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Celebrating Twenty Years Online 2001 - 2021

Neil Sean's Hall of Fame

(A Regular look at some of the Stars of Theatre, and the Venues they performed in, all with Video Presentations and short articles to accompany them)

The Windmill Theatre - Binkie Beaumont - The Shepherds Bush Empire - The Boulevard Theatre, Soho - Gracie Fields -Theatres in Eastbourne - Leeds City Varieties - Duke of York's Theatre - Garrick Theatre - Wyndham's Theatre - Alma Cogan - The Talk of the Town - The Scala Theatre, London - The Hippodrome Theatre Eastbourne - The Prince of Wales Theatre - Organist Kevin Grunill - Memories of British Comedy Greats - Memories of "The Met" Edgware Road - Memories of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane - Memories of Brighton Theatres - Memories of The London Coliseum - Memories of the Victoria Palace Theatre - Mike Winters of Mike and Bernie Fame

Other interviews on this site by Neil Sean include:- Des O'Connor - Alan Scott - Mike Winters - Ann Montini

Neil Sean takes a nostalgic look at the Famous Windmill Theatre and interviews Windmill Girl Jill Millard Shapiro

Neil Sean takes a nostalgic look at the Famous Windmill Theatre - © Maycon Pictures.

Above - Neil Sean takes a nostalgic look at the Famous Windmill Theatre - © Maycon Pictures.

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Memories of the Windmill  - Neil Sean Interviews Windmill Girl Jill Milllard Shapiro
Memories of the Windmill - Neil Sean Interviews Windmill Girl Jill Milllard Shapiro

The Windmill Theatre, which famously "never closed" during the war, except for twelve compulsory days during the Blitz, and where stars such as Bruce Forsyth and Peter Sellers launched their careers, is situated in Great Windmill Street, London, and was first opened in 1931 as the Windmill Theatre by Laura Henderson.

She later introduced nudity to the London stage through her "Windmill Girls" in motionless poses as living statues or tableaux vivants. She ran the theatre during the Blitz and died in 1944. The period was dramatized in the 2005 film Mrs Henderson Presents, starring Dame Judi as Henderson and Kelly Reilly as a dancer.

My association with the Windmill started when seeing lots about it in the 70s and wondering what on earth this place was... I got my chance when arriving in London in the 90s to start my "showbiz career" as I landed "unpaid work" at the famous theatre for Sky TV when that was just starting out.

The Windmill Theatre during its Revudeville period in a photograph taken in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins.At that point, in May 1986, it was called the Paramount City, a cabaret club managed for a short duration by Debbie Raymond, Paul Raymond's daughter. A period as a television studio followed - the Sky television programme Jameson Tonight was produced in the studio. The show was very cheaply made and basically was trying to be like Johnny Carson in the US without the great host or indeed guests. The most notable I remembered as a guest was the wonderful and gifted Lena Zavaroni plus a great actor who will always been known as the TV favourite 'Jason King' aka Peter Wyngarde.

Left - The Windmill Theatre during its Revudeville period in a photograph taken in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins.

What the job gave me was a chance to fully wander around the great place and see how it must have been during its heyday in the 40s and 50s. I was lucky enough you might say to make my West End debut there, as part of the job was to entertain the audience who came in for free, but even that was a tough job. You see Sky was not known back then so trying to get an audience, even into the once famous Windmill Theatre, was very tough, but I learned the hard way how to keep the few people we had in the audience nightly happy.

This leads me to our latest film with an original Windmill Girl Jill Millard Shapiro - In part one she tells of her rise to the role and the famous people she worked with, and how she landed the job, including how the Windmill operated and what it was like working for the famous VD... Vivian Van Dam. Sit back enjoy and take a trip to a place back in time when London was swinging, and a tweet was something birds did.

Enjoy - until next time – Neil

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean recalls Theatre Legend Binkie Beaumont

Neil Sean outside the stage Door of Binkie's Globe Theatre, today the Gielgud Theatre - © Maycon Pictures.

Above - Neil Sean outside the stage Door of Binkie's Globe Theatre, today the Gielgud Theatre - © Maycon Pictures.

Theatre Legend Binkie Beaumont rememberd
Theatre Legend Binkie Beaumont rememberd

I have always been fascinated by the now long forgotten producer Binkie Beaumont who really did rule the West End and Broadway for quite a while in the 40's and 50's, from his domed office at the Globe Theatre in the West End of London.

Meeting people over the years who have worked with him makes you realise that he created so many stars and hit shows yet today is not really mentioned. Why is that?

In this short film we go on to to tell his story and how he did what he did and yet ruffled quite a few feathers along the way. Of course, he was also a great showman but rather cleverly kept his face out of the limelight as this stopped him getting the right deals done.

The Globe Theatre during the run of 'Nude With Violin' in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry AtkinsBinkie also embraced the world of TV right from the start offering up the culture of his stage shows in a limited length production to the BBC and in return getting heaps of free publicity too – He knew the value of PR and worked it very well including his close friendships with members of the Royal Family who often attended his shows, ensuring the moniker of "By Royal Approval."

Left - The Globe Theatre during the run of 'Nude With Violin' in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins.

If he were still with us today I am sure he would have been all over social media and promoting his shows at every level – It's also interesting to note that we are often happy to rename our many theatres, at the start of this year, Stephen Sondheim, America's living composer of musicals, was due to fly to London and head for Shaftesbury Avenue. The theatre known as the Queen's since opening in 1907 has been renamed after him following a five-month renovation costing more than £12million. Yet nothing for Binkie. Wonder why that is.

Neil Sean with Sir Cameron Mackintosh in London - © Maycon Pictures.The film looks at his stomping ground and the people he worked with. It is also worth noting that while we are remembering him, his contemporaries like Sir Noel and Ivor whose names live on thanks to revivals and reappraisals don't happen for Binkie also.

Right - Neil Sean with Sir Cameron Mackintosh in London - © Maycon Pictures.

Could this change – Will Sir Cameron Mackintosh who now owns the theatre where Binkie Ruled the world change all of that and maybe grace one of his theatres with the BB legend - Let us hope so.

