TV crew's surprise for bar-owner Matt

AFTER 10 years running the Sovereign bar in Sea Road, owner Matt Dargan thought he knew all there was to be known about the place.

But as a crew left after two hours of filming on the premises for a future episode of television's Who Do You Think You Are? Matt confessed that he didn't know what the Sovereign had been in the past.

Famously, Who Do You Think You Are? sometimes produces such emotional shocks as it helps celebrities trace their ancestry that hard-bitten interviewer Jeremy Paxton wept on-camera at the plight of one of his forebears.

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Matt Dargan said last Friday: "The crew were here yesterday, shooting scenes for a Who Do You Think You Are? episode about Fiona Bruce, the newscaster.

"It seems her great, great grandfather was the very first proprietor of thes premises back in 1898.

"It was then a photographic studio."

The camera crew were particularly keen to film a sloping skylight. The reason for the skylight had long intrigued Matt.

Now he has the answer. It was needed for Fiona's great, great grandfather's work back in the days when photographers set up brass-bound mahogany-built cameras, disappeared under a blanket and advised their patient sitters to "watch the birdie" during the long exposures.

Matt's verdict on the day: "Absolutely brilliant!

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"They were here over two hours. They have added a bit of history. I knew it had been a coffee shop and a dance studio at some time in the past.

"But I had no idea it had been a photographic studio - let alone linked to Fiona Bruce."

Now Matt is looking forward to seeing the Sovereign featured on television, possibly some time in July.

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