TV drama hits town

COOLANGATTA locals and tourists were given a sneak peek into Channel Nine's new TV crime series The Strip when cast and crew members arrived in town for filming yesterday.

The police drama series is based on the Gold Coast and features detectives that work from the fictional Main Beach CIB. It is due to hit television screens in September.

Parts of Point Danger, Snapper Rocks and Griffith Street were yesterday taken over by the 50-odd crew and cast members which include Aaron Jeffrey, Frankie J Holden, Vanessa Gray and Bob Morley.

The first series also features guest appearances from Martin Sacks and Matthew Newton.

The show has two permanent film studios in Surfers Paradise, but the series has also been shot at Broadbeach, Sovereign Islands and a number of other Gold Coast locations.

The local filming is creating a strong public buzz in the lead-up to the show's screening.

People flocked to watch a number of scenes being shot on the cliff-face at Point Danger yesterday morning.

A number of locals were curious as to what was happening, including one woman whose daily walk was interrupted by the presence of the production crew.

For John and Jean Pitts from Mornington in Victoria, the buzz surrounding the television set was overshadowed by a larger film set they encountered while travelling through Canada last year.

"I think it was called American Lady," Mr Pitts said. "It was set in the olden days and the crew had taken over a whole town for filming.

"It's a bit of curiosity for us - we're professional nosey parkers now," he joked. One crew member said The Strip was set around the glitz, glamour and crime of the Gold Coast.

Third assistant director Michael Bate said it was the first time the show's filming had taken place so far south on the coast.

"It's beautiful here," he said. "The weather's been great and public have been really excited about it." While a group of tourists in Surfers Paradise were fortunate enough to witness a large explosion on the set, yesterday's filming was less action-packed.

"We had a car explode with flames coming out of it," Mr Bate said.

"It (the story line) is all a bit investigative today, no major action," Mr Bate said.

People unaware of the filming became confused by the amount of extra police hanging around the Rainbow Bay vicinity, with some mistaking actors for the real deal. One concerned woman even contacted the Tweed Daily News about it. "They do look real," Mr Bates agreed. "They look really good and people approach them thinking they're real coppers."

Coolangatta is proving to be a television hotspot, following the filming of a VB beer commercial at Rainbow Bay Surf Life Saving Club last month.

Owner of Cafe D-bar at Point Danger, Steve Archdeacon, said the television set had been good for business.

"We've had people wanting to come to the cafe to watch the filming of The Strip," he said.

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