I’m going out tonight. Or at least, I plan to. Popping down to the river at midnight.
It comes down to a detail in my Christmas Murder Mystery, The Nighty before Christmas, that has annoyed me since I shot it a year ago.
I had spent some time around midnight at New Scotland Yard, just a few days before Christmas Day last year, 2020. They had a Christmas Tree and I grabbed a few close-ups of baubles and lights, etc. with busses and London taxis in the background. I also did a few shots of the illuminated ‘New Scotland Yard’ sign. One of which, included in the first video and the trailer, had the clock face of Big Ben behind it.
For the last four or five years, Big Ben (or rather, The Elizabeth Tower) has been surrounded by scaffolding as they have replaced masonry, cleaned the tower, and repainted and regulated the clock face. When I shot it last year, there are clear lights surrounding the tower, including several above the clock itself.
There is nothing more iconic on New Year’s Eve than the face of Big Ben. The chimes have welcomed in the New Year since it was built in 1859. Just as the firework displays on Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Eiffel Tower are seen on TV screens around the world, so the Big Ben clock face is famous for that magical second as one year slips away and the next begins.
Therefore, midnight is the most famous time on the Big Ben clock. Yes, it’s the midnight that sees in New Year’s Day and, in my Murder Mystery, the murder takes place at that other magical midnight, a week earlier, as Christmas Eve gives way to Christmas Day. The exact moment the murder takes place.
So it would make sense to have a non-scaffolded tower with a clock that is at midnight exactly.
Not only was the tower covered in scaffolding last year but I also shot the Scotland Yard sign with Big Ben behind it at about 13 minutes PAST midnight. That’s annoying.
Only recently did they start to remove the scaffolding. It hasn’t all gone – I saw them removing scaffolding the other day and it still reaches up halfway, but at least the clock is clear.
So my idea is to pop down simply to re-shoot that one shot. It won’t make a huge difference to the Christmas Murder Mystery as a whole but my hope is that one detail will make a difference.
I am a firm believer in getting the details right. The rest will follow. It seems an awful lot of fuss for something so small and, to be honest, I’m not particularly looking forward to driving down to the river, setting up the camera, getting the shot and then, later, re-editing it back into the films, but it has to be done.
So I’m going out tonight, Wednesday 29 December, 2021. I’m popping down to the river at midnight. Or, at least, I plan to.
If, when you play The Nighty before Christmas (and I do hope you do), you notice a lack of scaffolding around Big Ben, behind the New Scotland Yard sign, you’ll know that I went ahead with my plan.