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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 February, 2003, 16:36 GMT
Geordie film more glitz than grit
Patsy Kensit and Michael Hodgson
Patsy Kensit put on weight to play the part of Stella

Stars of the latest Brit-flick stepped onto the red carpet in Newcastle on Tuesday for the charity première of The One and Only.

An array of soap stars braved freezing weather and joined cast members to watch the romantic comedy, starring Justine Waddell and Richard Roxburgh, set mainly on the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead.

The One and Only is more glitzy than gritty and portrays Newcastle in a style unseen in the dour down-on-its-luck dramas of the past.

Unlike the "it's grim up north" theme of films like Get Carter, and more recently, Purely Belter, the film paints a contemporary version of the city.

Directed by Simon Cellan Jones, it focuses on a Stevie (Waddell) who is married to flamboyant Newcastle United footballer Andrea Bufflini (Jonathan Cake).

She falls in love at first sight with kitchen fitter Neil (Roxburgh), but is already pregnant by her adulterous husband.

To complicate matters, Neil and his partner Jenny have just adopted five-year-old African orphan Mgala, to rekindle their ailing relationship.

Geordie accents

But within hours of Mgala's arrival, Jenny is killed in a freak traffic accident with a bread van, leaving the way open for the path of true love to run not-so-smoothly.

The romantic comedy raises laughs thanks to a good script from Peter Flannery, writer of television drama Our Friends In The North.

Teesside-born actor Michael Hodgson shines as the offal-eating Stan who wins the heart of Stevie's sassy best friend Stella (Pasty Kensit) with a quick roll in the aisles at Asda.

But the charming comedy is let down with a lack of chemistry between the two main characters, despite both putting in good individual performances, if slightly lifeless in parts.

Criticism has also been levelled at the less-than-convincing Geordie accents sported by some of the cast.

Donna Air
Donna Air has a small cameo role

Producer Leslee Udwin (East is East) said it was a deliberate move to appeal to a wider audience.

She said: "They're not authentic accents, and we can't pretend that won't be obvious to people from Tyneside.

"For that we're sorry. But we believe that you can either please the local people and lose an international audience, or tone things down a bit and make it accessible to everyone."

Kensit told BBC News Online that she had a slight advantage when it came to capturing the Geordie twang.

She said: "We had an amazing voice coach but I have to admit to a bit of private tuition too as my children's nanny is a Geordie.

"She gave me a lot of tips.

"Newcastle looks absolutely beautiful and I think it is the real star of the film."

'Realistic portrayal'

Hodgson said it was nerve-racking showing the UK première in front of a home crowd.

"I thought it went down very well, people laughed in all the right places

"It is a very tight film, its quick and the soundtrack is great.

"It was a bit nervewracking being up in he north-east for the première, but I had seen it before so I knew what to expect."

Newcastle-born actress Donna Air plays a small cameo role in the film as a brainless beautician who spends her spare time playing footsie with Stevie's husband.

She said: "It was great being back up here again and the end result was a convincing and realistic portrayal of what Newcastle is like today."

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