Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush A 1967 coming-of-age movie about a 17 year-old grammar school sixth former, Jamie McGregor, a teenager living in the new town of Stevenage in the late Sixties, eager for his first sexual encounter. Stevenage was the first British post-war town and there were around 30 such 'new' towns being built in Britain at the time. Author Hunter Davis' novel, first published by Heinemann in 1965, was actually set in Cumbria. However, director Clive Donner wanted to set the filming within 30 miles of London as he would have had to pay the crew overnight allowances for filming further than 30 miles outside of the capital. Donner had already found box office success with another 'youth' film 'Some People'. It's interesting to note that Hunter met Paul McCartney in order to discuss the possibility of Paul writing the movie's theme song. While they were talking about it, Hunter asked if he would be able to write a biography of The Beatles. Since so much inaccurate information about the group had been published, Paul liked the idea and suggested he ask their manager Brian Epstein, which he did, resulting in him becoming The Beatles' official biographer. It has been said that Hunter was inspired by J. D .Salinger's 'The Catcher in the Rye' when he wrote it and Hunter also penned the movie script.

The film featured songs by a relatively new group from Birmingham, 'The Spencer Davis Group', who also appear in the film performing in a scene set in a Stevenage church social. The title song was performed by 'Traffic', who comprised Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Dave Mason. The album 'Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush' by The Spencer Davis Group / Traffic, was released in 1968 on United Artists UAS 5175. The tracks include the title song 'Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush' by Traffic, who also perform 'Utterly Simple' and 'Am I What I Was I Was I What I Am'. Andy Ellison provided 'It's Been A Long Time' and the rest of the tracks were performed by The Spencer Davis Group:- 'Taking Out Time', 'Every Little Thing', 'Virginals Dream', 'Looking Back', 'Picture of Her', 'Just Like Me', 'Waltz For Caroline' and 'Possession'. Paul McCartney commissioned footage of Traffic performing the number which he considered including in the Beatles film 'Magical Mystery Tour'. It ended up on the cutting room floor but was later included on the 2012 DVD Blue Ray release of the 'Magical Mystery Tour' film.

In the movie, Jamie delivers groceries for a local supermarket on Saturdays, but his entire focus is on losing his virginity, resulting in his dating a series of girls. Although his dream girl is the beautiful blonde Mary Gloucester (Judy Geeson), the self-conscious youth believes she's out of his league and, instead, dates a girl called Linda (Adrienne Posta) who is rather vacuous. He drops her when he spots Mary at a bus stop. His next date is with a churchgoing girl called Paula (Sheila White), who encourages him to take part in a church social in which he ends up playing the King of the Fairies in a play for children. After noticing Mary in a car with a man, Jamie teams up with some mates to visit a gambling club where he meets Caroline (Angela Scoular), an upper-class, spoilt girl who offers to teach him golf. He is invited to spend the weekend at her house where he encounters her father, who is an alcoholic, and her mother who is a snob. In the night, after fantasising that he and Caroline are naked, he creeps into Caroline's room, but she passes out on him. His next brief affair is with Audrey (Vanessa Howard), who invites him to a party where he finally loses his virginity with her. He notices Mary at the party, drops Audrey and walks home with Mary, who tells him she has always fancied him, so they make a date for the next day when they decide to spend the weekend together at the coast. The couple make love and go skinny-dipping, but Jamie becomes despondent when one of her old boyfriends turns up and Mary tells Jamie that although she likes him, she wants to be free to go out with other men. The girl who seemed to be his ideal now seems to be something of a flirt and he begins to lose interest.

Together with his friend Spike, Jamie wins a place at university, although Mary fails the exams. Jamie learns that Mary's friend Claire (Diane Keen) will be going to his university and he realises that he is attracted to her. The film features several mini-skirted dolly birds in 'Swinging London' fashions, by Ossie Clarke and Foale & Tuffin, and contains rather awful lines such as "This is how the world ends, not with a bang but with a Wimpy" and "What about the starving goats in China? Don't they matter?". There are scenes in which the character of Jamie talks to the camera, similar to Michael Caine in 'Alfie', plus dream sequences in which he imagines himself as a 'James Bond' character. Labour M.P. Steve Pound was to reveal he appeared in the movie, commenting, "I appear twice in this film. Once at the then Stevenage Locarno where I am seen in the crowd watching The Spencer Davis Group, and latterly as a nimble bus driver - with the sun glinting on my flowing auburn locks, a fag in my mouth and a copy of 'Labour Weekly' sticking out of my back pocket".
Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush

Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush Barry Evans was having a relationship with Judy Geeson at the time of filming. Evans had been abandoned as a baby and became a Barnardo's orphan. He was to win a Gielgud Scholarship to The Central School of Speech and Drama. However, his acting skills were never really tested as he was typecast as a rather bland, but pleasant young man in an all too brief acting career. He starred in the 1969 London Weekend Television series 'Doctor in the House' and its follow-up 'Doctor at Large'. He also featured in the popular TV sitcom 'Mind Your Language'. Ironically, he starred in the 1976 film 'Adventures of a Taxi Driver' and was later to end up working as a mini-cab driver in Leicester.

He had been unemployed when police found him dead in his bungalow, in February 1996, in suspicious circumstances - he had been struck by a blow to the head. He was cremated, but his ashes subsequently disappeared and their whereabouts are unknown. Tragedy was also to stalk the life of Angela Scoular, who appeared with Evans in 'Adventures of a Taxi Driver'. She also played Bond girls in 'Casino Royale' and 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'. Angela married actor Leslie Phillips but was beset by depression and slashed her wrists in a suicide attempt. She also suffered from colorectal cancer and died in April 2011 after drinking acid drain cleaner which she had also poured over her body. The coroner established that she had been on medication for bipolar disorder, was an alcoholic and suffered from depression over financial debts.

Cast: Barry Evans as Jamie McGregor, Judy Geeson as Mary Gloucester, Angela Scoular as Caroline Beauchamp, Sheila White as Paula, Adrienne Posta as Linda, Vanessa Howard as Audrey, Maxine Audley as Mrs. Beauchamp, Denholm Elliott as Mr. Beauchamp
Moyra Fraser as Mrs. McGregor, Michael Bates as Mr. McGregor, Diane Keen as Claire, Christopher Timothy as Spike, Nicky Henson as Craig Foster, Allan Warren as Joe McGregor, Roy Holder as Arthur, George Layton as Gordon, Christopher Mitchell as Tony
Angela Pleasence as Scruffy Girl, Marianne Stone as Mrs. Kelly. The sailing scenes at the 'Botel' were filmed on Grafham Water, Cambridgeshire.


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Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.


Article Bill Harry 2017               Original Graphics SixtiesCity 2017

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