Historic venues offer a sense of grandeur and nostalgia for any filming location. Their rich cultural history adds depth and authenticity to any storyline. Our striking modernist building with its unexpected historic interiors has been popular with film and television producers since it was opened in 1964 and we have played host to a whole plethora of films and TV series. Here, we revisit some of the sets RCP London Events has hosted throughout the years.
1. Lockwood & Co.
In 2022 our first floor exhibition gallery and stairs featured in multiple episodes of the British supernatural detective thriller television series Lockwood & Co. The exhibition space on the first floor of the central Lasdun Hall, normally home to the RCP Museum’s temporary exhibitions, featured as the library where the team go to carry out research.
The gallery was made to look as though the space extends much further than it does in real life.
2. Barclaycard Sidekicks
RCP London Events also featured heavily in a Barclaycard advert with Nick Frost. The building on the CCTV behind Frost showed various views of the inside of the building. For example, his accomplice is seen sneaking through the galleries – including hiding next to the anatomical tables display cases – to the Council Chamber, which was used as the room full of servers. The ad finishes with a view of the Barclaycard Sidekicks’ ‘inconspicuous van’ parked outside the building.
3. Wonder Woman 1984
Our venue’s exterior, Lasdun Hall and Council Chamber featured prominently in the Wonder Woman 1984 movie. In her civilian identity as Diana Prince, Wonder Woman works as a museum curator at Washington DC’s Smithsonian Institute. During a museum members’ gala, Diana is reunited with her resurrected love interest, Steve Trevor. As Steve is inhabiting another man’s body, Diana initially doesn’t recognise him, but is finally convinced of his identity when the two embrace in our iconic Council Chamber.
4. The Crown
In season 3, episode 1 of The Crown, the Lasdun Hall plays the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.
As she is due to give a speech at the gallery, Queen Elizabeth II seeks advice from Royal Collection curator, Anthony Blunt, but is shocked to discover before the episode is out that he has been working as a Soviet spy for decades.
The UK establishment decide it would be too embarrassing to admit their failure to identify the spy sooner, and he is allowed to keep his position. Feeling betrayed, Elizabeth looks daggers at Blunt during her pointed speech, and afterwards Prince Philip has a quiet word with the curator on one of the galleries overlooking the Lasdun Hall. Blunt is able to buy Philip’s secrecy by revealing he has evidence of the Prince Consort’s involvement in the Profumo Affair.
5. Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
In the second ABBA-filled musical, the Osler Room hosts a fancy dinner scene when the characters are in Sweden.
6. Paddington 2
RCP London Events’ exterior and reception were used by the makers of Paddington 2 to double as a police station. After Paddington is framed and arrested for stealing a pop-up book from an antique shop, the Brown family go to the police to attempt to clear his name.
7. The Program
Our Council Chamber and Thomas Cotton room featured in the Lance Armstrong biopic, The Program, when the venue stood in for the headquarters of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the governing body of cycling, which is actually in Geneva. The two sets were used for an intimate meeting with Lance and UCI officers and the Council Chamber for the press conference scene where Lance restates that he has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
During filming, Chris O'Dowd who played the journalist David Walsh, the first to go public with his suspicions that Lance is doping, was regularly seen in between takes lying stretched out on a sofa near our reception.
8. Silent Witness
Our venue was also used for one episode of crime drama Silent Witness. Our exterior, Lasdun Hall, Officers Corridor and Dorchester Library featured in ‘The Prodigal, Part 1’ in season 14 episode 9 of the drama. The episode saw RCP London Events turned into the ‘Royal Dutch Embassy’, where a shoot-out and police chase at the beginning of the episode occurs. Complete with several fake police cars, the filming caused quite a stir among locals and tourists visiting Regent’s Park. The Officers Corridor was the location of a shooting, and the Dorchester Library hosted a wounded casualty.
The Dorchester Library, housing the Royal College of Physicians’ impressive rare books collection, has also been host to a number of programmes, including:
- The 34th Richard Dimbleby Lecture, 'Shaking Hands with Death' by Terry Pratchett, was broadcast on February 1 2010 in Dorchester Library. The lecture was introduced by David Dimbleby and delivered very charismatically on behalf of Terry Pratchett by his friend the actor Tony Robinson due to Terry's advancing neurological condition, with Terry sitting beside him on the platform. The event was described by The Lancet as 'an impassioned plea for the rights of the terminally ill to die at the time and place of their own choosing'
- BBC World News’ Global Questions, ‘A Covid Vaccine: The End of the Pandemic?’ in the Dorchester library
- Gardeners Question Time at Regent’s Park, London, broadcast on 5 Feb 2012
Finally, the modernist Council Chamber was also the set of the ‘This is Science’ ad by British Heart Foundation.