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1975 Ryhope School's Production of


National media interest...

After the success of TOMMY the previous year, 1975 saw Malcolm Gerrie and George Robinson embark on going one better with the staging their production version of the David Puttnam film STARDUST.


The original film plot:

Aspiring rock star MacLaine has assembled a group of musicians and formed the

band The Stray Cats, he seeks out his old friend Mike to become the band’s road 

manager. Mike acquires a new van, accommodation and a recording session for

the group. MacLaine soon becomes a massive star and is plunged into the centre

of media attention. He indulges in casual sex and heavy drug use and the film

documents the detrimental effects of this success on MacLaine and his relationship

with his friends and colleagues. In particular, MacLaine’s long-standing friendship

with manager Mike is now soured by money and success.


Of course, director Malcolm added his own creative dialogue which made STARDUST relevant to the North East of England culture of the time and this production sort even greater national interest. Not only did Producer Mr Puttman and writer Bill Scott fly in from across the Atlantic to see the show, but London Weekend Television wanted to feature Stardust in a slot on their Aquarius show. Such was the quality of the production; Russell Harty dedicated a whole episode of Aquarius to Ryhope School, including interviews with the cast, staff and extensive footage of the Stardust production.


















Please note the entire Aquarius TV programme will feature on this website soon. In the meantime, here are some still images from the show:


Aquarius TV Credits:


A Film by: Derek Bailey & Russell Harty


Presented by Peter Hall


Director: Malcolm C. Gerrie


Producer: Ivan Hargreaves


Musical Directors: George Robinson; Bill Scott


Based on Written by: Ray Connolly


Additional Dialogue: Malcolm C. Gerrie


Additional Music: Bill Scott


A Film by: Derek Bailey & Russell Harty


Broadcast December 1975 by

London Weekend Television

Anchor 4

Ex Ryhope Teacher MALCOLM GERRIE:


“I went to teach English and drama in a school in a pit village outside Sunderland called Ryhope.

I had no idea then of getting into TV or showbusiness, but it was a very progressive school, and it had a brilliant head of music, who came in one day with an album of Tommy. He suggested we put on a production of it, with him doing the music and me staging it, and it attracted extraordinary interest - making the tabloids and the front cover of the NME.

The year after, we did a version of Stardust, which became even bigger. An LWT arts programme called Aquarius did an hour-long special on the work we were doing, and the producers of the movie of Stardust flew over from New York. One of them was David Puttnam, and he said I should get out of teaching, getting LWT to offer me a job”

Extracts from TV Documentary of Ryhope Comprehensive School featuring Teacher Malcolm Gerrie and pupil Chris Cowey.


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