Sacré bleu, the French hit series Call my Agent (Dix Pour Cent) has had a British, or should I say a London makeover, and it’s made its recent debut over on Amazon Prime. The series follows the trials, tribulations and love affairs of the talent agency Nightingale Hart. It includes cameo appearances by Helena Bonham Carter, Clémence Poésy, Olivia Williams, Jim Broadbent, Dominc West, Phoebe Dynevor and Emma Corrin – all playing themselves. But the reigning star of this merry show is London, and if you’re wondering where Ten Percent is filmed, follow me for les London locations. Allons-y.
Ten Percent London Locations
Let’s begin with the all-important location: the offices of Nightingale Hart, located at 15 Rathbone Street in Fitzrovia. One of the most prominent landmarks in this area is the BT Tower, which you will see hovering above throughout the series. Nearby is pretty Charlotte Street with its shops, restaurants, cafés and the Charlotte Street Hotel, owned by Firmdale Hotels. Fitzrovia is the central hub for much of the series, which is fitting as it’s the capital’s media nerve centre. Make sure you check out the Fitzroy Tavern, frequented by the likes of Dylan Thomas and Jacob Epstein and the jaw-dropping Fitzrovia Chapel.
In this opening episode, Kelly McDonald is struggling to land a role in the next big flick. She’s considered too old thanks to the smallest of frown lines, and she is pressured into seeing a doctor-who-will-fix-it. You’ll see Kelly hanging out with her agent Dan (Prasanna Puwanarajah) in The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill.
Both The Regent’s Park and Primrose Hill belong to the Royal Parks. The Regent’s Park is one of London’s largest and is famous for the London Zoo, the Queen Mary’s Gardens and the Open Air Theatre. Primrose Hill was once Henry VIII’s hunting stomping ground. The surrounding area is also referred to Primrose Hill, with its pastel-coloured houses, independent shops and restaurants. It’s also home to Paddington Bear, but I have yet to spot him. Loudon Wainwright III composed this cute little ode to Primrose Hill if you fancy a listen.
Later in the episode, our agents are off to The Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane to toast owner Richard Nightingale’s lifetime achievement. The Dorchester is famous for its celebrity clientele, most notably Michael Jackson who dangled his baby son from a balcony window. These days it’s gained a bit of a bad rep with all those celebs, many of whom have boycotted the hotel as it’s owned by the Sultan of Brunei (not known for his friendly stance towards the gay community).
Disaster looms for agents Jonathan (Jack Davenport) and Rebecca (Lydia Leonard) when they discover that Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams are up for the same role. They meet with the celebrities at Scarfe’s Bar in the Rosewood Hotel, Holborn. Gerald Scarfe is one of the country’s best-known cartoonist and illustrators (you may recognise his artwork for Pink Floyd’s The Wall cover).
Later, we see agent Dan head over to the Old Red Lion Theatre Pub in Angel. The theatre sits on top of a pub by the same name, thought to be London’s oldest watering hole (it traces its roots back to 1415). William Hogarth was a fan and included it in one of his works: Evening. James Thomson, remembered for The Seasons as well as for the lyrics to Rule, Britannia!, was also said to be a regular at the Red Lion in the 1720s. He was also a fan of The Dove Pub which we will see later in Episode 8. Oh, and Samuel Johnson was also a patron – but was there any London pub Johnson didn’t frequent frequently?
Dominic West takes centre stage – literally – in episode three, manifesting a crush of stage fright during his enactment of Hamlet. Much of the action takes place at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, currently showing Jerusalem with the great and godly Mark Rylance. You can read my mini review here.
You’ll also see fleeting scenes of Theatreland, J. Sheekey (best restaurant in town if you ask me), Trafalgar Square as well as Mayfair’s Shepherd Market and Curzon Street.
Emma Corrin and Himesh Patel play the lovestruck duo in episode four, but the episode is also about brother and sister act Misha (Hiftu Quasem) and Luke (Edward Bluemel). They meet in Soho Square to discuss his script.
Soho Square was once known as King’s Square after Charles II, and you can still see his statuesque likeness there. At the centre of the square is a mock Tudor building, erected in 1926 to hide an electricity substation. In the 1670s, it was one of the most fashionable addresses in London. By the eighteenth century, it was the place where tout London flocked for the infamous masked parties chez operatic soprano Teresa Cornelys, whose lover was Casanova (they would go on to sire a daughter). The sumptuous parties became so famous that Parliament adjourned early to enable members to attend one of her masquerades in February 1770.
In the meantime, Jonathan is getting itchy feet at the agency, and has lunch with the competition at Norma on Charlotte Street. Part Italian, part Moorish, the restaurant serves up small plates and pastas.
Episode five opens with the BT Tower again, looking over the famous Fitzrovia Mural in Whitfield Gardens.
Bridgerton fans will be thrilled to see Phoebe Dynevor making her appearance. She stays at the Covent Garden Hotel, a Kit Kemp designed boutique hotel with its own screening room.
She goes jogging in Hampstead Heath, one of London’s most beautiful green spaces and the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’ Narnia series. She ends up having an altercation with both Rebecca and Dan who have been stalking her outside the glorious Kenwood House, an English Heritage property with some seriously drop-dead interiors and art. You may also recognise Kenwood from the scene in Notting Hill where Hugh Grant goes to meet Julia Roberts during her filming of the Henry James film.
Later, we’re back at the Dorchester Hotel, where Jonathan and Phoebe talk shop and sip on bellinis – apparently the best in the city.
There’s a big film premier in town with real husband and wife team David and Jessica Oyelowo on the red carpet. If you’re wondering where the fancy pants party takes place, it’s here, at One Marylebone, a Grade I-listed building designed by John Soane. He’s the architectural genius behind the Sir John Soane Museum, the Dulwich Picture Gallery (and the mausoleum design for his wife is the inspiration for the iconic red phone box). For a few pennies, you can also hire out One Marylebone. It can take up to 750 guests for your little soirée.
When adulterer Jonathan gets caught, he sets up home at the Rathbone Hotel on, you guessed it, Rathbone Street. It’s a tad closer to the office than his ritzy pre-separation residence on Richmond Green.
Bonjour Clémence Poésy, she of In Bruges and Harry Potter fame. She’s just given birth and is overwhelmed with maternal guilt as Rebecca tries to drag her back to star in a film about prima ballerina, Anna Pavlova. Clémence strikes a ballerina pose at London’s Pineapple Studios, a famous dance studio complex in Covent Garden.
Misha and Luke meet up again in a café in picture-perfect Little Venice. There are some charming cafés and restaurants along the capital’s Venetian waterways, or you could be daring and skipper your own self-drive boat from Little Venice to Camden.
Heading out of town to Sussex is the perfectly formed train station, Horsted Keynes station. It was also used as the shooting location for Downton Abbey.
Back in London, Rebecca and Margaux say their goodbyes on Upper Mall, in west London’s Hammersmith (Londoness knows this area rather well as this is where she also lives). You’ll catch a glimpse of the Dove Pub, one of London’s most famous and one with a cracking view of the river Thames. Would you like to use Margaux’s eclectic house for your next shoot? Here you go.
Misha pays a visit to Jonathan’s wife, Rebecca, who teaches at the world-famous Rambert School of Ballet in Twickenham. Check the website for their events line-up.
The essence of London finally makes its appearance in the concluding episode of season one of Ten Percent: rain. About time too.