Tag Archives: Harry Potter

George Smiley honed skills in Sidcup

Gary Oldman, who plays George Smiley in the newly released re-adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy directed by Tomas Alfredson, won a scholarship to Rose Bruford College in Sidcup, Kent, where he received a BA in Theatre Arts in 1979. (Note for purists: whilst technically now part of Greater London, Sidcup was once referred to as the ‘Gateway to Kent’ and retains Kent as its county reference due to the fact that the Royal Mail did not update the postcodes in 1965 when Greater London was created.)

Oldman is an extraordinarily versatile actor whose other film personae include Sid Vicious, Lee Harvey Oswald and Ludvig van Beethoven. He was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company during their 1985–86 London season and received an Emmy Award nomination for two guest appearances in Friends in 2001.  Multi-talented, he tutored Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe on bass guitar! His sister, Laila Morse, is also an actress, best known as Mo Harris in the BBC’s long-running series EastEnders.  Oldman currently lives in Los Angeles.

Other stars of the film with links to the South East including Benedict Cumberbatch who was educated at Brambletye School in West Sussex and John Hurt who was sent to St Michael’s Preparatory School in Otford, Kent at the age of eight.  The film’s stellar cast also includes Colin Firth CBE (Pride and Prejudice and The King’s Speech) and Simon McBurney OBE (think choir master/Teletubbies wedding in The Vicar of Dibley).

The South East of England offers many opportunities for film-location themed tours.  Films made in the region range from period dramas such as The Other Boleyn Girl and Jane Austen’s Emma and Pride and Prejudice to Brighton Rock, and the inspiration for 007 James Bond.  


Congratulations Brighton!

Brighton Pavilion in Sussex has been voted 4th best Tourist Attraction by Trip Advisor and 400,000 visitors a year cannot be wrong.

It is a wonderful place, you cannot help but smile when you see it.

It is the most marvellous architectural romp through all that was being discovered and brought back to England by the East India  Company. Onion domes, minarets, acanthus leaves – eclectic does not describe the half of it. Monochrome  on the outside to show off these feats of cast iron and cladding – and of course, tone it down a little so as not to affect the sensibilities of the local populace – it is a riot of colour and flamboyance on the inside.

Harry Potter meets the Maharajah probably sums it up nicely.

Built for the Prince Regent who later became King George IV it allowed him to let his hair down away from the stuffy London court of his parents, it is a princely pleasure dome. The dining room is truly spectacular with dragons perched over chandeliers, more than 3,000 lamps in all.

Even the kitchens have not been overlooked with palm trees up to the ceiling, but judging by the size of Prinny’s breeches, he was rather keen on his pies!

If you think I am exaggerating, have a peek for yourself, they are currently on show in the Prince Regent Gallery within the Pavilion – Dress for Excess: Fashion in Regency England until February 2012

Blue Badge tourist guide