Home Contact Us Stadia Pix Articles All About You Riders to Remember
DVDs Books Pictures Archive Dream Teams Programme Generator
14/05/2017
A Mystery Solved
The Voice - Issue 65
Your Feedback
 
01/05/2017
Dave Collins
The Mystery Rider from 1948
Your Feedback
 
23/04/2017
Bill's Pictures
Toronto Board Track
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
16/04/2017
Melbourne in the 1950's
The History of Sim Speedway
Your Feedback
 
26/03/2017
All About You: Mike Redfern
Bill's Posters
RIP Plough Lane
Your Feedback
 
12/03/2017
NZ World Team Cup 1986 +
Glasgow Speedway Posters
Your Feedback
 
05/03/2017
Almaty Ice Speedway
NZ World Team Cup 1985
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
26/02/2017
Dream Team: David Pickles
NZ World Team Cup 1984
Your Feedback
 
19/02/2017
Dream Team: Martin Wilkins
NZ World Team Cup 1983
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
05/02/2017
Video: Berrington 2000
NZ World Team Cup 1982
Your Feedback
 
29/01/2017
Vic Ridgeon
NZ World Team Cup 1981
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
22/01/2017
Jim Ryman Crash at Boston
NZ World Team Cup 1980
Your Feedback
 
15/01/2017
NZ World Team Cup 1979
Skid Kids
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 
05/01/2017
Otto Holoubek
NZ World Team Cup 1978
Plus Points
Your Feedback
 


Britannia of Billingsgate

We've always had an interest in films and television dramas that include speedway themes in the narrative. One that we've been aware of, but which has eluded us until recently, is the 1933 movie "Britannia of Billingsgate".

Thanks to Steve Magro the film can now be viewed on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCoJpvyb4eU

This British movie is essentially a musical about a woman who becomes an unlikely singing star, the speedway interest is a sub-plot, almost entirely unrelated from the rest of the film.

Unless you're a massive fan of (bad) musicals, you may wish to skip directly to the speedway scenes, which are primarily around the 41 and 63 minute marks.

Legendary actor John Mills plays aspiring dirt-track rider Fred Bolton. Fred is out to "show them" and make it through the novice race and into the "big race".

Ron Johnson, Colin Watson, Arthur Warwick, Gus Kuhn, Tom Farndon and Claude Rye lent their expertise to the production to give the racing sequences an authentic feel. Their real names are also used in the tannoy announcements, suggesting these gents may have been familiar to those who went to watch this on initial release.

The on track action isn't badly done at all, showcasing the rolling starts that were the norm in those pre-starting gate days.

Things take a strange turn with a burning bike, then descend into farce with a post-race "comedy" scene with a drunken man riding the wrong way around the track.

Nonetheless, it's definitely worth taking a look at these speedway scenes, or even sitting through the whole film if you have the time to spare on some rainy afternoon.

Here are some stills from the film:

 

This article was first published on 3rd July 2016

[ Use Mobile Version ]


 

  • Steve Magro:

    "You've some very good action shots to go with the film. I've always wondered which rider was Australian Ron Johnson. I can't say I know which is he."  

     

    Comment on this Article | Contact Us | Go Back to Main Menu

  •    Please leave your comments on this article or on the site as a whole