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Frank Sidebottom's memory lives on thanks to Norwich fan

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 February 2011

Ian Harding with his Frank Sidebottom head. The film about Frank will be shown at the Puppet Theatre to raise funds for the theatre Photo by Adrian Judd

Ian Harding with his Frank Sidebottom head. The film about Frank will be shown at the Puppet Theatre to raise funds for the theatre Photo by Adrian Judd

Archant Norfolk 2011

He was known for having one of the biggest heads in show business and now comic character Frank Sidebottom is set to return to the screen thanks to a budding filmmaker.

Ian Harding has made an 18-minute film about the bulbous-headed character whose creator Chris Sievey died last year.

The film is a sequel to the 29-year-old’s re-creation of an episode of 1980s popular children’s TV show No 73, which he made last summer.

Mr Harding, who lives in Silver Road, in the north of Norwich, spent five weeks making the film which sees a character called Dawn test out a pair of motorised rollerskates.

Mayhem is caused as Dawn tries to get to grips with the retro-looking skates. More comic sketches unfold when Frank takes part on a game show.

Mr Harding plans to show the film at Norwich Puppet Theatre and also raise money for the venue.

“I’ve always liked Frank, ever since I was a child and I wanted to make a second film. I thought it would be good to put Frank in it to keep his spirit and memory alive,” said Mr Harding, who volunteers at the puppet theatre.

The Frank Sidebottom character was an aspiring pop star from Timperley in the north of England, whose style was cramped by a lack of talent, an old-fashioned suit and the fact he lived at home with his mother.

He was intended by Chris Sievey to be a one-off promotional gimmick for a band but the character took on a life of his own and became a major star in the late 1980s and early 1990s through television, radio and live appearances.

Mr Harding, who plays both Frank and television artist Neil Buchanan in the film, spent three weeks making a papier-mache version of the character’s over-sized head. Filming took place at the puppet theatre and at Mr Harding’s home, which he has converted into a film set. Mr Harding’s friends and sister play other characters in the short film.

“I hope Frank’s fans will be happy with it, I’m sure they will be,” said Mr Harding, whose next film project will be more “real life” and “edgy”.

He added: “There’s a lot of slapstick comedy and it’s a bit of 1980s meets 2010.”

To see a clip of the video, visit www.eveningnews24.co.uk.

Have you been involved in an innovative art project? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

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