Category Archives: Film and TV

Diamond Jubilee continues in Bloxwich with Coronation film show

A Queen is Crowned Poster 1

Following the national Diamond Jubilee weekend, Bloxwich is continuing the celebration this coming Saturday as Blowich Library Forum joins forces with Bloxwich Library and Walsall Council to mark the historic event with a very special FREE film show open to all – plus free tea and cake!

On Saturday 9th June, library users are invited to ‘take tea with the Queen’ when the Forum will be showing a spectacular film of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on the big screen in Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre, part of the Bookmark Bloxwich library complex in Elmore Row, Bloxwich.

The right Royal event kicks off at 1pm, when Bloxwich Library staff will be providing tea and cake in the café there as a prelude to the film itself, which starts at 2pm.

A Queen is Crowned Poster 2

Stuart Williams of Bloxwich Library Forum, the voluntary group which manages the theatre in partnership with Bloxwich Library, said:

“We are proud to present, with the support of Walsall Council and FREE of charge to the public, a spectacular, specially restored eighty-minute Technicolor film of Her Majesty’s Coronation, not shown in the Borough’s cinemas since 1953.  It will be shown on our 12 foot screen in High Definition using special projection equipment provided by the Forum. 

“And thanks to Bloxwich Library staff, library members will also enjoy free ‘tea with the Queen’ in the Bookmark Bloxwich Café before the film.  What a great way to celebrate the 60th year of Her Majesty’s reign!”

Tickets to the event are available FREE OF CHARGE at Bloxwich Library in Elmore Row – just show staff your Library Card to receive a Diamond Invite! If you are not a member, what better time to join the Library?

The show concludes at 3.30pm and Bloxwich Library closes at 4pm. For more information or to book, telephone Bloxwich Library on 01922 655900.

Take tea with the Queen and see her Coronation in Bloxwich!

Her Majesty the Queen and Prince Philip, 1953.

With national Diamond Jubilee celebrations imminent, Bloxwich Library Forum is doing its loyal duty by joining forces with Bloxwich Library and Walsall Council to mark the historic event in style.

On Saturday 9th June, local library users are being invited to ‘take tea with the Queen’ when the Forum will be showing a spectacular film of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on the big screen in Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre, part of the Bookmark Bloxwich library complex in Elmore Row, Bloxwich.

And the right Royal event kicks off at 1pm, when Bloxwich Library staff will be providing tea and cake in the café there as a prelude to the film itself, which starts at 2pm.

Stuart Williams of Bloxwich Library Forum, the voluntary group which manages the theatre in partnership with Bloxwich Library, said:

“Walsall Council has invited us to contribute to local celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee, and we are proud to present, FREE of charge to the public, a spectacular, specially restored eighty-minute Technicolor film of Her Majesty’s Coronation, not shown in the Borough’s cinemas since 1953, in partnership with the Council.

“What’s more, the wonderful staff of Bloxwich Library have kindly arranged to serve FREE tea and cake for all library members in the Bookmark Bloxwich Café before the film, allowing one and all to have tea with the Queen!  What a great way to celebrate the 60th year of Her Majesty’s reign!”

Tickets to the event are now available FREE OF CHARGE at Bloxwich Library in Elmore Row – just show staff your Library Card to receive a Diamond Invite!  If you are not a member, what better time to join the Library?

The show concludes at 3.30pm and Bloxwich Library closes at 4pm.

For more information, telephone Bloxwich Library on 01922 655900.

Sixties film society re-launched in Bloxwich

BFS

In 1964, Bloxwich Film Society was launched at the then-new Bloxwich Library Theatre in Elmore Row. Years later, the society closed.

Now the society, which once had the use of 16mm film projectors and a dedicated projection booth at the theatre, is being re-launched by Bloxwich Library Forum at the same venue – now known as Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre – on Saturday 11 February at 7.30pm for 8pm.

And in keeping with the 1960s origins of the theatre, members of the public attending on the night will be able to enjoy a cinema-style large-screen high-definition digital showing of the 40th anniversary version of Michael Caine’s 1969 classic THE ITALIAN JOB!

Stuart Williams of Bloxwich Library Forum said:

“For this special re-launch event no ticket is required, and admission is FREE – subject to availability of seats! Membership of Bloxwich Film Society will cost just £10 in 2012, and new members can sign up on the 11th or at the next film showing. Future showings, every other month, will be for MEMBERS ONLY and will be FREE of charge to BFS members.

