AS free adverts go, it doesn’t get much better than one of the world’s biggest bands filming a music video in town.
So one can imagine the scene among Blackpool’s marketing folk when they received a phone call from America.
“Howdy there. Our multi-million record selling, internationally-renowned band The Killers want to film their new video in a seaside resort. Any chance we can come to your place?”
‘Erm (struggling to contain glee in voice), yes, I think we can do that’.
To have The Killers drop in, as Brandon Flowers and his supercool group did at the back end of the last week, is a gift from the Gods for the town.
Repeatedly slapped in the face and kicked in the groin by Channel 4’s warts and all 999 documentary, the visit of The Killers – along with Hollywood actress Winona Ryder and blockbuster director Tim Burton – couldn’t have been better timed.
The band shot the video for next single Here With Me at The Tower, the Pleasure Beach and at various other iconic venues in town.
It means that when the song is released at the start of next month, images of Blackpool will be viewed throughout the world, not only on television music channels but on YouTube and various other internet sites.
Millions will see it. And what has it cost Blackpool? Nowt.
It is no wonder Natalie Wyatt from Marketing Blackpool was virtually punching the air. “We’re delighted,” she said. “The Killers are huge global stars and it is great so many people across the world will see Blackpool in this video.”
But this isn’t the first time the town has been handpicked by major artists to feature in a video.
For all its problems (and let’s not be touchy about admitting that, even the leader of the Council Simon Blackburn admits there are big issues), Blackpool is still viewed fondly by most folk in this country and is still seen as somewhere special, especially when it comes to showbiz and entertainment.
As Natalie confirmed: “Blackpool is the second most filmed British location after London.”
Robbie Williams has been here, filming the video for his Top 10 hit Advertising Space on the Promenade and at the Belle Vue pub.
In the 1990s then band-of-the-moment Simply Red picked the Pleasure Beach as the location for the video of their huge hit Fairground.
Given the winds which blow in from the Irish sea and lead singer Mick Hucknall’s mass of wild red hair, it’s a wonder the frontman didn’t take off.
Professor Green (parents, ask your children) filmed the video for his song Monster on Carnesky’s Ghost Train on the Prom, while Elton John (kids, ask your parents) has used the resort for his music, likewise The White Stripes, The Dandy Warhols and dance diva Lasgo.
One half of the Pet Shop Boys, who have had a staggering 22 top 10 hits, belongs to the town and he’s proud of it. Chris Lowe, Neil Tennant’s right hand man, was born in the resort and went to Arnold School.
Before the duo performed at the 2009 Brit Awards, where they picked up a Lifetime Achievement gong, Lowe told the audience – via a video which featured Blackpool Tower and the Pleasure Beach’s Big One ride – “I’ve always thought that music is about making people happy and having a good time. I think that is because I come from Blackpool.”
More whoops among the marketing people.
The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, Diana Ross and Oasis have all played iconic gigs at the resort. So too have Abba, who performed in a Big Top behind the Golden Mile in the 1970s for the BBC series Seaside Special.
More recently, Little Boots, Karima Francis, Jodie Prenger, Alfie Boe and Aiden Grimshaw have all emerged from the Fylde coast and hit the big time.
But it isn’t just music. The resort is also a favourite for the TV and film cameras too.
Speak to Sarah Rhodes, Communications Manager at Marketing Blackpool, and she will tell you dealing with requests from various media companies is a daily occurrence.
“Everyday we get a request for something – it’s absolute non-stop,” she said.
“It’s a massive part of my job because we are inundated with inquiries every day.
“In my in-tray at the moment I’ve got a request from Daybreak, an email from RTL in Germany asking to film in the resort with a German pop star for a magazine, and recently a new bingo advert by Foxy Bingo, where people are picked up from iconic places throughout Britain and taken to the Blackpool.”
Sarah isn’t finished there. In the last few months a number of yet to be screened shows have been filmed in the resort, including a new Sky One comedy drama, Rory Bremner’s new series, John Bishop’s next comedy show, Peter Andre’s My Life, and an episode of the Fabulous Baker Brothers.
“There’s something happening every day, and that’s not even mentioning all the requests we get that we can’t accept,” added Sarah.
The list of TV appearances the town has racked up is endless. Coronation Street often decamp here (who can forget Alan Bradley’s grizzly demise under the wheels of a Blackpool tram? Certainly not poor Rita Fairclough, who he was chasing at the time). Peter Kay loves Blackpool and there was the David Morrissey drama of the same name.
Coast, Countryfile, Flog It, GMTV and Top Gear have all dropped in recently, while Strictly Come Dancing is synonymous with the Tower Ballroom .
The place may have its problems but in the eyes of the showbusiness world, Blackpool rules – and long may it continue.