10 Downing Street In The Movies - How they film the famous address.

UPDATED APRIL 2022.


I've always been fascinated by the TV and film portrayals of Number 10 Downing Street so I thought I would look into how they film outside the world famous address.


DOPPELGANGERS

There appears to be two main real locations used as a look-a-like for number 10.


RSA House

(The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce),

8 John Adam Street, London

This is the most used and most broadly realistic of the two locations. It's actually the fire escape of the building which has to be slightly modified by the art department prior to filming. These include changing the glass above the door and adding the metal lantern and ornate metal frame. The building was built by the Adam brothers who famously designed much of Georgian London in the Neoclassical style.

Fake Downing Street
© FindThatLocation

Some of the movies/TV shows filmed here: ‘The Iron Lady’, ‘Day of the Triffids’, ‘The Boat That Rocked’, ‘Bodyguard’ ‘Mother, Father, Son’ and ‘Louis Wain’, Anatomy of a Scandal (Netflix 2022).

The Iron Lady.

Anatomy of a Scandal (Netflix 2022)

© Google Street View

You can see above how convincing it is even without all the set dressing.

 

10 Adam Street, London

Fake Number 10 Downing Street
© IanVisits

7-10 Adam House is located on Adam Street just off Strand in London.


The similarities with Number 10 Downing Street are amazing.


This door has now become a well visited tourist attraction. One of the odd things about 10 Adam Street is that it appears blurred on Google Street view and has done since the service launched. Maybe a security measure, if anyone knows why please do get in touch.

© LondonOfficeSpace

You can work in this building from £300 a month.


Watch this quirky video below at the address.

MOVIE SETS

There have been many movie sets built of the famous street over the years.

© SPLASH News

The set above was from "The Crown" and was built at Elstree Studios on the former site

of the Big Brother House.

© Andrew Teebay
© Andrew Teebay

The mock up of Number 10 being constructed above in 2015 was located at the Exchange Flags in Liverpool for a Jimmy McGovern drama called 'Reg" staring Tim Roth.


In 'Love Actually' (above) Hugh Grant plays the Prime Minister. Filming did not take place in the real 10 Downing Street. A set was built at Shepperton Studios and as you can see its very good. In order to replicate it accurately, Curtis and production designer Jim Clay went on a two-hour tour of the building given by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.

For many years there was a permanent door to Number 10 at the Granada Studios Tour which people could go and visit. I remember being there in the late 90's. It would appear it was first built for the 1986 Granada production of Jeffrey Archer's "First among equals.

You can see footage of the street here which was filmed while someone was on the tour.

The image above was taken as it was being demolished.

One of the best recent portrayals of Number 10 was in "The Darkest Hour'. The main reason it looks so great is because it's the REAL Downing Street. It had been aged in Post Production to suit the period.


HIRE YOUR OWN NUMBER 10

You can hire your own door and wall sets from Event Prop hire and Stockyard Props. See here.


THE REAL NUMBER 10

10 Downing Street has been the home to British Prime Ministers since 1735, gifted by King George II to Robert Walpole. Located in London, next to Whitehall, Westminster Palace and down The Mall from Buckingham Palace, the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister is arguably one of the most powerful and famous residences in the world. See inside the famous address here.


The Famous Black Door

The original six-panel Georgian door was made of black oak and was installed in 1772 when Lord North was Prime Minister, as part of extensive renovations that saw three Downing Street properties knocked into one of suitable grandeur. In 1991 a replacement is made of black gloss-finish steel, installed for added security after an IRA attack, when John Major was PM, saw a mortar land in Number 10’s back garden. (When it needs maintenance, it has an equally robust twin that holds the fort.) The door itself cannot be opened from the outside.


Despite appearances the letter-box is not real at all. It's a shiny brass plate simply made to look like one (for security purposes) inscribed with the words First Lord of the Treasury.


I hope you have enjoyed this article which took some time to research.


If I've missed any studio sets or locations please contact me and let me know.


Sources of my article: https://www.thersa.org/ , https://findthatlocation.com/, https://www.sceen-it.com/, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq4qiifOaFGW3a2oljSfxUg, https://www.ianvisits.co.uk/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downing_Street, https://www.ironmongerydirect.co.uk/research/10-downing-street/, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/, SPLASH News, https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/incoming/gallery/mcgovern-filming-10107545, https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/number-10-downing-street-door-cat-london-prime-minister/


 

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