BBC Scene’s ground-breaking coming out drama for schools was made and screened at the time of Section 28 and was filmed on location in Seaford and the surrounding area. It came at a time when schools couldn’t present or promote gay relationships or ‘a pretend family relationship’, as the clause put it and, as a result, was bold and courageous and proved a lifeline to many.
Facing homophobic abuse, two teens, Matthew (Jason Rush) and Phil (Lee Whitlock), run away to a seaside town (Seaford) joking that they are on honeymoon. But Phil is still torn between his love for his girlfriend, Sharon and his feelings for Matthew.
Sussex Screen recently spoke to the writer Leslie Stewart about his experience of filming in Seaford. He explained why the town was chosen.
“We did it in Seaford because [Producer /Director] Roger Tongue’s parents lived there and he could stay with them. The cast could stay overnight and we could record their stuff in two days. And we cast actors that didn’t mind sharing rooms.”
The location turned out to be a good choice.
“We also found the people there were really friendly. We recruited people. This being the 80s, there was a bloke, a kind of body builder with some girls with big hair and we said, ‘Do you want to be in a film?’ and they said ‘Yeah!’. So, we had them in the background.
“When they dance on the beach, (to Shall We Dance from The King and I) the man and the son watching them were my son Thomas and me. For me that sums it all up. It was like a big family.”
“It was actually a great adventure. So, Seaford is quite precious to me. Because the film process is long and drawn-out, we bonded. In fact, when I was moving two years ago, I looked at Seaford because I had such fond memories of the place.
- Hill Rise – the A259 approach road to Seaford was used for the scenes where the boys are kicked out of the car by the homophobe.
- Martello Tower – the first shot of the sea was taken from there and we see the boys open one of the old beach huts between the Tower and Splash Point and find Suzie.
- Seaford Head was used as the area where the boys camp for the first night and get turfed out by a local copper.
- The gym at Seaford Head Lower School was used for the tent interior shots.
- Hope Gap – Is where the boys put up their tent for the second night and Suzie insists on sharing with them.
- The Salts – Phil phones his mum from a phone box which is no longer there.
- Various scenes were shot on the site of the old Esplanade Hotel (with the Wellington Hotel seen in the distance), Newhaven beach, Seaford and Newhaven Sailing Club and Bonningstedt Promenade were also used.
- Seaford Station was used for the scenes where Sharon arrives, and Phil does or doesn’t depart (depending on what version you watch).
- The Crouch was used for a London set scene, where Sharon is on the swings.
Read our feature on the production and reaction to Two of Us.