A selection of seven of our DVDs, and excerpts from them now follows – please scroll down to find out more and view clips .   They can all be purchased online.

  1. Birthday In Little Town
  2. The Bethlehem Street Cleaner’s Story
  3. Colin Bean – Wigan Man
  4. Mrs. Moses
  5. St. Helens Revisited
  6. Playing To The Gallery
  7. The Eight Day Mark


1. Birthday In Little Town
“The Christmas story musical.”

BILTIt was first produced for the stage and toured in 1989/90, by Bijou Productions; at that time under different title— “Happy Birthday Whatsisname.” Then, directed for stage by the late Colin Bean —better know for his role as “Private Sponge” in “Dad’s Army”. Musical director/arranger was Tim Hans Smith. Julia Salvage the choreographer.

It was 2010—20 years later, that John had an idea about making a film of the musical—and early 2011 found him looking around for a cast—which he wanted to be made up of people from The East Riding Of Yorkshire where the filming would all take place. To this end John, unknown to the performers at the time, got himself into the audiences of numerous amateur productions; it was in this way that he was able to observe the abilities of people who might like to take part in the film.

The company worked every weekend from March to July—the cast and crew coming in from Bridlington, Hornsea, Skipsea, Cottingham, Beverley, Hull, Driffield—and of course Leven, where all the filming took place; mostly at Leven Scout HQ which was kindly loaned for the production weekends.

And now it’s here; and it’s going to be available to be screened in churches, village halls, schools and other community venues in and around East Yorkshire and maybe even beyond. Your venue could be one of them!

Here are a selection of clips from the film:-

Purchase online, UK price: £8.50 – FREE shipping.
Or – send cheque/PO to
Bijou Enterprises,  Apt.4 – 3 Sands Lane, Bridlington, YO15 2JG.

2. The  Bethlehem Street Cleaner’s Story

BSCSWritten and performed by John D Slater.

Just going about his job just as he will be doing on many another day, sweeping the streets of the little town and keeping the place tidy; then one day the Bethlehem street cleaner meets up with a young couple who have a problem – they’ve got nowhere to stay.

They’d come all the way from Nazareth for the census which has been ordered by Caesar Augustus. But like Benny the street cleaner tells us—”The place was heaving; you couldn’t get a room for love—nor money!”

Benny offers to try to help them; and that was the start of an incredible experience for him – an experience which he will never forget – and in his own words “Knocked me for a six – I can tell you!”

In the movie – when we meet up with Benny, he’s just taking a break from his street cleansing duties – having his morning snack and bringing the whole story to life for us – telling it to us—just like it was.

Written by John in 2006, it was first performed by Colin Bean. (Pte. Sponge In BBC TV’s “Dad’s Army”) as a sound recording for Making Waves Radio It was then performed live in Edinburgh by Ronald Stephen—a presenter on Heartland FM.

The author performed it himself at “Fruit Space” – Hull – as part of Christmas event.

In addition, the story is also featured on the CD “By A Special Christmas Fireside” and the DVD “Once Upon A Night Before Christmas”.

Here are a selection of clips from the film:-

Purchase online, UK price: £5.00 + £1.00 shipping
Or – send cheque/PO to
Bijou Enterprises,  Apt.4 – 3 Sands Lane, Bridlington, YO15 2JG.

3. Colin Bean – Wigan Man

UntitledCBWMOur cover picture of Colin and John at The Blackfriar’s Theatre Boston  is their last stage appearance together and it was also one of Colin’s final theatre appearances.

Colin Bean -Wigan Man

Quote from John D Slater:-

Colin Bean had a very big influence on my work in the theatre for which I owe him a great deal. We were colleagues-co-conspiritors-stage associates and good pals.

Our friendship and stage association spanned almost forty years and I was ever appreciative and grateful for his advice and help in all Bijou Productions Projects.

In later years we evolved the title of Bijou Productions Hon. Production Consultant for him and he continued in this role until he died.

The idea for this project came about when talking to people about Colin and hearing them say-   ”Oh yes – he was in Dad’s Army!”

I wanted to tell them that he was much more than that; I wanted to try to get them to understand that what people saw of Colin in the famous series did not show even the very tiniest glimpse of his real talents-both on stage and in broadcasting.

But from the day I met him in London – and then moved him back to Wigan, he was always and ever will be – A Wigan Man.”

©Bijou Productions/The Bijou Filming Company 2012

Press cutting from Wigan Observer September 11th 2012.Clip from Wigan Observer
Here are a selection of clips from the film:-

Purchase online, UK price: £7.50 FREE shipping.
Or – send cheque/PO to
Bijou Enterprises,  Apt.4 – 3 Sands Lane, Bridlington, YO15 2JG.

©Bijou Productions/The Bijou Filming Company 2012

4. Mrs. Moses.

DVD CoverMrs. Moses” was written in 1991, as an attempt to see the Exodus scenario, through the eyes of a woman; and what better eyes might those be, than the eyes of Moses’ wife – Zipporah, the daughter of a Midianite priest. She met the young Moses when he was “on the run” from the wrath of Pharaoh

Mrs. Moses” is also written as a piece of “theatre”. It has all the ingredients of a “tasty dish”; romance, laughter, emotion, excitement, a sense of the time and throughout the whole play, a feeling of being “in on the story”.

When we meet “Mrs. Moses”, at the opening of the play, she is preparing, for what she is given to understand is, the “last leg” of their journey to The Promised Land.

With a great deal of “gossipy” humour, she relates the story of how it all began and paints for us a living picture of what the Israelites encountered on their long trek. Sometimes she will have you laughing – sometimes she will bring a tear to your eye – but always she will leave you with a warm glow.

