This film is part of Free

Turn-Up for Tony

A Tyne Tees Television comedy romance is a forgotten gem from a 1960s decade of radical urban change in Newcastle.

Comedy 1968 29 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for North East Film Archive


A jobless Geordie shipyard worker escapes from his bleak, humdrum existence into an imaginary life with the girl of his dreams, a salesgirl at a futuristic Pink Lane cigarette kiosk. This is a genuinely funny, bitter-sweet Tyne Tees Television comedy, an odyssey through a Newcastle cityscape in transition, from an industrial Tyneside to T Dan Smiths modernist vision of the city as a Brasilia of the North.

Directed by Robert Tyrell, the film has a foot in two camps. It exploits older comic traditions of slapstick humour (Tony Tanner and Ted Lunes roles), but is also a brilliant social document of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the 1960s. Tonys wild fantasies are triggered in identifiable city locations: the Salvation Army Mens Palace on Dog Bank, the Cruddas Park tower blocks that punctuate slum clearance wasteland off Scotswood Road, once home to workers at Vickers Armstrong. And in the sleazy nocturnal neon of La Dolce Vita nightclub, infamously linked in 1967 to a gangland killing dubbed the one-armed bandit murder, Tony imagines himself as a Bond-like super-spy in a casino scene inspired by Dr No.