One of the perverse joys of watching a London-set film is to spot all the geographical errors. How many times have we seen a car chase shoot off west down Piccadilly, only to end up in Strand; or the mid-Victorian period drama with a backdrop of Tower Bridge?
In part 1 of a series, we round up some of the best bloopers from children's films set in London.
One Hundred And One Dalmatians (1961)
We've always been puzzled why the titular pups in this film have American accents, even though they're born in London to dogs that speak the Queen's English. And why are there so many cameos from hounds out of Lady and the Tramp, when that film was set thousands of miles away in the US? We now have answers.
The London of One Hundred And One Dalmatians isn't actually our London at all, but a realistic film set, presumably somewhere in America. How do we know? Look at this poorly screengrabbed shot from the 'twilight bark' sequence'. St Paul's Cathedral is across the river, indicating that we're looking north from somewhere in Southwark. But that's impossible. At London's latitude, the Moon can never appear in the northern sky, as it does here. Clearly this is a fake London.
Mary Poppins (1964)
Remember in the song A Spoonful of Sugar, the robin 'feathering his nest, has very little time to rest, while gathering his bits of twine and twig'? Did the robin ever strike you as looking a bit, well, foreign? That's because he's an American robin (hilariously also called Turdus migratorius), while London only has European robins (Erithacus rubecula). Further, the shot of the bird in his nest reveals that he's shacked up with another male robin. It's a delightfully progressive message, but ornithologically unlikely. Whatever next? Tea parties on the ceiling?
One Of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1975)
This fondly remembered farce is most notable for its chase scene, whereby a group of feisty nannies drive a dinosaur skeleton through a fog-bound London. (And, of course, Peter Ustinov's now-cringeworthy turn as a Chinese crook, complete with slitty eyes).
Although the film is set in the 1920s, the filmmakers have done little to hide more recent buildings. This shot from Bankside shows the General Post Office's Faraday Building (green arrow), which opened a decade later. And see those lumps behind St Paul's (red arrows)? They'll be the Barbican towers — nearing completion when the film was shot in the mid-70s.
A Christmas Carol (2009)
One of the most filmed stories of all time, this 2009 version features Jim Carey as the loathsome Scrooge, as well as the three seasonal spirits. It also includes plenty of goofs. An early scene sees the miser and the Ghost of Christmas Past flying through the overburdened arches of Old London Bridge, which had been cleared of its houses in the mid-18th century, well before the period.
And then there's this publicity shot, which shows the Houses of Parliament under construction. It's a beautiful image. Look in the background, though, and you'll see that St Paul's has been transposed to Lambeth, while Tower Bridge makes an anachronistic appearance in Vauxhall.
This excellent live-action version of the beloved bear's adventures makes delicious use of London as the main setting. Here, for example, we see the fictional tube station of Westbourne Oak.
Transport geeks will immediately recognise this as Maida Vale from the distinctive mosaic in the background. Non-geeks can also work this out by simply reading the letters on the side of the station.
Further instalments of this series will look at other genres. Feel free to leave tips about your favourite goofs in the comments.