Norwich shop features in new Netflix Christmas film
- Credit: Netflix
Elm Hill jewellers takes a starring role in all-singing all-dancing Jingle Jangle.
It was flaming June and yet one of Norwich’s most historic streets had snow lining its rooftops and windows after being transformed into a wintry Victorian wonderland.
Netflix’s Jingle Jangle, the streaming giant’s Christmas blockbuster, launches on November 13 and Norwich viewers will be treated to a familiar landmark appearing on a global screen: Cobbleton, where the film is set, is Norwich’s Elm Hill.
The festive film stars Forest Whitaker as Cobbleton’s legendary toymaker, Jeronicus Jangle, who enlists the help of his inventive granddaughter Journey (Madalen Mills) after his former apprentice steals his most-prized creation.
The star-studded cast also includes comedian Keegan-Michael Key (Toy Story 4, The Lion King) playing his trusted apprentice and Phylicia Rahsad, Anika Noni Rose, Hugh Bonneville and singer Ricky Martin in other roles.
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When Jeronicus’ formerly loyal apprentice betrays him, it’s down to his bright and inventive granddaughter Journey to “heal old wounds and reawaken the magic within” with a long-forgotten invention: a magical robot named Buddy.
Directed by First Sunday and El Camino Christmas playwright David E Talbert, it also features original songs by John Legend, Bruno Mars’ collaborator Philip Lawrence and music producer Davy Nathan.
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Jeweller Lisa Bambridge’s jewellery shop, Stoned and Hammered, at 32 Elm Hill was chosen by the production team to play a starring role in Jingle Jangle.
It is transformed into Mitchell Packing and Supplies for filming and Lisa moved out for eight weeks while the set design was installed and scenes were shot.
Filming took place almost a year after Elm Hill traders first noticed the telltale signs that the famous street was being considered as a film location.
“I’d noticed there were lots of people who I kept seeing on Elm Hill and we heard a rumour that a big feature film was going to be filmed there,” said Lisa.
“Of course Elm Hill had already starred in Stardust and the street is often used for photography and filming, but we’d heard this was going to be quite big and I was SO excited.
“I just thought how great it would be for the street and for Norwich and, of course, how fantastic it would be to be part of something that, if the rumours were true, would be so wonderful.”
Lisa has been based in Elm Hill for almost six years. Previously she had created her jewellery from a workshop and supplied shops, boutiques and galleries.
“I thought: I’m going to give it a try!” she said.
A shop has been on this site since the 1400s – what we see now is mainly 17th century render over a timber frame, a carriage arch to the left with carved brackets leads to the back of the property. Features from the 15th century remain: this is a house of stories.
“I’ve got a doorway that looks like something out of The Hobbit. The walls are either as hard as flint or as soft as marshmallows, the floor and the glass in the windows are wavy and nothing is straight, but you can’t help but love it,” said Lisa.
“I’m thrilled that the production team loved it too.”
Netflix took over Stoned and Hammered for around eight weeks.
“The crew came in so many times to measure the shop, look at what was there that they could use and to ensure they knew exactly where everything was – when the furniture went back, they knew where everything should go to the last millimetre,” laughed Lisa.
“Stoned and Hammered was the only shop that the crew used inside and out on Elm Hill they closed me down for several weeks but I was allowed to walk up and down the street after they’d dressed the set.
“The street looked so magical, it really took your breath away. The costumes, the set design, absolutely every last detail had been thought about.
“The road had been freshly-swept, the trees had been pollarded and all the shop fronts were transformed into shops in the film and signs were all changed.
“There were stalls that sold hot chestnuts and old bikes leaning against walls – and then the snow went down and it felt like stepping into a fairytale.
“I remember the director, David, telling me that it would all be really magical with amazing special effects and that there would be a huge snowball fight.
“It’s pretty amazing that my shop will be in a Christmas blockbuster!”
The snowball fight scene was filmed in midsummer and more 80 local people, some of whom work in the shops and business converted for use in the film, were used as extras.
“Working on Elm Hill is such a privilege and it’s such a beautiful place to be based – you can’t help but feel lucky every time you go to work.”
Lisa is looking forward to watching Jingle Jangle after what has been a tough year for the high street due to the continuing pandemic-related restrictions and now a new lockdown just as the crucial Christmas trade begins.
“I am lucky as I have loyal customers but our footfall has been down this year due to travel restrictions and, of course, we were shut for months,” she said.
“A lot of what I do involves meeting a client, discussing what they would like made and the connection we make in order to create the perfect piece of jewellery – I like to make jewellery with a story, I want to share with people where stones are from and why I’ve made things in a certain way.
“A big part of the experience of buying a piece of jewellery from me is coming into the shop and knowing that it is part of the process but we do sell online too.”
Lisa added that traders on Elm Hill all hoped that Jingle Jangle would lead more people to visit the historic street and its traders and support a beautiful corner of Norwich which has taken a huge hit during 2020.
“It’s a great time for our street to be featured in a film which will be seen across the world and a great time for people to buy from smaller shops,” said Lisa.
“I can’t wait to see the film and spot the shop!”
* Find out more about Stoned and Hammered online www.stonedandhammered.com
Elm Hill facts
* Named after trees standing there for centuries, Elm Hill dates back at least to 1200.
* In 1507, a great fire broke out, the effects of which were made worse as most buildings were wooden.
* After 1507, city fathers, such as mayor Augustine Steward, moved there, rebuilding the house at what is now Nos. 22-24, the home of The Strangers Club.
* When the textile industry started to falter at the end of the 18th century, the grand houses on Elm Hill were carved up and, in time, became slums.
* By the early 20th century the area around Tombland, including Elm Hill, had degenerated so much that the Corporation was considering demolition.
* At the 11th hour the Norwich Society was created, made the case for preservation, and instead of being pulled down, buildings were gradually renovated from the late 1920s.
* The street is home to a number of ghosts including Father Ignatius who is supposed to stride along the street, Bible in hand, threatening unwelcoming neighbours with the torments of hell