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Memories of Hollywood star

PUBLISHED: 17:46 17 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 July 2010

Joe Don Baker

Joe Don Baker

Miles Jermy

It was a classic tale of achieving triumph from disaster in a setting that was equally familiar.

Great Yarmouth may not have seemed the obvious location for a film about a struggling American Football team knocked into shape by a no-nonsense Texan coach - but in 1988 the town provided the backdrop for BBC TV film Defrosting the Fridge.

It was a classic tale of achieving triumph from disaster in a setting that was equally familiar.

Great Yarmouth may not have seemed the obvious location for a film about a struggling American Football team knocked into shape by a no-nonsense Texan coach - but in 1988 the town provided the backdrop for BBC TV film Defrosting the Fridge.

The one off drama starred veteran Hollywood actor Joe Don Baker, who would later appear in the James Bond movies GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies.

Baker played the straight talking Hunter McCall brought in by a Japanese sea-food company to revive the fortunes of The Trawlers - the worst American Football team in England.

Scenes were filmed on the Golden Mile, the Wellesley Ground, the old South Denes caravan park and Gorleston Cliff Tops in front of the recently demolished Art Deco house.

The film, which also starred Maggie O' Neil of Shameless fame, culminated with the Trawlers taking on a team from a nearby US air force base.

There was great excitement at time the film was shot according to Mike Rogers, who was one of many local people to appear as an extra.

He said: “I belonged to an agency at the time and they got me the job, I appeared for a few seconds on the touchline during one of the games.

“All the film was shot on location in Yarmouth and Lowestoft, but unfortunately I did not get to meet any of the stars.

“I saw it when it came on TV, but never bothered to make a recording because I was appearing in so many things at the time.”

A former publicity officer for Great Yarmouth Borough Council Mike, 67, featured as an extra in numerous TV dramas including Only Fools and Horses and the detective series Campion.

The film was the subject of the Questions to Answer section of last week's Mercury, with a reader asking if anyone could recall the film being shown.

It immediately sparked memories for Pauline Rowland, from Hopton, who discovered she still had a recording of the programme amongst her video collection.

“I recorded it off the TV when I was living in Scotland and watched it at the time, but have not seen it since,” said Mrs Rowland.

“As soon as I read the Mercury I realised what it was and luckily had never taped over it.

“Now I am looking forward to seeing it again, I am sure it will provide very interesting viewing.”

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