Film news

Chewing Gum stuck to the Andover Estate – and gave life-changing help to local young people

13th January 2017
Andy Picheta and Georgia Stores. Pic: Jodi Moore

Michaela Coel brought the second series of Chewing Gum back to Islington’s Andover Estate last summer. And then made a point of creating opportunities in the business for local young people.

The new series started on E4 last night – to more rave reviews for creator and lead actor Michaela Coel, who won a BAFTA for the first series of the hit show last year.

Here’s the trailer for series two.

Georgia Stores, grew up around the corner from the Andover, dreaming of breaking into the film business one day – never thinking that the estate itself would provide the opportunity.

She was 19 last summer when she landed two weeks’ work experience with the production – followed by a week’s paid work.

“Not long afterwards, I was offered work on the Marks & Spencer ad for Mrs Claus which filmed in Islington,” Georgia says.

“And that location manager kept me on for the next project, and on it went.

“When Michaela Coel’s location manager, Andy Picheta, took me on for the work experience I had so many questions. You can read up on getting into this business, but it is such a huge industry it’s hard to know where to start. He answered all my questions and very quickly I was using my own initiative and taking a lead on tasks. The production manager, Rachel Alabaster was also very supportive. I admired the hard work of everyone in the team, the very talented cast and the wonderful energy on set.

“Because I grew up around the corner, I could help the production with my local knowledge, which was great.

“I always aspired to work in this business but I never imagined the opportunity would be so local. When you have productions filming right on your doorstep it inspires you to believe it’s something you could get into.”

The production filmed at Platform, a local performing arts hub for young people. And while here, Michaela gave a talk to young people, also providing work experience two further young people, and taking a group of young people on a set visit.

Platform youth worker Krishna Ellsworth said the experience was invaluable.

“It was a great opportunity to get a taste of the reality out there,” she says.

“To see the nitty gritty, all the details that go in to a shoot, all the people involved, to see how a big series like this is put together. It’s so hard to get, otherwise. To see all the effort that goes in to getting a rose out of concrete.

“The Andover Estate is so close to Platform that it does give our young people the incentive to dream big, to keep working away.”

The production also made a donation to Platform and donated computer equipment to the Andover Estate’s Tenants and Residents Association.

The new series filmed throughout July last year. In the show, the Andover’s screen name is the Pensbourne Estate: the spiritual and actual home of lead character Tracey (Michaela Coel), her family and friends. The action takes place across the estate, including scenes in the main square, lift lobbies, stairwell and garage areas.

The production also filmed in the restaurant and bar B&H Buildings on Northampton Road in Islington, Clerkenwell Kitchen on Clerkenwell Close, St James Church in Clerkenwell, and along Moray Rd.

In Lewisham’s Montpellier Row there’s a pool party. And a book club meeting was held in Camden’s Goodenough College.