Where was ‘Yesterday’ filmed?

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Though it has the highest of high concepts at its centre – unknown singer-songwriter wakes to find he’s the only person who remembers The Beatles – Yesterday is a thoroughly British movie, employing a variety of locations designed to summon feelings of nostalgic national pride just the right side of sentimental. And though Danny Boyle is director, this is a piece that sits firmly in the film universe of its writer, Richard Curtis. That means, as with Four Weddings and a Funeral and his other scripts, there’s more than a hint of autobiography to those locations.

  • Where was Yesterday filmed?

    Curtis’s Notting Hill (1999), sealed that part of West London’s transformation from the bohemian hangout of Mick Jagger in Performance and Michael Caine in The Italian Job to the home of the laidback and loaded – people like Richard Curtis, in other words. Indeed, the door from which we see bumbling William Thacker (Hugh Grant) emerge was the writer’s own, at 280 Westbourne Park Road. There have been changes: Thacker’s travel bookshop at 142 Portobello Road was really an antique dealer’s but is now a gift shop bearing the film’s name, while the cinema where he memorably wears prescription diving goggles was the Coronet, now a theatre. That said, Portobello Market(pictured) where we see William walk through the seasons, still thrives despite its shifting clientele, while nearby Golborne Road, site of his friend Tony’s restaurant, remains relatively unaffected. And the gardens where Thacker climbs in with superstar paramour Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), off Rosmead Road, remain as firmly locked to non-residents as ever.

    His first film as director, 2003’s Love, Actually, is also London-based, but on a much broader scale, as fits a multi-strand movie. Juliet (Kiera Knightley) is married at the Grosvenor Chapel, South Audley Street in Mayfair, Harry (Alan Rickman) buys that fateful necklace in Selfridge’s on Oxford Street, Mark (Andrew Lincoln) moves between his gallery in Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell and his flat on Oxo Tower Wharf on the South Bank, and the bumbling PM (Hugh Grant again) reveals his relationship with his cleaner at a concert at Elliott School in Putney. We also see Somerset House and Whiteley’s department store but there is a return to Curtis HQ for Mark’s problematic card-based declaration of love to Juliet, in St Luke’s Mews in good old Notting Hill.

  • Where was Yesterday filmed?

    About Time (2013), which shuttles between London and Cornwall, features Golborne Road again (pictured) as the flat of romantic lead Mary (Rachel McAdams). Time-travelling Tim (Domhnall Gleeson) himself lives in Brondesbury Road, in an area to the north-west of the capital to which Notting Hill-ites usually relocate after having children, but the star location here is his parents’ home in the deep south-west, the beautiful Vault Beach near St Austell.

  • Where was Yesterday filmed?

    For Yesterday, Curtis marked a change, turning to his country pad, in Suffolk’s cultural enclave of Walberswick (pictured) for inspiration. As he told local papers at the time, ‘Yesterday was written in Suffolk, set in Suffolk, and begins and ends at Latitude [Festival]. I’ve rarely missed a Latitude since it first began, and so I’m overjoyed to be bringing it home.’ The most genteel fixture on the festival calendar, Latitude doesn’t quite compete for scale with A Star Is Born’s sequences at Glastonbury and Coachella but it’s certainly a lovely place to be.

  • Where was Yesterday filmed?

    We also see Ed Sheeran, who inspired the story and appears as himself in the film, performing at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium, shot at night with extras after his own run of shows at the venue in 2018, and there’s a visit to Penny Lane, the Liverpool street assigned to legend by The Beatles, but most of the locations are back in East Anglia. We see Jack’s girlfriend Ellie (Lily James) teaching in Ormiston Denes Academy in Lowestoft, where she spent several days as research and where Danny Boyle also conducted a workshop for pupils around the filming. The cottage we visit is in Dunwich, while other scenes were shot in Halesworth and Shingle Street, the latter seen in TV production Child In Time and the forthcoming Armando Iannucci adaptation of David Copperfield. Jack also plays a gig in The Reedcutter pub in Cantley, Norfolk.

  • Where was Yesterday filmed?

    There are additional shots of Essex’s ‘Sunshine Coast’, further south. Our hero, Jack (Himesh Patel), is from Clacton-on-Sea (pictured) so we see him busking in his home town, in the square and at the end of the Pier. Nearby Frinton, a great British holiday destination of years gone by, and its beach huts also make an appearance.

  • Where was Yesterday filmed?

    The big location shoot, however, was on the beach at Gorleston-on-Sea (pictured) in Norfolk. Here, Jack plays ‘Help!’ on the roof balcony of the Pier Hotel to a crowd of screaming fans in beachwear. This was filmed in the heatwave of summer 2018 with 6,000 extras recruited via social media, and conducted by Danny Boyle in full Olympics Opening Ceremony mode. It seems the director was rather taken with Curtis’s world himself, having picked out the locations on a tour with the writer. ‘It’s one of the great secrets of England, Gorleston beach,’ he told ITV Anglia, ‘it’s beautiful.’

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