Until then – Enjoy, Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean remembers the BBC TV Theatre - aka The Shepherd's Bush Empire

Neil Sean at the Shepherd's Bush Empire - © Maycon Pictures.

Above - Neil Sean at the Shepherd's Bush Empire - © Maycon Pictures.

The Shepherd's Bush Empire
The Shepherd's Bush Empire

If like me you loved watching the wonderful TV show "Crackerjack" every Friday night you would have known of course that it came live from the wonderful Matcham Theatre in Shepherds Bush – The Old Empire – Now in this latest piece I thought we would take a quick peek around how it looks now – Still going strong as a music venue it plays hosts to the biggest stars of rock and pop, but what a history it has.

The Bush, as it was affectionately known, was and has been told about to me by so many great variety stars over the years. I recall the comic Joe Church telling me how you could do the triple as an act on some nights with the Finsbury Park , Wood Green and then the Bush ensuring you had a great payment from the well respected Moss Empire circuit.

A Programme for 'Shuffle Along' at the Shepherds Bush Empire, in association with the London Coliseum, on Monday June the 25th 1923.The first programme to come from the BBC Television Theatre, as the Empire was renamed, was 'Variety Parade' on 24 October 1953. Fittingly, the show featured a full variety bill, headlined by Max Bygraves and singer Eve Boswell, with supporting acts including the up-and-coming comedy double act Morecambe and Wise. Also appearing was Ernest Maxin, who the following year directed 'Running Wild', Morecambe and Wise's ill-fated first television series, at the same location.

Left - A Programme for 'Shuffle Along' at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, in association with the London Coliseum, on Monday June the 25th 1923.

The much missed 'This is Your Life' also filmed in the building, often showing its subject being led through the stalls to the stage, and in a 1964 edition featuring Barbara Mullen, she was shown arriving outside in a vintage car with fellow 'Dr Finlay's Casebook' stars Bill Simpson and Andrew Cruickshank, before being surprised by host Eamonn Andrews with the famous red book.

Do you remember when in 1974 when the Osmonds appeared there as part of a week-long visit to the UK, where they had daily shows on the BBC (including guest-presenting 'Top of the Pops'). Their concert appearances at the Theatre saw it besieged by fans, a memorably scary experience for even the most hardened BBC staff on duty. The footage even today scares you as they so determined to see their idols, no doubt just like when Max Miller played there so many times during his heyday.

I really came into my own with the Sheps Bush when I was given an audition to appear on the show and to my delight passed – I could not believe in fact how tiny it all looked and that such great shows like 'Hancock' – 'Gen Game' and so much more had been filmed here. The Biggest time for me was when the late lamented broadcaster Terry Wogan was hosting his thrice weekly chat show at the famous venue.

A Photograph of the Shepherds Bush Empire in its heyday with Max Miller on the Bill. - Courtesy Peter Charlton

Above - A Photograph of the Shepherd's Bush Empire in its heyday with Max Miller on the Bill.

The auditorium of the Shepherds Bush Empire in 1999 - Courtesy Ted Bottle

Above - The auditorium of the Shepherd's Bush Empire in 1999 - Courtesy Ted Bottle.

The BBC really ruled the area back then as they had the old Gaumont film studios then and then of course the ultra-modern TV centre just up the road in Wood Lane but I loved the newly named BBCTV Theatre simply because it had such style and class, plus all the greats like Max Miller, Frankie Howard and so many more had trodden the boards and now here was Wogan.

The great thing about the Wogan show was the wonderful guests he would have – I was lucky enough to meet such legends from the world of Hollywood like Rock Hudson, Bette Davis and Howard Keel plus some really exciting home grown stars like Carry On Legend Kenneth Williams, Max Bygraves and Larry Grayson – the show was a must watch every night and Terry made it all look so very easy. Sadly when he quit the show that really was the end of the BBCTV theatre as the BBC then sold it to a music manager after Wogan presented his final show there on the 24th of July 1991. Looking back over its BBC history - A wonderful show but so very sad in many respects – who knows it just may return as a theatre once again in the future.

Enjoy the look around and the memories and until next time.

keep safe and smiling, Neil, May 2020.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean looks at one of London's newest Theatres, the Boulevard in Soho, formerly Raymond's Revuebar

Neil Sean on stage at the Boulevard Theatre in London's Soho in 2020 - © Maycon Pictures.

Above - Neil Sean on stage at the Boulevard Theatre in London's Soho in 2020 - © Maycon Pictures.

Soho, London - Inside The Boulevard Theatre!
Soho, London - Inside The Boulevard Theatre!

This time I thought we would take a look at a new Theatre, well almost new, as the Boulevard Theatre is of course the site which began as a sister venue to the Raymond Revue bar, running under the same name, and providing additional bar and restaurant facilities alongside gaming tables.

Neil Sean at the Boulevard Theatre's Piano - © Maycon Pictures. It was the venue that really took over from the infamous Windmill Theatre in the 1960s. I was lucky enough to meet the man who created all this world of entertainment, Paul Raymond, way back in the 80s – He was a very savvy businessman who simply gave the public what he thought they wanted, and to some he created the shows that starred the 70's and 80's sex symbol Fiona Richmond. Paul Raymond was the strip club owner, property magnate, and publisher of adult magazines, including Men Only, Club and Razzle.

Left - Neil Sean at the Boulevard Theatre's Piano - © Maycon Pictures.

Raymond is credited with turning the seedy underbelly of London's West End into a multimillion-pound empire. It earned him the sobriquet 'King of Soho' and, in 1992, he was named as Britain's richest man, with an estimated fortune of more than £1.5 billion.

I do recall his stunts to create mega publicity for his shows including one of Fiona dressed as Lady Godiva on a horse down Whitehall, which garnered masses of press but did little to make the show a success at the nearby Whitehall Theatre in which it was appearing.

A poster for Paul Raymond's 'Let's Get Laid' starring Fiona Richmond and John Inman, at the Windmill Theatre in 1974 - Courtesy Stephen Andrew.Paul Raymond was born Geoffrey Quinn in Liverpool in 1925 and was five when his parents split up. Geoffrey left school at 15, taking various menial jobs. He tried to avoid National Service by feigning a heart condition but passed the medical and served as a bandsman drummer in the RAF.

