Released in 1996 this story of the Grimley Colliery Brass band and their struggles against the Conservative Government’s policy of pit closures was filmed mainly in South Yorkshire, but when the band win through the finals of the national brass band competition they head off to the Royal Albert Hall in London.
The movie starred a number of big name UK actors including Ewan McGregor, Pete Postlethwaite, Tara Fitzgerald, Stephen Tompkinson and Sue Johnston.
Filming the competition in a major London venue obviously proved too costly or logistically difficult so they used the Birmingham Town Hall, Victoria Square, as an interior ‘double’ of the Royal Albert Hall.
In a memorable scene the band win the competition with a blistering rendition of the William Tell Overture before Danny (Pete Postlethwaite) makes an heart-felt and emotional speech about the closure program ruining industry and lives and refuses to accept the trophy.
An supporting artiste on the day of filming, 30th November 1995, has posted a two part blog about the experience. Bobby Civil was in the audience listening to the Grimley Colliery Band but also was asked to play one of the competition judges. You can see Bobby in clip of the Pete Postlethwaite speech link above, the middle of three judges standing behind the trophy table.
So inspirational was that Pete Postlethwaite speech recorded in Birmingham Town Hall on a cold November day that it was used in the intro of the 1997 UK no. 2 hit Tubthumping by Chumbawumba.
“Truth is, I thought it mattered; I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks! Not compared to how people matter.”