The 'White Heat' of Tufnell Park
Will Paula Milne's TV drama 'White Heat' do for Tufnell Park what the televising of White Teeth did for Cricklewood and Willesden? Not so much make it chic and fashionable, but at least give it a toehold on the rim of modern British culture.
Milne's story about a group of sixties students who share a house in Tufnell Park, their young lives interlaced with the present day as they gather to mourn one of their number, is a wonderful piece of mythmaking about the '60s - the sex, politics, music and sense of opportunity. (Has White Heat Got the 1960s Right?, the Guardian asked). It's also about the first time Tufnell Park has made its mark in popular culture since ... no, it's simply the first time.
Tufnell Park's absence from public consciousness is all the more remarkable given the number of media types who live on the streets either side of Tufnell Park Road (the main drag is more resistant to gentrification, and still largely bedsit land). The wiki article on Tufnell Park has a list of luvvies and the like which puts the area almost on a par with Primrose Hill and Maida Vale.
But the entry is also reduced to commenting that 'the shabby genteel reputation of Tufnell Park made it a standard comic reference in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries'. Thanks a lot! And its claims for Tufnell Park's cultural footprint are wildly exaggerated - there is certainly no hard evidence to place Mr "Nobody" Pooter on the TP side of north London's railway tracks.
So, where in Tufnell Park is the 'White Heat' house? And where were the exterior scenes shot? Asking this morning at the Tufnell Park farmers' market (another sign that the area is making it - there's even 'Tufnell Park honey' ice cream on sale, a bit like Tupelo honey minus van Morrison), I was told that some filming was done by the side of the Tufnell Park playing fields ... and that the location manager lives locally and had been buying baguettes and broccoli and stuff a few moments earlier.
Anyone able to supply more details?
And while we're at it, can someone explain the denouement? The phone rang just as Orla's safe was being unlocked, and when next I turned to the TV the gang were all swearing to meet again soon, and - moist eyes, firm handsakes, and feline hugs - heading off in the direction of Tufnell Park tube, or Flavours deli or wherever.
LATER: a browser comments - Exterior shots are of a house in Avenue Park Road, Tulse Hill. Yours for 1.6 million: http://www.foxtons.co.uk/property-for-sale-in-west-norwood/chpk0654891. Can it be true? Even in its fifteen seconds of fame, Tufnell Park is eclipsed by, of all places, Tulse Hill!
Andrew Whitehead's blog
Welcome - read - comment - throw stones - pick up threads - and tell me how to do this better!