Last night we were happy to see a new series of 'Hustle' on BBC1. It's usually very entertaining and we were particularly interested because a few months ago I saw an interview with one of the stars, the veteran US actor Robert Vaugn, who said it was being filmed in Birmingham.
We switched on, eager for shots of the Bull Ring or Centenary Square, and were somewhat baffled to see the usual panoramas of Westminster, the 'Gherkin' and the Houses of Parliament. Until we looked more closely. We know Birmingham very well, and London fairly well. We know enough about London to be certain there isn't a garden square with a church in it within a stone's throw of the Gherkin - a garden square with a church in it that bore a startling resemblence to St Paul's Square, right here in Brum, except for that famous skyscraper in the background. Even closer inspection revealed what we think their secret is: they've filmed in Birmingham and then either unfocussed the footage so you can't really tell where it is, or digitally spliced shots of the London skyline into the background.
It's a shame, really. Why go to all the trouble of filming in Birmingham if you're going to pretend it's still made in London? Presumably they think the 'foreign market' will only recognise Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament, but why not take the opportunity to introduce a whole new city to fans living abroad? As it is, Brummies will be annoyed to see their city 'adulterated' whilst Londoners might be left scratching their heads at the strange juxtaposition of famous landmarks.
The episode was still great fun, though.