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A fab night of music at Theatre Royal

I never got to see the Beatles perform live, possibly due to the fact that I wasn’t born until 1966.

My discovery of the Fab Four came much later when, as a 12-year-old, I found a stack of LPs and a portable record player belonging to my stepmum, a huge fan who also never got to see them live.

So last night’s performance Let It Be at the Theatre Royal was a right treat for us both.

The show looked back at the musical history of the “mop tops” through the recreation of signature performances such as the Royal Variety Show and Shea Stadium, interspersed with newsreel and adverts from the time. How we chuckled as the newly-married bride lit up with the voiceover slogan “time for a Capstan”.

The four performers were faultless musicians, swapping from guitar to piano and back. The joke back in the day was that Ringo Starr wasn’t the best drummer in the world, he wasn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles. You certainly couldn’t have said that about Ben Cullingworth as a believable Ringo. He was joined on stage by Richard Jordan as John (he passed the test with my stepmum, John was her favourite), John Brosnan as George and Emanuele Angeletti as Paul.

The first half was a tour through the Beatles’ back catalogue from early days to the Sgt Pepper years, the second half an imagined reunion for John’s 40th birthday taking in each band member’s solo material. This included a stunning version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps with the guitar solo masterfully played by ‘George’. George didn’t event play that on the original, it was Eric Clapton.

The audience ranged in age but had one thing in common, they knew the words to all the songs and were encouraged to sing along and get up, clap and dance.

A couple of crowd pleasers ended the concert – Let It Be and Hey Jude – before a standing ovation. A truly uplifting evening of music from one of the worlds best and biggest bands.

“Kill* for a ticket” – Patsy Webster (stepmum)

(*Don’t actually kill someone, obviously. The show runs until Saturday and tickets are still available. www.theatreroyal.co.uk)

Gay Webster

Pictures: Paul Coltas

Flying the (Blue) Flags for North Norfolk’s fabulous beaches

It’s official: North Norfolk continues to have some of the best beaches in the country.

The beaches in Cromer, East Runton, Mundesley, Sea Palling, Sheringham and West Runton have all been awarded prestigious Blue Flags for another year – and that means the 45-mile North Norfolk coastline is home to half of all the Blue Flag beaches in the east of England.

The awards are given out only to those beaches that have the highest quality of water, facilities, environmental education and management, with superb levels of cleanliness and safety. It means the hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors who visit North Norfolk’s beaches each year can be sure they are enjoying top-notch destinations.

North Norfolk is the only district in the county that has been awarded any Blue Flags this year.

As well as the Blue Flags, the beach at Wells, which is owned by the Holkham Estate but jointly managed by NNDC and the RNLI, has won a Seaside Award, which guarantees visitors a clean, safe, attractive and well-managed coastal stretch.

Cllr Sarah Butikofer, Leader of North Norfolk District Council, said: “This is fantastic news and highlights once again what fantastic beaches we have in North Norfolk.

“It is testament to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes all year round to keep our beaches in tip-top condition and guarantee their safety and cleanliness.”

Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, which runs the Blue Flags scheme, said: “The success of the beaches in reaching the very high standards demanded by both awards is testament to all those who have worked so hard to protect and improve our beaches – from beach managers and volunteers to local people and businesses.

“When you enjoy a trip to a beach flying an international Blue Flag or Seaside Award, you know you are on one of the safest, cleanest and very best in the country.”

There is evidence that the awards attract more visitors, with the number of people visiting the district’s beaches rising from 100,000 a year to 400,000 since they started being awarded Blue Flags.

No Great British Prom at Blickling this summer

The Great British Prom will be taking a break this year with a view to returning to the Blickling Estate in 2020.

Lisa Ward of organisers Revival Productions said: “We have been running this type of concert for many years and experience shows us that sometimes it’s good to have a break, with a view to coming back with renewed vigour.

