Shades of Hollywood at Hucknall's Byron bingo hall

A BINGO session in Hucknall might help film director Shane Meadows to cash in on a box-office bonanza.

For a scene at the Byron Bingo Centre on High Street is featured in Meadows's new 3 million movie, 'Once Upon A Time In The Midlands', which hits cinema screens on general release today.

Top British actors including Robert Carlyle ('The Full Monty' and 'Trainspotting'), Ricky Tomlinson ('The Royle Family') and Rhys Ifans star in the movie.

Meadows himself plays a bingo-caller in the scenes shot at the Byron, while Kathy Burke ('Gimme, Gimme, Gimme') appears as one of the punters who is hit on the head with a microphone.

The fact that the much-anticipated film was to be partly shot in Hucknall was exclusively revealed by the Dispatch in August 2001.

Filming dates and exact locations were closely-guarded secrets but when crews and trucks of equipment descended on Hucknall in September, the Dispatch was there.

Denis Burgin, owner of the Byron Cinema, even got to speak to Kathy Burke in between shooting and said she "was very down to earth".

He told the Dispatch this week: "Everyone involved with the Byron are delighted it is to be featured on the big screen and can't wait to show the film."

Meadows (29) hails from Uttoxeter in Staffordshire and lives in Burton-On-Trent. But he has had a strong affection for the Nottingham area since he went to college in the city. In turn, people of Nottingham have taken him to their hearts.

The film completes a Nottingham trilogy for Meadows after his first two feature films, 'TwentyFourSeven', starring Bob Hoskins, and 'A Room For Romeo Brass' were set in the city.

Most of 'Once Upon A Time In The Midlands' was shot in Carlton but Meadows recalls his time in Hucknall where he sampled some curry and chips.

But he also remembers that shooting could only take place on certain days because of noise disturbance from engine-testing at the Rolls-Royce plant on Watnall Road.

The pressure is on for this movie to be a box-office hit after Meadows's previous two film's failed to make enough cash.

But if an enthusiastic full house including Dispatch chief reporter Denis Robinson for a special preview screening at Nottingham's Showcase Cinema on Monday is anything to go by, the film looks set to be a smash hit.

Described as a 'modern-day western', the film is a comedy-drama in which Ifans is cast as the likeable Dek, who proposes to his girlfriend (Shirley Henderson), on Vanessa Feltz's TV chat show.

Overcome with embarrassment, Shirley turns him down. To make matters worse for Dek, Shirley's feckless ex, Jimmy (Carlyle), sees the programme.

He heads for home to win back Shirley's heart and also to be reunited with his daughter, Marlene (played by 13-year-old Clifton girl Finn Atkins), who now looks upon Dek as her dad.

The film is co-written by Paul Fraser and was made by Slate Films with financial backing from FilmFour and The Film Council.