At the time of the TUBE, one of the main things about the programme was that we reflected what was happening in the country regarding music and clubs.
One of the most famous of those clubs at the time was the Gold Mine Club on Canvey Island.
Chris Hill is a British Disc Jockey who was associated with the Gold Mine Club and was recognised as being head of the ‘Soul Mafia’ in London and the South East of England in the early 80’s.
Many clubbers who went to the Gold Mine Club became musical stars in their own right such as: The Clash, Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Culture Club, Alison Moyet and Soul II Soul.
So for the TUBE it was an ideal place to make a film about.
Arriving in Canvey Island was a bit of a surprise to we Northerners as I think we were expecting somewhere quite glamorous! We were booked into the only place on the Island that we could get rooms, which was a local pub.
Deciding it would be good to get some aerial footage of the club to put its location into perspective, we hired a small twin propellor plane to fly us around and over Canvey Island.
In those days to shoot aerials, you had to literally fly around in a small plane with cameraman hanging out of the plane holding the camera and shooting the aerials.
Getting to the airfield, we boarded out small aircraft. Michael Metcalf the Production Assistant, sitting next to the pilot with a head set on so he could talk to the pilot. The Director Geoff Wonfor sat in the seats behind with the assistant camera man Alistair McKenzie (these were the days when we were still shooting on 16mm film, so an assistant was required to load the ‘mags’ with film and assistant the cameraman Graham Brown, who was hanging out the side door tied into the plane with a strap!
Taking off and circling Canvey Island it quickly became apparent that the Director Geoff was not the best traveller, so hand over his mouth he kept pointing down. Which we all meant that was the Gold Mine Club (he was the only one to have seen the club). Eventually we managed to rustle up a plastic bag for him to use!!!
The pilot kept asking do you want to go around again, which PA Michael kept saying yes please.
Throughout all this Geoff kept pointing down towards Canvey Island.
Eventually landing and helping Geoff off the aeroplane and into the car, we set off back to the ‘hotel’. It was only later that night we realised he hadn’t been pointing to the club but just wanted us to land.
I am still not sure what we were filming but it most certainly wasn’t the GOLD MINE CLUB!
Michael worked in television for over 30 years as a Director and Producer and was involved with The TUBE from the very beginning as a Production Assistant during filming and then subsequently directing part of series 4.
He is now retired from television and heavily involved in charity work. As well as being on the committee for the Make A Wish Foundation, he is an Ambassador and mentor for Northumbria Coalition Against Crime, Chairman of Newcastle East Sea Cadets and Junior Vice President of Ponteland Rotary.
Michael became involved with Discovery Museum when he joined three ex colleagues from Tyne Tees Television who also worked on the TUBE when they visited the museum to see the TUBE neon logo that was in storage. From that visit, the idea of the TUBE exhibition came into being.
An exhibition of items relating to the Tube, including the neon Tube sign, is on show at Discovery Museum until 30 June. More details.