“The Great British weather worked against us last year, however, we know that this event has become a firm favourite in the Norfolk calendar and so we are planning to come back bigger and better in 2020!”

Jo Bosch, visitor experience nanager at Blickling said “Our summer concerts are something we look forward to all year and are a highlight of our annual programme. 

“Classic Ibiza promises to be even bigger and better this year and we really welcome the approach our partners at Revival Productions are taking in asking what their loyal supporters would like to see at the Great British Prom event at Blickling in 2020.”

Revival Productions are asking the Great British Prom audience what they’d like to see for 2020. The traditional proms event or perhaps something different? You can have your say by visiting the Great British Prom Facebook page and commenting there, or email info@revival-productions.co.uk with your thoughts.

Lisa added: “Tell us what you’d love to see! We have a year to plan something very special for our Norfolk audience.”

Classic Ibiza will be returning this year on Friday August 9. For full event details please visit www.classicibiza.co.uk or call 01283 841601.

 

Blickling Great British Prom 2017, Photo by Simon Finlay Photography.

Norfolk drink/drug driving results shock

Nearly 190 people were arrested during the Christmas drink and drug driving campaign in Norfolk, with more people testing positive for drugs than alcohol.

Norfolk police have just released the results of the month-long campaign, launched on 1 December 2018, which targeted drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol and drugs. A total of 189 drivers were arrested.

A break down of the results shows that 1,140 breath tests were carried out with 72 people providing positive readings, while 97 people failed drug tests out the 180 conducted.  In addition, nine people were arrested for failing to provide a specimen while 11 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

During the 2017 campaign, 947 tests were carried out with 81 drivers providing positive readings. Of the 172 drug tests conducted 56 drivers failed. In addition, six people were arrested for failing to provide a specimen while 12 people were arrested for being unfit to drive through drink or drugs.

This year again saw specific time slots at Norwich Magistrates’ Courts being reserved to deal with those caught drink or drug driving. This effectively meant that offenders could lose their licence within 24 hours of being breathalysed whilst facing additional fines.

Chief Inspector Kris Barnard, Head of the Roads Armed Policing Team (RAPT), said: “It’s disappointing to see that people are still prepared to take the risk and get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, although it does appear to be a minority of motorists.

“A notable difference during this campaign is that there have been more drivers tested positive for drugs than alcohol. While this is a concern, drug driving is something we actively target all year round. It’s also a reflection of our increased ability to carry out roadside tests for cannabis and cocaine.

“Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol impairs your judgement, making your reactions slower and therefore increasing the chances of being involved in a collision.”

 

A roadside drug-test device.

 

 

Why Cromer has ‘the magic’ for the BBC this Christmas

Cromer was in the TV spotlight this evening with the first airing of a short film made in the town focusing on togetherness this Christmas.

Written by BBC creatives Edward Usher and Xander Hart, the two-minute film aims to encourage families and friends to make the most of their time together during the holiday season.

Wonderland follows the story of a teenage boy who lives with his family in a small seaside town. The demands of everyday life mean that he and his mum don’t get to spend as much time together as they used to. But one day, with Christmas fast approaching, everything changes and they get to spend a unique afternoon together that they’ll never forget. The message is simple; when you do manage to get some time with the ones you love, be sure to cherish it.

The feeling was that Christmas is a time to slow down, pause life and spend time with family,” said Edward. “We wanted to see them take a moment and really cherish it.”

The team chose Cromer for filming as “it had the magic”. “We wanted it to be filmed at a traditional seaside town. The seaside is very much associated with the summer and holidays but we wanted to focus on the feel of these places for the people who live there all year round. We loved the timeless feel of Cromer.”

They decided on the town as a location through research. “We wanted a quintessentially seaside town with a pier. We went to see all of them and they were all amazing but when we saw Cromer it had the magic,” said Edward.

