The cast of ‘Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage’ at the Winter Gardens Opera House have been delighting crowds with performances in the streets
People in Blackpool have been having “the time of their lives” this week after discovering some impromptu performances from iconic scenes in Dirty Dancing around the town.
The cast of ‘Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story on Stage’ have been in town from August 14 – August 28 for dates at the Winter Gardens’ Opera House.
Following two blockbuster West End runs and four-hit UK tours, the production has been seen by millions across the globe.
The stage show tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds, who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives.
The production features some of its most famous hit songs including Hungry Eyes, Hey! Baby, Do You Love Me? and (I’ve Had) The Time Of My Life.
On Sunday (August 15) actors Kira Malou and Michael O’Reilly, who play the leading roles of Frances Baby and Johnny Castle, gave “hungry eyes” a treat in St John’s Square when they performed the iconic dance routine from the finale scene at Kellerman’s resort.
Yesterday, (August 17) Sandcastle Waterpark at South Beach was used to recreate the iconic “lift” scene in the water from when Johnny and Baby are preparing for their performance at the Sheldrake Hotel.
We’re excited too see what other popular locations in Blackpool will be used to re-create some of Dirty Dancing’s most well-loved scenes.
To find out more, please visit the Winter Gardens website here.
It’s clear that even during a random visit on a grey Wednesday morning, the £1 burger is still a local celebrity
It was a rainy day in Blackpool on Wednesday (August 18) however this didn’t stop the bustling streets of the seaside resort which were busy with visitors from early in the morning.
Blackpool is a town that has adapted to all weathers and its businesses go above and beyond to entertain and welcome people in all conditions every day of the week.
No one “goes large” however quite as much as Higgit’s Las Vegas Arcade and £1 burger bar.
Arriving at the promenade around 11am, I walked further into the town and managed to spot the “£1 burger” sign on the side of Arkwright’s Convenience store on the corner with Chapel Street.
The arcade and burger bar are a bold presence on Dale Street and it practically shouts at you to come in from the end of the road.
The first thing you notice is the giant slush cup mounted on the front which I later found out owner Chris Higitt made himself from fibreglass and a bit of drainpipe.
The premises is unapologetically red and blue throughout, inspired by Chris’ visits to America, and includes Haworth’s Famous Bingo next door.
Both of these have been seen on TV with the retro arcade featuring on Channel 5, UK Gold, and many more. Not to mention being the subject of many YouTuber’s videos.
As I approach, coincidentally, there is Alex from a Liverpool and Wigan based radio station called Radio K Group here to do exactly the same as me – try the £1 burger.
The man himself is inside the booth and is serving an elderly gentleman who tells him he’s seen his burger bar on YouTube and that Chris should start doing merchandise.
It’s clear that even during a random visit on a grey Wednesday morning, the £1 burger is still a local celebrity.
Once he has served his customer, Chris is more than happy to serve us a burger and tell us why it’s become so famous.
“Blackpool is based on cheap-family values,” Chris said. “People come in here and have good value for money. You don’t need to rip people off and charge them a fiver for a burger, charge them a pound.
“It doesn’t cost that much money, people don’t realise that 98% of Blackpool’s economy is either directly or indirectly tourism based and it’s my job, as one of the service providers, to encourage people to come to Blackpool.
“It’s from working partnerships with the media, who are in front of me at the moment, and the YouTubers and other business providers, to get that message out there.
“Blackpool is a word class destination and we want you to come here and try a £1 burger. Try the £1 donuts around the corner and just have good old fashioned family values and a good time in Blackpool.”
As my burger cooked, I took a quick look around the retro arcade which is definitely like a mini Vegas.
If you’ve visited America and loved it you’d get quite nostalgic seeing the American number plates, road signs, Universal Studios clapperboard and much more.
This is also the first time I’ve seen so much Spam outside a supermarket. This is because Chris loved the simplicity of it when introduced to it by a family member in the states.
A spam barm is another £1 gem on offer.
Next door is Haworth’s Famous Prize Bingo which is ran by James Masson who was ringmaster for Blackpool Tower Circus for years.
It is Blackpool’s only ‘one win’ bingo meaning every win gives you a prize from the stall – which a booty of hundreds of various items.
