Danny Boyle brought drones, sirens and gunfire to Lewisham when making the pilot for his new comedy drama series Babylon – yet residents are happy to welcome him back.
The Oscar-winning director’s pilot show airs this Sunday February 9th at 9pm, on Channel 4. And, despite the imposition caused, residents are delighted that six more episodes are on their way.
FilmFixer labels Boyle among the most considerate directors it’s worked with. During filming late last year, Boyle knocked on residents’ doors to talk about the disruption he’d be causing. Then, in January, he returned to thank residents with a Q&A talk at the Horniman Museum.
About 80 attended, enjoying the chance to hear why Boyle chose SE23 for filming, his Olympics opening ceremony experiences, and more.
He explained he needed great views over London for the shoot, so Forest Hill was the perfect location. However, he also realised the shoot would disturb a lot of people, filming noisy action sequences through the night. So shoots were moved around the area, quite deliberately, so as to limit the disruption in each neighbourhood.
Babylon location manager Tony Hood explained, “The key to the whole thing was the verbal communication and on the ground planning. The crew was always polite, making the time to say hello and informing people of what was happening.”
FilmFixer arranged the shoot on behalf of client council Lewisham. FilmFixer director Andrew Pavord said, “Danny Boyle and his crew were exemplary in their consideration for residents, working hard to be as unobtrusive as possible. This kind of filming, in a city as built up as London, could have caused a lot of headaches. But thanks to the crew’s courtesy, the response from residents has been nothing but positive. Indeed, everyone is looking forward to welcoming the crew back for the filming of new episodes.”
Samples of correspondence to Babylon location manager Tony Hood, from Lewisham residents:
1…. “Can you please pass on our thanks to Danny Boyle for his memorable talk. Impromptu, friendly, hugely informative, engaging, clear, self-effacing. And all for an event which was entirely his suggestion. That the person who directed the Olympic opening ceremony should come and speak to the residents of our street is something I can still not quite believe. What a wonderful man!
Thanks too for your organisation (I’m glad the seating was not quite as tight as you had feared) and to the crew who were so considerate and friendly during the filming…”
2. … “I just wanted to drop you a line to say thank you so much for organising the Danny Boyle talk to residents on Wednesday. It was a great night and we really enjoyed it.
Please pass on our thanks to Danny himself, it was so public spirited of him to offer to come and talk to us like that and he was so entertaining and interesting to listen to.
It was a great bonus after the filming which we actually really enjoyed and I’d like to also pass on our thanks to the crew who, as someone said during the evening, were so courteous, polite and easy to have around. I think you could have actually planned to film the entire series in our area and no-one would have complained!
The trailer for Babylon looked great and we’re really looking forward to watching it, we feel privileged to have had something that looks like it will be of great quality filmed around here…”