Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle’s Beatles-inspired hit film Yesterday has Lily James and Himesh Patel as the leading stars – but Suffolk and Norfolk look great on the screen too!
Patel plays failing musician Jack Malik, who wakes up after a freak bus accident in an alternate reality where nobody remembers The Beatles. To begin with, he plays the Fab Four’s songs from memory, but then starts to claim the songs as his own. Lily James plays his manager Ellie.
Although Liverpool, Hollywood, Abbey Road and Wembley Stadium get a look in, much of the film was shot in Suffolk and Norfolk, using local schoolchildren and other members of the public. Gorleston café worker Rachael Wallace, 21, was cast as a double for Downton Abbey’s Lily James.
Local pop phenomenon Ed Sheeran plays himself in Yesterday, acting as a mentor for the miraculous Malik.
Lily James filmed her teacher character’s school scenes at Ormiston Denes Academy using some of the pupils. Director Danny Boyle even held a film masterclass for students.
One of the key moments in Yesterday is Jack launching his album live from the rooftop balcony of The Pier Hotel in front of 5000 people on the beach and belting out ‘Help!’
Boyle declared Gorleston-on-Sea beach one of the great secrets of England: ‘It’s beautiful’.
Other beach scenes are shot at Clacton-on-Sea and Frinton in Essex.
A house on Cliff Hill, close to the Cliff Hotel, features as Ellie’s cottage. The location manager didn’t like its colour though – they had it repainted from pink to cream.
Jack’s fateful accident at the beginning of Yesterday was filmed by the Ocean Bay Amusements and Gorleston Pavilion, across the road from The Pier Hotel.
Other shots of Ellie’s cottage were filmed at the end of the High Street in Dunwich, close to the beach. The High Street isn’t difficult to find – it’s pretty much the only street.
Shingle Street, Suffolk
The hamlet on the south coast of Suffolk is so small it won’t take you long to find the location of a key scene in the film. No spoilers here!
The High Street features a few times, with the café scenes shot at The Hideout Café using locals as extras. The film’s rainy High Street scene is Halesworth and The White Hart pub is also a location.
The festival scenes featured in Yesterday were all shot at Latitude Festival, held on the Henham estate in Suffolk. As producer Richard Curtis said, ‘Yesterday was written in Suffolk, set in Suffolk and begins and ends at Latitude. I’ve rarely missed a Latitude since it first began, so I’m overjoyed it’s in the film.’
Jack plays a gig in The Reedcutter pub in the little village, better known for being home to a large sugar beet factory.
The Ramsholt Arms, across the River Deben from Woodbridge, features when Jack leaves hospital. Ellie gives him a new guitar and he’s urged to play a song. He sings Yesterday, and that’s where the film takes off…