Ulverston's most famous son, Stan Laurel to return to the big screen

PUBLISHED: 14:46 06 June 2012 | UPDATED: 06:49 29 December 2013

The famous statue in Ulverton

The famous statue in Ulverton

Ulverston's most famous son is set to return to the big screen almost 50 years after his death

He appeared in more than 100 films with his famous partner but now, almost 50 years after his death, Stan Laurel is set to take centre stage on the big screen.

The final scenes were shot in the Spring for a new film about Stans early life in Ulverston, where they are proud of their most famous son. He is a ubiquitous presence around the town, with a pub named after him, a museum dedicated to his life and work and a town centre statue. And now Stans Childhood, which has been filmed in and around the town, is set to reveal his story to a wider audience.

Stan Laurel was born at his grandfathers small terrace house in the town on June 16, 1890 and he was born to be on the stage: his father was a comedian and theatre owner and his mother was an actress. His parents lived in North Shields and the North East town claimed Stan as their own until his birth certificate came to light in 1976 proving Ulverstons connection with comedy heritage.

The certificate confirmed that Arthur Stanley Jefferson was born in Foundry Cottages, Ulverston, a short walk from the town centre. Stan changed his name in 1931 and the address later became Argyll Street, where a blue plaque today commemorates the event.

The certificate was discovered by lifelong Laurel and Hardy fan Bill Cubin, who went on to found the towns museum dedicated to the pair and who first suggested a statue of Stan and Ollie, although he died in 1997 before any real progress was made.

The statue of the duo leaning on a lamppost was finally unveiled, by Ken Dodd, three years ago.

The new film has been written and directed by Brian Worthington, an embalmer from Poolstock, Wigan, and a long time fan of Laurel and Hardy who was introduced to the films by his grandfather.

Ive loved Laurel and Hardy since I was five, he said. Then in 1989 I saw a piece in a paper about preparations for the Stan Laurel centenary celebrations in his home town. It was only then I found out he was English Id always assumed he was American.

I went up to Ulverson and it felt really special to be in the place where this comedy genius had grown up. I became a regular in the town and at the museum. Then I attended a Laurel and Hardy convention in Wigan and met one of Stans cousins who told me a lot about his early years.
I had realised nothing had been documented about these years, so I stored all that away.

A keen film-maker since his childhood, Brian decided to make this movie a couple of years ago and has been helped along the way by his wife Julie, who assisted with the script and made all the costumes.

The film follows a young boy who is taken to Ulverston by his grandparents who tell him about Stan Laurel and is interwoven with sepia scenes of Stans early life.

This is the biggest project I have ever been involved with and it has been a lot of fun and very interesting process. A follow up has been mentioned and I would also like to set up a film academy, teaching acting and behind-the-scenes skills.

Chris Kelly, a former sales director from Ashton-in-Makerfield who became a full time actor five years ago, plays Stans grandmother. She said: I have always been interested in performing and I didnt want to reach the stage where I would look back and say I wish Id one that.

Since making the leap Chris, 56, has performed on stage at The Lowry and has also appeared in The Chase and Hollyoaks and works with the Clayton-le-Dale-based Halloween attraction Scare Kingdom I seem to get typecast as a hag, a witch or an old woman.

And she added: This has been a very interesting film to be involved in and I cant wait to see the finished film.

For more information go to

This is the music video to the film Stan's Childhood, written & performed by Beautiful Losers, Gary Fishburn, Paul Southward, John Roberts & Kris West, the old man in the video is John Dutton, who plays Grandad George Metcalfe in the film. For more information about Stan's Childhood, visit http://www.stanschildhood.com

The print version of this article appeared in the June 2012 issue of Lancashire Life
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