A thoroughly enjoyable experience yesterday, filming with the Songs of Praise team for their feature on Norman which is scheduled for Sunday May 14th. Garry Boon, the producer, and the rest of the team were delighted by the way things worked out and very appreciative of the contributions made our committee members.
The main interview took place on the Ironworks site where Pam Rhodes asked me about a wide range of topics from the way the location has changed over the decades to NN's faith to aspects of his poetry.
Next stop was the church where our committee members Peggy Troll, Dot Richardson and Society member Barbara Andrews conjured up hot drinks to complement a cake brought by Peggy. The Rev Clive Shaw was also there to greet the SoP team. I think it is so good that, through NN, the church will have its moment on Songs of Praise.
The camera crew got a number of shots inside the church, plus Nicholson's gravestone outside. They then recorded me (voice only) reading four poems: Windscale, Clouded Hills, Nobbut God and Sea to the West. It'll be interesting to see which (if any!) make it through the edit.
Next stop was No 14 where Pam did a piece-to-camera outside and lunch was taken, paid for by the BBC (that's six customers added to the cafe's takings thanks to NN). At that point Garry declared himself satisfied with the interviews etc, and (not for the only time) expressed regret that he wouldn't have more time in the final programme for the NN feature.
Our committee member Sue Dawson then took over as guide, taking the crew to various locations to pick up general views, including the Whicham Valley, and Silecroft.
This was a great experience and a terrific effort by our committee in terms of laising with the BBC team, and now we can look forward to the programme on May 14th.
I had another call from the 'Songs of Praise' team and they have indeed decided to go ahead and film a segment for the show about Nicholson in Millom. Locations will include the site of the ironworks and No 14 St George's Terrace, so that is rich endorsement of the significance of the house. Filming is scheduled for Friday.
It's been a hectic week for several of our committee members this week, led by Sue Dawson who's been doing a fantastic ambassadorial job on behalf of the Society. On Monday a group of 17 students from the University of Nottingham visited Millom as part of a field trip to Cumbria where they were looking at the way landscape influences literature. Their tutor, Kiri Langmead, was in touch with us throughout her planning of the trip and met up with Sue a few weeks ago. On Monday the visit took place as reported on our Home page, and today Kiri brought another group of 13. Antoinette Fawcett, Glenn Lang, Peggy Troll and Dot Richardson all added their expertise to ensure the students had a thoroughly rewarding and eye-opening time.
Meanwhile yesterday Sue, accompanied by Dot Richardson and Society member and church organist Barbara Andrews, met the producer and his researcher from the BBC's 'Songs of Praise' programme who are keen on filming a segment about Nicholson for an upcoming programme. They had lunch at the cafe in Norman's old home and visited the Whicham Valley, Silecroft, Haverigg, Hodbarrow, the Ironworks site, and St George's Church.
So interest in Nicholson is evident from two very different directions. Not only that, there have been tangible benefits to the town. The university is going to make donations to the church, the Discovery Centre and to our Society, and the 'Songs of Praise' team will also be making a donation to the Society - plus, the cafe had a few extra people buying lunch yesterday and the students took the opportunity to spend some money in the town. If we are successful in buying and developing Number 14, we would expect to see a lot more of this sort of thing.
Received an interesting phone call today - BBC TV's 'Songs of Praise' programme is thinking of filming a piece about Norman Nicholson for an upcoming programme. This may include an interview with myself, and where do they want to record it? At the house of course, No 14 St George's Terrace - yet more evidence that this building is a magnet for all with an interest in a poet who had a sharply defined sense of place.
Charlie Lambert, chair of the Norman Nicholson Society