Love Parks: Five fab moments on film
Published: 15 August 2018
The parks and open spaces of Wandsworth have featured in a number of classic and quirky films and famous pop videos.
As part of this summer’s Love Parks campaign we have picked five memorable moments from screen history in which our park life came into its own. To help with our research we are grateful to the good people of the South London Club www.southlondonclub.co.uk.
One of the most popular places to film in London is Battersea Park. A favourite for film directors over the past 50 plus years (see more examples below) it is still in vogue and can be seen in the latest Mission Impossible film currently playing in cinemas. But one of our favourite park moments is from a more modest movie, the 2007 comedy Run, Fatboy, Run. It’s where Dennis (Simon Pegg) is running through the park and hits ‘the wall’ in the film’s climatic scenes as he attempts to finish a marathon late at night, supported by hundreds of cheering supporters, on one leg!
Brad Pitt was filmed swimming underwater in Tooting Bec Lido in Guy Ritchie’s caper Snatch (2000). However, to be honest, you can’t see anything of the lido itself and it could have been shot anywhere. A far better moment, displaying Britain’s oldest open-air pool in all its glory, is the video for All Saint’s 1997 Number 1 smash, Never Ever. The sleek modern footage is interspersed with a flickering home video of the girls with their loved ones in happier times. This is clearly shot around the lido and those famous coloured doors of the changing rooms are a fitting contrast to Melanie’s, Shaznay’s, Nicole’s and Natalie’s current “black hole”.
Think we’ve had it hot recently? That’s nothing to “man’s final obituary” in the 1961 classic disaster movie, The Day the Earth Caught Fire. Battersea Park is one of the primary locations used in the film and our moment has to be the scene set in the park’s funfair which shows what entertainment folk enjoyed back in the day when the fair was still around. You can also see the funfair in the background while a pleasant bit of flirty banter goes on between the male and female leads before the deadly heat mist puts a dramatic end to their courtship.
Staying in Battersea Park there’s a lovely moment in the Oscar-winning The Iron Lady (2011) when Meryl Streep and Olivia Coleman are driving through the park. It’s 1974 and Streep is playing Margaret Thatcher and Olivia Coleman is Carol, and the mother is teaching her daughter how to drive. To encourage her Maggie says, “The only thing you should remember is that everyone else is either reckless or inept” at which point Carol nearly knocks a cyclist off his bike! We’re sure our drivers are much less reckless nowadays…
And finally…it’s very difficult to pick one particular instance from 2013’s Common People because the whole film is one great moment - a love letter to Tooting Common. Set entirely in the common it weaves together six stories and more than 30 characters triggered by the disappearance of a precious parrot. But if we had to pick one moment it’s the joy of the cyclist riding by the lake with balloons tied to the back of his bike shouting, “Good morning, common! Good morning ducks! Good morning swans! Hahahaha!”
We would love to see photos of your favourite Wandsworth Park. Just tweet or Instagram us a photo of your pictures at @enableLC , @EnableParks , @wandbc and remember to include the hashtag LoveParksWandsworth
Find out more about our campaign at: www.wandsworth.gov.uk/loveparks
Wandsworth Film Service is managed and delivered by Enable Leisure and Culture on behalf of Wandsworth Council. The Enable Film Office team offers a one-stop service for all your filming and photography needs in Wandsworth. The film office is located in the herb garden in Battersea Park and can be contacted on: 020 3959 0011/ 020 3959 0012 or email: email@example.com