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Media Stars

In the Pathe archives lurks footage of Bletchley
schoolchildren engaged in puppet making.
Hogwart's Express' recent arrival at Bletchley Station
- brought back memories.

Sunday Citizen April 21, 2002

For those ot us bedraggled parents, clutching our cameras on a rainswept Platform 5, awaiting the belated arrival of Hogwart's Express, any thoughts of Harry Potter seemed more sympathetic with those of Lord Voldemort.

Yet, as perhaps the only sure means to prevent the offspring bunking off school, the chore proved well worth the eventuality and as the magical moment approached, so were conjured up those glorious memories of a bygone, steamy age.

Also aroused were those passing thoughts of some • other celebs to have one time or another graced the town and Goldie the Wonder Dog, Fred Spoons and his amazing one man travelling band and Fab 1 immediately spring to mind.

However, before the multi media merits of our present age, entertainment came in a variety of guises to Fenny, certainly travelling artistes, not least Mr Eos Dyffryns and his International Choir.

Thank goodness also for those oft performers at the Town Hall, the multi-talented-Walfords and of course special thanks to Mr S Walford and his quite unforgettable Coesysgwlell-Caerddgar-Peircant (a musical contraption made of broomsticks).

With the arrival of the cinema, Fenny would soon have its very own Picture Palace.

By courtesy of Mr Stafford's mobile projector people could also have the very latest blockbuster screened personally on to their living room wall and who, of female per-suasion, could possibly resist a private viewing of Bletchley's very own homespun talent, that swashbuckling Hollywood swoon merchant, Robert Douglas. Born at No 5 Albert Street as Robert Douglas Finlayson, the son of a railwayman on November 9, 1909, his first major Hollywood film came in 1948 and he later starred in the 1952 remake of The Prisoner of Zenda before progressing to an episode of Colombo.

Also in the realms of celluloid celebrities, the younger generation was not forgotten and somewhere in the Pathe archives lurks footage of Bletchley schoolchildren engaged in puppet making, or something similar.

No doubt a present day remake would feature something more contemporary - perhaps carjacking.

Apart from the visual arts, local radio celebrities have also found a voice, including that one time occupant of Yew Tree Cottage, Mrs Aldridge, better known to her radio listeners as Catherine Campbell of the BBC Repertory Company.

Regular listeners to Riders of the Range were also in for a treat when their cowboy hero stayed at the Swan Hotel, during his journey on horseback along the Watling Street from London.

Talking of horses, that reminds me of the recent box office bonanza, The Horse Whisperer, but forget Robert Redford - way ahead of the times, Fenny had decades before been privileged to entertain no less than Prof H Sample, Horse Educator.

A good job too, for some horses seemed in serious need of an education. Out for a bicycle ride with his friend, a gentleman was casually pedalling towards Little Brickhill when taking exception a grazing horse leapt straight into the air and flattened him.

Well out of order and flying horses were just one example of those in need of 'the Sample System of Horse Management' now being demonstrated in a marquee on Blunt's Field, adjoining Denbigh Road, where people were invited to take along their troublesome beasts.

No doubt the idly curious were attracted, judging by the accompanying invite to the marquee to make the personal acquaintance of the professors’ famed collection of ‘educated fillies’!