Chris isn’t involved in this business but owns the building which the bingo is in.
After a quick visit next door, my burger with onions was done and I have to say for £1, it was very tasty and is the kind of food that’s needed to power around Blackpool.
It was quite big too, especially for a quid’s worth.
Chris explained: “The secret is I burn spices into the plate. The plate is black and at the start of every shift I grind spices on to the plate and burn them on so it marinates and goes into the food.
“It’s just normal burgers but I make sure that the plate is marinated so all those spices have to go straight into the burgers.
“That’s the secret of the famous £1 burger!”
Alex from Radio K group also enjoyed his £1 burger along with another Higgit’s staple which is the £1 pint of Slush.
It’s clear by being at the £1 burger for only 20 minutes that the notoriety of the menu is not just because of its value but because of the enthusiasm Chris puts into everything.
There’s a box on the front of the counter labelled “Leroy’s Letter Box” where people leave letters for YouTuber Leroy to read which they can make a video out of.
It’s also used for other Blackpool businesses to leave things in there relating to competitions and collaborations.
Chris added: “We try to make everything fun and entertaining. When I made the giant slush cup we told people about that, I have plans to make a giant burger to put on the front, we’ll tell people about that.
“We ran out of burgers last week, we told people about that. Because it’s real life and it’s weird and wonderful and these things happen.”
“We all work together in Blackpool and when people come and visit it’s like they leave their usual life and enter a soap opera.
“They get to know us and there’s always things going and things up keep up to date with.”
For this reason, there are plans in the works for an actual soap opera based on Blackpool businesses including, of course, the £1 burger and quite frankly, after Wednesday’s visit, I can’t wait to see it.
To find out more about Higgit’s Las Vegas Arcade and £1 burger bar, please visit the Facebook page here.
Planners have drawn up fresh rules governing how much open space and tree cover schemes need
Developers will be required to plant more trees in future as part of the drive to make Blackpool a greener town.
Currently the resort has the lowest tree canopy cover in the UK at just 4.4 per cent compared to the national average of 16 per cent.
This is despite the council having recently planted 3,000 trees in streets and parks with new woodland at Low Moor Road, Mossom Lane, Deerhurst Road and Kingscote Park.
Now town hall planners have drawn up fresh rules governing how much open space and tree cover new schemes should include.
And if developers are unable to plant trees as part of their proposals, they will have to stump up cash instead for tree planting elsewhere.
A supplementary planning document called ‘Greening Blackpool, which sets out the new requirements, says: “A shortage of green infrastructure, particularly in the inner area and town centre compounds the public health deficit in the town.
“The council is working hard to improve housing and revitalise and restructure the town centre, seeking opportunities to create pocket parks, plant trees and green the town, making it a more pleasant and healthy place to live, work, visit and invest.
“Making the urban environment greener, helping to tackle climate change and protecting and enhancing the natural environment and resources is a vital part of delivering a better Blackpool.”
It adds while much of the new green infrastructure will be provided publicly, “it is important that new development also contributes to a greater provision.”
It means in future all new development will be required to retain existing trees and where removal is unavoidable, they must be replaced using native species.
Housing developments of more than three units must provide two trees per home on site, while other types of residential development such as care homes with at least three residents must provide one tree per resident.
If it is not possible to do this on site, developers must pay £1,000 per tree towards planting elsewhere. This could be pooled to pay for urban planting where it can cost up toe £15,000 for a single tree in a hard surfaced area.
The council is aiming to plant 10,000 trees in Blackpool by 2030.
Lytham Coastguard joined Blackpool crews in operation
Blackpool’s RNLI volunteers were called into action on Saturday, August 21, after receiving information that someone was in the sea at The Norbreck, one of the town’s most popular seafront hotels.
The 8.52pm call-out was the second of the day after crews had been summoned at 8.44am from the same lifeboat station.
Both of the station’s D class lifeboats launched in the evening incident, but the person reached safety as the volunteers were heading to the scene.
Joining them on the operation were Lytham Coastguard, which is based in St Annes and patrols the Blackpool and Fylde coast and Ribble estuary to Preston.
Blackpool Police also attended the incident.
