James Bond actor in Doncaster today to film fight scenes

The cigarette butts lie in the ashtray in the smoke filled bar, as the barmaid, hair crimped, looks into the distance.

By David Kessen
Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 4:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 12:01 pm

In the corner of the room, men with moustaches and mullets are among a group now exchanging punches under the red disco lights.

This looks like a scene straight from Doncaster in the 1980s – but this is Wood Street, this afternoon.

That is because the Diamond Live Lounge has been transformed this week after a film crew moved into the bar to work on a project that is said to be attracting interest from Netflix and FilmFour.

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Filming a fight scene at today for the film Dixies in Doncaster town centre

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Filming involving James Bond actor takes place in Doncaster - in pictures

A cast made up of national actors and keen local amateurs has been filming for the last few days, putting together a film based on the the 1980s Doncaster venue Dixies Bar, once just around the corner from the Doncaster Free Press’ offices on Sunny Bar.

It is part of a project put together by film producers Robert Hartburn and Kerry Newton.

Robert’s dad ran Dixies back in the 80s, and he wanted to do a film based around his dad’s venue of the 80s. Robert plays the part of his dad.

They are hoping that the flim that they have put together will be the pilot for a television series.

Kerry, also who plays a barmaid in the film, had spent the morning getting Whitney Houston-style 1980s making up done, for a production set in 1985 – the era of the miners strike.

“Dixies was in the centre of Doncaster, near the market,” she said. “The film is about opening night, after David put his heart and soul into it.”

But there is drama and death in the film, which touches the world of bare knuckle fighting, in a plot loosely based on Rob’s dad’s experiences of running a town centre bar in the 1980s.

“We’re putting it together as a pilot, as there will be questions still to be answered at the end,” she said. “There has been interest from FilmFour and Netflix, but they need to see the whole thing first. We are looking to take it to film festivals too, which we hope will generate a lot of interest. It is getting made, and we are waiting to see where it is shown.”

Many of the extras and the cast are from Doncaster, after Robert put out an appeal for people to come forward.

It also has involvement of industry experts including stunt man Adam Collins, a veteran of James Bond and Mission Impossible films. He is the fight coordinator, and plays an acting role as one of the key cast members as David’s best friend in the film.

Kerry said a lot of work had gone into the period detail on the set, down to the William Shakespeare £20 notes on the bar and the period adverts on the walls.

Many of those involved are Doncaster residents who have not appeared in films before.

Among them is 35-year-old former boxer Matty Omar. His usual job is running a fencing company, but he has known Rob a long time and worked with him in the past.

“I’ve been a boxer but I retired,” he said. “I think Rob knew I’d be good in the fight scenes. I’ve really enjoyed it and today was my fourth day on set. We’ve filmed here, but also outside in Rossington.”

His wife Vicky, also 35, has been an extra, donning 1980s clothes. She sat alongside another extra, 22-year-old Amber Hunter, who said she was not born in the era when the film was set.

Also getting a job as an extra was former Doncaster Free Press ad sales executive John Bognar, from Bessacarr. The 46-year-old helped with the atmosphere of the club by bringing his own 1980s disco equipment, which he used as a young DJ in the 80s.

He went to school with Rob’s sister. “He was looking for extras and I said I’d do it,” said John, who took time off work to work on the project ,and grew his previously shaven hair into a 1980s style. “When he heard I had the 80s turntables, he said ‘bring them’.

“I DJed in the late 80s at the Ritzy in Silver Street aged 16, and at the McAuley School parties. It’s great to see local talent nurtured.”