Back in 2008, when choosing Downtown by Petula Clark as a Sunday music video, I wrote:
The second reason for choosing it is that it gives me the chance to retail my anecdote about The Day That Petula Clark Phoned Me.
It must have been about 10 years ago, when I was acting as press officer for the Malcolm Saville Society. The Society was planning a visit to West End Farm at Wheathampstead, because that was where the film Trouble at Townsend, based on a book by Saville and starring a very young Petula Clark, was made in 1946. Thanks to the Society, incidentally, you can now buy a DVD of the film.
Anyway, before the visit I drafted a release about it for the local papers and decided it would look better with a quote from Petula Clark. So I found an e-mail address for her agent and dropped him a line.
A couple of weeks later my mobile went at work and a voice said "Hello, this is Petula Clark."
I can therefore boast that I have told Petula Clark what a great record I think "Downtown" is - surely one of the things everyone should do before they die? It may not have been the most tactful thing to say - her reply was "I have made other records, you know" - but I am glad I did it.This clip from Trouble at Townsend has now turned up on Youtube. It is not typical of the whole film, which was an adventure story designed to educate city children about how to behave in the country - I have a feeling it even received some government funding. But I am told that, when a bootleg copy was shown at an annual gathering of the Malcolm Saville Society, this scene brought the house down.
You can now buy a legitimate copy of the film from the society - it comes with Treasure at the Mill on the same disc.
Petula Clark, of course, went on to great things. Her young co-star David Lees was never heard of again, but he could have been huge.