Now, not only do we have lots of historical architecture here in the town of Tanbridge, we also
have a rich variety of famous residents. Of course, everyone has heard of the famous writers Jim
Harman, Anna Collins and Ian Cheriton, or I. H. Cheriton, as he is better known. And they have all
lived in our small town! In fact, Anna Collins, the celebrated romance novelist, spent all her life in
this town. She lived by the town square, where there is a plaque to commemorate her. She died in
1968 and you can see her gravestone in Tanbridge Cemetery. You may know Anna from her most
famous work, The Pride of Angels , which won numerous awards and for which she was a runner-up
for the Herald Prize in 1950.
James Harman also lived here between 1975 and 1990. A bestselling horror writer, he got many
of his themes for his haunting novels from this very town. He passed away a year after leaving
Tanbridge and although he isn’t buried in the town, we do have a statue of him on the roundabout
as you enter the town.
Now, I. H. Cheriton has been the Poet Laureate for three years and he lives in Tanbridge today.
His home is the red house by the river. Not only a poet, he has also written ten novels that have
topped the book sales charts. He always does a lot of work for local charities and is quite a gem in
Lastly, another famous resident of Tanbridge is Sylvia Daniels. She grew up in Tanbridge and went
to the local comprehensive here. You can see her childhood home just across the river by the post
office. Now I am sure you all know her for her latest film Planet Dust, which has just reached number
one at the cinema box office. But she wasn’t always an actress. Before she headed for Hollywood, you
could have seen her waiting tables in The Doraqe Restaurant here in town! She often comes back to
visit as her family all still live here. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of her!
Welcome to the latest episode of Film Finest with me, Liz O’Donnell. The films I’ll be reviewing
in this episode are What Happens in the Night , the new horror film by acclaimed director Jan de
Neiburg, and Happy as Larry, a new romance comedy starring Harrison Wyatt and Sonya Smith.
Let’s start with What Happens in the Night. Set in a convent school in the 1950s, this film tells the
story of two boys who are haunted by apparitions of monks. The film has the feel of a comic book
as it’s shot in black and white with occasional shots of vivid colour. De Neiburg, the director, said
he wanted some elements to stand out and he has used colour to do it. I would say quite effectively.
He claims his inspiration for the film is his own experiences growing up in 1950s Liverpool.
A believer in ghosts himself, he thought he saw ghosts in his school years. Ghosts or not, this film
is certainly haunting. What Happens in the Night is a film that will scare you. I wouldn’t say it’s the
best horror film to come out this year, but it’s certainly shot beautifully, and it’s not hard to follow.
So, unlike some recent horror films, you don’t have to sit in dedicated concentration for two hours
trying to keep up with a complex plot! An enjoyable film, I would give it four stars.
In Happy as Larry, Sonya Smith and Harrison Wyatt play two people who fall in love but cannot
be together because of their families. The build-up to the film has certainly been epic, with gossip
about both co-stars in the papers. Rumour has it that Smith and Wyatt aren’t the best of friends.
In fact, on the set they barely spoke to each other! I have to say, though, this doesn’t come across
in the film and they look like a great couple. Happy as Larry is a move away from the usual films
Sonya makes – she is better known for her roles in action films – but she has shown herself to be
a capable comedy actress. However, I’m not sure this is the finest film to do it in. Both men and
women alike can get something from this film, but the romance angle is overplayed and the laughs
are few and far between. If you want romance, this film is fine, but if you want comedy, I would
recommend seeing something else. I would give it three stars.
, there are some new video releases which are going to be coming out …
So, we have Phyllis Bailey here to talk to us about fame. Her new book, Famous for Fifteen Minutes
is coming out on Monday. So Phyllis, welcome. What do you think fame means to us these days?
Phyllis: Well, famous people are everywhere and although we know nearlv all there is to know about these
people – their lives are splashed all over magazines and television – they’ve retained their mvsterv.
The public are always eager to find out more about them and this fuels the paparazzi to photograph
them. It’s true that there are more celebrities around than ever before, but the number of really
important famous people probably hasn’t changed greatlv. This is because people became famous
for onlv a short time. Andv Warhol once famouslv said. ‘In the future, evervone will be famous for
fifteen minutes’, and I think there’s some truth in that. One dav a person is famous and the next thev
are forgotten. Take, for example, contestants on reality television shows. After mavbe six months we
never see them again. This also highlights another characteristic of fame: in the past people became
famous because of something they had done, or because of their talent. Nowadays these things aren’t
necessary. I personally think this is a great pity.
