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Nostalgia on screen

RARE films and pictures from the University of Sheffield’s National Fairground Archive are being screened as part of the BBC’s Timeshift TV series.

The makers of the documentary, All the Fun of the Fair, shown on Tuesday on BBC4, worked in collaboration with staff from the archive which is based in the university’s Western Bank library to look at the rise in popularity of travelling shows in Britain during the 20th century.

A second documentary, When the Circus Comes to Town, to be broadcast on BBC4 at 9pm next Tuesday, takes a look under the big top and explores its timeless appeal, delving into its origins and marvelling at the human athleticism and showmanship of some of the circus’s greatest stars.

The documentaries reunite Prof Vanessa Toulmin, director of the National Fairground Archive and newly-appointed university head of cultural engagement, with producers Francis Welch and Michael Poole, who previously worked together on the BBC 4 programme Rude Britannia.

For the Timeshift documentaries Toulmin acted as historical consultant and executive producer, helping to arrange interviews, develop the scripts and bring together all the films and photographs from the archive.

As head of cultural engagement, she will now be responsible for raising the profile and impact of the University of Sheffield on the city’s cultural landscape.

She is currently working on an event called Ideas Bizarre to be held this September in Firth Court as a curtain-raiser to next year’s Festival of the Mind.

Festival awards

SHEFFIELD’S Penny Capper won one of five award-winners out of 40 performers at the Solo Festival of one-person shows in London for the comedy, Welcome To Fabulous Jenny Vegas.

After performing at the Lord Stanley pub in Camden last weekend, she was unable to make it back to London for the awards ceremony on Tuesday because of filming commitments on Bound, being made by Tiger Aspect for the BBC, in which she plays a prison officer.

“Anyway, off the back of the festival I have been offered funding (from an independent source) to take the show to Edinburgh next year, which has been an aim of mine since Steve Haythorne and I co-wrote the show in 2008, so I’m very excited about that,” she says.

McDonald on stage

THE much-loved singer and TV personality, Jane McDonald, returns to Sheffield City Hall on Sunday, September 18 with a new show.

Having last visited the venue back in 2009, she will once again perform with a live orchestra, backing singers and lavish costumes in an act laced with her signature blend of Yorkshire warmth and humour which has made her one of Britain’s favourite entertainers.

McDonald rose to fame back in the late 1990s when she appeared in the BBC docu-soap The Cruise. Since then she has gone on to present numerous daytime television shows, including Loose Women from 2004-2010, while forging a successful musical career beyond the cruise ships with the release of several recorded albums and UK tours.

Daniel Pearce, former member of boyband One True Voice, will join the Wakefield songstress on stage in a duet, before performing a solo number. Tickets are £27.50.