Some may say Coventry doesn’t spring to mind as a prime film location but the city has had a few brushes with cinematic fame. Ask anyone to name a famous film made in the city and they are most likely to say Nativity! or The Italian Job.

The Nativity! series of films are pretty much synonymous with Coventry and the city has been at the heart of all of them. The first film was made in 2009 and despite the successful franchise and subsequent films, it remains a Christmas classic. Various sites across the city were featured, including Holy Family Primary School, Coventry Cathedral and the old Coventry Telegraph office in Corporation Street. The newspaper’s then editor, Darren Parkin, even had a cameo role in the film as a reporter. Stars in the first film included Alan Carr and Martin Freeman, and the third instalment of the popular festive comedy featured Martin Clunes. So far there have been four films in the series with talk a fifth could be in the pipeline.

There are few clues connecting Coventry to the legendary sixties heist movie The Italian Job. and it was not until October 2019 that the location where one of the most famous car chases in cinematic history was filmed was at last officially recognised. An unforgettable Mini car chase scene from The Italian Job, supposedly in Turin, was shot in Stoke Aldermoor. In the 1969 film Minis made their way through sewer pipes under the park next to The Lindfield and close to Corpus Christi Catholic School. In 2019 a commemorative plaque was installed to mark the spot where Minis were lowered by a crane into the disused sewer pipes in 1968. The underground pipe system is thought to stretch for around 300 metres. The location of the plaque is approximately 50m on the path between the Barley Lea and Corpus Christi School in Ernesford Grange.

So, outside of that, what are some of the lesser known movies that have been filmed, or at least partly filmed in Coventry?

Lady Godiva Back in the Saddle (2007)

In this comedy, the plot centres around a teacher who attempts to stop an American gangster and a corrupt mayor from building a casino on the site where Lady Godiva rode in Coventry. It starred Phil Cornwell, James Fleet, Caroline Harker and Faye Tozer from Steps in the leading role. It also featured Neil and Christine Hamilton. And the movie was filmed across Coventry at various locations including The Rocket pub, the Council House, Coventry Cathedral, War Memorial Park, Coombe Abbey and the Ramada Hotel.

Spooks: The Greater Good (2015)

Based on the BAFTA-winning international television series, Spooks: The Greater Good was actually filmed in Coventry. Production crews spent several days in the city filming dramatic scenes in Coventry city centre. Junction two of the ring road near Hillfields stood in for the M4 motorway as terrorists on high-powered motorbikes broke open a security convoy to release a fellow conspirator. Other scenes were shot in Birmingham and London. Starring Peter Firth, Kit Harrington and Jennifer Ehle, the film was a huge success raking in a massive $5.3 million at the box office.

Danny and the Human Zoo (2015)

Evidently, 2015 was a big year for movies coming to Coventry as Danny and the Human Zoo was also filmed in the city. Written by Lenny Henry, the hour-and-a-half film is a fictionalised account of his teenage years in the 1970s and stars Kascion Franklin as Danny Fearon, the Lenny Henry character, and Lenny Henry himself as Samson Fearon. Scenes of the movie were filmed at The Albany Theatre in Earlsdon, and lucky locals even got the chance to work on the filming and meet some of the stars including Richard Wilson.

All in the Game (2006)

All in the Game is based on the power-politics of football, and the movie starred Ray Winstone. In this football drama, the audience is provided with an insight into the dark side of the game, as a passionate manager is torn apart between loyalty to his son, a dodgy football agent and his hometown club. It was filmed at the Ricoh Arena, now the Coventry Building Society Arena, the home of Coventry City Football Club. One scene was actually filmed in front of football fans on a matchday against Derby County which involved Ray Winstone kissing the pitch. Coincidentally, Coventry City went on to thrash Derby 6-1 the same day that scene was filmed.

Immune (2016)

Make-up artist Krystal Sidwell, 18, director Steve Taylor and zombies on the set of Immune, the new zombie horror movie being shot in Coventry. Immune is a post-apocalyptic movie set in Coventry. In the thriller, the zombie apocalypse has been and gone. Nine months later, James Fisher played by Christopher Clarke survives alone in a deserted Coventry immune to the virus that has ended the world. But then, another survivor appears from nowhere bringing emotional conflict that is harder to deal with than the hordes of nocturnal undead. During filming, over 60 local volunteers showed up to the set of the movie to take part, and the budding actors queued from the early morning to get their zombie make-up done.

 

Source: www.coventrytelegraph.net

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