Rita works in the cloakroom of the Casino, and hasn't been on the ballroom floor since the days when it was called the Wigan Empress. But then Frank starts calling.
Between 1973 and 1981 Wigan Casino was arguably the ultimate venue for Northern Soul music. Young people from all over the UK regularly made the trek to Wigan to dance to the latest Northern Soul artists. Queues to get in were sometimes five or six people deep, and stretched quite a way up the road. The highlight was the weekly all-nighter, with Russ Winstanley as DJ, which traditionally ended with three songs that became known as the Three Before Eight: "Time Will Pass You By" by Tobi Legend, "Long After Tonight Is Over" by Jimmy Radcliffe and "I'm On My Way" by Dean Parrish.
These three specially-commissioned stories by Laura Barton (herself from Wigan) hark back to a time when the town threw off the image created by George Orwell and the Casino was voted 'Best Disco In the World' by American Billboard Magazine.
Laura Barton was born in Lancashire in 1977. She is a freelance writer of features and music columns, notably 'Hail, Hail, Rock 'n' Roll' for the Guardian. Her first story for radio, The Carpenter, was broadcast in 2009 as part of Sweet Talk's We Are Stardust, We Are Golden series for BBC Radio 4. Twenty-One Locks, her debut novel, was published in 2010. Laura lives in London.
Written by Laura Barton. Read by Melanie Kilburn.
Producer: Jeremy Osborne
A Sweet Talk Production for BBC Radio 4.