Sitcom set to boost tourism

Starlings'Specials''L - R: Steve Edge as Fergie & Matt King as Loz''� Adrian Rogers for Sky 1 HD'25.08.2011
Starlings'Specials''L - R: Steve Edge as Fergie & Matt King as Loz''� Adrian Rogers for Sky 1 HD'25.08.2011
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DALES folk will be looking to get a glimpse of themselves on the small screen when a new comedy airs this month.

Alan Partridge star Steve Coogan has gone behind the scenes to produce Matlock-based sitcom Starlings, which is set to put the town on the map – and boost the area’s tourism industry.

Starlings''L - R: Lesley Sharp as Jan & Brendan Coyle as Terry''� Sky 1 HD / Justin Downing'12.10.2011

Starlings''L - R: Lesley Sharp as Jan & Brendan Coyle as Terry''� Sky 1 HD / Justin Downing'12.10.2011

The show, which follow the lives of a typical working class brood, stars Brendan Coyle from Downton Abbey and TV regular Lesley Sharp as husband and wife.

Filming took place last August across the Dales including at Matlock Town Football Club, where clubs officials, supporters and stewards acted as extras for the show.

Club chairman Tom Wright said: “I met all the actors and they were all very friendly.”

He added: “They all thought Matlock was great and some came to watch a match after. I think they based it in Matlock because it’s a central town in the Peak District.”

Brendan Coyle said he believed the sitcom would be something different.

“It’s rooted in a source of truth,” he said. “It’s a family, we’re playing it for real.”

Matt King, from Channel 4’s Peep Show, who wrote the show with Steve Edge added: “We just wanted to write something really uplifting, funny and warm, and about a family: a real family.”

It is not the first time Matlock has been a film and television location. This is England director Shane Meadows shot scenes in the town for his film Dead Man’s Shoes.

David Thornton, head of marketing and deputy chief executive of Visit Peak District and Derbyshire, said: “Film and television tourism is a key element in the Peak District’s appeal to tourists at home and overseas.

“Not only does it raise the area’s profile nationally and internationally, it also brings a host of economic benefits – from the film crews who come here in the first instance right through to the visitors who come to see where their favourite movie or television series has been filmed – encouraging people to stay and spend money on local accommodation, food and drink and attractions.”

Shirley Johnson of Matlock business group, added: “I think anything that raises the profile of the area is a good thing.”

Starlings hits our screens on May 13 on Sky 1.