Right - A poster for Paul Raymond's 'Let's Get Laid' starring Fiona Richmond and John Inman, at the Windmill Theatre in 1974 - Courtesy Stephen Andrew.

Afterwards, he made a modest living performing a mind-reading act on Clacton Pier with a 17-year-old teenager called Gay Dawn, whose real name was Noreen O'Horan. He changed his own name to Paul Raymond. The couple split when Gay became pregnant with his son, Derry. Raymond and Derry met only once, when Derry was 25, living in Manchester and in London on business. He contacted the office of the man he knew was his father, giving the name of his hotel. It took a month before Raymond responded, but an invitation to London followed and father and son spent a happy day together.

Raymond's fortune was founded when the country was still recovering from post-war rationing. People craved glamour. Posing nudes were permitted in Theatres but had to be motionless. Raymond turned them into writhing showgirls, circumventing the law by making his Revue Bar, which had opened in Soho in 1958, a private members' club. Within two years it had more than 45,000 members. A series of magazines followed.

Paul Raymond's Nude Show 'Rip Off' which ran for 6 years at the Windmill Theatre here photographed in June 1977 - Photo M.L.But with his long wavy hair and his infamous long fur coat that he wore in almost all weathers, he did love the limelight, especially when, for a time, he was known as 'Britain's richest man' — not true but Paul loved that title so played up to it.

Left - Paul Raymond's Nude Show 'Rip Off' which ran for 6 years at the Windmill Theatre here photographed in June 1977 - Photo M.L.

Paul was very clever at publicity for his venues though, remember the glamorous Anna Ford, the newsreader, received a highly publicised offer of £75,000 to pose nude in one of his magazines. Naturally she dismissed the offer but the PR was great and then there was the son of the PM Mark Thatcher, then the 25-year-old son of the new prime minister in 1979 and an aspiring racing driver, was offered £25,000 by Raymond to cover the cost of him competing at Brands Hatch. When Mark arrived for talks at Raymond's Windmill Theatre, he found a posse of Fleet Street reporters already there, having been tipped off by Raymond. A deal was done — Then Mrs Thatcher stepped in, and the deal was off. But it was great publicity for Raymond.

Today the Boulevard Theatre is oozing class and is a real gem of a small Theatre. Take a look at the inside as it was great fun to see how they had transformed it all and how hopeful they are at making this a viable venture of real, theatre and open space.

It's still in the Raymond family though as Fawn James is a Director of Soho Estates, having joined in 2009 after graduating from the University of St Andrews. Her grandfather was Soho Estates' founder Paul Raymond, so it all continues.

Until next time, Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean remembers the wonderful Gracie Fields and her unforgettable song "Sally"

Neil Sean Filming in Denmark Street 'Tin Pan Alley', London.

Gracie Fields & The Story of Her Hit Song "Sally"
Gracie Fields & The Story of Her Hit Song "Sally"

If like me, you have always loved those great variety songs we all know the words too but are not sure why, then you will love this new short film all about one of the greatest stars of Variety – Miss Gracie Fields. 'Sally', possibly one of the greatest songs ever written for the stage, actually started life in London's Denmark Street which is where we filmed for this story.

Denmark Street was the place to go to if you wanted a hit song and learning all about the place reminded me of when I was lucky enough to work for the mighty production team of Stock Aitken Waterman who created thousands of hit records during the 80s and 90s and were beyond successful, so it was heartfelt to find out that the creator of the hit song 'Sally' gave away his potential fortune for £30, such a small fee... but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Gracie Fields -1978 Royal Variety guest appearance -Full Song!
Gracie Fields -1978 Royal Variety guest appearance -Full Song!

Gracie herself remained a star for decades conquering the world of films, records radio and TV. I was lucky enough to actually meet her as a young child while she filmed at Yorkshire TV. A wonderful warm lady who had so much talent yet remained so down to earth.

I was also fortunate enough to interview some of the team who witnessed her stunning return to Yorkshire in the late 60's when she appeared at the then world-famous Batley Variety Club for the local impresario Jimmy Corrigan.

Gracie Fields playing Miss Marple in the NBC TV production of 'A Murder is Announced' alongside Roger Moore and Jessica Tandy in 1956.Despite following the likes of legends such as Tom Jones, Movie star Jayne Mansfield, and so many others, Gracie stormed the venue with sold out nights and standing ovations nightly. No huge rider for her, just a cup of tea and maybe some fish and chips as a treat. What a gal.

Right - Gracie Fields playing Miss Marple in the NBC TV production of 'A Murder is Announced' alongside Roger Moore and Jessica Tandy in 1956.

I hope you enjoy this film and as ever do like and share with all of us who want to keep Gracie's star alive, and also take the time to listen to the recording of 'Sally', her pitch perfect vocals and no autotune or overdubs, just sheer incredible talent and that is what made Gracie, and the song, such a huge success.

Until next time, Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean takes a look at two great seaside Theatres in Eastbourne

Neil Sean

Eastbourne Great Theatres
Eastbourne Great Theatres

Seaside theatres have always held a great fascination for me, even as a young child who spent a lot of summer seasons across the UK. Thanks to both parents as performers I always marvelled at the wonderful venues that came alive in the sun and late autumn sunshine and wondered what happened when we all went home to our homes... Who visited these great venues then?

I also noticed how well they marketed the stars they had appearing at the theatres too, with great big cut out heads of the famous names rigged high above the venue, with small bodies sketched below, which really caught the eye of the holiday maker who was in town for their annual leave.

A Programme for a production of 'Fol-de-Rols' at the Congress Theatre in its opening year - 1963.You also had to admire the brilliant artwork on the posters that people made then, so unlike today where you get an email and a digital message about the show and when you arrive at the theatre they keep the marketing so secret you do ponder if the show is actually on. Which brings me to our latest short video in which we visit two wonderful seaside theatres in Eastbourne... The Congress and the Devonshire Park Theatres.

Left - A Programme for a production of 'Fol-de-Rols' at the Congress Theatre in its opening year - 1963.

The Congress Theatre is a Grade II listed, purpose built theatre and conference venue designed by Bryan and Norman Westwood Architects and built in 1963. Now while it may be over fifty years old you would not think so, as the venue has just had a wonderful makeover and some great added attractions too. The theatre is warm and welcoming and a great place to look around and to see the many great shows it hosts every year – The Congress is the largest theatre on the South Coast.

The Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne photographed in September 2013 - Courtesy George Richmond

Above - The Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne photographed in September 2013 - Courtesy George Richmond.

My other gem this time is the delightful Devonshire Park Theatre, it's so beautiful to look at even on the outside, and we also discover a great bar which is in between the two venues that is called naturally "The Stage Door." I noted it's a splendid place for star spotting too.

The auditorium of the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne - With kind permission Justine Cager, Theatres Administrator, Eastbourne Theatres.The Devonshire Park Theatre is a Victorian theatre which was designed by Henry Currey and built in 1884. In 1903 it was further improved by the greatest theatre architect Frank Matcham.

Right - The auditorium of the Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne - With kind permission Justine Cager, Theatres Administrator, Eastbourne Theatres.

The building was designated as a Grade II listed building on 3 July 1981 and has a seating capacity of today of 936. This really is a gem of a place and so much history and greats have appeared there, but what struck me was how tiny the entrance is and what, when once opened, was such an amazing venue. Its still going strong today and produces its own pantomime which was going great guns when we filmed there.

I hope you enjoy the short film and as ever thanks so much for watching.

Until next time, Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean recalls the wonderful City Varieties Theatre in Leeds

Neil Sean at the City Varieties, Leeds - © Maycon Pictures.

Above - Neil Sean at the City Varieties, Leeds - © Maycon Pictures.

Neil Sean   Leeds City Varieties Who Remembers
Neil Sean Leeds City Varieties Who Remembers

My first memory of this wonderful theatre was standing at the old box office which was in the Headrow to book tickets with my dad to see the great Kenny Cantor in pantomime. To me he was a super star with his name outside the venue in huge letters and mega lights beaming down onto the damp street. This was in my mind showbiz and so began a lifelong affair with this great and historical theatre.

Built in 1865, this wonderful venue, in the heart of Leeds city centre, has survived virtually unchanged across three centuries while most other Victorian Music Halls have passed into history. The world's greatest entertainers have trodden the boards here including, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harry Houdini, Lilly Langtry, Harry Lauder and Mickey Rooney. It has played a key role in the careers of the likes of Frankie Vaughan, Ken Dodd, Ray Alan (and Lord Charles!), The Chuckle Brothers, Roy Hudd and Barry Cryer. For thirty years, the Varieties was also the home of BBC TV's record breaking 'The Good Old Days' which began broadcasting in 1953 and was screened around the world.

Later on in my career I recall going here to audition for a TV show on local TV called 'Calendar Kids' which was in turn a talent show for locals which I think ran on a Saturday morning live on TV and of course there was also the cult TV show 'Junior Showtime' which starred the late great Joe Longthorne who later became a great friend. Then there was the famous owners Stanley & Michael Joseph who ran the theatre so well and created the venue that many know and love today.

I hope you enjoy this short tribute to the theatre and recall the wonderful 'Good Old Days' which was such a huge success for over 25 years on TV and around the world.

Until next time, Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

The Duke of York's Theatre

Neil Sean and Samantha Womack at the Duke of York's Theatre, London - © Maycon Pictures.

Above - Neil Sean and Samantha Womack at the Duke of York's Theatre, London - © Maycon Pictures.

The Duke of York’s Theatre
The Duke of York’s Theatre

Looking around old theatres is something of a passion of mine and the Duke of York's Theatre is no exception. I first noted this great theatre in St Martins Lane when I had an audition held there one Saturday morning. This theatre at that time was all new to me and like so many others I was very nervous and its odd right? How much larger the stages appear when you're young and yet going back there I was amazed at just how normal sized it was.

I was asked to go back this time to film with a lovely actress called Samantha Womack who was appearing there in the recent smash hit play "The Girl on the Train" and when filming had finished they allowed me to take a peak once again back stage and film in the bar area.

An early Postcard showing the front of the Duke Of York's Theatre in 1910.The theatre itself is in wonderful condition and looks very well looked after but also has an air of timeless grace about it and it has retained all the amazing character you would expect of a theatre so old.

As you will see in the short film, we made exclusively for this site, it's had so many great and wonderful actors grace the stage and still does even today. I think what is more appealing about this particular theatre is its address. Its West End but without all the hustle and bustle of Shaftesbury Avenue and that is something that appeals to many theatre goers.

Left - An early Postcard showing the front of the Duke Of York's Theatre in 1910.

The stage door at the Duke has welcomed so many great names including one of my all time favourite actresses Felicity Kendal who also cites this herself as one of her favourite venues to act in. She enjoyed huge success there with Noel Cowards' "Hay Fever" a few years back.

Sit back and enjoy the magic of the Duke of York's theatre and why not pay it a visit yourself... you won't be disappointed.

Until next time, Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

The Garrick Theatre, London

Neil Sean outside the Garrick Theatre's Stage Door in 2019 - © Maycon Pictures.

Above - Neil Sean outside the Garrick Theatre's Stage Door in 2019 - © Maycon Pictures.

The Garrick Theatre, London
The Garrick Theatre, London

I've always loved the Garrick Theatre in London. In fact, I've had a long association with the theatre, as it was the very first one that I auditioned in when I arrived in London. In my other career as a TV reporter, I've also filmed there many times. Firstly, with the late great Frankie Howard, through to Paul Merton, who was then starring with his then wife Caroline Quentin in their first west-end hit together.

That's when I discovered the quirky stage door area of the Garrick. It's a calming oasis, in a busy west end street as you can see from my picture above, and makes all the actors and actresses feel incredibly calm backstage.

Neil Sean with John Malkovich at the Garrick Theatre, London. Our latest filming session took place while interviewing the Hollywood actor, John Malkovich who was appearing there in Bitter Wheat, and he features in the film as I had a chance to 'direct' him which is how you see the wings of the theatre.

Left - Neil Sean with John Malkovich at the Garrick Theatre, London.

I was also lucky enough to interview 'The Man from Uncle' star, Robert Vaughn, who could not get over the quaint size of London theatre dressing rooms, much to my amusement. We were lucky enough to film directly on the stage, looking out on to this vast auditorium, which many have been lucky enough to fill while appearing there.

