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Last Updated:  Thursday, 3 April, 2003, 11:34 GMT 12:34 UK
Stars attend Spike première
Stars of the film attend the charity premiere in Belfast
Stars of the film attend the charity premiere in Belfast
A movie based on a Spike Milligan comic novel filmed mainly in Northern Ireland is set to be released.

Stars of the film and Milligan's daughter Jane, attended a charity premiere for Puckoon at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Wednesday.

Puckoon is a satire set in 1924 about a village literally divided in two by the partition of Ireland.

It was mostly filmed in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Irish Republic.

Actors in the film include Sean Hughes, Elliot Gould, Richard Attenborough, Milo O'Shea, Griff Rhys-Jones and John Lynch.

The charity première was held at the Odyssey Arena to raise money for Barnardos, and the film goes on general release on 4 April

Veteran actor Milo O'Shea said the actors wanted to be in the film because of Milligan.

"I made the film Digby the Biggest Dog in the World with Spike and it was such fun.

"The minute I heard about this, I got on to my agent and said 'I want to be in that film'.

"I knew it would be a gathering of all the old mates, and that it would be great fun," he said.

Puckoon director Terence Ryan
When you're getting films off the ground, you need help from people and we got an enormous amount of support from people in Northern Ireland
Terence Ryan
Director
The Ulster Folk and Transport Museum stands in for Puckoon village, while Lord Dunleath's Ballywalter Park in County Down also features.

Director Terence Ryan said it was so important that the story was filmed in Northern Ireland that production was delayed for six months to secure necessary extra funding.

"We were really lucky in the way that it was financed that we were able to use the money in the north of Ireland.

"When you're getting films off the ground, you need help from people and we got an enormous amount of support from people in Northern Ireland," he said.

Illness prevented Milligan from making a cameo appearance, but his daughter Jane said her father watched a screening of the film before his death.

Puckoon
The film is a satire set around the time of partition in the 1920s
"We watched it together, and he enjoyed it very much.

"He didn't say very much in his old age, but I could see that he was very proud and pleased that it had happened.

"This is where his father was from and that was why he wrote the book in the first place," she said.

Puckoon was Milligan's debut novel, first published in 1963.

His next novel, The Looney, did not come out until 1987, but many of his earlier books were very successful, including several based on his wartime experiences, Adolf Hitler, My Part in His Downfall, Rommel: Gunner Who? and the later Where Have All the Bullets Gone?

He died in February 2002, aged 83.




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