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Harry Potter in North London

On the nights of April 1st and 2nd, 2003 they filmed some of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Palmers Green, North London.

On the Tuesday night they filmed in Hedge Lane: traffic crawled slowly forwards on both sides of the road as the triple-decker purple Knight Bus drove at normal speed in the opposite direction and turned right into a wide side turning. We could not get very close, but did have the opportunity to watch a small monitor. When they replayed the takes on it, the traffic appeared to be driving at normal speed, while the Knight Bus flashed between the oncoming vehicles and disappeared.

On Wednesday night it was much more fun (and warmer and drier!). Green Lanes was closed to all traffic between the Bourne Hill/Hedge Lane traffic lights and Fox Lane.

The Knight Bus in Green LanesThe Knight Bus drove towards London, while various cars and a red double-decker London bus drove slowly northwards.

Although the area was cleared while each shot was filmed, there were several places from which we could watch: from Green Lanes itself, south of the Fox, we could see the Bus approaching, weaving in and out of the traffic, then turn sharp - and I mean sharp! - left into Park Avenue, a fairly narrow road.

Between filming we were allowed to walk part of the way up Green Lanes so, down Park Avenue and through the back alley to Osborne Road, where it was possible to watch the Bus drive past the end of the road during the next take, then on to the best vantage point of all.

From the traffic lights we could not see the Bus make its sharp turn, but had a really clear view of it as it drove away from us, weaving from side to side of the road to avoid the oncoming traffic. It was also the end where the Bus was parked between takes: the photo above shows it waiting for its next run, together with two cars which had not yet gone back to take their places as 'approaching traffic'.

The Knight Bus, front view The Knight Bus, rear view

There was also more space for spectators at that end, hence a better view - and we were allowed right up to the Bus between takes, while the other vehicles returned to their starting places and the road was watered to give a good reflection.

Through the windows we could see the hanging lights and the beds inside the bus; the sign on the front just said KNIGHT BUS while those on the side and back stated: ALL DESTINATIONS (NOTHING UNDERWATER)

The film crew and local police kept the traffic and spectators in order: strict instructions to keep back during filming and NOT to use flash photography or it would ruin the take. Despite that, there were still people using flash and one idiot driver who, ignoring the police and the big 'No Entry' and 'Diversion' signs, tried to drive to the right of the 'keep left' sign straight into the oncoming vehicles. No wonder there were so many takes for us to watch!

All in all, it was two enjoyable evenings, a break from work, litter trays and computer - and when the film was released I tried to pick out the two brief shots that I saw being filmed...... which was not easy!

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