That was the day when IW was star

By Keith Newbery

Friday, December 20, 2013


That was the day when IW was star

THIS ISLAND LIFE JUST over a year ago I asked readers to share memories they had of films or television programmes which had been shot on the Island.

You were, as ever, most generous with your replies, and I’m sorry it’s taken so long for them to appear in this corner of the County Press — but this column moves in mysterious ways.

By far the best remembered movie to be associated with the Island was That’ll Be the Day, starring (among others) David Essex, Ringo Starr, Billy Fury and Keith Moon.

It was released in 1973 and featured scenes shot at Ryde, Adgestone, Shanklin, one of the old Puckpool holiday camps and even outside the former Rex cinema, Ventnor. When the film showed here, it was very much a case of "spot the local" in the crowd scenes.

Tim Slade wrote to say: "At the time the film was being made, I was driving a 1959 Ford Prefect. I had heard the production team was looking for such cars as extras, so I registered my contact details.

"I received a phone call at work asking me to report to Nettlestone Green, where a scene was due to be shot. I was given a jacket with narrow lapels and had to change my 1970s’ tie for a slim version. After my hair had been brushed and set late Fifties’ style, I took up position in my car to await my cue.

"All I had to do was drive past the Green as David Essex was parking his motor-bike and walking to a red telephone box. There were two takes, after which the director was satisfied, which was the cue for two burly blokes to pick up the phone box and put it into the back of a lorry.

"I got paid — quite well as I recall — but oh dear! When I went to see the film at the Regal, Shanklin, I found I had been assigned to the cutting room floor."

Phil Orr also signed up as an extra and he recalled: "The pay was very good — it was about £50 for a day, which was tons at the time. I must have been 21 or 22 and was selected for the dancehall scene at Shanklin Theatre.

"I was in two scenes — the first was when David Essex was watching a band and it began with a close-up of a guitar with a riff being started.

"The guitarist then turned away and the shot panned out to capture the whole room. I was one of the dancers — the one and only time in my life I did the jive.

"Sadly, the director was unhappy with the shot, so we repeated it umpteen times until he was satisfied.

"In my other scene, I was sitting down watching the band and Essex was leaning against the wall beside me.

"That shot of me pretty much filled the screen and ever since people have asked: "I watched That’ll be the Day last night — is that you in it?"

Mick Price’s father’s shop, on the corner of St John’s Hill and Meaders Road, Ryde, appeared in the movie as McLean’s General Store.

He recalled: "The actor who played David Essex’s father came marching home with his kit-bag via the tip at the end of Meaders Road, which was, in fact, a cul-de-sac.

"Every morning, owners of modern vehicles had to shift them before filming, several people had their television aerials removed from their roofs and double yellow lines on the main road were painted out.

"At the time, we were living at the other end of Meaders Road and I remember looking out of my bedroom window one morning to see Ringo Starr chasing several chickens up the road, which had escaped from the back garden of the shop. There was a lot of bad language.

"I also remember my sister, June, getting very excited when she met her heartthrob, Billy Fury, at Puckpool holiday camp. He was in the band with Keith Moon. My claim to fame to this day is David Essex slept in my bedroom over the shop — which is now the front room of my brother’s house."

David Fountaine spent about six weeks being Ringo Starr’s stand-in and remembers having a great time.

He wrote: "Two things which probably stand out the most was one night in the Cliff Tops Hotel, Shanklin, when the manager threw Ringo and Keith Moon off the drums.

"They were getting into a good drum duet and he thought they would damage his equipment.

"The second memory was at Shanklin Theatre, when Moon was getting rather bored and left the stage.

"We all thought that would be the last we saw of him but he returned, carrying a large pair of step ladders, proceeded to climb them, launched himself from the top on to his drums and went into an incredible solo."

• Next week, readers recall the film Peter Finch made at Bembridge and what it was like having breakfast with the lovely Lynda Bellingham.

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