HERE’S a preview of a film that was made 50 years ago in Bishop Auckland by writer Sid Chaplin for Tyne Tees television.

Sid grew up in the village of Newfield, just outside Bishop, and he tells how in the old days going into the big metropolis was one of the highlights of his life.

He begins: “Bishop Auckland: it may not look very much to you folks who live in Stockton or Sunderland or Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but in my time, it was a mecca for the mining folk who lived for miles around. They used to flock in.”

The full film will be one of the highlights of Saturday’s Bishop Auckland on Film afternoon at the King James Academy, South Church Road in Bishop, when the North-East Film Archive is screening old films about the town and County Durham.

The event is one of the highlights of the first Bishop Auckland History & Heritage Festival which is running from September 13 to 28 with a programme of events, visits, open days and talks.

The film show starts at 3.30pm. Tickets are £5 (£3 concessions) available from the website or from the Gala Theatre box office in Durham City.

The Sid Chaplin film was made for a late 1960s Tyne Tees series in which well known local people, like the Bishop of Durham or the Easington MP Manny Shinwell, were invited to give the TV cameras a tour around where they grew up.

Sid himself worked in the Dean and Chapter pit at Ferryhill before becoming a writer and journalist for The Guardian. He worked on the TV series When the Boat Comes In, and his writings were turned into the Close the Coalhouse Door musical.

This film is part of the North-East Film Archive’s CineSecrets which, with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, is re-connecting people and communities with their film heritage through special screenings, events and online collections.

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