The streets around Portobello Road have appeared in many feature films over the years, but while most people will remember the 1999 film Notting Hill starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, our new Here & Now column ‘Portobello on Film’ discovers some lesser-known cinematic gems that were filmed on our streets.
Prompted by a recent conversation with a Wornington Green resident, who has lived in the area for over 40 years, we discovered a 1950s Ealing Studios classic crime drama The Blue Lamp.
In its day, The Blue Lamp was hugely popular and it took more money at the box offices than any other UK film that year. It tells the story of a new police officer, Andy Mitchell (played by Jimmy Hanley), who is taken under the wing of veteran PC George Dixon (Jack Warner). The film is notable for its car chase scene – one of the first extended car chases in British film – which takes in a number of local streets including the Harrow Road, Ladbroke Grove and Portobello Road, before heading south towards what is now the Westway, and beyond…
Hollywood legend Dirk Bogarde plays young criminal Tom Riley, in the role that arguably launched his career, but the centre of the film is Jack Warner’s character PC George Dixon. Does that name sound familiar? Well, in an early example of a movie spin-off, PC Dixon later got his own BBC TV programme – Dixon of Dock Green – which started in 1955 and ran until 1976.
The Blue Lamp is available to buy on DVD and retails for about £7.99.
Enjoy the Movies on us
Would you like the chance to win a pair of free tickets to the cinema?
For a chance to win two adult ‘Armchair’ tickets to the Electric Cinema, Portobello, for a viewing of your choice, all you need to do is email Patricia Poorman at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your name and address, to enter the prize draw.
Competition entry deadline: Friday 19 February