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The Ted Lewis Centre Opening


I asked Monty to deliver this brief speech to you on behalf of myself and the Klinger family. As most of you know we have a real connection with Ted Lewis, his book, originally known as Jack’s Return Home and what became the iconic cult film Get Carter. My father, Michael Klinger, discovered the book, then he produced that wonderful film with your Honorary Lifetime Member, my friend, Mike Hodges directing.

I thank my dad for finding that book, and I thank Ted for writing it. Despite all the other films Mike or my dad or me have made this is the one that sticks in everyone’s mind and heart. It resonates because it captured our mood, a period in time, our passions and above all how we think and feel. That all originated with the pen of Ted Lewis. Without Ted the film would not have existed and a whole genre of British films would never have existed. Without Get Carter there would not have been a Long Good Friday or a Lock Stock and a thousand lesser films. Yes, it was really that seminal and important to our culture.

Mike Hodges

When you see my film next year you will reach your own conclusions why this should be the case but I think that every so often we can get lucky. I well remember and own up to getting this all wrong originally. Don’t misunderstand me, we instantly wanted to make this film from the moment the galley proof of the book found its way into our hands before it was published.

For some reason I thought the title ‘Get Carter’ was terrible, and I also stated that Michael Caine would be too soft to play such a hard man as Jack Carter. Boy, was I wrong on both counts? I also wanted to shoot the original in New Jersey, with Steve McQueen, not Michael Caine starring. What was I thinking? My excuse is that I was young and foolish. Now I’m old, but still foolish, but savvy enough to keep my mouth firmly shut.

One day I will publicly share how I found the location for the gangster’s flat in London and what I was really doing for a week or two in Newcastle while the filming of Get Carter was undertaken. I was supposed to be in Glasgow filming my own documentary Extremes, but we were having way too much fun in the Toon. Suffice it to say it all involved the lovely young women of the North East but beyond that fact my lips are tightly sealed. I already admitted I was young and foolish.

For today I wished, as your proud Patron, to share my fraternal greetings, and to apologize for not being able to attend, but it is for the best of reasons as I am filming in Northampton.

I look forward to the day when I will be able to attend and discover the magic of the facility your hard work and persistence has created that we can now all share and enjoy.

I also hope to include your participation in our documentary when we film the next sections about the making of Get Carter in a couple of months. In the meantime, I wish the Ted Lewis Centre every success and heartily applaud all of you who made this possible. Well done and congratulations, you should be very proud and on behalf of everyone I thank you.

1st September 2020


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