Murder thriller shot in West Hampstead gets its premiere 10 years late

David Burke as Bohr, Matthew Marsh as Heisenberg, Sara Kestleman as Margarenthe Bohr

David Burke and Laurence Edney in a scene from Behind The Bar shot in the Lower Ground Bar, West Hampstead - Credit: Marilyn Kingwill

A short film, which includes a murder scene shot in the sports changing rooms at UCS, will finally air on TV after more than a decade.

Behind The Bar was also filmed on location at the Lower Ground Bar (now Salt Lounge) in West Hampstead, by former UCS pupil Conrad Blakemore.

Set in a late night drinking dive, the "modern film noir" is narrated by the barman, and centres around the discovery of a brutal murder by an eccentric customer – with the UCS changing rooms in Ranulf Road standing in for the men's toilets.

Behind The Bar short film

Shooting the murder scene in the changing rooms at UCS sports ground in Ranulf Road, West Hampstead - Credit: Marilyn Kingwill

"The gents at Lower Ground Bar were too small to accommodate the crew and we were looking for an old-fashioned urinal with a drippy unfriendly atmosphere," says Blakemore. "I used to go to UCS and remembered the changing rooms and they said we could use them at the weekend. They have since been pulled down and replaced by something more modern."

Written by Golders Green resident Ian Long, the film stars newcomer Laurence Edney and David Burke who played Watson in ITV's long running Sherlock Holmes series, and is father to actor Tom Burke.

Behind the Bar

Shooting Behind the Bar on location at the Lower Ground Bar in West Hampstead - Credit: Marilyn Kingwill

After completing the short thriller in 2011, the Hampstead-based photographer and film maker approached a few channels without success.

"They said they didn't like short films that had a narrator as this wasn't the fashion at that time."

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Then Blakemore, whose previous short films includes The Watchmaker – about the Mill Lane shop owned by Clifford Bowler – heard that TV channel London Live was interested in unknown work by local independent filmmakers.

From left to right: Lead actors David Burke, Laurence Edney, writer Ian Long and writer/director Conrad Blakemore.

From left to right: Lead actors David Burke, Laurence Edney, writer Ian Long and director Conrad Blakemore. - Credit: Marilyn Kingwill

"I contacted them and they said they’d be glad to show it. The process to get it funded shot and edited was not easy and at the time it looked like it was destined to gather dust. I always felt it had never had a good outing, so to finally have a showing on a mainstream platform feels like an achievement."

Behind the Bar gets its first airing on terrestrial television on December 8 at 21.45pm and on December 12 at 3.15am on London Live.

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