THE spotlight is to shine on Bradford’s former Odeon later this year in a new historical series headed by former politician Michael Portillo.

The former Tory minister-turned-TV-broadcaster is to bring some colour to the derelict Art Deco cinema and music venue for a Channel 5 series called Hidden History of Britain, produced by Transparent Television.

The filming of the former Odeon forms part of the second series of the documentary and concluded yesterday.

The first series, made in four parts, was filmed last year and saw him visiting such venues as Shepton Mallet prison, in Somerset, home to the Kray twins in their youth, and London Hospital, the sanctuary of Joseph Merrick, aka the Elephant Man.

The Odeon will stand up perfectly against other well-known historic buildings we have visited and will be of huge interest nationally, not just to Bradfordians,” said Mr Portillo.

“I was not aware of the building before we came here. The producers scour the country and look for interesting buildings with a hidden history that will offer enough for an hour-long programme.

“The former Odeon is perfect for such a programme. It is really a wonderful building and I developed a genuine affection for it after just four days of filming.

“I am aware of the fundraising to reopen it and from a personal point of view I hope it happens.

“Of course it is in a very sad state with water pouring through part of it and other bits of it falling apart. Areas of it do look gruesome.

“But you can see the wonderful ballroom area and rooms where people came to see acts such as the Beatles.

“We have looked into the history surrounding it and thank the Telegraph & Argus very much for their help in providing archive material.”

Producers had sought anyone who recalled recorded messages sent from servicemen and women stationed in India and the Far East during World War Two which were shown to their families at the Odeon, in a showing called ‘Calling Blighty’.

l The first series of Hidden History of Britain is due to be shown next month with the second series, including the Odeon, to be shown later in the year.