With Jack Bauer returning this week in a new series of 24 shot in London, expect to see beefeaters garrotted, the fourth plinth flattened and an extended chase sequence on a couple of Boris bikes. Actually we’re not sure any of these things happen but we do know there’ll be scenes that were filmed on location around Charing Cross, Holborn, Vauxhall and Trafalgar Square.
And although the capital might need saving from fictional terrorists, it’s actually doing quite nicely thanks to the US TV crews now coming over to enjoy tax breaks on high-end shows such as this. The measures were implemented last April with the dangling carrot being a 20% rebate on programmes costing more than £1m per hour. The mayor’s office also earmarked funds to entice productions to come here, while Film London is tasked with administering the initiative and making sure the city is as accessible as possible.
Alongside 24, we can also expect to see a London-set episode of HBO’s Veep in which Julia Louis-Dreyfus arrives to take part in the centenary commemoration of WW1.
Just recently aired was a London special of Elementary – a show whose original gimmick was to transport Johnny Lee Miller’s Sherlock Holmes out of London and into New York.
Perhaps the most curious-looking show currently in production is The Royals featuring Liz Hurley as a fictional modern day queen. Apparently she is “sexy, devious and conflicted” in a story that is based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It’s uncertain whether this is going to be a comedy or drama.
24: Live Another Day starts 9pm, Wednesday 7 May 2014 on Sky 1.
See also: American sitcoms in London.