“We’re aiming to show some great classics from the 1960s and 70s this year, in keeping with the venue, and we have a bar, so we hope the re-launched society will prove popular as a social event as well as a cinematic one.

“But prospective members should please note that the society will only go ahead if there is sufficient response – so film fans should come along and join us in bringing the cinema back to Bloxwich!”

Bloxwich Library Forum is a voluntary group comprising local members of the public, staff of Bloxwich Library, Walsall Council employees and other interested parties. It was formed as part of consultation preceding the rebuilding of Bloxwich Library and Bloxwich Library Theatre in 2009-10, and now manages Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre in partnership with Bloxwich Library.

The group, which is self-funded, aims to provide a high quality and affordable programme of events at the theatre as well as maintaining it as a versatile community facility and as an important support and complement to Bloxwich Library.

Check out the new Bloxwich Library Forum blog and Bookmark Bloxwch Theatre’s Winter Programme via this link now: http://bloxwichlibraryforum.wordpress.com

Disability Film Night at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre

 

As part of a series of Walsall and Bloxwich events in Walsall Celebrates UK Disability History Month, a special and thought-provoking film show is taking place at Bookmark Bloxwich Theatre in Elmore Row, Bloxwich, on 8 December.

The presentation, which utilises the new digital video projection facilities provided by Bloxwich Library Forum, explores how our attitudes to disability have changed in the last century with the showing of the ‘daring’ black and white movie ‘Freaks’ from 1932 in the first half and the ultra-modern ‘Sex and Drugs and Rock’n’Roll’ after a break.

Roy Cadman from the Independent Living Centre will introduce the films and facilitate the chat in between.

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance with Kim Fuller from Walsall Creative Development Team on 01922 653114 or email fullerk@walsall.gov.uk

Light refreshments will be on sale.

Thursday, December 8, 6pm-10.30pm. Age 15+ only

To download the pdf flyer for Walsall Celebrates UK Disability History Month, click on Disability History Month flyer.

REVIEW: From ATVLand in Colour

ATV Colour Production

Do you remember Reg Harcourt, ‘Crossroads’, Police 5, that great commercial TV mastermind Lew Grade with his enormous cigars, Jill Richardson (Jane Rossington) and her house Chimneys, all the fascinating commercial TV series and programmes broadcast in the 1950s-1980s and dare I say it Bob Warman, who still graces our screens today in Central Tonight?

Are you nostalgic for the great days of English commercial television? Maybe you are a media student, or an historian wondering how the modern tv landscape came about.  Perhaps you’re an archivist with a gap in your record office or local studies library’s video collection crying out for some real media history? Or would you love to wallow in a bit of nostalgia from the days of your youth – especially if you are a Brummie or from the Black Country?

Then this double DVD box set of five 45-minute episodes, ‘From ATVLand in Colour’, will be right up your street.

From Atvland in colourWhen I started to watch this, all the old stuff tucked away in the attic of my mind from my youth in 1960s-70s Bloxwich began to tumble out, and I found myself remembering people and programmes, faces and places I hadn’t thought about in years.

There were the days before BBC2, and satellite TV, and digital this and plasma that.  No computers in the home.  No mobile phones.  No Playstations or electronic gadgets.  Just cinemas, the ‘wireless’, trannies, the stylophone and good old two-channel telly.

Crossroads Cast
Crossroads Cast

Do you remember Crossroads, with the wobbly sets, Noel Gordon – and Benny, whose name became associated with a particularly dodgy woolly hat? How about Jane Rossington, who played Jill Richardson?  Her house, ‘Chimneys’, after which the 1980s wine bar in Bloxwich, converted from a row of cottages on Park Road, was named (latterly called the Carousel, and now the Lady Diana, would you believe?).  And her brother Sandy, the ground-breaking character in a wheelchair?

All those people whom you recognise instantly but never see on the goggle box any more, all those theme tunes which still strike a chord but you can’t get as a ring tone.

