Where in London is ‘Top Boy’ season four filmed?

Warning: This article contains some plot spoilers.

Netflix’s London-based crime drama ‘Top Boy’ is back with a new epic season for 2022. Featuring a host of London rap and grime talents including Little Simz, Kano and Ashley Walters, it’s definitely worth a watch if you have not already marathoned the whole thing already.

It’s safe to say that the ‘Top Boy’ journey has been a bit of a rollercoaster. After two initial seasons on Channel 4, the series was discontinued in 2013 before it was revived by Netflix in 2019, rebranding the OG seasons as ‘Top Boy: Summerhouse’ – amid much confusion to fans.

The story is set in and around the fictional Summerhouse Estate in Hackney, but has historically been filmed in all sorts of London locations. But where exactly in the capital was the new season shot? Time Out spoke to Ben O’Farrell, location manager for Netflix’s ‘Top Boy’ seasons one and two (that’s three and four if you’ve been on board from the beginning), to find out.

Returning to Summerhouse

‘Top Boy’s Summerhouse Estate might be set in east London, but filming for the estate scenes in the fourth season took place elsewhere.

‘We did not shoot the estate scenes on Hackney estates,’ O’Farrell says. ‘The main Summerhouse filming was done in the Isle of Dogs [on Samuda Estate]and bits and pieces were picked up on other estates – one in Tottenham and another in Peckham. ‘

Photograph: Chris Harris / Netflix

Old haunts

However, you’ll still see plenty of recognizable east London locations as the characters return to their old stomping grounds from [Netflix’s] season one. ‘We wanted to keep the locations as real and as local to the storyline as possible,’ O’Farrell says.

‘So, when people see a certain area, they might look at it and identify the geography. We returned to locations that we established in the previous season, like Café Number One [on Hackney’s Well Street]Ridley Road [in Dalston] and the bench that Jamie and his brothers sit on in Victoria Park. They were all really important locations to go back to for the series and the characters. ‘

Fresh places

As the plot unravels, new locations are introduced into the ‘Top Boy’ world. ‘Shelley’s Nail Bar was a new one,’ says O’Farrell. ‘It’so real nail bar you can go to in Canning Town, called Kiki’s Nail Salon. ‘

Filming for a scene in episode one in which police conduct a ‘hard stop’ on a car being driven by members of Dushane’s gang took place on Pool Street at the Aquatic Center in Stratford, while the scene at the end of the series in which Sully dumps his car was shot at a scrapyard in Leyton. Some of the legal scenes took place in the disused Blackfriars Crown Court near Southwark, which, according to O’Farrell, will soon be redeveloped.

The scene with the body in the woods was filmed at Wanstead Flats, ‘ O’Farrell says. ‘And the trap house scenes were filmed in an empty estate over in Romford, which was about to be demolished. ‘

Top Boy 2
Photograph: Netflix

One storyline in the new series is the proposed redevelopment of the Summerhouse Estate, whose remaining residents face being rehoused hundreds of miles away from their homes and community – a reality that many Londoners have experienced.

‘The story was actually based on an estate that we knew about previously in Stratford that we were looking at filming on, ‘says O’Farrell. ‘We were not allowed to continue with it, because they were about to start redeveloping it – but there were still people living there. I think it’s really important that those stories are told. ‘

The new series of ‘Top Boy’ is out now on Netflix.

London on Screen: The Summerhouse Estate in ‘Top Boy’.

The 101 best things to do in London.

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