Don Johnson and Lindsay Lohan joined UK cast of Sick Note to film in Merton

Don Johnson and Lindsay Lohan joined UK cast of Sick Note to film in Merton

Sky’s new comedy series Sick Note has brought Don Johnson – and in the second series, Lindsay Lohan – to Merton.

The local talent includes Rupert Grint who played Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films, Nick Frost of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz and Pippa Bennett-Warner who stars in Harlots.

Take a look at the trailer here.

The first series, starting on Tuesday November 7th, filmed in and around the borough, where characters’ homes are in Copse Hill, Cottenham Park Road and Berkeley Place. The police pull up one of the characters in Wool Road at the junction of Dunstall Road.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Merton Council. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “The settings in the series feel open and spacious, with characters driving cars about rather than taking the tube. It’s a great depiction of London life.

“There was eight days of filming around Merton, including along Wimbledon High Street, in May last year. Generally the scenes needed a cast and crew of between 35 and 50.

“Some shots are in Central London, of Blackfriars Bridge and along the Southbank riverfront. But largely you can tell this production had to room to move in one of London’s outer boroughs.

“The second series, which stars Lindsay Lohan as Don Johnson’s daughter, came back to Merton, and other outer boroughs like Bromley, to film in summer this year.

“We like to recommend the outer boroughs to location managers as areas where, particularly for a series production, there’s plenty of room for parking, there’s less congestion getting from one location to another, and locals can be a little more patient.

“We’re also able to help out with finding discounted production office space in the outer boroughs – which really helps on a series shoot.”

Electric Dreams in Camden and Merton

Camden’s eye popping Alexandra & Ainsworth and Brunswick estates feature in tonight’s first episode of Philip K Dick’s Electric Dreams. It’s called The Hood Maker. Take a look at the trailer for the new Channel 4 series here.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Camden. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “The production filmed a number of sequences around the estates, including a lot of filming inside an empty flat on the Alexandra & Ainsworth (A&A).

“There were 50 cast and crew on the A&A shoot in May this year. It started with interiors, with a flat playing a hideout for some of the characters.

“They were on the A&A for a few days, which earned the estate a healthy fee that’s put toward services for the whole community. The flat they used had to be dressed over three days, but the filming outside, around the estate, was done in just one day.

“Then the filming moved to a balcony and stairs, a road beside the railway, and then the main entrance and underpass areas.

“Along with actors dressed as armed police, there were real policemen on hand to reassure residents, and a professional armourer to check the fake weapons in out.

“The A&A’s Estates Management & Residents Association was very involved in making sure the filming would work to the benefit of residents and cause as little disruption as possible.

“On the Brunswick Estate, the production was looking for even more futuristic interiors, so they made good use of the complex’s hallways and stairwells. The production was there for two days in June this year. We think it’s going to look great in this nasty vision of a London under constant malevolent surveillance.”

This episode starring Richard Madden and Holliday Grainger is the first of 10 short stories by Philip K Dick used for the series. It’s set in a dystopian, 1970s London, following Agent Ross (Madden) and his telepathic partner Honor (Grainger) as they investigate the oppressed mindreading “Teeps” to try and trace someone making thought-proof hoods.

The third episode, airing on October 1st, is called The Commuter. Here we’ll see lead characters walking along an alleyway linking Boundary and Acre Roads in Merton.

Twenty cast and crew filmed this scene in March this year, for the episode starring Timothy Spall, Hayley Squires and Tuppence Middleton. It’s about a train station assistant who realises that commuters are taking the train to a town that shouldn’t exist.

Filming permits around Wimbledon: it’s a piece of cake

It’s Merton’s annual time to shine with all eyes on The All England Lawn Tennis Club for two weeks, as the Wimbledon Championships are broadcast all over the world.

Once again Good Morning Britain sets up a temporary studio in Wimbledon Park, with live chat to fans camping out for tickets, Sean Fletcher presenting all the sports news and Laura Tobin providing weather reports.

BBC Breakfast’s Sally Nugent and team are presenting from the queue outside.

Sky is setting up, BBC Radio 5, a documentary crew is recording the tournament, and so many more productions have all been permitted.

