How do you claw your way up in London Borough gangland? The original two seasons of Top Boy, renamed by Netflix as Top Boy: Summerhouse, follow Dushane on his journey to become Top Boy. In the inner-city housing estates, violence erupts between gangs. Even young kids are drawn in.
Filming centres around the Summerhouse Estate, where dealing drugs is the only way to make money. Dushane and Sully are on the up and up, but run into big problems with Kamale's rival gang.
The Heygate Estate in central London was the original location for the Summerhouse Estate. This was used for the exteriors for the first two seasons, broadcast on Channel 4 in 2011 and 2013. Unfortunately, it was demolished in 2014 to make way for new development.
As Top Boy is set in Hackney, many scenes in the first two seasons were filmed in this London Borough. Shooting locations included the De Beauvoir estate near Haggerston, Dalston and London Fields. Among more recent East London locations is the Custom House district in the London Borough of Newham, which appears in season four.
The hospital has appeared as a Top Boy location in several seasons.
This co-educational secondary school and sixth-form academy was used for several of the show's school sequences, with real students often appearing as extras.
The Valmont Club in Fulham Road is no longer in business but used to be a popular bar and nightclub. Several Top Boy scenes take place there, either for talking business or socialising.
When Netflix revived Top Boy in 2019, they had to look for a new location for the Summerhouse Estate. The director picked the Samuda Estate, a large 1960s community of four six-storey blocks on the Isle of Dogs. It offers background views of the City of London, providing a sharp contrast with the estate's poverty. Interiors were also filmed inside local people's flats and around the disused underground garages.
For series three, Top Boy went outside London to film scenes around Athelstan Road and surrounding streets in Margate. Beach scenes were also shot at Margate's Walpole Bay and Fulsam Rock Beach
Season three filming locations in Ramsgate included its Grade II listed railway station and the historic Rose of England pub. This was originally built in Ramsgate High Street as the Rose and Crown in 1779. Ramsgate's historic Jacob's Ladder was also filmed in the Royal Harbour. This monumental 1826 stone stairway zig-zags between two stone towers from the harbour up to the clifftop. It replaced the original wooden stairs built in 1754.
Scenes for the fourth series of Top Boy have been filmed in a derelict housing estate in Romford. The Waterloo Estate was scheduled for redevelopment so provided an ideal venue for scenes in run-down and deserted locations.
This disused public building is used as the location for filming legal scenes in season four.