What do James Bond, Harry Potter and Jason Bourne have in common?
They have all used part of London's forgotten underground past as part of their smash hit movies.
The city is dotted with around 40 abandoned tube stations and a handful are helping to rake in the cash for Transport for London.
When Hollywood big-hitters want to film scenes on the Underground, Transport for London can give them access to various parts of the network which have been closed off for years.
Aldwych, which shut in 1994, and parts of Bank and Charing Cross station are just three well-known stations which have abandoned platforms, tunnels and escalators which can be transformed into film sets – at a cost.
For major movies, it can cost £2,000 an hour to hire these spaces, or £3,000 an hour if you want to provide your own train. You even have to provide your own electricity.
That compares to the measly cost of £2,800 for closing a London street for filming, or £3,300 if it is on a bus route.
Iconic scenes filmed using these sub-surface facilities include James Bond chasing baddie Raoul Silva in Skyfall at Charing Cross, which took 5 months of planning and filming for ten minutes of on-screen action.
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In London Has Fallen the set creators designed a bomb crater underground at Charing Cross, while in 28 Days Later, the stars hid from rampaging zombies by hiding in a station booth.
And TFL – which has its own special film crew department to manage cinematic projects – is also particularly choosy over what they will allow people to film, demanding to see the scripts before permission is given.
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They will not allow scenes to include suicide, fare evasion, vandalism or assaults on staff.
A spokesperson said: "You never see an airline put their name to a plane disaster movie. It’s our brand, it’s our company – and so if we are going to lend that out to a production company then we’ll have some say on what people can film.”
However, people thinking of trying to rent the locations for private parties and such like are out of luck as they are only opened for commercial projects.
However, people can take tours of various hidden sites, go to https://www.ltmuseum.co.uk/hidden-london for details.
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