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Back to the Future: Belfast's tribute to film that made DeLorean famous

By David Young

Published 21/10/2015

Dan Gordon and Gerard McCabe recreate the famous scene from Back To The Future
Dan Gordon and Gerard McCabe recreate the famous scene from Back To The Future
Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in the movie
John DeLorean

A memorable scene from Back To The Future has been recreated in the city that built the famous DeLorean car immortalised by the films.

Doc Brown's legendary zip line ride from the clock tower of the fictional town Hill Valley was staged in Belfast to mark Back To The Future Day.

October 21, 2015 is the date Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) travelled forward to in the second instalment of the movie trilogy. They arrived to a futuristic world of flying cars and hover boards.

While the film's vision of the future has not wholly materialised, fans of the movies are marking the day in the style.

In Belfast, where the silver gull-wing DeLorean cars were manufactured, two local actors have reimagined the zip line scene - with a comic twist - at the clock tower in the Gasworks area of the city centre.

Gerard McCabe took on the role of the Doc, with his character whizzing from the Gasworks clock tower down to Belfast's own Marty McFly, Dan Gordon, waiting in the DeLorean below.

At the start of the 1980s controversial US industrialist John DeLorean brought his car manufacturing plant to Dunmurry in west Belfast with the lure of significant Government financial support.

Although the factory initially injected some much needed optimism in Troubles-era Northern Ireland, its stay was shortlived and ultimately ended in failure.

When the first Back To The Future film was released in 1985 the DeLorean plant had already been closed for three years. Fewer than 9,000 cars had rolled off the production line at the Dunmurry plant.

The film stunt was created by Northern Ireland lager brand Harp.

Lisa Ronayne from Harp said it was a tribute to the enduring characters of Marty and Doc.

"In 1985 two of the most celebrated characters in film history took to the skies in a Northern Ireland-built time machine and travelled 30 years into the future, eventually arriving today: October 21, 2015," she said. She added: "We wanted to thank them for their outstanding contributions to science fiction and thought the best way of doing this was by paying homage to their original time-travelling journey which took place at the Hill Valley clock tower in 1955.

"I look forward to thanking them both in person, in the future, if I haven't already done so."

Three local celebrities tell Laura Abernethy about their memories of the first Back To The Future film in 1985

Frank Mitchell, UTV and U105 presenter

“I went to the film with a television director called Robert Lamrock and he had his own DeLorean. We turned up at the cinema in it and people going in didn’t seem to realise the significance of the car, but on the way out Lamrock was mobbed like a pop star. That’s my memory of the film.”

Cate Conway, Q Radio breakfast show presenter

“I remember the film really well. I’m a big fan. It’s one of those films that you were completely blown away by. Although it was far-fetched, it seemed sort of believable because he was travelling in a car. I think I went to see it for the first time when I was nine and I didn’t know what the future would be like.”

Paul Clark, UTV Live presenter

“I remember the movies and I have the set on DVD at home. At that time I didn’t think about what 2015 would be like. There was too much going on because that was the year I got married. I enjoyed the film for what it was. All I wanted for the future was still to be married to the same woman, and that has happened.”

Belfast Telegraph

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