Bearwood lass Julie Walters is to be given the highest award the British Academy of Film and Television Arts can bestow when she is awarded a BAFTA Fellowship next month.
Julie is a patron of the Warley Woods Community Trust, and she was awarded the Freedom of Sandwell a few years ago…when I was delighted to have the opportunity of meeting her. She is a credit to her profession and a real down to earth Smerrick gal.
Well done Julie!
A ‘Bearwood and National Treasure’ is our Julie, who lived in Bishopton Road off Adkins Lane near the entrance to Lightwoods Park and went to Holly Lodge………The BAFTA Fellowship is a well-deserved honour…..but did you know that there is another Bearwood/Edgbaston link to the BAFTAS?
They were founded by Edgbaston Grammar School boy Sir Michael Balcon who attended George Dixon Grammar School for Boys from its opening in 1906 until 1912.
Balcon went on to become one of Britain’s greatest film-makers, working for MGM and Louis B.Mayer, with whom he fell out spectacularly.
Balcon’s finest hour was as head of The Ealing Studios where he made comedy classics like ‘Kind Hearts and Coronets’, ‘The Ladykillers’, ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’, ‘Whiskey Galore’ and ‘Passport to Pimlico’…..and of course founded the British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) and the British Film Institute (BFI)
For me as a fellow former pupil of George Dixon Grammar School for Boys, Balcon’s most enduring cinematic creation was PC George Dixon, who greeted BBC viewers with the cheery ‘Evenin’ All’ in the very first ‘Police Procedural’ on British TV: ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ which ran from 1952 until 1976 first in black and white and then colour.
PC George Dixon first appeared in the 1949 Ealing Film: ‘The Blue Lamp’ where he is shot dead by a young East End Hoodlum in a botched cinema robbery played by a young Dirk Bogarde (remember him?)
PC George Dixon was miraculously reincarnated for ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ which is one of the BBC’s best loved TV series and one of the longest running………