Perhaps it was too much to expect a faithful reproduction of an area like Crouch End on TV because, well... why would you want to see that? However, a lush, full-sound, full-scale cinematic screen-capture of the sights and scenes of Brick Lane is a far more exciting prospect and no doubt those waiting for the film adaptation of Monica Ali's Booker-shortlisted novel Brick Lane are expecting a few scenes to be filmed in, you know, Brick Lane. Let's shoot those expectations down right now: the producers, Ruby Films, have announced that they will not be filming the remaining scenes in Brick Lane due to pressure from local businesses and residents who oppose the book and the film adaptation.
The Campaign Against Monica Ali's Film Brick Lane is led by Abdus Salique, and in a fit of logic-twisting genius, he has threatened to burn Ali's book at a rally organised for Sunday. Citing the potential book burning as an act of his freedom of expression just as Ali's writing of Brick Lane was an act of freedom of her expression, the angry campaigner has promised to continue to oppose the film wherever the film crew go. It is also, according to this reasoning, freedom of expression when Monchab Ali, chairman of the Greater Sylhet council brings in up to 100 protesters from Chester and possibly a few more from Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham.
The opposition to the film stems from the original opposition to the book when it was first published in 2003: Sylhetis, who form 95% of Britain's Bangladeshi community, considered the book had stereotyped their community and had called them "dirty little monkeys." While outrage initially grew among those who had read the book, the current high feeling that has driven away the film production company seems to be borne mainly of hearsay and rumour rather than close reading of the text in question. History seems determined to repeat itself, in a hopefully less extreme variation of book-burning and literary persecution this time around.
The film adaptation of Brick Lane without any scenes actually filmed in Brick Lane is a bit like eating chocolate cake with chocolate-flavoured icing: it's close but not quite convincing enough. Still, if Ruby Films are looking for another London location, we hear Crouch End is free: no filming has taken place there... ever.