Beating heart of Grand for TV hit

Actor David Lonsdale taken on the Comedy Carpet in the old cop car

Actor David Lonsdale taken on the Comedy Carpet in the old cop car

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Now here’s something you don’t see every day. A 1960s police car on the Comedy Carpet.

The sheer novelty won over a new fan for the TV series which is about to make its stage debut - at the resort’s Grand Theatre tomorrow night.

For almost 20 years, Heartbeat was a Sunday night staple; as traditional as a roast dinner, and just as comforting.

Now, the cast of the new stage version hope to recreate that as a live experience - and reckon there couldn’t be a better fit for the premiere than the Grand Theatre ,

David Lonsdale played the hapless David Stockwell for 14 years in more than 300 of the show’s 370 episodes. He lives at Southport so it’s an easy commute to the rival resort for the Wednesday to Saturday run.

“One of the funny things with Heartbeat is that there were no Yorkshire actors in it - although about five of us were from Lancashire.

The Grand is perfect; it’s such a lovely place to play and has a good atmosphere.

“And it’s a place which fits with the nostalgic feel of Heartbeat; Blackpool had one of its heydays in the 60s and it was always mentioned in the show as a place for people going on their holidays.

“We really hope it will feel like a home match for us to come to Blackpool.”

It’s coming up six years since the last new episode went out, in 2010 but it’s on ITV3 regularly and is still a fixture in many households.

David adds: “There’s still a huge fan base of people out there wanting to watch Heartbeat. I still go to the village where we filmed two or three times a year for events, and have three hour queues of people for signings. Even though we haven’t worked there since 2009, it has constant coach trips visiting.”

Joined by fellow former TV cast member Steven Blakeley, as PC Geoff Younger, David says the whole company can’t wait to recreate the familiar faces - with newcomers bringing their own slant to characters. “We have a very good new story but it’s very much an adaptation in the characters, while still being reminiscent of the TV series.” For more information or to book call (01253) 290190.

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