It may lack the sandstone spires of Monument Valley or the spiky skyline of Manhattan but Sutton is fast becoming one giant film location.

Tourism chiefs have been helping businesses to emerge from the recession by turning the borough into a magnet for TV and movie productions.

Trade was bolstered last week when the town centre formed the backdrop to a new Channel 4 sitcom pilot, script-edited by Ricky Gervais.

PhoneShop, from the Pulling producer Phil Bowker, is a semi-improvised show about a graduate entering the cutthroat world of mobile-phone sales.

Its invasion of the former Sussex stationers shop follows the recruitment of a full-time film manager to promote locations to directors.

Councillor Ruth Dombey, deputy leader of Sutton Council, said: “This is great news for the high street, with local businesses getting income to use their premises for filming.

“Nearby businesses also benefit with Film London studies showing that, for every pound spent on filming, production crews spend an additional £2.50 in the local area, for example of food and drinks for the crew.

“We are fast-making Sutton one of the most film-friendly boroughs in London and will continue working hard to attract production companies and boost the local economy.”

Other productions recently lured to the borough include the IT Crowd and From Time to Time, a fantasy film directed by Julian Fellowes and starring Dame Maggie Smith.

Residents will see more landmarks when PhoneShop, featuring Martin Trenaman from the Inbetweeners, airs as part of a Comedy Showcase season.

Phil Bowker said: “Our location manager was fantastic and she found this amazing shop in Sutton and said ‘you’ll love it’.

“I had Bromley in mind when I was writing it and when she brought to me to Sutton I said ‘oh God, this is it’.”

“It’s a fantastically UK high street but you’ve also got trees here that give you that little bit of greenery.”

Sutton on celluloid

  • Scenes from Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 film If, about schoolboys who kill their teachers, were shot at Carew Manor School.

Cheam-born Paul Greengrass directed United 93 and two of the three Bourne films, which made $800m at the box office.

The 2006 documentary Traceurs of Durand followed a Parkour free running team on the Durand estate in Carshalton.

Tony Hancock, the Lad Himself, famously lived at (the fictional) 23 Railway cuttings, East Cheam

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