Every Thursday throughout August, The Needles is bringing you the largest pyrotechnical, fire and firework display to hit the south coast in years – and entry is free!


This year’s show will be themed on The Greatest Showman with a distinct circus feel. You can also expect to see 2019 Britain’s Got Talent contestant Derek Sandy performing every Thursday, alongside live circus acts, bands, fire performers and many more. As if that wasn’t enough, The Needles will also be hosting a plastics recycling programme on event days and you could be in with a chance to walk away with a mountain bike, Xbox or Playstation. Set in heritage coastline and offering a range of attractions for all, The Needles is a must visit. Among its most popular attractions is the spectacular chairlift to the
beach, which provides marvellous views of the Island’s famous landmark and naturally coloured sand cliffs. On the beach, there’s the opportunity to take a boat trip for a closer look at the dramatic rocks and lighthouse. Back at the cliff top, visit the sand shop and create your own unique sand souvenir, while at Alum Bay Glass you can watch skilled glassblowers making beautiful glassware. For those with a sweet tooth, master sweet makers demonstrate the art of traditional sweet making at the Isle of Wight Sweet Manufactory. There are so many fun things to do and the kids will love it! New for 2019 is the Dino
Jeep Safari and there’s also the Victorian carousel, tea cups, water walkerz, Jurassic Golf and the amazing 4D cinema! The park has full catering and retail facilities including a licensed tearoom.


John Hannam interviews Rita Tushingham

One day in the summer of 1990 I left the family on the beach at Woodside Bay to pop home for a telephone interview with movie star Rita Tushingham.

This was against my principles, as all my interviews are undertaken in-person, but I was promised a meeting with her when she came to the Island for an appearance on August Bank Holiday Monday. Unfortunately, that never happened, as she had to fly back to her Canadian home a couple of days before.

Long before you became a famous actor you were lucky to survive a serious accident. What happened?
When I was seven, I was run over by a car. It seemed to come from nowhere, I think it was from behind a bus, and ran right over me. Cars were very heavy in

those days. I have never forgotten that accident and it will live with me forever. I have been cautious ever since about crossing the road.
When you began acting your were earning £1 a week as a student assistant stage manager at the Liverpool Playhouse. Then you read a story in the Daily Express and it was to change your life forever. How did it happen?
The newspaper story said Tony Richardson and John Osborne were going to make a film of A Taste Of Honey and they wanted an unknown actress to play the part of Jo. At that time I was actually reading the book of a play, called The World Of Paul Slickey, by John Osborne, and his agent’s address was in the back. Some actors at the Liverpool theatre helped me write the letter and I ended up going to Chelsea to do an audition and improvisation for Peter Gill. From that I was given a film test.
Did your overnight success take you by surprise?
It certainly did. I had not even thought about films. I’d just wanted to act from a very early age. When it came out it was very well received and everything just seemed to fall into place.
It was heralded as a classic of the period and is still talked about. It’s one of several of your hit movies recently released in a Woodfall Films Box Set. How did you cope with fame?
I think it would be more difficult to cope with these days. Now, people take pictures of you and post them online. I did a lot of interviews for newspapers and television. Now, they are bombarded with it all the time. We were allowed a certain freedom that I don’t think today’s young stars have. We could go to clubs to relax and it was safe to have a dance and enjoy yourself. There were no people observing us or wanting photographs.

When you appeared alongside Oliver Reed in The Trap you played a mute. How difficult was that?
It was rather difficult role. Both physically and emotionally you were more contained. To try and get over what your character was feeling made each day very exhausting. I never realised how much I had put into it. I didn’t have a line to say but was completely in the emotion, without being verbally expressive.
How did you get on with Oliver Reed?
I really got on fine with him. He was really like a young boy in a sweet shop – and so talented. He was crazy but we worked so well together. You never knew what was going to happen with Oliver but it was very interesting. When he was working he was very professional. I don’t think there has ever been anyone else like him. These days too much would have got out on social media.
Your eyes have also been such a fortune for you. The Girl With The Green Eyes was another milestone in your career. Good memories?
I loved working with Peter Finch. He was such a wonderful actor and you kind of felt he was so underrated. He was such a generous actor and would embrace the whole scene. I always felt very comfortable and secure working with him. My good friend, Lynn Redgrave, was also so good in that movie.
You have had a remarkable career that’s included so many hit movies. You played Celia Higgins in the TV series Bread, appeared in a Smiths video, had a part in the Telstar movie and, more recently, did episodes of Vera and Still Open All Hours. You have no plans to retire have you?
No. I still enjoy it so much. I think I am rather fortunate to be still acting at my age. It’s been such a great life.

Away from the stage, Rita has worked so hard to raise money for both cancer and animal charities, which has been much appreciated.


To listen to the full Rita Tushingham interview go to



Celebrating the Island’s heroes!