Comedian Frankie Howard told me while appearing there in one of his last stand up appearances how nervous he was, simply because the theatre itself was more for plays, rather than variety. Like all great theatres, it almost came down in the redevelopment of London in the 60s and 70s, and as you'll see from the film, what a shame that would have been. Luckily it was saved by the now wound up Campaign Group Save London's Theatres.

I hope you enjoy our latest film, and until next time, all the best – Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Wyndham's Theatre, London

Neil Sean on the stage at Wyndham's Theatre July 2019 - © Maycon Pictures.

Above - Neil Sean on the stage at Wyndham's Theatre July 2019 - © Maycon Pictures.

Wyndham's Theatre London!
Wyndham's Theatre London!

I have always loved the Wyndham's Theatre in London and in particular the original owner Charles Wyndham, as an actor manager he ensured his name was above the lights, and of course was never really out of work as he cast himself in numerous productions of various plays throughout his career there.

I took the opportunity to have a look around this gem of a playhouse, having been invited to interview the current star of the stage play there 'The Starry Messenger' actor Matthew Broderick.

Like me he was fascinated at the many greats that had graced the stage there from my particular favourites Terry Thomas, Alistair Sim, and the ever-wonderful Noel Coward. What I also adore about the theatre is that it's slap bang in the centre of town and yet manages to hang onto its style and grace. When you look and admire the wonderful architecture inside the theatre it is at times breath taking.

I have appeared on the stage myself there previously and do recall the underground dressing rooms which at times can be a little changeling as an 'artiste' as it were. My favourite shows there were 'The Kings Speech' and 'The History Boys' of which one was such a huge hit it went all the way to Broadway.

I always tell pals popping over from the US to go to the older theatres as they do have a character and charm that for me modern day ones sadly lack. This new short film, filmed in July 2019, gives you a brief glimpse into the wonderful venue and like me, I hope you enjoy this exclusive visit.

Until next time, Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean with Memories of the Talk Of The Town

Neil Sean outside the Hippodrome Casino, formerly the London Hippodrome / Talk of the Town.

Above - Neil Sean outside the Hippodrome Casino, formerly the London Hippodrome / Talk of the Town.

Talk of the Town
Talk of the Town

The Talk of the Town was without doubt one of London's most glamorous night spots. So many great stars appeared there but my own personal connections were working for Peter Stringfellow who took over the venue and renamed it 'The Hippodrome Night Club'.

Not many people know that Peter was in fact an old school variety promoter from early rock band to nude shows and more. Peter told me "I learned so much in the early days of touring the old variety theatres with various acts. You really learned what the public wanted."

Peter was a genius promoter in making the Hippodrome rock again. However, in this film we recall the great Bernard Delfont who was a true showman and made the Talk of the Town world famous. So many big stars from the world of variety appeared there including Tony Hancock, Max Bygraves, and Judy Garland who made here last appearance on stage in a live theatre there in 1969.

Neil Sean with Joe Longthorne at the Westminster Live Studios.By 1983, it was all over with singing superstar Joe Longthorne the closing act. Joe told me "I couldn't believe it when the great Bernard Delfont booked me to appear at the venue. It was the highlight of my career."

Left - Neil Sean with Joe Longthorne at the Westminster Live Studios.

Joe also remembers the Talk of the Town could have gone on but many big stars of the day wanted too much money to appear there plus, he added, "There was a lot of competition very similar to the Talk of the Town at that point but it was really a one off great venue."

The Hippodrome today is a luxurious casino fully restored and thriving in the heart of London's Leicester square once again. It's worth a visit just a see the wonderful interior that Frank Matcham created over a hundred years ago.

Enjoy the film, and until next time, Neil.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean with Memories of Alma Cogan

Lonnie Donegan, Alma Cogan, and Billy Dainty - From the Stage Newspaper, 2nd April 1959.

Above - Lonnie Donegan, Alma Cogan, and Billy Dainty - From the Stage Newspaper, 2nd April 1959.

Video - Neil Sean with Memories of Alma Cogan
Video - Neil Sean with Memories of Alma Cogan

I don't remember when I first saw the ultra-glam Ms Cogan, but I know I was blown away by that voice, talent, and that certain thing we know as star power. Alma was a great variety turn who toured up and down the famous Moss Empire circuit and was loved by all, despite the fun remarks about her "big dresses". But that was the charm of Ms Cogan she was not like the singers of the day she was bold and loud plus she loved a laugh, a modern pop star of the era.

Alma Cogan, Eve Boswell, and David Whitfield - From the Stage Newspaper, July 5th 1956.In this new short film we celebrate the short life of this great lady who really could do it all and was known by everyone from Hollywood legends like Bob Hope and Judy Garland to the common man in the street who she would support at local talent shows as you will see in the film.

No matter who I interviewed at that time they always brought up Alma and while she was never hip or chick she was loved by the Rock and Rollers of that time from Cliff, Tommy and Marty plus girls like Petula and Joan Regan, in fact so many.

Left - Alma Cogan, Eve Boswell, and David Whitfield - From the Stage Newspaper, July 5th 1956.

A short Tribute to Alma Cogan - From the ILS, November 5th 1966.Alma's professional singing career began while she was still a teenager - singing songs for each evening's diners at the Cumberland Hotel - and she began recording during 1952 with "To Be Worthy Of You" / "Would You". Alma's biggest break came when Joy Nichols left the BBC Radio programme "Take It From Here", and Alma was invited to take over duties as resident singer. Alma sang a great variety of material with great success but was most popular with up-beat ballads and novelties. Her first chart success came in 1954 with 'Bell Bottom Blues', a record that set the trend for the style of much of her later material.

Right - A short Tribute to Alma Cogan - From the ILS, November 5th 1966.

A true icon, Alma's sparkling personality and zest for life were cut short and she died at the tragically young age of 34. Although she managed to work almost right to the end of her life, she died in a London Hospital on 26th October 1966.

Lets though remember the fun-loving variety star that she was and remember no one could resist her with her pocket transistor...

