Black Panther mini-series, Guerrilla, staged riots on the streets of London
For Sky Atlantic’s new series about the rise of Black Power in 1970's Britain, Guerrilla, Director John Ridley filmed in the boroughs of Camden, Islington, Lambeth and Hackney. The production’s most demanding scene, a riot featuring 450 cast and crew members, utilised Islington’s Mountgrove, Herrick, Wyatt and Canning Roads over a four-day period.
The six-episode series dives into the British Black Power movement of the 1970s, featuring the social unrest that followed and the relationships that forged as a result. The shoot was handled by FilmFixer, who recently worked on productions including Prime Suspect 1973 and Their Finest.
Location Manager, Georgette Turner explains: “shooting in London for a period drama is always challenging especially when you are working on a TV budget. Luckily we had great support from the film office and FilmFixer. Nearly all of our scenes required road closures which meant lots of suspending parking bays so that we could move current motor vehicles and replace them with period cars. Because of the big sequences involved in the series, the filming was split into three blocks. Peta Sinclair was the supervising LM, Simon Nixon managed block two and I did block three.
She continues: "our main locations were the incredible Empress Coaches building in Hackney, Central St Martin's in Holborn, Albion Square, the Candid Arts Centre and many other unique London locales. We had some problems with an alleyway in Hackney, it was an incredible location but unfortunately business works had already been scheduled there. It took much negotiating but we managed to pull it off and get some amazing footage. Shooting in London is incredibly complex with many deadlines for applications and permissions. We were very fortunate to have the support of Film London and Steve Dixon of the Met Police Film Unit.”
Regarding the use of Mountgrove Road, the show’s Script Editor, Anna Ssemuyaba adds: “around Mountgrove in Islington we were filming dramatic riots set in early 1970's west London. In fact that neighbourhood was also important to the Black Panthers in real life. They bought a house in Tollington Park with a donation from the Art Critic, John Berger. When John won the Booker prize in 1972, he gave half the winnings to London’s Black Panthers.”
High-end television shows that incur a minimum spend of GBP1 million per broadcast hour within the UK, are eligible to receive a 25% tax rebate to curb their overall expenditure. A plethora of television productions access the incentive each year, with standouts such as Game of Thrones, Black Mirror and Broadchurch.
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