Undergoing a stint of self-isolation thanks to coronavirus? Been asked to work from home, or just cutting back on your social life for fear of someone sneezing on you? This is your chance to catch up on all of YouTube's great Londony content. Here are our recommendations for when you're cooped up inside.
Start, of course, with Londonist's own YouTube channel; its archives heaving with secrets of tube lines, bridges — and oodles of quirky trivia. We visit gurdwaras with huge kitchens, and people who live in abandoned hospitals, and find out what it's like to be blind in this city. Your journey into all of London's juicy nooks and crannies begins here.
If the Londonist channel gives you a taste for Geoff Marshall (and it will), you'll find plenty more of him on his own channel. He's doing all the important stuff, like visiting London's least-used stations and finding out if you can walk faster than the Northern line. Geoff's mate, the effervescent Jay Foreman also has a treasure trove of goodies on his YouTube channel, including stone cold London classics like Why Does London Have So Many Airports?
A project with lofty ambitions, 1000 Londoners has tasked itself with making documentaries on... yep, 1,000 Londoners. And they're not just any old documentaries either; these are lovingly made vignettes that capture the city's diversity — from fatberg fighters to Kindertransport refugees to cheerleaders to a lady who adds missing names to London's war memorials.
At the time of writing, there are 450 videos to watch. Hopefully enough to tide you over until coronavirus is a distant memory...
Is Your Area Changing?
We're always on the lookout for new stuff to watch, and recently the Is Your Area Changing? series has caught our attention. Fresh, insightful and popping with bantz between presenter Henrie Kwushue, and locals (including a few 'aunties'), the videos sheds light on all the vibrant personalities fizzing away beneath the gentrification of Brixton and Peckham.
Ever the gent, and ever the London oracle, Joolz roams out fair city with his bowler hat and umbrella, churning out fascinating trivia at ten to the dozen. Though he often touches on the obvious (think Harry Potter, Soho and Camden Town), he has endless anecdotes and titbits up his shirtsleeves. In one of our fave episodes, he takes a tour of Charlie Chaplin's old stomping ground, with two of the star's grandchildren. Even self-professed London experts will learn a thing or five here. It's like being on your own private walking tour — perfect if you're holed up indoors.
John Rogers reaches the parts of London other YouTubers don't. His 30-odd minute rambles around the outer limits of the city see him stock up on supermarket sarnies and strike out along lesser-known rivers, through woodlands and into idyllic villages you didn't know existed. There's a lilting, folksiness to these wonderful little escapades; perfect for Sunday afternoon viewing — when you know you've got work (from home) tomorrow. Someone give this man a slot on Countryfile.
Just Another Day
Of all the faded documentary odds and sods to sift through on YouTube, Just Another Day is one we can't recommend enough. The BBC series from the 80s is a tobacco stained time capsule, in which you get to meet Foley artists in Soho and lost property mangers in Waterloo station. We love all the people putting on their best television voices, too. The documentaries ate not all on one channel — search 'just another day documentary' on YouTube, and they'll come up. This is one programme you won't find on BBC iPlayer, which boasts a cache of vintage gems.
London is bloody hilarious, but if you're taking a couple of weeks off the comedy clubs, you can do a lot worse than watch the back catalogue of Comedy Unleashed. Filmed at Bethnal Green's Backyard Comedy Club, this collection of tight-fives (or tight-twos actually) are stuffed with always-opinionated, often-outrageous gags — and plenty of self-deprecating material from Londoners. Who knows, maybe you can laugh the Covid-19 away. Warning: may contain video of Toby Jones.
Talking of comedy, we're got a soft spot for Andrew Davidson, and his Limmy-esque jaunts around the capital, in which he turns the concept of, say, Roman roads into something that's both fascinating, and will have you spitting your tea out in fits of laughter. You'll also find a couple of videos of Andrew's on Londonist's own YouTube channel.