Interviewer: Is fame particularly beneficial now?
Phyllis: Well let’s look at the winners and losers when it comes to fame. Many people think that celebrities
are the losers in this new media world, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Take, for example, actors
and actresses. They often complain about a lack of privacy, but privacy is possible. There are many
celebrities who aren’t constantly in the papers. Much as they complain, they chase the publicity and
then blame it on the media. In fact, the paparazzi, who photograph the rich and famous, are often
seen as figures of hate for this. Thev come off much worse in the end. because thev are so disliked
bv the public and celebrities. But in realitv. thev are making the celebrities and their managers
even richer. In fact, because of the cult of fame nowadays, we can see media executives making
even more monev and celebrities signing multi-million pound deals. And who pavs for this? Well,
all of us. Cinema and concert ticket prices have risen and DVDs cost more than ever. Merchandising
makes a fortune for the famous these davs. And although we are paving for it, the rewards go to onlv
a small elite – the big plavers. the stars and the executives, but thev miss a lot of the creative talent
in the industry, like the people who write the screenplays. Thev are still on the same salarv thev
were on ten years ago. Executives certainly have a difficult job managing their clients, but they get
rewarded well for doing so. I for one think these rewards should be more fairly spread.
Interviewer: How could this be done? Are you …?
Guide: Thank you for coming along to the Cultural Sydney talk. I’m going to start by telling you about the
Yellow Plaque scheme, which has been running in Sydney for over forty years and has been incredibly
successful. When you are walking around the city, you’ll see some buildings with a small round yellow
plaque on them. If you take a closer look, you’ll see the name and details of a famous person who
lived in that verv place. We have, at present. 130 plagues up in the citv. The scheme has been great
for tourism, but it was reallv started to raise awareness of the rich historv of Svdnev. both locallv
and nationally, and we think we’ve managed to do this. We also wanted to make people aware of the
impressive list of important people who have lived in this citv. and we’ve certainlv achieved that. But
that ’s not all. Although not part of our original aims, the scheme has also helped preserve some of
the older and more important buildings in Sydney because people now know that these buildings are a
link to our past; some of the buildings are actually over 180 years old, which, for Australia, is ancient!
We actually think that this is where the scheme has achieved the most success; in raising the profile of
our rich history. Of course, it has helped tourism, but not onlv that, locals also walk around looking at
the plaques. It has been reallv wonderful in highlighting our past. Some people are guite surprised to
see who has lived here; take Errol Flynn for example. He was married in Sydney.
We are planning on putting more plaques up and a common question is how can people nominate
a figure to be put on a plaque. It’s quite a simple process. Applications can be downloaded from our
website. If vou want to nominate someone for a plaque vou just need the person’s name, where thev
lived and vou need three signatures to approve vour application. Our panel then checks that all the
data you’ve submitted is correct and hopefully, within a year a new plaque will be erected. But you
can’t nominate iust anvone! A plague can onlv be given to a person who is famous and has achieved
something out of the ordinary, like an important politician or world-record breaking sportsman,
for example. We aim to have fifty new plaques up within the next three years, and we have plenty of funding to do so. Our funding comes from three sources: the local council, community donations and
the tourist board. Whereas in the past the tourist board put in the majority of funding, now public
donations count for sixty-five per cent of all total funds! In fact, our funding is so healthy now; there
are plans to expand the scheme.
At the moment, we only have yellow plaques for all the famous people, but we are aiming to produce
different coloured plaques so that people can do specific walks. For example, if they are interested in
famous sports personalities they can do a tour following the red plaques – the colour we are aiming
to use for these people. We are looking at introducing grey, white and green plaques as well. We are
thinking of using grey plaques to signify people who have done important work within the government
and white plaques for those who have done good works in the community. Lastly, our green plaques we
think will be very popular, these will be for painters and sculptors, leaving our yellow ones for writers,
actors and other people of note. We do hope you enjoy looking at the plaques around the city. We have
guide books on sale in the gift shop where you can find all the plaques. These are priced at $11.99.