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Check out our Exclusive Interview with Keith Hayes Creator of "On the High Street"

This month we premiered the 8 part series of “On the High Street”, the show about the events that have occurred in one small UK town high street with over 1000 years of history and how it reflects many High Streets in many communities across the UK. We Interviewed TV filmmaking veteran Keith Hayes and find out about his longstanding TV career and the world-changing events that took place in “Lewes”

1. How Did You Get into Filmmaking?

Well, my first exercise in television was about way back in 1970, and I was making short documentaries for CBBC in Vancouver.  I then came back to the UK where I was born and I continued to make documentaries for a short while and then they immediately dispatched me to Northern Ireland. It was troubled at the time, being bombed and so on and I worked in news gallery.  I was also making little mini documentary’s before coming back to London where I was London anchor for an American network on a morning and nightly business report. We also had to make mini documentary’s to go across the United States. I could go, on and on and on (lol)

2. What inspired you to create on the high street?

When I finished my younger years in TV I was sent by various organisations, like the EU, USA, BBC etc to train people in the Vulcans and the Baltics in Russia and I discovered that they have mini/micro tv networks which are very, very successful. We didn’t have that in the UK and I set about doing something about that with a company Eye2Eye and we have started that process of trying to bring what I call “tiny town TV” TO TINY TOWNS. “Lewes” has got a remarkable history so it was a good way to introduce people throughout the UK not just Lewes to watch the richness and the stories and information that there are in small towns. Thanks to you and your colleagues we actually have got a tiny town TV series on Community Channel and I hope it will make people understand the rich history that they have right on their front doorstep.

3. What was the most inspiring or interesting thing that you filmed in the series?

Lewes has been the cradle of democracy for many years without people realising it. The battle of Lewes which we highlighted in the series was the first time that anyone challenged the king to the divine right of kings, in other words, it was the first nibble at democracy that you could possibly find. Now having said that it was as if that idea permeated over the centuries through people because the next thing there was Tom Payne. Now in the US if you say Tom Payne they know who he is but if you say it in the UK nobody knows who he is but he actually spread something called the rights of man and he did that in Lewes.  Then he went to the USA and they said: “Tom what are the chances of us making a deal with the king?” He said “none” so then they rebelled and the USA became the USA so he was really the one that triggered the establishment of the USA. Also queen Mary the first tried to revert Britain to Roman Catholicism after Henry the eighth had broken from Rome and in standing up to her and she actually had 70 people burnt at the stake in Lewes so that’s three attempts to break the power of kings and it all happened on “The High Street” (lol)

4. Any Plans For a second Series?

We have plans for a second and third series because there are still lots of stories!




STARTS 1 May 18:30/ 01:00 MONDAY – FRIDAY

Comments (1)

  1. bill Ainsworth 1 month 1 week ago

    Hi, Have recently finished watching "Bloody history of a tiny town. Lewes and as a family have thoroughly enjoyed it all.As a 75 year old Lewesian (and rook) I found that there was still a lot I didn't know about my town. Has the series been put to DVD and if so could you let me know.
    Many thanks again for such a delightful show !
    Bill Ainswortn

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