Film ID:
NEFA 10689



Visitor Tabs


A Tyne Tees Television autobiographical documentary about Jack Charlton, of local and world footballing fame, on a return visit to his family in Ashington far away from the world of top class soccer. Charlton attends a whippet race with his two sons, visits the coast he knew as a child, and joins friends and family for a drink and game of bingo in Ashington and District Working Men's Club.  As he enjoys the sounds of a local brass band performing in the town, he wistfully wishes he had learned to play a brass instrument. 

The film begins with Jack Charlton driving through the town of Ashington with his family, back to the street where he grew up. In voice-over, he describes the streets around him. He arrives in the back lane of his old house and points out where he and his brother Bobby used to play football with the other boys in the neighbourhood. This was where they held a street party when the Charlton brothers were given a civic reception after England won the World Cup in 1966.

At the back gate of the house he grew up in, Jack reminisces about playing football in the small back alleyway and greets the neighbours. There are general views of Jack chatting to some of his former neighbours, and of the yard of the house he was brought up in. It now belongs to the Kennedy family. Jack and the film crew go into the house and look around while Jack remembers what it used to be like, how his mother used to cook over the fire and other memories.

At the local dog track, Jack places an informal bet on whippets. General views of the men and dogs as Jack has fun with his two sons. He reminisces about spending a lot of time watching his mates race their whippets.

Charlton takes his two sons to the old mill on the coast near Ashington (likely Woodhorn Mill near Newbiggin by the Sea) which he used to explore as a boy. His two sons clamber through a hole into the old mill to explore. He says the view from the top was wonderful, you could see the countryside for miles around, but now you can see how the industry is encroaching, with the power station at Cambois and the Alcan Aluminium site. A panoramic shot follows of the landscape with the power station in the distance. Various views follow of the beautiful coastline as Charlton talks about the dumping of coal on the coast. Some of the beach is blackened by coal, as a dumper truck offloads coal from a cliff in the distance. Sea coal gatherers are pictured driving their carts above the beach. Some people are on a cleaner beach at a sandy bay. Charlton sits along a rocky stretch of the coastline and bird watches. He observes mallards and teale through his binoculars.

Inside the Ashington and District Working Men's Club, Jack exchanges banter with friends, and buys a round of pints. Clubs are the focal point of Ashington life. According to his father, Jack is well respected in the clubs because he will answer football questions and chat with lads. Charlton plays bingo with his mates in the club and loses.

There are tracking shots of the streets close to his mother Cissie's house on a new estate. A plaque on the wall outside the house reads "Jules Rimet". Everyone in Ashington knows where Cissie Charlton lives, Jack says.

Jack Charlton, his brother and father arrive at Cissie's for their Sunday dinner and are chided by her for being late. Jack carves the joint at the table. In voice-over, Charlton talks about the Sunday dinner ritual of the past and about bringing up his daughter, Debbie aged 9, to be able to cook and be a good wife. He thinks women's lib is all very well but that not all women can have good careers.

A brass band performs in the centre of Ashington. Jack regrets not being brought up to play a wind instrument and be part of a colliery band. Street scenes of Ashington show young women shopping, a woman buying meat from a butcher's van, washing hanging on lines in the back gardens, men chatting together over the garden wall, as Jack speaks fondly of a ‘peaceful’ town where ‘nothing changes.’ He is able to relax when he is there. An old man in a flat cap smokes a pipe, walking down the road with an elderly woman.

Jack refers to the upset caused by the newspaper caricature, "Andy Capp". Jack can, in fact, see many resemblances to his father. There are shots of allotments and pigeon crees where his father in flat cap and silk scarf cleans out the pigeons.

Back in the club, Jack stands at the bar downing a pint. He says he enjoys himself when visiting Ashington, but that he couldn't come back to live. His younger brother refuses to leave. He is happy with life in Ashington. He muses that people often don't leave unless they get away at an early age. He plays a game of cards with mates in the club.

The film ends with busy Ashington street scenes and brass band soundtrack.