Billy Elliot | 2000
The fictitious town of ‘Everington’ is the village of Easington Colliery, alongside Easington itself (mirroring the events of the film, the actual colliery closed in 1993, bringing major unemployment to the area).
Billy’s house, the fictitious ‘5 Alnwick Street’, was 5 Andrew Street. The street has been demolished, replaced by a carpet of featureless green, though you’ll still recognize the wall on Ashton Street, at the bottom of Billy’s street with it’s faded bingo sign and, nearby, the spot where Mrs Wilkinson (Julie Walters) drops Billy (Jamie Bell) off at the top of Angus Street after his dance lesson.
In the heat of the miners’ dispute, Billy’s brother Tony (Jamie Draven) is arrested after a frantic chase by the police on Anthony Street.
The street with the sea view, down which Billy dances, is Embleton Street in nearby Dawdon.
Also in Dawdon is Dawdon Miners’ Welfare Hall, Mount Stewart Street, which became the miners’ hall where Billy’s dad announces he’s passed the audition, only to discover the glum return to work.
With the mine at Easington Colliery closed, the mining sequences had to be shot way to the north at Ellington and Lynemouth Mine in Northumberland.
The bridge Billy and Mrs Wilkinson cross is the Tees Transporter Bridge, known as the Transporter or the Tranny. England’s only working transporter bridge, its suspended 'gondola' can carry up to 200 people, or nine cars, across River Tees from Middlesbrough, on the south bank, to Port Clarence on the north in 90 seconds.
The 'Royal Ballet School', to which Billy heads for an audition, is a real anough place, which you'll find in Richmond Park, southwest London. The film, though, substitutes the rather grander New Wardour Castle, a couple of miles southwest of Tisbury in Wiltshire. Built in 1776 for the Arundell family, the Palladian mansion was used for decades as Cranbourne Chase School for Girls. The school closed in 1992 and following financial difficulties and repossession, the house was snapped up in 2010 by fashion designer Jasper Conran as a private home.
On its grounds, you can still visit the ruined Old Wardour Castle, which you’ll probably recognise from Robin Hood, Prince Of Thieves.
As ever, there’s a bit of location trickery: it’s not all up North. The interior of the youth centre where Billy practises his dance moves is in London. It’s the Hanwell Community Centre, Westcott Crescent, Hanwell, London W7. This incongruous Gothic block, looming over modern suburban houses, was once the reception block for the Victorian poor school where young Charlie Chaplin became a resident after his mother’s breakdown. In more recent times, rock band Deep Purple came together in its rehearsal space.
Billy’s proud dad and brother go to see the grown-up Billy (in the person of dancer Adam Cooper) in Matthew Bourne’s radical male Swan Lake, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, Haymarket, London SW1.