1hr 20mins
Dir: Basil Dean
Starring: Gracie Fields and John Loder

An unemployed yet high-spirited mill worker has various adventures in Blackpool

This musical is considered by many to be Gracie Fields’ finest vehicle and was written for her by leading novelist J.B. Priestley. Personally, I prefer Look Up And Laugh (qv) but this film does feature an appearance from my favourite actress – Olive Sloane. Largely filmed in Blackpool, it features a good number of quite rare railway shots with a number of contemporary locomotives on show. Unfortunately, a densely packed montage sequence near the start of the film shows a fair number of Blackpool excursion trains all blended in with one other, and this somewhat confuses the matter. Headboards proclaim them to be from places as far flung as Leeds and Edinburgh yet the motive power is largely indistinguishable. The only locomotive that we can positively make out is ex-L&YR Class 5 2-4-2T No.10953 though another seems to be hauled by a real treat in the form of an ex-LNWR ‘George the Fifth’ Class 4-4-0. Most of these shots resurface in Here Comes the Sun (1946) in which they are a lot clearer. The scenes at the end were filmed at both Blackpool Central and Blackpool North stations, the latter only recently renamed from Blackpool Talbot Road. Incredibly, the only loco identifiable here is No.10953 again, and we are treated to a very good close up shot of it departing Blackpool Central. Unsurprisingly, some of the trams make an appearance too, with Gracie Fields almost riding her bike under a nearly new English Electric Railcoach, though there are some earlier open-platform double-deck examples of real vintage. Exciting scenes filmed on the Pleasure Beach include a ride on the Pleasure Beach Express miniature railway, and we are afforded an excellent glimpse of one of the 21-inch gauge Hudswell Clarke steam outline diesel-hydraulic locomotives used on the line. The railway had only opened the previous year so was still a new attraction at the time of filming. It also appeared briefly in Love on the Dole (qv).

Two excursion trains are in this montage, but only the headboards can be clearly made out. However, the train coming down at the top of the image is seen in the 1946 film Here Comes the Sun and is hauled by a former L&YR Class 8 4-6-0 ‘Lanky Dreadnought’.
Here are another two excursions, one from Edinburgh and one from Leeds. The loco on the Edinburgh train is hauled by a Fowler Class 4P 2-6-4T and can be seen more clearly in Here Comes the Sun (1946). The locomotive of the Leeds train is ex-L&YR Class 5 2-4-2T No.10953, more of which later.
This excursion looks to be hauled by an ex-LNWR ‘George the Fifth’ Class 4-4-0. If that is the case, then it is a very rare appearance of one on film.
Just before its well-timed stunt with Gracie and her bike, a nearly new English Electric Railcoach forms a service to Pleasure Beach
Standing in the background to this shot are what appear to be another pair of Railcoaches
As John Loder and Dorothy Hyson take in the sights, another Railcoach is joined this time by a pair of older double-deck Standard Trams
Looking out from the Pleasure Beach onto the promenade at South Shore, three double-deck Standard Trams of varying vintage jostle for trade. All the ‘Standards’ were initially delivered ‘open’, i.e. with no enclosed upper deck and open vestibules at each end. They were progressively enclosed from the beginning of the 1930s, hence the appearance of both open top and enclosed double-deckers in this shot.
It wasn’t all the real deal however. In this studio set up a ‘Standard Tram’ passes by as part of the ‘wonky’ back-projection!
The Pleasure Beach miniature railway even puts in an appearance in this film. The locomotive is No.4473 Carol Jean, a steam outline diesel hydraulic built by Hudswell Clarke in 1933. Both it and its sister Mary Louise are still present on the line to this day.
Blackpool Central station with Blackpool Tower dominating the skyline
Class 5 2-4-2T No.10953 seen earlier on with its excursion, is captured here again departing from Blackpool Central. It seems a little unlikely that the loco was filmed twice in one day, and it is probably sheer coincidence that the same loco should appear twice in the same film!!
Gracie Fields and Dorothy Hyson at Blackpool North
The guard gives the ‘right’ away’ as the train begins to depart. This is looking in the opposite direction from the shot above
Stanley Holloway and Gracie Fields at Blackpool North with 3rd Class coaching stock behind
The pair are seen again, only this time the coal-filled tender of a steam locomotive can be seen behind Gracie
At the end of the film there is a journey back to the industrial mills of the north, with a montage of newspaper headlines combined with a going-away shot of a passing passenger train. This is all we see of the tender locomotive at the front. However, this image reappears without the newspaper in Here Come the Sun, which shows us that this shot is reversed.