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13 November 2014

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You are in: South Yorkshire > History > Local History > Sheffield: City On the Move... The Reel Monty

Sheffield: City On the Move... The Reel Monty

Remember at the beginning of The Full Monty, the opening titles of 'Sheffield: City On the Move'? It was a promotional film for our Steel City in the 1970s, and for its 40th anniversary in 2008 it's been re-released - as The Reel Monty.

Sheffield in the 1970s: the Hole in the Road

1970s Sheffield: the Hole in the Road

:: October 2008

In 1969 Sheffield City Council took on its first ever publicity officer, a man called Peter Wigley. Peter can be credited with the idea for the 1970s film 'City On the Move' which documented Sheffield in its 'boom and bust' era with the steel industry at its forefront.

The Reel Monty cover

The Reel Monty cover

In October 2008, nearly 40 years after the original 'City On the Move' came out, it was re-released - this time as The Reel Monty (in reference to the global coverage it received after being used at the start of 1997 film The Full Monty).

The Hole in the Road

In the film, Sheffield is depicted as a swinging city of tourism and commerce. It boasts long-gone icons like the Hole in the Road (an award-winning subterranean, pedestrianised area with shops, tropical fish tank and all-weather escalators), The Fiesta nightclub (the biggest in Europe at the time), the Sheffield Show in its heydey, Millhouses Park lido and Park Hill's 'streets in the sky.'

At the time of writing (October 2008) Peter Wigley who was the Council's publicity officer in charge of the commissioning of the film, is now in his seventies and still lives in the city. When the film was launched, Peter spoke of what he hoped the film would achieve: "The viewers might learn that Sheffield is not in the middle of a barren wasteland but on the doorstep of the Peak District National Park.

Fiesta nightclub sign (1970s)

Fiesta nightclub sign (1970s)

"They might learn that it has the cleanest atmosphere of any industrial city in Europe.

"They might be surprised at the extent and variety of the city's parks, at the housing developments, and progress in slum clearance."

The dole years

When the film was first released in the mid-70s, Sheffield WAS a city on the move, with the world in its sights.

But within a few years the booming steel industry ground almost to a halt, nearby pits closed down, and tens of thousands were on the dole.

Interestingly when the film was re-released in autumn 2008 Britain's booming economy was similarly grinding to a halt, and talk of unemployment and recession dominated our TVs and radios.

Image taken from The Full Monty (c)

Scene from The Full Monty

Neil Anderson was involved in the re-release and he sees it as some happy escapism at a time when all we hear about is the Credit Crunch: "The Reel Monty looks like being a massive hit and it's the perfect way to forget the present economic doom and gloom, and reminisce about the happy times of the early seventies."

The Full Monty

But just how did the film make it out of the archives and on to our screens? Neil explains.

"The makers of the film were tracked down in 1997 after a long search, by a film company planning a low budget movie about a bunch of redundant steel workers who turn to stripping for a living.

"Jim and Marie-Luise Coulthard produced and directed the film for Peter Wigley at Sheffield City Council in the 1970s. They were pleased with the film company's interest in the film after all this time, and accepted their £400 offer for the rights to use some of the footage.

Sheaf Markets, Sheffield in the 1970s

Sheaf Markets, Sheffield in the 1970s

"By the time The Full Monty received its fifth Oscar nomination, the couple had helped 20th Century Fox gross over £180 million!"

Also on the re-release DVD is a follow-up film made in the 1980s called 'Sheffield International City,' and a short film by Creative Sheffield called 'Sheffield 2008' which is about the multi-million pound regeneration schemes "making the Steel City a force to be reckoned with on the national and international stage."

In the 1970s it was Peter Wigley for Sheffield City Council... now it's Brendan Moffatt for the agency called 'Creative Sheffield' who is responsible for marketing the city's image:

Peter Wigley and Marie-Luise Culthard with The Reel Monty

Peter Wigley and Marie-Luise Culthard

"This was such a significant film when it was released and it's amazing how many of the messages still ring true 40 years later in 2008 - especially about lifestyle and liveability in the city. It's also true to say that Sheffield in 2008 faces many very different challenges within the global marketplace as it competes for investment."