The 70-strong crew spent four days filming, staying at the Cliftonville and eating out locally. There were also local extras and crew involved. As well as the two-minute film, they created shorter vignettes to use between shows over the Christmas period celebrating the BBC’s “oneness”. The first showing of the two-minute film was tonight between Strictly Come Dancing and Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.

Xander said: “We were amazed by the interest we created and how many people showed up to watch the filming. The locals were absolutely wonderful, everyone was so friendly. We are so grateful for that.”

The production has meant the pair have been thinking about Christmas since April when they started writing the script. Now they hope everybody in the town and local areas likes the end product.

Edward and Xander’s work can also be seen in a promotional trailer for the World Cup.

If you missed it you can see it here https://youtu.be/j3G0UCk3DFA

Free Christmas parking dates in North Norfolk

Every town in North Norfolk has chosen two days of free parking over the festive period.

North Norfolk District Council has decided once again to waive the parking charges before Christmas. This year the free parking period will run on various dates between November 24 and December 23.

The decision supported North Norfolk’s businesses and traders by encouraging people to buy their Christmas gifts and supplies in their local towns. At a crucial time of year for the retail community, it was also a gesture of goodwill for the festive season in response to requests from businesses, said a spokesman.

Posters will be put up in all relevant car parks giving the information for the individual towns. On the days themselves, payment machines will be covered to make sure people understand they do not need to pay.

The free weekend car parking sessions will be:

•             North Walsham – November 24 and December 1

•             Cromer – December 1 and 8

•             Fakenham – December 15 and 22

•             Stalham – December 2 and 8

•             Wells – November 24 and December 8

•             Holt – December 16 and 23

•             Sheringham – December 1 and 8

 

 

Free parking for Remembrance Sunday

Parking in North Norfolk District Council car parks will be free on Remembrance Sunday (November 11) in response to local community wishes.

Posters will be put up in advance in all car parks to give notice of the event. The payment machines will be covered up on the day to make it clear to users that the car parks won’t require payment.

Parking charges in North Norfolk District Council car parks usually apply from 8am to 6pm.

A council spokesman said: “It’s important to North Norfolk District Council that we are able to make it easier for residents to be able to attend local remembrance services more easily, hence the decision to provide free parking on this date.”

 

New youth production of musical favourite

The award-winning Norfolk Youth Music Theatre’s is bringing its latest production, the Lionel Bart musical Oliver! to the Maddermarket from October 31 – November 3.
Younsgters from Norwich, Aylsham and North Walsham are amonf those involved in the production, based on Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist. It features many much-loved classic songs including Food Glorious Food, Where is Love? Consider Yourself, and Reviewing the Situation.

Callum Adkins, 18, who plays Mr Bumble, said: “Oliver is my favourite musical. I went to Aylsham High School and was in four of the school musicals, including King and I in my final year, where I played the King. I have just finished studying drama, business and film studies at Paston College, where I got 2 As and a B. I am currently in my gap year and am once again applying for drama schools this year, as my dream is to become a stage and screen actor.”

Georgia Stannett, 17, was also a pupil at Aylsham High, where she appeared in many shows, including Guys and Dolls and The Sound of Music. Ted and Lottie Lake, from Cringleford, are also looking forward to show. Ted, 11, who is playing the Artful Dodger, was recently Fat Sam at Sherringham Little Theatre’s production of Bugsy Malone. Lottie is eight.

Sophie Millington, 10,  said she was really looking forward to performing in Oliver! her second production with Norfolk YMT. “As well as taking part in school productions I have performed in Bill Kenwright’s touring production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and have sung with Blake, Tenors Unlimited, Rebeca Newman and Classical Reflection.  My biggest interest is theatre and performing and my favourite sport is netball.  In the future I would love to be in more of Adrian’s shows and hopefully become a performer when I am grown up,” she said.

For tickets ring the box office on 01603 620917 or visit www.maddermarket.co.uk

Cast members Sophie Middleton, Callum Adkins, Ted Lake, Lottie Lake and Georgia Stannett