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Gorleston to find international stardom as backdrop for new Danny Boyle movie

Director Danny Boyle (grey top) during filming at Gorleston's Pier HotelA “secret” seaside town in Norfolk is set to find international stardom – as the backdrop in a major movie.

Gorleston-on-Sea, which sits in the shadow of Great Yarmouth, will appear in the latest film being made by Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle.

Its golden beach is the setting for a music gig featuring a fictional pop idol Jack Malik, played by EastEnders actor Himesh Patel, whose co-stars include Downtown Abbey’s Lily James plus The Kumars at No 42 duo Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal.

Six thousand people flocked to the sands to be extras in the keys scene, and during filming this week Mr Boyle said Gorleston beach was “very beautiful – one of the great secrets of England.”

His movie, with the working title Jack and Ellie, follows the fortunes of singer Jack, who is the only person in the world who can remember the Beatles – and becomes a star playing their classic songs.

The rooftop concert is performed from the Pier Hotel, which sits on harbourside, and close to the resort’s historic Pavilion Theatre, whose patron is legendary comic Jimmy Tarbuck.

Gorleston, a short hop across the River Yare from Great Yarmouth’s bright lights, funfairs and amusement arcades, prides itself on its gentler pace of life – with bowls, putting, tennis and a model boat pond - and a range of independent shops.

But it is seeing a surge of interest and investment as it becomes a fashionable place to visit and shop – which will be helped by the movie raising its profile.
The rebirth has seen the addition of new shops, restaurants and improvements to existing businesses scattered from the shopping area to the seafront.

Pub giants Wetherspoons have built a new £2.2m pub in the High Street, on the site of an old garage, naming it the William Adams after a Victorian bathing hut attendant who saved 140 lives.

And a £1m refurbishment has brought the former Palace Cinema back to life – and enabling people to see the new film on their own doorstep.

Gareth Brown, chairman of the Greater Yarmouth Tourism and Business Improvement Area (GYTABIA), which markets the area, said he was delighted about the film role, and recent investment, for Gorleston.

“We have experienced a real upturn in Gorleston with a number of businesses and individuals investing a great deal of money into the town, which has led to an influx of tourists and visitors.

“The new movie has also created a lot of interest, with people flocking to be extras or just to watch the filming from the clifftop. And we are hoping the town’s appearance – even if it's called something different – will encourage people to find out where it is in real life and come to visit.

“Gorleston has really come into its own as it has got so much to offer. We have a beautiful seafront with attractions and restaurants, and a very attractive shopping precinct with new shops and eating establishments opening frequently.”

Gorleston Facts:
• Situated at the mouth of the River Yare, Gorleston existed before Great Yarmouth and was a port town at the time of the Domesday Book.
• The town used to be in neighbouring Suffolk – until it merged with Yarmouth in Norfolk for electoral purposes in 1835.
• It was a fashionable Edwardian watering hole – and its beach remains popular with trippers today.
• It became a centre for herring fishing along with salt pans used for the production of salt to preserve the fish.
• In the Great Storm of 1987, Gorleston experienced the highest wind speed recorded in the UK on that day, which was 122 mph.
Extras pack the beach as a music gig crowd during the filming of Danny Boyle's movie