The BBC executive who initially turned down Newcastle-set Our Friends in the North because he didn’t want “losers on TV"; the Geordie football caper Purely Belter which sank without trace because it was released in cinemas at the same time as County Durham mega-hit Billy Elliot; and why the director of film musical Les Miserables doesn’t include Bruce Gyngell’s short-lived Tyneside soap Quayside on his resume.
Just some of the stories told by TV producer and media historian Chris Phipps at a sell-out late-January event in Newcastle Library highlighting the many film and TV productions shot in the North East.
The capacity crowd of 200 guests were treated to the secret histories of classic productions including Get Carter, Stormy Monday, The Tube, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? and Auf Wiedersehen Pet.
Phipps — who has produced a behind the scenes location guide 'Forget Carter' — welcomed the decision to film hit shows such as Vera and The Dumping Ground in the region. But he lamented commissioners who believe “production in Salford ticks the boxes of representation across the North of England”.
He added: “The writers, landscapes, actors and stories from this part of Britain deserve more airtime on British television.”
Earliest drama shot in Newcastle? The thriller On the Night of the Fire in 1939. Most recent? The latest instalment of Hollywood blockbuster Transformers.