Oyez, oyez, star turn for John

John Stevens at the premiere of Metro the Musical.
John Stevens at the premiere of Metro the Musical.
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HE may be well known to the townsfolk of Alnwick but common bellman John Stevens is now a regional celebrity following his star turn in a special musical.

Tyne and Wear Metro the Musical, which has been produced by composer Benjamin Till, celebrates 30 years of the Tyne and Wear Metro and features viewers and listeners in stations and on trains telling their stories to music with plenty of dancing. It had its premiere last night at the Sage in Gateshead and it was relayed on BBC’s Look North bulletin live at 6.30pm.

The musical, aside from hosting a wealth of North East singing talent, is very funny in its wry and affectionate look at the Metro and the people that use it.

And Alnwick’s very own town crier does a great job representing north Northumberland with a special solo line of his own, with his distinctive outfit making him hard to miss.

After the premiere, which was attended by more than 300 people, John said that he was quite emotional and wasn’t sure whether he was laughing or crying.

BBC’s Head of Region for the North East and Cumbria, Phil Roberts. said: “This was a great opportunity for BBC Newcastle and BBC Look North audiences to be part of something special and unique to this region.

“Most of us will use the Metro at some point, so it was fitting that we celebrated this milestone and its significance to our listeners and viewers.”

Broadcasts of the musical will also be shown across Newcastle and Sunderland tomorrow (Saturday, March 26) at the following locations between 10am and 4pm: Tyneside Cinema, John Lewis, Eldon Square, Newcastle City Library and Haymarket Metro station in Newcastle; Gateshead Library and the MetroCentre; and Sunderland City Library and the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland.

A DVD of Tyne & Wear Metro the Musical is also available - copies can be pre-ordered now via bbc.co.uk/tyne and bbc.co.uk/wear. Each DVD costs £10 including postage and packing and £5 from each sale will go straight to Children in Need.

The musical is also available to watch on the BBC website (link to the right of this story).