Saturday, 31 December 2011

Review: Tony Benedict feat. Sara Creeney At The Sands Venue, Blackpool

What can you say about The Sands Venue in Blackpool that hasn't already been said?

It is indeed a world-class venue - the three-course meals served before the Cabaret shows start are absolutely delicious (but the food in the Deli and the top floor restaurant is great too) and the decor is truly luxurious.  The staff are welcoming, friendly and very efficient.    We love the Sands own 7-piece Swing Band and always enjoy the shows and of course there is plenty of room to dance.

Tony Benedict, the "Rat Pack" style entertainer is a particular favourite of ours and his show was fantastic as always - even including some expert shimmying - delighting the audience.   Tony's version of "Mr Bo Jangles" is the best we have heard. 

Sara Creeney, who we have been following closely for several years, goes from strength to strength - her rendition of "Fever" accompanied by the Sands Swing Band was sheer perfection. All in all we had a superb evening out.

Sara Creeney will be back at the Sands on Saturday, 14th January 2012, this time with Mark Porter.  Tony Benedict is to return to the Sands on Saturday, 28th January with Lisa Harman.

The Sands has a full programme of entertainment planned for 2012, including their fantastic afternoon tea dances on Tuesdays from 2 pm till 4.30 pm with four-piece band Frontline and optional sumptuous afternoon tea plus dancing. There are special offers in place for January, so check out their website 

Or if you have not yet visited The Sands Venue yet, why not pop in and pick up a brochure and while you are there ask a member of staff to show you round.  We are sure you will be very impressed.  To book you can either phone, call in to the Box Office on the ground floor, or send an e-mail.

The Sands Venue, Palatine Building, Promenade, Blackpool,
FY1 4TQ. Tel. 01253 625262


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Ice Hockey: Blackpool Seagulls To Soar Once More

Following on from the successful re-introduction of senior ice hockey to the Fylde Coast with the new Fylde Flyers English League Division 2 North team at the Sub Zero ice rink in Cleveleys, we are very pleased to report that a much loved name is about to re-emerge in the ice hockey world.

After an absence of almost 20 years, the BLACKPOOL SEAGULLS are set to soar once more - in the shape of a new recreational team based around a group of local enthusiasts and players who turned out for the Seagulls in the 1980s.

The most notable of these is Dave Anthony (pictured below) who came to Blackpool as an "imported" player from Canada in 1984 and remains the club's top goal and points scorer for the modern British League era.

Anthony also played for Glasgow, Solihull, Trafford and Guildford. He now coaches the junior players as well as playing recreational hockey.

The original Blackpool Seagulls team first played in the 1930s after the opening of the Ice Drome at Blackpool Pleasure Beach and Seagulls team continued to play throughout the 1950s, 60s,70s and 80s.

The newly revived Blackpool Seagulls first match will be on Saturday 25th February at the Sub Zero ice rink in Cleveleys where they will play the UK Firerfighters team - 5pm face off.

The match will be a charity game to raise funds for Help For Heroes (nominated by the Firefighters team) and Children With Cancer (nominated by the Seagulls).

There are numerous opportunties for people who might wish to sponsor the match: main match sponsor, match puck sponsor, individual player sponsorship etc, as well as advertising options in the souvenir match programme.

For more information on sponsorship, call Peter Bleackley on 07921 298209.

To find out more about the team, check out the Blackpool Seagulls Ice Hockey Team 2012 group on Facebook.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Rainbow Dance Studios present Beauty and the Beast at the Lowther Pavilion 5th - 8th January 2012

Rainbow Dance Studios are delighted to present Beauty and the Beast to be held at the Lowther Pavilion from Thursday, 5th January - Sunday, 8th January 2012.

Performances are at 7.15 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and there will be a matinee on Saturday at 2.15 pm.  Sunday's performance is at 2.15 p.m.

Tickets are available from the Box Office at the Lowther Pavilion - 01253 794221.

St. Annes Central Ward PACT Community Meeting 5th January 2012

There will be a meeting of the Central Ward St. Annes PACT Committee at 7.00 p.m. on Thursday, 5th January 2012 at the YMCA in St. Albans Road, St. Annes.  

You are all invited to go along and make your voice heard.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Film Review: HUGO (U) - directed by Martin Scorsese

We went to see “Hugo” on Christmas Eve at the delightful, privately owned cinema at The Island in St. Annes-on-the-Sea in Lancashire.

Having read a few short reviews about the film Hugo and one interview with Ben Kingsley, an actor whose work I particularly enjoy watching, I was expecting to see a ‘children’s film’.  I was totally unprepared for the beautiful, though-provoking salute to the early days of cinema – a tale of the world of dreams and fantasy. 

The opening scenes of the clockwork machinery that keeps the clocks ticking in the Paris station of the film “Hugo” made me think of the contribution to modern life made by Englishman John Harrison in the 18th Century.  As depicted in the film, “Longitude”, Harrison invented what is now known as a marine chronometer and the story in the film “Hugo” reminds us of the turmoil and huge changes in the lives of ordinary people  that took place in Europe after the end of the First World War.   Although we are not told how Hugo’s Mother died, nor indeed of how Isabelle (Hugo’s friend) lost her parents but it could have been in the Influenza Pandemic that claimed so many lives in 1919.

This is a film every film-lover needs to see. Directed by Martin Scorsese and produced by Johnny Depp, with a superb cast including Sir Ben Kingsley, Sir Christopher Lee, Sacha Baron Cohen, Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Griffiths, Helen McCrory, Emily Mortimer, Ray Winstone and Jude Law it does not merely tell the story of a young orphan looking after the clocks in a 1930s Paris railway station but chronicles, and deftly mirrors, the pioneering work of the very first film-makes from the Lumiere Brothers onwards as well as showing us a snapshot of life in 1930s Paris.  The choice of 3D is particularly apt, bearing in mind the work of the first film makers.

To my mind you will need to see the film at least twice in order to catch the delightful nuances such as the feelings of the Station Inspector (played brilliantly with surely a nod to “’Allo ‘Allo” by Sacha Baron Cohen) for the flower seller Lisette (Emily Mortimer) and of the characters of Madame Emilie, played by Frances de la Tour and Monsieur Frick (Richard Griffiths).   I particularly appreciated  the choice of Frances de la Tour because  I loved the delightful 1980s television series “Flickers” which was also about the early film industry.

The Station Inspector, himself an orphan, was badly injured during World War I and needs a caliper on his leg.   There is romance, some wonderful canine actors, wonderful music , breath-taking camerawork and a happy ending.

Deservedly nominated for many Awards, this film is a work of genius - I shall be very surprised if “Hugo” does not win them all.  Please go and see this amazing film.  

