Robert Lindsay returns to Ilkeston for BBC documentary

Robert Lindsay filming BBC "Sixty Six" documentary at his old College (Clarendon) in Nottingham where he studied acting 50 years ago in 1966.

He met hairdressing students and chatted with current acting students before being re-united with fellow student and actor David Dixon.

12th, February.2016
Robert Lindsay filming BBC "Sixty Six" documentary at his old College (Clarendon) in Nottingham where he studied acting 50 years ago in 1966. He met hairdressing students and chatted with current acting students before being re-united with fellow student and actor David Dixon. 12th, February.2016

An Ilkeston actor has taken a walk down memory lane for a BBC documentary to relive how life was when England won the World Cup.

It has been 50 years since Gordan Banks, and Bobby Moore brought the trophy home and stage and TV actor Robert Lindsay discovers that it was not just football that made 1966 a momentous year of change.

Living in ’66: Robert Lindsay Remembers is a BBC East Midlands TV documentary where Robert returns to the places and people that made 1966 the start of something big for him.

It was the beginning of a journey that took him away from Ilkeston to London’s West End, to Broadway and into the homes of hundreds of thousands of TV viewers. But he discovers it was also a game changer for many others besides him.

In the programme Robert home to Ilkeston and discovers that the rapid pace of change that year had its downside. Three coalmines closed with the loss of hundreds of jobs. Robert reveals the impact that had on his own family.

He said: “A lot of my relatives all emigrated. It was 1966. We took a lot of them down to Southampton and they got on the ships to Australia because people had had enough.”

Robert also goes back to Clarendon College in Nottingham where in 1966 at the age of 16 he started a drama course. He met some of the current students studying there and said: “In 1966 this is where I came to break free. I came to study drama except studying the girls in the hairdressing department became by main preoccupation.”

Robert heared how young people like him were increasingly challenging the traditions and values of their parents in 1966.

The Nottingham based writer Alan Fletcher, who was a story advisor for the film Quadrophrenia, told the programme: “1966 was the time we finally put the 1950s to bed. It was when teenagers came into their own and decided the way forward was to throw off the shackles that had gone before.”

Robert wasn’t the only drama student at Clarendon College that year to become a familiar face on our TV screens. BBC East Midlands reunited him with David Dixon, who played Ford Prefect in the cult TV series The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

In an emotional meeting Robert told David: “You know I haven’t seen you for fifty years.”

David replied: “That’s alright. We’re still here. We’re still alive.”

Robert then joked: “We’ve still got hair!”

David, who grew up in Derby, told the programme; “Sixty Six was pivotal. It’s when certainly around Nottingham when the sixties really kicked off.”

Robert looks at how fashion was doing its bit to challenge the status quo. Janet Bouanchaud who ran the trendiest boutique in the East Midlands, The Birdcage, describes the wild and wonderful outfits she designed.

Both Robert and David were mods back then and David said: “It was like men were exploring. They were exploring fashion. They could be more feminine. Suddenly the weedy thing was fashionable.”

The programme examines how music was also pushing boundaries. Bands like The Who were doing their bit to break the rules. One fan remembers them smashing up their instruments during a gig in Grantham.

Robert also visits Nottingham Playhouse where in 1966 he had a Saturday job selling programmes but has never appeared in a production there.

The programme also includes archive footage of the Players Factory in Nottingham and the Great Central Main Line which ended its steam train service to London in 1966.

Living in ’66: Robert Lindsay Remembers is broadcast on Wednesday 1 June on BBC 1 at 7.30pm.