Sunday, 12 October 2014

Between 1996 and 2000 The Last Belle production was housed in a studio at the delightfully named Wardrobe Place.

It's an utterly secluded little courtyard, and despite being within a two minute walk of St Paul's Cathedral, it's unknown to most Londoners, hidden away as it is behind an dull little tunnel. Inside house number 2 (which came complete with a standard London ghost - never seen by me but spotted occasionally by others) we drew, painted and shot quite a fair chunk of The Last Belle.

It was a fantastic place to come to work every morning. From my top floor room I could stretch my eyes over the rooftops opposite to the dome of St Paul's Cathedral; working late into the night I would be kept company by the chiming bells echoing around the moonlit courtyard walls. It was a pretty Dickensian existence, only with electricity, running hot water, and a 35mm rostrum camera in the basement.

Layout maestro Roy Naisbitt, producer Rebecca Neville and director Neil Boyle on the front steps of the studio. 

Sticking to my rule that every location in The Last Belle must be based on a real place (for new readers to this blog there's more on locations Here and Also Here), I snuck our studio building into the film, whizzing past in the background during a fast camera pan:

I was adamant the right-hand basement windows must be lit up for this night-time shot. The reason? Because it was behind these windows that our rostrum camera was tucked away. As a tip-of-the-hat to our brilliant cameraman John Leatherbarrow I made sure the camera room windows were blazing away in honour of the many late nights he put in painstakingly photographing our artwork one frame at a time.

Each time this shot flies by it reminds me what an amazing job John did - indeed, what an amazing job the whole crew did. We had absolutely no money to play with, but even if I'd been given a million pounds I couldn't have gathered a more talented bunch of artists.

Thank you all! And please switch off the lights when you leave.