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Tuesday September 25th 2018

Damage | 1993

Damage filming location: Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester
Damage location: the ‘Houses of Parliament’: Manchester Town Hall, Albert Square, Manchester | Photograph: iStockphoto / Andrew Medina

MP Dr. Stephen Fleming (Jeremy Irons) succumbs to a vary Gallic attack of amour fou to carry on a compulsively carnal affair with his son's fiancée, Anna Barton (Juliette Binoche). Louis Malle’s overheated adaptation of a Josephine Hart novel might have worked among the art nouveau excess of Paris, but seems slightly ludicrous in London.

The elaborate Gothic Revival interior of Manchester Town Hall, on Albert Square, Manchester, stands in for the 'Houses of Parliament’, where Stephen conducts his business. The town hall often stands in for London’s centre of government, more recently in Guy Ritchie’s take on Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey Jr.

The rest is the real London.

Damage filming location: Kynance Mews, South Kensington, London SW7
Damage location: Anna Barton’s London flat: Kynance Mews, South Kensington, London SW7

Anna has a very classy 'bachelor girl' pad in South Kensington, at 10 Kynance Mews, just off Launceston Place between it and Gloucester Road north of Cromwell Road, SW7.

Damage filming location: Frognal, Hampstead, London NW3
Damage location: the London home of MP Stephen Fleming: Frognal, Hampstead, London NW3

As a Conservative MP, Stephen Fleming lives in a quiet part of the leafy northern suburb of Hampstead, where the Flemings’ family home is 94 Frognal, opposite Oak Hill Park, Hampstead, NW3.

Stephen’s office is that of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 1 Embankment Place on Villiers Street alongside Charing Cross Station. The fountain in its pretentious lobby seems to have been designed by an impishly-minded architect to resemble a constantly flowing sewage outlet.

Stephen’s son, Martyn (Rupert Graves) works as political editor on a newspaper whose address is given as ‘City Road’ – which would make it The Independent. The newspaper office scenes, however, filmed in the offices of The Observer at Chelsea Bridge House, Queenstown Road, SW8.

As Martyn is about to move on to a new job, the Flemings celebrate in lavish surroundings of what was the Grill Room, and is now the Oscar Wilde Bar, of the Café Royal, 68 Regent Street, W1. The Grill Room was a favourite of writers including George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf and of course Oscar Wilde.

The Café Royal closed in December 2008, and has since been converted into a luxury hotel. Another family celebration is held here in the1987 Ismail Merchant-Ivory adaptation of EM Forster’s Maurice.

There’s a brief sojourn in Paris, as Stephen follows Martyn and Anna to the Lutetia Hotel, 45 boulevard Raspail, a turn-of-the-century hotel done up by fashion designer Sonia Rykiel at St.-Germain. Built in 1910 in the Art Nouveau style, the luxurious hotel later underwent an Art Deco makeover. At the beginning of the World War II the hotel accommodated many artists and musicians fleeing the Nazis but following the Occupation of Paris, the Lutetia was requisitioned as headquarters for German officers. It’s been frequented by such names as Pablo Picasso, Charles de Gaulle, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, André Gide and Josephine Baker. It’s claimed that James Joyce wrote part of Ulysses while staying at the hotel and, keeping up its artistic associations, occasionally offers 'pop-up' suites designed by celeb artists, who've included David Lynch.

Back in England, the country house, where Martyn announces his engagement, is Heale House, Middle Woodford, now a noted garden and plant centre in Wiltshire.

This early Carolean manor house, where Charles II is reputed to have hidden out during his escape to France in 1651, is four miles north of Salisbury on the Woodford Valley Road between the A345 and the A360.

Damage filming location: Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1
Damage filming location: Anna’s mother stays at the luxury hotel: Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1

There’s no stinting on luxury for these characters. Anna’s mother Elizabeth Prideaux (Leslie Caron) stays at the art deco Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1. This showbiz favourite was home to villain John Vernon in John Wayne’s only British film, Brannigan; Bongo Herbert (Cliff Richard) stays here in 1959 pop music satire Expresso Bongo;  and it features in rom-com Wimbledon; Karel Reisz’s Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment; and Woody Allen’s Scoop.

The French village to which a repentant Stephen finally retires is Villefranche de Rouergue, a medieval town 35 miles west of Rodez in the Midi-Pyrenees area of southwest France.