Plymouth has great entertainment credentials and we’ll be exploring this theme throughout the course of today.
Under normal circumstances, we’re lucky to have the Theatre Royal, Plymouth Pavilions, a variety of cinema and other arts and theatre venues plus an array of festivals and outdoor events to enjoy.
Plymouth is also known for being the city where dancer, director and choreographer Wayne Sleep, legendary TV pioneer Angela Rippon and musician Jamie Lawson were born; and where accomplished actor, screenwriter and film director Charles Dance and popular actress and comedian Dawn French spent their school days.
Going back in time a bit further, here are some famous faces from the archives to get our entertainment-filled day off to a good start!
Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) was an actor, filmmaker and composer who rose to fame during the silent movie era. His screen persona ‘The Tramp’ is a hugely important figure in the history of film.
From 15-16 November 1931, he visited Plymouth as a guest of MP Nancy Astor.
Earlier that year his film, ‘City Lights’ had been released to great acclaim but it had been a difficult project that he had spent more than two and half years working on. After the premieres were over he took a holiday and ended up travelling for 16 months.
His visit to Plymouth brought the crowds out in force – as you can see from this photograph. He even appeared on stage at the Palace Theatre one evening.
In a letter to Michael Astor – one of Nancy’s sons, James Joseph Judge – a former editor of the Herald and a great friend of the Astors wrote: “You should have been here on Sunday and Monday. Your mother brought Charlie Chaplin and thousands thronged to see him on the Barbican and……….crowds came to your house: on Monday they filled Virginia House and the Palace Theatre……….I sat beside him at dinner at Elliot Terrace……….and found him ever such a nice, modest little man.”
It could be argued that no other band has defined popular culture like the Beatles.
Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr introduced a new sound to the masses. Originally labelled as a rock and roll band they experimented with many different styles. Decades later their music is still influential.
They performed in Plymouth twice – on 13 November 1963 and 29 October 1964. Both concerts took place at the ABC Cinema.
This photo dates from their 1963 gig, which featured ten songs: ‘I Saw Her Standing There’, ‘From Me to You’, ‘All My Loving’, ‘Really Got a Hold on Me’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Boys’, ‘Till There Was You’, ‘She Loves You’, ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ and ‘Twist and Shout’.
Do you recognise the grumpy man in this photo? If you don’t know his face there’s a good chance you’ll know his voice instead!
Actor Tom Baker’s big film break came in 1971 when he played the role of Grigori Rasputin in ‘Nicholas and Alexandra’ – a performance that earned him two Golden Globe nominations.
In 1974, the year this photograph was taken, he took over from John Pertwee as the Fourth Doctor Who. His unusual dress sense and speech, love of jelly babies and trademark scarf caught the public’s imagination and he is often described as the most popular Doctor. To date he is the longest-serving actor to have played the part – appearing in seven consecutive seasons until 1981 when Peter Davison took over.
This image was captured when he was filming a two-part Doctor Who episode called ‘The Sontaran Experiment’ on Dartmoor. He fell during a fight scene and broke his collarbone – hence the reason why his left arm is in a sling. After his injury Baker could only film close up shots and had to leave the remaining scenes to a stunt double. No wonder he doesn’t look very happy!