Chesney Hawkes Berkshire childhood memories and filming of Buddy’s Song near her grandmother’s house

Famous musician Chesney Hawkes revealed his penchant for the much-ridiculed old town center of Bracknell after filming what became a cult movie there in the late 1980s.

The singer starred in Buddy’s Song with the legendary Roger Daltrey – lead singer of The Who – as a teenager, which was shot extensively in Charles Square in Old Bracknell and the Britwell Estate in Slough.

The film has been largely forgotten, but one song from the soundtrack remains a classic, regularly heard in bars and clubs nationwide.

Read more: How Bracknell helped Chesney Hawkes achieve worldwide fame

That song was “I’m the One and Only,” and it shot Hawkes to stardom.

Speaking to BerkshireLive, the Windsor-born musician, whose father is Chip Hawkes of The Tremelos, said he found himself in familiar surroundings during filming.

He said: “It’s funny because we were filming in old Charles Square, a place that I knew very well, because that’s where we hang out after school and on weekends.

“The scene I remember very well is we filmed a fight scene there.

“My best friend in the movie was played by Paul McKenzie, who is also, oddly enough, my best friend in real life.

“I remember the scene put it in a cart and we were shooting a scene where I ended up spending much of my childhood.”

Hawkes was only 17 when the movie was made and it was his first acting job.

He said: “It was really being thrown into the lion’s den.

“I was really just a musician at the time and I was in that role.

“We were based at Pinewood Studios for a lot of the shooting, but I remember the scenes we shot in the Britwell Estate in Slough.

“The apartment we were to live in in the film was there.

“It was really strange because my grandmother’s current apartment was in the same block.

“So a lot of the filming was done in two places very close to my heart.”

The film was not a huge success and, oddly enough, was never released on DVD, but Hawkes said it was cult thanks to the original book.

He said: “It made a bit of a resurgence when the book ‘Buddy’s Song’ was added to the national program.

“We all remember that in school, when you finished reading the book, you ended up watching the movie afterwards, so a lot of people got to know it that way.”

He said he and Roger Daltrey, who is now 77, still exchanged messages on their birthday, saying “we had a lot of good times together on this film”.

He said that despite the song’s success, which was number one in March 1991 and a hit in the United States, he had only performed it in the early 2000s.

He explained, “I haven’t played there for over eight years.

“There was a lot of craziness in the early 2000s when we ended up playing Fresher’s Balls and things.

“I remember playing it in front of 3,000 people, which was pretty crazy.”

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Hawkes, now 50, has since sold the rights to the song, but continues to make music.

During the coronavirus lockdown, he even hosted a Buddy’s Song Reunion, where he performed songs from the film.

Now 50, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and three children.

He told BerkshireLive he is in a slightly unusual position and is now on tour in the UK.

He explained: “My father was to go on a national tour with The Tremelos.

“But he’s in a bit of a pain in his health right now and had to retire.

“It means I’m now on tour with daddy’s band.

“We’re there with people like Herman’s Hermits and Jerry and The Pacemakers.

“It’s a lot of fun, all of these people are just daddy’s friends to me, like Uncle Jerry, but we get a really good response.

“There are nine acts on the tour and it’s great to see the response we get from the crowd.

More information on the The Sixties Gold Tour can be found here.

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