I found myself standing with Ken Russell and Oliver Reed

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Controversial film director Ken Russell’s death last month reminded me of that day in 1974 when South Parade Pier went up in smoke during the filming of the rock opera Tommy.

I was driving past and stopped to take photographs and as I stood on the Esplanade, I realised I was watching the fire next to Ken Russell on my right and Oliver Reed on my left.

I turned to Russell and said something along the lines of: ‘Goodness me, this is a bit of a disaster.’

To which Russell responded: ‘I know, I’m going to have to find another set.’

Another memory from the time is that Jon Isherwood, who was then working as a disc jockey, lost all his equipment and record collection in the blaze.