Until next time Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

The Scala Theatre, London

A Google StreetView image of Scala House, Charlotte and Tottenham Streets, which stands on the site of the former Scala Theatre today - Click to Interact

Above - A Google StreetView image of Scala House, Charlotte and Tottenham Streets, which stands on the site of the former Scala Theatre today - Click to Interact.

Scala Theatre London
Scala Theatre London

As many know what I truly love about the brilliant Arthur Lloyd site is the masses of information you find out about, and hidden gems that you had no idea existed. Which leads me to this month's video - The Scala Theatre in London - I was so impressed with its history and background we decided to take a camera there and look up what the site looks like today.

Just like Arthur Lloyd describes, it is an unassuming office block, which got me thinking so much about its showbiz history and little do the workers know as they sit in their glum offices all day that they are in fact on hallowed ground with some major superstars beneath them.

The Charlotte Street Facade of the 1904 Scala Theatre.Take a look and recall when the wonderful Anthony Newley made his movie there called "Idle on Parade" which was our answer to Jailhouse Rock with Elvis and Tony getting called up. A wonderful film that is out now today on DVD but the movie as you will see gives us a great insight into what the Theatre looked like during the late 50s.

It's hard to believe also that great Director Hitchcock worked his magic there with movie legends like Marlene Dietrich, Richard Todd and Michael Wilding too, but for many it remains the home of just simply the biggest boy band in the world - The Beatles.

Left - The Charlotte Street Facade of the 1904 Scala Theatre.

Neil Sean in August 2018.They filmed segments there in 1964 when they made the all-time classic movie "Hard Day's Night". Some wonderful shots outside and inside the Theatre on this gem of a pop movie.

Take a seat and enjoy what is truly a lost diamond of a Theatre that even Variety legend Mike Winters told me should never have been pulled down, but as we both agreed that was the sixties and seventies for you.

Enjoy a nostalgic trip back to the world of the wonderful Scala Theatre in London.

Until next time Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean remembers the Hippodrome Theatre Eastbourne

Neil Sean with Sir Bruce Forsyth.

Above - Neil Sean with Sir Bruce Forsyth.

Memories of The Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne
Memories of The Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne

What a wonderful Theatre this still remains to today, it has it all from great history to refurbishment and yes, a few ghosts, but what is that between showbiz friends. In this short film we take a look around the Hippodrome Theatre while it undergoes some vital work and also recall some great stars that appeared there over the years from the likes of the late great Sir Bruce Forsyth, Norman Evans, Gert & Daisy, Ken Goodwin and many more. The Theatre is a gem in the town and all the locals are so thrilled that it's springing back to life full time now.

The Hippodrome adjusted its offering in the past as the acclaimed comedian Clarkson Rose dominated the summer entertainment scene with his show 'Twinkle' in the Pier's splendid new Music Pavilion, with the BBC broadcasting an hour of the fun every Sunday night.

Variety again became the staple fare at the Hippodrome and through the 40s and 50s stars of radio such as Tommy Handley, Vic Oliver, Jimmy Jewell, Max Miller and Norman Evans were on the bill.

Neil Sean at the Hippodrome, Eastbourne.

Above - Neil Sean at the Hippodrome, Eastbourne.

The arrival of television sets in the late 1950s brought a major challenge to traditional live variety. In fact, a young Bruce Forsyth was chosen to host 'Sunday Night at the London Palladium' in 1958 while he was on the bill at the Hippodrome's summer show.

The post-war years, and well into the 1970s, saw many famous entertainers on the Hippodrome's stage, including Sandy Powell, Terry Thomas, Norman Wisdom, Elsie and Doris Waters, Max Miller, Tommy Trinder and Ken Goodwin. And for three years Cyril Fletcher brought a highly successful summer show to the Theatre.

Go on treat yourself for a seat in the stalls and marvel at this Eastbourne gem as the curtain rises once again on some wonderful memories.

Until next time Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean on London's Prince of Wales Theatre

Neil Sean outside the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Above - Neil Sean outside the Prince of Wales Theatre.

Memories of The Prince of Wales Theatre!
Memories of The Prince of Wales Theatre!

This Month I thought we would take a trip down memory lane to one with of my all-time favourite theatres in London, the Prince of Wales. The theatre, which was rebuilt in 1937 to great acclaim, presented a series of French-style revues and came to be known as London's Folies Bergère. It was not until the mid-20th century that musicals were to play an important part in the theatre's history once more, and more importantly keep the theatre viable.

However, the theatre is so much more than that and as you will discover when you watch the film even the wonderful Dame Gracie Fields had a hand its in rebirth and she, at the time, was one of the biggest stars on the planet.

We also take you on a journey on just how the theatre, for a while, was also a great place for variety with the likes of TV kings such as Benny Hill, Tommy Cooper and of course the ever-wonderful Sir Norman Wisdom who really knew how to capture the PR for his show from a wonderful picture also in the movie.

The exterior of the Prince of Wales Theatre during the run of 'Blue Magic' with Shirley Bassey and Tommy Cooper in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins.Its current too with the world now revisiting movie legends Laurel and Hardy thanks to the new movie in cinemas "Stan and Ollie " who came to the theatre on the invitation of their then tour promoter the late and very talented Bernard Delfont to see his new discovery Norman Wisdom on the stage. They loved him and so a picture ensued which proves, as Norman told me, "I was stunned they came to see me, but the thing is they were so gracious and kind too I truly loved them both... they were just so funny."

Hollywood arrived in 1963 with the one and only Marlene Dietrich appearing at the Royal Variety show from the theatre that year which was seen by millions, but we also remind viewers that Beatlemania actually started here at the Prince of Wales, again after Bernard Delfont decided to book the then pop act onto the famous show.

Left - The exterior of the Prince of Wales Theatre during the run of 'Blue Magic' with Shirley Bassey and Tommy Cooper in 1958 - Courtesy Gerry Atkins.

Sid Field, Barry Manilow and many more make up the cast of the film which I think, and hope reflects some of the greats that have appeared on that stage and not forgetting of course up to date productions too – Sir Cameron Mackintosh owns the theatre now and for a while there was a worry that it was looking a tad run down. Thanks to his investment the place is thriving once again, and many people are enjoying the shows in the great art déco surrounds.

