Zombies in St Albans for eBay advert filming

eBay advert filming in St Albans - before the Zombies appear

eBay advert filming in St Albans - before the Zombies appear - Credit: Debbie White/Archant

“Hollywood’s come to St Albans” according to crane operator Eugene McDonagh, during filming for an eBay advertisement, which attracted scores of interested bystanders in the city centre today (Friday).

Television crew and actors - including Zombies - have descended upon the city, to film for the auction site in Market Place, in front of the Town Hall.

Local businesses were forewarned of the filming, which started at about 10am, and is expected to continue until about 6pm today.

Eugene McDonagh, who was at the site ahead of the actors arriving at the historic Town Hall for hair and makeup, works for St Albans-based Chapman UK, which supplies camera support equipment for film, TV and commercial productions.

He, fellow crane operator Dennis Fraser Jnr, key grip Terry Williams - who hails from New Zealand - and crane grip Dan Garlic had to offload and set up a telescopic crane camera, which reaches a height of 47 feet.

Eugene said: “Hollywood’s come to St Albans! You have already had the Romans.”

Impressed passerby Laura Youell, shopping with her children, said: “I think it’s fantastic. We like looking at this - everyone likes a bit of filming, and it’s a bit of excitement.

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“We like to star-spot.”

Her son Oliver added: “It’s brilliant.”

Regular customers of Dave’s Tasty Bites, cooking fresh food from a van parked a few metres from the bustling film set, were curious about the newcomers to the city centre, as they quizzed their server while tucking in to hamburgers.

He told the Herts Advertiser: “I’ve served some of the crew already. Every third customer has been asking me about it.”

The commercial is loosely based on a Zombie movie, which basically depicts Zombies at the early stage of taking over Market Place in St Albans.

Filming is taking place in small 60-second bursts, and involves Zombies around the city centre, along with background actor shoppers.

All of the planned filming is taking place in Market Place, near to the Town Hall, and there are temporary traffic ‘holds’ about two minutes long taking place on Spencer Street during certain parts of the filming.

Don Wilson, owner of Don The Fish, who brings his van of freshly caught fish into the city centre every Friday, said it had not helped business, “as people are too busy watching the filming, rather than buy my fish.”

But he praised the crew for being “brilliant and trying to impact on us as little as possible”.

Richard Shwe, head of community services for St Albans district council, said: “St Albans offers many wonderful backgrounds for filmmakers, so it is no wonder its popularity has been growing.

“In the past couple of weeks, we have had filming for a Channel 4 sitcom at the Sopwell Nunnery, the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen at Verulamium Park and now this major TV commercial in the city centre.

“When the Town Hall is converted into a stunning new Museum and Art Gallery, I am sure there will be even more inquiries. We welcome all this as it helps promote our city to the wider world which is good for our local businesses.”