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Monday 11 January 2021

Treasures From The Attic No.5: The day I made the earth move for Britt Ekland

NOVEMBER 22, 1979. It was the day that I made the earth move, quite literally, for Scandi superstar Britt Ekland.

The Swedish movie star was out on the road to promote saucy single Do It To Me (Once More With Feeling), a pop picture disc bearing a photo of Britt in her birthday suit.

So what better, she decided, than to head out to the Wolves training ground to have a kickaround with the players?

It was a photo opportunity any tabloid would snap up. 

Except the Birmingham Evening Mail, for whom I was working.

At the time the Mail’s editor believed that no self-respecting Brummie would have any interest in Wolverhampton.

Hence anything happening over the border was out of bounds. 

But this was beautiful Britt, then a huge star. Almost on our patch.

Today you could snap a picture then photoshop it onto a more local background. But back in 1979 that was still the stuff of a picture editor’s dreams.

I decided to take drastic action. With a photographer, I popped in to the Sandwell Council sign writing depot somewhere down Great Bridge way.

I explained our predicament. Did they have, I enquired, a spare West Bromwich sign that I might borrow for a few hours? The man on the desk disappeared into a back room.

He emerged brandishing a huge metal West Bromwich sign which he said was surplus to requirements. He’d be happy for us to have it.

We bundled it into the back of my Marina estate, then drove up to the leafy training ground where I collared Britt for an interview and asked if she’d pose for pictures. 

And, by the way, would she mind holding a giant metal sign while she was at it?

Ever the professional, Britt did the deed and the next day’s Mail carried a front page picture under the headline ‘Britt visits Sandwell for kicks’ or some such. She autographed the sign for us too.

Fake news? No, not really. A chat with a A-lister who chose the West Midlands as the place to promote her record - just displaced by five miles or so.

So yes,  I'd made the earth move for Britt, for those five miles at least...

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