It was featured to great acclaim, as part of Didcot’s Festival ’96 and was also given at the Edinburgh Festival in 1998. Recently it was part of York International Women’s Week – 2014 when Alison Ward took on the role; it is also Alison who plays the part in the film.

View a clip from the film below.

Purchase on line – £8.50 plus £1 shipping.

Or – send cheque/PO to
Bijou Enterprises,  Apt.4 – 3 Sands Lane, Bridlington, YO15 2JG.

 5. St Helens Revisited

StHRVDenis Whittle in his column THE WAY WE WERE of the May 10th 2012 edition of  The St Helens Star Newspaper writes:-

A stroll down Memory Lane with a pair of perky pensioners.

“John Slater and John Mather first met at Higher Grade School  in 1955 and, as budding entertainment entrepreneurs, nurtured the dream of making a film, and now they have done it!
For they have produced an hour-long DVD entitled ‘St. Helens Revisited’ which is both hilarious and memory-jerking, and contains no fewer than 26 fascinating cameos of the borough during the past 50 years.
Included among these are “The New Road” (East Lancs), “Carr Mill”, “Theatre Royal”, “St. Helens Market”, “Chadwick’s Salon”, “Spoggy Brook”, “Sir Anne Taylor’s”, “Lingholme Spa”, “Vicky Park”, “The Parish Walking Day”, “The Hotties”, “Lizzy Woodyer’s Chippy”, “Maida Dance Academy”, “The Kimmicks”, “-Peter Street Institute”, “Red Rocks”, “Victoria Square” et al.
Versified commentary is by John Slater and filming by his business partner.
Thumbnail sketches reveal that John Slater grew up in Raglan Street and Fenton Street, and worked at West Park school, Helena House and Chadwick’s hairdressers. He was also involved with St. Mary’s scouts and choir, St. Helens Folk Club, Unnamed Players plus their Pilkington counterparts.
Now living in Bridlington, he founded the Bijou Theatre Company and figured in many performances with schools throughout Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.
John Mather was a projectionist at the Rivoli and Savoy cinemas, then as a driver for Polycell and played the trumpet at Redgate Boys Band. He also wrote an entertainments column for the St. Helens Star.

Clips from the film can be viewed below.

On Sale at Wardleworth’s Book Shop, Westfield St., St. Helens.WA10 1QA

01744 737 713  or purchase online £7.50 – FREE shipping.

6. Playing To The Gallery.

PTTG“Playing To The Gallery” is a filming project re-creating the life of a Hull music hall once in Carr Lane on the site currently occupied by Primark.

It sported the name – “The Bijou Palace Of Varieties” – though previously known as “The Regent Hotel Concert Room”; the change of title presumably signifying that it had gone “up-market” – as, indeed, many such establishments did. From singing rooms in pubs to theatre style establishments.

Evidence for the existence of “The Bijou Palace Of Varieties” and its performers is found in advertisements contained in “The Hull Arrow” a weekly publication which circulated in the city in the late eighteen hundreds.

In our movie, each performer will have their own “back-drop”  which are blown-up copies of the works of Hull artist Frederick Shultz Smith(1860-1925) – who’s 800 plus drawings of Old Hull are in the custody of Hull Museums who have kindly copied them  for the movie.

The whole “Playing To The Gallery” company are drawn from Hull and The East Riding – and number some 30 or more, who’ll make up, not only performers but also back stage characters and the gallery audience – to which every performer worth their salt, knew it was advisable for them to play to.

We will show the movie to audiences at the location of your choice – including over sixties clubs, residential homes, community centres, colleges, hotels, pubs and village halls etc. One of them could be yours. See our contacts page for details of how to get in touch with us.

Clip from the DVD can be viewed below.

Purchase online, UK price: £7.50 + £1.50 shipping
Or – send cheque/PO to
Bijou Enterprises,  Apt.4 – 3 Sands Lane, Bridlington, YO15 2JG.

7. The Eight Day Mark 

There are many scholarly accounts as to who and what Mark was; well – you pays your money and takes your choice.

But for me – he was somebody who had a story to tell – a story about an incredible person – the person of Jesus Of Nazareth; and from all accounts the place he told it was in Syria. It’s capital Damascus being 135 miles from Jerusalem. Much about this gospel comes across as a verbal account – just as if it was written down – the way Mark told it; verbal tradition – to written edition. But there wouldn’t have been many who could read. So the telling of the story – or the relating of an account verbally was vital to the spreading of the word – getting the news out to the world.

We could imagine Mark walking about Syria – villages and towns – highways and byways – every so often engaging with groups of people; verbally unfolding the drama before them; bringing the whole thing to life for eager listeners. Most of this would have been al fresco – out in the open air; well – there weren’t churches as we know them today – and the story Mark was telling would not have been welcomed in the synagogues.

So that’s how it would be – getting out into the community – let the story be told. As Jesus himself said – “He that hath ears to hear – let him hear!”

And so in this presentation, actor John D Slater takes on the storyteller role to tell the Gospel story- but for this his travels don’t take him to Syria but Yorkshire’s beautiful Coastline; making 16 stops in all – to tell another chapter of the story at each stop.

John had previously given a similar Mark performance on stage – and toured the country, making hundreds of appearances at theatres, cathedrals, churches, colleges and also in the Christian Resources Exhibition.

Extracts from the film.

Purchase double disc set online, UK price: Eight Day Mark £10.50 + £1.50 shipping
Or – send cheque/PO (Payable to JD Slater) to
Bijou Productions, Apt 4 – 3 Sands Lane, Bridlington, East Riding Of Yorkshire, YO15 2JG