Director’s preview – Le Grand Return

On the 5th June 2014, Bernard Jordan, a former naval officer, absconded from his care home in Hove to attend the 70th Anniversary of D-Day commemorations in France with fellow veterans.  His cross channel expedition in his 90th year drew world media attention and became the inspiration for Alan Stockdill’s Le Grand Return. Asked why he travelled to Normandy, Mr. Jordan said: “My thoughts were with my mates who had been killed.  I was going across to pay my respects.  I was a bit off course but I got there.” 

This spirit of warm hearted adventurism permeates the play and we follow Tommy Hardaker and his fellow ‘inmates’ Alf Hegginbottom and Edwin Cooper in their shuffling Great Escape from dreaming and planning through to saluting the fallen in Normandy.

Alan Stockdill has a gift for both comedy and poignancy and takes us on a journey from laughter to tears in a heartfelt look at the impact that WW2 had on a generation.  Rehearsals have been fun, with a fabulous cast that the piece could have been written for, but all of us approach the final scene with a lump in our throats.

We hope that you will take the opportunity to cheer the boys on with their Grand Return.  Playing dates 1st to 8th February 2020. 

Verity Mann, Director

Saddleworth Players will perform La Grand Return at the Millgate Arts Centre from 1 – 8 February. Tickets available from the Millgate website ( or by telephoning the Box Office on 01457 874644, Tuesdays 2pm–5pm, Wednesdays and Thursdays 2pm–7pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from 9:30am–1pm.

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