http://www.jarrowandhebburngazette..../a-fascinating-document-of-the-past-1-4723824 A FASCINATING DOCUMENT OF THE PAST By Paul Kelly / Jarrow & Hebburn Gazette / 10 July 2012 A JARROW-born playwright has raided the BBC’s archives to uncover a personal and public memento of the past. Tom Kelly co-wrote a musical play with singer-songwriter Alan Price back in 1977. It was based on the story of the Second World War warship HMS Kelly, which was sunk off the coast of Crete in 1941 while captained by The Queen’s cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten. The musical was staged at South Shields Technical College 35 years ago, and the rehearsals were also filmed by a BBC documentary crew. That film is a fascinating document of South Tyneside at the time. It features young actors and performers who were to go on to gain fame locally, including Ray Spencer, aka ‘Tommy the Trumpeter’ and now executive director of the Customs House in South Shields, Peter McIntyre, one half of the Maxie and Mitch comedy duo, and panto stalwart Bob Stott. Mr Kelly, who was 30 at the time, also directed the stage show. He had not seen the BBC documentary for more than three decades when he recently contacted the corporation to see if a copy still existed. A duplicate was found deep in the archives and Mr Kelly, now 65, paid for a DVD copy. But watching the film of his younger self proved an unsettling experience for the playwright, who now lives in Blaydon. He said: “It was like watching a different person. I was only 30 at the time and the play took up a whole year of my life. It was pretty frantic. “I was also busy writing songs for the band Cold Comfort, who were recording in London. Marianne Faithfull was one of the performers who recorded one of the songs from that period. “The BBC film was directed by the late Peter West, a respected and experienced director, and it includes rehearsals for the play and many of the Kelly veterans were also filmed at the show itself. It’s a fascinating document of the time.” The film-makers followed Jarrow-born Price as he revisited the streets of his hometown – some of which are now demolished. He is also seen calling into South Shields Town Hall with his girlfriend at the time, Poldark actress Jill Townsend, to chat with the then-mayor, Councillor Sep Robinson. Mr Kelly, who has distinctive ‘lamp chop’ sideburns in the film, added: “The Kelly retains its iconic status in South Tyneside and the film captures some of the veterans of film. For that reason alone it is special. “I know that Lord Mountbatten, two years before he was murdered by the IRA, did see the BBC film and predicted that ‘won’t be a dry eye in the house’ when it was screened.” Mr Kelly’s latest production, Men of the Tyne, is to being presented at the Customs House in South Shields on Friday, August 17. Tickets are available from the box office on 454 1234.