‘Baskeyfield VC’ – buy the movie!

If you’re looking for a present for someone this year, you could consider a movie made by a Draycott man.
Yes:  Bill Townley, who lives in Cresswell, made a film many years ago – and it’s now out on DVD, digitally remastered, and available for purchase.

Baskeyfield VC – the movie

Back in the 1960s, Bill wanted to make a tribute to Sergeant Jack Baskeyfield, the Potteries soldier who courageously held off a German advance single-handedly in World War Two.  The soldier stayed where he was until he was killed.  For his bravery, he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

Bill’s feeling that this brave man deserved tribute came to fruition in the making of an amateur film – ‘Baskeyfield VC’. Using his home-movie camera, and borrowing actors and props as best he could, he filmed the story of the whole incident – battlefield and all!

Baskeyfield film reunion

In 1979, the cast got together for a reunion. Bill Townley, centre left, is next to Richard Cresswell, who played Baskeyfield in the film.

The best story of his efforts is the one he tells in which he persuaded some people drinking at the local Izaak Walton pub in Cresswell to come out into the fields, and dress up as soldiers for some scenes!

BBC News also reported the story: click here for the article.

English: Statue of John Baskeyfield VC at Fest...Bill’s movie contributed to a feeling that Baskeyfield should be properly honoured in the city -and a statue of Sergeant Jack now stands in the Etruria Festival Park (see picture, right).

DVD release

This year, in October, Bill himself, who is now 85, was honoured at the Stoke Film Theatre with a special screening of the movie, which has been digitally remastered by the Staffordshire Film Archive.

As part of that same evening, other films by Bill were shown.
As well as those, a newly-made documentary about the making of the movie – in which Bill reflects back over the fun and the difficulties in its making – was also shown.  The documentary is called ‘Labour Of Love’.

Now, the original movie and the new documentary are both featured on the one DVD, which is for sale for £12.99.  The DVD has the complete film, plus the making-of-the-film documentary, the film’s trailer and a photo gallery, plus scans of the original storyboards.
To find out more about the DVD and how to buy it, click here .

Among the participants, older people will recognise some well-known local names: for a full run-down of the actors and crew, click here

Do you have history stories that you think residents would like to see up on this website? If so – email us

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