COUNTY NEWS: Hollywood stars film Laurel and Hardy biopic in Sussex
Two famous actors headed to Sussex today to film a new biopic about comedy duo Laurel and Hardy.
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly were being filmed on Worthing seafront for the upcoming BBC film, Stan & Ollie, today (Friday, May 19).
The film is set in 1953, as the pair embark on their last music hall tour around post-war Britain together.
Worthing Lido, owned by Worthing Borough Council, became the backdrop for a key scene in which Laurel and Hardy judge a beauty pageant.
Councillor Sean McDonald, the outgoing Mayor of Worthing, who is a big fan of the comedy pair, said: “This is the perfect location for this great comedy duo.
“I am absolutely delighted that the new Laurel and Hardy film is being filmed in my home town of Worthing.
“I am a long time fan of the boys and a member of their fan club The Sons Of The Desert.
“I hope that the film is a great success and it just emphasises the opportunities available in Worthing.”
Councillor Kevin Jenkins, executive member for regeneration at Worthing Borough Council, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly and the rest of the crew to Worthing.
“Our town has a fine heritage when it comes to film: from hosting some of the first moving pictures on the pier in the late 19th Century through to providing locations for more contemporary shows in recent years.
“I can’t wait to see our town become the backdrop to the comic capers of Stan and Ollie, whose presence will help continue to put Worthing on the map.”
The film has been written by Jeff Pope, who worked with Steve Coogan on Oscar-nominated Philomena, and is being directed by Jon S Baird.
To accommodate the film crew, some parking bays were suspended for a day and agreement was sought with the leaseholder of the Lido as the rides were relocated for a day.
Councillor Jenkins said: “I want to thank the tourism and events team at the council, the leaseholder of the lido and the wider population for helping make this happen.
“I’m sure seeing the town on the big screen will give our four million visitors a year one more reason to Discover Worthing.”
The birdcage bandstand at Worthing Lido, which forms the backdrop of the scenes, was built in 1897, before being demolished in 1925 and replaced with a new band enclosure.
In 1957 the the site was converted into a swimming pool and renamed the Lido, before being built over and becoming the Family Entertainment Centre it is today in 1989/1990.
Other productions to be filmed in Worthing in recent years include television shows such as Cuffs, Don’t Tell The Bride and The Fear.
The film also stars Shirley Henderson as Lucille Hardy, Nina Arianda as Ida Laurel and actor Danny Huston.
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