Manfreds fans get set to appear in film

Just over 100 of the keenest Manfreds fans will be in a theatre in Bungay later this month, becoming part of the band's history as the first ever live Manfreds film is made.

They'll be singin' Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do, snappin' their fingers and shuffling' their feet, singin' Do wah diddy diddy dum diddy do…

Just over 100 of the keenest Manfreds fans will be in a theatre in Bungay later this month, becoming part of the band's history as the first ever live Manfreds film is made. And they will be coming from as far afield as Norway to see the musicians who had some of the biggest hits of the Sixties.

Manfred Mann gained fame in 1964 with the Ready Steady Go theme 5-4-3-2-1, and had a number one hit with Do Wah Diddy Diddy, with Paul Jones as the lead singer. When he left, Mike D'Abo stepped in to replace him, and the band continued to be successful, scoring a number one hit with Bob Dylan's song Mighty Quinn. Other hits included Pretty Flamingo; Sha La La; Fox on the Run; Come Tomorrow; and If You Gotta Go, Go Now - tunes we can still sing along to 40 years later.

In 1992, they re-formed as the Manfreds, without Manfred Mann himself but with both Paul Jones and Mike D'Abo as well as founding member Mike Hugg and Tom McGuiness, a Manfred Mann member from 1964 to 1969 who found further fame with McGuiness Flint.

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Fans can buy one DVD of a Manfred Mann EP made in 1968, but the new one, due out early next year, will be the first Manfreds DVD. It will also include a performance by the Blues Band - who have been together since 1979 and share several members with the Manfreds - filmed in the same venue the following night. So why was Bungay chosen above, say, the Albert Hall or Wembley Arena?

The answer is partly that the Fisher Theatre was the perfect venue, but also a Suffolk connection. Promoters East Central One and BPA Live, which are working together on the DVD, are both based in the county.

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Helen Milner, of East Central One, said: "We thought we could promote this and make the DVD all in Suffolk. The theatre was a perfect size and it was good for the filming side. We know there are fans in the area, and it was not too far for fans to come from London."

There are just 118 tickets for the concert on November 27, as the Fisher Theatre's capacity of 260 is reduced by the demands of filming. So far, the gig has only been advertised on the Manfreds website in order to attract the biggest fans, and last night there were just 15 tickets left.

Chris Moore, general manager of the Fisher Theatre, said: "We have got people coming from Norway, and half a dozen coming from Glasgow. They are flying down to Norwich, coming here and flying back to Glasgow the next morning. The Manfreds have a lot of fans in the Midlands so we have quite a few coming from Birmingham, too.

"They clearly want to be part of the DVD. They also want to be at such an intimate gig. They are doing other dates but it won't be as intimate by a mile. They are playing at the [Birmingham] NEC in December."

It will be the first time there has been filming at the 19th-century theatre, which reopened last year after a chequered history as a corn hall, cinema, furniture warehouse and army surplus store. Mr Moore said that its design, including the boxes at the back, made it perfect for filming performances and he hoped the film would be the first of many made there.

Call the box office 01986 897130 from 11am for tickets, price £20.

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