Finally, one of my all-time favourites is mentioned in the movie, Ms Hylda Baker, who scored a huge hit there along with Cynthia in the 50's but why read this when you can see what I am writing about too.

I also can tell you in reality how vast that auditorium is from the stage, having appeared on that stage many times and some auditions too... many to the sound of my own feet but hey as they say that is showbiz!

Go on click on the video and enjoy the show.

Until next time.

Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Neil Sean Meets Blackpool's Tower & North Pier Organist Kevin Grunill

Neil Sean and Kevin Grunill at the Westminster Live Studios.

Above - Neil Sean and Kevin Grunill at the Westminster Live Studios.

Neil Sean Meets Kevin Grunill.
Neil Sean Meets Kevin Grunill.

Kevin Grunill has built a fine reputation as one of the UK's busiest organists from playing at the world-famous Tower Ballroom, home to "Strictly Come Dancing, to world fame across the Globe including great times on Coronation Street too, but his new exciting venture is here in Yorkshire Barnsley "The Astoria Centre". Kevin has featured in numerous television programmes, such as "Hollyoaks", "Blackpool", and "The Hairy Bikers.

Kevin Grunill at the Wurlitzer Organ.In this exclusive interview Kevin reveals how he started playing the organ, and how, as a teen, a visit to the famous Ballroom in Blackpool sparked his interest but not actually the world-famous Organ.

Left - Kevin Grunill at the Wurlitzer Organ.

Kevin also reveals how he landed the prestigious job of playing at the famous North Pier Pavilion Sun Lounge, which was home for many years to another organ legend Mr. Raymond Wallbank, and amid the palm court elegance of the pier's capacious Sun Lounge, here Kevin a consummate and well-loved communicator by his loyal audience, found a particularly happy and expressive outlet for his considerable talent.

The Astoria, Barnsley.While continuing to perform, Kevin decided on his most ambitious project yet, he opened his own highly distinctive ballroom in what he describes as "Barnsley on Sea". The Astoria Centre in his home town of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Kevin reveals the secrets behind the project and how it all came about.

Right - The Astoria, Barnsley.

Naturally no chat about the world's organs could be complete without the doyen of the organ world and dubbed "Mr Blackpool" himself, Reginald Dixon. As Kevin describes him as the King of Blackpool but like all stars perhaps not given the star power normally given to people who gave so much to the town and truly put it on the worldwide map.

In this self-effacing interview the charming and cheeky Kevin gives advice to the next generation of budding organ stars and reveals his plans for the future ensuring that the sound of the mighty Wurlitzer will live on at Barnsley, Blackpool and beyond.

Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Memories of British Comedy Greats

Looking at the life and careers of some of the greatest comedy writers and performers of the last century

Neil Sean in Orme Court, London.

Above - Neil Sean in Orme Court, London.

Neil Sean's Memories of British Comedy Greats.
Neil Sean's Memories of British Comedy Greats.

Associated British Scripts began life in London's Shepherd's Bush in the mid-1950s, Eric Sykes, Spike Milligan, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson - decided to form a writing group as a place to pool ideas, contacts and office space costs. Basically saving a lot of money and seeing how to combine their great talents. Johnny Speight, John Antrobus, Terry Nation, Dick Vosburgh, Eric Merriman, Dave Freeman, Barry Took and Marty Feldman. The scripts that went out of that house would help further the comedy careers of Frankie Howerd, Tony Hancock, Tommy Cooper, Peter Sellers, Arthur Haynes, Arthur Askey, Warren Mitchell, Dick Emery, Benny Hill, Bill Fraser, Harry Worth, June Whitfield, Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Ted Ray, Joan Sims, Charlie Drake, Clive Dunn, Terry Scott, Harry H. Corbett, Bruce Forsyth, Ronnie Barker, Hattie Jacques and Morecambe and Wise – What we now call all the greats of comedy.

Associated London scripts grew to include around thirty writers, with a support staff of twelve; by 1957 it had outgrown the Shepherd's Bush offices and moved to larger premises in Kensington High Street. Around 1960, ALS sold the Kensington offices and purchased even more prestigious premises at 9 Orme Court in Bayswater Road, adjacent to Hyde Park. Which is where this latest short film was filmed. 

Neil Sean with Galton and Simpson.I was lucky enough to meet and interview the brilliant writing duo of Galton & Simpson  over a number of times who regaled me with such great stories of Sid James, Hattie Jaques and Hancock.

Left - Neil Sean with Galton and Simpson.

The duo were amazing really as they also created the great comedy Steptoe and Son plus so much more.

Eric Sykes I encountered  quite by accident when he was appearing in a Ray Cooney farce in London and we became friends where, as an Oldham lad, he told me all about his rise to fame and of course becoming a  movie star himself too – Throughout the years I met many of the people associated with the company including the late great Frankie Howard.

I was stunned to find that this great little court in the heart of Bayswater was the home of such talent and having had an office in the area for a while myself I was thrilled to see the blue plaques finally go up to these legends of comedy. 

I also wanted to make a small remembrance film of these greats for some time and finally here at last it is – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did recalling and making it.

Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Memories of "The Met" Edgware Road

Neil Sean at the site of the former Metropolitan Theatre.

Above - Neil Sean at the site of the former Metropolitan Theatre.

Memories of the Met.
Memories of the Met.

In this latest film we look at one of London's most talked about gems of the Matcham era – The Metropolitan Theatre, Edgware Road – London. As we discover many stars owe their big break to the venue which also became a film icon itself thanks to the wonderful 1949 Ealing Movie "The Blue Lamp" which starred Jack Warner for the first time as PC George Dixon.

Others touched upon include the late great comedian Larry Grayson, who later found fame in hit game show "The Generation Game", plus budding teen idols Jim Dale and Marty Wilde, Hank Marvin, and TV mogul Johnnie Hamp, plus a nod to one of the North's greatest ever comedians, Frank Randle.

The building's site today is of course Paddington Green police station which is also now due to be knocked down.

Enjoy this latest stroll down memory lane with Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Memories of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane by Neil Sean

Neil Sean and Bonnie Langford at Drury Lane

Memories of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Memories of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

In our latest short film, we take you back to the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, home to so many events over the years, and when it finishes its run of 42nd Street on January 5th, 2019, it will close while Lord Webber refurbishes the theatre and reopens in two years' time.

