PUPILS at Gisburn Road School in Barnoldswick were in the spotlight on Thursday when a BBC television crew paid a visit.

The television company was filming a documentary about ex-pupil Jack Pearce, whose life story reads like a script from a Hollywood movie.

The 50-year-old Bradford businessman, who was brought up in Barnoldswick, has written a manuscript of his fascinating journey to find out more about his real father, the black American singing legend Billy Daniels.

The story begins when, at the age of 40, Jack was about to embark on his first trip to Florida with his wife Jane.

He asked his mum if the photograph of a man tucked in her linen drawer was his real father and she announced the bombshell news that he was.

His true dad turned out to be Billy Daniels, one of the greatest singers of the 1940s and 1950s whose hit That Old Black Magic in 1948 sold 12 million copies and made him a household name.

Jack has now written a biography about his real father, which is being turned into a documentary by the BBC.

He said: "His friendships encompassed everyone from Martin Luther King and Nol Coward to Tom Jones, who helped carry his coffin into church in 1988.

"I discovered that my father was the first black man to host a television show in America. He appeared in eight Royal Variety performances and six Hollywood films. I felt an overwhelming loss that I had never had a chance to get to know such a remarkable man."

Jack also discovered he has five half-brothers and sisters as Daniels, who died 16 years ago, had married three times.

Now he keeps in regular contact with his fascinating family.

Daniels met Jack's mum Audrey Cockcroft when she was making a career as a singer in London's West End, using her showbiz name of Rae Croft.

Their love affair lasted three years and Jack was born in 1954 in Brighton. Daniels spent a week with them.

"It was our only time together as a family before he left for a tour of Australia and then America to make a film. He wrote regularly to mum and sent money," said Jack.

"We moved back up north. Nan raised me while mum worked as a telephonist during the day and collected insurance premiums in the evening. She gave up any ambition of a singing career to devote herself to me."

Daniels and Audrey met only once more, in London when he was appearing at the Palladium during his 1955 tour, when she learned he was seeing another women, called Periette.

Audrey went on to marry Freddie Pearce when Jack was six and they lived in Barnoldswick.

As far as he's concerned his stepfather is his dad. He took Jack on as a young boy and raised him as his own in Barnoldswick.

But he adds: "My great regret is not discovering the truth about my father while he was alive, but I have no complaints. My life has been good.

"Before Billy died of stomach cancer 16 years ago, he made a tape asking Periette to find someone to write his life story.

"When I heard the tape I knew I had to do it. It will be my gift for my father," said Jack.