hottest rocks in Britain are being smuggled by the hottest rockers in Britain'
Sunday 3rd April 1966 Dateline Diamonds goes on general release
Diamonds was mainly conceived by music publisher,
Harold Shampan, as a publicity vehicle for up-and-coming talent. The plot
revolves around smuggling diamonds concealed
inside band demo tape boxes, between Holland and the UK, via the mv
to the Radio London management, of course. The film deserves an Oscar for
containing the longest safe-robbery sequence in the history of film-making.
story apparently caused some suspicion amongst genuine customs officers, perhaps
wondering where such a notion might have originated, and concluding that there
is no smoke without fire! There are reports of increased customs vigilance
over offshore personnel, following the release of Dateline Diamonds,
and of DJs having their tubes of toothpaste squeezed out during inspections.
Sunday, April 3rd, 1966, Dateline Diamonds went on general cinema release,
supporting main feature, Doctor in Clover. It was originally expected to be the support for the latest Norman Wisdom feature The Sandwich Man (see Ben Toney's memoirs) and this was announced as part of a competition to win tickets to the premiere. However, a last-minute change of plan coupled the film with 'Doctor in Clover'.
The film is available on a Renown Pictures DVD, with a sleeve quote taken from this Radio London feature by Mary Payne. The quote is in fact the only place that mention is made of Radio London and its ship. Rather strange, considering that the station was pivotal to what we shall laughingly refer to as the film's plot! The synopsis merely refers to 'an offshore pirate radio station' and the blurb centres around the Small Faces, who really don't appear very much. There is also a track listing of the music performed, which did not appear on the packaging of the earlier release of the film. It would appear that this also came courtesy of our Radio London feature. See enlargement here.
on the photo to buy the DVD.)
they nearly got the film title right. The 'friend' was clearly not
considered sufficiently important for the photographer to take the trouble
to identify him. (From the Francis Pullen archive)
members at the Dateline
Back row, l to r: Kenneth Cope, George Mikell, Conrad Phillips, Anna
Carteret, Burnell Tucker, William Lucas.
Front: In matching dresses, The Chantelles Sandra Orr, Jay Adams
and Riss Long, sit beside Kiki Dee
Lucas Maj. Fairclough
Cope Lester Benson
George Mikell Paul Verlekt
Phillips Tom Jenkins
Rowlands Mrs. Edgecumbe
Tucker Dale Meredith (a fictitious DJ)
Kenny Everett himself (a real DJ!)
Carteret Gay Jenkins
Vanda Godsell Mrs. Jenkins
Gertan Klauber Meyerhof
Doel Luscombe Assistant Commissioner
Peter Zander Spankaren
Geoffrey Lumsden Army Officer
Ronald Bridges Garage Attendant
David Kirk Dock Policeman
brief appearances (some very brief) by Phillip Birch, Earl Richmond, Mich and Ben
Director: Jeremy Summers
Writer: Tudor Gates - based on an idea by Harold Shampan
Producer: Harry Benn
Cinematography: Stephen Dade
Editing: Sidney Stone
Composer: Johnny Douglas
October, 1965, the tug Agama pulls alongside the Galaxy,
while Kiki Dee (wearing a white mac) waits aboard the tender
to its right.
The Small Faces
Ronald Frederick Lane
I've Got Mine
It's Too Late
Come on Children
Don't Stop What You're Doing
available on 'The Ultimate Collection'. Click photo to buy.)
I Think of You
Don't Kiss Me
with other Chantelles tracks on 'Go Girl'. Click photo to buy.)
What 'ma Gonna Do
Anton and Pro Forma (correct name: Pro Form. See FF 080865)
First Taste of Love
Diamonds is an interesting and amusing period piece for Big L fans
(and perhaps for avid admirers of Kiki Dee and the Small Faces).
But as far as Radio London is concerned, all we are given are tantalizing
glimpses of the real thing.
The film is
supposedly about Radio London, and not a fictitious pirate
it mentions the station by name, and incorporates footage taken aboard the
However, there is little in it to represent the station we all knew
and loved. The place where the Chantelles are seen performing in
their matching trouser suits is merely a fantasy
offshore radio studio created at Pinewood
film studios at Denham. It's huge, roomy and
nothing like the cramped conditions on the ships. When land-based characters
turn on their trannies, the sound that comes out bears no resemblance
to Big L or any of the other offshore stations. The movie might have seemed
more realistic had Kenny Everett been given the 'DJ Drew Meredith'
part, instead of a cameo, playing himself.
The performances in the final sequence, by Rey Anton and Pro Form(a),
Mark Richardson and The Small Faces were, however, shot during a
genuine Radio London Night at the Rank Ballroom in Watford.
To the right of the photo, The
trouser suits with matching hats and hair, in triplicate. Beside
them is Phillip
Sales points out: Ship's steward Mitch Philistin
also appears in the "greetings" section when they all arrive
on-board the Galaxy. He is clearly seen,
wearing a steward's uniform, walking down the steps to the main
deck. The DVD reference for this is "The Exchange", and
the time is 28 mins 34 secs".
two of the Radio London Dateline Diamonds supplement contains
the original promotional cinema foyer photos and film poster. Thanks to Brian Long for the other photos, from 'The London Sound'.
Ben Toney's recollections of making the film (with more photos) are here.