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Thin Man Films

London on Screen: What happened to the house in Mike Leigh’s ‘Naked’?

Revisiting the Dalston pad at the heart of the 1993 London classic

Written by
Thomas Hobbs

The location: 33 St Mark’s Rise, Dalston

Photograph: First Independent Films

The scene: The scene Mancunian drifter Johnny (David Thewlis) washes up in Hackney in Mike Leigh’s 1993 classic, slumped on the doorstep of his ex (Lesley Sharp). The musty bedsit becomes a base from which the nihilistic philosopher staggers his way through London, leaving a messy trail of sex, violence and barcode conspiracy theories in his wake.

Then: In a 2008 book, Mike Leigh recalls how, during pre-production in 1992, his ex-wife, Alison Steadman, and a location manager ran into his office shouting: ‘We’ve got it!’ when they discovered this gothic E8 pile. He liked that the detached house could be viewed from so many angles, something he wanted viewers to do with the film. ‘It was the edge I was looking for,’ remembers Leigh. 

Photographer: Gobinder Jhitta

Now: The exterior has barely changed, although the house is now divided into a pair of two-bedroom flats. But the once-fading east London suburb where Leigh filmed is now a desirable postcode with flat whites for a fiver. According to Zoopla, the road has seen a 200 percent rise in property values over the last 20 years. Johnny wouldn’t recognise it. 

A 4K restoration of Naked is in cinemas Nov 12. Mike Leigh season runs at BFI Southbank, Oct 18-Nov 30.

Where does Naked appear in our list of the 32 best London movies of all time?

What is Mike Leigh’s favourite London movie? Filmmakers and actors pick their faves.

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