When TV and movie cameras put Blackpool in spotlight

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Blackpool has been the focus of the screen – both big and small – many times over the last century, and more.

Blackpool has been the focus of the screen – both big and small – many times over the last century, and more.

ABC TV filming at the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, in 1964

ABC TV filming at the Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, in 1964

Over the years, the resort has been chosen as the backdrop for the filming of countless movies and TV shows.

These archive pictures show just some of various occasions throughout the last century and the start of the 21st century when Blackpool was visited by camera crews.

Of course there are many famous instances of the resort appearing on film.

But these images capture some of the lesser-known instances, showing Blackpool really is a popular setting.

Landlady Hazel Block became an unexpected star

In 1961, Blackpool hosted ABC Television’s Holiday Town Parade.

This ‘behind-the-scenes’ archive picture captures David Southwood, chief of outside broadcasts and other officials, making a timing run along the Promenade on the tramcar used to mount the cameras.

ABC were back again in August 1964, this time filming at the Pleasure Beach.

This photo shows the camera crews outside the attractions fun house, during the filming of the programme Blackpool Special. Named in the caption are, from left: David Hamilton (compere), Harry Porter (Blackpool publicity manager), David Southwood (producer) and Mike Boyce (cameraman).

Later on in the 60s, Granada TV were in the resort – for a live screening of the On Site programme, as can be seen in this very damp scene on Central Promenade, from September 1968.

Blackpool landlady Hazel Block became an unexpected star in 1981, when a Granada TV producer came to her door as she was preparing for her end of season rest and asked if she would mind her guest house, the Sandhurst Hotel, on Lonsdale Road, South Shore, being used for the filming of a new 31-episode comedy series entitled Rep.

Mrs Block said: “He just came to the door and asked if I had any objections to our guest-house being used for filming. I said ‘not at all’ I think it’s great – and a good way of getting some extra publicity.”

And in 1983, it was a case of practice, practice, practice for some lucky youngsters in Blackpool chosen to be part of the filming for a BBC show starring Keith Chegwin.

Some 250 local children from Whittaker Dance and Drama Centre and Sue Turner’s Dancing School were filmed on North Pier, tap dancing behind presenter Chegwin and comedy favourites the Roly Poyls for Saturday Superstore

Blackpool was also famously used for the filming of Gracie Fields’ 1934 classic Sing As We Go. The resort provided the backdrop to 1949 thriller Forbidden and more recently, Steve Coogan’s comedy The Parole Officer.

TV-wise, among the main series filmed in the resort are Funland, Blackpool (of course!) and the Red Riding Trilogy.