Reg Harcourt, 1974
Reg Harcourt, 1974

ATV Today and Central News plus a wealth of regional programming, such as England Their England and Here & Now.  Tinga and Tucka, the two little bears and their friend Jean Morton and their uncle Cliff Richard? New Faces, Chris Tarrant and Tiswas – the Phantom Flan Flinger and the dying fly… Sylveste McCoy in his bath of baked beans…  Shaw Taylor and Police Five (Keep ‘em peeled – we still say that today!)  The Golden Shot (Bob Monkhouse, Bernie the Bolt and Guzzle the Golden Grub!).  Not to mention Spitting Image – don’t we really, really need them back today, in a world of politicians gone mad?

ATV Centre, 1981
ATV Centre, 1981

And the then futuristic ATV Centre, in the centre of Birmingham, affectionately known as ATVLand – where the late father, sadly missed, of an old friend of mine used to manage the cleaners… Oh gods, what wouldn’t I give for a time machine.  But this dvd is not a bad substitute, you know.

A five part documentary, this ‘series’ tells the story of ATV and ABC and the birth of commercial television in England, and how the Midlands was the heart of its success.  The Centre and the people who worked there, performers, reporters, cameramen, actors, editors, producers and so forth are looked at lovingly from its beginnings in 1970 to its ultimate closure in 1997, celebrating the great programmes that came from the studios throughout its working life.

MACE logo

‘From ATVLand In Colour’ includes a wealth – how often do we hear that, but it really is true – of unseen and newly restored archive film sourced from the Media Archive for Central England.

Jam-packed with rare clips from the 60s through to the 80s, it features remarkable behind the scenes footage and regional news and programming, much of which has not seen since broadcast, plus interviews exclusive to this DVD with those who worked at the centre, including Jim Bowen, Bob Carolgees, Gary Terzza, Peter Harris, Diana Mather, Wendy Nelson, Reg Harcourt, Debbie Shore, Jane Rossington, Chris Tarrant, Jo Wheeler, Shaw Taylor and Bob Warman.

ATV Studio 3
ATV Studio 3

The five episodes follow ATV’s birth and move to new premises, the changes in technology, from live broadcasts to recording, the 16mm film cameras for news reporting in the field, the huge three tube studio cameras (I used them at college!) and the preparations for the transition to colour broadcasting and for the eventual opening of ATV Centre in 1970. They show the story of the four studios in operation throughout the 1970s, in location film footage and in the fond memories of those who were involved, through to the 1980s and to the dawn of Central Television which brought changes in layout to the studios and more great programmes.

The double disc set’s second disc reveals how the studios look today and offers a nostalgic montage of behind the scenes archive footage from the ATV & Central days.

And as a fascinating bonus for computer users, the discs also include pdfs of archived studio booklets ‘This is ATV’ (28 pages) and the ‘ATV Year Book 1974-75’ (24 pages),

CONCLUSION

I can honestly say I love this package, ATV and Central were such a part of my life for so long, and I miss ATV in particular.  I know many of you will too.  I find it equally fascinating as an historian, and as a photographer who used the same technology at college in Wednesbury in the late 1970s.  This production is clearly a labour of love by, and backed by, people who know their stuff and the value of history.  Buy it now – and revel in the analogue, travel back in time to the days of 405 and 625 lines, the test card and the white dot.  There’s really nothing quite like it in our modern digital world.

From ATVLand in Colour is produced by ATVLAND.productions for the Media Archive for Central England, in Association with ITV Studios Global Entertainment Ltd.

Available on DVD for £14.99 (reduced from £17.99 till 30 November 2011), this fascinating media history nostalgia fest is a real piece of OUR history in the Midlands – and a real bargain direct from MACE (see link below)

http://www.macearchive.org/Mace-shop/DVDs/product/from-atvland-in-colour.html

AND FINALLY, don’t forget to check out MACE, who now reside at the University of Lincoln: http://www.macearchive.org – their aims are admirable, and their website and collections an extraordinary resource.

Stuart Williams, 20 November 2011

Please Sir, can we have some more in Leamore?

Oliver Twist by Charles DickensTalented performers from Walsall Youth Theatre are certain to leave audiences wanting more when they stage Lionel Bart’s Oliver! next week.

They will be staging one of the best-loved British musicals at Leamore’s Forest Arts Centre on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 26, 27 and 28 October in a half term treat to be enjoyed by all the family. Continue reading Please Sir, can we have some more in Leamore?