Silent film festival

PAUL Merton will open the third Yorkshire Silent Film Festival next month.

Taking place at venues across Leeds, the festival takes inspiration from the early days of cinema, when audiences were entertained by live music accompanying films, taking the form of pianists, orchestras, sound effects, singers and gramophone records.

The festival showcases a range of films from Laurel and Hardy and haunting French silent cinema, all with live music by some of the world’s best specialist silent film musicians, including Neil Brand, star of BBC4’s Sound of Cinema and Sound of Musicals documentary series.

At Hyde Park Picture House, audiences can discover the art of foley - making live sound effects. Leading foley artist Sue Harding, who has worked on the Million Impossible films and TV’s Sherlock, will lend her talents to French film Ménilmontant.

Comedian, broadcaster and silent film fan Paul Merton will open the festival at City Varieties, Leeds, on Tuesday, May 8, presenting a night of the slapstick comedy films of Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.

“I’m thrilled to present my favourite silent comedians at the iconic City Varieties theatre,” says Paul. “With live music provided by the brilliant Neil Brand, the evening promises to be a comic cavalcade of fantastic fun and laughter.” Visit