42nd Street at the Theatre Royal Drury LaneWe were filming over a year at the theatre for the hit musical "42nd" Street so had a good look around the historical venue and yes it really does have a ghost!

In the film we talk about how 007 Sean Connery himself went through that famous stage door along with some forgotten favourites in the style of Ivor Novello and Sir Noel Coward.

We could not leave out another Welsh diva though and that was of course Dorothy Squires who famously hired the theatre when no one else would give her work. Bravo Dot.

I recaWith Sheena Easton at Drury Lanell meeting the late great Frankie Vaughn and how Rex Harrison became a huge West End star on that stage with a young Julie Andrews too.

We give a nod to the many Royal shows that have played there and above all hope you With Bonnie Langford at Drury Laneenjoy our trip down memory lane once more, or should that be Drury lane?

Until next time all the best, Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Memories of Brighton Theatres, by Neil Sean

Neil Sean

Neil Sean Remembers Theatres of Brighton.
Neil Sean Remembers Theatres of Brighton.

Like everyone when on holiday us theatre folk are never quite on holiday are we? so armed with a small camera and look around the Regency Town of Brighton I decided to recall some of the great theatres the town has and had.

The Old Palace Pier theatre was and remains a mystery but more of that in the film and then we went onto the still vibrant Theatre Royal along with the ghost!

The Brighton Hippodrome in September 2018 - Courtesy Neil Sean.However, the saddest part of the trip was the way the local council have let the once glorious Hippodrome on Middle Street to look so badly defaced and yet what remains inside is something still of a gem that could easily be brought back to life.

Left - The Brighton Hippodrome in September 2018 - Courtesy Neil Sean.

There is a Save Brighton Hippodrome Group so get involved if you want this to be saved and reopened but I do hope you enjoy this latest film and recall, like myself, the glorious hot sunny days of summer season, the Beatles, Frankie Vaughan and the Hollywood legends that were Laurel and Hardy, all booked by of course by the Grade Organisation.

Sit back relax and enjoy.

Until next month...

Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Memories of The London Coliseum, by Neil Sean

Neil Sean at the London Coliseum.

Neil Sean's Memories of the London Coliseum.
Neil Sean's Memories of the London Coliseum.

Since 1904 the London Coliseum has stood proud on St Martin's Lane and has played host to every major star of the last hundred years. In this film theatre historian Neil Sean recounts some fascinating tales, and just how, even today, the famous Frank Matcham designed gem of a Theatre remains as popular as ever. Recall the start of television right here in 1930, and just how did Queen Mary create a stir in the Royal Box! Plus, the ever wonderful Tommy Steele.

Enjoy.

Until next month...

Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Memories of the Victoria Palace Theatre, by Neil Sean

Neil Sean's Memories of the Victoria Palace Theatre London.
Neil Sean's Memories of the Victoria Palace Theatre London.

Frank Matcham helped design and build the Victoria Palace in 1911. It has been used for variety and musical productions for practically all its life since then, in this short film (shown right) we celebrate some of the many achievements of this wonderful iconic theatre.

In 1960 it was the home of the Royal Variety Performance which starred the delightful Max Bygraves and the star of Las Vegas, Liberace, plus a great nod to a exquisite performer in Miss Marion Ryan. We also look at the work of Impresario Jack Hylton and one show that now is almost forgotten but for a time was one of the most successful shows at the Victoria palace. The Black and White Minstrels shows.

Today its home to the record-breaking musical Hamilton and the beautiful restoration work carried out by Delfont Mackintosh makes sure the theatre will thrive for many decades to come.

Enjoy.

Until next month...

Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

Mike Winters of Mike and Bernie Fame, by Neil Sean

Neil Sean's 50 minute interview with Mike Winters.
Neil Sean's 50 minute interview with Mike Winters.

I first met Mike Winters on the North Pier in Blackpool as a young child – I loved the duo and found them like so many to be very funny – Many now of course have forgotten the duo and often even in countdowns on TV shows they are left off in favour of Eric and Ernie which is such a shame as they really were fun guys to know.

Right - Click the thumbnail to see Neil Sean's 50 minute interview with Mike Winters.

A few years later and now in TV I was lucky enough to get Mike to come along to the studios here in London at Westminster Live to record what would be his final ever full-length chat over tea about his latest book – From the off it was a laugh simply because the young girl taking Mike around had so little interest she fell asleep while we chatted all about his career and success along with his late brother Bernie. Like all young PR people today she showed no shame in this and simply said "its been a long week "leaving myself and Mike in convulsions again...

Neil Sean meets Mike Winters in this exclusive interview for arthurlloyd.co.uk.People also may have forgotten that Mike in a tour with the new singing sensation Tommy Steele was a fiasco behind the scenes, but good publicity, and it led to the BBC producer Jack Good coming to see Tommy, and instead offering Mike and Bernie a spot-on TV in the music series the 6.5 Special in 1957. This made them easily recognised in the street for the first time.

Left - Neil Sean meets Mike Winters in this exclusive interview for arthurlloyd.co.uk.

They did 6.5 Special for 12 months, and afterwards felt that, unfortunately for them, it had inflated their egos. Bernie accepted a film contract from the producer Cubby Broccoli but insisted that his brother share his substantial film earnings.

Mike Winters of Mike and Bernie Fame. Mike did a few situation comedies and took up agenting – including representing Engelbert Humperdinck when he was still going by the name Gerry Dorsey. Eng told me that he loved working with Mike as "he totally understood what the act needed and so played well on that."

In this interview Mike reveals all with great relish about his time working with so many great comics from Albert Modley to Frank Randle and the whole Blackpool scene of that era – Mike also speaks on the Royal Variety shows that they both appeared and finally sets to rest the on-going myth about the brothers falling out

A true variety giant and so very pleased to have spent time with Mike Winters. I know when watching this interview, you will too.

Enjoy.

Until next month...

Neil Sean.

Maycon ProductionsThis Article was written by Neil Sean and kindly sent in by him, along with the video interview, for exclusive publication on www.arthurlloyd.co.uk and may not be copied or otherwise distributed without prior consent. Images and Video Courtesy Neil Sean and Maycon Productions.

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