Lip Dub Lincoln

Monday 22 July 2013, 12:04

Charlie Partridge Charlie Partridge Managing Editor, Radio Lincolnshire


Cast your mind back to last summer. The build-up to the Olympics, and the astounding crowds coming out to greet the Olympic Torch as it crossed the UK.

In Lincolnshire, like so many other places across the country, the visit of the Torch sparked enormous crowds, and something else: a huge outpouring of community pride. The city of Lincoln on “torch night” was a wonderful place to be. The streets full of smiling people, proud of the show we had put on for the world. For one night only, it felt like a different place. And universally, people were saying to each other “Why can’t it be like this every day?”

Of course it couldn’t. The Olympic Torch was a unique event. But maybe, just maybe, we at BBC Radio Lincolnshire could act as a catalyst for a big event showcasing the historic heart of our city, pooling our civic pride, our local talent and a sense of fun.

That was how Lip Dub Lincoln was born. Simply, a lip dub is a music video, where instead of the original performers; ordinary people take on the role of musicians and singers. Crucially, a real lip dub is filmed in one take, with no editing. The world record lip dub video is a fantastic creation from the USA, celebrating Grand Rapids, Michigan. It’s had more than 5 million hits on You Tube. So, could we do something similar, in Lincoln, UK? Could we use a lip dub to celebrate everything that is good about Lincoln and Lincolnshire?

So, the big question. What would we use as our music? Lincolnshire is not known for its composers. The Lincolnshire Poacher is a good tune, but not quite what we were looking for. Rod Temperton from Cleethorpes  wrote Thriller for Michael Jackson, but there is already a well known video for that. So we finally settled on Take That as a cross generational band with wide appeal, and two great songs Never Forget and Shine.

It’s a big stretch for a local radio station to take on a big job like this. If our plans worked, we’d need to work with hundreds of people right across the historic heart of the city. We’d need to film in high definition in one take across roads, a steep hill (called by happy chance, Steep Hill) through the High Street  shopping centre and up to Lincoln’s magnificent cathedral, all the time playing music LOUDLY. Happily BBC North backed our vision and we were able to work with an independent production company, Rosa Productions, with a wealth of experience in outdoor events and processions.

The heavy lifting in an event like this is in the early organisation. Thanks to Lincoln City Council, we were able to apply for road closures and take on traffic stewards. Lincoln Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter loved the idea, and were happy for us to film the climax of our Lip Dub on the cathedral’s West Front. Lincoln Business Improvement Group were early enthusiasts, but beating everything was the response of Lincoln’s community groups. From the Sea Cadets, to the Cathedral Choir, cricket teams to the local scooter riders the response was positive and enthusiastic.

Maybe we could pull this thing off?

Cut to five o’clock in the morning on 13th July. Early, because we are closing the roads, Saturday because the cathedral would have other things to host on a Sunday.

BBC Radio Lincolnshire's Lip Dub Cast of BBC Radio Lincolnshire's Lip Dub gather to for one of the shots in the 'lip-dub'

In a long multi-coloured string along the city centre from the High Bridge to the Cathedral, performers were gathering and rehearsing their moves. We’d already had two evening rehearsals on the streets, but this was the real thing. A 4x4 vehicle rigged with a special camera rig was waiting to go, with a steadicam man worrying about the light. He needn’t have. It was a glorious morning.

A countdown and we were off, a solo performer with a background of marching Sea Cadets… dancers, shop staff, waiters and waitresses. Then a vintage MG, the Fire Brigade, cyclists and a posse of steam punks. Up Steep Hill, Lincoln City Runners pound the pavement, singing as they go. The Mayor and Sheriff of Lincoln turn out in full regalia. On the radio, Saturday morning presenter Rosie Duffield is fronting a full OB as the filming goes on around her.

And high on Lincoln Cathedral the choir sings the final haunting words of Never Forget

“We've come so far and we've reached so high,
And we've looked each day and night in the eye
And we're still so young and we hope for more”

So did we succeed? Did we film it all in one take? Did we create a buzz about our city?

You’d better take a look, we’re on the BBC YouTube Channel from 7pm on 22 July 2013 straight after the hundreds of performers get their own premiere at Lincoln’s Drill Hall.

But I think we did.

Charlie Partridge is Managing Editor, BBC Radio Lincolnshire.


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