York’s historic streets are able to endlessly transform to create diverse cinematic experiences, making it an ever popular location for period and modern drama.
We all remember the fateful journey Harry Potter makes to Platform 9 ¾ on his first journey to Hogwarts (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, 2001). As Hagrid hands Harry his train ticket, the young wizard is barely visible over his trolley of belongings. Little do we know that the pedestrian bridge which the much loved characters stroll across is none other than our very own York Railway Station! The next shot returns to Kings Cross Station, yet the crossing of York’s bridge allows our mind to conjure Harry’s journey as he traverses the divide between the muggle world, and the magical realm of Hogwarts beyond.
York’s ability to create the illusion of transportation is continued in ITV’s Lost In Austen (2007): based upon a girl’s ‘golden ticket’ into the other world of her most adored novel – a chance any ardent Harry Potter fan could only dream about! Amanda Price is emotionally, and literally, drawn into the fantasy of her favourite tale: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. York’s streets become the location of Amanda’s journey into the disorientating fictional world of Austen’s imagination.
Soon after, the cast of the TV series Crusoe (2008 USA, 2009 UK) venture to the city, making use of The Shambles, York Minster and College Street in their remake of Defoe’s classic. Not only does the tale linger between the worlds of fiction and autobiography, it explores the craving we all carry to bring a visual representation of our cherished novels to life.
York as a cinematic location depicts our desire to submerge ourselves within the novels we adore. The city captures our imagination in a way which transports us, just like Amanda Price, into the world deemed intangible.