DO YOU remember back in the mid 1970s when the BBC started recording a popular Saturday night series in Blackpool called Seaside Special?
Barry Morris, the resort’s retired tourism director, has been recalling those shows with a mixture of affection and sadness, following the recent death of Michael Hurll, the man behind the successful light entertainment format.
Barry says: “I was saddened to read about Michael’s death.
“He produced many shows from Blackpool in the early 1970s and started Seaside Special from the former Pontins Holiday Camp, with dance routines filmed on the sandhills.
“The pilot show was a success and this was followed up with many other Seaside Specials from Blackpool, mainly on the central area car park behind the Golden Mile and later on the Pleasure Beach.”
The show’s theme tune, Summertime City, was written by Mike Batt and became a hit single.
Barry recalls: “Blackpool catering students made the largest hamburger in the world for one of the shows and it was cut up and given to the audience.
“Unfortunately the smell of onions lingered for days on the car park!
“Michael loved a glass of bubbly on draft at the old Yates Wine Lodge in Talbot Square and I presented him with a picture of the inside of the lodge which he put on the wall of his office in London.
“His Seaside Special series was also presented from other resorts and I always thought that he should have been recognised with some form of tourist award for the work he did.
“Michael was a true Blackpool fanatic and brought some fantastic stars to our town. In fact you can still see many of the Seaside Specials which he presented on You Tube.”
Barry says: “The late Barney Colehan, the producer of It’s a Knockout, once told me that Michael had worked for him as a lad on an outside broadcast of a tram trip going up the Promenade during the Illuminations.”
He said both Barney and Michael came to love Blackpool and brought many TV shows such as Come Dancing and Miss United Kingdom to the resort.