Mike and Diane Wilson -
Free Spirit Writers
Cliff Richard and The Shadows
Bridlington Spa Royal Hall
Sunday, 3rd September, 1961
In 1999, the following appeared in Dynamite International:
Previously unseen photographs of Cliff Richard and The Shadows have come to light recently. Yorkshire amateur photographer Mike Wilson was on the front row at a concert by Cliff and the boys on Sunday, September 3, 1961. He had smuggled into the show his 35mm Voigtlander camera and shot 25 photos of Cliff and the group on stage.
Mike printed a couple of copies in his darkroom before adding the negatives to his files. And there they remained until a casual comment at Bridlington's Sixties Coffee Bar. The bar displays a wealth of Sixties memorabilia and Mike commented to owner Chris Parcell that he had photographs of Cliff in the town.
It was decided that all the negatives would be printed and displayed in the coffee bar. When the latest prints were first revealed it was realised that others would be interested in seeing them. Contact with Yorkshire TV was made and Mike and the photographs appeared in a 30-second slot in an evening news programme. Regional newspapers Yorkshire Post and Hull Daily Mail carried the story, as did the Bridlington Free Press.
Cliff Richard and The Shadows appeared at Bridlington's Spa Royal Hall that Sunday long ago. During a six-week season at Blackpool, Cliff drove east across the Pennines to the Yorkshire resort for two days.
After the final performance, Cliff and The Shadows left the building quietly, before the fans arrived at the stage door. Some time later, the crowd attempted to enter the building to see their idol and broke off the door handle. Controlling the fans were only one police motorcyclist and a handful of council staff.
The local paper carried the story in their next issue. Mr Rogers, the entertainments manager at that time, said: "Mr Richard was most impressed with the Bridlington audience. Usually he could not hear himself sing, because of the shouting and screaming, but at Bridlington they had done their shouting and screaming at the right time - at the end of the songs."
Mike told Dynamite International: "I shot a roll of a black and white Ilford HPS film using the stage lighting. I didn't use flash, as I knew that would be too obvious, but I still had a few black looks thrown at me by Cliff.
"Boots the Chemist processed my negatives and even after 37 years they are still perfect.
"When I glanced through the new prints, Cliff and The Shadows (Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan) were there just as I remembered them."
All Mike's photographs were displayed in the Sixties Coffee Bar, and the best are also with a London photographic agency. A framed set became available on Ebay early in 2009.
I have created a Windows Movie Maker movie featuring this performance. See it here.