As always I had to remain until the end to try to read the names of all those involved in the film.  Thank you to all of you – in my view “Hugo” is a masterpiece.   To quote from the film “Thank you for the film this afternoon – it was a gift”.  A wonderful Christmas Eve gift.

For more information about Hugo the film check out their fantastic website -

The Island Cinema is on South Promenade, St. Annes-on-the-Sea, Lancashire
FY8 1LY.  Tel. 01253 725331 -

Friday, 23 December 2011

Mick Miller steals the show at the Royal Variety Performance 2011

We feel very sorry for HRH The Princess Royal because she did not get to meet the Star of the Royal Variety Performance – Mick Miller.  
It's great to see our home-grown talent getting some well-deserved attention at last.
We were lucky enough to see Mick in the Comedians Show at the Grand Theatre earlier this year and had a great chat with him beforehand about his work.  
Brilliant Mick - all the best for 2012.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Paul & Lucy's Christmas Special on 103.2 Preston FM - 7pm Friday!

Join us by the fireside for our radio Christmas Special on 103.2 Preston FM this Friday evening from 7 to 8pm for an hour of delightful festive music that you probably won't hear anywhere else on the radio this Christmas!

We'll be starting off with Neil Diamond's "Chanukah Song" as it is Chanukah from 20th to 27th December this year and then following that with a bit of Perry Como, Blackpool SandAid, Dan Forshaw Quartet and lots more besides.

There are some live recordings from the Sands cabaret venue in Blackpool featuring Frontline Dance Band, Richard Shelton, Rachel Leskovac and the Sands Swing Band and also The Frank Flynn Trio and Sarah Ellen Hughes Big Band.

We have a great festive track from the Bispham High School Gospel Choir and more topical tunes from Glyn Bailey, Andy Hill, Gene Clark and Andy Severyn.

So, settle down by the fire with a mince pie and glass of sherry and share our last show of the year with us!

You can tune in to Preston FM on 103.2 in the Preston area or listen in worldwide via the internet by going to and clicking on "listen live". 

Monday, 19 December 2011

Best Christmas Window Display Award - CoCo And Tom, St Annes

TV weather girl Emma Jesson was on hand to present our coveted "Best Christmas Window Display" to Coco & Tom's designer outfitters in Garden Street, St Annes on the Sea today.

In the photo: Emma Jesson, Mark Courtney-Massey and Ros Bates.

Ice Hockey: Flyers Brought Down To Earth By Freeze

English National League Division 2 North
18th December 2011

Flintshire Freeze 15 - Fylde Flyers 6
Period Scores: 4-3, 6-1 5-2

Shots On Goal: Freeze 43 / 15 goals - Flyers 36 / 6 goals
Penalties In Minutes:
Flyers Scorers: Kurtis Hall 2+1, Bobby Caunce 2+1 2pms, Wayne Whitby 1+1 2pms, Ric Hulme 1+1 2pms, Tom Murphy +1, Jack Jones +1, Chris Butcher +1, Stew Marriott 2pms, Tony Melbourne 4pms

Flyers MVP: Ric Hulme
Match photo by Peter Sheffield. View and buy more great ice hockey photos at

Following last Saturday's exciting victory in their first home game, Fylde Flyers ice hockey team were brought back down to earth with a bump as they lost 15-6 to 2nd place Flintshire Freeze.

It started well enough for the Flyers as they matched their high flying hosts almost shot for shot in the first period, coming out just 4-3 down after 20 minutes. But the Freeze's superior numbers on the bench began to make their mark as the game progressed   and a 6-1 second period saw the game pushed beyond the reach of the battling Fylde Coast side.

Two more Flyers goals came in the final period but Flintshire scored 5 more themselves for a final score of 15-6.

Team manager Mick Caunce said:  "We had to play Elvis in defence due to Player/Coach Mark Gillingham, Matt Gibson, Joe Hall, Chris Wells, Dan Bracegirdle all being out with injuries. Dan Fearon had to work, and Andy Clark is at sea till this week but he should be able to get all the January games in.

"Netminder Steve Gilmartin missed his ferry due to the weather in Northern Ireland and NM Lewis McBride had to work. With what we had to bench we put up a brave fight.

"A few more players are needed to strengthen the squad before the signing/transfer deadline. Anyone interested please contact me on 07595 393277."

Fylde Flyers remain 7th in the English National League 2 North table but have games in hand over all the other teams.  They will be relishing getting their league opponents back to their Sub Zero home rink in Cleveleys in the new year where they hope that small ice pad will make it difficult for visitors to play and instead the Flyers can finally make the most of home advantage.

The next match is at home on Saturday 7th January against Sutton Sting - 5pm face off.

The 2011/12 ENLD2N Season So Far:

10th Sept: away at Lancashire Raptors - won 0-4
1st Oct: away at Solway Sharks - lost 16-0
8th Oct: away at Solway Sharks - lost 18-6 (Veldze 5, Hulme 1, Caunce 0+3)
16th Oct: away at Bradford Bulldogs - lost 9-2 (Veldze 2)
6th Nov: away at Flintshire Freeze - lost 6-3 (Caunce 2, Veldze 1)
13th Nov: away at Hull ENL Stingrays - lost 6-3 (Caunce 2, Clark 1)
20th Nov: away at Sheffield Senators - lost 4-3 (Veldze 2+0, Murphy 1+0, Caunce 0+2, Melbourne 0+)
10th Dec: home v Bradford Bulldogs - won 9-4 (Veldze 4+1, Caunce 1+3, Hulme 2+1, Bracegirdle 1+1, Hall 1+1, Fearon 0+2, Murphy 0+1)
18th Dec: away to Flintshire Freeze - lost 15-6

More info:

To hear interview clips with assistant coach Garry Fearon and team captain Wayne Whitby previewing this exciting first new season of ice hockey on the Fylde Coast, click here:  

And a pre-season interview with Dave Anthony here:

Coffee With Sammi - or... How I Came To Want A Home Coffee Maker

When we heard that our friend Sammi Marsh (international model, star of shopping TV and, of course, "Miss Best Kept Secrets") was demonstrating coffee machines in Debenhams in Blackpool, we just HAD to go along and find out all about it

Paul really likes coffee so this was one shopping trip he was really up for but, as he explains here, he wasn't too sure about wanting a coffee machine at home:

"Although I like nice coffee I have always found the process of making proper coffee (as opposed to instant) a bit labout intensive and messy.  We have a caffetiere at home and when you use it, first of all you run the risk of shooting hot liquid and coffee grounds all over the place when you press down the plunger, then you always have the quandry of getting rid of the used coffee grounds afterwards.

