Not cheerful – but sad and gritty with a fine romance

A scene from Brassed Off, which is coming to Blackpool's Grand Theatre
A scene from Brassed Off, which is coming to Blackpool's Grand Theatre
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It says much about
Americans, I think, that on the other side of the Atlantic, the film Brassed Off was
marketed as “a cheerful
romantic comedy”.

Of course as anyone who has seen it will know, it is anything but – set during the Thatcher and Major governments’ war against the mining industry, it is about the troubles faced by a colliery brass band following the closure of their pit.

A film which showed off the acting talents of Pete Postlethwaite, Ewan McGregor and St Annes’ Stephen Tompkinson, it is gritty and heartbreakingly sad at times. In short, a cheerful romantic comedy it is not.

But enough America-bashing, the point is that there is a new play based on the film that is touring the UK this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the Miners’ Strike.

It comes to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre from Tuesday April 15 to Saturday 19.

Based on Mark Herman’s original screenplay, Brassed Off is set in 1992 at Grimley Colliery in Yorkshire (a thinly disguised version of the real South Yorkshire village of Grimethorpe, which had been named as the poorest village in Britain two years earlier by the European Union).

As the pit is threatened with closure, the play also charts the simultaneous demise of the colliery band, as the miners find themselves torn between redundancy packages and picket lines.

Bandleader Danny’s hopes of winning the national brass band competition are also becoming a distant dream, but things change with the appearance of flugelhorn-playing Gloria.

Her arrival signals the chance for hope and romance to flourish, but also brings controversy.

Each performance of Brassed Off at the Grand feature live music by Haydock Brass Band, playing pieces such as Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez and Jerusalem.

The part of Danny will be played by highly acclaimed actor John McArdle, from TV’s Brookside, Merseybeat and Waterloo Road.

Tickets priced £21.50 are available from or by calling the box office on 01253 743339.