The Game – 1970s Spy Drama filmed in Birmingham

What’s it About?

Created by Being Human writer Toby Whithouse ‘The Game’ is a tense Cold War spy thriller set in London in 1972. MI5 learn of Operation Glass, the codename of a Soviet plot, from a defecting KGB agent and set up a team to investigate. Each episode will investigate a different Soviet agent as they try to understand the details of Operation Glass.

Who’s in it?

The Game stars Tom Hughes (Dancing On The Edge) as interrogator Joe Lambe, Brian Cox (The Bourne Supremacy) as MI5 head ‘Daddy’, Paul Ritter (Quantum Of Solace) as Bobby Waterhouse the head of counter-espionage, Shaun Dooley (Misfits) as Special Branch detective Jim Fenchurch, Chloe Pirrie (Black Mirror) as secretary Wendy Straw, Victoria Hamilton (Toast) as Sarah Montag, the deputy to Bobby Waterhouse and Jonathan Aris (Sherlock) as Alan Montag, husband of Sarah and a bugging expert.

A number of the cast have previously filmed in Birmingham before with Tom Hughes filming scenes at the Council House and the Grand Hotel on Colmore Row for Dancing on the Edge. Victoria Hamilton starred as a young Nigel Slater’s Mom in scenes at the former Birmingham Municipal Bank on Broad Street and also at the Grand Hotel for Toast. While Shaun Dooley guest starred in Hustle (S07E06) as Cool Hand Cooper and filmed scenes outside the Weslyan Building at Colmore Circus, inside the safe deposit room of the Birmingham Municipal Bank and in Commercial Street at the rear of The Cube.

Where’s it been filmed?

Newhall Street: Bomb blast injured are lead away by the police
Image Copyright: Roger Marks

The show has been filmed almost exclusively in Birmingham and the surrounding area, but for a few days the cast and crew moved to Wales and a spent a week in London.

The Game filming on Newhall Street

Newhall Street: Bomb blast victims stuck under the rubble are checked over by the production team.
Image Copyright:
Roger Marks

Birmingham Central Library provided the location for the 1970s MI5 headquarters and the production has also been seen at the Centenary Lounge in Moor Street Station, Moseley Road Baths, Central Fire Station at Lancaster Circus, Merevale Hall in Atherstone and The Old Rep Theatre in Station Street.

There have also been key scenes at Fletcher’s Walk, Reddings Road in Moseley, a big stunt scene on Newhall Street (see below), a scene on the Birmingham & Fazeley canal under the Snow Hill railway arch off Livery Street and a scene at a restaurant off Corporation Street. Filming also took place inside a building on Waterloo Street where I had a brief conversation with Tom Hughes while he waited to be called for his scene.

They have also used the open spaces of Cannon Hill Park and the Lickey Hills (doubling as Hamstead Heath) as well as the industrial area of the canal network in Smethwick.

When’s it on TV?

The Game wrapped the week before Christmas but as yet there are currently no published dates for the release of The Game, however it is expected to air in the first half of 2014.

Filming Location Images

While Doctor Who has his trademark blue TARDIS it seems that The Game are favouring the UK red K8 telephone kiosk as looking through the collection of images gathered from many sources it does seem to features heavily in a large number of the scenes.

Reddings Road Moseley: Shaun Dooley (Jim Fenchurch) completed scenes at this property in Moseley back in September 2013. This house features in Episode 3.
Image Copyright: Birmingham Evening Mail

TheGame_CornwallStreet

Cornwall Street: A pleasant August evening was transformed into a rain soaked street with three large water jets firing water high into the air. This scene features in Episode 2.
Image Copyright: Sparks68

Newhall Street Location Shoot

A video shot on Newhall Street on 27th October 2013 featuring a London Transport bus and a large crane camera. At 3:57 into the clip you will see Tom Hughes run into the scene from the right and slip on the pavement. He recovers well and there is no major harm done, I just hope he managed to stay on his feet for the actual take. Video by Paul Donovan (You Tube)

Newhall Street Filming Stills

A set of images taken on 3rd November 2013 while The Game were filming on Newhall Street in Birmingham. Click on any image to open a slideshow of all images.

Filming locations used by The Game featured in the Birmingham TV Locations walking tours in 2014.

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  1. The Game – 1970s BBC Spy Drama | btvfloc
  2. The Game – Latest Update | btvfloc
  3. The Game confirmed for BBC 2 – Thu 30th April 9pm | btvfloc

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