Regent to Host Seaside Premiere of New Movie
Comedy icon Frank Sidebottom is making an emotional return to his “second home” later this month for a special seaside screening of a new feature documentary about his life.
The Greater Manchester-born songwriter and comedian died in 2010 and the new movie “Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story” has been booked in for a one-off showing at Blackpool’s historic Regent Cinema on March 31.
The star, famous for his maverick brand of music and humour plus his distinctive papier-mâché head, fronted a whole host of popular TV and radio shows in the 80s and 90s, launched the career of iconic comedy character Mrs. Merton (played by Caroline Aherne) and even played live at Wembley Stadium – in the unlikely company of top boyband Bros.
The new film, which explores the extraordinary secret life of Frank’s creator Chris Sievey, is being distributed in the UK and the US by Altitude Films, the company responsible for Amy and 20 Feet from Stardom, and Lancashire-born director/producer Steve Sullivan was keen that Blackpool was one of the first places to show the movie due to the star’s lifelong love affair with the resort. Frank appeared many times on the Fylde Coast over a period of more than two decades, most recently at Rebellion Festival just a year before he died.
He recorded a song in honour of the town, “Blackpool Fool”, and was a regular at the famous Thunderbooks comic shop on Lytham Road. A photo of one of his visits there appears in the film and the opening credits feature Super 8 footage of Frank on the promenade.
Apart from his live concerts, Frank also made a number of trips to Bloomfield Road and his beloved hand puppet “Little Frank” was known to be a Blackpool FC fan. On one memorable occasion, Frank even made a touchline appearance during a league game, at one stage attending to a stricken player with a bucket and sponge!
Film-maker Steve Sullivan said: “It's such a special treat to be showing Being Frank in Blackpool. The town held a really special place in Frank Sidebottom and Chris Sievey's heart, partly because of the Thunderbooks comic shop where he used to buy his Thunderbirds toys and comics and the chaotic personal appearances he made there.
“It's also an honour for me. As a young lad living in (whisper it, begins with a P...) we used to come to Blackpool all the time and spend our brass on the Golden Mile. It's so great to be able to make some more happy memories beside the seaside.”
Regent owner Rick Taylor, who took over the iconic venue in 2016, added: “We’ve had some special nights since we reopened in 2016 but this promises to be right up there. Frank is absolutely loved in this town, especially by those of us of a certain age! To use his favourite word, it’s going to be ‘fantastic’. Frank embodies so many of the best things about Blackpool – pure escapism and pure entertainment at its very best, ideally shared by great friends and family. We’ll never forget him and with this movie he’ll always be with us.”
Tickets cost £7.00 per person and can be booked at www.regentcinemablackpool.co.uk or on the door.
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story is being released at UK cinemas and on digital on March 29th.