I have seen what I would call "nice" coffee makers in the shops and in catalogues where you fill the "thing" ( for want of the correct terminology) with ground coffee (like they do in a coffee shop) make the coffee and then have to bang it afterwards to get the used grounds out.  Here agin, I always found the idea of this rather labour intensive and - again - with a high potential (at least in my case) for making a mess - so I always thought I'd leave it to the professionals.

But I was very pleasantly surprised when Sammi showed us how this new machine works (this isn't an advert for that particular model - just an appreciation of the general concept - other TV listings magazines are available and other outlets than Debenhams also sell coffee machines, obviously...).  It's one of those that have been advertised on TV recently where the coffee comes in a plastic pod ( they look a bit like the invidual portions of Marmite you get in cafés...) and you pop it in the machine, press the hot water handle and off you go!  You have to remember to put your cup in position and top up the water container but, apart from that, even I couldn't make too much mess with this sort of set up...!"

So there you are - now you know what this photo is all about!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Cafe Of The Month Award For December: Debenhams Restaurant, Blackpool

Miss Best Kept Secrets - Sammi Marsh - presented the Best Kept Secrets Cafe of the Month Award for December 2011 to the restaurant in Debenhams in Houndshill, Blackpool on Sunday, 18th December.  

This is a very popular choice for the food is delicious and the staff very welcoming and helpful.  

The Award Certificate was received by Restaurant Manageress Gillian Davidson.

In the picture with Sammi and Lucy are members of the winning team:

Gill Davidson - Restaurant Manager
Gary Burrows - Senior Sales
Sharon Bingham - Chef
Francesca Lawson
Becky Cummines and
Jessica Selby

If you have never visited the Restaurant in Debenhams then you are in for a treat.  They open at 9.30 a.m. on Sundays during the browsing time.

Review: Vice Squad at Blackpool Cricket Club - 17th December

We went to a terrific evening of punk at Blackpool Cricket Club on Saturday evening featuring Litterbug, Pink Hearse, One Way System and my favourite band Vice Squad. The cricket club are trying out different types of events - music nights featuring different genres, beer festivals etc - in a bid to maximise the use of their facilities and attract different revenue streams and are to be encouraged if you look at amount of new people that Saturday's event brought in to the clubhouse.

Although Litterbug and Pink Hearse are both well know locally, I hadn't heard either of them play before so it was a great opportunity to do some catching up.

I first heard of One Way System back in 1981 when I bought the 12" vinyl compilation "A Country Fit For Heroes" which had their track "Jerusalem" on it and , here again, I had never seen them play live before so it was nice to finally do so (after only 30 years....). They finished with Jerusalem and also played the Blitzkrieg song "The Future Must be Ours" that I also remembered from the same album...

All credit to the 3 local bands who played very well and received lots of support but obviously, the highlight for us was the performance by Vice Squad who we had featured in a one hour interview special in our radio show on Preston FM a few weeks ago.

Having first heard of Vice Squad back in 1981 when I heard "Living On Dreams" on the John Peel Show , this really has been a 30 year love affair with their music for me and I was not disappointed as they played a nice variery of old and new favourites.

In no particular order - well, not the order they were played in, anyway...:

From the "Stand Strong Stand Proud" album they played "Rock n’ Roll Massacre", "Latex Love" and "Out of Reach" and we also had "Scarred For Life" that I originally heard at the Cambridge Sea Cadets Hall as part of the State Of The Nation Tour back in October 1982.

They played "Living On Dreams" and then from the Defiant album, the title track, "Fast Forward" an "Voice Of The People".  From "London Underground" we had "Sniffing Glue" and my own favourite (and Beki's apparently...) "Ordinary Girl".

Vice Squad have a brand new album out called "Punk Rock Radio" which I would heartily recommend to fans new and old alike.  You can read our review and find order links here:

From this album they played "Stuck in Reverse", "Punk Rock Is The Blues" and "Are You Looking At Me?" and then finished in rousing fashion with a couple of old favourites: "Stand Strong, Stand Proud" and "Last Rockers".

It was a thrilling, energetic performance that we enjoyed from beginning to end. Do go and see Vice Squad play live if you get the chance - we are sure you won't be disappointed.

Vice Squad really do represent the true spirit of authentic punk rock.  They manage themselves - organise all their own merchadise (Beki was there selling t-shirts on the sales stand), organise their own gigs and produce their own CDs.  To find out more about live shows and merchandise and to order your copy of the new Punk Rock Radio CD, visit the official Vice Squad website at:

As well as thanking Vice Squad, who made the journey up north in awful weather, Lucy wanted to say thank you to everyone who took part - the audience, Spider Man, the sound engineer and the staff at Blackpool Cricket Club - for a really fantastic evening.   She was inspired by Pink Hearse and encouraged by Lee and his friends to finish her latest song.

Ice Hockey: Wyre Seagulls v Blackpool Raiders Rec Match - 17th December

We had a great evening out watching two local recreational teams play a fantastic game of ice hockey at the Sub Zero rink in Cleveleys on Saturday evening.  The Blackpool Raiders beat Wyre Seagullls 14-4, thrilling a sizeable crowd in an excellent advert for the game. 

Definitely to be encouraged - watch  this space!

Wyre Seagulls 4 - Blackpool Raiders 14
Period Scores:  2-4, 1-4, 1-6

Seagulls Scorers:
Danny Jones - 2 +1, Simon Pearce - 1+1, Mark Jeffries - 1+0, Dan Coxon - 0+1

Raiders Scorers: Dave Anthony: 2+1, Harry Hall 2+3, Gary Shearman: 0+2, Darryl Kenyon 0+1, Bobby Hall 2+1,Mark Singer 0+1, Duncan Wrigley 2+3, Ivan Danks: 1+0, Scott Anthony-Jones: 0+1, Mick Buchanan 0+1, No.7: 3+1, No.5: 2+0

New rec players are always welcome - training is at the Sub Zero rink on Monday nights from 9.30 to 11.30pm.  For more information, check out the Wyre Seagulls or new Blackpool Seagulls Ice Hockey Club groups on Facebook.

In an exciting new development, the Blackpool Raiders club have decided to change their name to Blackpool Seagulls to ressurect the traditional team name of Blackpool ice hockey which dates back to 1938.  The team will be managed and coached by former Blackpool Seagulls import Dave Anthony.

The new reformed Blackpool Seagulls will play their first match on Saturday 25th February against the UK Firefighters Ice Hockey team - at the Sub Zero ice rink in Cleveleys - face off 5pm. 

More details will be posted here nearer the time.

Fylde Flyers Ice Hockey Team - Player Kit Sponsorship From Just £5!

Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea!

Stuck for a last minute gift for a loved one? Not sure what to buy for the guy /gal / lad or lass who has everything?  Why not buy them an ice hockey player for Christmas...?  Well, a player sponsorship, anyway...   and there are lots of options, starting from just £5

Full Player Sponsorship:
For just £150 you can sponsor the player of your choice for the rest of the Fylde Flyers' exciting debut season in England National Ice Hockey League Division 2 North.  For that, you get a presentation photo with your chosen player taken at the rink before a league game, your name - or your company's name - in the match programme and on the new website for the rest of the season and, at the end of the campaign, you'll receive a signed "match worn" shirt from your player as a fantastic memento.

Shirt Sponsorship:
For £50 you can sponsor the home or away shirt of the player of your choice for the rest of the 2011/12 season.  Here again, you get a presentation photo with your chosen player taken at the rink before a league game, your name - or your company's name - in the match programme and on the new  website for the rest of the season and, at the end of the campaign, you'll receive a signed "match worn" shirt from your player as a fantastic memento.

Other Kit Sponsorship Options:
For smalller presents or limited budgets, you can still support the Fylde Flyers and sponsor an important item of playing kit for your chosen player.

A donation of just £5 will help provide laces or practice pucks while £10 will secure you the elbow pads, gloves or socks sponsorship for your favourite Flyer for the season. Or you can sponsor the stick for £20 and the helmet or shorts for £25.

You will receive a photo with your sponsored player and have your name in the match programme and on the club website until the end of the season.

Don't delay - get in quickly to sponsor your favourite player!  Contact Mick Caunce on  07595 393277 for more details.

Match sponsorship and other corporate level opportunities are also available. 

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Join In "Starling Watch" On Blackpool North Pier - 8th & 14th January

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has joined forces with Blackpool North Pier and visitBlackpool to present a new exciting and educational experience NORTH PIER STARLING WATCH.

Every day many people will stand on the pier and marvel at one of Blackpool’s most enigmatic free shows. Thousands of starlings gather around the seaward end of the iconic North Pier before creating an air show to rival even the Red Arrows!

The starlings are certainly a sight to behold and now members of the public will get the opportunity to see them up close and personal. There are two events co-hosted by the RSPB, visitBlackpool and Blackpool North Pier which will take place on the pier on Sunday 8 and Saturday 14 January 2012. More events will follow throughout 2012.

Officers from the RSPB will be on North Pier between 12 noon and 4pm on each of these days, presenting talks between 1pm and 3pm on the history of the pier, why the flocks of starlings are nesting in and around the local area, why they perform their spectacular air show each day and other wildlife that can be seen from the pier.

Between 3pm and 4pm there will be trips to see where on the pier the starlings roost and to watch the starling spectacular!

There will be an information stand in the Conservatory area next to the North Pier’s Costa Coffee shop along where people can find out more information about the function of the RSPB along with information about other wildlife hotspots in and around the town including Marton Mere and Stanley Park.

North Pier Starling Watch – a fantastic free event for all the family

Author Wants Scary Stories About Lytham St Annes For New Book

Stephen Mercer, author of the recently published Haunted Blackpool and founder of Supernatural Events and Blackpool Ghost Walks, is back at his computer writing a second anthology of encounters with the paranormal. This time the book will feature a collection of true-life tales from people who have experienced the ghosts, phantoms and shades of Lytham St Annes.

Stephen is no stranger to the spooky side of the Fylde Coast having spent many years investigating many of the reported hauntings in the area, and for the past five years has been taking members of the public on ghost tours and walks of some of the more active paranormal hot spots, including Lytham’s Lowther Pavilion and Gardens.

His first book, Haunted Blackpool, was published in August 2011, and has become such a popular title that the publishing company, The History Press, have agreed to Stephen writing a second book in their Haunted series; Stephen’s focus this time will be on the history, heritage and hauntings associated with Lytham St Annes.

Stephen said, “Haunted Blackpool is very different from other books printed in the publisher’s Haunted series as it featured many true-life encounters with the supernatural. I didn’t want the book to be just about me passing on stories of reported hauntings and findings from my own investigations. I wanted it to be a tribute to those who have experienced the paranormal for themselves; to tell their fascinating, unexplainable and often scary stories. I think this is why it has become so popular.

“Haunted Lytham St Annes will be similar in its style and format; the book will feature stories from those who have had personal encounters with the supernatural. Many people contact me about their own experiences and I have collected hundreds of true-life tales over the past few years. Some of these will feature in the book. I am hoping it will become as popular as the first book.”

Do you have a terrifying tale to tell that could be included in Haunted Lytham St Annes?

Although Stephen has many tales to tell; he would like people who have experienced the paranormal in Lytham St Annes, and who would be happy for their story to be published in the book, to contact him. “There are so many amazing stories already, but I am hoping that more people will pass on their terrifying tales of eerie encounters. If anybody has experienced anything they believe to be of the supernatural that has taken place in and around the Lytham St Annes area, please do let me know. Your story could be one of those published in the book!”

Haunted Lytham St Annes will be illustrated with many historical and modern day photographs and will be a thrilling read, enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in the supernatural and the haunted heritage of one of the most popular tourist destinations in the North West.

If you have experienced something unexplainable and you believe it to be paranormal, you can get in touch with Stephen by emailing . Your story could be published in Haunted Lytham St Annes.

Spooky Book Signing - Waterstones, Blackpool - 18th December

Due to popular demand, author Stephen Mercer will also be returning to Waterstones in Bank Hey Street, Blackpool on Sunday 18th December (11am-2pm) for a second book signing and meet the author event where he will be talking about his first book Haunted Blackpool and giving some first hand accounts of some of the spookiest places in the town.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Sponsor The Flyers In Their Debut Ice Hockey Season!

The recently formed Fylde Flyers have brought senior ice hockey back to the Fylde Coast for the first time in almost 20 years. They won their first hoime game 9-4 against highly fancied Bradford Bulldogs and have a full programme of home and  away matches to look forward to over the next few months.

Now is the perfect opportunity to get on board and support this great new local sporting venture while getting added valuable exposure for yourself or your company  - and having a good time thrown in as well!

Fylde Flyers Ice Hockey Team Sponsorship Opportunities for 2011 – 2012 season:

Club Sponsor: £50.00 - £100.00 your company name / logo included in the match day programme for all home games and on all posters etc advertising home games.

Senior Team kit sponsor: £100.00 - £500.00 your company name / logo included in the shirt design and in the match day programme for all home games and on all posters etc advertising home games also an advert and link on our website.

