are an adaptation of 'The Secret Adversary' and the last three episodes are of 'N or M'? Set in the 1950s the series contrasts post war London, a scary place with bombsites and bombed out buildings, rat-runs and dangerous little side streets, with Tommy and Tuppence’s house in suburbia which is,s a much quieter more comfortable and gentle place. In later episodes the action moves to locations in Cromer and Norfolk.
To adapt a book for TV requires some interpretation of the original story. Lots of parts were expanded, and some were just altered slightly. Writer Zinnie Harris said "the characters of Tommy and Tuppence are in their twenties in The Secret Adversary and are falling in love, whereas in our TV version they have been married for some time".<ref>Interview With Writer Zinnie Harris. BBC Media Centre 2015 </ref>. Georgina Lowe and the production team decided to move the action from the 1920s to the 1950s, at the beginning of the Cold War to build on the tension inherent in the books.
There are some really interesting moments in British history during the '50s; Britain was rising out of the ashes of the Blitz, rationing was still in force, the Cold War was just beginning to grip, in 1952 Ian Fleming wrote Casino Royale, in 1953 Stalin was just about to die and Elizabeth was taking the throne. Director Ed Hall said "It’s great to drop Tommy and Tuppence into the beginning of Cold War Britain and adapt the adventures that Agatha Christie wrote in her original books. Tommy and Tuppence also look great in this series as the 50s is a very interesting period for fashion; it is the year that Dior arrived in London. Tommy has a Cary Grant look about him and Tuppence has an Audrey Hepburn silhouette. Its a cocktail of contemporary and classic"<ref>Interview With Director Ed hall. BBC Media Centre 2015 </ref>. "Creating 1950s England is a challenge and more so because we had such an enormous number of locations to find for our series." <ref>Interview With Producer Georgina Lowe. BBC Media Centre 2015 </ref>.
David Walliams said of the decision to locate in the 1950s "I think it is an interesting period as it’s not overly familiar to audiences, some time frames you keep coming back to, for instance the 1920s with the music and the fashions. But we just felt let’s try and do something a little surprising and set them in the '50s".
Houses Used as TV Locations in Partners In Crime
The houses used as locations had to reflect the personal and home style that started to creep back in to the culture of the 1950s. The early 1950s are a period just prior to the Americanisation that crept into British culture and houses by the end of the decade. Interiors would have reflected touches of art deco and, arts and craft while beginning to break away from the traditionalism of their parents. Recreating these interiors meant scouring the style books of the time for inspiration with help from the prop industry. "There are fantastic prop houses out there that have huge stock that they constantly replenish. Often, they will offer up things. There are shelves and shelves of fantastic items that you can utilise for shows."<ref>Interview With Production Designer Stevie Herbert. BBC Media Centre 2015 </ref>.
Recreating the exterior houses of the 1950s is not as easy as you may expect given the amount of alterations we have made to the UK housing stock. Production designer Stevie Herbert said "it’s difficult to find '50s as a base layer because everything is so developed every year. We have modern extensions put on the back of the houses etc. There is a lot of collective memory out there so there are numerous sources and it’s easy to source elements of that period. Its just difficult to recreate whole scenes using real locations."<ref>Interview With Production Designer Stevie Herbert. BBC Media Centre 2015 </ref>. We will have to wait and see the full list of houses used as the series progresses.
San Souci Guesthouse meant to be in fictional Leahampton on the South Coast, but filmed in Cromer, Norfolk.
Englefield House also used as a TV location in the 2006 Poirot episode 'Taken at the Flood'.
To see more examples of Moderne style houses click here
Apartments Used As TV Locations In Partners In Crime
Highpoint 1, Highgate London used as Lady Edgware’s penthouse flat in 'Lord Edgware Dies' and in ‘The Affair at the Victory Ball’)
Lichfield Court, Richmond, Surrey used in 'One, Two, Buckle My Shoe'
To see more blocks of flats in Moderne style click here
Other Buildings Used As TV Locations In Partners In Crime
The producers of Partners In Crime used a variety of locations from period trains at Didcot Railway Centre and Sheringham, to large country houses like Englefield House and scary, derelict, industrial wastelands by the Thames at night. They needed to place the first story firmly in London with appropriate backdrops. So the London streets featured were actually London streets. They filmed in the City of London, on the streets of Soho, South London and by the River Thames. However, the producers were faced with the reality of modern London streets and as Georgina Lowe says "For all the great architecture that still exists we had to spend time covering up modern fixtures and fittings or removing them either for real or digitally during post-production2.<ref>Interview With Producer Georgina Lowe. BBC Media Centre 2015 </ref> The later episodes feature Cromer in Norfolk and, as Director Ed Hall says "Cromer is a very untouched place. You can almost point the camera anywhere when you get down to Cromer front because 1950s Britain is alive and well and rather beautiful."<ref>Interview With Director Ed Hall. BBC Media Centre 2015 </ref> According to the Eastern Daily Press, specific sites used in Cromer included the beach, pier and the local council’s North Lodge building.
See Also In Chimni
Chimni Wiki Page: Is My House 'Art Deco'?
Chimni Wiki Page: 'Moderne' Houses
Chimni Wiki Page: 'Moderne' Blocks Of Flats
Chimni Wiki Page: Homes Used As TV & Movie Locations
Other Interesting Web Sites
At Chimni, our interest is mainly in the houses and flats used in Poirot, particularly as they illustrate the International Moderne style and its impact in the UK. However, there are some wonderful blogs and websites covering Poirot locations in general, and the styles and designs of set and clothes. We would particularly recommend the following:
TV Locations http://www.tvlocations.net/poirotlocationindex.htm
London Footprints- Art Deco http://www.london-footprints.co.uk/artdecobldgs.htm
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