:: You can buy the DVD direct at The Star shop on York Street, Sheffield, S1 1PU for £12.95, or via The Reel Monty website (link on the right of the page).

last updated: 06/07/2009 at 15:11
created: 17/10/2008

Have Your Say

What are your memories of Sheffield in the 1970s?

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

sharon chishti
attacliffe was my town and were my best friend lived at a shop called norman talors me and her and her brother used to play at the grave yard that has now gone we went to bengeman huntsman graden school i used to love going shoping at banners and got our frist colour tv from there. went a few days back wish it was the same the abc was the were i saw gresae the movie and loved going to the asian picture house the pavion.

Barbara Thompson
I came to Sheffield to study in 1973, and as part of Intro week we were shown the film 'City on the Move'. Anyway, I must have liked the city, because 30-odd years on, I'm still here! Things I remember from the '70s: the Hole in the Road, the fake night sky above the Stonehouse, incredibly cheap bus fares, learning a whole new vocabulary (nesh, causey-edge, jennels ...).

David Williams
I remember it well, I used to drive past the hole in the road on my way to college and went to the Fiesta several times in the days of disco. i have lived in the usa for the past 18 years and in south africa for 10 years prior to that but the memories are still strong. I still miss the place and hope to return soon.

Philip Thornhill
I have just come across a link to Peter Wigley from Sheffield CityCouncil in the 1970's. I was signed on Associate schoolboy football terms with Sheffield United in 1970 on my 14th Birthday. I remember starting to play for the under 18's youth team at the age of 15yrs in 1971. Before I left school in Nottingham in 1972 as an England under 18 International, at the age of 15, I was associated with a bunch of promising and talented lads around 2-3 years older. I signed apprentice forms for Sheffield United in 1972 and within 3 months I had a major injury setback. I spent 2 happy years in Sheffield and I would like to get in touch with any of the lads who were players in the 1971-1974 era. I am also trying to establish whether I was the youngest boy, to represent the NABC under 18 side in 1972, at the age of 15yrs. Can anyone assist me with my enquiries.

Cilvia Marting
I do wish the youth of today were as fond of Coles' Corner as a place to meet their boyfriends and girlfriends... But alas it is a time gone by. In any case, people would call it "HSBC Corner" or "Starbucks Corner" now.

Andrea Hughes
I remember the Hole In The Road from the early '70's, I left school in 1973 and quite often used the fishtank in the Hole In The Road to meet people at lunch or in the evening,as it was a well known spot.I met my first boyfriend Chris Hallatt there in 1975 on our first date, it would be nice to hear from him if he's on any of the social networking sites for old times sake as we've all moved on I think in thirty years! I also remember being taken out for a meal at Davys Restaurant over the Yorkshire Bank buildings on Fargate, that would be around 1972,and shopping for fresh turkey at Christmas with my dad in the Sheaf and Castle Markets

Hope Badger Hemsley Eddy Colquhoun Flynn Woodward Salmons Dearden Currie Reece.A quality goal from a quality player.Fox Street, Pitsmoor. Pye Bank, Herries.No Meadowhell, Steelworks, 2p on the FULL bus. City Hall gigs & the Wapentake

Ron Lewis
In 1973 I was a young airman in the USAF stationed at RAF Alconbury Huntingdon, England and on a blind date, I met this young lady from Sheffield. We started dating she moved to Cambridge but later returned to Sheffield. I would leave Huntingdon and travel by train to Sheffield. I remember seeing the hole in the road for the first time and thought it was pretty cool. I remember the Fiesta. I thought Sheffield was cool coming from a small town in the had alot to offer. We contined to date, got engraged, got married in 1975 and have remained married for 33 years. I have seen the good and bad in Sheffield but I still think Sheffield is pretty cool. I would love to come back more but it is expensive.

the hole in the road was good but it did smell a bit of wee.

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