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Video: Lowestoft Theatretrain youngsters impress Dan Hawkins and Ed Graham from The Darkness

PUBLISHED: 14:56 18 October 2013 | UPDATED: 14:56 18 October 2013

Dan Hawkins and Ed Graham, from The Darkness, who were back in Lowestoft earlier this month at the recording, as Lowestoft Theatretrain sing on the band's re-release of ‘Don’t Let The Bells End’. Pictures: LOWESTOFT THEATRETRAIN

Dan Hawkins and Ed Graham, from The Darkness, who were back in Lowestoft earlier this month at the recording, as Lowestoft Theatretrain sing on the band's re-release of ‘Don’t Let The Bells End’. Pictures: LOWESTOFT THEATRETRAIN

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A decade ago, they came within a few thousand copies of scoring a coveted Christmas number one.

The original picture sleeve for The Darkness's single Christmas Time which reached the number 2 spot a decade ago.The original picture sleeve for The Darkness's single Christmas Time which reached the number 2 spot a decade ago.

But Lowestoft rockers The Darkness could soon be taking another shot at hitting the top of the charts over the festive season – with a little help from a group of talented youngsters.

The band’s tilt at reaching number one in 2003 with Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End), just fell short when it peaked at number two, losing out to Mad World by Gary Jules and Michael Andrews.

However, it appears the group could be about to release a new version of the song in America, with some extra vocal support.

Earlier this month, at a special recording at the Seagull Theatre in Pakefield, two of the members of The Darkness – Dan Hawkins and Ed Graham – returned to Lowestoft to team up with the Theatretrain choir.

Justin Hawkins, lead singer of The Darkness, in the original video for the band's single Christmas Time which reached the number 2 spot a decade ago.Justin Hawkins, lead singer of The Darkness, in the original video for the band's single Christmas Time which reached the number 2 spot a decade ago.

After the recording session, Dan tweeted: “Just recorded Lowestoft Seagull Theatretrain kids choir for upcoming release. Very talented kids indeed. Great to be back @ The Seagull too!”

Sarah Roat, the director of Theatretrain Lowestoft, said The Darkness had approached her singing teacher Katrina Richards because they wanted children to sing on their upcoming release.

She said they had been sworn to secrecy which meant that the 15-strong choir, whose members are aged between nine and 16, only found out about their performance on the morning of the recording.

She said: “It was very exciting. We asked the children to come in a little bit early on the day because we had something special planned. That was all we said. They arrived and kept asking us ‘What is it?’.

VOCAL SUPPORT: Dan Hawkins, far right, and Ed Graham of The Darkness with youngsters from Lowestoft Theatretrain who were asked to sing on the band's re-release of ‘Don’t Let The Bells End’.   Picture: LOWESTOFT THEATRETRAINVOCAL SUPPORT: Dan Hawkins, far right, and Ed Graham of The Darkness with youngsters from Lowestoft Theatretrain who were asked to sing on the band's re-release of ‘Don’t Let The Bells End’. Picture: LOWESTOFT THEATRETRAIN

“When Katrina announced it to everyone, the room fell silent and when The Darkness actually got into the room I think they realised that these people were professional and it was very exciting.”

She added: “They were very down to earth. Dan particularly was really good with the children and they have all got a sense of humour too, which helps when you are working with children.”

Dan and Ed, who both went to Kirkley High School, visited Theatretrain at the Seagull Theatre on October 5.

In the original festive hit 10 years ago, the backing vocals were provided by the school choir from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Hatcham College, in New Cross, south-east London, which Justin and Dan’s mother once attended.

The latest development comes as Dan, Ed and their fellow band-members – Dan’s brother Justin and Frankie Poullain – prepare for their first-ever hometown shows at The Aquarium on Claremont Pier on December 18-19.

Yesterday, a spokesman for The Darkness, who re-formed in 2011 after a five-year break, said he could not confirm if or when the new version of Christmas Time might be released.

■ Theatretrain Lowestoft caters for youngsters aged between eight and 16 who are interested in singing, dancing or acting. For more information, contact Sarah Roat on 07828 894077.

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