HMS Belfast took her place on the southern bank of the River Thames in 1971 and has since established herself as a London landmark. But she is not only just a huge name in London’s long list of world leading museums. She has also played a starring role in some iconic cultural moments of the last few decades.  

Only Fools and Horses (and veteran warships)

As HMS Belfast now sits on the most north point of South East London, where else can we start but Only Fools and Horses? The show might be best known for Del Boy, Rodney and Uncle Albert, but did you know that HMS Belfast makes an appearance too? 

In He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Uncle, Uncle Albert runs away from Mandela House. Del Boy and Rodney form an ad hoc search party, and head to HMS Belfast as part of their mission to find their man. Albert served in the Royal Navy, famously part of the crew on seven ships that were either bombed or torpedoed (including two in peacetime). HMS Belfast famously hit a mine in 1940, putting her war efforts on hold. Could she have been one of the many ships on which Albert served?  

BBC's Outnumbered

BBC's Outnumbered

Del Boy and Rodney aren’t the only comedy legends to see HMS Belfast. In series three of Outnumbered the Brockman family head on board HMS Belfast. 

In the episode The Family Outing, we see them explore the Fo’sicle and take a trip up to the Captain’s Chair, which are still unmissable parts of any tour of the ship today.  Hugh Dennis proves (as his character Pete, we’re sure) that a tour round the ship is just as exciting for adults as it is for kids when re-enacting a mayday operation.  

Don't Tell the Bride

Don't Tell the Bride

However, some will be most excited to see HMS Belfast appear as a wedding location in the nail biting, teeth grinding climax of Don’t Tell the Bride. The quarterdeck was in fact the venue for a particularly stressful wait for an unpunctual registrar, who unwittingly raced a bride taking a speedboat down to the ship from Westminster pier. Although, unsurprisingly, the ‘will she hate it’ factor of Don’t Tell the Bride was lost – who doesn’t love a visit to HMS Belfast?!   

HMS Belfast has also been the backdrop to some particularly memorable music videos and performances over the years. 

Children of the 1980’s might have forgotten about Kelly Marie’s It Feels Like I’m in Love but once you hear the opening bars, and see the dance routine in all its majesty, there’s nothing you can do to get it out your head. The fo’sicle provides an exceptional backdrop to some particular memorable moves in the introduction - you’ll never be able to hear the bells ring on board in the same way again.  

Depeche Mode

Depeche Mode

In the same decade, Basildon’s finest electronic superstars, Depeche Mode, used HMS Belfast as the backdrop to their anthem People are People, and eagle eyed MTV viewers will have seen Dave Gahan stroll through the engine rooms, 15ft below deck. 

We’ve also welcomed musicians on board to perform live. Over the decades we have had hip hop royalty when Eminem performed Toy Soldiers as part of a Top of the Pops special, while Madness made the trip down the Northern Line from Camden to perform to a select audience from the quarterdeck.  

The name's Bond...

The name's Bond...

But it wasn’t just the small screen that was lit up by HMS Belfast. You can see HMS Belfast in a brief-but-we-like-to-think-crucial role during Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. While the Order accompany Harry through London on his trip to Grimmauld Place, they swoop down to the Thames and pass HMS Belfast on their way. And Hollywood has come calling more than once! In 2012 Daniel Craig was announced as Bond. What could be more authentically 007 than arriving at HMS Belfast by speedboat as he was unveiled to the world as the latest actor to play the world’s most famous secret service agent? 

A Killing Eve cameo

Bond is not the only undercover agent that has had HMS Belfast in their sights. Most recently the ship made her appearance the final episode of Killing Eve’s season three. What better way to end an award winning BBC drama, than a scene on Tower Bridge overlooking the ship in all her glory? 

Political envoy

Political envoy

HMS Belfast spent her post war years as a symbol of Britain’s new soft diplomacy, serving as a political envoy as she travelled across the globe. After she berthed on the Thames, she became the venue of visits from politicians, ambassadors and dignitaries from around the work.  

One of her most famous political moments of recent years was when she hosted celebrations for London’s Olympic Games in 2012, during which a bell ringing mishap from then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was watched thousands of times.  

World of Warships

World of Warships

Recently, the video game World of Warships included HMS Belfast on her roster of fighters. However, it soon became apparent that she was simply too strong! Statistics showed that it was over performing in competitive on-line battle modes – in short she was too much and taken off as an option to purchase on the game.

Discover HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast
IWM
HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast and the Arctic Convoys
For 18 months, HMS Belfast and her crew endured punishing conditions supporting the vital Arctic Convoys delivering supplies to the Soviet Union. 
Blindfolded , in merchant seaman rescue kit, being landed on their way to internment.
© IWM (A 21203)
Second World War
HMS Belfast And The Battle Of North Cape
The Battle of North Cape began when the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst and five destroyers left their base in Altenfjord, northern Norway on Christmas Day 1943.
HMS Belfast
D-Day Remembered: Ted Cordery, HMS Belfast
Ted Cordery served on board the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Belfast from 1943-1944 as a Leading Seaman Torpedoman. It was a period in which the ship and her crew would take part in some of their most intense and dangerous operations including the Arctic Convoys and the Battle of North Cape.