Cliff and the Bluebirds – not Dover, but Birmingham!


The Burntwood Bluebirds were a leading marching band who won awards – and even featured in a Cliff Richard film! Phot supplied by Wendy Jones.

Last week here I featured a film clip made be photo restorer and friend of the blog Lisa Ashby, celebrating Brownhills and the Black Country – Well, Lisa’s been at it again, and made a lovely clip about The Burntwood Bluebirds, the award-winning marching band from Burntwood.

It’s worth noting that there’s a great Facebook group for the Bluebirds run by Wendy Jones here.

As has been covered here before by Wendy Jones and Stuart Cowley, the Bluebirds featured in the 1970s Cliff Richard film ‘Take me High’ which was made in Birmingham. I won’t link to the film itself on YouTube as any copy posted is soon taken down, but the full thing is worth searching for, not just for the great shots of Birmingham, for for the full cheesiness of the 70s promotional film vehicle, a sadly lost art form.

Stuart Cowley, who kindly tipped me off about Lisa’s film, had this to say:

Just worth noting this link that has recently appeared on You tube, a compilation of clips of the Bluebirds when they were in the Cliff film in Birmingham back in 73 (released 74)

This has been put together by a Brownhills lass by the name of Lisa Ashby who, I understand, has had nothing to do with the bands over the years but took it on herself to put this together, so on behalf of everyone associated with the Bluebirds at the time I’d just like to say a big thank you.

Just for interest, my memories of the time were:

Audition at Birmingham on a Thursday in August 1973, following Saturday filming from 6 in the morning. All those associated with the filming were gathered in the Victoria square area by the Town Hall.

We did 6 runs of the street parade so that they could take various shots and if anyone is wondering what it was all about, we were part of a promotion for the opening of a new restaurant in the city according to the storyline.

We attended the premiere at the ABC Bristol street Birmingham and the film was released early 1974. I think in the States it was known as ‘Hot property’ over here it was ‘Take me high’.

I’m on the very last row of drummers, kerbside so got about 2 seconds of fame.

Below are links that Wendy Jones has put on You tube, these are behind the scene shots that her dad took at the time:

Thank you again to all involved for the memories.

Stuart Cowley

Please, if you have any memories of this time, or anything to add, you’re very welcome to – either comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com.

Thanks to Lisa for another beautiful piece of work, and to Wendy and Stuart for keeping memories of something special very much alive. This is true local history in action.

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