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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 September 2005, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
'Who loves ya Brum?', says Kojak
BBFC board for Telly Savalas looks at Birmingham (copyright Richard Jeffs)
Eyebrows were raised at the involvement of Telly Savalas
A long-forgotten film in which the late Hollywood actor Telly Savalas extolled Birmingham's virtues has resurfaced.

Telly Savalas Looks at Birmingham was posted on the website Birmingham: It's Not S***, after a contributor mentioned the 25-minute film's existence.

The star of Kojak raised eyebrows when he agreed to take part in 1979.

In the film, Mr Savalas claims to have "dallied in Dale End", "rambled through Rackhams" department store and "browsed in Bull Street".

It was commissioned to meet a quota of domestic films that distributors had to include in British cinemas, and ran as part of supporting programmes throughout the nation in 1981-2.

The first time I watched it I nearly wet myself laughing
Jon Bounds

The viewer is taken on a tour taking in Spaghetti Junction, the old Bull Ring shopping centre and the canal network.

Landmarks now considered an embarrassment by city fathers are lauded in the film.

Birmingham New Street station is vaunted as "a modern rail terminal".

Even the inner ring road, which developers have since denounced as a "concrete collar" hindering city centre planning, is hailed as "revolutionary".

Telly Savalas
Telly Savalas is best remembered as 70s TV detective Kojak

"You feel as if you've been projected into the 21st Century," says Mr Savalas, before signing off: "Yes, it's my kinda town. So long, Birmingham. Here's looking at ya."

Jon Bounds, who set up Birmingham: It's Not S***, tracked down the film to the man who owns the copyright, Richard Jeffs, who got it from late film producer Harold Baim.

He told BBC News: "Richard had seen my site and liked it, and was happy to let us show the film.

"The juxtaposition between this legendary tough guy and old scenes of Birmingham is really great.

Still from Telly Savalas Looks at Birmingham (copyright Richard Jeffs)
Birmingham: Telly Savalas' kinda town

"To hear Kojak claimed he 'dallied in Dale End' is priceless. The first time I watched it I nearly wet myself laughing.

"Obviously, Birmingham has changed for the better since then."

Mr Jeffs said if there is enough interest he will release the film on DVD.

"I'm a proud Brummie and it's one of those iconic things from the '70s which I remember as I was working for BBC Radio Birmingham at the time.

"People are charmed by images of old Birmingham."

The changing face of Birmingham
10 Jul 05 |  West Midlands
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08 Jul 04 |  Entertainment

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