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Neither fame nor fortune – being a Liverpool film extra

29 June 2016 by Kay

Alison and Doris

Alison and her mum Doris in costume

Museum of Liverpool Curator, Sharon Brown tells us about her brushes with fame as a film extra in the city.

“My lovely Auntie Elsie worked at the Job Centre in Williamson Square and helped to recruit local people as film extras. This was how my best mate Alison and I appeared as extras in a number of films during the 1970s and 80s, including The Rutles.

‘The Rutles: All You Need is Cash’ was a parody of The Beatles, released in 1978. I remember filming at the Atlantic Tower hotel and the old Liverpool Airport, where we had to emulate screaming fans welcoming the band as they arrived.

We travelled by coach and I sat in front of Eric Idle. I would be delighted by this now but my overriding memory was that it was announced on the coach radio that Liverpool FC had signed Kenny Dalglish from Celtic for £440,000!

My parents, Nan and cousins were also involved in The Rutles and appeared as wedding guests in all their finery.

Probably the most significant ‘extra’ moment came in Dreamchild (1985), a film about the relationship between Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and Alice Liddell.

Pier 54 Cunard Line

Seacombe Ferry doubles as New York’s Pier 54

On day one we spent hours walking up and down the gangway at Seacombe Ferry as if we had just arrived at New York’s Pier 54. But the next day after donning our outfits we sat around on the steps of St George’s Hall waiting to be called in. Here Alison got chatting to another film extra, Andy, and they have not long celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary!

I bought a Praktica B100 camera with my earnings from ‘The Rutles’ and it has been on lots of travels with me over the years, always reminding me of the fun I had ‘on set,’ however I am still waiting to be discovered!”

Visit our Reel Stories exhibition to find out about more films shot in Liverpool

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