50 years ago: A star-studded summer in Great Yarmouth

Jack Douglas, Ronnie Corbett, Freddie Davies and Mike Burton place coins on the floor.

Jack Douglas, Ronnie Corbett, Freddie Davies and Mike Burton are among the stars of the Yarmouth Shows who started off the "Line of Silver" on the Golden Mile as part of the Yarmouth stars efforts to raise a good sum for the Mayor of Blackpool's fund for the widow of Supt Gerald Richardson. Date: September 1, 1971. - Credit: Archant Library

Doors are opening, restrictions are being lifted. Life is slowly getting back to some kind of normality… but what will the rest of the year bring? Only time will tell.

The saying “the Good Old Days” is often wide of the mark but let’s turn the clock back half a century and take a look at life in Norfolk during the summer of 1971.

Norman Wisdom opens Friends of Hospitals fete at Great Yarmouth

Norman Wisdom opens Friends of Hospitals fete at Great Yarmouth. Date: July 29, 1971. - Credit: Archant Library

A time when the entertainment scene was BOOMING. We knew how to enjoy ourselves. Just look at what was going on in GREAT Yarmouth.

Ronnie Corbett plays golf

Ronnie Corbett plays golf in August 1971 - Credit: Archant Library

The stars of the summer shows where the best seats cost 70p in most places were:

  • ABC – Norman Wisdom and Mrs Mills.
  • Britannia Pier – Ronnie Corbett in Corbett’s Here!!!
  • Hippodrome – Circus Spectacular starring the amazing New Houdini and Josephine “swinging by her own hair” along with 45 international artists in 15 sensational presentations.
  • Wellington Pier Pavilion – Freddie “Parrot Face” Davies in Showtime.
  • Windmill Theatre – Jack Douglas in When the Wife’s Away which was described as a new family comedy and Yarmouth’s Loudest Laugh!
Jack Douglas, dressed in dungarees and a cap and holding a box of shredded wheat, at Hollis Cycles in 1971.

Jack Douglas at Hollis Cycles in 1971. - Credit: Archant Library

Comedian Jack Douglas pictured in 1971 at Yarmouth Pleasure Beach.

Comedian Jack Douglas pictured in 1971 at Yarmouth Pleasure Beach. - Credit: Archant Library


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There were two shows a day and when the stars had a day off on Sunday more top names put on special performances.

Frost, Ronnie Corbett and Diahann Carroll

Frost, Ronnie Corbett and Diahann Carroll - Credit: Archant Library

And during 1971 that included the much-loved double act Mike and Bernie Winters who ran a stall on Norwich Market before they hit the big time.

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Mike and Bernie were more like friends to us locals. We knew them when they were having a laugh with shoppers before they became one of the most popular double-acts in the land.

Jack Douglas, Freddie Davies and Norman Wisdom, pictured on board the steam launch Hero

Jack Douglas, Freddie Davies and Norman Wisdom, pictured on board the steam launch Hero at Horning. Date: July 1971. - Credit: Archant Library

The stars of these shows also did a lot of work great work helping local charities by putting in personal appearances, opening events and the rest.

Norman Wisdom pictured in 1971 at the Round Table Donkey Derby at Beaconsfield Recreation ground

Norman Wisdom pictured in 1971 taking part in the Round Table Donkey Derby at Beaconsfield Recreation Ground, Great Yarmouth. - Credit: Archant Library

Norman Wisdom at Gorleston in 1971.

Norman Wisdom at Gorleston in 1971. - Credit: Archant Library

Times have changed but it is wonderful to think that one of our greatest venues – the unique Hippodrome at Yarmouth is still going strong thanks to the hard-working Jay family.

And don’t forget that our own Olly Day and Nigel “Boy” Sayer are appearing in Summer Showtime at the historic Pavilion Theatre, Gorleston, opening today May 18 and running every Tuesday until October 12.

Another survivor and a fantastic theatre where you sit at tables. They look after you well.

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