Richard Gere, hollywood legend, has apologised to Stalybridge after he appeared in the war film "Yanks" in Tameside nearly 40 years ago, and was said to be less than impressed with his surroundings.
In an interview to promote his new blockbuster he was taken to task by BBC Breakfast presenter Louise Minchin, The TV presenter asked:
“You said Stalybridge was one of the worst town’s you visited. One of our viewers said if you apologise, he’ll watch your movie.”
Gere replied: “I never would have said that… one of the most beautiful villages I have been in in my entire life.”
The war drama Yanks brought Gere to Tameside - filming in Stalybridge, plus Oldham and Glossop in the summer of 1978.
The movie tells the story of American soldiers based in the North of England during the later stages of World War Two and their relationship with the locals.
Also starring Lisa Eichhorn, Vanessa Redgrave, it shows familiar landmarks including Stalybridge town centre, Stamford Golf Club and St Paul’s Church, as well as Hyde Town Hall.
The area might not have made a big impression on Gere at the time, but the film certainly put Stalybridge and Tameside on the map and is fondly remembered.
In 2014, local history buffs collected together memorabilia including the original script, stills from the film and signed photographs of the stars for a special exhibition to mark the 35th anniversary of its release.
Mark Sheppard, from Stalybridge Historical Society, told the MEN at the time: “I don’t know where that rumour [about Gere’s comments] came from.
“Vanessa Redgrave said at the time that people here were some of the nicest she’d ever met!”