In August 2019 I organized and carried out a recreation of the 1966 film The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery at a privately owned railway station in Gotherington, Gloucestershire. After that, I thought it would be a great idea to shoot in London and visit the locations with a group of girls to perform our take on the modern-day movies of St. Trinian’s. This project took 13 months to plan and was postponed on three occasions, then on Sunday 13 September 2020, the girls marched on to the quiet streets of London.
The girls are a mixture of friends and actresses, some of whom have appeared on stage and screen. Each character had their own identity and it was crucial to keep the theme in line with the films that came out in 2007 and 2009. The hockey sticks were kindly donated by Tewkesbury School. The whole project cost just under £1000.
The locations used in the shoot were Trafalgar Square, 10 Downing Street, Millennium Bridge, London Eye and The Globe Theatre. First, we visited ‘10 Downing Street’ – or rather 10 Adam Street, the frontage which is a spitting image to the Prime Minister’s residence.
Filming took place at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 2009 on the bank of the River Thames for the second St Trinian’s movie. The team ventured down to the front of the building to enable me to capture some striking shots with the theatre providing the backdrop.
Jolly hockey sticks!
The Millennium Bridge featured in the St. Trinian’s film with a clip depicting a group of lively school girls running across the Thames. Luckily it wasn’t too busy on the bridge, enabling us to achieve our goal.
One of the main challenges was social distancing; we ensured that everyone was sensible with the current rules. I made sure that everyone taking part was fit to work and that when they stood together, it was for a limited amount of time.
My vision for the shoot wasn’t to make it sleazy or smutty, and I spent a lot of time working on the outfits with the models, as I wanted them to feel comfortable on the day. I managed everything from outfits and props, to transport logistics, parking in London, the models, camera equipment, hair and makeup styles, food on the day, and I also hired a videographer to capture footage from behind the scenes as part of a promotional video for my website.
I used a D850 and a D5. The D850 carried a Nikon 70-200mm and the D5 held a 24-70mm lens. This gave the opportunity to quickly switch between cameras. The beauty of the D5 is that it is quick and can take a longer sequence of photos than the D850 in one burst. I used the D850 and 70-200mm particularly on Millennium Bridge to bring forward St Paul’s Cathedral.
On the day, everyone gelled together, some of them made new friends and we even trended on TikTok on one of the girl’s pages with a video of the group strutting across Millennium Bridge.
Thanks to the ‘cast’: Moa Myerson, Lara Neal, Charlotte Harris, Rebecca Dearsley, Serena Gough, Michelle Vincent, Isabel Beckett, Claire Boskett, Jessica Beckett, Katie Smith, Lucy Hill, Rosie Aylward and Zoë Dawkins. Also assisting Jack was: Dave Neal, Alex Nixon, Elliott Russell, Mike Mount and Judy Colbran. There's more about the story on Jack's website.