Of course I’d seen bits and pieces of Bond films on TV but it wasn’t until Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as 007 that I actually saw one in it’s entirety and there was no looking back after that. For that reason ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ (1997) will always hold a special place in my heart and it still remains one of my favourites.
The courtyard of Somerset House (below) at The Strand was used as MI6 HQ where Bond is summoned to on 23 minutes. Two years earlier the same place doubled up as St Petersburg in ‘GoldenEye’ (1995). This place is a short distance from Temple tube station and also appears as scenery footage at the start of ‘Love Actually‘ (2003).
The Atlantic Hotel garage in Hamburg (Germany) is actually the 4th floor car park of Brent Cross Shopping Centre (below) in North London in the London Borough of Barnet. It was originally shot in Germany but when they chose to re-shoot it it was too expensive to go back to Hamburg so it was done in London. It took ten days to shoot this car park scene and seventeen BMWs were used. Posters around the stores told shoppers that the explosions were nothing to worry about but the stunts created more smoke than anticipated which resulted in the fire service being alerted.
This place first appears on 54 minutes and is a 15 minute walk away from Brent Cross Underground station on the Northern Line though of course it would be far cooler to go there by car and park in the garage. Just remember to control your speed as you descend on your exit!
Bonus: Plenty of extra ‘Tomorrow Never Dies‘ material to tack on the end of this feature. Just before the switch to Brent Cross, Bond is actually in the real Hamburg and driving along the banks of one of the two lakes (below) in the city centre. I’m not quite sure if it’s the Aussenalster or the Binnenalster. My hunch is that it’s more likely to be the much larger Aussenalster as that’s where the Atlantic Hotel Kempinski is located. The Binnenalster is where my picture was taken in 2003 when I was living and working in Germany.
The action moves on to Vietnam but all is not as it seems as explained in ‘On Screen #1 – Vietnam‘. 007 is seen cruising around a series of limestone rock karsts dramatically jutting out of the sea on the 91 minute mark. We’re led to believe its Halong Bay in Vietnam, and though it looks remarkably like that area in the north-east of the country, it is actually Krabbi (below) in Phuket (Thailand).
Many websites state that the skyscraper which Bond and Wai Lin (Michelle Yeoh) descend (below) on 77 minutes on a banner is the Westin Banyan Tree Hotel (21/100 South Sathorn Road, Sathorn) BUT it is actually the Sinn Sathorn Tower on Krung Thonbrui Road, a kilometre down the road.
They make their escape on a stolen BMW R1200C motorcycle (below) leading to what provided the films most memorable action scenes with Bond and Wai Lin handcuffed together. Just ahead of shooting this scene, Brosnan and Yeoh were individually taken aside and told to not let the other get in the driver’s seat.
That very motorcycle was on display at the ‘Bond In Motion‘ exhibition in London (below) which I visited in August 2014. Also, on show was the aforementioned BMW 750iL which was remote controlled by Bond during the “Hamburg” chase.
Click on the links below to see the filming locations for the following 007 films:
For other London filming locations click on the links below:
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Trainspotting Mission: Impossible Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Bourne Ultimatum Harry Potter & The Philosophers Stone James Bond About A Boy Quadrophenia Bridget Jones’s Diary Goodnight Sweetheart Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels Basic Instinct 2 Batman Begins/The Dark Knight The Italian Job Snatch Rom-Com Special Notting Hill Paddington Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (Re-Visited) Entrapment Sliding Doors Eyes Wide Shut Four Weddings & A Funeral Love Actually A Hard Day’s Night The Da Vinci Code Mike Bassett England Manager Buster