This year the French Nord Ouest production Amanda is taking advantage of the local atmosphere to film a sequence in which the main characters attend the tennis at Wimbledon – so they are filmed heading toward the All England Lawn Tennis Club.

And FilmFixer, who manage the film office service for Merton Council, remind crews that it’s important to be permitted, at such a busy time in the neighbourhood.

FilmFixer director Andrew Pavord says, “There’s a lot that can go wrong. Possibly the worst for a crew is that your piece may not be broadcast if you can’t produce location release documentation. It’s an environment where it’s important to know who is managing which area, and it’s very easy to be in breach if you haven’t contacted us first.

“Your insurance might invalidated. And there could be copyright issues if you’ve used branding or logos without permission.

“We work closely with the All England Lawn Tennis Club, making sure that all the filming outside the club is managed efficiently and safely.”

Andrew Pavord says the vast majority of crews do the right thing, but it’s important to dissuade rogue productions from taking their chances.

“It’s not worth going down there without the permit,” he says. “This is a highly controlled environment, where accreditation is strictly monitored. We’re able to turn applications around very quickly, so just get in touch.”

A London bank rescues hula hoops ad

Hula hoops saves the day at a former bank on Warham Road in Croydon. The new ad is part of a £4.5 million campaign – the biggest ever for the snack brand.

It’s called West Heath Bank in the ad, where a hapless robber races in with a banana tucked inside a sock, demanding all the money.

The bank clerk can’t help, “sorry love”, because she has her “hands full” – each finger covered in a hula hoop. But that doesn’t stop her raising the alarm – and soon enough the police cars have pulled up outside.

A sequence of police cars arriving outside was also filmed on Wimbledon High Street in Merton.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Croydon and Merton Councils. FilmFixer director Andrew Pavord says, “This is a very endearing use of a former bank, it looks just the part of course. And the fact that the robbery is all in good fun made it easy for us to approve this production coming in to film.

“It’s a great example of the locations on offer outside the centre of London, where there’s plenty of parking for a production, and minimal disruption to locals. This shoot was completed in as little as one day.”

Take a look at the ad here.

Tom Cruise takes it outside in Merton

Tom Cruise took it outside for the new Jack Reacher film, coming to cinemas on October 21st.

He was snapped arriving by helicoper at Old Rutlishians Cricket Club in Merton Park, in June, ahead of the filming. Although most of the London shoot took place inside Wimbledon studios, when Cruise needed to film on location, he called on Merton Film Office.

FilmFixer manages the film office service for Merton Council. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “We’re not allowed to tell you much about the scenes filmed in Merton. Suffice to say, there’s a villain who’s surrounded, and an altercation follows. Make no mistake, though, this was a proper couple of days of Hollywood-style filming – right here in Merton. The shoot involved two truck mounted platforms, generators, and 100 cast and crew.

“If it’s good enough for Tom Cruise – it must be pretty good. We’ve always said there’s no need to drive – or fly – all the way to central London for outside locations. Merton is a perfect example – with ample underground parking, village architecture, council estates, high streets and open fields – all on the doorstep of the studios.”

Take a look at the trailer for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Cruise teams up with Cobie Smulders to uncover the truth behind a government conspiracy, pursued by the army, the FBI, Washington police, and four mysterious thugs.

Capering across London – The Apprentice is back

Lord Sugar can terrify whom he likes; for us, The Apprentice is one great big caper across some of our favourite London haunts, filmed between April and June this year.

FilmFixer’s support is recognised on the credits this year, on behalf of our client boroughs Camden, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark, Haringey, Kingston, Merton and Lewisham.

Most impressive is of course, this year’s house – a stunning multi-million pound pad in Camden’s Belsize Park, that the apprentices are seen dashing in and out of.

Other addresses in Camden include Stable Stret, Pancras Road, Chalk Farm Road, The Bowery, William Road, Pancras Road, Midland Road, Bloomsbury Place, Bloomsbury Square, Southampton Row, Hampstead Road, Harrington Square, Colonnade, Herbrand Street, Grenville Street, Shelton Street, Neal St, Endell Street, Earlham Sreett, Shorts Gardens, Tottenham Court Road, Buck Street, Pancras Road, and Fortress Road.

