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Skid Kids

An interesting film popped up recently on Talking Pictures TV [Sky 343 and Freview 81]. "Skid Kids" was a 1953 Children's Film Foundation production set in the world of Cycle Speedway.

The Burton Bullets are a pedal-powered team in South East London who take on local rivals such as the Bermondsey Greyhounds. The tracks are constructed on bomb sites, of which there was no shortage in London due to world events a few years earlier. The tracks aren't as smooth as the ones the cycle boys race on these days, containing more than a few bumps and hazards.

The film is very much of the "Boy's Own" variety, featuring some bike thefts, kidnapping and friendly local bobbies.

Thankfully, "Swanky" Clarke (skipper of the Bullets) and his chums are able to thwart the dastardly deeds. He combines this with some inspirational track performances, all the while maintaining a polite respect for his elders.

Barry McGregor played "Swanky". The film was based on a story by Jack Howells and directed by Don Chaffey.

It's bound to be shown again soon. Definitely worth a look, though it's firmly aimed at the younger viewer.

Here are a selection of pictures from the film. Click on the image to see it in a larger size.


This article was first published on 15th January 2017

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