Batman begins... filming
CROYDON has been transformed into Gotham City as filming for the latest instalment of the Batman saga begins in the borough.
Cameras, lighting equipment and film sets have sprung up around Delta Point in Wellesley Road, West Croydon, for the latest tale involving the caped crusader.
An American-style taxi cab bearing the words Gotham Cabs has been seen on set and the former BT headquarters has been renamed Gotham General Hospital.
But actor Christian Bale – who plays the reclusive crime-fighting hero – has been kept well out of public view.
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Film crew members have even tried to throw passers-by off the scent by saying that they are filming a baked beans advert.
One onlooker said he saw a dramatic car chase being filmed on set along with several rooftop shots involving the action hero.
The spectator also got a sneak peak of one of the characters crashing through a window of the building.
The onlooker said: "It's nice that Croydon is put on the map for the Batman film.
"Everything has been shot on the roof. They have great big cameras on the corner of Wellesley Road – and lights to light up the roof."
George Driver, 24, assistant manager of comic shop Forbidden Planet in West Croydon, said the filming was great publicity for the town.
And the store has been feeling the impact of a Hollywood blockbuster coming to town.
Mr Driver added: "We stock a lot of Batman masks and toys, so I think it's brought more people into this store and it's had a bit of an effect on our sales figures.
"Once fans knew the filming was in London they started playing detective like Batman and came to Croydon to try to find the film set."
The new Batman film is not the first movie to be shot in Croydon. Fairfield Halls was used in the opening scenes of the 2005 movie The Da Vinci Code, starring Tom Hanks.
And scenes from the British comedy Made In Dagenham were filmed in Croydon.
Cinemagoers may have recognised St George's Walk and George Street as settings in the film.