Main Sponsors: £500.00 - £5000.00 large logo on team shirts and on all posters etc advertising home games. Half page advert in the match day programme for all home games. Your company announced as a main sponsor several times during home games.

Mini-bus Sponsors £250.00 - £350.00 Would get a 3ft X 2ft advert on the team mini-bus which is used all around the Fylde Coast and for away games across the country. Advert and link on our website.

Game Sponsors: £50.00 - £250 name on front of game programme and add inside company announced during game and a promotional stand space for flyer hand-out etc. In the rink.

Player and Equipment Sponsors: £10.00 - £500.00 From match day pucks, tape, sticks, helmets to individual player and net minder equipment.

For more information, contact  senior team manager Mick Caunce on 07595 393277

Review: The Barron Knights at the Lowther Pavilion 15.12.2011

I was lucky enough to see the Barron Knights live some years ago in a small cabaret venue just outside Salisbury in Wiltshire.   Peter (Langford) remembered that particular gig when we spoke to him for Best Kept Secrets, which is amazing because the Barron Knights are one of the UK's most popular groups and have toured the world.

Last night they came to the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham and I have to say though I enjoyed their performance the first time and have always liked what they do, this time, in their 50th year of playing, the Barron Knights really raised the roof.  It was an extremely slick, fast-paced show from start to finish and even included some of the songs banned by the BBC because of rather cheeky lyrics, as well as loads of much-loved rock n’ roll numbers. 

It would be hard to pick out one performance as all the members of the Barron Knights are highly-skilled musicians but Peter’s tale of Flamenco in Spain and his rendition of “Malaguena”, played with a plectrum on a Spanish Guitar, were truly memorable.  Many thanks to the Barron Knights and their Sound Engineer (and the staff at the Lowther Pavilion) for a wonderful evening.  I do hope we see the Barron Knights back in the North West, not just for us but for the sake of all those who missed the show too.


For more information about the Barron Knights, or to see their live dates for 2012, look here:

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Highlights of the 2012 Programme for the Sands Venue in Blackpool

Looking through the programme of artists scheduled to appear at the fabulous Sands Venue on the Promenade in Blackpool in 2012, here's our personal pick - our "Wish List".  These are the acts we are especially looking forward to seeing (other than the Tuesday afternoon Tea Dances with the band Frontline and the Saturday Evening Swing Spectacular Events with the Sands Swing Band of course):

Snake Davis - 10th February 2012

Snake Davis and the Suspicions -  10th February and 25th February 2012; 15th July

Ska Face (Blackpool's top Ska Covers Band) - 29th March 2012

The Pepper Pots - 5th and 12th April 2012

Passadena Roof Orchestra - 28th April 2012

Liane Carroll - 11th May 2012

Diane Shaw - 17th May 2012

Elkie Brooks - 26th May 2012

Stacey Kent - 2nd June 2012

Buddy Greco - 16th June and 29th September 2012

Alvin Stardust - 7th July 2012

Clare Teal - 14th July 2012

Angelo Starr - 21st July and 13th October 2012

Snake Davis Jazz - 10th August 2012

For further details or to book, please call The Sands Venue, Blackpool on 01253 625262

or check out their website -

or call in to the Booking Office on the Ground Floor where the Deli is situated and where you can have a cofee and a snack while you browse the 2012 Brochure.  If you have never been to the Sands, just ask a member of staff to show you around.   The view from the Restaurant on the third floor is amazing.

The Sands Venue,
Champagne Bar and Restaurant, Licensed Deli, Box Office
Palatine Building,
FY1 4TQ.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Ice Hockey: Fylde Flyers Revised Fixture List For Season


Away 18/12/2011 v Flintshire Freeze 6.40pm
Home 07/01/2012 V Sutton Sting 5pm
Away 08/01/2012 V Sutton Sting 4.45pm
Home 14/01/2012 V Bradford Bulldogs 5pm
Home 21/01/2012 V Hull Stingrays 5pm
Home 28/01/2012 V Solway Sharks 5pm
Home 04/02/2012 V Solway Sharks 5pm
Away 05/02/2012 V Hull Stingrays 5pm
Home 11/02/2012 V Lancashire Raptors 5pm
Home 18/02/2012 V Lancashire Raptors 5pm
Away 19/02/2012 V Sheffield Senators 4.30pm
Away 25/02/2012 V Bradford Bulldogs 4.30pm
Home 10/03/2012 V Sheffield Senators 5pm
Home 17/03/2012 V Flintshire freeze 5pm
Away 18/03/2012 V Sutton Sting 4.45pm
Home 24/03/2012 V Sutton Sting 5pm
Home 31/03/2012 V Flintshire Freeze 5pm
Home 07/04/2012 V Sheffield Senators 5pm
Home 14/04/2012 V Hull Stingrays 5pm
Away 15/04/2012 V Lancashire Raptors 5.45pm

To find out about last Saturday's Fylde Flyers v Bradford Bulldogs match - and lots more besides - click here:

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Mark Nelson Art Exhibition At Fylde Rugby Club - 11th December

Fresh from his success playing acoustic guitar and singing his own compositions at the Art Deco Café, multi-talented Mark Nelson, Lancashire and Fylde Rugby Head Coach, held a one-man one-day art exhibition on Sunday, 11th December 2011.

Fylde Rugby Club is fantastic and demonstrated its versatility as a venue, transforming into an art gallery to show Mark’s varied works of art to perfection.  

“It’s grim up north!!!” featured many of Mark’s stylised East Lancashire scenes – described by the Chief Curator of Tate Britain as “a refreshing representation of the region” - as well as local Fylde Coast views. Also on show were some portraits and sketches.  Very inspiring and a wonderful, relaxed atmosphere.

If you missed this opportunity to view Mark’s work, we understand he will be holding another one in the not too distant future, so watch this space!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Ice Hockey: Fylde Flyers Soar To Victory In First Ever Home Match

English National League Division 2 North
10th December 2011

Fylde Flyers 9 - Bradford Bulldogs 4
Period Scores: 3-0, 4-1 2-3
Shots On Goal: Flyers 76 - Bradford 58

Penalties In Minutes: Flyers 14 - Bradford 24

Flyers Scorers:  Elvis Veldze 4+1, Bobby Caunce 1+3, Ric Hulme 2+1,  Dan Bracegirdle 1+1, Kurtis Hall 1+1, Dan Fearon 0+2, Tom Murphy 0+1

Flyers Most Valuable Player: Tom Murphy

Our Match Report:

Fylde Flyers ice hockey team made a winning start to life at their Sub Zero Rink home in Cleveleys on Saturday evening with a fantastic victory over a highly rated Bradford Bulldogs side.

