Filming starts in Rhyl on movie based on band's hoax

Image caption, The film will also document The Alarm frontman Mike Peters's battle with leukaemia

Filming is starting on a movie based on the story of how a punk rock band fooled the music industry with a "hoax" video.

In an effort to expose ageism within the industry, 1980s band The Alarm recorded a comeback single in 2004 but recruited a young local band to release it under the name of The Poppyfields.

The single, called 45 RPM, entered the charts at number 24.

The film, called Vinyl, is being partly shot in Rhyl, Denbighshire.

Director Sara Sugarman, who is originally from the north Wales town and also directed Very Annie Mary, flew in from Los Angeles last month and held open auditions for local people to take part.

The film will focus on the music "swindle", which was thought up because The Alarm found their music was never given airplay on "younger and mainstream" radio stations.

But it will also tell the story of the band's frontman Mike Peters's battle with leukaemia and his and wife Jules's efforts to have a baby through IVF treatment.

Mrs Peters told BBC Wales' James McLaren that Vinyl had been "a few years in the making" after Hollywood scriptwriter, Jim Cooper, picked up on the story when it hit the headlines in the USA.

"Mike and I first met Jim (an Alarm fan) whilst we were living in LA a few years ago. It's taken passion and belief to develop the script, especially after Sara Sugarman was brought in to the project," she said.

"Sara was living in LA working as a director and ironically had grown up with Mike in Rhyl, having also been a big Alarm fan, so we were thrilled when she was introduced to the project by Shrek Producer, John H Williams."

She said the band decided to run the stunt to expose ageism in the music industry

Highlight ageism

"The Alarm have been in existence for 30 years and whilst the loyalty of the fan base increases year by year, the music industry is extraordinarily fickle towards stalwart bands like The Stranglers, The Alarm or Stiff Little Fingers who have huge followings but don't necessarily get played on Radio 1, or other mainstream media," she said.

"I think Mike wanted to highlight the ageism of the media and this is exactly what happened. We brought a young band to lip-synch, made a video and hey presto, all the radio stations were playing 45 RPM."

Mrs Peters said Vinyl is being filmed until September before it goes into edit.

"Sara is extremely passionate about the project as it is about her home town of Rhyl and so we are all very proud that we have reached this position of bringing Hollywood to north Wales," she added.

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