Laurel and Hardy

Aussie TV crew filmed Stan Laurel lookalikes in Ulverston

Cameras were rolling and the Stan Laurel lookalikes were strolling about Ulverston as filming got under way for an Australian TV show in 1996.

It was Bill Cubin from the Laurel and Hardy Museum who lured the Today Show film crew to Ulverston for the day.

The Nine Network Australia team had discovered a tape featuring Bill and decided it wanted a story filmed from his Upper Brook Street museum.

Programme reporter Tony Biancotti said the crew had scouted England looking for eccentrics to produce a series of nationally broadcast show later that year.

“We mainly needed colour and characters and Bill fitted the description superbly,” said Mr Biancotti.

The crew was making five stories in England before flying back to Sydney, Australia.

He said the programme focusing on unusual spots in Britain had followed an extremely successful series featuring Ireland.

“The Irish one was so successful we had to bring out a video called the Best of Ireland,” said Mr Biancotti.

“What would happen was people would go to these spots that they had seen on the show and send back postcards saying we found out about this spot thanks to your show.”

He said audiences ‘down under’ associated Britain with eccentrics who went all out supporting their hobbies such as people who loved Laurel and Hardy.

In 1995 the founder of the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston was celebrating a special award for its contribution to tourism.

Bill Cubin said: “It’s better than winning the lottery.

“It’s a recognition of hard work over the last 21 years. We had more than 20,000 visitors last year.”

Other tourism attractions were presented with awards during a dinner at the Netherwood Hotel, Grange.

It was staged to mark the success of Furness and Cartmel Tourism in winning the Holiday Destination of the Year at the England for Excellence awards.

Vicky Brereton, of Gleaston Water Mill, was presented with an award for her work on tourism in the environment.

Personal contribution awards were presented to John Barker, manager of the Barrow branch of the Cumbria Training and Enterprise Council; Judy Johnson, chair of the tourism initiative’s working party; Geoff Cobb of the DTI Cumbria Action Team; and Cllr Joyce Fleet, Barrow’s former mayor, who hosted teas at the town hall to boost tourism.

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