The Flyers have only been able to play away matches until now while their home rink was being made ready to stage home games and they had previously only managed one victory from seven away games - including a 9-2 reverse in Bradford back in October.

In a cautious start to the game, the Flyers weathered a first minute tripping penalty against playmaker Bobby Caunce and gained confidence from keeping out the Bulldogs' subsequent 2 minute powerplay. The deadlock was broken midway throught the first period when Ric Hulme scored the Flyers first ever home goal -  with an assist from Dan Fearon - to send the home crowd wild.  Two more goals followed in the next two minutes (Dan Bracegirlde assisted by Tom Murphy and Elvis Veldze from Tony Melbourne) to give the home side a 3-0 lead at the first break.

Latvia Under 20 international Veldze added a 4th soon after the restart (assist by Bobby Caunce)and it was not until the 31st minute of the game that Steve Gilmartin was beaten in the Flyers' net. The Flyers quickly hit back with 3 goals in 3 minutes from Kurtis Hall (asst Caunce), Hulme (unassisted) and Caunce (asst Veldze) to finihs the second period 7-1 ahead.

A brief 3rd period rally saw the visiting Bulldogs score three goals to "win" the period but two more strikes from Veldze (asst Fearon, Caunce & Hall) ensured a fine victory for the Fylde Flyers in this historic first home match.

To add a bit of colour to the last few minutes, Dan Fearon and Dave Bracegirdle both got stuck in to opposition players and all four picked up 2+2 minute roughing penalties but by then the result was not in any doubt and even  a last minute Bulldogs' goal could do nothing to dampen the cheers of the home fans.

Senior ice hockey is well and truly BACK on the Fylde Coast after a break of almost 20 years and,with the Flyers having games in hand over the teams above them - and plenty of home games still to come - there's a lot to look forward to as this exciting first season progresses.

The 2011/12 ENLD2N Season So Far:

10th Sept: away at Lancashire Raptors - won 0-4
1st Oct: away at Solway Sharks - lost 16-0
8th Oct: away at Solway Sharks - lost 18-6 (Veldze 5, Hulme 1, Caunce 0+3)
16th Oct: away at Bradford Bulldogs - lost 9-2 (Veldze 2)
6th Nov: away at Flintshire Freeze - lost 6-3 (Caunce 2, Veldze 1)
13th Nov: away at Hull ENL Stingrays - lost 6-3 (Caunce 2, Clark 1)
20th Nov: away at Sheffield Senators - lost 4-3 (Veldze 2+0, Murphy 1+0, Caunce 0+2, Melbourne 0+)
10th Dec: home v Bradford Bulldogs - won 9-4 (Veldze 4+1, Caunce 1+3, Hulme 2+1, Bracegirdle 1+1, Hall 1+1, Fearon 0+2, Murphy 0+1)

Next Match: Sunday 18th December Away to Flintshire Freeze - 6.30pm Face Off

Next Home Match:  Saturday 7th January Home to Sutton Sting - 4.45pm Face Off

More info:  

To hear interview clips with assistant coach Garry Fearon and team captain Wayne Whitby previewing this exciting first new season of ice hockey on the Fylde Coast, click here:

And a pre-season interview with Dave Anthony here:  

NWCFL: Mechs Hold On In Seven Goal Thriller

North West Counties Football League - Premier Division:

AFC Blackpool 4  (Waddington 20, Cummins 37,38,83) - Atherton Laburnum Rovers 3

Stone Dominos 3 - Squires Gate 1 (McKenna 71)

More info:

Friday, 9 December 2011

Vote for Fleetwood Market until 20th December 2011

Fleetwood Market are hoping to be voted Market of the Year, so please help them.  To vote, please go to , click on the Voting Icon and type in the words Fleetwood Market.

If you haven't yet visited Fleetwood Market do go and have a look - it's definitely worth a visit.

Fleetwood Market, Victoria Street/Adelaide Street, Fleetwood, Lancashire.  01253 771651
Open 9 am - 4.30 pm Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday plus Bank Holidays.

Blackpool SandAid In Aid Of Children In Need

We are very pleased to say that we were able to support Blackpool SandAid's special Christmas single by featuring it in our Lancashire Songwriters Showcase programme on 103.2 Preston FM this evening.

"We've Still Got Christmas" has been written and recorded by musicians from around the Blackpool area as a fundraiser for the BBC's Children In Need appeal and there is also a campaign to try and it get it to number one for Christmas.

The download is available to purchase from iTunes, Amazon and other internet retailers at 79p, of which 50p from every sale up until December 31 will be donated to the Children in Need Appeal.

A global distribution deal is also in place, and the song, which has been played on BBC Radio Lancashire, will also be played by many independent global radio stations. It will also be played to the troops in Afghanistan this Christmas on their local radio station.

Featured on the single are Tony Mitchell, Joanna Byrne, Mike Bairstow, Ian Hooper, Rob Bridge, Russ Smith, Nick and Rob Thompson, Mark Arnold, Jeff White, Brian Ball, Smooth Chalk, Emily Adams, Joe Orban, Ellen Millard, Judie Adams, Paul Dobie, Mandi Clifton, Vicky Greaves, Bobby Ball, Black Lace, and children from Carr Head and St Chad’s schools in Poulton.

The musicians involved are Dave Brindley, Andy Flynn, Rob Hulme, Jeff White, Roger Cartwright and Ian Hooper .

The song has been 12 months in the making, and was recorded at West Orange Studios, near Preston, famous for recording Cornershop’s Brimful of Asha.

You can support this very worthy initiative and buy the single here:

And you can see the video here:

You can hear what we said about Blackpool SandAid on 103.2 Preston FM by clicking below (this will take longer to load if you are using a Mac...):

Ice Hockey: Fylde Flyers First Home Game - Saturday 10th December

Fylde Flyers v Bradford Bulldogs 
English National League Division 2 North

Saturday 10th December 2011
5pm Face Off  at the Sub Zero rink in Cleveleys

Doors open 4.30pm
Admission: Adults £5 / Children £3

North West ice hockey fans have the opportunity to watch first class ice hockey on the Fylde coast for the time in almost 20 years on Saturday when the newly formed Fylde Flyers take on Bradford Bulldogs in English National League Division 2 North.

Since the old Blackpool Seagulls team left the Pleasure Beach Ice Drome in 1993 and played at the then recently opened Blackburn Ice Arena for a short time, the Fylde coast has been bereft of top class senior ice hockey action.  Ice hockey has been played in the resort since 1938 when the Ice Drome first opened, with the Seagulls winning the Midland Intermediate League in the 1950s and the English League North in 1981 and 1982.

