When a James Bond star called out the numbers at a South Shields bingo hall
It’s not often that a future Bond star becomes a bingo caller in South Tyneside.
But it happened in 1970 when Eva Rueber-Staier, 1969’s Miss World, paid a fleeting visit to South Shields.
She was calling into the Mecca Social Club in Dean Road to present a cheque for £20 to the South Shields cadet force on behalf of club members.
Eva, who was later seen in the James Bond films The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eyes Only and Octopussy, was also lending a hand in calling the numbers out at a bingo session.
Ernest More, the club’s manager, said at the time: “We tried to get Miss Staier to visit us just after she won the title, but this visit came out of the blue just a week ago.”
Another TV success for Shields man
Meanwhile, South Shields-born novelist and television writer James Mitchell chalked up another success with his television series Callan, starring Edward Woodward in the title role.
Mr Mitchell was named best writer of a series at that year’s Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Awards.
Then living and working in London, Mr Mitchell, a one-time lecturer at South Shields Marine and Technical College, described himself as a craftsman more than an artist.
He said: “I work from 10 in the morning to six at night, with an hour for lunch. If you want to keep up a high output - and these days, I have to - you need to be disciplined.”
Mr Mitchell, also responsible for When The Boat Comes In, died in 2002 at the age of 76.
Chart topper on a visit to Plessey
Another South Tyneside man in the news was pop singer Gerry Monroe who scored five top 40 hits in the UK Singles Chart in 1970-71.
He first starred on Hughie Green’s Opportunity Knocks.
In 1970, Gerry returned to his home in South Shields from London, and popped along to give a performance for former work colleagues at the town’s Plessey Telecommunications factory.
He’d worked at Plessey’s for four years, earning £14 a week, before fame beckoned.
At the time of his visit, his hit single Sally, a version of Gracie Fields’s famous signature tune, was at number 11 in the charts and he was earning an estimated £400 a week.
Gerry, who broke off recording for Top of the Tops to make the visit, told the Gazette: “I was a bit scared, but it was great to be back.”
His last chart hit was the 1972 single Little Drops Of Silver. He died in October 1989 at the age of 59.
Shackleton, McFaul, Frank Clark and Montgomery at La Strada
Elsewhere in the 1970 news, Dorothy Perkins was opening a branch in King Street, South Shields.
All the stars of the North East football world were heading to La Strada in Commercial Road.
It was staging Sports Week’s Personality of the Year’ awards, with footballing guests including Len Shackleton, Frank Clark, Ian McFaul and Jimmy Montgomery.
But if you preferred to go to the pictures, the Gaumont was showing The Legend of the Witches.
What are your memories of 1970? Tell us more by emailing [email protected]