From Bridgeton to The Elephant Man, Hackney has been a historic setting for TV and film.

The Hackney Gazette had a look at some of the highlights that feature on the big and small screen.


Hackney Empire, Mare Street is the backdrop to several of the hit Netflix show’s interior shots, including an opera performance by Siena Rosso, who has an illicit relationship with Anthony Bridgerton.

The building was built in 1901 and has hosted historic names including Julie Andrews and Charlie Chaplin. Its patrons include Harold Pinter and Charlie Chaplin.

Top Boy

The home of the crime drama TV series, the Summerhouse Estate, is really Hackney’s De Beauvoir Estate.

The series also features Ridley Road Market, where Gris and his crew stand, and Broadway Market, where Dushane arrives on his return to the UK from Jamaica and buys an overpriced coffee.

Top Boy began as a Channel 4 drama in 2013 before being dropped by the station and picked up by rapper Drake who funded its revival on Netflix, headed by the same duo: Ashley Walters as Dushane and Kane Robinson, alias Kano, as Sully.

Season 4 is due to be released later this year.

Die Another Day

In the 20th installation of the James Bond series, 007 enters a cigar factory in Cuba on the search for a sleeper agent.

The interior was actually filmed in Simpson House, Stoke Newington Road, an old clothing factory built in 1929 that now houses a self-storage center and Beyond Retro shop.

The Elephant Man

The 1980 David Lynch classic starring Anthony Hopkins was filmed in the Eastern Hospital in Lower Clapton that has since been replaced by Homerton Hospital.

The setting was based on the London Hospital in Whitechapel where Joseph Merrick stayed, whose story the film is based on.


The 2019 street-cast film follows a group of teens growing up in East London and won Best Independent Film at the Independent Film Awards.

It was shot in the areas that many of the 75 per cent female cast grew up in, including Ridley Road Market, Rocks’ family home in De Beauvoir Estate, and the sleek flats of Old Street.