We’re looking for local heroes! Here’s the opportunity for YOU to show your appreciation for one of the Isle of Wight’s local heroes!
Perhaps you know someone inspirational who you think deserves recognition. Or maybe you admire someone who has worked tirelessly over the past year to raise funds for charity.
It could be that you genuinely believe you have the best neighbour anyone could possibly ask for, or you know an inspirational leader, or a person who has made a significant difference in the community.
If you do, then here is your chance to say a BIG thank you!
The annual Isle of Wight Radio’s Local Hero Awards are being held in October and Isle of Wight Radio is looking for nominations for members of our community who deserve recognition!
To nominate your local hero, visit Nominations open July 2019.


Wightfibre support Local Heroes

This is the sixth year Wightfibre has sponsored Isle of Wight Radio’s Local Heroes Awards.
WightFibre CEO, John Irvine, said Local Heroes is all about recognising people who care and do something exceptional. WightFibre really care about our customers and we are delighted to join Isle of Wight Radio once again, to celebrate island people, who also care and go the extra mile in their contribution to the community. It reflects our company ethos of ‘going the extra mile’ for our customers. Wightfibre, sponsoring the Isle of Wight Radio Local Heroes Awards, because we care.


Million Dollar Bash to celebrate iconic festival

A one-day festival at the County Showground will mark the golden anniversary of the 1969 IW Festival.

‘Million Dollar Bash’ will take place on Saturday, August 31st, exactly half a century on from the iconic festival that featured Bob Dylan, The Who, Free, Joe Cocker and other musicians, drawing 150,000 fans to Woodside Bay.
The star-packed bill will include many who played on the same stage as Dylan all those years ago, including Jacqui McShee’s Pentangle, alongside Wishbone Ash, Dylancentric, Blair Dunlop and many others. More names from the ‘69 festival will be announced soon.
Million Dollar Bash is the latest celebration organised by All Wight Now, the group dedicated to honouring the original 1968-70 festivals. All Wight Now’s founding chairman Andy Knight said: “It’s about the music, the memories and the legacy.”
The Bash will be an all-day family-friendly festival. There will also be performances from leading poets, an exhibition of the original 1969 IW sound gear and a photographic exhibition of Charles Everest’s festival photography, curated by his son, Neil. Acclaimed sculptor Guy Portelli will showcase his sculpture of Bob Dylan and a glass mosaic panel featuring handprints contributed by many of the festival artists.
See all confirmed acts and order tickets online at
To accompany the Million Dollar Bash, a new book: Bob Dylan at the Isle of Wight, 1969, illustrated with many historic photographs from the event, has been published by Medina Publishing. Author Bill Bradshaw tells the story of the remarkable event, drawing on the testimonies of those who organised it, those who starred in it and those who were there to witness it.

Special Islander tickets are also available from That 60’s Place in Cowes and Dimbola Lodge, priced at £40.



Isle of Wight Festival Review 2019

Wellies were required but no amount of rain could ruin the party at this year’s Isle of Wight Festival.

Celebrating 50 years since Bob Dylan played the iconic event, this year’s festival had a Summer of 69 theme, with several acts paying tribute to his work.
Among them was George Ezra, who performed Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright, and Keane’s Tom Chaplin, who gave a mesmerising rendition of Blowing in the Wind.
As ever, the line up was diverse with the headliners, Noel Gallagher, George Ezra, Fatboy Slim and Biffy Clyro, ensuring every musical taste was met.
Whoever graces the stage, the IW Festival has an enviable knack of creating an atmosphere like no other.


IW Festival 2019 – Saturday

This was never more evident than during the mass singalong to anthems such as Richard Ashcroft’s Bittersweet Symphony, Noel Gallagher’s Don’t Look Back in Anger and the dancing frenzy that ensued during Fatboy Slim’s Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat.

IW Festival 2019 – Friday
Main Stage – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

The likes of Rick Astley and Madness proved the perfect afternoon crowd pleasers, while chart-topping acts like Sigala and Jax Jones made the Big Top bulge.
Islanders got their time to shine, with a long list of acts playing the Kashmir Cafe, Electro Love and the Platform One Stage, while Lauran Hibberd and Sub Pacific got the incredible chance to open the Big Top and Main Stage to thousands on Sunday.
Organisers were dealt a blow when the last-minute no show by Jess Glynne disappointed Sunday’s young crowd but it didn’t take away from what was another wonderful weekend.
Keane were tasked with closing proceedings in the Big Top on the Sunday and a set full of singalong hits ensured 50,000 festival goers went home happy.


IW Festival 2019 – Sunday
Big Top – Lauran Hibberd.


IW Festival 2019 – Saturday
Main Stage – George Ezra.


IW Festival 2019 – Saturday
Electro Love – Isle of Wight Radio Presents #daddance.