Worthing is set to take centre stage on big screens across the UK as the town’s iconic seafront features as a backdrop for Hollywood blockbuster Stan & Ollie.
The BAFTA-nominated film, which stars Steve Coogan and John C Reilly as Laurel and Hardy, has been hotly tipped to be a hit with UK audiences after it was released on Friday 11th January.
Alongside stellar performances from the headline acts, a familiar location in Worthing is set to be an unlikely star – with the town’s Lido used as a backdrop for a key scene in the movie.
Worthing Borough Council, which owns the art deco attraction in the seafront, is hoping the motion picture acts as a catalyst to encourage more film and television crews to use the area as a location in the coming years.
Councillor Kevin Jenkins, Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, said: “Worthing has a fine heritage when it comes to film with some of the first moving images in the UK created on our very own pier.
“More than a century on I’m delighted to see that continuing with this high-profile feature-length production about the world’s favourite comic duo shot on our seafront.
“With the movie now released I know I am not the only one who is looking forward to seeing Worthing on the big screen.
“The feedback we received from the production company was excellent and I know that word is getting round about the beautiful coastal, urban and country backdrops that our town has to offer. For those reasons I look forward to welcoming many more crews down in the coming months.”
Stan & Ollie, which has been made by BBC Films and Entertainment One, focuses on the comic duo’s final UK tour in 1953.
The scene in Worthing comes at a crucial point of the movie and features Laurel and Hardy judging a beauty pageant when disaster strikes.
Filming took place in the town in May 2017 with crews adding a 1950s flavour to the Lido complete with a bespoke mural which remains in place today.
Stan & Ollie is the latest big production to use Adur and Worthing as a location for TV and film shows.
Productions to shoot in the area in the last year include the much-anticipated BBC drama MotherFatherSon which features the multiple award-winning Richard Gere.
Others include ITV’s psychological drama Cheat, made by the creators of Liar; Channel 4’s dating show Flirty Dancing with Diversity’s Ashley Banjo; and the Chelsea Flower Show.
In a bid to encourage more production companies to use the area as a backdrop, Adur & Worthing Councils has teamed up with Sussex Film Office to create a new app to promote locations direct to firms.
Already the partnership is working well with a host of production companies exploring locations to use the area as a backdrop in 2019.
Anyone requesting further information should visit www.sussexfilmoffice.co.uk.
To see a trailer of the film, which includes Worthing Lido feature, visit this link.
To book tickets to see Stan & Ollie at The Connaught visit www.worthingtheatres.co.uk.
REVIEW OF STAN & OLLIE
By James Tully, Film Manager at Worthing Theatres
I should state at the outset than I am at best a casual fan of Laurel and Hardy. I’ve seen a handful of their films and always enjoyed their slapstick tomfoolery.
But being a big fan of both Steve Coogan and John C Reilly, I was excited to see the film and they did not let me down.
This is at its heart a story of friendship and loyalty, universal themes whether you like the comedy of Laurel and Hardy or not.
The story sees Stan & Ollie taking in a music hall tour of the UK & Ireland after their film career is on the wane.
Both actors convey this twilight period of their characters perfectly with years of experience behind the eyes.
There is some fantastic comic relief when the performers wives join them and prove as formidable as Stan and Ollie themselves.
Eagle eyed Worthing-ites may have seen Coogan and Reilly when they were in town last summer filming scenes down at the seafront.
It was delightful to see the Lido on the big screen for a big scene.
This sequence is specifically set in Worthing, rather than just filming here as a location alternate for somewhere else.
The film is so delightful, with gentle humour and emotional resonance that it means the film and its Worthing scenes will be seen for many years to come.