N(6) by NW: Zadie Smith’s best-selling novel on the small screen

Posted on

Lauded by TV critics, Zadie Smith’s ode to Kilburn life, NW, has made its way onto the small screen, showing on BBC Two, and it’s available to download on iPlayer.

The tale of two friends from the same estate, now in their thirties, was filmed in Kilburn, of course, in June this year.

Keisha, now called Natalie, (Nikki Amuka-Bird) has been through so much to make it as a black woman, it’s taking a toll. And Leah, (Phoebe Fox) her old school friend, is less than keen for a baby, but feeling pressured.

It’s impossible to miss Kilburn Road, from the bus, and as Leah chases Shar into Loverage Road.

Leah walks into Royal Palace Salon, where she runs into girls coo-ing over a pregnant customer.

You also see her posting a leaflet through a letterbox on Loverage Road. And it’s in Cavendish Road that Michael talks about trying harder for a baby, to a Leah who’s feeling down about it all.

Outside Kilburn tube station, Leah with Pauline, bumps into another school friend Nathan, who’d once tried out for QPR and now is begging.

Meanwhile, another key character Felix is reading the tube map.

There was some filming outside the North West postcode, with Natalie heading to Haringey’s Hornsey Lane Bridge (in N6), to end her life, before being drawn into a conversation that helps to change her mind.

And Kingston’s County Hall was used as well.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Kilburn’s Camden Council, as well as Haringey and Kingston.

FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “Just as the name suggests – this shoot was very much about place – and its impact on the characters. Kilburn life is so familiar, from the locations themselves to the inhabitants – on their way up, and down, in life.

“Camden has a reputation for hosting lush period dramas, so it was great to see some real, relevant London lives being filmed here as well.”