Top Boy, a popular British television show, is known for its iconic location, the Summerhouse Estate. This estate, with its rich history of shootings and drug raids, serves as the heart of the show, showcasing love, loss, and complex relationships. To bring these stories to life, the show’s team turned to the real-life equivalent of the Summerhouse Estate, the Samuda Estate.
The Samuda Estate, located on the Isle of Dogs, was built in 1967 and continues to thrive with its 300 residents and vibrant social life. When the Top Boy team was searching for a location to represent the Summerhouse Estate, Samuda wasn’t their first choice. They initially sought an empty estate that could be transformed to fit their needs. However, finding such an estate proved difficult as many empty estates in London have been replaced by new housing developments.
Despite not finding a backup estate, the team decided to use Samuda, which had managed to avoid demolition. The team approached every single resident, requesting permission to film on the estate, and were delighted to receive unanimous approval. This was a remarkable feat considering the challenges that come with filming on such a large estate.
The scale of Samuda Estate posed logistical challenges. Assistant Locations Manager Andy Orr explains that even with meticulous preparation and security measures, a single inappropriate parking spot could derail filming. Fortunately, these incidents were rare, thanks to the team’s meticulous planning and ability to quickly resolve any issues.
Sharon Clachar, the services manager for One Housing, the organization managing the estate, played a crucial role in coordinating with the Top Boy team. She emphasizes the excitement and pride felt by the Samuda residents to have the show filmed on their estate. Many residents even became extras on the show and frequently offered refreshments to the cast and crew during filming.
While Samuda Estate was not in a state of disrepair like the on-screen Summerhouse, the show’s art department worked diligently to transform specific areas into abandoned flats. This involved quickly dressing and tidying up areas for shooting, all while respecting the residents’ living spaces. The success of Top Boy has also had positive financial benefits for the Samuda Estate, with the influx of funds being used for community activities and events.
Top Boy not only provided an engaging storyline but also explored contemporary issues such as immigration and gentrification affecting the residents of Summerhouse. Despite the challenges faced during filming, the Top Boy team and Samuda Estate managed to create a successful collaboration that brought the fictional world to life.
– The original article does not provide sources.