In Islington, the production headed to Exmouth Market, Rosebury Avenue, Spafield Street, St John’s Lane, Finsbury Square, Britton Street overnight, Eden Grove, Hornsey Street, York Way, Old Street, Camden Passage, Essex Road, Hazellville Road, Camden Road, Pierrepoint Row and Caledonian Road.

In nearby Haringey, the contestants tear around Methuen Park, Gourley Place, Lordship Lane, Elder Avenue and The Broadway.

In Lewisham, Brooklands Park was filmed, along with an overnight at Coinsborough Crescent.

There was overnight filming in Kingston’s Wood Street and then over in Merton, the series shot in Merton Park Parade, Kingston Road, Thirsk Road, St Barnabas Road and London Road.

In Southwark they were packed off to Potters Field Park, Park Street, Stoney Street, Lavington Street, Druit Street, Neate Street, Bank End, London Bridge Street, St Thomas Street, an overnight on Walworth Road, and Browning Street.

And in Lambeth, teams pitched up at Bromell’s Road, Chicheley Street, Belvedere Road, overnight at Streatham Hill, Station Approach, Stockwell Skate Park, Wandsworth Road, Lower Marsh and Vauxhall Walk.

FilmFixer manages the film office service on behalf of all these boroughs. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “It was really kind of the production to namecheck us in the credits. We look forward to welcoming the production each year. It’s a real event for us.

“The nimble, unobtrusive approach to filming is very clever. The wide variety of locations used is great for local residents to see. And the production team is extremely respectful of residents. It’s a great format – and one which London is able to support with our huge variety settings.

“We’re always pleased that our software FilmApp is perfectly able to help the crew stay on top of who is where, in their eye watering schedule.

“Good luck to all the contestants, but yet again, London is already the winner.”

In Merton, everyone’s for tennis!

It’s almost time for Merton’s annual star turn – as the home of the Wimbledon Championships – all of which began as a croquet fad. Lawn tennis came later to the club, which still calls itself the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, and clearly took the members by storm.

FilmFixer manages the film office for Merton Council. So with the rye grass cut to exactly 8mm now in preparation, and fans organising their camping equipment for the queue, it’s time now for us to help the media arrange positions for their coverage.

FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “Once again, ITV’s Good Morning Britain and BBC Breakfast will be presenting from Wimbledon Park.

“The coverage doesn’t start with the tennis itself so much, as the queue that starts this Sunday, and the overnight camping it involves.

“It’s a pleasure each year for us to work the residents and the media, ensuring that all the filming runs smoothly.

“And we urge Merton residents to remember they can call us, if they have any concerns at all about filming going on around them. Our 24-hour emergency number is 07919 002 115.”

London’s wider possibilities uncovered in Undercover

New Sunday night BBC drama Undercover has millions of us gripped – and possibly a bit confused. But we don’t mind, as we get behind Sophie Okonedo’s thrilling character – a top-flight lawyer, unaware her husband of 20 years is an undercover policeman spying on her.

Shot between July last year and January, locations across London, in Merton, Southwark, Camden, Lambeth, Islington, Haringey and Kingston, were used in the six-part drama. It started this month.

Take a look at the trailer here. Lead character Maya, played by Okonedo, is about to become the first black Director of Public Prosecutions. Maya’s husband, Nick, is played by Adrian Lester. It should all feel eerily possible – writer Peter Moffat met Helen Steel, one of seven women who sued Scotland Yard after learning she had been seduced into a two-year relationship by an undercover officer.

“One of their biggest problems is that the law ruled it wasn’t possible to prosecute any of these men for rape, which is hard for them to understand because they were having sex with someone who wasn’t who they said they were,” he told The Observer.

FilmFixer manages the film office for these London boroughs. FilmFixer director Karen Everett says, “It’s significant that Undercover, with a very complex locations brief, made really good use of services in Merton, as well as Haringey and Kingston, outside the capital’s centre.

“As filming increases, it’s important to decant as much as possible to the outer boroughs, to take the pressure off the centre. This will be key to keeping filming sustainable.”

In Merton, a private home on Wandle Bank was used. As was All Saints Community Centre, where a donation of thanks will fund a day out for its visitors. The centre is dressed in the series as a secure psychiatric unit.

