If you’re anything like us, you’ll have watched almost everything he’s ever starred in, from the seminal History Boys to the hugely underrated Looking and recent Russell T Davies epic, Years & Years.
So we were stoked to hear that Russell Tovey’s cheerily dulcet tones are lending themselves to a new free 45-min audio tour of the cultural history of King’s Cross. Guiding listeners through the world-class art installations and famous architecture, it can be accessed via an online app (see link below), and traces the area’s smoky Victorian beginnings, 90s clubbing notoriety, and current incarnation as swanky London dining hotspot (read our round-up of the best 20 outdoor terraces here).
Tovey starts with a personal intro explaining his own history with the area – his dreams to be an actor, the clubs he used to frequent – before the tour proper begins at IFO, the illuminated ‘birdcage’ just outside King’s Cross tube station, and finishes up at the ‘kissing roofs’ of Coal Drops Yard.
There’s also a map with the individual locations which you can click on if you’d rather do it in your own bitesize geographical sections. The sights themselves are easy to tick off, from the 1864-built German Gymnasium to the Granary Square Benches and the Aga Khan Centre.
While Tovey speaks, photos, historical images, timelapse videos, and behind-the-scenes footage, all pop up on your screen to accompany each succinct entry – most are a minute or two long each.
As longer term readers of this title will know, King’s Cross has some serious history, nearly two thousand years of it in fact, including the warrior Queen Boudicca and her final battle with the legions of Rome, the railway yards of the Industrial Revolution, and the legendary underground club scene that centred around Bagley’s. All these and more can be also explored in our History section.
“We’re all emerging from a pretty crazy, insular year,” says Tovey, “but we’re so lucky to be in London at this time where there’s so much art and culture at our fingertips, and it’s the perfect way to reconnect with our great city. I think this summer is going to be all about rediscovery – of our city, our self, our friends and family, our passions. My advice, start with King’s Cross as it’s a real gem and there’s so much to see, learn and discover – and you only need 45 minutes for my jam packed Art & Culture Tour.”
With Tovey’s friendly tone light and accessible – but thoroughly knowledgeable – this is a great little freebie for a weekend stroll. And it promises a different perspective on King’s Cross, even if it’s one of your regular hangouts.