Blackpool Lifeboat Station is situated on the Central Promenade, just south of Blackpool Tower. It is one of only two RNLI stations to house three inshore lifeboats – an Atlantic 85 in addition to the two D class lifeboats.
‘This place needs the ghosts busters as well, 2am something running on ceilings, toilets make noises also someone standing by [your] doors trying to get in’
A man has slammed a Blackpool hotel he described as a ‘prison’ after visiting for his birthday.
The man booked a stay at Norbreck Castle Hotel, on Queen’s Promenade, with his family earlier this month.
He was ‘not happy’ following his visit and claimed he wouldn’t be ‘coming to this prison again’.
Beer tasting like ‘water’ was just one of the things he complained about, as well as insisting the hotel needed ‘the ghost busters’.
He reported hearing noises on the ceiling and in the toilet at 2am in the morning, as well as ‘someone standing by your door trying to get in’.
‘David C’ took to Tripdvisor to share his experience at the seaside hotel.
His review, titled ‘Was my Birthday at this rubbish hotel keep well away’, said: “Not happy with this hotel. Rooms smell of damp, hallways smell mouldy. Don’t go if you have asthma.
“Beer tastes like water. Breakfast not much choice. People running up and down in the corridors where’s the security at night to stop this?
“Beds are uncomfortable also this place needs the ghosts busters as well, 2am something running on ceilings, toilets make noises also someone standing by [your] doors trying to get in. What a cr*phole.
“No games room open which is misleading one of the staff told me there’s also weird people what goes to this hotel standing by doors at night.
“Very old fashioned in the bedrooms it’s not a good place to book for your birthday. Won’t be coming to this prison again.
“Very haunted as well so people who reading save your money and keep well away from this hotel.”
There is no evidence to suggest the hotel is ‘haunted’, but there have been reviews posted on Tripadvisor previously also reporting some ‘supernatural’ occurrences.
LancsLive have approached Britannia Hotels for comment.
As the Taliban continues its takeover of Afghanistan, thousands of citizens have been forced to flee their homes, and Blackpool, Wyre, and Fylde are among the places called on to provide a safe haven to those in desperate need.
A young Afghan refugee in Kabul
The Taliban seized power in the country two weeks before America was set to complete its withdrawal of troops following a war which spanned two decades.
Britain has opened its borders to Afghan people most at risk of persecution by the Taliban, and councils all over the country are being urged to provide shelter to such refugees.
Prime minister Boris Johnson promised around 20,000 Afghans who aided the British army are to be welcomed to the UK in coming years, with 5,000 of these expected to arrive in 2021.
He said: “We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years.
“Many of them, particularly women, are now in urgent need of our help. I am proud that the UK has been able to put in place this route to help them and their families live safely in the UK.”
Armed fighters swept into Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital city, on Sunday. In a press conference two days later, the group looked forward to good relations with other countries, saying ‘animosities have come to an end and we would like to live peacefully’.
However, experts have warned that the country could again become a hotbed for terrorism.
Fears have also been raised about the future rights of Afghan women, as the Taliban promised to uphold such rights only ‘within the framework of Sharia’. Between 1996 and 2001, when the group controlled the country, strict rules were put in place in line with its interpretation of Sharia law, which included mandatory full-body burkas for women and a lack of education for girls over 10.
The new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will target women, children, and others under threat of persecution.
They will join other refugees from the Middle East and Northern Africa seeking sanctuary under the UK Resettlement Scheme, who could find new homes in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre.
Both Blackpool and Wyre Councils welcomed the prospect of helping incoming Afghan people.
A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “We work in partnership with our neighbouring authority, Lancashire, to support the resettlement of refugees across the region and to ensure that they have the support they need on arrival and while they settle in to their new community. We are working with the refugee team to assist in any way we can the additional pressure that the recent call to action has highlighted.”
A Wyre Council spokesman said: “Over the last four years Wyre Council has been pleased to offer support to 11 Syrian refugee families who we’ve helped to resettle in the borough. We are currently looking to extend our support of the Government’s UK Resettlement scheme and provide support for up to five further Syrian households every two years. Additionally we are now looking to see how we can support Government Afghan relocation schemes as the situation develops.
“Our priority is to ensure that any relocated families are safe and settled and do what we can to help them become part of the local community.”
Fylde Council was approached but declined to comment.