Filmed in and around London, BBC thriller Informer takes us to corners of the capital rarely seen on screen.
The six-part drama stars Paddy Considine and Bel Powley as police officers involved in counter-terrorism, with newcomer Nabhaan Rizwan playing their newly-recruited informant in the War on Terror.
So where exactly was the drama filmed? Here’s what we can tell you…
Where was Raza’s estate filmed?
Raza’s estate and the fictional nearby “Bridge Town Estate” were primarily filmed at the Thamesmead Estate in Southeast London.
Built on the south bank of the River Thames, the estate mainly consists of social housing built from the mid 60s onwards, and has previously been seen on-screen in A Clockwork Orange, Misfits, and The Firm.
Producers were keen to get the residents involved with Informer, with a total of 70 locals taking part as extras.
“We filmed in quite dense housing areas where there are a lot of people who don’t want to be disturbed,” producer Julian Stevens said.
“We reached out to locals early on to try to and involve them. We sat down with residents from Thamesmead in South East London and listened to their concerns. They didn’t want to be taken for granted and wanted to be engaged in the process.
“We came out of that with some brilliant supporting artists and really friendly local residents who let us use their houses as holding and rest areas.”
In addition to Thamesmead, producers created the fictional estate with the help of the Silverlock Estate in Southwark, a council estate in the Rotherhithe area of London.
Where was counter-terror HQ filmed?
You might think the counter-terrorism police would have swanky headquarters, but instead we’ll see Gabe (Paddy Considine) and Holly (Bel Powley) take their orders from big boss DCI Rose Asante (Sharon D Clarke) at a scruffy nondescript old building.
“It’s basically in like an empty factory that can’t be traced, it’s like a secret place, they’re all in plain clothes or in disguise and in my head I assumed they’d be working in MI5 or something,” Powley said.
“We did a lot of our [filming] in an empty factory building that was so dusty, everyone started getting really bad coughs. We shot a lot around Silvertown, near City Airport.”
The production team took over The Silver Building, located on an industrial tract in West Ham. Built in the 60s for British Oil and Cake Mills and used by the Carlsberg Tetley Brewing Company, the brutalist building has been derelict for decades – although efforts have now begun to regenerate the space.
Where were scenes filmed across southeast London?
Other locations included Peckham’s Atwell Estate, the K-1 Salon on Rye Lane in Southwark (which stands in as the Shar family’s Delights Hair & Beauty Salon), and Nunhead Cemetery.
The Ark Walworth Academy School makes an appearance, and further filming locations were used around Lambeth, Lewisham and Deptford.
Raza can also be seen walking the streets around Shoreditch and Brick Lane.
Where was the deportation centre filmed?
Scenes at the deportation centre were actually filmed at Printworks nightclub on Surrey Quays Road.
The huge building previously housed the giant printing presses used by the London newspapers, and this was once western Europe’s largest print facility. Now it’s gained a reputation for electronic music and club nights.
Where was the boxing gym filmed?
Scenes at the boxing gym were filmed at Grove Park in Southeast London, at the Territorial Army Centre.
Where was the wedding filmed?
Producers found a residential home in Orpington, Bromley, where they spent three days filming.
Describing it as “a quaint country house,” Rizwan said: “That was great. That was awesome, we were just there all day in this big mansion.”
Why was Informer filmed in London?
Producer Julian Stevens said: “The story being set in London was one of the key things that appealed to me. Not just because I was born and live in London but because I wanted to see my city shown in a way that it often isn’t. Parts of East London and the fashionable areas are shown on television but the less sexy, less glamorous locations go unnoticed.
“It’s in those hidden corners and in the shadows that this story comes alive. There are all shades of life, joy and happiness happening in London and we had a chance to go into those places and tell a compelling story. London’s a unique city, it has people from all walks of life, all cultures, all races and I think this show does to.”
He added: “I don’t think you could have set the story in another city. London is so rooted into this piece that trying to fake it would have been counterproductive and would have lessened what we’ve got. It’s a big city to get around, it’s congested and noisy and not cheap but our team rose to the challenge.”
Explaining his approach to the London locations, director Jonny Campbell said: “We darted all over South East, East London, and Shoreditch and Brick Lane, and tried to make it feel like one place because obviously London’s ever changing, we wanted to give it a sort of – both a specificity, but also make it – it’s a fictional place as well.”
This article was originally published in October 2018