Hartlepool “royalty” are a surprise internet hit

Former Hartlepool Carnival King and Queen Brian and Pauline Pounder looking at a programme from when their band supported The Searchers in the 1960s. At around the same time they appeared in the film Low Water.

Former Hartlepool Carnival King and Queen Brian and Pauline Pounder looking at a programme from when their band supported The Searchers in the 1960s. At around the same time they appeared in the film Low Water.

0
Have your say

A former “King and Queen” of Hartlepool have hit the high note on the internet - 49 years after appearing in a sea-coaling documentary.

Pauline and Brian Pounder were caught on camera singing with their band, The Corantos, as part of the 1966 film Low Water.

The Corantos in the 1960s, with Pauline to the left.

The Corantos in the 1960s, with Pauline to the left.

But the pair, who were crowned King and Queen of Hartlepool Carnival in 1965, forgot all about their starring role - until footage appeared on the internet.

“The rumour at the time was that it was being made for American TV. It was nice to take part, but we never thought we’d see it,” said Brian.

“Then a few weeks ago, out of nowhere, the show suddenly appeared on the internet. It made the hairs on my neck stand up when I finally watched it.”

Pauline and Brian - childhood sweethearts from the age of 13 - were both born in the village of Hesleden, near Hartlepool, in the 1940s.

I don’t think Low Water has ever been broadcast on British TV, which is such a shame. But it seems to be incredibly popular on the internet.

Brian Pounder, former member of The Corantos band.

The pair drifted apart, however, after leaving school - with Brian joining Blackhall Drama Group, while Pauline sang in a church choir.

But, when bricklayer Brian started The Corantos just a few years later, he knew just who he wanted as the lead singer - Pauline.

The band was soon booked solid, playing at pubs, clubs, dances and socials across the North East.

Eventually, as the musicians moved from one gig to the next, love blossomed again for Pauline and Brian - and they tied the knot in 1967.

“It was an amazing time. We played with groups like The Searchers and Herman’s Hermit’s - and I got back with Pauline as well!” said Brian.

“We were always touring and, during one gig at The Queen pub in Hartlepool, we were filmed for the TV show.”

Low Water, a 28-minute black and white documentary, focused on the life of Joe Copeland - a hard-working, hard-drinking, sea-coaler.

The film, described by critics as “inherently bleak and sombre”, went on to win first prize at the 12th International Short Film Festival in 1967.

“Our role was almost at the end. Joe came into the pub for a drink after a hard day of sea-coaling, and we were filmed playing up on stage,” said Brian.

“Joe lived in the Horden and Peterlee areas, and made his living picking coal on local beaches. Everyone knew him - he was a lovable rogue, a rough diamond.”

The Corantos, just like Low Water, faded into mere memory as the years passed - but music remained in the blood of Pauline and Brian.

Today the 70-year-olds, who live in Peterlee, perform as Tack-Ya-Back - and are “run off their feet” with shows up and down Britain.

“I don’t think Low Water has ever been broadcast on British TV, which is such a shame. But it seems to be incredibly popular on the internet,” said Brian.