The Long Good Friday

Every time I walk around whatever part of the Thames Path is available on the Peninsula at any one time (precious little at the moment) I’m reminds of The Long Good Friday, the movie that catapulted Bob Hoskins from adult literacy info-dramas to megastar. ¬†Perhaps less so now that the satanic old factories, warehouses and wharves are being razed to erect bland steel and glass apartments whose clones already adorn one-building’s depth along most of the Thames Path between Waterloo and Putney, but there are still one or two creepy places that bring John McKenzie’s terrifying 1980 East End gangster movie to the edge of my teeth.

I always thought it was just a feeling I got – that South East London dockside was much the same as North East London dockside and that it was coincidence that it reminded me of it so much.

But then I discovered something. Guess where Barrie Keeffe, the movie’s scriptwriter, was living when he wrote it? East Greenwich, that’s where. Admittedly, in a Guardian article he says he was a journalist in the ‘real’ East End, where he met a load of gangsters, and that from his place in Greenwich he could watch the new developments at Docklands, but surely no one could live that close to the docks in the Peninsula and not be just a tiny bit influenced by them?

He doesn’t mention in the article which pub he met the Irish Republican who gave him the idea for the terrorism-meets-mob story, but it could well have been any of the East Greenwich pubs, most of which have gone now, just as much as it could have been an East-End pub.

I’m not sure how cool it is to claim the Greenwich could have been the grubby inspiration for a film as gruesome as The Long Good Friday, but hey. I’ve just done it.

I don’t know exactly which house or street that Keeffe lived in, but it’s been done up since, as this article from the Guide last year explains.


the attachments to this post:

long good friday
long good friday

long good friday 2
long good friday 2

Long good friday 1
Long good friday 1

8 Comments to “The Long Good Friday”

  1. RogerW says:

    Hey, interesting stuff!
    LGF is one of my favourite films, and part of that is due to being familiar with so many of the locations, from the (former) Governor General pub at Bellingham, to the warehouses along Wapping High Street.
    Another part of the reason for why I like it lies in the way that – right back in 1980 – it was so accurately predicting the redevelopment of so much of the Thames riverfront!

  2. Hedley says:

    Barrie lived in Annandale Road

  3. Meirion says:

    Great movie even if Lew Grade who financed it was so outraged at the ending that he wouldn’t release the film. Some fantastic lines from Barrie Keefe’s amazing script presumably written next to the Pleasaunce here And Phantom you’re right to think of the Long Good Friday as you stroll past the remains of the gangster tributes at Lovell’s Wharf and parade past Enderby Wharf in your tricorn heading for the Dome (or the latest road block on the path). As you glide past the site of the old Antarctic fisheries humming the Francis Monkman theme tune (like an Arctic Monkeys or Palace fan) every commuter jet you see sailing past Canary Wharf on its way to City is landing on Harold’s Royal Docks manor. As you say Bob (and Helen Mirren and eventually Pierce Brosnan) were catapulted into Hollywood and Harold’s henchman Derek Thompson was catapulted into errr… Charlie in Casualty. Sorry Lew, you were wrong. This is the end titles sequence to end all titles sequences…

  4. Jacky says:

    Doesn’t seem that long since I spotted him nearby … has he moved from Annandale Road?

  5. Mario says:

    Wondering through the River Path this morning from the back of the Lovell development near the Pelton Arms to the Dome was a bit scary – all the windows of the old factories have been smashed in and there was glass everywhere. Evocative of a gangster film but it could really do with a clean up! Maybe we should get a group together if the council won’t!

  6. Nelson's Left Eye says:

    Mario, that’s the spirit!

    We have become a nation of dependants where people will leave it to the state/council to sort out a problem and, when it inevitably takes forever for them to do anything, will just bitch, moan and live with it.

    Rather than live in resentful misery with an eyesore, it is often easier on morale to just grab a broom/paint brush/tool kit and fix it ourselves.

  7. Tim says:

    I’m preety sure the Turkish Bath / Sauna scene was shot at Ladywell Baths

  8. Meirion says:

    Morden Baths according to Pierce Brosnan in some doc that you can find on the web. He says it was his first film, two days work, non-speaking part – not much future in that. He turned up at Morden Baths for one day and became a cold-blooded killer and then his second day was spent gurning backwards out of the passenger seat of a Jag at the cameraman in the backseat while holding a silenced hand gun for what seemed like ages. Only made sense when he saw the final cut. At least he didn’t get typecast…