RETRO: Hellraising film star Oliver Reed’s nights of chaos in Doncaster

Oliver Reed and Tony Barton at the relaunch of Clay Lane Social Working Men's Club - 18th December 1990
Oliver Reed and Tony Barton at the relaunch of Clay Lane Social Working Men's Club - 18th December 1990

The news of another fire at a former Doncaster club has sparked memories of the time legendary hellraising actor Oliver reed walked in to the venue, threw a wad of cash on the bar and told the barman: “Buy all the working class pigs a drink!”

The Clay Lane Club, which closed down more than a decade ago, has become a target for arsonsists and the dilapidated building suffered another serious blaze on Sunday.

But locals can still recall the visits the boozy actor to the Shackleton Road club at the height of his hellraising fame when he was never too far away from trouble and the headlines.

We’ve dug into our archives to find this report of the late star’s visit to the club in mid-December 1990.

“Hell-raiser Olllie Reed was boozing with the lads in one of his favourite haunts last night - a humble South Yorkshire club.

“Infamous Ollie sported his old rugby shirt and a Santa hat as one of the guests at the relaunch of Clay Lane Social Working Men’s Club, Doncaster.
“Regulars are used to their colourful drinking mate, for Ollie is an honorary member and often drops in when he is in South Yorkshire.

“He is a pal of comedian David Copperfield, star of TV’s Three of Kind, whose parents live nearby.

“Ollie joined guests including the Stones bitter advert actor Tony Barton for the session, which follows £170,000 worth of refurbishments at the club.
“There was no ‘them and us’ atmosphere from sociable Ollie, who joined regulars for a pint and a chat.

“Some of the members recalled another visit three years ago, when the former wild man of Hollywood had a close shave.

“Members had joked that he looked like a tramp and held him down on the pool table, pulled out razors and gave him an impromptu shave.

“But taking the whole thing in good heart, the scruffy star threw £50 on the bar and told the barman to buy ‘all the northen working class pigs beer all round.’

Last night, with the familiar stubble on his chubby cheeks, the star of numerous films was in good heart, laughing and joking with regulars and builders.

“Ollie’s just that sort of bloke and he’s had a smashing night, just chatting and having a drink with everyone,” said vice president John Taylor.

“It’s been one of our great nights and we’re delighted everything has gone so well.”

“Ollie was more than satisfied with a night well spent.

“Other guests at the official opening of the 1,400 member club included brewery and building officials.”