Written by Shona Smith on Nov 6, 2018. Posted in On Location

The Little Drummer Girl filmed in London, Greece and The Czech Republic

The Little Drummer Girl the latest John le Carré adaptation produced by The Ink Factory in co-production with the BBC and AMC, follows an international espionage plot. Action takes place in Germany, London, Austria, Yugoslavia, Israel and Palestine but London, Greece and The Czech Republic hosted the majority of filming.

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The series set in 1979 follows aspiring actress Charlie (Florence Pugh) who makes a living performing in pub theatres around London. Out of the blue her theatre troupe are sent on a rehearsal trip to Greece where Charlie meets enigmatic mystery man Becker (Alexander Skarsgard). Before long she finds herself lured into an international espionage operation.

The pub theatre where the troupe perform referred to as The Red Dragon in the series is actually Stoke Newington’s The Mildmay Club in Hackney. Established in 1988, the club is one of London’s last remaining working men’s clubs with a nine-tabled snooker hall and a large main hall. The Mildmay is a popular filming location because its interiors can easily adapt to both contemporary and period settings. Period productions to have used the club include feature film Made in Dagenham and long-running series Call the Midwife while contemporary drama Killing Eve recently used the hall.

IMG_5690FilmFixer manages the film office service for Camden, Haringey and Islington. Three days were spent shooting at University College London in Camden and homes of main characters were located in Islington. Everett details “a private location in Islington’s Oakley Road was used as Charlie’s flat, a punk-like squat where she entertains her theatre friends, and where, without her knowledge, spies are rifling through her belongings" while Beckers  apartment which has a view of the recognisable BT Tower was found in Islington's Bevin Court. At Amwell Street in Islington, 100 cast and crew filmed inside a house used as the safe house for characters Helga and Rossino.

 

Elsewhere in London, the brutalist Alexandra & Ainsworth Estate in Camden doubled for Munich’s Olympic Village built in 1972 for the Summer Olympics.

Karen Everett, CEO of FilmFixer explains that “a particular exterior on Rowley Way was described as a key match, an authentic looking location for the Munich Olympic Village. The lead actors visit a plaque commemorating the 1972 massacre of Israel’s Olympic team and police officers”.

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The other scenes set in Germany and Austria were shot in The Czech Republic where the architecture was more appropriate to late seventies settings.

While Prague hosted much of the production, various regional locations were also used. Filming took place in a 70s style transmotel in Sokolov as well as a main square with brightly coloured facades in the small town of Cheb. It was in The Czech Republic that John Le Carré made his customary appearance in a screen adaptation of one of his books, playing a waiter serving coffee to Becker.

Early Release

Twenty-four days were spent shooting in Greece, where the Hellenic Film Commission helped the production secure rare permits to shoot at the Acropolis and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio.

The coastal town of Elefsina doubled for Lebanon while Palestinian scenes were shot in the Athenian suburb of Nikaia. Simon Cornwell co-CEO of The Ink Factory noted that “The variety and scope of filming locations available in Greece has made it the perfect place in which to bring The Little Drummer Girl to life. We were able to shoot not only extraordinary scenes set in Greece, but scenes set in Lebanon, Israel, Yugoslavia (as it then was) and Rome as well”.
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The UK offers a 25% rebate to TV Films and Series with a minimum core expenditure of GBP1 million per broadcast hour.

The Czech Republic offer a 20% cash rebate to feature films and TV Series spending a minimum of CZK15 million in the country. The rebate includes post-production work.

Greece currently offer a 35% cash rebate to films spending at least EUR100,000 in the state and TV series spending EUR30,000 per episode.

The Czech Film Commission, The Hellenic Film Commission and Film London will be attending FOCUS The Meeting Place For International Production in London on the 4 & 5 December 2018. Click here to receive your free delegate badge so you can discuss the possibilities of shooting here, or in more global locations.

Images: BBC / The Little Drummer Girl Distribution Limited and Jodi Moore of FilmFixer

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