Fylde Flyers were formed this summer after the opening of the new Sub Zero ice rink in Cleveleys but so far they have played all their games away this season while the rink was made ready with safety netting etc to allow home matches to be staged.

The Flyers opponents on Saturday - Bradford Bulldogs - were formed in 1978 and have played in the English League since 1997.  They are currently 5th in English League Division 2 Norh, having won 5 of their 16 matches to date.  The Flyers - who are seventh in the table with 1 win from 7 starts - lost their away game in Bradford 9-2 when the two sides met in October.

The 2011/12 ENLD2N season so far:

10th Sept: away at Lancashire Raptors - won 0-4
1st Oct: away at Solway Sharks - lost 16-0
8th Oct: away at Solway Sharks - lost 18-6 (Veldze 5, Hulme 1, Caunce 0+3)
16th Oct: away at Bradford Bulldogs - lost 9-2 (Veldze 2)
6th Nov: away at Flintshire Freeze - lost 6-3 (Caunce 2, Veldze 1)
13th Nov: away at Hull ENL Stingrays - lost 6-3 (Caunce 2, Clark 1)
20th Nov: away at Sheffield Senators - lost 4-3 (Veldze 2+0, Murphy 1+0, Caunce 0+2, Melbourne 0+)

More info:
To hear interview clips with assistant coach Garry Fearon and team captain Wayne Whitby previewing this exciting first new season of ice hockey on the Fylde Coast, click here:
And an interview with Dave Anthony here:

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Lancashire Songwriters Showcase 3 Show On 103.2 Preston FM 7pm Friday

Join us for a very special edition of "Showcase" on 103.2 Preston FM on Friday 9th December from 7 to 8pm where we will be playing an hour of new original music by members of Lancashire Songwriters.

Crammed into this exciting and very varied show we will be featuring music from: Zero, Alun Parry, Blackpool SandAid, Bernulf, Junk House Dog, Laura Bailey, Electric Wood, Litterbug, Aaron Jordan, Lucy Mary Whigham, Andy Hill, Charlie Ranucci and the Dan Forshaw Quartet. 

There's also a great interview with Barrow based singer songwriter Stuart MacFarlane talking about his music and his new album "Observations Fromn A Glass House".

You can tune into Preston FM on 103.2 FM in the local area or listen live via the internet at

If you are a singer songwriter or musician and write your own material, or are interested in supporting live music generally, why not check out the Lancashire Songwriters networking group on Facebook.

Submissions are already welcome for our next Lancashire Songwriters Showcase show, which will be aired in the new year...!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

CD Release: Punk Rock Radio by Vice Squad - Links and Review

Punk Rock Radio by Vice Squad
Last Rockers Records LR7


1. Stuck In Reverse
2. Punk Is The Blues
3. Punk Rock Radio
4. End of the line
5. Seventies Misogyny
6. Sick Of Being Poor
7. Advance Britannia
8. LA Low
9. Him Indoors
10. Punk Rocker
11. Done Before
12. Are You Looking At Me?
13. UK OK

CD available now - an absolute MUST for all Vice Squad fans old and new.
You can preview songs and order your copy from the official VICE SQUAD website here now:


There are some really superb songs on this new CD - some may be a little autobiographical, for example: "Punk Rock Is The Blues"  bemoans the hard work that Punk bands have to put in for very little reward while "Seventies Mysogyny" looks at how women are still very much viewed as second class citizens in many areas of modern life.

As you'd expect there's a lot of social comment with inequality and greedy money men firmly in the cross-hairs -check out "Sick Of Being Poor" and "Done Before"

A highly thought provoking "End Of The Line" deals with a suicide bomber on an underground and how the aftermath led to the mistaken police shooting of an uninvolved man (presumably inspired by the case of Jean Charles De Menezes) while "LA Low" talks of wanting to cloud over California and impose British weather - making it rain....!

Then there's "Him Indoors" which is a humorous - but sadly probably true - statement about some of the less appealing specimens of the male population. The big question here is: was this based on anybody in particular...?

However, there are a few great rousing anthems as well:  "Advance Britannia", "UK OK" and our current favourite, "Punk Rocker",  which we previewed in our Vice Squad radio special show on 25th November (listen again here now:

In short: the new "Punk Rock Radio" album carries on where "London Underground" left off: a great collection of new cutting edge songs full of observation, social comment and some bouncy new punk melodies and I would urge all Vice Squad fans old* and new to check it out.

*There are people who still hold up the original Vice Squad line up as some sort of  benchmark of punk perfection to the detriment of tyhe current Bond/ Rooney version. I have to say that, as fan myself of over 30 years' standing, that is rather unfair and this "new" line up (they have been going now since 1997...) are excellent to watch live and they produce some damn' good records as well.   You can never go back - so just look forward...!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

New Dan Forshaw Christmas EP - Order Links & Review

Boppin' Around The Christmas Tree EP - Dan Forshaw Quartet

Track Listing:
1:  Santa Claus Is Coming to Town 
2:  I'll Be Home for Christmas
3:  Merry Christmas Baby 
4:  God Rest You Merry 
5: We Three Kings

Dan Forshaw - Saxophones
Mike Taylor - Piano / Organ
Simon Goulding - Bass
Terry Jacobson - Guitar
J Hoy - Drums
Rosie Timoney - Vocals
Order via itunes here:
Review:  Get the mulled wine on and warm the mince pies.  Dan's Forshaw's coming to town with his Christmas EP and what a cracker!  Only available as a down the chimney - sorry as a dowload - see above - so no excuses.  This is definitely a gift that doesn't need wrapping and it's top of our list this year.  The sort of music that makes you really glad to be home on a cold winter's night and curled up in front of a roaring log fire with the fairy lights turned down low.   Don't take our word for it - listen now.  If this doesn't get you in the mood for a wonderful Christmas - nothing will!

Blackpool Boxer Brian Rose Takes British Light Middleweight Title

Brian Rose has become the first boxer from Blackpool in 50 years to hold a British title after beating Prince Arron last night in Wigan to take the British Light Middleweight  crown.

More to follow>

Photo by Andy McDonald

Saturday, 3 December 2011

NWCFL: Squires Gate Crash Out Of FA Vase

Squires Gate FC 0 - Staveley Miners Welfare 4

non league football reports to follow

in the meantime, find more info here:

Friday, 2 December 2011

Barron Knights At Lowther Pavilion: Exclusive Preview

Looking ahead to the Barron Knights first ever live appearance at the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham on Thursday 15th December, we had a chat with founder member of the group Peter Langdale.