Driving scenes from Merton take in Wimbledon Road, Plough Lane, Haydons Road, Merton High Street, Kingston High Road, Dorset Road, Morden Road, Morden Hall Park car park, St. Helier Avenue and Rose Hill Roundabout.

Some of the most significant scenes were filmed in Southwark’s former Tower Bridge Magistrate’s Court on Tooley Street. In period scenes, of 1996, characters have been arrested and taken to a police station, where a fight breaks out. There are also scenes where a character walks free, out of the police station.

Also in Southwark, a character walks along Alberta Street onto Braganza Street checking that no one is following her. And the Blue Fin Building is used.

The series filmed Camden locations in Haverstock Hill, around Belsize Park and Steels Village, St Silas Place, the Shipton Estate, Burmarsh Estate playground, Marsden Street, Gillies Street, and Woodyard Place Estate, raising extra income for residents of Shipton and Burmarsh Estates. You’ll also see the Gipsy Queen pub on Malden Road, and Chancery Lane and Belsize Park tube stations.

A Lambeth home on Fieldhouse Road in Balham plays a key part. And filming also took place inside The Kings Arms on Roupell Street. In other scenes, two characters walk by Observation Point and Queen’s Stone Jetty, then move to Barge House Street and Broadwall. Another character walks out of the Thirsty Bear pub and towards Upper Ground. Very kind donations were made by way of thanks to Lambeth Estate Residents Association and Hatch Row Residents Association.

Lambeth’s Streathem Cemetery played a North London cemetery. And from Lambeth’s Charlie Chaplin Walk, a character takes the walkways around the IMAX and Waterloo Bridge, about to blow the whistle on some high-ranking officers. But she’s nabbed, injected with a substance and killed, to keep her from talking.

In Islington there was filming at Lady Margaret Road, a café on Junction Road and the Oak and Pastor pub.

And on a big shoot like this, a film crew needs a unit base – which can be tough to find in a built up city like London. But Haringey’s Finsbury Park provided an essential space when filming locally, as did Kingston’s Ashdown Road carpark.

Parallel Barking comes to Merton in adorable online ad

Take a look here at this new online ad by Vauxhall Corsa, filmed in March on Wimbledon High Street. Now that’s an April Fool’s stunt!

Stunt dog Gerty sits in the driver’s seat while the car parks itself. The ad’s promoting a new park assist feature, using a stunt driver in a duel controlled car.

As Merton Council’s Film Office provider, we arranged the licensing, ensuring all safety controls were in place, and that Gerty was in good hands.

It’s a great little clip for #FridayFeeling viewing.

Christmas shopping in Merton goes wrong in a new festive Not Going Out

Lee Mack and the team from Not Going Out filmed this year’s festive special on location rather than in front of a studio audience.

The Christmas Shopping episode airs on Christmas Eve, BBC One at 10.45pm.

Lee and Lucy do some last-minute Christmas shopping in Wimbledon in Merton – before inevitably things go terribly wrong… Key scenes were filmed on the lower level of St George’s carpark, where a car backs into a van.

This episode re-visits the couple a year after they’ve tied the knot. Lucy (Sally Bretton) is three days overdue with their first baby. The couple find themselves mistakenly caught up in a robbery at the local department store.

Alongside them are Lee’s dad Frank (Bobby Ball) dressed as Santa’s elf, their friend Daisy (Katy Wix) along with neighbours Toby (Hugh Dennis) and Anna (Abigail Cruttenden). Locked in and faced with a dangerous armed robber wearing a Father Christmas latex mask, with gun shots, plenty of screaming and hiding in Santa’s grotto – will Lee’s actions and usually ill-thought out ideas get them into even more trouble?

FilmFixer director Karen Everett says St George’s carpark is an unlikely but brilliant London location, adding, “Finding an entire unused level of a London carpark is one of those hidden gems that productions are always happy to learn about. It was really useful to allow filming in the carpark right by the shopping centre where the rest of the episode was shot.

“We’re pretty happy that on the rare occasion when this production shot on location, instead of in front of a studio audience, they came to us in Merton.”