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Norwich is no stranger to the big screen—ever seen The Avengers?—but this holiday season, our city is heading back to centre stage like never before with Netflix’s highly-anticipated Christmas epic Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey.
Featuring a star-studded cast, musical numbers by a team including singer and songwriter John Legend, and Norwich’s very own Elm Hill as the magical city of Cobbleton, Jingle Jangle is the Christmas film we all need this year.
So while we might feel a world away from the Christmas cheer-packed lanes of Elm Hill this season, let Jingle Jangle bring you back with little music and a lot of magic.
Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey
In the soon-to-be Christmas classic Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Norwich’s iconic Elm Hill has been transformed into the backdrop for the fictional city Cobbleton. It’s here where legendary toymaker Jeronicus Jangle (Academy-Award winner Forest Whitaker) has set up shop for his magical creations until his trusted apprentice (Keegan-Michael Key) steals his most prized invention.
From there, it’s up to his granddaughter (Madalen Mills) to help retrieve what’s been lost, kicking off a journey that’s complete with gorgeous sets and Victorian-era costumes with a distinct African twist, and some seriously show-stopping musical numbers courtesy of co-producer John Legend.
After a surprising 20 years in the aking, Jingle Jangle was born from writer and director David E. Talbert, who wanted to create a Christmas film with the magic and wonder of classics like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but with a Black family and characters at its core.
And as for the city of Cobbleton? It was loosely based on none other than Norwich. You’ll spot Norwich’s beautiful Elm Hill in a number of the film’s exterior shots, but with businesses renamed after Black historical figures. Combine this with the infectious music, brightly-coloured costumes and killer cast, there’s no doubt Jingle Jangle will become a firm Christmas staple.
Elm Hill favourites
As the most complete medieval street in the city, Elm Hill was also the cinematic backdrop for the fantasy epic Stardust (starring Claire Danes, Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro) before becoming the magical town of Cobbleton. The cobbled lanes, Tudor-era buildings and merchant’s house make it a dream location for historic towns sprinkled with magic.
We know visiting isn’t exactly straightforward these days, but once we’re able to head back into shops and cafes as normal, a wintery Elm Hill will be waiting. In the meantime, here are some of Elm Hill’s highlights you just might spot on the small screen this holiday season.
The Bear Shop – You’ll know the Bear Shop exactly when you see it, mostly because the shop windows are decked with cuddly teddies. It’s your go-to for collectable and every day bears, with an incredible selection of hundreds of bears looking for their forever homes.
The Britons Arms – This little café is housed in a historic building dating back to the 14th century. Inside, you can keep warm with coffees or afternoon tea, as well as a rotating lunch menu highlighting local, seasonal ingredients.
The Jade Tree – For a distinct local flavour, there’s the Jade Tree, an artist co-op and shop featuring gifts, ceramics, jewellery, artwork and more from local artists. If you want to pick up a one-of-a-kind gift or trinket for your home, you’ve come to the right place.
The Games Room – The Games Room might not sell toys, but it still embodies the spirit of Jingle Jangle with its family fun. That’s because this speciality shop brings you the best in board games, roleplaying games and more.