You can hear what he had to say by clicking on the sound icon below  (this may take longer to load if you are using a Mac...):

For show details and booking links, click here:

To find out more about the Barron Knights, go to

Review: HAPPA concert in East Lancashire with Grace O'Malley

BARBARA went along with her friend Roy to see a charity concert on Sunday afternoon, 27th November in aid of a charity called HAPPA. Here is what she has to report:  

HAPPA is run by volunteers to take care of retired donkeys when they have gone into retirement and believe me, they are well cared for.

The star of the concert was a young girl called Grace o"Malley,  Sadly, Grace had a chest infection and we were told she was not at her best. She opened the show with Winter Wonderland;  you would not have known anything was wrong with Grace.  Her second song was Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific, which was lovely.  Then came What a Wonderful World, which, again was beautifully sung, however the next song was absolutely mind blowing to say the least.
Grace is just 13yrs old but listening to her sing with a very deep and powerful voice is outstanding, She will certainly be going places when the right people hear her sing.

The next song was "I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, which is a very difficult song to sing as you need a quality voice with absolute perfection on the very high notes and my Goodness did Grace do exactly that and more.  In a theatre, she would have had a standing ovation but here we all were in a church hall listening to a young girl with a voice of an
angel bringing most of us to tears. 

Grace is such a beautifull girl, so modest,and for me Grace, the world is your oyster. In my view the next Katherine Jenkins definatel.  This girl is really special, with a voice so stunning you could only be gifted with.  She also sang You"ll Never Walk Alone, which I am sure will mean something to everyone. Again I had to  keep reminding myself,that Grace was not singing at her best,as her Mum had said she was ill.

Grace will be singing in the Manchester Cathedral on Friday evening 2nd December - anyone who has not seen or heard of this young girl, Grace O"Malley, should try their best to get her latest CD.  All the proceeds for every concert or CD,go to the charities Grace supports in Pendle.

I thouroughly enjoyed this concert - it was nice to hear Arthur Griffiths sing The Impossible Dream,that was a lovely song performed beautifully by him and Arthur did help Grace out a few times as by the second half you could see she was tiring,but we have to remember she is only 13.

St Cuthberts choir,sang three lovely Christmas Carols for us and, as usual this was very moving, especially at this time of year.  I think the highlight of the show, for all the children was to see Pilgrim the donkey come down the aisle.  They flocked around him and I must say he was very well behaved.

All the people in the show, including Shelles Belles, which is a dance fitness group,of young people,giving us some good advice on keeping fit  - very enjoyable - but for me the star of the show was Grace herself.  Get well soon Grace, I will certainly be  watching for your appearances in the near future,Good Luck,because you have been gifted with something very special -,a beautifull voice.

Grace has raised over £27,000 in the last 12 months and has been awarded the 2BR status for her local charities for which she is dedicated to - what a pleasant thing to see when we have so much going on around us,with all young people in general. The aspects of this concert
were excellent,

HAPPA were certainly well rewarded,as Grace has raised enough money for the donkeys to be fed and cared for and maintained in lovely surroundings,for the next 12months,in Pendle. I was not disappointed with anything in this concert, so well done to ST. CUTHBERTS
for putting on this show,


HAPPA – Horse and Pony Protection Association
Black House Lane, Halifax Road, Briercliffe, Lancashire BB10 3QU
01282 455 992 –

They organize open days when you can go and have a look round.  You can also adopt an animal - definitely worth a look.  

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Film Review: "My Week With Marilyn" a film directed by Simon Curtis

Talented entertainer Richard Shelton, whose fabulous final 2011 Swing Saturday show we saw on 26th November 2011 at the Sands Venue in Blackpool, mentioned that he appeared briefly in the film “My Week with Marilyn”.  As that was on our list of films to see, we just had to go and see it sooner rather than later.

We love the cinema and, reflecting the lyrics in Richard Shelton’s opening song of his Sands Blackpool show Rogers and Hart's “The Lady is a Tramp”,  ‘won’t run in there late’  - let’s face it, any film dealing with the background to how films are made is a must in our book.

In keeping with other such films, including “Day for Night” (directed in 1973 by Francois Truffaut) and “ The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981, Karel Riesz), “My Week with Marilyn”, directed by Simon Curtis, is a fascinating observation of what goes on behind the scenes when a film is made.

“My Week with Marilyn” has a fantastic cast – Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, Michael Kitchen, Derek Jacobi, Zoe Wannamaker, Julia Ormond, Emma Watson, Jim Carter, Philip Jackson … and of course, Richard Shelton.

The story is based on the diaries and memoir of Colin Clark (the younger brother of MP Alan Clark), who secured the job of third director working on the making of the film “The Prince and the Showgirl” in 1956.   “The Prince and the Showgirl” which went on release in 1957 starred Laurence Oliver (director), Marilyn Monroe and Dame Sybil Thorndike. 

Marilyn Monroe’s difficulties in getting to the studio on time have been well documented over the years but this film goes further and we see the vulnerable, lonely person behind the glamorous persona who was surely the most beautiful, vibrant and charismatic film star in the world.  We follow Colin as he tries to help Marilyn deal with her lack of self-belief faced with working with some of the world's greatest and most talented stage actors. It is curious to note a similar loneliness and need for love in the character of the Regent portrayed so sensitively by Laurence Olivier in "The Prince and the Showgirl".

Zoe Wannamaker's performance as Marilyn's "Method Acting" adviser is inspiring.   Michelle Williams plays a simply stunning Marilyn to perfection, especially if you compare her performance to that of Marilyn Monroe in "The Prince and the Showgirl".   Kenneth Branagh’s Olivier is brilliant, Judi Dench – well what is there to say about anything Judi does – is amazing as Dame Sybil, as are all the other actors in their roles.

We are always the last to leave the cinema because we watch the credits right to the end to see who was involved in bringing the film to the screen.  Thank you to everyone involved - not just the stars, actors and extras but also the boys and girls in the backroom - you all deserve awards.

All in all, “My Week with Marilyn” is very entertaining and definitely a must-see film but pay careful attention to the scene in which our hero Colin takes Lucy the wardrobe assistant (played delightfully by Emma Watson) out to dance, or you will miss Richard Shelton as the waiter!

If his workload permits, Richard Shelton (who played the role of Frank Sinatra in the show “Rat Pack Confidential” and also appeared in TV Soap “Emmerdale” and the film “I Capture The Castle”) has promised to be back to entertain us on Swing Saturdays at the Sands Venue in Blackpool in 2012.

The Sands Venue, Backpool –

My Week With Marilyn”, currently showing at a cinema near you.

Photo: Richard Shelton (left  - it is Lucy in the middle - not Marilyn Monroe, although many people do make that mistake... and another great actor and singer, Liam O'Brien, on the right)